2009 was a huge year for gaming. With some games not living up to lofty expectations, others took the reins set before them and ran with them further than many expected. Batman: Arkham Asylum proved it was possible to make a great game based on Batman, though it took the video game industry over 25 years to figure out how to accomplish that.
Wolverine: Origins proved that games based off movies didn’t have to be bad and in the eyes of many surpassed the quality of the film that inspired it. Legends were reborn as the Beatles were featured in their own Rock Band game. Yes, it was a momentous year for gaming which leads us to proudly present these awards for the Best Video Games of 2009.
Best Playstation 3 Exclusive Game
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was easily one of the best early releases for the Playstation 3. But the problem is no one knew about it who didn’t have the system. A fantastic game, it fell victim to the lack of Playstation 3’s being in consumers’ homes. Knowing the gem they had their hands on, Sony made sure to give Uncharted 2: Among Thieves a spotlight at this year’s E3 along with a strong marketing push when it was released this year.
Alongside the Playstation 3 price drop, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was an instant hit. With its easily likable protagonist, fun and intuitive gameplay and the addition of multiplayer to the series, the game surpassed the much anticipated Killzone 2 as the top game of the Playstation 3 this year.
Best Wii Exclusive Game
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
It is with hesitancy that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is awarded the Best Wii Game of 2009. With the new mutliplayer competitive / cooperative format to the series, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a fun game but sadly does nothing ground breaking. Instead, it feels like a subtle addition to an already over established and utilized formula.
There are times when New Super Mario Bros. Wii can even come across more as the most effective form of “griefing” your friends as players can refuse to pop open their buddy’s bubble to return them to the game. Despite this, the Wii lacked any major impactful release to the system this year.
Wii Sports Resort and the use of Wii Motion Plus both fell far short of the expectations placed on them while games that promised to revolutionize the way the Wii was used like the Conduit came down in flames. Of the four platforms (XBox 360, Playstation 3, PC and Wii), the Nintendo console had the weakest release calendar and inadvertently proved to people again that third party games are not meant to be successful on a Nintendo system.
Best XBox 360 Exclusive Game
Halo 3: ODST
After an incredibly vague teaser trailer and interesting choice in name change from Halo 3:Recon, Halo 3: ODST emerged as one of the standout titles on the platform this year with its interesting new style of storytelling not used before in the Halo series. Taking the role of the Rookie, players search New Mombasa for clues about the whereabouts of their squad mates as they also try to find out the secret the Covenant is searching so hard to get their hands on.
The game came with a second disk packed with the full Halo 3 multiplayer experience including exclusive maps and a Gears of War 2 Horde mode inspired Firefight, Halo 3 has kept its hold on the top of the XBox Live top five because of ODST. Halo 3: ODST proved that Master Chief did not need to be the driving force behind a successful Halo franchise and has surely played a part in the ideas going in to next year’s upcoming Halo: Reach.
Best Portable Game
Also Awarded Most Original Game Design
No one can look at this year in video games without looking at Scribblenauts. With its subtle announcement at E3, it ended up taking the show by storm with the ingenious concept of allowing players to solve puzzles limited only by their own vocabulary. Featuring tens of thousands of items, Scribblenauts had players help Max make his way through hundreds of puzzles by writing the name of any object they could think of.
Objects interacted with each other in ways similar to how they should in real life. Dogs chased cats. Dingoes ate babies. Nuclear bombs blow everything up. While the game’s controls for Max were a little awkward at times having to use the touch screen instead of the D-Pad for his movement, the imaginative concept behind Scribblenauts made it an impressive feat on such a “simple” platform as the Nintendo DS. With a virtually limitless number of puzzle solving combinations, Scribblenauts showed just how big a game could come in such a small package.
Best Comic Book Game
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Finally… Finally… Finally, a Batman video game has been done right. After years of trite failed attempts, someone figured out the right way to create a Batman videogame that was not only fun but true to the character. While Lego Batman was fun, it didn’t have the Batman feel down. There was no Dark Knight. But Batman: Arkham Asylum changed that.
With its dark and gritty art style, Batman: Arkham Asylum captured the essence of not only Batman but of his storied rogue’s gallery as well. The enthralling story penned by Paul Dini and voiced by Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy shows what happens to Batman when the inmates literally run the asylum.
With free DLC added to the game and exclusive Joker stages added to the Playstation 3 version, this game showed that it was possible for DC to step up their interactive arts to match up against Marvel’s hit properties as well. Being fans of both video games and comics, all of the Flickcast was thrilled to get our hands on this phenomenal game.
Check back later for more of the Best Video Games of 2009 including Best Music Game, Best Shooter and most importantly, Best Game of 2009.