I know, very late post, but this took a lot longer than I thought; but, I wanted it to be comprehensive. So dig in...
And so begins Year in Review for 2009. Understand that every active console's grade takes a toll on the ultimate grade (and games take up a big portion); but, less active consoles take a less of a toll on the overall score. Almost all games that get mentioned here are exclusive to a certain console and are likely well respected by gamers or highly anticipated releases. Now, all those multiplatform games take a serious toll too. However, they're more in the background because exclusives lead the way of attention to gamers for being quite a big selling point for someone to buy or pass a console of their choice. I am also awarding consoles for taking steps forward with new hardware and software applications as well as deducting if something should have gotten done.
The initial paragraph (for a console) covers what it had/ did for 2009. The 'Outlook' portion regards what is being done for the future and covers highly anticipated releases; it also takes a toll on the console's score. The final portion of the review (the 'Overall' section) also takes a toll on the review and covers something good, bad or maybe a mix of both and is the final grade for the year.
As the oldest of gaming platforms, the computer is simply dying a slow death that manages to occasionally see glimmers of light. Most PC ports are as good as console versions; however, it has become fairly apparent that you need to make PC your prime focus with the excessive costs and technical issues that can manage to show up. Another problem is the lateness of many of these ports and limited advertising a late port of a formerly popular game will end up receiving. If you were with PC to the end, there was some hope in terms of exclusives; there was The Sims 3, Empire: Total War, Warhammer: 40,000 Dawn of War II, Torchlight, Cryostasis: The Sleep of Reason, and (free) League of Legends.
As Blizzard keeps PC gamers alive with helpings of new entries promised for Diablo, Starcraft, World of Warcraft, and other lesser known titles (not from Blizzard); the PC still will be active for the time to come. Unfortunately poor sales are all over the charts due to Torrent. It makes the great ports out there a bad means of profitability and is definitely limiting its user base to less and less. The PC will probably keep going but just more and more slowly and become less recognized for the games it can offer.
Microsoft Xbox 360:
Microsoft has managed to keep the XBOX 360 going strong and competitive once again throughout 2009. Halo Wars, Halo 3: ODST, Shadow Complex, Splosion Man and 2 GTA expansions have kept the exclusive market flowing well enough; but, where the most focus should be paid attention to is all the other highly recommendable games and how Microsoft still has the best online experience available. It is also nice to see the occasional games supporting the new avatar system for players. The only real stepping stone for Microsoft was just how similar this year was from the last; it was good. However, there was nothing new technology wise that really caught my eyes which is a sign of the console aging.
Of course, if I didn't mention project natal, I would have been shot; this new medium will definitely be the next thing that 360 gamers point to when asked what advanced technology their console has in store. The upcoming Alan Wake and Crackdown 2 should keep gamers happy.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, and Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. These games were the center of attention for DS owners and all rightfully deserved so. A new DSi that allows you to take pictures and download games was introduced that has been met with a wonderful reception. Overall, the flow of bad vs good games still is a little much but it's at least better than the Wii.
No new hardware has been announced but it's to early to ask for more with the DSi already out and there isn't any real problems being waited on for solutions to my knowledge. More great games are abounding with Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Ace Attorney, and (a new Sonic game) hollow out just some of the portable's next experiences.
Punch-Out!!, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Madworld, House of the Dead: Overkill, Deadly Creatures, Murusama: The Demon Blade, Excitebots: Trick Racing, Little King's Story, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, and Dead Space: Extraction. Thanks to so many developers, the Wii had great games going around throughout the year; but, there are most definitely problems wandering around. The first one is overcrowd, the Wii still has too many worthless games and nothing seems to have been done to better control it. Second is sales issues, it seems that the less deserving ones get the better end of the stick while good games were a total gamble for good sales. Also, Wii motion plus doesn't seem to be impacting developers well (I can only think of the latest Tiger Woods PGA and Wii Sports Resort).
There doesn't seem to be anything new (hardware wise) announced. Mario, Link, and Samus are coming back but it's hard to know when. Also, why is it that Mario, Link, and Samus are coming back? What happened to Kirby, Starfox, and Donky Kong (is their just no love for them any more)? No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and Monster Hunter tri are coming; but, I think we're all running out of tolerance with the lacking delivery from the console.
The oldest console left of the pack, the PS2 has seen almost exclusively ports; most of these ports have not done as well as the next gen versions. A lot of the ports received have been from some big franchise following making for a lot of games that incorporate music, sports, or movies; are they all bad? No, but it is getting to the point of danger the number of PS2 ports that either can't be recommended or aren't at least as good as the other versions. Despite this there was good news; Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon was made exclusively for PS2 and faired as being recommendable. Also, 'Ratchet & Clank' and 'Jak & Daxter' still managed to be both running around in decent ports. If 2 well known Sony icons are still around on a console's ninth year, there has to be some sort of praise.
The PS2 has very little left going for it except for basically what was mentioned here, except less; the console has been moved on from and that's basically it for PS2.
This console has once again bombarded its competition with the number of AAA, exclusive titles: Infamous, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Demon's Souls, Noby Noby Boy, Flower, PixelJunk Shooter and Killzone 2. All of these titles helped keep the PS3 be a big entertainer all the time. The console was quiet in terms of breaking technology but did launch a lighter, less costly version of the console.
Sony does have real technological ambitions ahead of us with a new motion controller on the way. There will also be the optional addition of paid online for a better experience. Massive Action Game, The Last Guardian, Yakuza 3, and God of War III are all big releases on the horizon.
Half-Minute Hero, SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny, Resistance: Retribution, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Gran Turismo, Patapon 2, Prinny: Can I really be a Hero, and LittleBigPlanet. Our PSP's brought forward an absolute slew of titles, both more than usual and covering many genres. The PSP go has allowed gamers to download games and offers a better overall design. But, the sales for PSP games have been horrible; this is not a means of profitability and needs to be resolved somehow ASAP.
More highly anticipated PSP games like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 is arriving; but that pretty much rounds out what the PSP has coming.
Year of the Sequel
This was a year for so, so many games to make a return (yet again) with another entry in a long running franchise such as 'Guitar Hero', or a game based on a movie, comic-book, or tv series like Batman: Arkham Asylum, or a revival of an old game like Bionic Commando. There wasn't a lot of new IPs and that makes it hard for somebody trying to get into a new series kind of difficult. Though some series tried to open themselves up to gamers and that's good; but, too many games used the franchise name and now it's sequel mania with some series popping out every month. It would be a nice bit of fresh air if we could just try something else, without shooting. Now, there were some new entries such as Prototype, Demon's Souls, Scribblenauts, The Saboteur, Brutal Legend, and Blazblue: Calamity. In fact there were other exclusive games that got attention too; but damn, guess what? These (that I'm about to list) are supposedly getting sequels as well; like Borderlands, DJ Hero and Infamous. To be honest, this isn't a huge problem; but, I think we're all tired to see 80% of our releases be sequels. Sequels can keep coming but we don't need to see something with the same label over and over and over…