It’s time. The year is near its end and we’ve awarded the best games of 2008 their proper respects. What’s the best RPG of the year? How about the best first-person shooter? Find out our thoughts at the jump.
The Best Games of 2008
Best Action/Adventure Game: Expectations where high for Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV, and though it lacked things such as motorbikes at launch, Rockstar is still expanding on the game with the upcoming The Lost & The Damned expansion. The story for the fourth GTA was different from others. Those who’ve played previous games just to blow things up and shoot mindlessly at pedestrians where now playing this game for the story, because it drew you in. The beautifully crafted recreation of New York City in-game is marvelous and playing as Niko throughout the city is a grand experience.
Runner Up: Prince of Persia
Best Downloadable Game: Sure, Soulja Boy didn’t like it, but what’s his opinion really matter anyway? Number None’s Braid features the artistic design of a beautiful waterpaint painting, and the emotional story we’d all love to hear. Whilst a puzzle game at the same time, Braid has us finding puzzle pieces and distorting time. Certainly a downloadable game none of you should miss.
Runner Up: PixelJunk Monsters
Best Family Game: Rare certainly took a chance when they released Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts for the Xbox 360. The game, while innovative, was different from its predecessors from the N64 era, causing some fans to turn away from the game, but drawing many old fans and many new fans to the franchise. The complex but fun vehicle creation system always makes you come back for more and want to be even more creative. It’s certainly a game the whole family can enjoy.
Runner Up: Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise
Best Fighting Game: Sure, Namco Bandai’s SOULCALIBUR IV was a great game, but it doesn’t compare to the Capcom’s downloadable Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. The beautifully remade 2D graphics and awesome environments along with the support of our favorite fighters such as Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li basically guranteed this title for the best fighting game this year.
Runner Up: SOULCALIBUR IV
Best FPS: DICE released Battlefield: Bad Company this year and it was a comedy of a first-person shooter. We don’t mean that in a bad way, obviously. The game combined fun play along with a solid online component, and a lot of humor mixed in between. Along with that, DICE have even released some free updates. Keep them coming!
Runner Up: Call of Duty: World at War
Best Graphics: Gears of War 2 almost made best shooter if it wasn’t for Hideo Kojima’s work of art, but it did have the graphical edge. Gears 2 ran on the Unreal Engine 3 and produced some of the best graphics seen this generation. Its beautiful textures makes it a shoo-in for best graphics of 2008.
Runner Up: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Best Innovation: DICE released Mirror’s Edge as an FPS that dared to be different. Instead of moving with a gun, ducking, and shooting, you did just one thing: run. Adding parkour into a first-person shooter was the most innovative thing to happen this year, and discouraging the use of guns in an FPS is the second most innovative. So I guess it’s a first-person runner?
Best Music Game: The battle between Guitar Hero and Rock Band is like the battle between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You’ll always have one side saying that they are superior. This year, we think that Guitar Hero: World Tour took the superiority. Perhaps it’s the fast action that Hard and Expert bring to our breaking fingers and the higher variety of notes. With a great selection of tracks, a custom song creator, and plenty of fun, Guitar Hero: World Tour takes this year’s best music game.
Runner Up: Rock Band 2
Best New Franchise: Media Molecule revealed LittleBigPlanet to the public at the Games Convention last year and it immediately sparked the interests of gamers and journalists. The game’s Sackboy characters and level design were an attraction that sucked us in. The fact that you can build your own characters, or “build your own world” as Sony marketing has stated, then share it online and allow other gamers to play your creativeness, is a unique feature all its own.
Runner Up: Mirror’s Edge
Best Online Game: This recently released Call of Duty: World at War from Activision may have brought back World War II, but the game also brought a solid single player campaign. However, it was the online component that really gave everyone their moneys worth. The online features a perks and ratings system as well as six multiplayer modes. Its similarity to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is what earns it this year’s best online game.
Runner Up: Left 4 Dead
Best Platformer: LittleBigPlanet isn’t only the best new thing to hit this year, but it’s also the best platforming game to hit as well. It’s a simple concept, really. You run through the stage, collect glowing bubbles, and sometimes race against time. That, surrounded by beautiful, most of the time custom-created environments makes LittleBigPlanet the best platformer this year.
