Modern Warfare 2, Arkham Asylum, Assassin’s Creed 2, Uncharted 2, Left 4 Dead 2.

What do all of these games have in common?

Vast, all-enveloping advertising campaigns. In magazines, on the radio, the TV, the big screen, and even billboards and buildings.

Modern Warfare 2 Poster

What else? Reviews that can’t not be biased.

How many reviewers have conveniently glossed over a frankly awful monetary system in Assassin’s Creed 2, that the graphics in the modern day are worse than most release titles, or the fact that it’s almost as repetitive as the first?

How many fail to mention the preposterous zig-zag story of Modern Warfare 2, that characters are hugely inconsistent, and that the environments are as absurdly varied as Super Mario Bros or Gex?

On to the games themselves.

How long are they? MW2 – five hours. Uncharted 2 is about eight, and Arkham Asylum? Twelve. Not exactly lengthy affairs, are they?

How many of them have winding narratives that don’t really explain anything? Well, you can answer that one.

Anything else? Oh yeah, they’re only five of the most successful games of 2009.

Why? You have been reading, haven’t you?

Tell a gamer to like something, and he sure as hell will love it. Tell him it’s the best game of the year, and he’ll tell his friends it’s the most under-rated title on the console. What did you think the advertising campaigns were for?

In the past year, the gaming industry has become little more than a manipulated market. Companies spend money telling the world their game is the best, and gamers buy it. No questions asked. Companies that don’t? Well, there’s Eternal Sonata, Dark Sector, The Darkness, Too Human…

Dark Sector

No one likes J-RPG’s any more, not because they’re outdated, but because the reviewers say they are. Platformers? Childish. Unless they’re Banjo Kazooie and Jak & Daxter, obviously. And why has FIFA become the undisputed king of football? Nothing to do with advertising, I’m sure.

If 2010 is anything like 2009, I fear for the future of the video gaming industry. Of course, it will be. Final Fantasy XIII, Mass Effect 2, Gran Turismo 5 and Bayonetta have already seen to that.

What happened to the likes of Shadow of the Colossus, Canon Fodder, Psychonauts, XIII and Digital Devil Saga, anyway?