Year in consumables: 2009 games

Halo 3: ODSTHere, finally, is the first post in my year-end wrap-up series that I call Year in Consumables. People like making lists and reading lists, particularly if you are a little OCD. Which I am.

I just pulled up my first post in the series from last year and it happened to be the Games one as well, so let’s just stick with the same order from last year: Games, Movies, Music. That might be a little OCD too.

I am going to have to break somewhat from history in that I am only going to rank five games this year. Mostly because I didn’t really play much. Well, much depending on your point of view. I do find it funny that on last years post I mention having not yet played Fallout 3 or Tomb Raider: Underworld. I still haven’t. I still plan on it. Really.

I will not break on the premise that this list is comprised of what I played the past year. Not that it dropped the past year. I think that is different than the movie and music list. The reasons are obvious to me, but maybe I will explain when I get there. Maybe not. Maybe it is something for you to solve. And get a prize. From someone. Not me.

my avatar celebrates the number 1 pickSo, without further ado, here is the list of full retail games I played last year (Xbox 360 unless noted otherwise):

  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Halo Wars
  • Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)
  • Red Faction: Guerilla
  • InFamous (PS3)
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
  • Ghostbusters
  • Halo 3: ODST
  • Assassin’s Creed 2
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

A couple games on Xbox Live Arcade:

  • Dash of Destruction
  • Feeding Frenzy

And a couple of downloadable content stories for Fable 2 to round things out. Sadly, I did purchase and download Shadow Complex on XBLA, but haven’t yet played it. That said, not a whole lot of appealing games in the Arcade this past year.

Having played only 12 games, you can see how it might be silly to do a list of 10. So, five it is. In keeping with history–again with the history–you will note that I start with the best and get on with the rest. Yes, I just typed that.

  1. Halo 3: ODST
    A bold choice indeed, so suck it heretic. As soon as I heard this game was coming out, I pegged it for the top slot. Then came the word it was little more than an expansion pack, which is what it was originally pegged at, but was marketed as a full priced title. Sure, the game story may be shorter than a *normal* Halo game, but this isn’t exactly a normal Halo game. Bye bye Master Chief (and good riddance). You are a mortal soldier once again. (Well, maybe not “once again,” but more vulnerable like Halo Master Chief than Halo 2 or 3 Master Chief God.) Weapon choice, ammo and health management, strategy, and tactics make a comeback. Add on to that an interesting side-story to try and solve, well, this is something new. The disjointed storytelling, humor, geektastic voice-casting and a porntastic soundtrack. (Okay, some would claim that the saxophone sounds like Skinemax, but I actually liked it and disagree.) Sure, the story was short, but if you played the game the way it was meant to be played, rather than run thru it, it was just fine. I played it thru four times, well, almost four time since Ed’s Xbox crapped out most of the way thru our Legendary co-op campaign. I said what the heck and played thru an entire Legendary campaign on my own. Unfortunately that also left me to play all the Firefight maps on my own. I cleaned up those achievements as well. No small feat and I am glad I did as you get to further enjoy the great voice work from the man-cast of Firefly and some Cylon chick. You know. Throw into that the Grunt humor, well, fun fun fun! Any game that has a bit of dialog like: “He’s got a hammer! I want to know what Brute a-hole gave him a hammer” is the shiznit. I am sad that I just read there won’t be alien-to-English voice translations in Halo: Reach. Maybe it will be an option.
  2. Assassin’s Creed 2
    I guess it is fitting that this end up second given the first installment was second on my list last year. (Once again I thought it might be number one.) While I waited to play the first for a few months, I had this one pretty much the day it dropped. Better than the first? Hard to say. Maybe. They made some good subtractions and some good additions. Some things are missing that I didn’t like, for instance, pick-pocketing for knives was kinda cool. In almost all cases, the game was more streamlined and that was good since it was a goal of the developers. The combat was great, and maybe it is just my memory, but I don’t feel like there were enough different kill animations in this one. The tasks still get a bit rinse-and-repeat like the first one, but not quite as bad. This is symptomatic of most games of this type anyway. I also thought the story around Desmond was lacking, but that seemed to be by design. I am guessing the third installment will feature him more. The overall story looks to be coming along well and I cannot wait to see what’s next.
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    I don’t play multi-player because I don’t like to be tea-bagged by teenage douche bags. That cut off 1/3 of the game. The co-op play is mixed in with challenge missions and that cut off about another 1/6 of the game since I had no one to play with. So, I have half a game to base my rank on. This game was better than the first installment, but not much of an evolution, which is just fine in my book. They fixed some annoyances from the first one and unlike the first, I didn’t try my first play thru on Veteran. This was a lesson learned from previous games, this ones predecessor in particular. Anyway, I did play it a second time on Veteran and it would seem they dialed it down just a little bit, which was good. The first one was insane. That said, the story was decent and I liked jumping around between different characters. I particularly liked the Red Dawn type chapters. Oh, and for the record, I didn’t pull the trigger at the start of the Russian airport. I see the point in having it in the story, but they really shouldn’t allow you to kill non-combatants. I skipped the mission entirely the second time thru.
  4. Ghostbusters
    I wish this game were a movie. Kind of. The story was funny and entertaining and awesome. The voice acting was of course, awesome. The gameplay was pretty good. Definitely a different kind of game given the weapons and tools, etc. I feel like maybe I could rate this a notch higher, but the problem is I have a hard time judging it against other games. It is probably good where it is because I think what I enjoyed most of all was the humor and not necessarily the game itself. Maybe that’s why I wish it were a movie.
  5. InFamous
    I could really go either way with this choice between this game and Red Faction: Guerilla. Both open-world type games in the vein of Crackdown and Grand Theft Auto. I have never played a GTA game, but you may recall I put Crackdown at the top of the heap for 2007. Red Faction loses out because it had too much rinse-and-repeat and felt too familiar. InFamous had a lot of rinse-and-repeat of its own, but it made up for it with a cool comic book style of storytelling between the action and some kick-ass, innovative character powers based on electricity. I only played thru on the Good path and have mixed feelings about not playing again on the Evil path. I had just finished playing Red Faction before this game and the genre was on overload for me. That said, the Evil path is always easier and I don’t feel like I missed out on much by not playing it out.

As for the rest, I didn’t play a game that I didn’t enjoy. Halo Wars narrowly missed out on five. I am not a fan or real-time strategy games and this was really the first one I made it all the way thru. Most of that was because of the Halo angle and the little additions to that universe’s story. Plus, seeing what a little squad of Spartans can do had me salivating even more for Halo: Reach. Mirror’s Edge was enjoyable in that I like that kind of free-running game like Crackdown, Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed, etc. The thing was, it was often too one-dimensional in that respect. Uncharted was too short and too derivative for me to consider it a good game. I obviously cannot deny the great things being said about its sequel, so I am looking forward to playing that. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 was what it was. A multi-player game with a single player campaign tacked on. Enough with the tacking! It was still decent in that it improved on the first without changing too much. I basically played it so Ed and I could co-op and when I am feeling masochistic, I might just tackle Realistic like I did with the first one. With respect to the XBLA games, Feeding Frenzy was cute and Dash was free and stupid achievement whoring care of Doritos. Lastly, the two additional chapters for Fable 2 continued a great game. Probably some of the best add-on stuff I have played for any game.

I already know what Ed’s list looks like, but what does your list look like? Oh yeah, he’s the only one likely to comment on this post. Well, at least this helps me a third of the way thru my list of lists. Oh, and if you want to see any lists from previous years, they are all tagged with best of.