Runner Up: Braid
Best Puzzle Game: Sony brought out echochrome as a simple, but entertaining concept. Turn the board to manipulate the image and get the little guy where he needed to be. Oh, how fun it turned out to be. With user-created levels being added on later as an expansion, the fun just continued. The game could get quite challenging at times as well. But that’s a puzzle game for you, am I correct?
Runner Up: LUMINES Supernova
Best Racing Game: More than meets the eye is usually a phrase we’d see with Transformers, but it applies to Burnout Paradise as well. Criterion released their racer in January this year and it was great from the start. However, Criterion did not think it was great enough. They continued to support the game through free game-changing updates adding motorcycles, new races, and more. They’re continuing the support with a new island next year as well as airplanes. Now that’s a best racer.
Runner Up: GRID
Best RPG: Never thought a western RPG would make it as best RPG, did you? Bethesda Softworks released Fallout 3 this year and its success was no surprise. The RPG packed with shooting elements, a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., V.A.T.S. aiming, perks and upgradable stats was more than enough to please any RPG fan. With so much to do in the main quest and so many side-quests, we’re happy to award Best RPG to Fallout 3.
Runners Up: Tales of Vesperia and Fable 2
Best Sandbox Game: To describe the amount of things a player could do in Saints Row 2, we’d have to start by discussing the things we couldn’t do. From spraying human waste on city streets, to being a bodyguard for celebrities, to being a fat transvestite in a ninja outfit, to filming a Cops-esque show, Saints Row 2 features everything you could possibly want in a sandbox game, despite how immature and stupid it could be.
Runner Up: Far Cry 2
Best Sports Game: Sony’s MLB 08: The Show was sure-fire to take this year’s best sports game when it released. The game features jaw-dropping player models, amazing animations, a solid online component, and one of the best single-player modes you’ll find in a sports game. It’s near perfect, we’d say.
Runner Up: NHL 09
Best Story: From the remains of the Springvale Elementary School to the remnants of the human society, broken highways and desecrated towns, brought on by the nuclear apocalypse, everything, every single little detail in this bleak vision of Washington DC tells a story that rounds out Bethesda’s Fallout 3, and constantly reminds us, life isn’t easy in the wasteland.
Runner Up: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Best Strategy Game: Sega began production on Valykria Chronicles as an Xbox 360 title but later switched the game over to PlayStation 3. The visually stunning appeal of this game is enough to draw the heaviest strategy fan in, and tossing in the unique gameplay, which combines traditional turn-based RPG elements while giving us direct control of our troops, we got a best strategy game for this year.
Runner Up: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Best Third-Person Shooter: As expected, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots takes the cake, if not two cakes, for this year’s best third-person shooter. Combined with stealth, action, and Solid Snake, MGS4 is the next-gen experience all fans have been waiting for. Kojima Productions’ masterpiece features Snake, Meryl, and an epic ending that makes us question whether or not there won’t be a Metal Gear Solid 5.
Runner Up: Gears of War 2
The Biggest of 2008
Biggest Disappointment: There was just too many expectations on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. We hoped it would be the ultimate force-wielding Star Wars game to be released. However, what we got were a bunch of glitches and clunky controls, making this the most disappointing title to hit this year.
Runner Up: Too Human
Biggest Surprise: We didn’t expect it and we were sure as hell nobody else did, except Microsoft that is. Microsoft took E3 when they announced at their press conference that Final Fantasy XIII will be releasing on the Xbox 360 at the same time as the PlayStation 3 version in North America and Europe. This marks the first time a storyline Final Fantasy is released on the Xbox.
Runner Up: Phil Harrison Leaves Sony
Game of the Year 2008
Game of the Year: What didn’t you understand about the word, “masterpiece”? It’s truly a work of art. Finally finishing off the Metal Gear Solid story, Metal Gear Solid 4 cleared up the rest of the series, in one epic PlayStation 3 title. The boss fights are fights are fights to be remembered and the epic conclusion battle is one we played over and over. The whole game was just so amazing that even hiding in a box excited us. We can only hope that Kojima drops his word and develops yet another Metal Gear Solid game.