Game of the Year 2009 Nominees - What Should and Shouldn't Be There - Dylan Snyder Blog -
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Game of the Year 2009 Nominees - What Should and Shouldn't Be There


Recently, Spike announced the nominees for the 2009 VGA's.  These titles were:

- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

- Left 4 Dead 2

- Assassin's Creed 2

- Batman: Arkham Asylum

I'm a bit frustrated at some of these picks.  Right off the bat, I'll say that Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2 are here rightfully.  The other three, honestly, have no business being anywhere near the top prize.  Let's get to the reasons why.

For Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, I am perhaps the most upset.  Halo 3: ODST has received quite a bit of complaining over its relatively short single player campaign (Which clocks in at an average 6-7 hours if you're lucky, maybe less).  However, MW2 seems to be getting a pass from many of the same people who denounce ODST, even though its campaign is now infamously short (4-5 hours).  Why?  Because the Call of Duty brand doesn't receive the same level of "It's way over rated and overhyped" complaints that Halo does.  Fair enough.  But look at other similarities between ODST and MW2.  MW2 introduced Spec Ops - an incredibly fun cooperative mode involving you and a friend completing objective based missions on various levels.  ODST introduced Firefight, where up to four friends work together to fend off waves of enemies.  Both feature terrificly crafted multiplayer, that offers almost limitless fun.  Both are the two highest played franchises on Xbox Live.  Both have short campaigns.


Many people call ODST a quick cash grab that was rushed to steal people's money.  ODST was in development for at least two years.  MW2 was also in development for two years, but you don't see anyone calling that an expansion pack.  Yet again, this is because of the general assumption that Halo is "Overhyped".  I'm not here to comment on either games quality.  That is subjective, and should remain so.  However, I also don't like hypocrites, and that's exactly what people are being when ripping into ODST for doing things exactly as MW2 is doing them.  Since ODST isn't a GotY nominee, Modern Warfare 2, for the exact same reasons, shouldn't be either.  Multiplayer Game of the Year?  Sure.  But not the top prize.

As for Left 4 Dead 2 and Assassin's Creed 2, let's completely ignore the fact that both have been out for less than a week.  For Left 4 Dead, a game that is almost entirely meant to be a multiplayer experience should not be anywhere near Game of the Year.  Yes, there is a story, but never is it meant to be the focal point of the game.  Many people will say that it doesn't matter, because Left 4 Dead 2's gameplay is so brilliant.  Yeah, it is.  And it was less than a year ago, when Left 4 Dead 1 came out.  It's not innovative, and doesn't change nearly enough of the first games formula to be considered truly "new".  Again, this has nothing to do with a games quality, but sequels like this (And ODST.  And Modern Warfare 2) shouldn't be up for Game of the Year.


For Assassin's Creed, at least it has a little more going for it.  The first AC was a bundle of great ideas that were never really executed too well.  Most people, since it was announced, have hoped that the sequel would rectify this, and really deliver on everything the franchise should be.  And it did.  Assassin's Creed 2 corrects most of the mistakes that its predecessor made.  That's perfectly fine.  It just doesn't feel new or particularly exciting.  Had games like Scribblenauts, Dragon Age: Origins, and Infamous not come out this year, I might have agreed about its placement.  As it stands however, I think giving it a nod over non-sequel games, that are honestly just as efficient, is a bit disappointing.

In my humble opinion, this is what the Game of the Year 2009 nominees list should look like:

- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

- Batman: Arkham Asylum

- Infamous

- Dragon Age: Origins

- Scribblenauts

Hopefully you guys understand where I'm coming from.  I don't dislike those games that I've removed from the list.  Hell, I love all three of them.  But they really don't merit being called Game of the Year.  Tell me what you think should have been nominated, but wasn't.

  • I also loved Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box this year, but as I said above, it didn't do nearly enough new to really merit being nominated.

  • Eh, Scribblenauts is sort of a big disappointment. And I'm already tired of the love inFamous gets.

    I'd say it's more like: Uncharted 2, Batman, Borderlands, Punch Out!!, and Brutal Legend (fanboy pick).

  • Well Firefight is based off of Horde mode in Gears 2 so Bungie did kind of stole that idea. MW2 does deserve to be there cause it is a masterpiece and it'd be hard not for it to be a nominee. Is it overrated? I don't know everyone has their own opinion but for my opinion, it's not.

  • @Ethan

    I would have agreed with you on Borderlands for awhile, but Ive lost interest in it rather quickly, which is unfortunate.


    Fair enough, I won't tell you you're wrong, because you're entitled to your opinion and I respect it.  It's just that for me. MW2 didn't do enough to be there.  Also, yes Firefight is like Horde in that you're fighting waves of enemies, but the strategies and tactics involved, and how you play them, are vastly different.  MW2 has Spec Op missions that have you fighting off waves of enemies, but I wouldn't call that a Horde rip off either.

  • Personally, I don't think Infamous should be in contention. If this was out of ten games then possibly but not when there's only five games to choose from.

    Your case for MW2 is logical enough I guess, same with L4D2. Which is why I wouldn't put Borderlands in contention as its similar in L4D2 in that both stories are nothing special, I would put Borderlands in over L4D2 but that's just me.

    I'll disagree with you over AC2 about it not belonging on the list. It's deserving enough IMO. They fixed all the problems with the first one and turned it from a B game into an A that competes with the other games this season.

  • AC2 certainly deserves to be there the most out of the three I would remove.  As you put it very well, they turned if from a B game to an A game.  I would be willing to relent on that one, for sure, more so than the others.

