Click “More” for the full list of the ILG 2009 Coint & Plick poll, complete with links to each relevant entry.
189 points, 13 votes, 3 TOP GAME votes
BNW: Very well done. Slightly overrated but still high quality and fun.
EZ Snappin: A good Batman game? Whodathunkit?
Adam: Watching goons get progressively more freaked out as you take down their buddies one by one is pretty satisfying. Also the way that pushing the left stick all the way forward doesn’t make Batman run–dude just walks… and very confidently so for a guy wearing a cape.
MPX4A: Best thing I’ve done so far:
1. String thug up
2. Spray proximity-triggered explosive gel below thug
3. Wait for thug’s buddy to notice and run towards him
4. Cut thug down with batarang onto explosives
Polyphonic: Fun game and certainly the best superhero game ever.
S1ocki: Not only a great game, but one that managed to incorporate the character’s mythology in a way that surprised and impressed me. The flashback scenes were more artful and interesting storytelling than I’d ever seen in a video game, rivaling the Batman movies in their interpretation of the endlessly re-told tale of the Caped Crusader’s origins, and—without giving too much away—at points using the familiar conventions of video gaming in really innovative ways. As I said about Uncharted 2, I’m skeptical of video games’ ability to replace, or even mimic, cinematic storytelling, but this pointed to some interesting new directions.
CraigG : I just found this game satisfying in pretty much every way. The story line was good without feeling the need to get overly complex, the fighting is really great and you get a warm glow when you manage to wipe out over ten guys without taking a single hit. The stealth sections, wiping out a room one by one, watching them panic… it’s all so satisfying. Everything is well balanced in terms of combat/stealth and I feel the only thing letting the game down IMHO are the boss battles, which are mostly only fun because they fill the fight with lots of fighting against regular grunts too. Overall, easily the best game I played all year.
Forksclovetofu: Less groundbreaking and more that it just does everything perfectly right. I appreciate the ridiculous depth; it’s an adventure, button masher, stealth, puzzle hunter, fighting game jammed into one. Never really hits a slow point; I found it amazingly well balanced and engaging.
Mordy: This is one of the best things I’ve played this year. I don’t know if that’s high praise for the game, tho, or just a good indication of how disappointing 2009 has been for gaming.
Antexit: Arkham does some great stuff with the Batman story and there are some amazing Psycho Mantis-level mindfucks. Not only is it the first superhero game that makes you feel like you’re the hero in his every aspect (as opposed to the Spidey games, which got swinging and crawling great and everything else sucks) but it’s a better stealth game in a lot of ways than Metal Gear. I love how balanced the combat is! The bad guys seem to be able to take about as many hits as you, and you really get the sense that you’re up against a room full of bad guys and the reason you come out on top is not that they’re all really weak or that you have some artificial advantage but that they’re a bunch of thugs and you’re BATMAN.
Jjjusten: This is 80% great, but drops in the ranks a little bit in retrospect for the fact that it’s way too easy. The boss battles are the worst aspect of that; I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Killer Croc level is, no joke, ONE OF THE DUMBEST AND WORST LEVELS IN MODERN GAMING. Whoever decided that replacing challenging or difficulty with easy, mindbending tedium needs to get a pink-slip. That said, when the game is on, it’s on. Plus, it looks great… except everyone I talk to plays 90% of the game in detective mode, so we never actually see much of it.
156 points, 5 votes, 4 TOP GAME votes
jamescobo: Real Coint & Plick starts here.
HIDERE: HOLY FUCK THIS GAME IS HARD
Hamildan: The only thing worse than playing Demon’s Souls is not playing Demon’s Souls.
Antexit: I was going to put Retro Gaming Challenge on the list but I realized this pretty much covers it. This year I really like games that embrace their essential game-ness, without aspiring to other media– I love Uncharted but I still want movies to be movies and games to be games. Demon’s (or Demons or Demons’) Souls reminded me for the first time in forever what it felt like to play incredibly hard games when I was a kid — how inexplicably rewarding progress can be just for its own sake and without all the little cookies games today give you for taking every step.
Forksclovetofu: I started playing this during the infamous “black Halloween weekend” and the first three hours were SO FRUSTRATING, but when the game opens up and shows you its depth and payoff it’s totally worth it. When I found my first complete set of armor in a back room I was literally dancing on the couch. It’s like playing dungeons and dragons with a very very pissed off DM who knows what they’re doing. Astonishingly atmospheric and demanding but never unfair. It may be the game I’m most proud of having beaten and was absolutely my favorite game of the year.
