Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009

As much as I wish otherwise, I'm not actually a professional reviewer.  I don't get to play crap tons of games (I average like, what, one a month?), and they all tend to get decent scores from me because if I'm going to spend money on a game to play for fun (then just write about it in my free time), chances are I'm going to play something I think has at least the potential to be fun.

Anyway, the idea here is that I don't play enough games to have best games of certain genres, best music in a game, best console-specific game, etc.  All I can tell you is what's the best.  And the best is...

Dragon Age: Origins.

This is not an opinion, mind you.  This is a fact.  Dragon Age went up against some stiff competition, sure, but there was simply nothing else I've played this year (or last year, for that matter) that was so deeply engaging.  While I was playing it, everything else in my life (work, sleep, food, etc) became an irritating necessity that kept me away from Dragon Age.  And when I wasn't playing Dragon Age, I was thinking about playing Dragon Age.  Dragon Age: Origins is the Game of the Year for 2009.

Here's some claims I feel comfortable making.

Best Wii Game: New Super Mario Bros Wii.  Granted, it was the only Wii game I bothered with in 2009, I feel it's still worth mentioning.  It's classic 2D Mario Bros, and that really tells you everything you need.

Best PS3 Game: Uncharted 2: Drake's Fortune.  Again, the only PS3 exclusive game I played this year, but it's also the first PS3 game I played that really justified the console for me.  There have been PS3 exclusives I've enjoyed before, but the best of them were still more, "I can play this game, since I have a PS3" and more "That goodness I own a PS3, so I can play this game."

Biggest surprise of the year: Batman: Arkham Asylum.  I've played games based on comic books before.  Most are crap.  Some are good.  Arkham Asylum is the first comic book game I've played that's actually great.  Like, so great that if not for Dragon Age it might have been Game of the Year.

Best Downloadable Game: Shadow Complex.  The apparent love-child of Metal Gear Solid and Super Metroid, its only flaws being wonky controls and the fact that it was over too soon.

In other, non-gaming related notes...

Best Movie: Star Trek.  It's really incredible what Abrams pulled off here... a movie that rebooted Star Trek continuity, but did it within Star Trek's continuity.  A movie that pleases Trek fans as well as casual movie-goers.  A movie with fresh young actors that totally nailed their 40 year old characters.  I'm not they type who likes to watch a movie over and over, but I loved Star Trek so much I saw it twice in the theater.

Best Cellphone maker: HTC.  Everyone on the internet loves to bitch about how lame Windows Mobile is, but HTC managed to make not one but three WinMo phones I wished I could have (the Imagio, the Touch HD2, and the Touch Pro2).  I let a friend of mine with a Droid play with the Touch Pro2 that I wound up with, and he was impressed.  Of course, if you really prefer Android, HTC's got you covered there too with Android phones available on three out of four of the major carriers (AT&T currently doesn't have any Android phones, but an HTC phone codenamed "Lancaster" is rumored to be their first).  Whether you go with WinMo or Android, HTC delivers stylish phones, then goes the extra mile to make the software look just as sleek with TouchFLO on their WinMo phones, and Sense on Droid Eris and the Hero.  The smartphone market has matured enough to offer real alternatives to the iPhone, and a lot of the credit goes to HTC.

Best Operating System: Windows 7.  All-in-all, it's been a pretty good year for operating systems.  Mind you, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux (in the form of Ubuntu) all has their best releases ever this year.  But Snow Leopard was mostly minor improvements to Mac OS X Leopard.  And Ubuntu, while much improved, is still using the GNOME desktop environment, and I've always preferred KDE (the KDE variant of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, is still suffering from the awkward transition from the dated-but-solid KDE 3.5 to the pretty-but-problematic KDE 4).  Windows 7, on the other hand, seemed like a godsend.  Gorgeous, with new features that are actually useful, while maintaining a focus on compatibility and trimming the fat from Vista?  I couldn't get it on my computer fast enough.

So how about you guys?  Disagree with my pics?  Have a favorite in a category I didn't mention?  Post in the comments.


science412 said...

Like I said, my overall GotY pick is straight up CoD: Modern Warfare 2. I hate to admit it, but it's true. Runner up: Shenmue.

Mike said...

You mean the same Modern Warfare 2 that I gave a B- too? The one that's basically a dumbed-down version of a game everyone but you played two years ago?

Rick said...

games of the year:
1. Uncharted 2
2. Dragon Age
3. Assassin's Creed 2

biggest surprise:

toss up between Batman and Demon's souls.

Most Overrated game:

Call of Duty: MW2. Decent campaign that's over in 5 minutes with horrible writing, a surprisingly decent Spec Ops mode, and a TERRIBLE (this is NON NEGOTIABLE COD FANBOYS) mp absolutely DESTROYED by infinity ward's complete inability to balance a multiplayer game. Terrible maps, poor weapon selection, and no party chat in mp? Uhh I'll just play the INFINITELY BETTER World at War, thanks.

Best Driving Game:
Forza 3. The only competition to this one was Dirt 2 which is astoundingly good, but Forza is, without competition, the best driving game I have ever played.

Best Shooter:
Killzone 2. Killzone 2 >>>>> MW2, nuff said.

And finally, a random strange award I chose to give:

Best surprising announcement:
Yakuza 3 coming stateside in March! (I <3 yakuza series).