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'WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2009' - Consoles and PC

by Rainier on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions and the top handheld and downloadable titles, and now, we're rolling out the top console/PC offerings. Once that's out of the way, we'll start the countdown of the top 20 titles, including what WP considers to be the best game of 2009. Read more for the results!

PS3

5. inFamous

We've seen examples of the destroyed wasteland before, but Empire City's wounds are still fresh, with people randomly wandering around lost and grief-stricken. The city hasn't completely lost its life, but it's caught in a perpetual state of shock, and the visual temperament of the game manages to capture that mix of desperation and hopelessness. It makes the different areas of the city fun to explore, even after you complete the final mission. Of the PS3 games that I've played this year, inFAMOUS is the first one I've played through more than twice. I found it a captivating hero tale that left itself open for a possible follow-up. I want to see what happens next.

4. Killzone 2

It's been amusing to compare the run-up for Killzone 2 as opposed to the original. While the first game was lauded as a "Halo killer" in some circles, only to crash and burn on arrival, the sequel has been met with measured skepticism, all afraid of heaping praise upon it lest we be burned again. It's clear that Sony and Guerrilla Games wanted to strike back at the naysayers, and they've done it in the best possible way by delivering a game that exceeds all expectations. Granted, there's almost nothing completely original about the title, but who needs new ideas when you can do such a great job improving on the old ones? The bottom line is that Killzone 2 can compete with any other shooter on the market, and PS3 owners should definitely be adding this game to their libraries.

3. Batman: Arkham Asylum

There have been many different Batman games over the years, but none quite so polished as this one. Batman: Arkham Asylum combines the best elements of the classic Batman mythos with the modern-day interpretation of the hero. The end result is a game that outshines its flaws and is quite simply a blast to play.

2. Demon's Souls

If you're willing to take the time to learn Demon's Souls, it can become an exceptionally fulfilling experience. Making your way through the difficult dungeons is often exciting and fun, and it's tough to match the sense of satisfaction you get from crushing a boss or escaping a black phantom. The online capabilities really add a lot to the game; being able to call in other phantoms to help is a great idea, and the added tension that comes from fearing an invasion keeps the levels from becoming dull, even if you've already played through them multiple times. For those willing to put in the effort, Demon's Souls is perhaps the most rewarding RPG available on the PS3 and easily a must-have for any PS3 owner who doesn't mind a bit of difficulty and death.

1. Uncharted 2

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of the best games this year on the PlayStation 3. It has incredible cinematics and provides a thrill ride in a single-player campaign that doesn't feel too short or too long. The deep and incredibly fun multiplayer features everything that makes the single-player segment so great: amazing visuals, near-perfect audio and a sharp presentation that makes this among the best of the best. It's better than the original Uncharted in every way, and it's easily one of my contenders for Game of the Year 2009.

Xbox 360

5. Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST may have started as a side project at Bungie, but the finished product has become something that is much more than the sum of its parts. Thanks to a combination of well-designed levels, a solid story line, addicting multiplayer and top-notch voice acting, Halo 3: ODST presents a package that is even more compelling than its namesake. The game is not only better than Halo 3; it is the best Halo title to date. And, planned or not, Bungie has also managed to create a compelling character in Gunnery Sergeant Buck. He is just as much the hero as Master Chief ever was. Here's hoping that we see more of the smartass sergeant in Halo: Reach.

4. Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 is a very worthwhile sequel, and any fears you may have about this game merely being an overpriced expansion will melt away as soon as you start playing. Besides, seeing Valve release two games from the same franchise in the span of a year gives me hope that I may actually see Half Life 2: Episode 3 released in my lifetime, and you wouldn't want to steal away my hope, would you? Even if you don't love zombies, play this game anyway. You'll feel much better prepared when the real zombie apocalypse comes and the only thing standing between you and certain death is a shotgun, a med kit and three of your closest friends ready to help you clear a path through the horror.

3. Forza Motorsport 3

This has proven to be a banner year for racing simulation fans, with some of the best games of the genre arriving in the last two months. Out of the three that have arrived during that time period for home consoles, Forza Motorsport 3 stands out as the absolute best of the bunch. All of the title's new features and positive traits outweigh the few negatives and make this the racing game to have.

2. Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum is the ideal Batman game. It does everything right and manages to capture the spirit of the Dark Knight in a way that no other game has even managed to approach. The combat is frantic and fun, encouraging players to learn the ins and outs of the combat system and rewarding them with some of the most amazing combat visuals I've ever seen in a game. The Predator gameplay, while rarer, is even more fun. Sneaking up on guards and setting traps never goes old, and each Predator section is fun enough that you'll be sad when it's over. The only weak spot is the lackluster boss fights, which are a touch bland. All in all, Batman: Arkham Asylum is exceptional, not only for being an excellent game, but for being an exceptional Batman game. Fans of the franchise owe it to themselves to pick it up, and anyone with a hankering for a high-quality action game will find Arkham Asylum to be just what the doctor ordered.

