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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Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow – Review (PSP)

SyphonFilterLS

I really enjoyed Syphon Filter back in the PSOne days so I didn’t hesitate to pick up the two PSP games when they arrived.

Having played Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror on PSP last year (didn’t review it as it was in the days before this blog: nutshell – great game 8/10) I was looking forward to getting stuck into Logan’s Shadow.

After playing the first level I was distracted by Football Manager, which was followed by Resistance: Retribution. On the plus side Retribution was made by the Syphon Filter guys so coming back to Logan’s Shadow was like coming home 🙂

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Obviously with Shadow being released back in 2007 and Retribution coming earlier this year they had plenty of time to improve on things.

This was almost like taking a step back as the graphics and AI suffered, particularily the enemies who most of the time just stood in the open shooting, occasionally taking cover.

That’s not to say it totally hampered my enjoyment of the game, just that it was more noticeable having playing Retribution.

I still got a kick out of chucking the thermal goggles on, lining up a shot then poking my head round the corner and taking an enemy out 😎

And Syphon Filter is all about the gadgets, whether it’s goggle based (thermal/night vision etc) or weapon based (silencers/tasers etc) you’ll find plenty of inventive ways to take your opponents down.

sf3

My favourite was the sniper rifle with custom dart bullets. You fire once to hit them with the dart, then press fire again to activate it. So you have poisonious gas, electric taser and explosive darts – all pretty sweet really.

Boss battles were a disappointment, a problem that lingers from the first PSP game (but I’m pleased to say was vastly improved in Resistance: Retribution). Far too easy with only two of the five having any enjoyment at all.

The storyline is the usual convaluted mix of terrorists and going rogue after being taken off duty by ‘the man.’ All good though and fits in nicely with the espionage theme.

Overall this was a nicely paced, enjoyable game and a worthy follow up to the initial PSP game. I would really like to see them continue with Syphon Filter, whether it’s on PSP or even PS3, and hopefully Gabe Logan will be back on our (small) screens soon.

Rating: 8/10

Spin Offs The Way Forward For PSP?

AssassinsCreedBloodLines

Having just watched the first proper trailer of Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines for the PSP (which you can see HERE), I have to say I’m impressed.

Obviously it doesn’t look as nice as it’s PS3 cousin but it certainly packs a graphical punch. The game covers the period between Assassin’s Creed and the sequel (due out later this year).

It got me thinking that this type of spin off game really is perfect for the PSP platform.

With ports of PS3 games you’re bound to judge them against their more powerful counterparts, which is unfortunate as they will never match up to them.

But using a PSP game to fill in the blanks between PS3 titles is a brilliant idea because you can get further into the game’s universe and learn more about the characters. All while (hopefully) playing a great game as well.

It’s like a spin off TV show from a movie (Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles etc) except because of the format it’s a lot less limited in terms of what you can do.

ResistancePSPSpin

Resistance: Retribution is a really good example of this. It was a great looking title that delivered well on gameplay and story.

You had a new main character but a few old favourites turned up to make you feel at home and remind you this title is part of a bigger picture games-wise.

Some of the best PSP games have been spin offs: God Of War – Chains Of Olympus, GTA: Liberty City Stories etc but I’d love to see more of them.

Imagine game universes like those in Infamous, Prototype, Red Faction or Dead Space. Wouldn’t you like to know more about them?

Kessler - Infamous

It would be brilliant to maybe play through some of the events InFamous’ Kessler went through before the PS3 game is set.

Or maybe play through a new character’s experience of the marker from Dead Space.

The possibilities really are endless and as long as the games themselves are up to scratch I imagine they’d sell pretty well.

Another spin off announced at E3 was Resident Evil for the PSP. This could be really cool – I imagine it’ll be like the Ada Wong missions you got after finishing Resident Evil 4 (which clocked in almost as long as a proper game). Should be cool – now I’m just wondering who the game will follow? Sheva? Leon?

ResiPSP

I know I’d much rather play something like Resistance: Retribution or Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines than ports like, say, The Simpsons or Tomb Raider.

Hopefully as the PSP grows in popularity we’ll see plenty more of these types of games, I for one would certainly love to explore more of the great game universes that have been created recently.

Resistance Retribution – Review (PSP)

ResistancePSP

Having played and enjoyed the two PS3 Resistance games (reviewed here for the Top 100: Resistance: Fall Of Man and here in full: Resistance 2) I was really pleased when they announced a PSP Resistance game.

I was even more pleased when it was confirmed as third person (first person doesn’t really work on PSP) and soon the screenshots came out looking great.

As I fired it up I’ll admit I was excited. The game bridges the events between the two PS3 games across the other side of the world and into Europe.

You control James Grayson – a deserter in the British Army who has a break down after being forced to kill his brother, who was infected with the Chimera virus.

Grayson’s expertise in Chimera Conversion facilities sees him get a shot at redemption and a chance to avenge his brother’s death.

For a PSP game this is big stuff. The cut scenes are high quality, certainly as good if not better than most PS2 games and the script is pretty strong despite a few forced ‘Britishisms’ from the main character.

ResistancePSP 2

The graphics in game are really good as well and Resistance has little trouble in putting five or six enemies on screen at one time with no sign of slow down. Impressive.

