2009 was a great year for gaming, as all the end of year list features around the Internet will attest to. But it was a year when games came out in bunches, rather than really spread out across the whole twelve months. Unfortunately, this meant that some games got missed out on, especially with so much emphasis on the blockbuster titles in 2009, leaving the smaller games on our wish-lists squandered. We’re always looking to the next big thing, counting down the days until the next big shooter launches or that role-playing game that will consume all those hours. The gaming industry moves at such a pace now that leaving some games behind at release often means that that it will be some time before you get the chance to play them. This happened to me with several games last year – these are the five games of 2009 I most regret not playing.
Murasmasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
After attending a gaming event last year, I had the opportunity to play through two levels of this side scrolling fighter played out across beautiful hand drawn 2D graphics. Everything about Muramasa flowed wonderfully, each swing of your sword cutting through enemies like a proverbial hot knife through butter. However, perhaps more interesting was the two different types of swords to use, Blade and Long Blade. The former used for swift, agile attacks while the latter for long, arching swings – great for taking down groups.
Muramasa reminded me greatly of bygone days, its old-school concepts and play style mixed in with traditional storytelling and longevity. I knew it was going to be great – so why didn’t I play it? Quite simple, really: it took too damn long to come out here in the UK and when it did finally arrive in November it was surrounded by the blockbuster Q4 titles, and if of course got forgotten about. I may indeed never experience Muramasa, as we sadly no longer have a Wii.
Persona 4 (PS2)
There’s a very simple reason why Persona 4 is on my list – well, a few actually. First off, I’m a massive RPG fan. Secondly, I adore the madness of anime. Thirdly, the hype; Persona 4 won so much acclaim from so many sources, high review scores across the board – and who can forget Giant Bomb’s endurance run? With so much Internet babble about P4, I desperately wanted to dive in and play it – I even picked up a PS2 just to play it.
Everything about the game seemed astonishingly detailed, from trips to the school to the ‘TV World’. The characters are truly fleshed out, with the inclusion of Kanji representing one of the first characters in gaming history to be actively struggling with his sexuality. Persona 4 is an important game, one that I would have played but for it being ridiculously long. With so many other titles coming out in 2009, and a family to tend to, Persona 4 was one commitment that I had to let slip past. One day, I’d like to hunt down P4 and play through it, but I fear I may never have the time that this game so deserves.
Killzone 2 (PS3)
Killzone 2 looks stunning. I remember playing the demo, shooting a cushion on a chair and watching the feathers fly out and float to the ground. I was amazed that this title was coming out, finally the killer shooter for the PlayStation 3.
I’m sort of cheating with this one, as I’ve actually played the first two levels – in fact, Killzone 2 is sitting in my ‘to play’ pile of games. I did enjoy my initial experience with the full game, bar one thing: motion sickness. Back in 1997, playing Doom on my PlayStation triggered the same horrible motion sickness and only a few games have ever done this since. Unfortunately, Killzone 2 was one of them.
I wanted to enjoy the drama, the sheen of the environments, the power of the guns, but it was not to be. Even the more mild sections made me feel like I was on a rollercoaster – not the good kind. But Killzone 2 is the game to finally push me into finding ways to deal with this motion sickness, and I hope to jump in to the carnage as soon as possible – shame it’s almost a year after release.
The engine behind Scribblenauts amazed me from the very first announcement. Clearly, it was an ambitious beast. The ability to write an object down and have it drop into the game world stunned me, particularly when the staggering word count of 22,802 was released.
Initial videos of the game showed a star on top of a tree and the hero using a variety of objects to get it down. From that video on, my mind was brimming with ideas of how I would get the star down. I knew I could just use a ladder or maybe a beaver, but I wanted to try dynamite, an axe, any manner of bizarre object just for giggles. The child me in wanted to mess around with the engine, find strange combinations and tell the world about them. So why didn’t I pick it up?
Scribblenauts came out in the US five weeks before it hut UK Shores, and by that time I’d heard most of the funniest moments through Twitter. I had also heard about the glitches and poor controls. That hasn’t stopped me from wanting to experience the game for myself, but the excitement has gone.
Demon’s Souls (PS3)
Demon’s Souls has to be game I most regret missing out on in 2009. Why? Twitter again, that’s why. There isn’t a day that’s gone by since the release of this apparently brilliant game where I haven’t seen a tweet about just how brilliant it is. The reason I haven’t played it is relatively simple: it hasn’t made it to the UK yet. I didn’t really want to take the chance of importing it, especially with Christmas around the corner, but this game has teased me from its release.
Another game lauded by critics to be one of the best games of 2009 and the UK doesn’t get a sniff of it. Every screenshot of Demon’s Souls looks dark and disturbing, much like the apparent difficulty of the game. Even the cover of the game is deliciously brooding. I enjoy a challenge and Demon’s Souls sounds like it would fit the bill, but the real challenge here in the UK has been watching everyone play through it and marvel at how amazing it is, leaving me to pine over an eventual copy that I will one day own.