11:53 AM - December 2, 2010 by MMChrisS
Gold: MLB '09: The Show
The long-term success of any baseball game is based around the perpetual nature of the pitcher-batter duel, and MLB 09: The Show nailed that aspect. Working the count, painting the outside corner and sitting on a fastball all felt quite fitting in MLB 09. In fact, you could even pitch the ball according to the signs the catcher put down. Beyond that element of the game, the sheer amount of in-game cut scenes added an incredible amount to the game. While a player shooting a snot rocket out of his nose has nothing to do with realism, it certainly adds another layer that player attributes alone can't quite nail. Of course the AI also played a major role in the realism. AI pitchers seemed to learn from what you were trying to do, and each game had a different feel to it because the CPU tried to keep you on your toes at all times. Simply put, MLB 09: The Show defined realism.
Silver: NHL 10
Board play and 360-degree passing were major developments in NHL 10, but Tuner Sets were what made NHL 10 great. The developers found a way to create a great game out of the box but then constantly improved upon it with tuners. These were not "patches" but rather simply tweaks that could be made by the developers on the server side of things. As users made recommendations or complained about certain things in the game, the developers were able to tweak and play the game without having to go through a long "certification" process. By the end of 2009, gamers were playing a title that had been tuned and calibrated to such a fine degree that it was hard to figure out what should be changed next. The day more developers start including "Tuner Sets" in sports games will be great moment for all gamers.
Readers Choice': MLB '09: The Show
It seems there was a tie in the Most Realistic Game of the Decade category -- between MLB '09: The Show and the rest of the field. The Show received 50 percent of the votes, which means it simply ran away from the rest of the pack. None of the other games in this category received as much love from fans, making MLB '09: The Show the choice between the staff and the readers.