The Meat Bun Games of the YearPosted: 12/31/2009
Scott says: I measure my love for a game by how many nights it keeps me up playing it past 3 AM. Since October, it looked like Demon’s Souls had my Game of the Year locked. Beautifully crafted armor and weapons, awe-inspiring bosses, brutal game play, the perfect creepy vibe… it all clicked with me. Unfortunately, I was playing with Mike’s borrowed copy of Demon’s Souls, and he needed it back to review for Kotaku. My love affair with this gem was tragically cut short, just like my neck upon meeting Executioner Marilda for the first time.
But that left an opening on the inside of turn 10, and Forza Motorsport 3 forced its way past. Once in the lead, it never looked back. The 360 Wireless Racing Wheel has become a permanent fixture in my game room. I catch myself admiring the crazy attention to detail each car model has been rendered in. I’m not sure how racing games are going to get any better than this, without resorting to some bat-shit insane hydraulic setup. I have even started using Forza 3 to plan my next real-life automobile purchase. I think I have settled on the perfectly balanced 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia once I come up with, uh, 250,000 credits. Luckily, I was able to purchase it in a DLC Holiday Pack for $5.
Jason says: It wouldn’t be game of the year season without hearing someone say, “There are so many amazing games this year it’s too hard to pick just one” or “This is, yet again, the best year in gaming ever.” It happens every year because it’s true. The games we play keep getting better, in every way, year after year. It makes this GOTY shit really difficult!
When it’s all said and done though I can say, with confidence, that Red Faction Guerrilla is my 2009 game of the year. It’s nowhere near the prettiest, doesn’t have a great story and is a little glitchy; BUT it’s the game I was the most impressed with this year by far. My reasoning is simple; it’s the only game that significantly raised the bar on a genre. The amount of destruction, physics and feedback from the world is on a level that’s never been seen in an open world game. Volition refined their “Geo-Mod” tech from past games, brought the series back from the dead and upped the ante. It’s really hard to play any other action game after this and not get the feeling that it’s dated. If you shoot a rocket launcher at something and it doesn’t blow to a million pieces with crazy-ass physics it just feels lame. Now that other developers have had more time, I think we’ll be seeing this tech in a lot of other games next year; but for now Red Faction’s got blowing crap up locked down, along with my 2009 pick.
Daniel says: I really enjoyed games this year. Demon’s Souls was the game I spent the most time at work obsessing about. Resident Evil 5 was my favorite co-op experience this year. Uncharted 2 raised my expectations for pacing and presentation in video games. Assassin’s Creed 2 was my pick-up-and-play game this year. But without the ability to download games, I would’ve missed out on the best.
This year, my game of the year goes to Trials HD. For $15 I got a completely addictive, time-cooperative experience that is a nod to the best of gaming past. The motorcycle mechanics are simple with just gas/brake and the ability to shift your rider’s weight, but the combination of these elements is limitless. It’s one of those games, like Mega Man or Bionic Commando, that reward you for practice. As I perfected my techniques, the interactive leader boards kept me coming back to replay old levels and show my friends what I’d learned. Trials HD isn’t about flashy graphics, it’s about competition – the foundation of video games – and why I’ve played this $15 game for months. And the new $5 Big Pack expansion has brought things to the game I hadn’t thought about before. Weightless motorcycle moon-physics, anyone?
Collective runner-up goes to the five Fallout 3 expansions released in 2009. Each one was completely unique to the main game and to each other, but since they couldn’t be played without 2008′s game of the year it doesn’t really seem fair to include them.
Mike says: Well, if no one else is going to do it I will. Demon’s Souls was the one game that surprised me with its terrifying richness, it’s lure to play again and again, despite the pain of its incredibly difficulty, and it’s refreshing take on the Japanese role-playing game genre. What may have made the experience better was the bitter taste that Demon’s Souls initially left in my mouth, well before I understood how to play the game. Eventually, after soliciting some advice from friends and the oft-cited Demon’s Souls Wiki, the FromSoftware game grabbed hold of me, forcing me to put in more hours than almost any other title this year.
The game that absorbed more of my life this year, simply in pure hours, was Left 4 Dead. Almost the same with Left 4 Dead 2, which would be my runner-up of choice for game of the year. It was only put aside to spend more time with Demon’s Souls, but I fully intend on going back.