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Given the care and attention lavished upon the competitive and cooperative multiplayer in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it's clear that Infinity Ward sees the future of the Modern Warfare series in that particular component. What that means is you'll end up with a game that doesn't show much in the single-player experience, but once you take it online, it's going to be difficult to put down. If you love online shooters, then this is a game you simply must own, and even if you hate them, Modern Warfare 2 might just change your mind. Gear up and say goodbye to the family because you're being deployed, and given the game's depth, complexity and quality, your tour might not end for a very long time.

Wii

5. Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a gaming experience that must be played regardless of your console preference. Just about every aspect of the game is excellent, from the graphics to the sound to the amount of gameplay pressed onto the disc. It also shows the gaming community that good 2-D gaming can still be found outside of the portable console realm. All Wii owners who love a good, long adventure owe it to themselves to pick up this game. This especially holds true for those who have been clamoring for more hardcore games; anyone who claims to be a hardcore Wii owner but passes up this game should be stripped of that label.

4. MadWorld

In the end, there's very little not to love about MadWorld. This is exactly the game the mature, hardcore Wii crowd has been craving, and it's just too bad that Nintendo is too busy making the next Wii Play, Wii Fit or Wii Music to put more resources into projects like this. Kudos should be given to both Sega and Platinum Games, as they have teamed up to bring us a title that stands head and shoulders above the competition. If you happen to be a Wii owner over the age of 17 looking for a terrific hardcore title, this is the one. Go buy MadWorld right now.

3. Punch-Out!!!

Punch-Out!! is a must-have sports game on a system that doesn't really have many decent sports games. The graphics bleed with style, and the sound is a top-notch effort on the console. The controls are responsive enough, depending on which control scheme you use. While the multiplayer isn't something that will see much playtime, the lengthy single-player experience will ensure that this title is kept in rotation for quite some time. Punch-Out!! is definitely a worthy addition to any Wii gamer's library.

2. Wii Sports Resort

Wii Sports Resort includes lots of opportunities to collect points and stickers and improve your in-game rank, but the lasting power of Resort will depend almost entirely on how engaging the games are, and how much of a blast you and your family and friends continue to have getting together for extra rounds. Most of these mini-games fit the bill.

1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii stands on its own through pure quality and is easily one of the best Mario titles. Each level is fun and interesting to play, and the game has done a lot to balance and alter power-ups and level design so that both novices and hardcore gamers can enjoy it. In terms of multiplayer, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is one of the best co-op games in years, and it's a boatload of fun to play with friends. If you're a Mario fan, a Wii owner or just a fan of good platformers, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game.

PC

5. Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies is a wonderful take on the tower defense sub-genre of strategy gaming.  Popcap has successfully boiled down the formula into something that the casual gaming crowd can enjoy, and while experienced gamers may find it easy, more challenge awaits once you've already beaten the game.  The game may drag on for a little too long through the middle sections of the campaign, but the rest is a blast and comes highly recommended to anyone who loves zombies or strategy games.  You'll get a much better deal for the game if you purchase it on Steam, as it's priced to move at $10, while it's listed on the Popcap Web site for $20.

4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Given the care and attention lavished upon the competitive and cooperative multiplayer in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it's clear that Infinity Ward sees the future of the Modern Warfare series in that particular component. What that means is you'll end up with a game that doesn't show much in the single-player experience, but once you take it online, it's going to be difficult to put down. If you love online shooters, then this is a game you simply must own, and even if you hate them, Modern Warfare 2 might just change your mind. Gear up and say goodbye to the family because you're being deployed, and given the game's depth, complexity and quality, your tour might not end for a very long time.

3. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

There are many reasons why Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II could be considered a successful real-time strategy game. The game engine is capable of fine attention to detail, and the unit design is balanced in that each exhibits both strengths and flaws. The campaign mode has more than a few curveballs in store, with its almost RPG-like unit progression and non-linear mission structure. The multiplayer is the most traditional part of the entire game, and yet it still isn't quite like the genre's gameplay norm. The title is successful because it doesn't just try these new gameplay elements; it outright embraces them and makes it feel like the genre has simply been lacking them and been the worse for it. It's easy to find the quality in the title, though it is the authentic adaptation of the venerable tabletop game that really gives it style. For a game that tosses so many RTS conventions out the window, Dawn of War II is a surprisingly solid real-time strategy title that pretty much lays down the gauntlet for any game that follows in its wake.

2. Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 is a very worthwhile sequel, and any fears you may have about this game merely being an overpriced expansion will melt away as soon as you start playing. Besides, seeing Valve release two games from the same franchise in the span of a year gives me hope that I may actually see Half Life 2: Episode 3 released in my lifetime, and you wouldn't want to steal away my hope, would you? Even if you don't love zombies, play this game anyway. You'll feel much better prepared when the real zombie apocalypse comes and the only thing standing between you and certain death is a shotgun, a med kit and three of your closest friends ready to help you clear a path through the horror.

1. Dragon Age: Origins

In my 70 hours with it, DA's finer details demonstrate that Bioware's bards can easily spin their own stories in the same way that they have embellished others while also highlighting where the formula falls short. As an RPG, it entertains with its familiarity and indulges players with an amazingly vast number of things to do. For those of us seeking a deeply storied adventure in which to save the world from the forces of darkness, Dragon Age delivers.

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