Best of 2008

sirchode: Best of 2008

List items

  • So glad I finally got to experience this. Over the course of my life playing games, I can list the story-driven first-person shooters I've completed on two fingers (Black for PS2 and Portal on PC, because they were short). No Half-Lifes, no Dooms, no Call of Duties, nothing. I can play Unreal Tournament and Battlefield and Counter-Strike with the best of them, but make it a linear haunted house of a shooting gallery and I'm out of there. Then BioShock comes along and completely flips that upside down, and I still look back and get a smile on my face as I think about it. I was so enveloped in the atmosphere and the gameplay and the art style and the feel of it all that I simply could not play any other game until I had finished BioShock. Any game that can completely change the way I play an entire genre has to get my highest props. It joins the ranks of Final Fantasy XII by completely ruining future and past games in its genre, so it's easily my top pick of the year.

  • An amazing game in nearly every way, each facet is so well polished and handled so perfectly. The cinematography, the nods to long-time fans of the series and throwbacks to earlier games, the completely streamlined and absolutely perfect control/stealth systems, the way the story wraps up in a way I never imagined possible, it's all there. I especially loved the way every Act of the game was truly a different type of stealth. Act 1 was the typical sneaking mission through patrolling guards' zones, Act 2 was all about complete and total silence while watching your own trail, Act 3 was about actively tailing someone while remaining stealthy, Act 4 was almost puzzle-like and Act 5 was about verticality. An amazing mix of contrasting types of stealth which I didn't anticipate but thoroughly loved. I'll also never forget the feeling of starting up Act 4, what a smile I had on my face. The only downfalls to this game were the boss battles, which I felt hadn't progressed nearly as much as the gameplay. The bosses each struck an incalculable amount of fear into my heart as I met them and prepared to fight them, but each of them had a really easy and traditional weakness or pattern which was a shame. With better boss battles this might have taken the original MGS's place in my list of favorite all-time games.

  • I can certainly understand why people feel short-changed by GTA IV after the sprawling craziness of San Andreas, but I simply can't forget the feeling of driving away from the Darko decision and feeling genuinely remorseful. About something I had done in a video game. I honestly felt like I needed to cleanse my soul and seek some kind of religiously authoritative and divine forgiveness. For something I had done in a video game. I couldn't stop thinking about it, there was no way to take it back no matter how much I wanted to, and once again that's something I never expected to feel from a game, let alone a Grand Theft Auto game.

  • This was almost the BioShock or FFXII of racing games for me, where it redefines what I expect from the genre. Problem is I already love racing games too much so I'll keep playing traditional ones, but this was certainly the best racing game I played (and played and played and played) this year. The seemingly endless content additions, the truly seamless online functionality, the amount of sheer fun it is even to do the same challenges repeatedly, the vast city to explore (and memorize), the individual races which are all truly individual, there is so much to this game that is head and shoulders above any other racing game out there. If I were stuck on an island, this is the one game I would want to have.

  • A wonderfully clever game. I loved the beat mechanic, I loved the strategy involved in picking your army for a specific battle, learning when to fall back or attack (and timing it right), it was just a joy to play. Easily my favorite PSP game this year.

  • I truly love Wipeout games and this was representative of the highest watermark of the series as far as I'm concerned. Ridiculous graphics, such fine-tuned controls, a great selection of tracks, awesome music, flawless online functionality, this one had it all.

  • A genuine surprise for me. I didn't expect this game to be as fun or as engaging as it was, but sure enough I had a downright blast with it.

  • Introduced some excellent new ideas into the franchise which carried over to Wipeout HD, but I really enjoyed this game's selection of tracks and the outstanding presentation. Again, another game which sucked me in until I felt I had completed it which compels me to give it a nod.

  • This one had its hooks in me for quite a little while there. My favorite PixelJunk game to date, for sure, because it was a truly new type of gameplay that I hadn't seen before and it was as addictive as crap. I hit a total roadblock on Garden 7, though, which is a shame, but I liked this one quite enough to have it on the list.