The Games of 2008

The Games of 2008

I’ll be doing some “Best of” lists over the holidays as I do every year when I look back on the year that was, best comic, best website, best gadget, and best movie are still to come, but this one is an absolute no-brainer.  The best game for 2008 in my opinion totally ran away with it.

Let’s look at a few stats.

  • It’s the only game that I’ve played OVER 80 hours on.
  • It’s the only game that I continued to play regularly 10 months later
  • It’s the only game that I’ve bought for both systems
  • It’s the only game that had totally game-changing downloadable content.

The game of the year is…

Burnout Paradise

(cue applause!)

My other favourite games of 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV
This could have been game of the year for me if it weren’t for Burnout Paradise.  I played it for around 80 hours, which in itself is pretty great.  I also had a lot of fun online.  The story was really good (though not as “life altering” as some people would have you believe).  Gameplay was fun, and the controls were solid.

Little Big Planet
This was the game that got me to buy a PS3.   Okay, that and the Blu Ray player.  There was a lot of hype around this game, and I think there’s still a ton of potential for it if the video for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid pack is any indication (YAY now with paintball guns!).  I still have to figure out a lot of the physics behind how to attach things to walls and such, but the level editor part is a really fun game in itself.  I really need to get a second PS3 controller so I can play it with Char and unlock even more stuff.

Fable II
A good game, but incredibly short.  I think I finished it off in about 10 hours over the course of two weeks.  There were quite a few bugs that made it through, and there’s a lot of missed opportunities in this game (not the least of which is the lack of a “photo exporter”, there’s no way to get a shot of my character outside of the game).

Rock Band 2
More songs, more options, more Rock and Roll!  I have to confess though that I don’t find this line-up of songs nearly as compelling as the first games.  This is also one of the only games I know of that is way more fun in a group setting.  I’ve played it solo only a handful of times, but every time we play in a group (either with the UFC crew, or at work) it’s infinitely more fun.  There are features about the game though that are just not documented, such as the website’s great ability to do screen grabs of your characters!

The Force Unleashed
LucasArts’ new Star Wars game was a ton of fun.  It was short enough that I could finish it in a week’s rental, and the story was better than the last 3 movies.  There were also a couple of bugs in the game that nearly forced me to quit it outright.  On a couple of occasions the game froze on me, and on three different occasions I got stuck between a rock and a tree in an area that I couldn’t jump out of (because my feet weren’t touching the ground).

Biggest disappointments of 2008

Sony Playstation Home
I realized while wandering around a virtual town waiting in line at a virtual video console that I can barely tolerate humans in meatspace, why would I like them more in virtual space?  I left Home and have never returned.

The PS3 in general is a console that’s about 3 years behind the curve.  Sure it’s got cutting edge graphics, but the Nintendo wii is a more mature online competitor than the PS3.  The Xbox lapped the PS3 again this year by launching “the new Xbox experience”, and even though the 360 is plagued with hardware problems, it’s still the platform I’d recommend to people.

Mercenaries 2
Buggy, buggy, buggy, and buggy.  I’ve played about 4 hours of Mercs 2 so far and encountered no less than 6 bugs.

Wow…this game sucked so much that it’s not even funny.  Fight Night Round 3 might be one of my favourite games on the Xbox 360, it was definately a game that convinced me to move from the old Xbox to the 360, so this follow up from EA should have knocked my socks off with its more casual approach and cartoony characters.  Only problem is that they got rid of the one thing that made Fight Night Round 3 fun…the controls, and instead replaced them with button mashing combos.

Games I didn’t get to play (but really want to):

This was a record year for games I haven’t had a chance to play.  The fact that I now own 2 systems hasn’t really increased this list by much because frankly the PS3 exclusives haven’t been all that compelling (I was pretty much done with Metal Gear back 2 sequels ago, and Resistance looks like Gears of War light).

  • Gears of War 2
  • Dead Space
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
  • Fallout 3
  • Call of Duty World at War