The Platinum Chalice Awards 2009

The best games of 2009, as chosen by the infallible geniuses at GamesRadar

Surprised? So are we.

Arkham Asylum should not have been good. At all. For overtwo decades, we lamented the lack of a truly fun, truly faithful Batman game, but to be honest, we always secretly understood why developer after developer disappointed us. The character and his universe are simply too unique, too complicated and too beloved to do any real justice. You’d have to be a miracle worker to create the perfect Batman game.

Or you could just finish your damn homework first. The team at Rocksteady Studios clearly put a ton of thought and research into their translation. The Dark Knight does more than punch, so they successfully combined combat, stealth, exploration, gadgetry, puzzles, flight and, yes, even detective work into one cohesive – and superb – style of gameplay. Batman stories are supposed to be smart, so they sought out the best Batman writer in recent history. Movie stars never take videogame voiceover work seriously, so they hired fan favorites from the adored ‘90s animated series instead. Comic lovers will focus on every detail, so they packed their world with as many subtle nods, hidden references and rewarding Easter eggs as possible.

The end result is much, much more than the perfect Batman game. Arkham Asylum is the greatest superhero game ever produced, and easily one of the best licensed products we’ve ever played. It was also a wholly original experience compared to the many sequels we considered for this award.

Most importantly, Arkham Asylum raised the bar. By treating the source material with such reverence and the fans with such respect, it defied industry expectations and shattered our cynical assumptions of how a game like this should turn out. If someone can get Batman this astoundingly right, anything seems possible. No more compromise. No more excuses.

A word that describes the entirety of Uncharted 2: dense. It crams in set-pieces one after another, it stuffs amusing dialogue into the spaces between cutscenes, it overloads the environment with vibrant details, and it keeps piling on new ideas. It singularly has pushed the action genre forward by squeezing so much awesome into its disc that very little left behind resembles the common notion of what an action game is supposed to look like. The first Uncharted was essentially a polished and well-executed Tomb Raider knock-off, but Uncharted 2 has carved its own identity so deeply into the action genre foundation that we’re sure to see a slew of “me-toos” rolling out as rival publishers attempt to jump on Nathan Drake’s flaming, cliff-careening bandwagon.

Just in case we got it all wrong, we asked you, the GR readers (officially the most handsome and intelligent readers of all game sites) for YOUR Game of the Year. Through polls both in our forumsand on our Twitter page, the answer was not surprising in the least.

Above: The winner!

GrrSnort: “As good as Assassin's Creed 2, Borderlands, Battlefield 1943, Left 4 Dead 2, and Shadow Complex were, my vote is going to Batman: Arkham Asylum. It was the only game this year that I've run through 5 times without getting sick of it.”

Above: Runner-up!

Ravenbom: “It's just such a well paced campaign and pretty fun multiplayer. It really doesn't do anything that other games haven't done before, but what it does, it does incredibly well.”

Disagree? Let your voice be heard in the comments, and by all means, please play one or both of these genuinely outstanding titles.

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