It’s that time again folks, the time when the team here at ZoKnowsGaming puts together our best of the year awards and this is going out a little later than we planned but the important part is that it goes out. With no further ado, let’s get started.
This one was especially tough this year as so many games put a lot of extra effort into having awesome soundtracks. This year almost more than any other we have had developers teaming up with well known composer to put together the scores for games and it made it very tough. The score in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves came close but even though the game itself was short the score was on point and that makes the winner the fast selling video game of all time Modern Warfare 2 by Infinity Ward.
Best Sports Game
The more years I do this list to be honest the harder this list gets. While a lot of these games continue to make constant incremental improvement, they all seem to be held back by a series of glitches that they just shouldn’t be plagued by. I could have went Madden 10 or NBA 2K10 here but they had a few too many glitches for my taste. I know some folks might think I am crazy here and while this game didn’t have anywhere near the hype of the aforementioned games, it was simply tons of fun and that’s why I am giving this one to The Bigs 2 by 2K Sports.
This one gets tougher every year as the technology progresses. The graphics in Modern Warfare 2 were beautiful. I was really leaning toward going Batman: Arkham Asylum here UNTIL I got a look at Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The game really had it all and that is good enough for me. Assassin’s Creed 2 made a great late push though but it didn’t quite make it.
A lot of time this category is confused with best graphics, but artistry my friends is something all its own and only a few are creative enough to make this category. For the majority of the year, Afro Samurai had this one tied up and then we met Rubi Malone. WET was quite simply what they said it was and that was one of the most beautiful and well stylized games you will ever see.
Normally, this award goes to a game that I just really didn’t expect to be good but then is better than I thought. This year there weren’t a lot of games that I didn’t think were going to be good and then were so it’s a little tougher. We couldn’t do this category without mentioning the breakout hit that a lot of people didn’t expect and that was UFC 2009 Undisputed from THQ. They brought the Octagon to us with more accuracy and realism than anyone had managed to do to date and it showed in the sales and next year’s title already being announced.
But this year the biggest surprise isn’t a game at all, no, in fact this year the biggest surprise had to be the sales of Modern Warfare 2, I mean people had some pretty high projections but I don’t know anybody who predicted it would do the kind of numbers it has done thus far.
It would be easy to go Overlord 2 here, which was just terrible for all intents and purposes. The game has some great core components but it needs to decide whether its an RPG or an action game and stick with one because trying to mix parts of both is simply not working. I suppose in thinking about all the games that I played this year, I would have to give this one to Skate 2Skate 3 believe it or not. I feel like in retrospect they really failed to fully build on the potential of the original and it showed in sales. I liked it, but everyone knows it failed to live up to the hype and that’s why will be hitting the streets early this year to try and regain a lot of the fans who were disenchanted with the last one.
Best Replay Value
A few years back we gave this one to Uncharted and it would be easy to give it to Uncharted 2 but not this time, even with the new multiplayer mode. Nope, because when it comes to replay value the game that always tops them all is Modern Warfare 2, COD isn’t just a gaming franchise it’s a lifestyle. The countless hours that folks spend playing online can’t be matched, it’s the kind of replay value that every game with an online multiplayer aspires to invoke.
So I going to be up front and tell you that its Modern Warfare 2, there could be no doubt. But if we go way back to February, there was a very solid game called Killzone 2 if anybody remembers. This year was probably the best year ever for FPS’s on the PS3 with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Call of Juarez: Bound In Blood just to name a few but none stood out like MW2.
In this category, there have been past winners like LittleBigPlanet and Mirror’s Edge that really showed us something we hadn’t seen. This year though I want to give this one to a game that bucked its old formula, a formula that had worked pretty successfully for them over the past decade I might add. Instead, they took a fresh look at the franchise and went in a completely different direction with it and that made for one of the best game’s of the year and that was Capcom’s Resident Evil 5, this installment made the franchise really relevant again and proved that you can instill fear and the game doesn’t have to be played 95% in darkness.
I will admit that I am not a huge RPG guy but I am going to call this one a tie between Demon’s Soul’s which has developed almost a cult like following and Dragon Age: Origins which claimed before it came out that it would become the best RPG on PS3 and at least until FFXIII it just might be.
This year we decided to introduce a few new categories this year so here we go.
Best New IP
For those of you that don’t know, IP technically stands for “Intellectual Property”, but most times in the game industry it’s used to refer to a brand new game with no previous installments. This means that games like MW2, Assassin’s Creed 2 and the like can’t win because they have had previous installments. This year saw a lot of new IP’s but no two bigger than Infamous by Sony and Prototype from Activision, they both came out around the same time and usually you were a fan of one or the other. For me Prototype had this one sown up until Batman: Arkham Asylum came out. No some of you will say but how can that we a new IP, there have been Batman games before and that is true. But the Arkham Asylum franchise which based on the announcement of the sequel appears to be around for the while is a new spin on the series, thus we think we can get away with it here. BAA was hands-down the best superhero game I have played and in my Top 5 games of the year.
Best Game You Probably Forgot About
This award goes to a game that came out earlier in the year and was really good, but then for some reason by the end of the year people have all but forgotten about it as other titles with later release dates make a big push. In this category to me there can be only one possible winner and that is Resident Evil 5, in my opinion the best in the franchise since the original. They took a chance in rethinking what the franchise was and it paid off as RE5 was the best-selling game of the year for most of the year.
Game We Didn’t Expect To Like But Did
This one has to go to DJ Hero, I mean I have never been a fan of this genre of game but DJ Hero was so well done that I feel in love with it. Big ups to Neil W. for passing it along, he must have knew something we didn’t.
Best Game of the Year
Every year I say that this is a tough call and it always is. We started the year out with great games like Killzone 2 and Resident Evil 5 and finished with more great ones like Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2 and Assassin’s Creed 2. In the middle we even had a gem like Batman: Arkham Aslyum sprinkled in there. This was a really, really tough choice and of course it comes down to Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2, a game that has redefined what the industry thought was possible from a sales standpoint and Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves , a game that was just epic on so many levels. Modern Warfare is always great and from an online multiplayer standpoint nobody does it better. The only problem is that Call Of Duty’s games in general are very short from a single player campaign perspective, though they have made it a trademark to prove that it can be no less compelling. With that said though, in conveying the utter chaos of war sometimes the story is lost in the mix and while you always remember those great endings and awesome chase scenes you kind of end up wondering what happened in between.
With Uncharted 2 though the story takes center stage and takes players on a journey. The game was so huge it felt like a movie as you played through it. They listened to the fans of the last game and improved on the existing game components while making it no less challenging. They created characters that you remember and that’s hard to do. Even more impressive was that they added a top notch multiplayer and Twitter integration. With that said, ZoKnowsGaming is proud to call Uncharted 2: Among Thieves by Naughty Dog our Game Of The Year for 2009. Congratulations!!
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