Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Review


Top 3 films of 2009


It’s Pixar.

The above two words should be sufficient an explanation of why this film is in my top 3, but if I were to add to that and say that it is likely the best Pixar film to date, then you know where I’m coming from.

This film had me in tears twice within the first 10 minutes, and this is from a children’s CGI film! It was also great being able to take Elliot to watch it in 3D in a very fine cinema in Canada, which also added to the experience.

Truly and without a doubt in my mind, the best film of 2009!


This is not a perfect film, in some ways it’s a little too faithful to the graphic novel and in other ways it’s not faithful enough.

Whilst I do not miss the squid, I do miss the scenes of carnage which follow the reveal of the squid in the graphic novel, especially in light of the fact that the hundreds of dead bodies seen include some minor characters which you have grown to love. It drives home the consequences of the “villain” in the story. This was missing in the film and as such, the ending lacked its punch in my opinion. Apart from that the rest of the film was fantastic, with the best moment being in my opinion the Dr Manhattan segment, which was mesmerising.

It’s a bit of a shame that the film was not more successful, but then again, it is far from your typical super hero movie, so it’s not too surprising that it didn’t have the appeal of Spiderman or The Dark Knight.


Okay, so technically this film did not come out in 2009 (I believe it was released in the cinema in 2008), but I only got the chance to see it in 2009 – so it’s on the list.

This is my regular foreign top film of the year (in the last 5-6 years at least one of my top films has been foreign, either Korean or Spanish), in this case it is a fantastic Spanish POV camera film in the same ilk as Blair Witch, Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead, only so much better than all of them. At its most basic it’s a zombie move based in an apartment block, but it is made all the more effective by the way in which it is filmed. Also the ending based in the penthouse is especially chilling.

There is a sequel due out shortly to this, which I am looking forward to, which follows on directly from the original film. I just hope that it is in the same league.

Notable mentions (for good or bad)


If only for the last 20 minutes of the film which really were wince inducing and utterly disgusting (and this is coming from me). I dare any man to watch the film and not feel the slightest bit physically sick.


Very, very nearly made it in my top 3 films of 2009. A film which showed that low budget, intelligent sci-fi could be a million more time effective than big budget sci-fi rubbish (transformers).

A film which is lead by an incredible performance by Sam Rockwell, which, if there is any justice in the world, land him with an Oscar come 2010 (although in all likelihood this will be ignored). A fantastic and moving sci-fi film which has all the qualities of the classic sci-fi films of old.

Slumdog Millionaire

So deserved its Oscar in 2009. A great return to form by Danny Boyle.

District 9

Again a low budget sci-fi film which was so much better than its bigger budget brothers and sisters.


Top 3 games on 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Undoubtedly the best game of 2009.

The first Uncharted was a fantastically fun game, but the sequel just builds upon this so much, fixing all the small issues from the first game and adding so many new fun elements. Never before has a game felt like an exhilarating action summer blockbuster.

I have played through the game three times and have unlocked all the trophies (Ha Ha Crushing level – I spit in your direction) and I never got bored. A combination of witty dialogue, great set pieces, a mixture of adventure, combat and exploration just draws you back into the game again.

Best of 2009, best on PS3. Just fantastic.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

In many respects this has many similar play styles to Uncharted 2, and I also got the game at the same time as Uncharted 2 (i.e. my birthday).

This is, without doubt, the best superhero game released on any system so far. Batman has always been ripe material for games, but for one reason or another, no developer has been able to properly do the character justice until now. Again, like Uncharted 2, it excels in its presentation and particularly the dialogue and graphic departments. I also like the way that combat and stealth elements are used in the game.

Fallout 3

Again technically this came out late 2008 and not 2009, but I didn’t buy it until 2009 – so added to my 2009 list.

I just loved the freedom available in this game and also the fact that it was a game that gave you morale choices which were not entirely black or white (or at least not all the time). You could even at times play both sides against each other, or complete objectives by alternative ways (my favourite has to be talking someone out of an entire quest).

I also enjoyed the post-apocalypse setting with a tinge of 50’s paranoia.

