Games of 2009
After suddenly realising that the end of the last decade has appeared, a whole load of gaming blogs, from Gaming Daily (Who’s writers have decided that they should each do one) to GameSpy. So, in a desperate bid to seem cool and part of the crowd, I’ve decided to do a list of my games of 2009. Before you look down and think “Hold on, why isn’t [insert big release here] on the list?”, I either didn’t enjoy it or haven’t played it. Without further ado, here are my shout outs, in no particular order, for this year’s games.
I’m not a racing gamer. I have no control, and a lot of my time is spent crashing. Good for me then, that there is a series of game where control is optional, and crashing compulsory. My first experience with playing Burnout was when my parents were buying a new car, and the garage we were in had a PlayStation in it, with a copy of Burnout in it. My brother and I played it (I won) and we were both enthralled by the fact you could crash and it kept a record of it, and that the crashes were things of beauty. Burnout Paradise was a cross-platform release, but we got all the DLC for free when the game came to PC, and the demo was a thing of beauty.
That demo gave you the whole city, and just said ‘Go on then, have fun, I’ll reel you in an hour’. I kept the demo installed, and it saved where I was up to for when I bought the game. This game made me feel like I was actually a good driver, and kept me sane when I wanted to crash things. All it needs now is an MP3 player, and then it’d be perfect.
Plants Vs Zombies
It’s rather telling that this casual game has got itself into a fair few lists, just nuzzling at the top of most people’s games of 2009. Who’d have thought that PopCap could take another fairly basic concept and do so well with it. Peggle I found fun, but the fun drifted away after the first few playthroughs, and I was just playing through it because I liked hearing Ode to Joy every few minutes. Plants Vs Zombies however, was a great little number. I still have it installed, and I still play it every now and again. To quote Gamespy: ‘News flash for the non-believers: “Casual” does not necessarily mean “lesser”.’, which is true. It isn’t a lesser game because it’s so bite sized. But it is a fun thing to play in your breaks between shooting the zombie hoards.
Instead of shooting these zombie hoards with your shotgun, placing down plants that shoot/throw fruit and vegetables and laughing at the bit where the big evil zombie is stopped by a piece of butter is much more entertaining, and one that you’ll lose your life to. A great example of how to make gamers love you at a fraction of a cost. And let us not forget that a good song helps as well.
Red Faction: Guerilla
This very nearly didn’t make it onto this list. I only got my hands on it over Christmas, and really only started playing on the 30th. It has its inherent flaws, but it still is endlessly entertaining. One of the reasons I love Burnout so much is that the crashes that you start are things of beauty. Red Faction takes not only the biscuit, but a packet of crisps as well. A great few hours I’ve been spending driving a car into a building and then finishing the supports off.
The first two games I used to think were amazing. Now I think they’re okay. One of the few times I think that a sequel took the series and actually did something good with it. It’s impossible to not recommend this for the chaotic player among you. It has it’s flaws, and god knows what the multiplayer is like now, but the single player is still as solid as before. You can buy a nuke for chrissake! I can’t wait to play with it!
On the subject of chaos games, Prototype is king this year. Being given a whole city in which you could kill anyone and take on the army and win is a great idea. There’s talk that now there aren’t GTA clones, there are just games in the GTA genre. I can’t call Prototype a GTA clone. The protagonist of GTA is an old nanny compared to Alex Mercer. You can however put Prototype in the GTA genre. The city might not breathing, but that is mainly because Mercer grabbed it and slammed it into the ground, beating it mercilessly.
It was the most violent and brutal game I’ve ever played. It was senseless violence, and the only way I think it could have been more enjoyable is if the Red Faction engine was included as well. The great city of New York being fully destructible would only be a good thing. The boss battles were vaguely better than the usual twaddle than we have to put up with, even with the fun difficulty curve. Then again, it isn’t a curve. It’s more a random series of lines. Still, a great game for when you hate the world and want to kill things.
Games not of 2009
A lot of the big name releases I haven’t played, but there was a good reason. Team Fortress. God damn you Valve. Every update I’m drawn back in, and it usually sucks up my life for the next 4 months, which usually gives them enough time to make another one. The WAR, Spy/Sniper, Classless and Halloween updates were great work from Valve, and nothing more than what I expect from a great developer, and a fair few developers could learn how to do updates from them.
Also included in my playlist from 2009 is Giants: Citizen Kabuto, a rather charming little game, with all sorts of little flaws. However, $5.99 from GoG.com made it totally worth it. The story of 5 cockney aliens, one naked blue lady, a big monster and some short ugly things has never been told so well. A great example of how writing can do a great job, even with gameplay errors.
So that wraps up my 2009 games. Not a bad year for game. 2010 should bring some great things, Mass Effect 2 and Just Cause 2 high in my list of things that I want now. Team Fortress should get the final class update as well, so I expect to be drawn back into that again. Hats off to the games of 2009, bring on 2010.