So here it is. Did you bring your jacket? Can I get you a drink? It’s the first annual game of the year awards for 2009! Last year I didn’t bother, but this year I’m making it a tradition. I’ve devised seven categories and within each of them are the games that have left a mark on me this year.If you disagree with any of these selections, please leave a comment and tell me what you would have picked and I’ll do a further blog on what you all thought in a few days time. So here we go. The first award.
The “Most Fun I’ve Had All Year” Award:
From it’s opening cut scene to it’s climatic conclusion, inFamous is gripping in it’s narrative, addictive in it’s game play and beautiful in it’s entirety. Criminally overlooked by the overall community as a “Prototype Clone”, inFamous is one of the most compelling and overall upsetting games I've played in years. The human elements of pain, isolation and corruption are presented on such a scale that it literally leaves you feeling… well rather depressed by the end of the ride. But it’s worth it, and no matter what path you choose, the conclusion will leave your jaw hanging wide open every time.
The “Oh… That’s Actually Quite Good!” Award:
Batman: Arkham Asylum
When I first heard about Arkham Asylum I didn’t even give it a second thought. I simply passed it off as another superhero action kids game that would clog up the shelves and sell by the bucket loads, even though it’d be about as fun as drowning. But when I played it, my whole perspective changed. This game is huge. This game is a masterpiece. This game could well be the runner up for my overall game of the year. I’ve never played a game that takes a franchise and exceeds expectations so much. The characterisation is perfect, the atmosphere is heavy and dark, the locations are bitter-sweet and the narrative slots very neatly and snugly within the Batman canon. I would even go as far as to recommend this over watching the Dark Night. It really is THAT good.
The “Continuing Tradition” Award:
The Sims 3
I bought this out of dedication. Same reason I bought Spore and Sim City Societies. I expected something abysmal, or the same as Sims 2 but with better graphics. What I got was the definitive Sims experience. If I could change one thing this year, it would be that I played more of the Sims 3. What appears to be the same old game, is actually a completely new game built entirely from scratch. Gone is the frustration, the difficulty and the tedium of the past incarnations. Here is a game that really does excel in every department, and I’d recommend this game to anyone with a brain cell. If anything, this game proves that maybe the world could survive without a Mr. Will Wright and his “Spores”.
The “I Told It Was Going To Be Good!” Award:
Resident Evil 5
To quote Chris in the opening scenes of Resident Evil 5, “Sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth fighting for…”. When it comes to Resident Evil, I can’t help but know exactly what he means. What is it worth fighting for? The desperate struggle to try and convince old fans that it’s worth playing the new incarnations. The impossible task of trying to educate newcomers that the old games are equally as pleasing (if not on the eye, then at least on the narratives and gameplay). The equally difficult task of trying to convince myself at the beginning of the year that Resident Evil 5 was going to be something worth fighting for. You know what? It is worth it, because Resident Evil 5 has given me 53 blissful hours of gameplay , two completions and a whole lot of fun. I adore this game, and you should too.
The “2009 is so 2008” Award:
Slow at first, but as soon as it hooks you it simply will not let go. Give me a world that drips with as much satire, oozes with as much depth and shines with as much breathtaking beauty and I will eat my own face. Fallout 3 isn’t a game. It’s an experience, and it’s one that you will not soon forget. The reason it’s on this list? Because with the release of the new DLC packs this year, it was impossible to not be drawn back into the capital wasteland.
The “Faith In The Industry” Award:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
If you haven’t already read my gushing review to this game, then you’re unaware on how much of an impact this game had on me. The world of Nathan Drake became perfect in this title, and it is the best game ever made. That’s a fact. This game will make you laugh out loud, it will make you shift forward to the edge of your seat in actual real tension more times that I wish to mention and most of all? You will walk away with a feeling of complete satisfaction. The same feeling you had when you first saw Star Wars, The Godfather, Fight Club or The Shawshank Redemption. I priceless piece of entertainment, all yours for £30.
The “Little Game = Big Surprises!” Award:
Burn Zombie Burn
This game impressed me in two ways. Firstly, it’s so tongue in cheek it’s entire face is bleeding. Secondly, it’s fun. This game is pure, 100% fun. You will sit down, you will play, you will enjoy it. It’s entertainment in it’s purest form and it’s an absolute corker of a title. If you’ve never bought a game from the PSN before, then this is a damn good start.
There we have it. The first annual Original Dungeon Keeper awards for 2009. Now all that’s left to say is Happy New Year, and I hope you all have a great 2010.