The low down: Best Video Game 2009

Day 6 of the Vodafone Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2009 nominees round-up and we're into one of the most universally appreciated categories of all - video games.

What started off as a relatively quiet year for games has turned into a record breaker. But more than that, we've seen such a high quality in the last few months that it's virtually been a case of picking a title at random off the shelves and knowing that you're walking away with a classic. There were so many huge releases that there just wasn't room for them in the final five, but before you head over to the voting page to mark your choices, here's quick a run down of the few that made the cut.

 

Batman Arkham Asylum

Type
Action adventure

Release date
28/08/09

Price
£18

PL review rating
9/10

Just another Batman game? Not so proved this version from Eidos, which is the only one to have taken its material from the original DC comics rather than rolling in on the back of one movie franchise or another. Batman Arkham Asylum is an excellent third person beat 'em up action adventure where you get to control the caped crusader on his way to stop The Joker in a dastardly plot of setting Gotham's loony bin against the good people of the city.

With a script penned by Emmy Award-winning Batman writer Paul Dini and the voices of Kevin Conroy, who was the voice of Batman for over 15 years in the animated films and Mark Hamill, another Batman old boy, as The Joker, it's small wonder the title sold over 2 million copies in the first 2 weeks. It even picked up a Guinness Book of Records award as the most successful super hero game ever, but will it get your vote?

 

Guitar Hero 5

Type
Rhythm game

Release date
11/09/09

Price
From £29.99

PL review rating
9/10

There was always bound to be one of the rhythm games in the top five, but perhaps the big surprise is that it's neither The Beatles Rock Band nor the much anticipated DJ Hero. The core of GH 5 is much the same with a few nice additions such as bonus points awarded for certain challenges met and a more detailed view of how tricky each song is for each instrument, but the biggest changes to the game come in the multiplayer space.

Party play allows people to jump in and out mid-song without interrupting the flow for anyone else. There's also Momentum, Streakers, Do or Die, Elimination or Perfectionist modes to play with too. Throw all that on top of the 48-strong track list plus DLC and you've got yourself another winning music game from Activision. All too easy really.

Battlefield 1943

 

Type
First person shooter

Release date
08/07/09

Price
£0-1200 Microsoft points

PL review rating
9/10

Battlefield 1943 took the slightly less interesting parts of first person shooters - the story - and presented gamers with just pure online multiplayer deathmatching, thereby creating something wonderful. EA originally developed the WWII Pacific island set title for Xbox Live and PSNetworks for download sales only and the idea is that up to 24 players at once occupy one of three game maps either fighting as the US Marine Corps or the Imperial Japanese Navy. You get to run around as a member of the infantry, a rifleman or a scout each with their own choice of weapons. You can also wreak havoc in one of four types of vehicles - including planes.

Despite a slightly sticky launch, within the first day there had been 5 million kills worldwide with a total of just under 30 years of gameplay. When 43 million kills were reached a fourth map was opened and will be there for all to enjoy when the PC version launches in January. Quite a tricky title to get the hang of, what with lots of merciless players out there, but bags of fun.

 

Uncharted 2: Among Theives

Type
Action adventure

Release date
16/10/09

Price
£35

PL review rating
9/10

The sequel to the 2007 Drake's Fortune, Uncharted 2 received an astonishing set of perfect and near perfect scores in the online and magazine round of reviews. The stunning looks and engaging gameplay made it the top selling game in the US in October, despite only being out for the last 2 weeks of the month, and it shipped over 1 million in total worldwide.

The action is from a third person point of view and allows players to get Drake to jump, climb and scale ledges as well as pick up all sorts of weapons to fire whilst doing it. Much like the ethos behind the TombRaider series, there's also plenty of puzzles to work through as well. This title might not have had the same marketing budget behind it as the others, but it doesn't make it a lesser game.

 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Type
First person shooter

Release date
10/11/09

Price
£40

PL review rating
9/10

What hasn't already been said about the big game story of the year that was Modern Warfare 2? Whether it was courting controversy in the tabloids or just plain smashing sales record, the latest in the Call of Duty saga simply cannot be ignored. When the dust finally settled, this contemporary set shooter raked in $550 million in worldwide sales in the first 5 days with 4.7 million units flying off the shelves in the US and UK in the first 24 hours alone.

The game didn't actually pick up the highest critical acclaim of all of these five titles but it still went down a treat, if a slightly short lived one with much of the trouble levelled at the brevity of the one-player story. So, now you know the five, which will you choose?

 



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