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Best of 2009 - Honorable Mentions, Part One

And now for those unfortunate games that just didn't quite cut the mustard. In some alternate universe these could be just as deserving of a slot in the top ten, but for some reason they got left behind. They are grouped here so they can at least get some shot at the recognition they so clearly deserve.

Fallout 3 DLC

The elusive definition of a “good value” in gaming is getting trickier and trickier to define in these times of inevitable downloadable content, dirt cheap iPhone games, and digital distribution that sometimes costs inexplicably as much as a physical product.

I have not lost sight of the fact that the downloadable expansions for Fallout 3 have cost me nearly as much as buying the game new in the first place. This on top of the fact that I paid extra for the Limited/Collector’s/Special/Suckers edition, which is an entirely different maddening variable in the value equation.

Plenty of games have tried their hardest to gouge their players for every cent they possibly can, from a $20 collection of Street Fighter IV costumes to ludicrously priced Beautiful Katamari levels that sell you the missing half of the game that’s sitting on the disc just waiting for the blip of code that lets you play what you’ve ended up paying for twice, but with Fallout 3 I am a truly a willing victim.

This was easily one of my favorite games of 2008 and the staggered releases of new content in digital form this year acted as a delicious excuse to dip back into this marvelous game again and again when otherwise I might have quit playing it long ago.

Sure a bit of smoke starts to come out of my ears when I think about the details, price versus playtime versus the original game and that sort of thing, but that’s not the point. If I’m going to be gouged for DLC, and trends point to this very much being the way of the future, this is the way I want it to be done. Fallout 3’s extra content provided perfectly good excuses to go back to a great game while giving me new stories, weapons, and areas to consume, all in an extended time frame that never threatened to wear out the game’s welcome.

For adding even more value, exploration, and replayability to an already packed game, Fallout 3’s downloadable content makes my Honorable Mentions list.


The House of the Dead: Overkill

Truth be told, The House of the Dead: Overkill doesn’t really have the depth, longevity, or overall level of polish necessary to give it a really strong recommendation. Still, months after I’ve played it I still can’t help but smile as I look back at the time I spent with it.

The game is really short and has a lot of technical glitches, but its saving grace is that it marries perfectly entertaining, if unoriginal, rail shooter gameplay with a sublime, campy B-movie atmosphere and one of the most amusing, profanity-laden scripts I’ve seen in a game this side of something like Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Quite simply, the outrageous story and absurd amount of cursing will probably having you so entertained that you won’t mind that the gameplay is a little bland.

As long as you’re not offended by profanity, that is. 

For providing a hilarious trip through a series of campy movie setups while shoving an unhealthy amount of curse words at the player, The House of the Dead: Overkill gets an Honorable Mention for 2009. Pick it up if you find it at a good price somewhere. Oh, and make sure to bring a friend.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2 gets a special mention from me here because it’s a game I really wish I had played more of in time for this list. The two or three hours I played of it were so amazing that I almost considered giving it a spot anyway, but I didn’t think that would be fair. I am certain, however, that were I to have played more of it, Uncharted 2 would easily have made the final cut. I’m not sure what would’ve gotten the axe to make it fit, but I know Uncharted 2 would have been there somewhere.

From the gorgeous graphics to the well-written dialog to the unbelievable animations to the likable cast of characters, this game just seemed to do everything right. It’s a shame I didn’t get more of this finished in 2009 because it just might have been my favorite game of the year if I did.

As an apology for doing the game a disservice and not playing more of it in time, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an Honorable Mention for 2009.

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