The Obligatory ‘Game of the Year’ Article

December 31, 2009, Author: The TIMJ Team

To anyone who knows anything about me, my choice for Game of the Year will not come as a surprise. Worried by the pre-release hype, and the inclusion of what I thought was a potentially gimmicky multiplayer mode, I tried my hardest not to get overexcited, lest I be disappointed. However, I really need not have fretted.

The game has, rightfully, received an enormous amount of praise, but largely focussing on the big. For example, we were promised more explosions, more enemies, more locations, more characters, and immaculately executed set pieces. For me, though, the real delight was in the small; part way through the ice cave scene I realised that Nathan’s and Tenzin’s breath was realistically visible. Some of the banter (particularly between Nate and Flynn) had me laughing out loud (“There’s a statue of your mum…”); and the crowning glory was Nathan’s notebook. Nate’s doodles on the extra pages added yet another depth to his character, as if he needed more. From his scare-o-metre with Sully’s tache, through the page with the pressed flower stuck next to the photograph of Elena, to the tribute page to Eddy Raja we can see the care that Naughty Dog put in. Furthermore, after stumbling across a swimming pool among the Nepalese rooftops, I could not resist diving in. Naughty Dog rewarded me by writing a short skit between Nate and Chloe. I don’t know whether I jumped in because I knew Nathan well enough that I thought that is what he would do, or whether I did it purely because I wanted to; either way, it says something about the talent and intuition in Naughty Dog.

All these details make for a beautiful experience; one which I hope hasn’t killed gaming for me. In a post Uncharted 2 world, I must avoid comparing other games to this. It’s going to be a hard one to get over.

Defining Moment: While it was the details that made this game for me, it was the moment following the collapsing building that I knew this was something truly special. I actually yelled with delight (some may even call it a squeal) as Nathan caught his breath and uttered “We were… we were nearly in that!” Yes, Nathan, we were.

Honourable Mentions: I am quite picky, so I will select Borderlands. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is shaping up well, too.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I have wrestled with my demons upon choosing a simple game of the year. Working on a games website that has seen me complain about the amount of gaming sequels and concentrating on the independent gaming scene, there is no way on this earth I should be mentioning Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2! Do I purposely choose something a little different for the sake of being different or vote with the game I have played most and enjoyed the most? With this in mind my game of the year is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

Sure it is the best selling game and probably most controversial games of the year, and I was a little surprised how MW2 received criticism on the lack of story in the popular title, especially from Left 4 Dead 2 fans which doesn’t exactly excel in the art of storytelling. No matter what your opinion on the controversial game, you cannot help but be blown away by the graphics and set-pieces. The online aspect is now fine tuned to near perfection ensuring the game will see me come back for more many times in 2010 and the special ops feature also guarantees that it won’t be traded in anytime soon.

The main problem with over-hyped games is that they rarely deliver the goods, but for me it lived up to my expectations and then some. My choice may be far from an original one, but it’s the game I have enjoyed most and will continue to do so for 2010.

Defining moment
: Discovering that the much talked about level “No Russian” level which was chilling, horrifying and dare I say that I enjoyed every last second of it?

Honourable mentions: Borderlands, Batman Arkham Asylum, Forza 3, Shadow Complex, Battlefield 1943, Trails HD and finally “I maed a gam3 w1th z0mb1es!!!1”, which is the best 80 MS Points you will ever spend. Fact!.

This wasn’t a hard choice for me, in fact it took all of a nano-second. What is hard is trying to not just repeat what others who have also chosen this have stated about this beautiful game. The real stroke of genius to Arkham Asylum isn’t the games technical layouts or capabilities, because quite frankly there isn’t any real new innovation that other games of it’s ilk haven’t already produced. No, this game succeeds above anything else this year in my eyes because of Rocksteady studio’s genius in taking every little detail from the subject material of DC’s Batman world, and then laying it out in video game form near on perfectly.

The characters, the environment, the atmosphere, even hiring the voice actors from the cartoon series, the attention to detail was of great quality. The winning mark for this game is the Rocksteady team’s foresight to be smart enough and think of about what the fans of Batman want to see in a video game, and they nailed it with their final product. Okay, the combat is simple, but it is effective and that’s all it needed to be. This is my game of the year simply because it met all of my Batman fanboy requirements and more importantly was fun to play.

Defining moment: Okay, it’s not his real Bat cave, that’s safe at home under the mansion, but when you come across his hidden Asylum cave you get the warm fuzzy feeling of a Christian Bale like “I’m Batman!” Also his toys, where does he get those toys?!

Honourable mentions: Assassin’s Creed 2, Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield 1943, Trials HD, and Forza 3

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