Holiday Seasons in Retrospective: 2009

Holiday Season; that busy, crazy and sometimes unbearable time of year where everything just become frenzy, and humanity tries desperately to sell you their goods. The worst thing is that you can’t help but join the cheesy feelings and wait for the not-so-silent night to receive a bunch of quality software pieces (unless you have a crappy cheap uncle).

In any case, we ask: which one of the recent holiday seasons has been the best one? Which one has offered the best gaming collection?  Every week we’ll analyze all the Christmas seasons, starting from 2005, in order to remember all those fond memories these particular days produce, and the games/consoles we should have played.


A Year to Spend Among Thieves

Yes, we know 2009 was just the start of a constantly growing bitter economical situation, and in a lot of ways the recession had an impact on the videogame market; but that didn’t stop outstanding developing houses from releasing great pieces of entertainment this year. 2009 was clearly far from ideal, but it’s still got amazing worth-checking content.

As usual, we’ll start with Microsoft’s console, and let’s be honest right from the start: the Xbox 360 had a definitely terrible year. Seriously, when it comes to exclusive worth-noting material, there’s only Forza Motorsport 3 and Halo 3‘s pseudo-expansion that wasn’t really an expansion (ODST).  Of course, there was plenty of third-party multiplatform efforts, but it seemed Microsoft gave up the fight early this year, knowing what a kick-ass release schedule Sony had. In that sense, the best games for Christmas for Xbox 360 were: Dragon Age: Origins, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

In contrast, Sony had an absolutely phenomenal end of year, with a wide array of exclusive content meant to cater every single niche of its user-base. Naturally, we’re talking about the spectacular adventure-platformer Uncharted 2: Among Thieves; a game that improved over the original in seemingly every way, making for a breath-taking, awe-inspiring and just plain fun experience. The good folks at Naughty Dog weren’t happy with just making more of the same, so they added an even more interesting plot, award-winning voice actors, and a finely done multiplayer. If Uncharted isn’t your cup of tea, or if you’re just insane, there was Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, Killzone 2, Demon’s Souls and Infamous to fill your PS3 exclusive void. Oh and let’s not forget about the stellar year for PSN, with titles like Fat Princess, Flower and Pixel Junk Shooter really setting themselves apart from other downloadable platforms.

Demon's Souls

The Wii in 2009 was pretty much like every other year. Nintendo kept slaughtering the competition while its console releases a bunch of crappy family friendly games and very few notable titles. 2009, however, saw the rise of some solid hardcore games in the form of the stylish MadWorld, the beautiful Muramasa: Demon Blade and the genuinely scary Silent Hill: Shattered Memories; all of them excellent for the veteran gamer who can’t stand been-there-done-that efforts like the admittedly fun New Super Mario Bros. Wii. All in all, the Wii does not seem to be losing any of its popularity, and even if its no longer the console of choice for the hardcore, when it does release fairly good efforts, it does it with a blast.

Muramasa: Demon Blade

The handhelds engaged on a cruel and bloody war throughout the year. Both the PSP and the Nintendo DS had seriously amazing releases, varying from sequels to big hits to innovative new concepts. If you were a DS owner, then you probably played the hell out of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, the inconsistent but truly innovative Scribblenauts and the fantastic GTA: Chinatown Wars; a temporary DS exclusive that would be then ported pretty much everywhere else. PSP owners, had a similarly kicking year, with the likes of the Smash Bros-esque Dissidia Final Fantasy, the adorable Patapon 2, and portable installments of big franchises, including Little Big Planet and Resistance: Retribution.

Patapon 2

Console of the Year

PlayStation 3

There’s no way around it. With the Xbox 360’s lackluster release schedule and the Wii… well, being what it is, it’s Sony’s behemoth console the one victorious this year. The aforementioned kick-ass exclusive library throughout the year is truly remarkable and a definite renaissance to the console that needed it the most, in order to regain the former glory of pasts generations.

Game of the Year

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

As with the console of the year, there’s really n0 way around Uncharted 2 being the incontrovertible Game of the Year. Sure, there were other exhilarating, breath-taking games out there (Killzone 2 and MW2 coming to mind), but none of them did it with so much style and polish as Naughty Dog’s little baby. Any game that blends adventure, beautiful landscapes, platforming, shooting and two hot and smart females to flirt with is set for great success.

Note: The Game of the Year stated in this article has been chosen according to a trend followed by the industry that year. It must be noted that Game of the Year nominations are ultimately subjective perceptions made by equally subjective individuals. This one is not meant to be any different so feel free to differ with the author’s subjective statements.

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