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Brad's Top 10 of 2009

Demon's Souls Screenshot

If you ask me, 2009 was a rather exceptional year for video games. Although there was no one, single game that dominated the entire industry, there were so many titles of such stellar quality that players of every persuasion had plenty of things to choose from. As a critic, I found that the end of the year was especially thick with games that required my attention; I usually have things well in hand by the time December starts, but this year I constantly had three, four, or five top-tier titles (besides all of the B-listers) that I needed to get to, and it was a race against time to make sure that everything that deserved a look got one.

Brütal wrap-up and PixelJunk Shooter

Brutal Legend Screenshot

After completing Brütal Legend, there were several pictures of the development team on screen as the credits rolled. The people on view all looked like nice, upstanding, hard-working citizens of the game dev community. As these snapshots appeared, I felt an intense wave of something approximating some kind of bizarre guilt because actually having faces attached to the game made Brütal Legend's failure somehow more tangible. More terrible.

Brütalizing Brütal Legend

Brütal Legend Screenshot

Tim Schafer is a brilliant guy and I have tons of respect for him, but he's just been off lately. I don't care what anybody says, Psychonauts was a big bag of fail to me, and although Brütal Legend is better, it's still not anywhere near what it could've been. In fact, I'm not even really sure what it is.

Gamer Diversity

Mass Effect Screenshot

Getting close to wrapping up my second time through Mass Effect, and since I almost never replay games, it's been an interesting experience. A friend asked me today how it was going through again, and to be perfectly honest, it wasn't nearly as fun as it was the first time. Don't get me wrong—I'm not saying that there's anything the matter with the game itself, it's more about the kind of player that I am.

No Mass Effect 2 Collector's Editions at GameStop? Fail!

Mass Effect 2 Screenshot

Still working my way through Mass Effect again in preparation for the January release of Mass Effect 2. I have to admit, I'm very pleased to see that the game holds up in all the areas that made it such a favorite of mine. Even better, this time around I consulted an FAQ (I didn't previously) and thanks to the diligent work of some dedicated fans, I've seen some side-quests and alternate paths that I didn't know existed. Even two years after release, it still impresses.

Mass Effected

Mass Effect Screenshot

So, I'm replaying Mass Effect. Why? Well, I had no plans to. I had a blast playing it the first time through, felt totally satisfied, and was greatly looking forward to the next installment. Over, done with, finished.

Uncharted 2 gets charted

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

Still on my quest to play all the "big" games of 2009, I've almost got Uncharted 2 wrapped up… only two or three more sections to go. Having already put together a rough list of the year's top ten, I was wondering which title I might have to bump to make room for it. That concern is now moot, since it's not going to make the list.

Bits of news

Dragon Age Return to Ostagar

In DLC news, extra content has been announced for both Dragon Age: Origins and Assassin’s Creed II. In the case of Dragon Age, the new mission is titled Return to Ostagar. Those already familiar with the game will certainly remember that Ostagar is the location of the intense Lord of the Rings-style battle that basically kicks off the adventure proper.

Assassin's Creed II... still not great

Assassin's Creed II Screenshot

Sadly, the adventures of both Altair and Ezio fall far short of what I would expect from such a rich, promising premise. My review is complete, but I'm going to sit on it for another day to make sure that I'm not letting it go too soon—with such a high-profile title, I'm really making every effort to ensure that the piece says what I'm trying to say. Readers can disagree with me all they like, but I want them to disagree because they actually disagree, not because they misunderstand what I'm saying. (Inevitably, both will happen.)

Assassin's Creed II disappoints and my Big Red Potion appearance

Assassin's Creed 2 Screenshot

In spite of my dismay, I held out hope that Ubisoft would take the copious amounts of player feedback and apply it towards the sequel, finally crafting a title that lived up to the promise. The early word was good, and practically everyone I spoke to said that the developers had seen the error of their ways and had delivered a game that "kept all the good stuff and got rid of all the bad". I wanted to believe. Oh, how I wanted to believe.

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