Gaming
Numero Uno: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Game of the Year 2009

It’s that time again to say “it’s that time again” folks. This is where we acknowledge games that have inspired us, entertained us, and pleasured us for hours on end before we eventually grew tired of them and found something new. These are the games that made us treat the games we loved last year like plague carrying rodents. Games that caused us to rethink the games that were previously our GOTY not two weeks before! These are the BEST GAMES EVER. Well, maybe a few of them are – but let’s be honest – whatever games were listed here, someone somewhere would always have to voice their complaint, violently or obnoxiously. Ladies and gentlemen, the games of the year (as voted by Couch Campus writers).

Number 10: Resident Evil 5Developer: CAPCOM | Release: March | Platforms: 360, PS3, PC | Review

The apple fell very, very far from the Resident Evil 4 tree this time, and even had a little bit of dog poo on it, but that didn’t take away from the fact that it had previously been drenched with caramel and encrusted with powdered sugar. It lacked the depth, exploration and tension of what some consider the best iteration in the long running franchise, but it did make a compelling action game for those already familiar with the gameplay style. Add in a co-op buddy (AI controlled Sheva at your own peril) and you ended up with what was a thrilling 12-15hr romp through some gorgeously detailed levels pitting you against some of the most terrifyingly animated enemies we’ve seen all year.

Number 9: God of War CollectionDeveloper: SCE Santa Monica | Release: November | Platforms: PS3

What’s better than two of the most epic games of the last generation? Those same games but better. Not only are the original God of War I & II on one blu-ray disc, but they’re updated with HD graphics the likes of which even the gods themselves have not witnessed. It wasn’t just the fact that the graphics were enhanced without the need to stab your fork into your TV’s composite cable slots and face east on a shag mat, but the series was brought just in time for the third game’s hype to set in (thanks to a playable demo on the disc). New gamers on your newfangled PS3 Slims take heed: if you don’t get this game, their will be hell to pay.

Number 8: Halo WarsDeveloper: Ensemble Studios | Release: February | Platforms: 360 | Review

Console Real-Time Strategy – and we’re not talking about figuring out what time you need to arrive at a midnight console launch to be first in line. Time was you couldn’t even type that without your thumbs hurting. So few had been good in the past, and even when they were entertaining they were dumbed down or lackluster. It took the talent of former Ensemble Studios and the greed of Microsoft Game Studios to form an unholy allegiance that would entertain casual strategists and diehard Halo fans alike for hours on end.

Number 7: TorchlightDeveloper: Runic Games | Release: October | Platforms: PC

A PC exclusive this high on a GOTY list? Hax! If dungeon crawlers are your mana potion then you’ll feel right at home in this Diablo inspired RPG. You’ll find loot, mouse clicking, and boss battles. What you won’t find is where the last 8hrs you spent playing the game went before the rooster crowed. The development studio behind this title may not seem to have the pedigree to support such an ambitious title, but given their talent pool of designers with Blizzard on their resumes, it’s time you take a leap of faith. Diablo III is who knows how many decades away. You can let yourself loose for a little while.The Mayan calendar will probably have run out before you’re ready to move on anyway.

Number 6: Street Fighter IVDeveloper: Dimps/CAPCOM | Release: March | Platforms: Arcade, 360, PS3, PC

What more did it really take? When you have a game franchise that’s been dormant for a decade, you can’t just create an amazing sequel, it has to be INDESTRUCTIBLE. Luckily for Capcom and fans alike this game delivered on the fighting experience that was promised. Additionally, Capcom wowed gamers by making a smooth transition from 2D to 3D. 2009 was a good year for this seemingly dead genre, and Street Fighter IV is the highlight of that resurgence. The king has returned, and in stellar form, with a semi-sequel on the way in the first half of 2010.

Number 5: Dragon Age: OriginsDeveloper: BioWare | Release: November | Platforms: 360, PS3, PC | Review

No one knows how old dragons live to be, but the last time anyone saw a Baldur’s Gate style RPG from BioWare they probably still walked the earth. Known for their talent at crafting exciting stories and their love of…love interests, BioWare once again blurred the lines between pornography and adult entertainment (as FOX News would put it). This time in the form of a video game, Dragon Age: Origins sent players on an epic quest sprawling multiple story branches and complex, emotion driven party members. Although the day and date DLC release enraged some players, the content put them at ease once purchased. A give and take relationship it would seem. Much like the parallels between roleplaying games and free time. Wave goodbye to your loved ones and mates, your new girlfriend has pixels and comes in a box (or from Steam).