Aarrissi-a-roni: It is the kind of game where you are guaranteed to have that dark night of the soul moment where you have to ask yourself if you are really going to do that same goddamn level for the 25th time, but a bit of perseverance will get you through. And the blue phantom mechanism is a get out of jail free card if there is a boss that you really get stuck on, as happened to me twice. I couldn’t recommend this game enough. It is really a step beyond.
Polyphonic: I am only on World 1, Level 2 and it is already very clear that this is a deep and very cool game. Every decision that was made with the property was the right one. When I bought it at Gamestop, the dorks at the register said they hadn’t played it because they were afraid of it. Cowards.
Lamp: Technically amazing, even if it isnt particularly loveable.
143 points, 8 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
Will M: Games like this make working for 3@ a little less painful.
HIDERE: So once I submitted myself to the taint, I put this down and went back to WoW. That doesn’t change the fact that this game is gravy and I fully intend to finish it, probably when I retire from raiding entirely (so… in about three years). Also I love the dog.
EZ Snappin: I love old-school RPGs, and this is one that even works on a console. Good world, good gameplay and no creepy emo kids anywhere.
BNW: Gigantic RPG with solid production all the way through. What it needs: more locations, more variety in monsters, more randomly triggered events, wandering monsters and less prolonged dungeon crawls.
Webber : My dwarf has had sex with many many people.
138 points, 11 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
Geir Hongro: This may be what causes me to invest in a gaming machine.
Antexit: What a drag it is that the release of this game coincided almost perfectly with my getting completely and probably permanently bored with the GH/RB mechanic.
S1ocki: Not innovative, but making the package infinitely more tasteful and less crass than the horrible Guitar Hero games made all the difference to me. Also, a soundtrack way more consistent than any other music game.
JimD: I didn’t really like the Beatles until this year. Paul’s bass parts FTW.
Polyphonic: Here is the ideal way to play this game: my friend Robert is singing, I am on guitar and primary harmonies, my friend Adam is on drums, Robert’s wife Sara is on bass, and our friends Tim and Diane are on secondary harmonies. We are playing either “Revolver” or “Abbey Road” from start to finish. If we’re playing “Abbey Road”, I get to sing the medley.
Webber: This game could only be better if it were motion capture and you got bonus points for doing Paul’s head wiggle.
98 points, 7 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
Sondrangerbot: I really enjoyed beating ILXors’ records, even if it didn’t happen that often.
Polyphonic: This game completely took over my life in 2009. In a just world, this would disappear and be sent into outer space and instead I would’ve written three novels or something.
CraigG: It’s a nice simple concept, and the HD treatment makes it all the better. It’s absolutely brutal on Extreme though; I’ve only managed to complete two of the tracks.
Forksclovetofu: Trials is basically the most super awesome flash Excitebike clone ever, but I think I need to never play this again. It’s an ugly one-more-play obsession and a hair pulling stressball. Plus I’m not very good at it!
Goole: Ledge has earned enough Trials cred to be crap at every other game forever without shame IMO.
Cozwn: Fuck this game in the fucking fuck. IN THE FUCKING FUCK.
JeffLevine: Very addictive and fun at times but equally frustrating and aggravating… to the point of steam shooting out of the ears and controllers (almost) being broken.
Will M: I like it when the little man hurts himself.
As promised, before we do the top five I wanted a little palate cleanser. So here is the final “biggest disappointment of the year” vote. It is presented unedited and in HD.
Oh you jerkoff goddamn dirtbags.
This game is maybe the biggest missed opportunity of the decade. What makes is worse is that all the pieces are there for this to be great, which made me wait in vain for the patch that never arrived. It is hard to believe that this broken piece of crap didn’t get some post-release developer loving, because the problems are so glaring that they really arent up to debate. A shortlist:
1. Ok, so you have huge freeroaming postapocalyptic wasteland. Awesome right? Well, it might be if there were ANY OTHER PEOPLE LIKE YOU DRIVING AROUND. Instead, with the exception of a very few chase cars, all you get is big fuck off instant crash you heavy earthmovers and trucks. In what world does this decision even begin to make sense.
