Winner: Red Dead Redemption
The weathered plains of the Wild West proved a far cry from the vibrant streets of Liberty City but, whether horse riding through Mexico, knife-fighting grizzly bears, hunting Cougar or hog-tying criminals to a railway, Red Dead Redemption was every bit as exemplary as Grand Theft Auto and never ceased in being totally riveting, even when you weren’t really doing anything. Boasting a poignant story, pulsating world, mind-blowing sound design and a seemingly infinite well of content (both on and offline), Red Dead Redemption is, by a stretch, our game of the year. Someone email Rockstar.
Runner Up: Rock Band 3
A new instrument in the form of the keyboard took prominence but sat alongside a cavalcade of new features that helped blur the boundaries between videogames and real life instruments. Features including a range of pro instruments, vocal harmonies, an improved music store, a revamped in-game menu system and, finally, drop-in/out functionality.
If ever there was any doubt that Harmonix was a studio wrought with talent and passion before Rock Band 3, such misplaced doubt was obliterated with its release. Now somebody buy it.
Runner Up: Bayonetta
Back at the start of the year I wrote: “Platinum has set a standard so high it’s hard not to gaze out over the rest of the year without a hint of dismay”. In hindsight the standards set by Platinum Games were rarely reached.
Bayonetta sent Kratos, Dante and every other hack & slash icon crying back to mummy with its dizzying cocktail of combat, tongue in cheek humour and staggering visual design. Establishing Platinum as a developer with a pedigree, the 3D hack & slash has never been better and we’re still salivating over the prospect of a sequel.