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I've heard some people refer to me as "that guy who hates all games," which I think is very unfair. I dish out a lot of stinking bile in the regular course of Zero Punctuation, but occasionally, and especially in the wake of videos like my 2009 awards, it apparently bears repeating that I do like games. You see, if I truly hated games, I just wouldn't play them, and let them enjoy their societal disease in peace. I rip on games because I see potential being squandered in mediocrity and "safe"-ness. I'm like a tyrannical matriarch who demands perfection only out of love for her terrified children.

But I can understand how this makes it hard to tell if I'm just hating on something out of principle or if I'm hating on it because I want to see it killed and burnt and buried under inner city redevelopment projects, so in the spirit of clarification and awards week I'd like to take a look over 2009's releases and list the ones that, while not as good as Arkham Asylum and despite what I may have said in the course of their individual reviews, are still well worth checking out for yourself. That's right - I'm going to be nice for once. For everything I don't mention in this list, just assume it sucks the pus from a burn victim's blistered cock.

House of the Dead: Overkill

Sega's current approach to the whole House of the Dead property appears to be to throw their hands up and say "Just do whatever the fuck you like, we don't care." This has led to some very strange games, and this very good one as well. Overkill was an unexpectedly hilarious Grindhouse-style parody of zombie games, with comedic interplay between two ridiculous protagonists that made it all a joy to play. Put it on at a party and I guarantee you'll make new friends.

But on the other hand: It's still just a rail shooter, and a pretty unchallenging one. And it's still on the Wii, so at the party you'll have to take a few shots to show all your new friends that you're not a pussy.

Infamous

In an industry increasingly saturated with sandbox games that don't really get how to pull a sandbox off, the first of the year's supervillainy twins showed everyone how it's done. Interesting and varied sidequests with (crucially) an actual gameplay benefit to playing them, grinding along telephone wires, and zapping the testicles off psychic super hobos. Both this and the next game also illustrate a growing maturity in videogame storytelling, concentrating a little more on characters with some actual humanity, rather than just being a load of minced beef piled into a power armor suit.

But on the other hand: The sandbox fun aspect was constrained by the rather poorly-implemented morality system that I wasn't a fan of. And the main character's voice sounded like he'd been smoking since the womb, which must have made his mum very unpopular at aerobics class.

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