Controls take a while to get used to (stick to move, face buttons to aim) but once you get the hang of it it’s the closest we’ll get to a second stick. Changing weapons with the d-pad can be a chore if you’re also running using the stick but it’s a minor inconvienience.

The levels are actually quite long for a portable game, especially as checkpoints don’t save your progress. The game saves at the end of each chapter. This was a real gripe for me as it meant if a level was 40 mins you had to, effectively, play it in one go as getting up to the third or fourth checkpoint then powering down would mean starting the whole level again 😡

A bad design oversight in my opinion, surely it wouldn’t have been too hard to be able to save wherever you wanted? Or at least at the checkpoints?

The score and general sound effects were really good, I enjoyed the way some of the music really ratcheted up the tension – particularily during boss battles.

The weapons were as inventive as ever, I loved the chaingun – especially as it also had a shield! 🙂

ResistancePSP 3

Some of the levels were very frustrating, be prepared to die quite a few times on some of them, though it’s often a case of rethinking your strategy and maybe using a different approach.

Resistance Retribution is a most welcome addition, not only to the PSP, but also to the Resistance universe. This is definitely up there among the best PSP games I’ve played.

There is even a mode where you can connect your PSP to your PS3, load up Resistance 2 and ‘infect’ your PSP. Grayson becomes infected and some of the cut scenes and character responses to you change. It’s a nice touch.

In fact if it wasn’t for the frustration caused by the lack of proper save points this would probably have got a 9.

Rating 8/10

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PSP Go!ing To Be Reborn?

pspgo

Well while the dust is settling on E3 I thought now would be a good time to do a piece on the PSP that I’ve meant to do for a few months.

My PSP gets plenty of use, I have a long journey into work (2hrs each way) so I have lots of time to play.

I would say 85% of my time has been spent on Football Manager. Firstly because it’s addictive as hell and secondly because there isn’t much else I’m bothered about playing on PSP.

Most of my friends with PSP’s barely use them nowadays and they sit unused and unloved in a corner somewhere.

Basically us PSP’ers get a handful of shoddy PS3 ports and loads of retro games (which I love but bloody hell could Midway squeeze any more of the same games on a slightly different compilation?! :mad:).

pspgo2

The last decent game was God Of War: Chains Of Olympus which was short but immensely awesome 😎 That was released in 2008. 😦

Then all of a sudden a few months back a shedload of games were announced:

Assassin’s Creed Blood Line

LittleBigPlanet

Motorstorm: Arctic Rift

Indiana Jones: Staff Of Kings

Madden 10

RockBand

I honestly thought it was joke. At this late stage in it’s lifecycle (almost 4 years in!) we are being treating to a plethora of excellent games? 😐

There were even a few other games that didn’t interest me but some people would be excited about (Final Fantasy and the like).

I googled and checked my favourite game sites… It seemed to be a genuine announcement. As a last precaution I checked the date wasn’t April 1st.

Nope, it was true. Brilliant. 😎

pspgo3

And then further down the line the rumour mill went into overdrive about a new PSP – ‘PSP Go!’ It doesn’t need UMD’s – it’s completely digital. I saw the mock up photo (which was pretty much what the final product looks like) and I liked it very much 🙂

Since then we’ve had E3 and the full PSP Go! announcement.

pspgo4

My reaction had many stages:

1) Seeing it – Yay! Looks great 🙂

2) Closer inspection – Ah, it doesn’t have a second analogue stick 😦

3) Hope and digital confirmation – Still looks great and I’m used to one analogue stick now. Digital is cool, don’t care how I get my games and longer battery life is sweet. Think I’ll replace my old (original) PSP with one of these 😎

4) Epic fail – $250???!!!!!!! 😡 That’s £150 directly converted but I imagine it will retail at £200 here in the UK. For a new digital version of a device I already own? FAIL 😥

If you don’t already own a PSP and are cool with getting your games digitally this (possibly) isn’t so bad.

I certainly won’t be getting one until it drops dramatically in price (I’m talking dropping to £120 at least) and I should think even people who want a PSP and don’t have one may think twice about a handheld that costs more than an XBox 360!

PSP Go! looks like a lovely piece of kit but the price has killed it for me (for the time being). Maybe if I get my hands on one and it’s loads more comfortable etc I might reconsider.

But that wasn’t the only PSP news at E3, we also had the following announced:

pspgogt

Gran Turismo

pspgo6

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Oh yes.

A new Metal Gear game 😎

I’m not a huge fan of Gran Turismo on PS3 – it’s ok and 5 looks sweet but I don’t have the commitment to stick with it. But PSP could be a different matter as I could (technically) play it everyday.

These games (and the inital list above – except Madden) aren’t ports, they are being specifically designed for PSP.

Jade Raymond confirmed in an interview that Assassin’s Creed on PSP will reveal the link between Ailtair and Enzo. This is exactly the kind of content and side story that is perfect for the PSP platform.

We’ve also had the (slightly) limited but very fun Resistance Retribution in the meantime – again not a port but a Resistance game in it’s own right.

pspgo7

So to put it bluntly after nearly 4 years of moaning that there are no decent PSP games on the horizon I find myself excited to own a PSP going through the rest of this year and into 2010 – rumours of another God Of War game make me smile and I hope they are true but even if they aren’t there is enough coming up to keep me satisfied.

And Football Manager 2010 should be out towards the end of the year as well 😉