GregHorrorShow Game Awards 2009

2009 has, in my opinion, been one of the best years ever to be a gamer.

With so many great games arriving and with plenty of 2008’s hits (Bioshock/Fallout 3/GTA IV/Metal Gear Solid 4 etc) falling in price it’s a great time to own a PS3.

Throw the PSP resurgence into the mix and it adds up to one brilliant era for games.

Anyway, now onto the main event! The awards you’ve been waiting for…

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BEST DLC (Downloadable Content)

WINNER: Fallout 3 – Expansion Packs

 

Offering hours and hours more gameplay and an extended level cap to boot, the various DLC packs for Fallout 3 were well above anything else that arrived this year. Getting back into the Capital Wasteland never felt so good. 🙂

RUNNERS UP:

Killzone 2 – Maps

LittleBigPlanet – Various Costumes

Batman – Play as Joker Challenge Maps

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

WINNER: Killzone 2 (Changing Game Modes Within A Consistent Online Match)

Killzone brought the noise in more ways than one but the changing game types within one online game was pretty sweet. Meaning that just as you’d be capturing the flag (speaker) the game could switch to deathmatch (Body Count) or whatever which in turn means that no two rounds are ever the same – genius.

RUNNERS UP:

InFamous (Karma System Working Within Empire City)

Prototype (Running Up Buildings)

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Deathstreaks)

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BEST TRAILER

WINNER: Assassin’s Creed II

There were lots of amazing trailers in 2009 but for me the most impressive both visually and with respect to what the gameplay promised, was Assassin’s Creed II. A fantastic game that saw you playing through the 1400’s in Italy, the trailer showed off exactly what the game had to offer.

RUNNERS UP:

Uncharted 2

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

God Of War 3

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2010:

WINNER: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Heavy Rain was nailed on for this and while it’s still one of my most anticipated games of next year, playing through the beta of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has swayed me in favour of DICE’s first person shooter. With vehicles as well as guns this one looks set to rock it come March 2010.

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

WINNER: Killzone 2 (Joris De Man)

There have been plenty of great scores in the games of 2009 but Killzone 2’s is awesome. ‘Helgan Forever’, the main theme, will live long in the memory – mainly due to the fact that it is a fantastic, stirring, piece of music. Brilliant throughout the game, Joris De Man’s score is a great companion to a stunning game. 

RUNNERS UP:

Uncharted 2

Infamous

Prototype

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

WINNER: Dirt 2

With a soundtrack featuring the might of Elbow, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Subways, Black Tide, Ladyhawke and Queens Of The Stone Age, Dirt 2 takes pole position in the soundtrack stakes. With a nice variety of styles it says a lot when you don’t get bored of the tracks after hearing them a few times and the inventive use of music through the menus and loading screens was a great touch.

RUNNERS UP:

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge (PSP)

Wet

Brutal Legend

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BEST VOICE ACTING

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Well, what can you say about the voice acting of Uncharted 2. It has to be one of the very best performances ever given in a game. I listened to an interview in which the cast compared the experience to theatre as they were all in the same room together for all of the voicing/motion capture and boy does it show. The chemistry between all the actors involved is apparent throughout and some of the ad libbed stuff is stunning.

RUNNERS UP:

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Wet

Batman: Arkham Ayslum

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BEST GRAPHICS

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Killzone 2 ran Uncharted 2 very, very close for this award but in the end Naughty Dog takes it on the variety of stunning locations they manage to fit into the game – especially the areas with some of the most realistic snow I’ve ever seen. The character models are superb and the animation is extremely well done. 

RUNNERS UP:

Killzone 2

Dirt 2

Batman: Arkham Asylum

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BEST SPORTS GAME

WINNER: FIFA 10

If you’d told me 18 months ago FIFA would be winning an award on my blog I would’ve thought you were insane. In tandom with the decline of PES, FIFA has risen to former glories and is now the definitive football (soccer) game. This game actually makes you think about the build up play well in advance and, even more importantly, lets you have full control over the action on the pitch.

RUNNERS UP:

Fight Night Round 4

Dirt 2

Madden 10

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BEST PSP GAME

WINNER: GTA Chinatown Wars

There have been some great titles for the PSP this year but GTA Chinatown Wars pips them all at the post for sheer volume. There is so much to do in Liberty City and while the missions are bite sized there are plenty of them to get stuck into. A cast of colourful characters (as usual) helps matters and this is a fitting entry into the GTA universe. 

RUNNERS UP:

Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines

Resistance: Retribution

LittleBigPlanet

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BEST STORYLINE

WINNER: InFamous

 

Infamous was a surprise hit for me as I was looking forward to Prototype a lot more. However Cole McGrath’s story of dealing with superpowers and finding out how the explosion happened was so great I played the game twice. With a few twists I didn’t see coming this game boasts a really great story. Uncharted 2 ran this close as it had a brilliant story but Infamous just pips it at the post.

RUNNERS UP:

Wet

Assassin’s Creed II

Uncharted 2

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Undoubtedly the best single player game for some time, Uncharted 2 makes you feel like the star of the best action movie ever. This is one of those games where all the pieces come together so well it’s a completely seamless experience. Brilliant.

RUNNERS UP:

Infamous

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Assassin’s Creed II

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Killzone 2

Is there a more satisfying sound that the ping of a kill on Killzone 2? 🙂 Giving the players more weight made the game feel heavier but seemingly fairer than a ‘twitch’ shooter like Modern Warfare 2. Killzone 2 is certainly the game I spent most time online with this year – clocking up in excess of 100 hours, which is a first for me. Great online fun.

