< PreviousNext >
As the year comes to a close I reflect back on the games I enjoyed playing the most in 2009. There were a ton of releases in 2009, some were big names and many really just sprung up out of nowhere. Read on to see what I thought were the ten best games of 2009.

10. Batman: Arkham Asylum


Batman didn't disappoint; the game was beautiful and lots of fun the whole way though. I felt it was a little on the long side and although I enjoyed the game, the combat did become repetitive towards the end. Although repetitive it was incredibly satisfying to punch out dudes again and again. You always felt like a bad-ass, like Batman. Swooping around with your cape and sneaking up on bad guys to take them out silently never stopped being fun.

The voice work was really well done, with actors from the animated series reprising their roles in the game, providing performances that never seemed cheesy and fit well with the Batman mythology. Although the visuals were stunning, I found myself missing it most of the time as I had to use Detective mode to find my way around. It would have been nice if the developers had found a way to guide you throughout the level without having to hide all the hard work they'd done on the visuals. Hopefully it's something that will be addressed in the next game.

9. Trine


This is one of those games that came out of seemingly nowhere to steal away my free time. Developed by indie developer Frozenbyte; Trine is a 2D/3D platform game that has you taking control of one of three characters, able to switch between them at will, or playing co-op on the same machine with up to two friends to control all three at the same time. The game features a number of interesting physics puzzles and one of the most intriguing parts about the game is the way you can use physics to your advantage to kill the hordes of skeletons that come your way. Although the last level was hair ripping frustration the rest of the game was incredible. I played the game with a gamepad, but I've heard from others that it actually controls better with a keyboard and mouse, which is just when you consider it's a platforming game. Beautiful, charming and exciting; Trine should not be missed.

8. The Chronicles of Riddick™ Assault on Dark Athena


This game was released in 2008 on consoles it didn't hit the PC until June of 2009. Escape From Butcher Bay was one of the reasons I owned an original Xbox (the other was Jade Empire) and the game is as amazing today as it was back then. The recreation of the original game is a fantastic inclusion in this game. I loved Dark Athena just as much; Ulaks are probably the best melee weapons in any game ever, and I tried to use them any chance I had. The voice work done by Vin Diesel and Michelle Forbes is fantastic and conveys the universe of Riddick perfectly. A lot of people have stayed away from this game due to the inclusion of Tages DRM in the Steam version, which is a shame; they're missing out on one of the best shooters of the year.

7. Colin McRae DiRT 2


I'm not really a big fan of racing games, and not a fan of racing sims at all, I simply don't own the right hardware (wheel, which would require a desk) for it. But DiRT 2 is a ton of fun. I've begun playing online with friends and my initial impression of the implementation of GFWL for this game was bang-on: It works! I think what was most telling was how I kept saying "just one more race" the other night when I was playing with ubergeek. Just one more race turned into another two hours of racing. And although I never won one of our races online I had a blast the entire time.

6. Ghostbusters: The Videogame


When I told the other writers of this site that I was including Ghostbusters on my top 10 list they were somewhat confused. I remember playing Ghostbusters, and I didn't put it down until I had finished the game - it was that good. I love the Ghostbusters movie, and in nearly every respect this game is a third Ghostbusters movie, with the original cast reprising all of their roles from the movies. The only difference being that you're now a fifth memeber of the Ghostbusters team, what's not to love?! At full price this game is only $30 on Steam, and shouldn't be missed by any Ghostbusters fan. It's a cinematic, tight and well put together experience.

5. Left 4 Dead 2


Left 4 Dead 2 was an obvious addition to the list for me. I absolutely loved Left 4 Dead and the sequel improved upon it in every single way. Every time I play this game I end up laughing my ass off as we all die to a tank, or cheer as we make it through an especially difficult horde. The effects Valve has added, particularly in Hard Rain are just phenomenal. Left 4 Dead 2 has the most impressive visuals of any game I played this year. It wasn't as shiny as other games, but it was always convincing. The gore, the pacing, the action, new modes like realism, everything about this game screams perfection. As with any other Valve game I can't really rate it on any conceivable scale. It just rates a Valve out of Valve.

4. Torchlight


This one came out of nowhere for me. I'm not a fan of Diablo games, and I never latched onto Titan Quest like some of my friends did. The idea of clicking on things to see them die just never grabbed me. But Torchlight is different; it's just dripping with charm. Something about this game just has me hooked, and I can't put my finger on it. There are so many little touches that make it such a joy to play - like being able to send your pet back to town to sell all your loot without having to stop playing. Dungeon Siege did something similar by giving you a pack mule and letting you transmute items into gold - this is just a much better implementation of that feature. I wish there were an auto-loot key like in Dungeon Siege, but that's my only complaint about this otherwise fantastic game. Once I start I can't stop playing. I can't think of a better recommendation than that.

