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Best of the Rest: Alexander's Picks of 2009

Valkyria Chronicles
"BUT THAT GAME WAS 2008!!11one!1!" Well, yes, in the strictest sense. Sega's strategy role-playing game, an epic tale chronicling the hardships and victories of Gallian militia Squad 7, was sent out to die by the publisher when it released in November 2008. However, word-of-mouth, critical praise and some discounted pricing helped the saga find a place in many people's lives (and hearts) by mid-2009.

One of the most endearing mechanics implemented in the game was giving all the playable members of Squad 7 bonuses (or flaws) based on their neuroses, relationships and desires. Also, every character had a different personality that shined during their turn through little quips and order recognition comments. It gave the entire cast more depth of character, even as the player only saw a handful of the troops during cutscenes. Despite the requisite Japanese RPG flair and melodrama, there was a simple beauty and charm in the storytelling, while the gameplay introduced a great basis for iteration. Valkyria Chronicles is a series that, with love and attention, could become so much more. I look forward to returning to Gallia and hope future installments recognize that the delightful characters are as important to the series as the strategic gameplay.

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Best of the Rest: Dave's Picks of 2009

Resident Evil 5
I've long been a fan of the Resident Evil series, and while the campaign here has problems and should never be played solo, the Mercenaries mode is what kept me coming back. Those action-packed levels spent trying to survive while running low on ammo and health were some of my most chaotic, yet highly enjoyable, experiences of 2009.

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Best of the Rest: Ben's Picks of 2009

Red Faction: Guerrilla
Arriving approximately seven months late to the party, I didn't play RFG until earlier this month when I desperately cobbled together 2009's game releases for a massive pre-GOTY playstravaganza. That marathon came to a long pause while I smashed through the many structures of Mars with my trusty sledgehammer, constantly hearing "Space A$&%*#&" playing along the way in my mind. Sure, RFG was a bit rough around the edges, but what it lacked in mechanical prowess was more than made up for by the sheer amount of childlike joy I experienced while demolishing everything in my path.

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Best of the Rest: JC's picks of 2009

Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Muramasa appealed to me in a way that Odin Sphere didn't, thanks to an emphasis on combo-heavy sword action instead of planting and whatever. And the RPG elements that are left, like the sword upgrades and cooking, are not only fun, but simple enough that I can get right back into the game after a long break and still know what is going on.

Also, I don't mean to be shallow, but the fact that Muramasa is the most beautiful game of 2009 helps me be positive about it.

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Best of the Rest: Griffin's Picks of 2009

DJ Hero
What started out as tepid fascination in DJ Hero quickly turned into a deep, passionate love. I initially thought it was just another rhythm game knock-off with an obtuse peripheral and a too-high price point. However, as my turntabling improved, my fondness for the game multiplied. Based on the game's lackluster sales, I'm guessing most people shared my outright hesitance -- but once you invest a bit of time and patience into DJ Hero, I guarantee you'll get hooked. (And that soundtrack! Oh, man, that soundtrack.)

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Joystiq's Top 10 Games of 2009

Actually, it's more like Joystiq's Top 3 of 2009, followed by Joystiq's Top 7 That Were Left In The Dust By Said Top 3. We agonized over the bottom seven choices, trading positions just as we traded tantrums and highly unprofessional insinuations with each other, but nobody on the Joystiq staff could muster a reasonable argument against 2009's three best games. Probably because they were too busy being completely wrong about something in the lower seven and honestly how could you pick that game I can't believe I have to work with someone like this on a day-to-day basis.

Perhaps it's best to step away from emotion and simply focus on the facts behind our overall top 10:

  • Contains 60 percent new IP!
  • Features 20 percent downloadable content!
  • Can be summarized in four bullet points!
  • Includes five platform-exclusive titles!

If you want to continue reading about good games throughout the day, keep checking back as we'll be publishing each staff member's personal picks for 2009. Many of them will also be wrong.

10. A miniature monarchy >> | Shortcut to the end >>>

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Wii dominates Amazon's video game best sellers of 2009

Online retailer Amazon has tallied up sales in its Video Games category for the year 2009, and the results are overwhelmingly in favor of the Nintendo Wii, with nine out of the top ten spots going to Nintendo's console, various official accessories, and games. The best-selling game on the list is New Super Mario Bros. Wii at spot number 5, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that the game came out in November -- selling more copies in under two months than most games sold all year. But above that it's all Wii gear, from the Nunchuk and the MotionPlus addon to the console itself at the top.

Modern Warfare 2 is the only non-Nintendo title in the top ten, and it's specifically the Xbox 360 version, while the PS3 version comes in at number 13. There are only two titles exclusive to another console on the list: Halo 3: ODST for Microsoft at 16, and Uncharted 2 for Sony at 18. But that's not much to cheer about: even the Wii Wheel beat them both. It's fair to say Nintendo can declare Wii-ctory on Amazon in 2009. See the full list below.

[Via Kotaku]

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DJ Guetta references work on DJ Hero 2

Back in September, we heard the initial reports claiming Activision and FreeStyleGames had already begun work on the sequel to DJ Hero. These reports were corroborated by a recent article by Kelowna.com, in which DJ David Guetta, a contributor to the soundtrack of the first mixmaster simulator, mentioned that he'd been working on "the No. 2 version" of the game. We're assuming he's talking about a sequel, and not about the tone of graphite that's so popular amongst pencil manufacturers.

It only makes sense that a second game using the costly, rotating peripheral would be in the works. What would really be shocking is some kind of lid-unscrewing sim. Or a Lazy Suzan puzzle game!

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Rumor: Shenmue's Nozomi cut from Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing

Nozomi, the erstwhile love interest of Shenmue's Ryo Hazuki, has lived a virtual life of ignominy. All she wanted in life was to form a meaningful connection before leaving the town of Yokosuka to live in Canada, but she had the misfortune to fall for the most oblivious teenage boy in the world, who simply failed to notice her overt advances.

And now news has come out that she was ruled out for inclusion in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. "She was going to ride on the back of Ryo's bike," executive producer Steve Lycett allegedly said in a Sonic Stadium forum post, "but there was the small issue of where does she go when the Forklift appears."

Because, while having the martial arts student on a quest for vengeance in the mascot racing game is a perfectly sensible move, it would simply have been silly for his friend to disappear when his motorcycle was replaced by a forklift in the middle of a race.

In an earlier post, Lycett mentioned that Saturn mascot Segata Sanshiro was also considered for inclusion, but rejected. We would suggest that if Segata didn't work in this game, Sumo Digital should start over, and keep trying until it arrives at a game design that includes Segata Sanshiro.

Of course, it should be noted that Lycett also coyly downplayed rumors of Banjo and Kazooie's inclusion in the Xbox 360 version of the game, so anything he says should be met with a measure of skepticism.

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Gaijin Games offers first screen of Bit.Trip Runner

A single screen from the next Bit.Trip game from Gaijin Games has been revealed, and judging from the look of it, Bit.Trip Runner is going to be significantly less abstract than the previous entries in the retro-themed musical WiiWare game series. In fact, it looks like a side-scrolling platformer, which would make sense, given the name.

But, of course, Gaijin made a Pong-esque game with 15-minute long chiptune-based levels, so we shouldn't assume the obvious when it comes to the adventures of Commander Video. This could be controlled with the Your Shape camera, for all we know.

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