RUNNERS UP:

Dirt 2

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Uncharted 2

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GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Naughty Dog’s excellent Uncharted 2 is no surprise as game of the year. Having already seen it take the gong at Spike’s VGA Awards I am following suit and giving Uncharted 2 the Game Of The Year Award for 2009. A fantastic, deep gaming experience with a great multiplayer added to boot. Seriously I’d like to speak to someone who played this and didn’t like it. As a whole Uncharted 2 is the best game in years and a very worthy winner.

RUNNERS UP:

InFamous

Assassin’s Creed II

Killzone 2

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Wow, still struggling to believe we’re nearly done with 2009!

It says a lot about this year that a title as great as Batman: Arkham Asylum can be nominated for 4 awards and not win one. Quality titles abound.

It’s been an amazing year for gaming and the quality looks set to continue into 2010 with a host of great releases.

Let me know what your highlights were for 2009!

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Dirt 2 – Review (PSP)

Dirt 2 PSP 1

After getting hold of the full PS3 version of Dirt 2 (reviewed here) playing through the PSP version, sadly, doesn’t hold much allure.

Graphically the game isn’t too bad for a PSP title but pales in comparison to something like Gran Turismo PSP. The backgrounds and tracks are well done though and you get a varied mix of locations to keep things interesting.

The game is made up of challenge modes and a World Tour, similar to the full mode in the PS3 version just on a smaller scale and without the personality.

Dirt 2 PSP 2

You have the chance the customise your vehicle but not as often as I’d have liked. Sadly almost all the vehicles use the same whiny engine noise, which is a shame.

Having no damage and no real penalty for hitting anything means that you can bash and smash your way through races willy nilly.

My main problem with the PSP version is that it’s a little too easy. The AI drives like a maniac for 20/30 seconds then stops to a near crawl for 20/30 seconds. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re behind them or in front of them.

It means you can never rest on your laurels but it also means that you can be miles out in front and have the others catch you up without making any errors. Just seems a little unfair.

Dirt 2 PSP 3

But as I said even with this happening the need to retry races was few and far between. Which leaves the World Tour mode as almost a series of single races tied together for no reason.

Why not have you level up like in the PS3 version? At least to just have something to work towards and keep you playing.

Overall then a playable driving game but one that leaves you longing for a cohesive single player mode.

Rating: 5/10

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Dirt 2 – Review (PS3)

Dirt 2 Main

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed Race Driver: Grid and the original Dirt game, I was looking forward to Dirt 2, which seems to be a mix of the two game styles.

Dirt was always the slightly more serious, rally based racer, while Grid was all about high speed, fun races.

The mix certainly works here as Codemasters prove themselves to be the current kings of the driving genre.

I wasn’t sure whether they could improve on the graphics from Grid but they certainly have and both the cars and the tracks are superbly rendered, giving a real sense of speed as you hurtle down the track.

Dirt 2 1

Thankfully the rewind function from Grid returns and is a real lifesaver. The crashes are spectacular but losing a race through one bad decision would be as annoying as hell so I’m glad they brought this back.

The main game is called Tour mode and sees you entering various different race disciplines in lots of different locations. Everything you could want is all under one roof, with Rally, Rallycross, Raid and several other race types included.

You can even impress, and eventually ‘buddy’, the real life racers like Ken Block.

The levelling system adds depth and you get plenty of unlockables. The game certainly seems to have as deep a main mode as Grid, which is great.

Codemasters have done a great job on the sound front with all the cars sounding different, which is great.

Dirt 2 2

On the music front it seems a little indulgent to comment on something I worked on but the tracklisting is varied and has some real gems on it. The best thing I can say about it is that lots of people (both journalists and gamers themselves) have complimented the soundtrack so it must be doing something right 😉

Online the game is as sharp as the single player and it’s fairly quick to get a match set up. The ability to race over up to five rounds, with points dished out per race and totted up as you go along, is a godsend and really helps to build some tension online.

Overall Dirt 2 had a lot of expectation from me to live up to, especially after the excellent Grid. Thankfully it lives up to the hype and has proven itself to be my driving game of choice, for both single and multiplayer action.

Rating: 9/10

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Dirt 2 Demo Impressions (PS3)

I liked Colin McRae’s Dirt. It was a really impressive driving game but the thing that held it back for me was that it was all rally. That and the fact that online multiplayer was essentially a bunch a time trials 😦

Then came Race Driver: Grid and blew me away. It’s been an office favourite for a long time and although we are all quite appalling at it we continue in the vain hope of getting our team to the top.

So I am looking forward to Dirt 2 as it appears to be a very nice mix of the two games.

The demo showcases two races (I was ok on the Baja race one but sucked at the Morrocan rally stage 😆 ) and I have to say the graphics are really impressive.

But graphics don’t make a game and I’m pleased to report the handling of the cars seems to have been fine tuned very well. However you’re only given one car to choose from in each race so it’s difficult to tell how different each one will handle.

Dirt 2 now uses Grid’s excellent ‘rewind’ system, allowing you to rewind the action by 4 or 5 seconds and try to get that corner right second time around. You only get four per race and that is a nicely balanced amount.

There’s not much else to comment on really – the menus are another stand out feature which have been made pretty interesting.

Dirt 2 is the kind of the game that if you liked the previous racers from Codemasters is a no brainer and it should draw in plenty of racing fans who are looking for some car action with a bit more bite than the sometime staid Gran Turismo.

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