I ended up sinking around 70 hours into this baby, maxed out my level and managed to get my first platinum in any PS3 game.

Notable mentions (for good or bad)


It looked gorgeous, but got repetitive – quickly.

The Conduit

I had high hopes for this, but in truth it ended up being nothing more than a sub-standard shooter, with graphics not as good as it believed they were and a control scheme that still wasn’t as good as Metroid Prime.

Pokémon: Platinum

For introducing me into the world of Pokemon – which, to my surprise, I found I rather liked!

The Beatles: Rock Band

I love the Beatles and I also enjoy Guitar Hero / Rock Band type games and as such, this was always going to be a marriage made in heaven.


Okay, a few notable events in my life during 2009.

- I have enjoyed a relatively healthy year, after the last 2 where I seemed to have suffered with various ailments. Luckily, this year, things have gone rather well.

- During this year I have undergone a fair amount of training for work, which has been quite hard going, and has also required a fair amount of studying away from work. All the same, I think that it has been a valuable experience.

- Because of my work training, I have also travelled a lot during 2009 to London, and for quite a while in the summer I was over in London at least once, if not twice a week. As such, I managed to get the opportunity to go to the cinema on a regular basis during my trips which was great, as UK based cinemas are a vast improvement on our local flea pit.

- I enjoyed a fantastic holiday away in Canada (Toronto and Niagara Falls) with my wife and Elliot. It was the second time to Canada with Rox, but the first with Elliot, and also Elliots first big holiday and he thoroughly enjoyed himself (and is still asking if he can go back again).

- I was proud to attend Roz degree ceremony in London earlier in the year.

Okay then… Roll on 2010!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Christmas

I hope that everyone (Santa included) gets a chance to play with all their presents :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Braid & Rubber Soul

So Braid is out on the Euro PSN as of today.

It’s a game that I really want to play (it was one of the few games on Xbox Live that I was envious of – that and Geometry Wars), but unfortunately it is a little badly timed, as I’m still playing Uncharted 2 on Crushing and Pixel Junk Shooter. Add to that the fact that Christmas is just round the corner. As such, Braid will just have to wait a little bit. I’ll likely pick it up early next year.

Also out today on the PSN is the Rubber Soul DLC for The Beates: Rock Band, which I will be downloading ASAP. I’m looking forward to giving it a go tonight, as some of my favourite Beatles tracks are on Rubber Soul.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Most anticipated games of 2010

I know I haven’t posted for a long time….. but…..

Here is a list of the games I am looking forward to in the coming year, from 10 to 1 (1 being obviously my most anticipated):

10. Bioshock 2 (PS3/360)
I have some reservations about this game, as I do not believe that a sequel was really needed to Bioshock. Also the multiplayer seems a little unnecessary. Time will tell.

9. Dragon Quest IX
I’m looking forward to getting to grips with this epic DS JRPG when it is eventually released in the west.

8. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii)

This looks like it will make good use of the Wii and I also like the way that your game is tailored by your own psyche.

7. Heavy Rain (PS3)

I rather enjoyed Fahrenheit initially, until it started getting a little silly, Heavy Rain, however, looks a lot more grounded, so hopefully shouldn’t have the same issues that Fahrenheit suffered from.

6. Metroid: Other M (Wii)

I have no idea how this game will turn out, but all the same, I’m a fan of the series and this certainly looks like an intriguing change after the Prime series.

5. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii)

No More Heroes was a fantastic (if bonkers) game and a highlight on the Wii. I have no doubts that that is will even more fun.

4. Red Dead Redemption (PS3/360)

The more I see of this, the more I like the look of it. Yes it may turn out to be little more than GTA: The Western, but is that a bad thing? I was one of the few who actually really enjoyed GUN when it was released, so this should be my cup of tea.

3. Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/360)

There are only a few more months to go now until this is released. Part of me is a little disappointed that the same system from XII hasn’t been carried forward into XIII and instead it has opted for a more traditional battle system, but it still looks great.

2. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Without a doubt the original was the best game on the Wii so far and also the best platforming game of all time. I just hope that the sequel does not lose any of the magic.

1. The Last Guardian (PS3)

Go Team ICO!