Kotaku AU Games Of 2009: #4

The countdown of my personal picks for the best games of 2009 is now entering the home straight. Last week I revealed the first half, now we're moving into the top five. At #4 we dream of what lies outside our dreary apartment window...

4. Flower (PS3)

Flower is a minimalist masterpiece.

For me, it's about the journey. Tentative at first, you feel your way around the unusually barebones controls. Quickly you gain confidence and soon after you're soaring and swooping across the fields, giddy with delight.

Confidence turns to carelessness. You're in love with your new-found power. You're seduced by the thrill. You rush headfirst down one-way canyons, flying with reckless abandon down paths you can never retrace. You forget about consequences, about repercussions, about what happens when that power grows to control you.

Inevitably the master becomes the slave. Your freedom is lost and in its place you find yourself punished at every turn. You no longer swoop and soar, but creep and cower.

Flower's metaphor is obvious, yet it remains extraordinarily potent in its telling. And it does it all without a recognisable story or character, without a single word being spoken.

While the denouement may be banal in its sentiment, there's no denying the surge of triumph you gain in that final stage. Redemption and the promise of a new beginning can be exhilarating. Here it's life-affirming.

Kotaku AU's Games of 2009 are my personal picks for the best games of the year. I make no claim to have played everything released this year, nor do I pretend to be any way objective in my rankings. I look forward to debating my choices with you in the comments.


Comments

    Very glad flower got a mention :)

    I was first lured in purely given it's (or something simlar's) appearance in the first PS3 tech demos, but to actually play it... and to witness how the 6axis can be used? Sat down and played this game start to finish the moment I bought it.

    A pleasant gaming experience, originally bought it for my girlfriend, went back to it in the past week and have collected all the trophies.

    #1 PSN game, glad to see it in the top 5

      Nice evolution of Flow, but #1 PSN game?

      I'd rate Wipeout HD and Tekken 5 higher.

    I've heard so much good things about this game, it's a shame that I don't have a PS3 :(.

    Good to see an indie game break ANY top ten of the year list, nice to know the little guys can still clash with the titans

    Very nice choice... It really was an enjoyable experience, they even threw in a few secrets to find at the same time.

    Fully agree about the last level, it is a triumph as you brethe new life into the city... it's almost 'de Blob' like... ;)

    This was the one that I couldn't pick, as I assume that Uncharted 2 will be in the list, and quite confident of the final two... so I'm guessing...

    #3 - Uncharted 2 : Among Thieves
    #2 - Assassin's Creed 2
    #1 - Batman Arkham Asylum

    :D

      Yeah, those games are all looking pretty likely to be in Dave's Top 10. He loved Asassin's Creed 2 (maybe not as much as Far Cry 2) so I'd switch Assassin's Creed 2 with Batman: Arkham Asylum for the #1 spot.

      But what of Borderlands and Demons Souls? Its possible either could sneak in there also.

        Borderlands was number 10

          Really? Hmm.. Not sure how I missed that ;)

            Really? AC2? I didn't think all that much of it to be honest. I mean the storytelling was good, the little glyphs and puzzles I think were really great. But the actual gameplay became a complete bore to me. All I ever did was run around rooftops with parkour, which we'd all done in the first game, and get into some fights with soldiers. The actual gameplay of it felt just like what was in AC1.

            The upgrading of weapons and armour were a nice touch, same for the villa upgrades, but felt a little tacked on.

            Ultimately I think this AC was even more repetitive than the last just because most of the missions felt exactly the same.

    haven't heard about this, but it sounds good.

    Flower is still a game that stands out for me.
    when you first start playing you cant tell how much investment you have in....well the environment.

    I found myself getting goose bumps during the final stage ending.

    It was more of an experience than a game, so to speak.

    A must play for all gamers, even just to know how a game can affect you in such an odd and different way.

    I think this game just shows us that a game doesn’t need a huge budget, the flashiest graphics, or a star voice cast to be something people appreciate. Infact you don’t need a huge team of programmers, all you need is a few Uni kids and a little imagination. Apparently Sony signed them for 3 games, first we had Flow then Flower, I can’t wait for the next one. Sony would be bloody idiots not to sign these guys exclusively again, but i think it will cost them tenfold what it did before these two games.

    OK, I'm sold. I've been thinking about getting this for ages, this and Pixel Junk Racers. But cos i haven't been able to play a demo of either, I have been skeptical. Also the price is a concern as i've heard it doesn't take long to finish.
    If i feel i've been ripped off its on your head.

    Excellent choice. Flower is an experience, as well as a game. If I were ever to introduce someone to gaming, I would use this as their first title. It's easy to use, beautiful to behold, and leaves a lasting impression. Perfect!

    My initial thought when I first heard about this game was (hmmm, a game about flowers, sounds a bit fruity).
    But eventually I decided to give it a go and I'm glad I did.

    I thought it was a very simple to play, enjoyable and well put together game. You definitely come away from it looking at things differently.

    That being said, there will always be people that don't like it.

    I copped shit off my mates and even my girlfriend for buying this, but I think its fun. Might finish it off this weekend, if my missus doesn't tease me about it too much.

    Pay that. Terrific little game.

    Damn... I thought I was the only one who got value out of Flower

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