2009 Reviews
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z #

2009

The Precursors

The Precursors

The Precusors is Deep Shadow's third game, released just a year after White Gold. White Gold I played first and enjoyed it, though it had some small things that spoiled it. The mouse movement was off, the requirement to get so much money through side missions, the vehicle handling. But the open world looked fantastic and it's a very under-rated game.

James Cameron's Avatar: The Game

James Cameron's Avatar: The Game

Overall it's a fairly good game. I voiced just about all the negatives. The positives are that it looks fantastic, will keep you busy for a good twenty hours and more if you do some of the optional tasks, and has good variety in combat with the two different races to play though. Once you master the powerups, they only enhance the fun value.

Borderlands DLC's

Borderlands DLC's

The Borderlands DLC's are good mixed bag. DLC1 is fantastic providing a nice new theme. DLC4 is also very good with a set of levels feeling like they came straight out of the full game. DLC3 is decent but drags a bit with too much driving and some pretty boring and long-winded sequences. DLC2, however, is the only true black sheep that definitely isn't worth the money. But overall three very good DLC's that are also much longer than your standard DLC's. In fact, put these three together and you've probably more than a standard games worth of playtime, easily over 10 hours.

Assassin's Creed II

Assassin's Creed II

Ubisoft have really polished the Assassin's Creed franchise and created a game worth buying, which the same could not be said about the first game. With even better visuals, many of the nuances fixed and overall just an easier, less frustrating game, ASII is finally starting to live up to some of the hype. I actually look forward to seeing how the story continues. It's not really my style of gameplay, but I at least enjoyed ASII this time out.

Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Overall, L4D left me disappointed because I was expecting a classic game based on the reception it got. Possibly the best release of 2008, and Valve isn't expected to do merely "good".  Instead it was a very good Half-Life 2 mod. Valve have taken over but instead of really improving it or making an actual sequel, they've taken the same game, added a few extra bits and pieces and built a fairly short set of campaigns. Of course they did port the original L4D levels over to L4D2, meaning I really shouldn't have wasted my time playing the original at all. This isn't a sequel, it's just a really good Ultimate Edition of L4D. I enjoyed it more than L4D, but only because my expectations were no longer so high.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

After the disappointment of World At War, The COD franchise bounces back with a game that clearly had a lot more effort put into it. Even as good as 2007's Modern Warfare was, the sequel has come a long way. Overall, if you can accept a short playtime and don't need any innovations, then MW2 is a great game.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Ultimate Sith Ed)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Ultimate Sith Ed)

It's all good enough for 2009. In fact 2009 is marking a year where even average games still look good. Surprisingly, I was not disappointed with the game. Not at all. It has it's issues which the majority have PC reviews all get right; that being the port to PC. But overall it's really quite a fun game.

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins

Overall I prefer Fallout 3, because of that more action-oriented combat. DAO is played meticulously, often paused as you attempt to manage your team. That's not really my preferred style of play at all, but for what it is, Bioware have done it well. It's not necessarily an easy game, but it is very fun. All other areas - visuals, story, sound - are all fantastic.

Dragon Age: Origins DLC's

Dragon Age: Origins DLC's

You can purchase the original Dragon Age Origins for $9.99 on Steam or the Ultimate Edition for $24.99, which also includes the Awakening official expansion. Is it worth more than double the price for seven DLC campaigns? Quite frankly no, not at all. You're better off buying the game and just torrenting the DLC's. But I haven't played Awakening yet so let's wait and see.

Borderlands

Borderlands

Overall, Borderlands got off to a slow start. The early stages I didn't enjoy so much, but as you move into the second two-thirds of the game with better weapons and better looking levels, it became much more enjoyable. That is a problem in that it loses replay value - but I'm not the kind of gamer to ever play a game twice. Especially not one that takes up to 30 hours. Unique, interesting visuals, fun gameplay - this is definitely one of the best sandbox games I've played so far.

