I have a confession to make. I've not actually played Dragon Quest IX. Well, that's not technically true - I did spend a few minutes on it, back in September. It looked very nice. So why has it ended up as my game of the year?
Games have been attempting to make us feel like we're exploring a living cartoon for a large part of the medium's history, and some have achieved spectacular results. The Wind Waker-style Zeldas seem more suited to their expressive, beguilingly childish look with every instalment. Level-5's colourful, lively worlds are often bursting with animated verve, whether in Dragon Quest and Rogue Galaxy's animé cel-shading or Professor Layton's more laid-back but equally distinctive style.
This week we've already guided you through the coming year's hot picks for Indie and Esoterica and Sports and Music games. Still to come are Fighting, Strategy, Action, Adventure, Shooters and Racing. But today we're looking at two sectors with the same dice-rolling roots that are heading in more than two different directions in 2009 - role-playing games (RPGs), and massively multiplayer online games (MMOs).
Dragon Quest series