It's that time of year, and while Dtoid are drip-feeding us their top 5, I thought I'd give you mine in one big lump. So in no particular order and including at least one game no-one else will include, here are my 5 nominations for Game of the Year 2009.
Killzone 2 (PS3) From epic Dtoid Alpha vs Dtoid Beta clan matches to a great campaign to the best multiplayer progression system I've ever seen. I just cannot fault Killzone 2. It gave me some of the best multiplayer moments of the year as well as a god-like feeling of awesomeness as my incredible skills as a Medic gave team after team a near unstoppable front line. Even after 10 months it remains the best multiplayer shooter I've played this year and coming from someone who doesn't stick around much for multiplayer that can be considered high praise.
Rhythm Paradise/Heaven (DS) What, in naming Game of the Year contenders has everyone forgotten the best rhythm game of the year? For most of us this was our first experience of the Rhythm Tengoku series and damn was it a good first taste. It's been a long time since I've been gripped so tightly by the need to get perfects, the slightest split-second error ruining a run and no doubt launching many a DS. And if you need any more convincing...
Street Fighter 4 (X360, PS3, PC) When it comes to great comebacks, few could deny that this was a stunning return for one of the most respected fighting game series' of all time. Sure the online arena was dominated by Ken's for a very long time but unlike SOME fighters I could name (as much as I love it, Tekken 6 for example) the online actually worked from the beginning. An excellent training mode helped a lot with reducing the barrier to entry that's kept me away from truly getting into previous SF games and this one actually grabbed me. So SF4 gets onto my list by being an entry in the series that somehow got the respect of a notoriously hard to please fanbase yet drew in thousands of new fans. Not many fighting games can do that after such a long hiatus.
Wipeout HD Fury (PS3)
Wipeout has had a long and arduous mountain to climb after Psygnosis did their best to kill off the series with the abysmal Wipeout Fusion. Studio Liverpool started well with Pure, improved with Pulse, got better with HD and finally returned the series to it's previous heights with the Fury expansion this year. What the expansion did above that though was return the series to retail shelves for a very reasonable £15 (the same price as its digital equivalent) and in doing so restored my faith in the series as the poster boy for the Playstation. It's not all sentiment in this selection though, HD Fury isn't just one of the best Wipeout games, to me it's the best racing game released this year. Fast, beautiful and absolutely insane. If there are still any competitors in the futuristic racing genre then the bar has been raised.
NHL10 (Everything) A sports game? In a game of the year list? Well yes. No matter what I've done in this game, no matter what mode, online or offline I've gotten brilliant games of hockey whoever I'm playing against whoever. It's easily the best sports game I've ever played and has provided me with some major "GET IN!!" moments. Whether it's a perfectly timed one-timer pass that gets buried in the net or the wild last gasp shots that somehow find the top corner to tie a game in the closing moments. Also the defensive lapses that result in a home town crowd being silenced by a goal at the wrong end. Despite the best efforts of every space marine shooter there's still no dramatic storyline or feeling of terror that can match a looming shootout in the last game of a playoff series. Yes it's a sports game, but it's also incredibly fun, exciting and an amazing videogame.
So there we go. Killzone 2, Rhythm Paradise/Heaven, Street Fighter 4, Wipeout HD Fury and NHL 10. Those were my 5 best games of 2009, I'll be doing a bigger awards post after Christmas (along with everyone else) when I'll let you know which of these I consider the best of the year. You may now bitch about me including a sports game.