2. Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC): The best line I heard about Arkham Asylum–and I wish I had coined this, because I use it all of the time to describe it–is that it is not a Batman game, it’s a Batman simulator. You, the gamer, play as Batman, and for the first time ever, you feel like "I am the night" Batman, which in turn makes you the night. Trippy, I know, but it’s true. You spend more time in the shadows and sneaking up on your enemies then you do outright attacking them, which is how Batman should be. The story in Arkham is a step up from many Batman comic books, which is not the kind of thing we’re used to in the video game world–source material tends to beat out the game version when it comes to licensed products. Rocksteady went all out by bringing in famous Batman voice actors, including Mark Hamill, who may have outdone even the late and great Heath Ledger with this performance. These actors helped make the story and setting feel even more like Batman–are you sensing a theme here? Rocksteady created a product that fits into the Batman universe as well as any comic, television show, movie or other form of media, which is a welcome first, and they did it all while crafting a wonderful stealth-action title that would have been worthwhile even without the Batman license. –Marc Normandin

Rocksteady built a truly excellent game. You've played it...right?

1. Demon’s Souls (Playstation 3): It is a love letter to years long gone. It is, at times, brutal in its difficulty. It’s a blending of genres that we do not see together very often. It’s an experiment in single-player/community play. Demon’s Souls is many, many things, but most importantly, it’s the best game you will play from 2009. While many titles seek to teach you through tutorials and hand-holding, Demon’s Souls teaches you with death. You learn to live by dying, as your deaths impart lessons on you as to what you should not do should you want to continue living. That’s the thing with Demon’s Souls: it’s not so much hard as it has a very specific set of rules that apply to its game world–namely, it wants you to think and act realistically. At least, as realistically as you can with sword-wielding skeletons, 30 foot tall demon knights and giant, killer spiders involved. If you let the game’s thought process become your own, you will survive–reject it stubbornly, and you will fail. What you will experience by following these simple rules is glorious though, as From Software has crafted a world gone mad, one full of demons and death, that needs to be experienced in its entirety by anyone who fancies themselves a gamer. Those who wish for a little more adrenaline, feelings of horror, helplessness and dread, or on the flip side feelings of joy unmatched by other titles in those moments when you do something right, need look no further than this masterpiece. –Marc Normandin

Its difficulty will punch you in the face, record it, upload it to Youtube, and make the world watch.

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About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

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