2. So the races are pretty great. Except for when they are completely broken and unwinnable. For example, when you hit some mystical spot on a dirt hill where no motorcycle can manage to get up it (well, with the notable exception of all the mortorcycles getting driven by the other AI dudes). Oh and by the way, if you fuck up even once, you can’t win the race. Ever. (Apparently Codemasters decided NOT to include the rewind function in this because uh) Which brings us to:
3. FUCKING LOAD SCREENS. Before every race. After every race. Also, whenever you restart a race. Long boring load screens with the same looped terrible music EVERY TIME. Yet, this is a game where there are no load screens when you are out driving randomly over a supremely detailed sandbox open world. Again, how is this even possible? What manager didn’t stop this at the design stage. IT’S MADDENING.
4. The open world, which I am sure took the majority of game design time is utterly and completely pointless. Outside of some weird achievement mining, there is no reason whatsoever to go outside of the camps where the races occur. Ever. And if you’re thinking that if nothing else, driving to the next camp on the world map will have some purpose, sorry, no, you are wrong. Because the people who made this game hate you, and apparently themselves, because the drive to the next camp will take approximately 20 minutes, unless you manage to hit some huge impassable unmapped canyon that will require you to backtrack and add another 10 minutes to that. On the way, if you are really lucky, you may have the opportunity to run into some of the random gas cans scattered about or crash into a wrecked vehicle that gets you a new horrible livery for one of the cars you may or may not have.
5. Oh and yeah, those gas cans? One assumes that they are a means to keep your car going, and so you have to keep on the edge of your seat making sure you don’t run out of fuel, right? Nope. FUEL is actually in game money, so hitting those gas cans gets you incrementally closer to buying some new piece of shit car that despite its superior rankings in the stats department might be far worse than the one you are driving. Oh yeah, and by the way, most races require you to pick from a shortlist of specific cars, so if you pick the wrong one, you dont get to play. Not the right KIND of car, but the actual specific model of 4 wheeler with the exact dumbed down road warrior name. For no reason. So guess how often you bother buying a car because it looks like fun vs. waiting until you hit the next roadblocked race and buying the required vehicle. yep.
I tried, good lord I tried to make this game have some tiny shred of value, some playability, any reason whatsoever to grind through the terrible parts to get to the good stuff. But you just can’t do it, the flashes of enjoyability are so sparse that it just can not justify the terrible endless hours you have to sink into it.
Never buy this game, no matter how cheap it gets.
91 points, 8 votes
Zappi: People are downplaying this one because it doesn’t “push gaming forward” or whatever. Pfffffft. It’s got what I want: clean simple graphics, responsive controls and brilliant level design. Nobody does this better than Nintendo.
CraigG : This has managed to slightly delay my desire to sell my Wii. I loved New Super Mario on the DS and this is just more of the same. While most of the power-ups are re-skinned from previous Mario adventures, there is a great variety that (like SMB 3) helps keep the game fresh. I guess the main appeal here is nostalgia; I got Mario Bros 3 on the NES for my birthday at an impressionable age. It’s just so endlessly fun to have the same gameplay mechanics in the familiar desert, ice, air, etc, scenarios but with all new levels!
If: Would be on my top ten for the frenzied, hotly contested multiplayer alone, even if it didn’t have a single player with its share of classic moments as well.
Jamescobo: Granted, it was awfully light on content, but the addition of multiplayer effectively makes the game endless in a way LittleBigPlanet could only dream of.
JeffLevine: A 2-D Mario game? For most gamers, that’s probably all I need to say. If it hadn’t released in the middle of a crowded holiday season when there were so many other games to play and without online, I certainly would’ve ranked it even higher.
84 points, 7 votes, 2 TOP GAME votes
Forksclovetofu: PVZ kept me up past three in the morning two nights in a row. $20 might seem expensive for a desktop defense clone, but damn is this ever polished. Never stressful! And the music is incredible!
Antexit: One of the most perfectly balanced and endlessly satisfying games I’ve ever played. It’s also the only game this year that every single person I showed it to went nuts over. Almost every one of the fifty or so plants in it was my favorite at one time or another– when does that happen with the weapons in other games?
Ledge: Does this game get hard, ever? (ed. note: Nope.) I am on stage four and I think I’ve let a grand total of two zombies through, pretty much by accident. I have 2000+ sun power left at the end of every game.
JimD: Hard to even remember what I loved about this, but it’s here cos I know I spent a big chunk of my year on it and really enjoyed it at the time. I guess this is a great example of a relatively new game design trend: games that don’t need to challenge you to keep you entertained. They can just keep giving you new toys and that’ll have the same effect. It’s only valid because it’s true… well, at least until you’ve seen all the toys and then that’s it and there’s little point of ever playing it again. But hey, that’s not the end of the world: who has time to replay games these days anyway?