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The 2009 Cammies - Game of the Year Finalists

So, once again, I�m going to be sitting at a computer over the next few days, slaving away as I go to work on the 2009 Cammies, which is what I call my end of the year gaming awards. But all that�s next week, as first, I�m revealing my picks for each console�s Game of the Year, as well as for multiconsole titles. The only catch with console picks is they must be console-exclusive games. These games are also the finalists for 2009 Game of the Year, which makes sense: you can�t be the second best game on a console and be better than everything else, can you?

Let�s reveal the winners/lucky finalists:

Xbox 360 � Forza Motorsport 3

Perhaps obvious from me, but Forza Motorsport 3 might just be the best racing game this decade. And considering how high the pedestal I have F-Zero GX on is, that�s a very, very big statement. The third installment of the series brings back everything that made Forza 2 good, jettisons the awful grinding for a long, but much more rewarding career mode, adds in-game storefronts, and basically does everything its predecessors did, but better. The physics feel rather realistic, the tracks are beautifully detailed, and the game is just fun to play.

PlayStation 3 � Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

The PS3 had a rather strong line-up this year, and chief amongst those games is everyone�s favorite to win Game of the Year honors, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Expanding upon the first title in the series, Uncharted 2 has an enticing story, great gameplay, memorable characters led by the always-fun-to-play-as Nathan Drake and quite a bit of actual depth and difficulty. It�s got just about everything a game needs to have now a days to not only register on my radar, but to be

Multiplatform � Left 4 Dead 2

When Valve first announced this game, people bitched and moaned about it being an expansion pack or how Valve was ripping us off. Now, no one complains about it because Left 4 Dead 2, like the two games listed above, takes what the has been previously done and cranks it up to 11. The four new survivors, especially Coach and Ellis, add a lot of great banter to the game, while the new melee weapons take the frustration out of running out of ammo and being stuck with some weak pistols. The new maps are truly challenging and offer new experiences, like lugging through the witch-infested sugar mill after its flooded out or escaping a burning hotel for the safety of a nearby mall. With even more of an emphasis on teamwork, Left 4 Dead 2 is the kind of game you can spend hours in. That is, when you�re done eating the crow from when you ripped Valve for making it so soon after the first game.

Nintendo Wii � New Super Mario Bros. Wii

It�s not that it�s classic Mario 2-D platforming. It�s not the fun of having four players go frantically through a level, often knocking each other around. It�s not the new power-ups that make the game a joy to play and open up new level designs. It�s not the throwbacks to Super Mario Bros. 3, the game I consider the greatest of all time. It�s all of it in one game, easily accessible for both newer and older gamers alike, that make this Wii game stand out above anything else that�s been released for the console in 2009. New Super Mario Bros. Wii proves you don�t need graphical power to have a damn good time, both alone and with your friends.

Nintendo DS � The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Spirit Tracks is delicious retro gaming mixed with a shiny new shell and new gameplay elements. In this case, it�s the Wind Waker-style graphics and the old-school Zelda gameplay mixed with the train elements, oh, and with Princess Zelda actually tagging along in spirit form. Her inclusion is what takes a good game and makes it great, especially with the not-so-subtle references to past Zelda clich�s sprinkled throughout her conversations with Link. All I can say is it�s about damn time, Nintendo.

PlayStation Portable � Half-Minute Hero

Notice a trend here? �Retro gaming mixed with a shiny new shell and new gameplay elements� describes Half-Minute Hero as well. Taking old RPG conventions and turning it into what amounts to a mini-game compilation shouldn�t work. But somehow, it does, and it�s damn entertaining, too. In what was a weak year for PSP-exclusive content, Half-Minute Hero stands out as the one game you probably ought to own that you can�t get anywhere else.

PC � Champions Online

The closest of all the console winners in my personal vote, Champions Online squeaked out a win over Osmos and Machinarium by becoming the first full-fledged MMO to actually get me to play it. More on that in the future, but this game is deep with content and customization, albeit some of it repetitive and annoying as fuck. Like any MMO after launch, Champions has plenty of issues to tackle, something all the more nerve-wracking when you consider Star Trek Online is due out in a few weeks from the same developer. But it can be done, and hopefully, Cryptic can keep me from looking like a fool down the road.
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About BrianSzabelskione of us since 12:13 PM on 02.11.2007

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