Dreamkiller

Dreamkiller

I'm not sure what happened with this game and if it was at some point intended to be another title in the Painkiller franchise, but Dreamkiller is just more Painkiller. The combat and gameplay is identical, the levels just as creative are crazy. I'm sure it's the same engine as well. The only difference is the character and story.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Overall, the gameplay of COP was much better, but only a year in development since the last game has resulted in visuals and levels that aren't quite as interesting as the previous games. A dull story and steep learning curve still make COP a game that only some gamers will love. I'm not one of them, but I did like it a lot more than I was expecting. It is the best S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game in the trilogy.

Darkest Of Days

Darkest Of Days

Overall the game is pretty fun and even a decent length for a first person shooter. The story needed better development and the combat might not be for everyone, but in my opinion this is a much under-rated shooter.

Mini Ninjas

Mini Ninjas

While it may look like a cute, cuddly childrens game, its skeletal structure is just a plain and simple hack'n'slash third person action. This is from the same studio that created the Hitman franchise, which I personally feel is a bit overrated with the last Hitman title in 2006 just being downright crap, and Kane & Lynch which is nothing but an average shooter. So I suppose Mini Ninjas is their best game yet, just.

Section 8

Section 8

For a single player review, this game doesn't really need a full review. It's obviously a multiplayer game with a short, sub-three hour single player campaign slapped on it. When I read something is single player, I hope for a bit of effort put into it. But this game was a bit of a waste of money.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin DLC: Reborn

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin DLC: Reborn

Overall this DLC is definitely worth the $10 extra. It's a shame it's not part of the full game, but with it featuring a completely different story as you play the role of the bad guys, it would make no sense being anything but a DLC.

Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger

Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger

Let me finish by saying Raven Squad isn't the awful piece of shit that most reviewers have you believe. It's mediocre at best, but at a short five hour length might be worth a play through on a Sunday afternoon.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum

I've already played everything worth playing from 2009, but I've been saving Arkham Asylum up, waiting for a time to spoil myself. Arkham Asylum is just my style of game. Beautifully designed levels and artwork, great story and characters, fun action-based gameplay and fairly linear progression but with enough exploration. Perfect! Overall it's a fantastic game and my second favourite of 2009, behind Dragon Age. 2009 ending up being one of the best years for action gaming to date.

Wolfenstein

Wolfenstein

Raven Software has always been one of my favourite developers. They have a simple approch to video games and haven't changed that much to suit the industry. That is, making action-focused games that are simply fun. Never epic, never more than ten hours, but always enjoyable.

With Wolfenstein they've tried to integrate some of the things that are becoming common in action games; collectibles, upgrades and a non-linear approach. But it's only done to a small degree. At it's core, Wolfenstein is still just a fun first person shooter, and that's all I was really hoping for.

Code of Honor 3: Desperate Measures

Code of Honor 3: Desperate Measures

So overall more interesting combat, much better level design makes COH3 a much more recommended game - but only to diehard shooting fans. This definitely still won't make my top 10 action games of 2009. It's just a shame it's so dark, short and is plagued by blurry effects.

Battlestrike: Shadow of Stalingrad

Battlestrike: Shadow of Stalingrad

All very ugly with below average gameplay. But it's only a 1.5gb download if you feel like getting it online. Of course illegally, a game like this doesn't deserve money.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

It's very uncommon that I finish a game and have no clear ideas about what went wrong, or where to make improvements. Even the most popular games, there's usually some room for improvement that I can critique it on. But Call of Juarez simply doesn't have any big noticeable flaws. Sure it's not perfect, but for what it is - a basic, Western, linear shooter - it gets everything right.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

There are at least another 12 action games released in 2009 rated above Ghostbusters on Metacritic. When you get a game like this that doesn't even make the top ten action games of the year, then you know you're in for a good year of gaming.

Prototype

Prototype

Overall, Prototype is a decent game for a while. The combat and new abilities are fun. But by the second half (and this is a decent length at a good 10 hours) combat becomes a bit of a mess. With a copy/paste bland city, once you've played the first level of Prototype, you've seen everything there is. Not a good PC port and certainly an overrated game, but then the consoles have a lot of those, don't they?

