Now onto the final two awards!
[System of the Year]
The undisputed king of this generation keeps chugging along, and while the year wasn't as eventful as previous years, there was a lot of quality software to be had, if you knew where to look. Such excellent games include The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, The Legendary Starfy, Scribblenauts, and Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. Don't forget the release of the DSi and all of the interesting DSiware available for purchase!
The PSP has had a great year with the release of the download-only PSP Go and a multitude of excellent software. These great titles include Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, LittleBigPlanet, LocoRoco 2, PANGYA: Fantasy Golf, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Hammerin' Hero, and Resistance: Retribution. Sure, software sales in anywhere but Japan are abysmal, but that doesn't stop the fact that the PSP had a stellar year software-quality wise.
While I've been very clear on my disappointment with the Xbox 360, there have been a lot of worthwhile releases for the white concave box that could including Halo: Recon, Halo 3 ODST, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Borderlands, Forza Motorsport 3, and many more. Add in the best online that money can buy, and the 360 didn't do too badly this year at all. Don't count out such awesome downloadable titles such as Trials HD, 'Splosion Man, and Shadow Complex.
With a worldwide relaunch and excellent software to go with it, the PlayStation 3 seems to have regain its footing in the console wars. Add in free online and a myriad of online downloadable
titles, and the PS3 is sitting pretty in a comfortable position. The list of notable software releases for 2009 include Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, inFAMOUS, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, WipEout HD Fury, Fl0wer, God of War: Collection, Killzone 2, and Batman: Arkham Asylum. With all of these worthwhile titles, it's good to be a PS3 owner!
The reigning champion of the big three home consoles, the Wii, had a pretty lackluster 2008, but 2009 shaped up to be wonderful with both first and third party games to line store shelves. We're not talking shovelware either! Notable titles this year include New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Excitebots: Trick Racing, Little King's Story, Punch-Out!, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Rabbids Go Home, The House of the Dead: Overkill, MadWorld, and many more. While most titles aren't the Hollywood-esque blockbusters many gamers expect nowadays, they're titles that are fun and worth a playthrough.
And the winner is...
The relaunch worked and demand for PS3s is higher than ever before. What an amazing turn around for Sony and the PlayStation 3. With enough great games to fill anyone's stocking this past Christmas and free online, it's no wonder why my choice is none other than the PS3!
Runner-up: Nintendo Wii
All right, boys and ghouls. Why am I talking like the Cryptkeeper? Never mind. This is the moment we've all been waiting for. It's time to find out which game will become GOTY 2009! The anticipation is killing me! Before we delve into this year's Game of the Year, let's check out last year's pick for greatest game:
GOTY 2008: LittleBigPlanet
With 40 cleverly concocted levels already in the game from Media Molecule to explore and collect costumes, stickers, and level pieces in, one of the deepest level creators ever seen on a console, and a multitude of users designing mind-boggingly awesome levels both based off games and totally unique, LittleBigPlanet is my personal Game of the Year. It was a close race with Brawl as both games scored the same, but not only is LBP a new franchise but it's one that I've already spent an exhaustive amount of time creating levels and playing online with friends.
And now to GOTY 2009...
[Game of the Year 2009 ~ Nominees]
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
Live the life of a famed treasure hunter as Nathan Drake as he searches for the long lost ships of Marco Polo. Who knows what treasure is still aboard those vessels? But watch out as there's even more challenging adversaries to overcome this time around! Swing from cliff to cliff, vine to vine, or train car to train car as you uncover the mystery behind Marco Polo's lost vessels. With big budget visuals, a Hollywood-style approach to story with interesting set pieces galore, Uncharted 2 is without a doubt the best the PlayStation 3 has to offer.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)
While not a blockbuster in the traditional sense, New Super Mario Bros. Wii makes up for it in pure, unadulterated fun... as corny as that sounds. There's eight worlds to plow through with each level consistently throwing something new into the fray, local multi-player where players can work together or work apart which is a blast, and cool new power-ups like the ice flower, penguin suit, and propeller cap. No matter if you're young or old, New Super Mario Bros. Wii has some fun in it for you as the best Wii game of 2009.
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (360)
Steal cars, bikes, planes, and stick up anyone and everyone in your world. After all, Liberty City is yours to take! Play either episode from the bike gang of Lost and the Damned to the vengeful hero in Ballad of Gay Tony. Rule the city your way, any day, every day, and hope everyone else stays out of the way. Fixing the flaws that hindered Grand Theft Auto IV from being the perfect game it could have been, both Episodes from Liberty City add up to be the very best the 360 offered this past year.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Choo-choo! The Legend of Zelda returns with an all-new adventure. The problems of Phantom Hourglass have mostly been fixed, the game world is fun to explore with hidden treasures, rupees having a use, optional dungeons, and so much more. A new addition to the franchise is having Zelda around (or at least her spirit) to guide you through your perilous quest and even possessing Phantoms for Link to help solve puzzles. Whether you're a veteran to the series or a newcomer, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has something special inside for you.
LocoRoco 2 (PSP)
Join the cute and cuddly LocoRoco team as they try to shoo out the evil Moja from their land. The game's easy to pick up as it only uses the shoulder buttons, but don't be fooled, this game is quite the challenge. In fact, the game is the perfect level of difficulty from beginning to end. Filled with secret areas and levels, optional content, cool bosses, and levels that constantly throw something new at the player, LocoRoco 2 stands tall (even for its short, little size) as the best of the PlayStation Portable's 2009 library.
And the Game of the Year for 2009 is...
[GOTY 2009: New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)]
Another platformer earns game of the year. I must be sensing a pattern here. Regardless, with over seventy-five levels, nine worlds (one hidden), multiple cool power-ups like the awesome propeller cap that lets your hover and float in the air for a limited time, catchy music, and a bounty of hilarious multi-player experiences, there's no doubt in my mind that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the game of the year.
Runner-up GOTY 2009: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
There you have it. I hope you enjoyed the second annual SPC Best Of Awards for 2009. It was a lot of work putting this together as you can hopefully see, so I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did putting it together for you. Until next year, I bid you adieu from the SPC Best Of Awards!