At the end of each year, there's the temptation to identify a common theme among the games that were released. That won't wash in 2009. Yet though we didn't get any truly visionary or paradigm-busting titles, this year did give us one solid game after another in a range of genres. Shooters, RPGs, sports games — you name it, there was something for everyone, across platforms as diverse as the PlayStation 3 and the iPhone. So maybe 2009 was the year that gaming finally, truly went mainstream: nobody was playing the same thing, but everybody was playing something.
So, what did the 10 games that stood out to me as the best of the year have in common? Nothing! That's what I liked about them.
10. Prototype (Activision)
Let's start by acknowledging that Prototype (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC) does run out of steam. But not till it's delivered several solid hours of gleeful, unapologetic, anarchic gameplay. Unlike inFamous, another open-world superhero game that came out around the same time, Prototype doesn't get bogged down in questions of morality, or ask whether with great power comes great responsibility. It's too busy letting you eat people to assume their physical form, commandeer a tank to blow up a mutant hive, and shapeshift so that your limbs become hammers, claws, and whips. You gotta love a bad boy.
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