What's Killa Blog's Game of the Year? (Pretty obv, when you look back.)
(Please keep in mind these are games I've played and were released in calendar '09. Bioshock and Resistance 2, for example, are not eligible.)
GAME OF THE YEAR: Street Fighter IV
Huge game especially for fighting fans, really rejuvenating the tournament scene in a big way. I personally spent hundreds of hours playing, and am eagerly awaiting the Super update this spring. Why so popular? People love a good Street Fighter, and Capcom went the right direction, bringing in everything great from Super Turbo, learning from the mistakes of III, all while combining graphics and an art style that updated the franchise.
Compared to MGS4, the game that ultimately trumped Fallout 3 for 2008 KB GOTY, '09 proved to be more of a competitive year. Fighters dominated my playing time, and therefore, Killa Blog.
BEST NEW CHARCTER DESIGN: Luna Himeki (VanPri)
Vanguard Princess's provocative, futuristic gunslinger takes the cake. Stiff competition from the likes of SFIV's Rufus, BlazBlue's Ragna the Bloodedge, Tekken 6's Alisa and L4D2's Coach, but a true gem shines through. Terminal Emission Libery Art FTW.
BEST NEW ENEMY: Freakin' Chainsaw Guy (RE5)
Ah, the Freakin' Chainsaw Guy from Resident Evil 5 got a lot of chatter on KB earlier this year. I don't think any enemy presented such a monument to mechanized equipment and close-quarters terror.
BEST NEW LEVEL: Dead Center - Atrium (L4D2)
Oooh yeah. The opening campaign of Left 4 Dead 2, while primarily indoor, is a great contrast from the original L4D that showcases the more colorful and open environments, the clever use of vertical space, and the realistic, often humorous attention to detail.
The final stage is the Scavenge segment, tasking players with collecting gas cans to fuel a stock car on display in order to make an exciting escape. The Atrium is so well designed that it plays great after dozens of rounds and is eagerly anticipated by survivors and special infected players alike. Total classic.
BEST NEW GAMEPLAY MECHANIC: Saving Attack (SFIV)
AKA the Focus Attack in North America, pressing medium punch and kick simultaneously will execute this technique that significantly consolidated the landscape of Street Fighter. Why 'consolidated'? The Alpha series' Alpha Counters, SFIII's parries, Guilty Gear's Roman Cancels, and Namco's unblockables all rolled into one. Yes, the Focus Attack is a revelation.
Street Fighter IV is so playable because of its take on its own fighter heritage. Eliminating air blocking could have returned the SF world to a jump-punishing dark age, but the Focus system accomodates more modern styles of ground fighting, particularly zoning and poking, allowing walking speed and backdash attributes to flourish as character strengths.
Sorry for the late arrival. Figured now or never. Thoughts?