3. Shattered Horizon


Easily the most innovative game I've played this year. Shattered Horizon seems simple on the surface - four levels and one weapon with three attack modes and three grenades that don't do damage but provide concealment or other effects. Yet there is so much hidden complexity and subtlety to this game. The way shadows affect gameplay, meaning you have to be judicious in how you use your jetpack, relying more on inertia to move around the zero-gravity environments. Add on to this the ability to go silent, where your suit functions and sound simulation shut off with the benefit that you'll be much harder to detect, and the hidden complexities of this game really start to shine.

Due to the recent $5 sale of this game there has been a large influx of players, which is a fantastic thing. Shattered Horizon is an amazing game and an easy pick for my top three.

2. ArmA 2


As much as Shattered Horizon is innovative ArmA 2 is the most ambitious game of the year. I haven't played any game that tries to do as much as ArmA 2 does, mostly successfully. Although it was released with a number of large issues it's been patched up to a workable state, and with the incredible ACE 2 mod the game is even better. It can be placed on my list by virtue of being my most played game this year. Given that I've joined a group specifically to play this game with every Saturday evening speaks to the potential locked away in this game. It's not something I'd recommend to anyone, but I've had so much fun with ArmA 2 this year.

1. Tales of Monkey Island


Monkey Island was a no-brainer for my number 1 spot. There is no other game I continuously looked forward to throughout the year. Each month I'd frantically check Steam to see if the latest episode had been uploaded. And each month once it had been uploaded I'd spend the next 3 to 4 hours playing through that episode without stopping. I loved each and every moment of this series of games. I absolutely adored the Tales of Monkey Island and I'm really hoping that Telltale follows up with more of this series in the future.

Posted in Articles | 6 Comments | Tweet This! | Buzz This! | Share This on Facebook | Digg!

top 10, award, 2009, top ten games of 2009, feature,

subedii Says:
January 1st 2010 @ 4:54 pm EST

I was pretty amazed that Batman turned out as right as it did. I think the most important thing is that the devs themselves were big fans of Batman, they weren't just interested in churning out a license tie in for the movie. They understood what made Batman an awesome character (and what didn't), and why his rogues gallery was so memorable. They knew all the lore and they even knew which voice actors and writers they wanted to bring on-board.

I also agree about L4D2's visuals. It's not the most amazing looking game, but it's got some really well thought out visuals and design choices. The first time I played Hard Rain I couldn't think of another game to really compare it too, it was like being in a freaking hurricane. The rain starts pouring in, the visibility drops to nill with thunder crashes everywhere, your mic cuts out and you can't hear anyone, you just have to huddle together against the storm until it passes. Left 4 Dead 2 is all about moments like that, playing together and trying to survive the storm.

Tokamak Says:
January 5th 2010 @ 7:13 pm EST

The Shatered Horizon piece is word for word correct.

Storm Says:
January 6th 2010 @ 7:14 pm EST

I can totally agree with Dirt2, L4D2, Torchlight and Baman. Trine, GB and Riddick are good too.

TychoCelchuuu Says:
January 8th 2010 @ 4:23 pm EST

No Dragon Age?

AlabasterSlim Says:
January 9th 2010 @ 9:39 am EST

Nope. It's a noticeable omission but not without reason. I'll probably write about Dragon Age along with some other games this week.

Leave a comment:

Checked = Yes!
< PreviousNext >

Latest Comments


By Reggie
in Deus Ex: Human Revolution Trailer on 2010-06-07
That is a pretty bad ass trailer... I wonder if I will be able to will myself to play it. I haven't beat Deus Ex yet and that fact will bother me.

By Wolvenbane
in They Just Don't Get It on 2010-05-20
The piracy stats are rarely correct. There is no way to accurately calculate piracy. How many people have pirated a game as a sort of rental, then purchased a legal copy because they liked it? And did...

By RandomEngy
in Steam for Mac Launches with 63 Games - All Support Steam Play on 2010-05-13
Wow, they busted out of the gate with way more games than I would have guessed. They're really taking this seriously. I don't use macs but it's great that this is happening.

By AlabasterSlim
in Steam for Mac Launches with 63 Games - All Support Steam Play on 2010-05-12
Civ IV fans worry not: [quote=DougV]If you have purchased Civ4 on the Mac and are getting an error that it isn't available on your platform we will have it fixed shortly. Sorry for the inconvenience....

By joeyjuviyani
in Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter is Now Available on 2010-04-28
After the cool action hero Serious Sam Stone the gigantic Mental servant in the first part had finally defeated, he captured a ship of the creeps and tried again from the past and from Egypt to escape...