Red Faction: Guerrilla

Red Faction: Guerrilla

Saints Row 2 is a much more involving game. The story, characters, depth is much greater. But if I were to go back and replay that or RF:G, I'd picked this game hands down. It has a much more unique setting, shorter length and more satisfying gameplay. Saints Row 2 just has too much fucking around doing mind-numbingly boring tasks, whereas the shorter length of RF:G avoids all that. It does have some save issues and the respawing enemies is poor, but I did enjoy it after a bit of a slow start.

Damnation

Damnation

I guess Damnation's biggest problem is that it just doesn't do anything particularly well. Gameplay is average, story is average, design is average; and for 2009 average just doesn't cut it anymore. It's probably also a little too long.

Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando

I guess you either love or hate this game. Some people don't like the grappling. I loved it. It's unique and done well enough without too many control issues. Sometimes you may swear at having missed what you were trying to target, but most of the time it's the players own fault not the game. Certainly underated and the biggest disappointment with Bionic Commando is simply that it's over in eight hours with no sequels on the horizon.

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation is really a half-assed game. It's over in less than four hours, only features a few different enemies and just adds itself to the sea of identical cover shooters.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Overall, despite the niggles above, it's still a very good game. Good visuals, very satisfying, enjoyable combat. It's not often a movie-to-game works as well as this. Avatar and Ghostbusters have both also provided successful movie-to-games.

Zeno Clash

Zeno Clash

Overall, the fusion of first person fighting game with some shooting didn't work that well. But it's a nice change of scenery, I guess. The game excels at its exotic art direction, but I just wish the levels pushed the limits a bit more. They're far too small and linear for a commercial game.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Despite my complaints AODA was a nice looking game on the whole. I'd certainly play it again for the visuals. But would I play it again for the gameplay? No I don't think I would, it's too slow. It might be more fun just putting it down a difficulty and caring a lot less for the stealth and tranq/SCAR takedowns.

Wanted: Weapons of Fate

Wanted: Weapons of Fate

WOF definitely isn't a bad game, but it's short length and very specific gameplay style leave it hanging just above mediocrity. I'll definitely play Bionic Commando and Terminator Salvation, the studios' (GRIN) next two games. Unfortunately they declared bankruptcy after that after publisher Square Enix cancelled their Final Fantasy spin-off and didn't pay them after six months of development.

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

I've been pretty harsh on RE5 because it does have plenty of things wrong with it, but they're not that major. The further you play it, the more enjoyable it becomes. It's different, a mix of survival-horror with standard third-person action. But I mostly enjoyed the fantastic visuals and I guess that's why this game received a lot of passes from the critics.

Armed Forces Corp

Armed Forces Corp

Oh dear. I've played through some City Interactive duds, but this reaches new lows. I don't really understand how anyone at City Interactive or who worked on this game thought they could ever get an ounce of positive feedback releasing a game which would have been bad if it were released ten years prior.

NecroVisioN

NecroVisioN

I'm very glad that developer The Farm 51 didn't bomb out with this title and, somehow, had enough sales to make a prequel, another Painkiller sequel (which really isn't needed) and two more games under development which, quite frankly, look fantastic.

Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason

Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason

Overall, Cryostasis had some great ideas behind it, but the polish isn't quite there. Linear, cramped, average level design, sometimes frustrating combat and a weird story can't save it's creepy, dark atmosphere.

Looks like Action Forms have moved on to doing iOS games now. What a waste.

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails

Overall you won't spend much more than five hours on this game. The story is okay, the visuals decent enough. The gameplay and combat is simple shooter mechanics. Fine for me, and I'd probably play it again one day! It doesn't start off too well, but the game does get better as you go.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

So overall I found FEAR2 a much better game, surprisingly. I'd certainly replay this again in future, much more likely than the original. Fun gameplay, better visuals although still not the upper tier of 2009, and a better attempt at story telling.

X-Blades

X-Blades

Even more suprisingly the game doesn't look too bad. Some of the levels are quite nicely done for arenas. I suppose we're at an age in 2009 where it's not so difficult to make decent looking games. It must be said I played almost half the game in a single sitting and was enjoying it up to that point. But I could see it was starting to go downhill as the difficulty increased. Painkiller and Serious Sam this is NOT. A sequel was released in 2012, similar looking gameplay but improved looks. I'll give it a try.