5) Tales of Vesperia (PS3) - Vesperia, Star Ocean, and Final Fantasy XIII were the great JRPG avengers of 2009. Of the three, Vesperia was the only one that didn't disappoint. On PS3 it's bigger and better than ever, with a surprisingly strong cast of characters and tons of content. Vesperia takes all of the staples of the JRPG genre and does them well. Battle arenas, bonus dungeons, item creation, combat, costumes, side quests, minigames – it's all there and it's all loads of fun.
4) Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon (PS2) - For three years now we've been predicting the death of the PS2 and for three years we've been confounded by games like Devil Summoner 2. More engaging and innovative than most of what you'll find on the PS3, Wii, or 360, Devil Summoner 2 combines an old school noir detective story with classic SMT demon summoning. Thanks to a revamped real-time combat system, fighting alongside our favorite SMT demons has never been more fun.
3) Demon's Souls (PS3) - I scored this one way too low. Demon's Souls has rightfully earned its reputation as one of the few breakout hits of 2009. With so many franchises hitting their fourth and fifth installments on seventh generation consoles over the last couple of years, Demon's Souls surprised everyone by throwing convention to the wind and just kicking gamers' asses. It's a beast of an RPG with more enjoyable combat than most big name action games.
2) Infinite Space (DS) - Quite possibly the most epic game of the year. Rivaled only by Final Fantasy XIII in terms of story, Infinite Space is that rare RPG that actually deserves a word like 'Infinite' in its title. Whether you're customizing ships, battling space pirates, setting up tactics, assigning positions for officers, or cruising uncharted solar systems trying to pick up chicks, Infinite Space never stops being a blast. There aren't enough games like this. It's hard to believe this is on the same console that brought us Nintendogs.
1) Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition (Xbox 360) - I missed the boat on Fallout 3 last year and only got into the GOTY edition last month just before I started FFXIII. The two games are a study in contrasts. With no revolutionary graphics, a sparse soundtrack, no cut scenes, no half-hour dialogues, and practically no set story at all, Fallout 3 instead gives you one thing that few other RPG's even dare to try: Total freedom. In how many other games can you rob, murder, and eat every single NPC you meet? Certainly not in anything by Square Enix. Endlessly replayable even without all of the added content, Fallout 3 is a sublime piece of software. I don't plan to finish this one any time soon.
Best New Franchise – Borderlands
Best Soundtrack – Final Fantasy XIII
Best Gameplay – Fallout 3: GOTY
Best Graphics – Final Fantasy XIII
Biggest Surprise – Demon's Souls
Best Story – Final Fantasy XIII
Best Handheld RPG – Infinite Space
Best non-RPG – Bayonetta
Biggest Disappointment – Final Fantasy XIII
Most Anticipated for 2010 – End of Eternity / Final Fantasy Versus XIII