Whichever way you look at it, it's been an absolutely barnstorming year for videogaming. From rocking out with John, Paul, George and Ringo to leaping across Venetian rooftops like a Renaissance Sébastien Foucan, whether you were smacking around The Incredible Hulk's Brazilian brother with a hadouken or scoring from the halfway line for Barcelona, there was a fantastic game this year for everyone. Nintendo showed the world that even when working in two dimensions they were still better at modern platforming than anyone else, Trials HD gave us a glimmer of the fiendishly difficult yet unhealthily addictive gaming of years gone by, and BioWare casually dropped an almighty leviathan of an epic into our laps.But, fantastic as they all were, none of them quite reached the dizzying heights of the top three.
Battling it out once more, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2 were both exceptional games. The Dark Knight's latest interactive outing was a triumph of atmospheric detail, bringing a vision of Batman's world to life in every twitch, flicker and nuance, much like Christopher Nolan's films did for Bruce Wayne's legacy on the silver screen. A masterpiece of originality, it certainly deserves it's place in the top three. Meanwhile, Nathan Drake's latest and greatest laid down the gauntlet to every developer out there as a glittering example of what was possible if you really pushed the PS3. Naughty Dog perfected and polished every aspect of the original and the result was an absolute masterclass in cinematic game development. Stunning to look at, even more impressive to play, gaming had rarely been this exciting.
Before the final flourish, we'd like to say a big thank you once again to everyone who voted, and a general one to the games industry for being so very on form this year. Here we go...
Ladies and Gentlemen, your Game of the Year 2009:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
No other game this year kicked up quite as much of a fuss as Activision's mega-hyped FPS, or so extremely divided opinion amongst the masses. It seemed that, much like Marmite, you either loved or hated Modern Warfare 2; but, for better or for worse, Kotick and Co.'s antics worked. It was name on everybody's lips, in every paper and on every website. It's marketing was cynical and heavy-handed, but the audience responded by buying it in droves, and the critics went absolutely mad for it.
There's no denying the game's power as well as its popularity. The most frequent criticism of it was that the main campaign it was far too short, and it was a fair one. But what was there was a finely honed piece of blockbuster entertainment, all killer no filler, fast-and-furious action. Like the best rollercoasters in the world, it was an exhilarating ride that got the heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing like no other game this year, and also made several people a bit sick.
But the singleplayer was only ever really one third of the game, throw in the fantastic Special Ops mode, and a multiplayer that felt crafted rather than simply tacked on and pushed the phenomenal Borderlands for the highest accolade in that area this year, and Modern Warfare 2 reveals itself as a game with incredible longevity.