The Platinum Chalice Awards 2009

Every year we call out the prettiest games garnering the least amount of attention. Muramasa, a gorgeous Wii-only slasher released at the height of ODST’s marketing push, saw reasonably high reviews but has barely pushed 100,000 units in the US (and even less in Japan). With so many higher profile releases in the same season, most with a “2” and a massive budget, it’s not hard to imagine this stunningly animated beauty slipping through the cracks.

If you’re any kind of serious gamer, one who grew up on sturdy platformers or even recent action titles like Devil May Cry, or someone who appreciates visual brilliance, you really do need to spread the word. Games sites and internet polls all show the love, but the best way you express your thanks is to buy the actual game.

Hey, remember that bitch-hard NES game from 1989 about a blob that changed shapes when you fed him jellybeans? No? Guess you won’t be buying its lavishly animated, 20-years-late follow up, will you?

We already acknowledged Punch-Out!!’s stellar comeback earlier in the article. A key part of this successful return was its outstanding, culturally vibrant soundtrack. At most we expected the classic Punch-Out!! theme from the NES version to show up, maybe with some guitars or other added flair. What we got were 15 country-specific remixes of that tune, each laced with ethnic vibes taken straight from their boxer’s homeland. The result was a robust soundtrack that’s both exceptionally diverse and strictly for the fans.

Above: Soda Popinski’s proud Russian march gets you PUMPED

Above: Canada’s Bear Hugger loosens things up with banjos and strings

Developer Next Level Games knew it was on to something with this broad range of music, as it included every single remix as a reward for completing some seriously demanding challenges. The guys there knew we’d want to listen to this piece of work outside of the game. That’s how confident they were they’d done something memorable.

All GTAs are known for their music, so why should this be something we “didn’t expect?” Well, it’s a DS game with significantly less storage space that still produced five excellent radio stations with soulful, quality tunes. The PSP version added even more, making this an OST not to be missed.

As the game industry has matured, so too has its respect for the value of a good vocal performance, and over the years we’ve seen a shift away from characters voiced by monotone amateurs and hoboes paid in sandwiches, and toward bravura performances by competent professionals able to project range and emotion through their voices alone. Even a few big names have gotten in on the act, sometimes even with amazing results.

Above: A few big names

2009 in particular has been a stellar year for the art of voice-acting, with more developers than ever before paying careful attention to how their games sound. What feels like a record number of celebrities piled on this year, bringing us treasure hunters voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper, a barbarian roadie with the voice of Jack Black, Nathan Fillion as a space marine and even a full-on Ghostbusters reunion. Even some of the crappier games, like Eat Lead and Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, featured some surprisingly stellar talent, with the likes of Will Arnett, Jane Lynch and Patrick Warburton wasting their considerable charm on awful products. Of course, that’s not to belittle the efforts of lesser-known workhorse veterans like Nolan North (starring in seemingly every game produced this year) or Claudia Black, who’ve filled out roles more memorably than a lot of their celebrity counterparts.

Rather than recognize a single game or performance, we're going to use this award to highlight some of the contributions these actors have made to making games more immersive. And to celebrate the industry’s newfound dedication to easy-on-the-ears voices, we’ve put together the following clip reel. Watch and enjoy:

And without further dicking around, that brings us to GamesRadar’s game of the year…


  • deathrebellion - January 27, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    @ Ricohet3438 thats the UK/US english difference u dope
  • deathrebellion - January 27, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    cudn't agree with u guys more
  • Ricochet3438 - January 6, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    it drives me crazy when you ppl at GR spell wotds that should have z's with s's. realized for instance. read the thing for borderlands. it should be realized but instead they put realised. its not the first time theyve done it either. just because a word has an s sound dsnt mean tht it is spelled with an s. maybe tht hypothesis about videogames ruining your brain is correct. if so, GR is certainly proving it.
  • Anduin1 - January 6, 2010 12:18 a.m.

    uncharted 2 wasnt revolutionary? What game came before it that did what it did and garnered that kind of acclaim? Sure AA was good but game of the year good? HELL NO. Nobody even disputing if its good or not. All I know is gamesradar has forever lost the shred of credibility it had. They couldve put any other game in that place but when in a review you state that "x is better than Y" and then give y the prize, you lost.
  • racsonia - January 5, 2010 9:48 a.m.