  • The difference between ODST and MW2 is the fact that ODST took all the visuals and everything else from Halo 3 and just changed around the modes and added firefight.  MW2 bumped the visuals completely from the original as well as changing/adapting many things.  

    That being said, it's a fanboy pick but I'm surprised that there is no Killzone 2 on there.  The game was certainly high enough rated, and the only contention with it in the visuals is Uncharted 2.  

    Don't forget though ratings matter a lot, and I'm sure if you look at Gametrailers (the game company that is in league with if not diretly under spike) you'll see exactly why ODST is not considered for game of the year.  

  • Because I can't edit:

    That being said, honestly Uncharted 2 should win this.  I won't be surprised in the least if MW2 does but Uncharted 2 deserves to win at least a few game of the year awards.

  • MW2 is well made, plain and simple. It doesn't have as much graphical glitches and slow down as ODST, everything just works in the end. The multiplayer is more balanced, has more customization and it isn't the exact same thing as the previous game, unlike ODST, which is nearly the same as halo 3.(except you have less health and you can't jump as high)

    I honestly think you're not saying it deserves GoTy because it's so popular. If it didn't have CoD in the name, it sure as heck would be in your list.

  • I agree with you 100% percent man.

  • I like halo, but ODST is NOTHING compared to MW2.  Call of Duty actually has a different, better multiplayer, and spec ops is way more varried compared to Firefight. Not to mention the campaign is way better than ODSTs.  I agree that L4dead 2 dosnt belong and infamous is great, but MW2 does belong.

  • Not to mention ODST only has what, 2-3 new maps? For 60 bucks? Yeah right.

  • Those are some very interesting opinions you put out there. I like 'em. B:AA is my favorite game this year, and THE ONLY ONE! on the GOTY list that is NOT a sequel. Hence, it should win for sheer originality in a field of 2s. =)

  • I'm glad MW2 is so popular.  I love games in general, and enjoy seeing them succeed.  At the same time, I don't think a games monetary success should particularly factor in to its Game of the Year chances.  

    I would also like to disagree that MW2 features HUGELY improved graphics, and ODST doesn't  They're both more polished versions of the previous entries, graphically.  

    Sure, MW2 has plenty of new multiplayer maps and options.  That's great.  It should be considered for Multiplayer Game of the Year.  However, the single player was a bit of a mess (Certainly not worthy of top honors) and felt more like an episode of 24 than a real world conflict (Which is what CoD 4 was).

    I'm not in this to undermine MW2's success, or argue that Halo trumps MW2 in every possible way.  I just don't see it as a masterpiece - just a very, very good game.  In a year of EXTREMEly good games, it just doesn't belong in the top 5.

    CoD 4 would have been in my list two years ago, and had MW2 been exceptionally better, and brought forth the same level of innovation that made its predecessor so successful, it would definitely be there.  The CoD moniker doesn't really factor in here.

    Let me finish by saying that I appreciate the opinions guys - this is a really fun discussion.

  • Meh, Scribblenauts was very creative, but the Controls SUCKED. A Game of the Year needs the full package, and Scribblenauts was good, but not good enough. (If Scribblenauts had used the D-Pad though, this would be a different story.)

  • I totally agree that the D-pad would have been the better option for movement.  I can't count the number of times that I tried to interact with something from a distance, only to have my little guy run over there and get himself killed.

    That said, I still had a delightful time with the game.

  • I have to agree with what most of you are saying as well. ACII and L4D2 are just way too soon for a nomination. Great games but the anticipation for MW2 was large and I was just blown away by Uncharted 2. I was sad that Killzone didn't see any love but it's alrite. It's still a good game. And yes Scribblenauts would have been WAY better with D-Pad support.

    My one gripe, was Batman. It was alrite but not Game of the Year status for me.

  • @Mark

    Fair enough.  The biggest complaint I've heard on Batman from associates is that there's not too much reason to go back.  The Riddler challenges are only fun for so long, and challenge rooms aren't that challenging.  It still stands as possibly the greatest Batman title ever though.

  • I'm going to input my opinion in this:

    First of all, I agree with you...for the most part. The fact that MW2 is a nominee kind of irked me, it's story was disappointing to me, and it did not tie in well with the first one to me at all. Not the fact that it was short, that didn't bug me as much, but the fact that it was just incoherent. MW1 was WAAAY more realistic, I mean, sure, maybe they wouldn't of nuked themselves in order to halt an invasion, but there were none of the


    lame "twists" the second one had. Seriously Sheperd? That was one of the lamest endings I've seen in a long time, the premise was alright, some Russian madman using an American as a scapegoat to wage war, but the rest of it was lame. It was like a bad B-List movie.


    While I enjoy the MP a lot, that is not reason enough for me to feel like awarding GOTY to MW2, for like ALL FPS's KNOWN TO MAN, they age poorly, GOTY should be a testament of how video games have progressed, and they should represent us. I do not think MW2 does this for us.

    L4D2 has some chops, but I don't think it should be GOTY.

    AC2...I like this game. I think it could be a nominee, but I don't think it should win it (although I enjoy it greatly).

    Batman: AA is a true winner, wow, an incredible game, such a great setting.'s story didn't progress much, it never went much further than the Joker taking over the mad house. I would of liked them to of done more with that.

    Uncharted 2, is honestly my pick. It deserves it the most. It has the story, the MP element just for kicks, co-op, and in my opinion, how all sequels should be. Excellent. I put it down under all of those categories on the vote for GOTY.

  • Not to mention the amazing acting in Uncharted 2 - that script/those performances were unreal.

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