2009 was the first year I could pretty much start buying any game I wanted, as little Stu gets himself a job. And yet I really struggled to think of games I felt were important to me that I got in this year. But after a lot of soul-searching I finally decided on another game...
It was a complete impulse buy. Usually that means I play it once or twice then forget about it for about a year. Not with Bioshock. I bought it for about £8, popped it into my 360 and by the next evening I had finished it. BioShock is probably the last game I can think of that had that effect on me, usually I get distracted or self-aware of how long I spent playing a game at a time. But I was just so enthralled at the world of Bioshock, the story and character development, the music, the atmosphere and just everything about it was just great. Even as Mr. I-Don't-Like-FPS' (though that just applies to multiplayer ones...), I thought the gameplay was excellent with the 'plasmids' offering a nice variation.
Rapture remains one of my favourite settings for a video game, honestly I can't think of much more I like better. I was excited to re-visit Rapture for Bioshock 2, but alas, it didn't have the same effect. For me, that's just a testament to how good Irrational Games handled the first game. If you haven't played it, you can probably get it pre-owned for a few quid. I assure you, it's worth every penny.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
One of the most polarising games ever to be created. One person may think it's an over-written abomination of a game, while another person may think it's one of the best games available for the Playstation 3. I'm in the second camp, this is still my favourite PS3 game. Though I couldn't afford to not like it...I bought a PS3 just to play this game. Let me explain...
I was six years old when I got a demo of the original MGS along with a football game. I tried playing it and I just couldn't. I didn't know how to kill the baddies, I was running around like an idiot and I declared it to be impossible! This was the first room of the game. Eventually an older friend (by two years) showed me what to do, but I still didn't touch it. No, it wasn't until I was eleven when a friend of mine lent me MGS 2: Sons of Liberty. I probably played on Very Easy, but that was fine because I actually loved the game. Except near the end when the 'Colonel' goes mental...that part legitimately freaked younger me out. Eventually I braved through the rest and finished it.
I got Snake Eater not long after it came out in 2004, and it is still my favourite MGS game. Again, Very Easy, but I wasn't good at games then (I'm still not, but I can get away with Normal now!). Not long after this I FINALLY got the original and played through it. Metal Gear Solid was on it's way to replacing Final Fantasy as my all time favourite game series. And yet I had to wait two years after it's release to play MGS 4. In that time I managed to avoid 99% of the story spoilers (and I misread the other 1% anyway). And you know what? It's a great game. Yes, the cutscenes get a bit ridiculous and the story is Hideo Kojima at his most...uhh...Kojima-ish. But the actual game is loaded with features and little details that most players won't even notice.
For all the crap the MGS, and Kojima's team, get, they do put a lot of effort and time into making the actual gameplay a rewarding experience. In this game they just throw weapons at you, meaning by the time you play 'New Game+' you'll have at least twenty ways to incapacitate your enemy. I'm going to stop here before this turns into a thesis on how good I think MGS 4 is.
Basically, fans of the previous games (including 2) should like it and people who don't like MGS won't be convinced otherwise.
Next: We save the galaxy, shine a light on some demons and put a ban on heroes again. Wait, that's three games, what the hell, Me?