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Patrick Klepek, Andrew Pfister, & Michael Demski's Five Recommended Games From 2009

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Posted December 15, 2009 - By Andrew Pfister



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It turned out to be quite the interesting year, didn't it? Even though a batch of games got pushed back to next year, 2009 still had a pretty impressive roster of titles. The obvious ones we've already covered, but we wanted to break down our favorites from the year on a more personal level. All this week we'll be featuring G4tv.com and X-Play staffers' picks from 2009 -- whether they were the best games we've played, the most interesting, or the most under-the-radar, these are the ones that stuck with us the most.

Click here for our official Best of 2009 nominees, and tune in to X-Play on Tuesday, December 15 to find out who won!

Part One: Adam Sessler & Abbie Heppe

*   *   *

Patrick Klepek -- Games That Deserve A Voice

There will always be games drowned out and forgotten in a world of blockbusters.

1. Flower

Flower

It takes something special to convince me to spend a few hours with a game controlled by tilting a Sixaxis controller. But Flower is more than special, it's an artistic achievement worth shouting about. It's a game without much of a hook. There's no real gameplay mechanic for Flower to rely upon. Flower's built on atmosphere and an intangible sense of joy derived from watching a flower spin into existence as you float through the air, a mostly invisible presence.



2. Henry Hatsworth and the Puzzling Adventure

Henry Hatsworth

2D action platformers are awesome. Planet Puzzle League is also awesome. Luckily, someone at Electronic Arts had the forethought to combine the two into something most excellent. Henry Hatsworth and the Puzzling Adventure is a notably flawed, radically difficult genre crossover whose moments of brilliance are worth experiencing the other bumps in the road. It's hardcore to a fault and may possibly make you snap your DS in two, but every time a little British sprite transforms into a tea-powered robot of destruction and rampages across the screen, I smiled.

3. NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits

NyxQuest

Nintendo doesn't actually need to release a new 2D Kid Icarus game because it already exists. You probably haven't heard of NyxQuest, but then again, when's the last time you checked WiiWare? If you want proof of a platformer that literally could not be done on any other platform, a game built on traditional gaming foundations forged onto and completely reliant on Wii's extraordinary controller capabilities, look no further than the exquisite NyxQuest.

4. Deadly Creatures

Deadly Creatures

I don't like spiders. I don't even like looking at pictures of spiders. But the concept of becoming that which I fear was too overwhelmingly cool to avoid checking out -- and I'm glad I did. Deadly Creatures provides a fantasy largely ignored by games, letting my younger obsession with creepy crawlers take on a new dimension. There were few sensations this past year as visceral as pounding a Wiimote into the ground as I sank fangs into insects of the underworld.

5. Moon

Moon

Don't let Metroid Prime: Hunters fool you, as it turns out first-person-shooters can work on the DS. Moon is set on the -- shock -- moon. Despite video games' obsession with science fiction and blowing aliens limb-from-limb, the moon remains an untapped setting. And despite the hardware limitations of Nintendo's handheld, Moon is dripping with atmosphere. Whereas other developers lament what isn't possible, Moon embraced what actually is and ran with it.


Andrew Pfister -- Sampler Platter

Would rather put 5 hours into 12 games in different genres than 60 hours into one -- unless it's really good, of course.

1. Flower

Flower

In most games you're destroying something. And even if you're building toward something good, it usually involves eliminating everything that stands in your way. But in Flower, you're healing a world that's been broken before you even got there, and the way that the game's non-verbal narrative crescendos with an explosion of sound and color completely won me over. Best downloadable game of the year, and probably the best implementation of the Sixaxis that will ever exist.

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Voice acting that fits the characters, expressive motion capture that's actual acting, a script that doesn't talk down to the audience even though it's a thrill ride adventure…these are the reasons I loved Uncharted 2. Also: it's really fun to play.

3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Mario platformers are my sole area of true expertise, and after all the pre-release marketing that heavily emphasized the four-player cooperative play, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bona fide 2D Mario adventure that harkens back to the days of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. I can do without the motion control and the sideways Wii remote, but I will take and enjoy everything else.

4. Assassin's Creed II

Assassin's Creed II

Patience is a virtue. I could have easily walked away after the first game, but I had a feeling that Ubisoft Montreal would recover strong and execute on all the great ideas that provide the foundation for the series. It's still a little rough around the edges, but I'm fully back on board for the ride through time.

5. MLB 09: The Show

MLB 09: The Show

I was going to use The Show as my way of getting the Brewers back to the playoffs this year, but the game was just too realistic to allow that to happen using accurate rosters. Instead, I virtually cut the deadweight of Jeff Suppan and Jason Kendall, re-signed a healthy Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia, and lowered the price of beer at Miller Park. Fantasy baseball, indeed.

 

Michael Demski -- Grand Adventures

1. Demon’s Souls

Demon's Souls

The most unique and thrilling experience of the year.  Every death is a disaster, and every victory is a hard fought triumph. The online mechanics are brilliant (the messages, the ghosts, the PvP), but for me the game became an instant classic when I discovered that one of the game’s bosses is another player, forcing me to completely rethink how I’ve developed my character.

2. Borderlands

Borderlands

Yeah, I’m still scratching my head about that ending too. But the simple mechanics of quest, shoot, and loot kept me coming back to Pandora for hours and hours at a time. The randomized gun system is a stroke of genius, and encouraged me to search every last skag pile for more sweet, sweet loot (that’s where I found my orange Hellfire SMG).

3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Here’s the highest compliment I can give. I laughed at the dialogue because it was genuinely funny and well-written. I never, ever say that about games. The set pieces are completely ridiculous and wonderful, though I could have done without the big Scooby Doo moment.

4. Killzone 2

Killzone 2

I like games where you get to shoot things, and then shoot other people in online multiplayer.  This is the one that I enjoyed the most. It also helps that the game is in love with Brian Cox’s voice work as much as I am. I just wish it had a better lobby system.

5. Shadow Complex

Shadow Complex

The game had me hook, line, and sinker from the first second. As an unabashed "Metroidvania" fanatic, it was a dream come true. Also the first time I’ve ever played a downloadable game and said “this thing needs a strategy guide.”

The selections continue all this week...keep your eye on TheFeed for more picks from 2009!

Patrick Klepek, Andrew Pfister, & Michael Demski's Five Recommended Games From 2009
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