Mike’s Top 3 of 2009

I know, given the time of year, we’ve been seeing plenty of lists recapping the best of the best. I want to change things up slightly. Instead of evaluating games objectively, I’m going to do this subjectively. In other words, this isn’t going to be about my best games of 2009, it’ll be about my favorites. Oh, and don’t worry, I’m not going to drag it out; it’s just the top three.

3. Assassin’s Creed 2
PC, PS3, Xbox 360Unlike many people in the games industry, I loved Assassin’s Creed. Sure, the original AC was repetitive, but despite that, it was still charming. Thankfully, Ubisoft re-discovered the magical bits of the original and then built upon them for Assassin’s Creed 2. Everything that was good about AC1 is back, but, lucky for us, the fat was trimmed.

On every level, Assassin’s Creed 2 is an improvement. Missions no longer feel quite so repetitive and tasks do not feel quite so arbitrary; the story is more cohesive, the characters are better developed, and the game is just more fun.

Whether you’re new to the franchise–and this is a franchise–or not, whether you liked the original or not, Assassin’s Creed 2 is incredibly entertaining, awesomely realized, and worth picking up.

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Naughty Dog
PS3I never played the original Uncharted, but when I heard all of the hype surrounding this sequel, I knew it would end up in my library. Earlier this month, when I was asked to place my vote for the best games of 2009 (considered objectively) this title was numero uno.

Uncharted 2 scratched an itch I never knew I had. Story-wise, the game feels like a modern-day Indiana Jones film. With top-notch visuals, more-than-competent third-person-shooter mechanics, entertaining platforming, engaging puzzle-solving, and some of the best characters I’ve seen in quite some time (unless you count my number 1 pick) , it isn’t hard to see why I gave this title Game of the Year; it’s a well-made, well-rounded game.

1. Dragon Age: Origins
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
We come to it at last; my favorite game of the year. Without further ado, let me present to you…Dragon Age: Origins!

Sure, Dragon Age: Origins is a little rough-around-the-edges in the visuals department, and yeah, there are the occasional clipping issues, game bugs, etc., but all of the game’s issues aside, it’s still my favorite; that says a lot.

While Uncharted 2 was beautiful and well-crafted, at the end of the 15 or 20 hours it took to complete, although I had fun, I was good and ready for it to be over. And yet, despite DA:O’s blemishes, at the end of my 42-plus-hour playthrough, I wanted more. In fact, as soon as the credits finished rolling, I started a whole new character.

Dragon Age: Origins isn’t just my favorite game of 2009, it’s my favorite game of recent memory. Everything about it was perfectly suited to my tastes; I was drawn into the story, I grew to care about the characters, I wanted to do right by the world–I actually agonized over the choices I made. On more than one occasion, I found myself doing just one more quest…for the tenth, twentieth, thirtieth time. Plenty of nights ended with me powering down my PS3 as the sun crept over the horizon.

Is Dragon Age for everyone? Absolutely not; it takes time, commitment. But for a few of you, for fans of fantasy with an engrossing story and a fully-realized world, this will be right up your alley.

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And there you have it: my three favorite titles of 2009. These aren’t the usual, objective reviews you’re used to, but maybe, for a few of you, my subjective opinion will speak just as loudly.

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  • vishu

    pretty gud choices, tho i haven’t played any of em’…but these are def added to my to-do list now..(:

  • Screw objective, Mike!! You and I are grown from the same vine, my friend. I love me some BioWare games. They have absolutely NEVER disappointed me in any of the games that I have played from them. From the Baldur’s Gate series to the first KotOR, Mass Effect, and now this, my faith has been well-placed with BioWare. I’m 110% willing to wait on a game as long as I get games that I can enjoy for days, weeks, and months at the time. Mass Effect, DA:O, and, soon, Mass Effect 2, are the epitome of that. Fantastic opinion piece, my man!