Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Gears of War 2
Saints Row 2
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
Third person shooters...hell, shooters in general, had an imposing year this year, but finding games that are "high-quality," maybe a more difficult. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames takes what made the last game great and gave you more of it. Same can be said with Saints Row 2. However, they brought back the old problems from the previous games so what makes them great is also what limits them. Gears of War 2 can be said the same thing, however the addition of the Horde Mode adds a better cooperative multiplayer aspect, along with the campaign itself. The Club was one of the more overlooked shooters. Even though it looks like the rest of the shooters, The Club is unique in that the game plays more like a time-based arcade game than any of the other competition. Then again, if you want unique, look at the final game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Improving upon a game that many loved is one thin g, but completely redoing it and making it the pinnacle of PS3 games was a high watermark that Kojima Productions managed to do.
The Retina Attachment Award (Best First Person Shooter)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2
Left 4 Dead
Battlefield: Bad Company
This category seems to come in flavors: There's the WWII vintage flavor with a dash of startling violence and brutality (Call of Duty: World at War), another with standard tactical trappings mixed with MMORPG leveling (Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2), a game with buckets of blood with some cooperative play (Left 4 Dead), a game with three different modes and some great alt-fire weapons (Resistance 2) and an arcadey game with tons of explosions and humor (Battlefield: Bad Company). What tastes the best? Well, that's a tough one...
The racing category could very well be one of the more competitive categories this year. If you crave pure speed, Wipeout HD will more than suffice your hunger. With crisp, clean visuals and an excellent techno soundtrack (filled with tracks from both PSP games), WHD satisfies Wipeout fans and makes it more accessible to new players (especially with the $20 price tag). Next, there's Pure. Those who watch Pure may accuse this game of being like every single ATV game out there, but the beautiful graphics, sharp control and excellent course design makes this game one of the more fun games you could come across. Same can be said for Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. It can be called a more polished Motorstorm, but the beautiful graphics and fun courses makes this game even more fun. Want a challenge? GRID may be up your alley. Great controls, graphics and courses, with a great rewind feature that helps make the game more accessible. Finally, there's Burnout Paradise. Racing is great and intense, while the added content and the incredibly fun open world aspect improves on the Burnout franchise.
The Juiced Bar (Best Sports Game)
Madden NFL 09
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09
Top Spin 3
The Platinum Mokujin (Best Fighting Game)
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Bleach: Dark Souls
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
Mega Man 9
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
Bionic Commando: Rearmed
Platforming games haven't been this strong in years, so deciding the five that should be on the list was the toughest its ever been. Let's start small with N+, the simpliest of the bunch. Don't let the sterile and colorless graphics fool you: it hides one of the most challenging and rewarding platforms on any system, portable or Xbox 360. Also on multiple systems, Mega Man 9. The return to form for one of the most iconic gaming characters, the ninth iteration of the series brings the character back to its roots, with old-school graphics and punshing gameplay. Speaking of retro, there's the remake Bionic Commando: Rearmed for PSN and XBLA. Again, punshing difficulty but a top notch graphical presentation and charming old-school feel will let old time gamers enjoy this lavish remake. Speaking of charm, there's Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. The hilarious and inventive platformer allows more customization through vehicles to take on the numerous challenges the game throws at you. All the while, the game gives you a very sarcastic, satirical look in the nature of platformers themselves. Finally, there's the highly anticipated LittleBigPlanet. A tight, imaginative side-scrolling platformer is one thing, but to add the amount of customization that this game does is simply phenomenal in of itself. Of any of the games, LittleBigPlanet has the most longevity of any game on this list.
The Eureka! Award (Best Puzzle)
Portal: Still Alive
World of Goo
Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Puzzle games seem to have had the biggest break-out year this year, from the standard types of puzzle games (Tetris Party) to the more obscure. This year, one of the first puzzle games that took notice was Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Featuring a watercolor art style with great puzzles, Layton uses the DS' strengths in new and different ways. Next, there's the Wii multiplayer extravaganza Boom Blox. More like a cross between Jenga and other game types, this charming game allows you to do all sorts of gane types. Next, there is last year's giant hit Portal in the XBLA expansion Portal: Still Alive. Those who missed the original game on The Orange Box would do well to download the game, while fans who have already completed that game are treated to 14 new puzzles to solve. World of Goo, WiiWare's charming puzzler, has you constructing towers and bridges to reach the goal with your little balls of goo. Finally, there's the enchanting critical darling of this year Braid. Braid has you manipulating time and platforming to areas in order to reach the numerous puzzle pieces and areas in the game.