Number 4: The Beatles: Rock BandDeveloper: Harmonix | Release: September | Platforms: 360, PS3, Wii | Review

At a time when plastic guitar games were losing their poignancy and The Beatles weren’t being talked about every two seconds, EA had the bright idea of dedicating an entire game to one of the world’s most beloved musical groups. Comprising hours of songs and numerous psychedelic animated backgrounds, it didn’t take a magical herb to feel in tune with the music. All you’d need was love. As Paul McCartney said once sometime somewhere: “Buy my new album in stores now.” Make sure you pick up this game as well.

Number 3: Modern Warfare 2Developer: Infinity Ward | Release: November | Platforms: 360, PS3, PC | Review

There’s nothing simple about this. I don’t know if you could mire a game in more controversy if it was your sole intent. Whatever IW and Activision set out to do, they accomplished it and then some. The highest grossing video game of all time or any piece of entertainment for that matter – an accolade which would certainly help any candidate on a GOTY list. However it wasn’t so much that it was bad that led it to only come in at number 3. It contained an incredible, high octane singleplayer campaign, varied and immersive co-op segments, and a winning multiplayer component. Only problem was it didn’t last – the last feature in the set that is. Prone to a plethora of glitches and what seemed to be decades without a patch, MW2’s reception of what should have been by all rights the game of the year was lost on us. Incredible, yes. But there was just more to be had outside of the battlefield this year.

Number 2: Batman: Arkham AsylumDeveloper: RockSteady | Release: October | Platforms: 360, PS3, PC | Review

How many countless children grew up with the dream of being Batman, to be the Dark Knight himself? Some even wanted to be Robin despite the rumors… Still, comic book licensed games have had their ups and downs over the years, and coming from what was considered to be an unknown and unremarkable development studio soon became the runaway success of the year. The goal of the game was simple: make you Batman and pit you in the most challenging situation he could ever be thrown into. Inside Arkham Asylum with the Joker running the show, you have no other choice but to stop him yourself, along with all the goons and super criminals he’s freed during his insurrection. Combining satisfying combat with context sensitive gadgets created an epic DC event that would make even Superman jealous.

Numero Uno: Uncharted 2: Among ThievesDeveloper: Naughty Dog | Release: October | Platforms: PS3 | Review

The original Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was pretty much passed over by everyone who didn’t take the time to look. Easily the best looking console game of 2007 and still one of the best of the generation, it combined platforming with gunplay and heroic styling one doesn’t often witness outside of the cinema. Completely panned over. Barely even a nod. Uncharted 2 is doing enough critical acclaim reception for both games and rightfully so. It improves on so many aspects that one might fear for the sanity of the man in charge of checking things off at ND as he’s clearly been working overtime. Some of the most believable performances and a well delivered script are just the icing on this multilayer video game cake. So if you’re tired of everyone and their grandmother saying Uncharted 2 this and Uncharted 2 that, good. Go get a PS3 and play the first game too.

8 comments
JamesDX
JamesDX

Best GOTY list I've seen so far.

Jeff
Jeff

Nice list. Though no AC2 love makes me sad :( This does remind me that I need to give Torchlight a shot soon.

Phaethon
Phaethon

@Michelle: A few of our guys really loved it. I haven't played a Rock Band since the first, and Guitar Hero since 3. Not a big fan of the plastic guitars.

Michelle
Michelle

Nice to see Beatles Rock Band featuring, it seems to have dropped off a number of Game of the Year lists sadly!

Phaethon
Phaethon

That's why there's a vote. ;)

The Pit
The Pit

Great list. I would have given the top spot to Arkham Asylum though.

morwg
morwg

Well, I even would go so far to put B:AA in the top-spot...but that could be caused by the fact I don't own a PS3 and I will never ever put my money into a shitty console... I wanto to play Uncharted, too! Stupid goddamn exclusive titles... DON'T FEED THE TROLL

Hollowman
Hollowman

I am glad to see Uncharted 2 and Batman in the top spots. They really deserved it, because I don't usually keep a game in my PS3 for long...I get bored. With these two games, they stayed in that console until they were completed.