    Idk y but at one stage i was thinking of not getting Uncharted 2 and shrugging it off, but now after it came runner up it sounds great, maybye the ads just didint do a good enough job for me?
  • sofaku - January 5, 2010 1:02 a.m.

    i cant say im not surprised. Arkham asylum is a great game but i dont know about game of the year. i think the onlything i really like about arkham asylum is the satisfaction of slowely taking out every enemy in a room and watching their heart rate rise. my pick for game of the year would either be MW2 or assassins creed2.
  • t3rry747 - January 4, 2010 4:20 a.m.

    sry 4 the twin post but 4 all you people saying uncharted is better than AA thats exactly what there say just that uncharted wasnt revoultionary it stuff every one has seen batman is the first good comic book game EVER!!!! read the article damn it
  • t3rry747 - January 4, 2010 4:09 a.m.

    wow im really suprised AC2 didnt win anything it was fantastic.
  • dante1924 - January 3, 2010 2:20 p.m.

    Sorry for another post, but EVERYBODY I know seems to think that all of these games are complete shit. Except for MW2, L4D2, and maybe Assassin's creed 2. For everything else, they all stare at me blank eyed, then talk about how stupid I am. I think I should print this list and show those fanboys who's right!
  • dante1924 - January 3, 2010 2:04 p.m.

    I tried spreading the word about Muramasa, just like you said, but everyone that I told about it said it looked stupid. That should be a crime! Also, it's not really related, but at nintendo world, I saw that you could play Muramasa! So I started it up, and it said that I needed the nunchuck to play. But there was none! So why the hell was it even on display? It's good and all, but if you can't play it, than why... Oh gamesradar, how you like to shoehorn okami into anything!
  • kevs223 - January 3, 2010 1:41 a.m.

    Damn...I can't believe Arkham Asylum won coz i really hate dis game(^^no offense for the players of this game) coz i think Assassin's creed is way better...
  • shinyscizor93 - January 1, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    Just got Batman Arkham Asylum, and I have to agree 100%. The most amazing game I've ever played. Great graphics, storyline, combat system, and unique boss battles (like Scarecrow levels) plus the accuracy from Batman's story make it one truly amazing game. Even the demo is so great it will make you want to go buy the game immediately.
  • oreomonkey - December 31, 2009 4:16 a.m.

    personally, Batman Arkham Asylum is garbage and boring no way is it game of the year
  • Anduin1 - December 29, 2009 4:15 a.m.

    and yea the whole review by you guys stating its better than AA is dumbfounding, looking real foolish
  • Anduin1 - December 29, 2009 4:13 a.m.

    Wow... uncharted beaten by arkham asylum? I mean Batman is prob my top 3 comic book heroes ever but Uncharted 2 was just epicness in gaming unseen as of that point. I can take that slight but "oh shit" moments in MW2? Are you kidding? The game played like a fantasy shooter with its ridiculousness whereas Uncharted 2 had real moments that could actually happen. Chopper on the rooftops, tank invading a village, moving through a train...vs snowmobiles and uzis, and what? I once read something real poignant about MW2. MW1 if it was a movie would've been directed by Francis Ford Copola whereas MW2 was a Michael Bay movie. At least you guys gave Demon's Souls some love, game doesn't get enough press imo.
  • Howetzer - December 28, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    phoenicks, excellent point! From the reveiw of Uncharted 2 in the section that GR puts in called is it better than... Batman: "Yes, just. And before you Batman fans get your knickers in a twist, let us explain. AA's combat system is fantastic and the world they've created around the Dark Knight is well realised, but it is relentlessly dark and bleak. The variety of environments and the aformentioned story-telling in Uncharted 2 snatches the victory." So can GR explain their way out of this one? Hrmm. I thinks not. Please though GR answer phoenicks question won't you? oh yeah and @LieutenantCipher, all I got from your comment is that I had excellent points, so thank you very much for that =). Peace.
  • phoenicks - December 27, 2009 4:09 p.m.

    Not for nothing, but the review for Uncharted 2 clearly states that it is a better game than Arkham Asylum. How, then, can Batman be the Game of the Year?
  • LieutenantCipher - December 26, 2009 11:34 p.m.

    I should have known that not even the Platinum Chalice Awards would be safe from fanboy rage, Howetzer and Crazyqazqaz, you two should be ashamed, both your comments are riddled with fanboy rage and you have 1 or 2 good points. As for you Gamesradar, I sense some serious Sony ass-kissing going on here, Uncharted 2 seems plastered all over this article in an uncharming way and Arkham Asylum wasn't nearly as great as you say it was.
  • secretsearcher - December 25, 2009 5:35 p.m.

    Really? Was Batman really THAT good? I haven't played it, and honestly, I don't intend to. I guess I just can't get past the "superhero games automatically suck" mindset. Oh well. Thumbs up for the Okami Award. Which reminds me. If you haven't yet, please buy Okami and play it. Please. Your life is not complete until you play this game.

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