By Storm
in They Just Don't Get It on 2010-04-27
Sure but the negative effects of Ubi's new DRM are larger than the negative effects of piracy.

By AlabasterSlim
in A Rant on 2010-04-07
While I'm upset that the PA games were cancelled (I quite enjoyed them), I wouldn't really call it rage inducing. They were good but not mind blowing, an I can take them or leave them. The story was p...

By RandomEngy
in Epic and Valve Band Together - All UE3 Engine Games Will Integrate Steamworks on 2010-03-11
But I thought Steamworks was free to use anyway. Are they just packaging it in with it?

By AlabasterSlim
in Confirmed: Valve to Deliver Steam & Source on the Mac on 2010-03-08
I just read this Wired article about the announcement and there is some good news for Mac gamers in there. If players already own the PC ...

By AlabasterSlim
in Oh irony, Thy name is Ubisoft. on 2010-03-08
Looks like it was caused a DOS attack. RPS Article

Featured Articles


By AlabasterSlim
in Steam's New UI - Tips and Tricks on 2010-04-27
Steam launched their new UI yesterday, and although it was in beta for quite some time and many people have been using it, now everyone gets the joy of using their brand spanking new interface. Ther...

By AlabasterSlim
in They Just Don't Get It on 2010-01-31
Let's suppose for a minute that "The Man" is north American.  He would have you believe that PC gaming is dying, and were I to take a walk through my local EB I'd be inclined to agree.  So why is th...

By AlabasterSlim
in Confession: I Was Once A Pirate on 2010-01-26
Piracy is discussed often on the internet, and news sites, but it seems like the only way it's ever approached is with a stern look and a black mark on pirates. If the numbers for piracy are to be be...

By AlabasterSlim
in Shattered Horizon Reviewed on 2010-01-02
Shattered Horizon is unlike any game I've played in 2009, and most likely anything else I'm going to play in the near future. In a genre (multiplayer team-shooter) where each game is trying to disti...

By AlabasterSlim
in My Top 10 Games of 2009 on 2010-01-01
As the year comes to a close I reflect back on the games I enjoyed playing the most in 2009. There were a ton of releases in 2009, some were big names and many really just sprung up out of nowhere. ...

RSS Feeds


By Valve Software
in Team Fortress 2 Update Released on 2010-06-11
Updates to Team Fortress 2 have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:EngineFixed a crash related to model caches.Fixe...

By Valve Software
in Left 4 Dead 2 Update Released on 2010-06-11
Updates to Left 4 Dead 2 have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:Left 4 Dead 2New mutation: Room For One.Improved...

By Valve Software
in WEEK 8 on 2010-06-11
Room For One, Everything Must Go, Favorite Weapon ClassNew MutationRoom For OneOnly room for one survivor in this rescue vehicle.You need to work together only long enough until you can survive on you...

By Valve Software
in Weekend Special - Metro 2033 on 2010-06-11
Purchase Metro 2033 now for 50% off! Witness the everyday horrors of a broken society living in constant fear. The year is 2033 and you're part of an entire generation that has been born and raised ...

By Good Old Games
in Selected RPG titles 30% off on 2010-06-11
It's getting hot in here and not only because of the weather, but also due to the upcoming biggest show in the gaming industry. Well, we had no reason not to bring you this hot weekend deal!This weeke...

By Valve Software
in Team Fortress 2 Update Released on 2010-06-10
Updates to Team Fortress 2 have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:Team Fortress 2Fixed training servers showing up...

By Valve Software
in Painkiller Resurrection Update - Steam Exclusive Map Released on 2010-06-10
With the latest, Steam-exclusive addition to Painkiller Resurrection, we introduce the ULTIMATE challenge for all Painkiller enthusiasts. The Tower of Power is not a battle arena for puny humans, but ...

By Valve Software
in Painkiller Resurrection Update - Steam Exclusive Map with New Pricing on 2010-06-10
With the latest, Steam-exclusive addition to Painkiller Resurrection, we introduce the ULTIMATE challenge for all Painkiller enthusiasts. The Tower of Power is not a battle arena for puny humans, but ...

By Valve Software
in Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands™ Released on 2010-06-10
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands™ is the next chapter in the fan-favorite Sands of Time universe, taking players through unforgettable set pieces made possible by the advanced technology of...

By Valve Software
in Team Fortress 2 For Mac Available Now Via Steam on 2010-06-10
Team Fortress 2 (TF2), the game PC Gamer magazine's editors have called the most fun game ever made, is now available for the Mac via Steam, a leading online platform for games with over 25 million ac...