2009 has been a huge year for gaming. We’ve seen the release of some highly anticipated sequels, big movements in the rhythm scene, truly modern approaches to some classic RPG elements and a zombie around almost every corner. As the year draws to a close, we look back at some of the highlights of the year, and present you with the NAG Online Game of the Year, the runners-up, and a special mention or two — as voted for by our very own forum members.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Everyone wants to be a super-hero, and what better hero than the dark knight himself? Batman: Arkham Asylum took the gaming market by surprise by turning out to actually be pretty good, and not just a shameless licence cash-in. That licence has certainly seen its share of video games, but it seems that developer Rocksteady Studios had a few new plans for the bat in black.
“Diablo with Guns” is a phrase often used to describe Borderlands. This first-person RPG/shooter began its development life as just another brown-on-brown FPS with a few interesting bits thrown in, but over its course of development turned into one of the most interesting, different and just-plain-cool titles to grace our shooter shelf.
Dragon Age: Origins
Dubbed by many as the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age: Origins is the transition of the classic RPG into the modern times. The result is a game that not only packs in the game time (with many players experiencing 80+ hours in a single campaign), but does so with a careful blend of safe familiarity and polish that can only come from over a decade of developing in the genre.
Modern Warfare 2
Despite its rocky start, especially on the PC, Infinity Ward’s latest in the Call of Duty series has proven that a solid storyline will win people’s hearts no matter the length of the campaign. Thankfully, once the single player campaign is over (in a few hours), there’s plenty to keep the multiplayer gamers occupied, if you can handle a few dropped games every now and then 😉
Street Fighter IV
The return to form: Street Fighter IV has once again convinced the fighting crowd that 2D is still well-suited to the genre. While it’s been out in Japan for over a year now, this is still very much a 2009 title for us poor Westerners.
The other side of the coin: Tekken 6 continues to tighten its 15 year-old 3D fighting mechanics and throws eight new combatants into the mix for good measure. With Jin Kazama now in charge of the Mishima Zaibatsu, he’s declared war against the nations of the world. Someone needs to stop him and, apparently, the only way to accomplish that is through a series of fist-fights.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
PS3 owners knew that it would take a lot to trump the success that was Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, but Among Thieves managed to do so with ease. Scoring full marks from dozens of publications (and not doing too badly in our own magazine), this game has shown that the third-person shooter/platformer still has a lot of room left for innovation, a fantastic story and unbelievable visuals.
Click on to see which titles came out on top…