Dec 16, 2008

The Year in...Videogames

Comparing videogames is tough. Are exclusives better than games availabe on multiple systems? What if I only have a PS3/XBox 360/Wii? Are console games better than their portable brethren? What about PC games? Who cares? If you played any of the following games (and there's one for every system), you were guaranteed a great time. (Note: Gaming is very subjective. I'm not a big fan of sports games, any game that emphasizes multiplayer over single player, or Grand Theft Auto. Natch, you won't find any on this list.)

5. Devil May Cry 4 (PS3/XBox 360). This horror/fantasy series has it all. Super-fast, bloody combat; big, big boobs; and gorgeous, hi def action. Don't worry if you haven't played the first three; you will as soon as you finish 4.

4. Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Wii). Not as addicting as GameCube's Melee, but Nintendo's "shouldn't work but it does" brawling mashup matches everyone from Mario to Solid Snake in fisticuffs. Kirby's the man!

3. Fallout 3 (PS3/XBox 360/PC). I'd grown weary of Final Fantasy-type, high fantasy RPGs, but Fallout 3 is no Square. As a survivor of the nuclear holocaust, you traipse across the most fully-realized post-apocalypse ever. You can choose to be good or bad. I went for a Mad Max sort of anti-hero, refusing to hurt the innocent but prepared to kill anyone who asked for it. Absolutely absorbing.

2. Bioshock (PS3). This PS3 port would have been number 1 had it not been available on XBox 360 and PC for a year. Atmospheric. Immersive. Frightening. Imaginative. Compelling. Bioshock is the greatest original game (i.e. not from an established franchise) I've played in years.

1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3). MGSIV would have been the year's best film were it not the year's best videogame. (David Hayter gave the super-heroic performance of the year.) Creator Hideo Kojima nailed the concluding chapter to the greatest videogame story of all-time. The mythology behind MGS is as labyrinthine as "Lost" and a lot cooler. (The downloadable Metal Gear Solid Database is complete and compulsive. I'm spent hours divesting it of its secrets.) The only knock on it is that it's almost as interactive as a movie. In other words, you spend a lot of time watching rather than playing.

Honorable mentions: Dead Space (EA has a new survival horror hit and a potential franchise goldmine); Resistance 2; Spore

Best Value (unless you own a Wii or PS2): Rock Band 2/Guitar Hero: World Tour (PS3, XBox 360, Wii, PS2). Who doesn't want to be a rock star? Either of these games can make those dreams come true. And with new DLC dropping every week, these are the games that keep on giving. If only they'd add more Journey and KISS.

Biggest Disappointment: Little Big Planet (PS3). Jinx may disagree, but he got to play the damn game. I tried two copies and couldn't get either to work.

Best Non-game: Wii Fit (Wii). Get fit and have fun.

Best Handheld Game: God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP). Kratos kicks ass on any platform. You dig?

Downloadable Content (in other words, if you don't have it, buy it now):
4. The Last Guy
3. Mega Man 9 (PSN/XBox Live)
2. Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People (WiiWare)
1. Rock Band/Guitar Hero: World Tour (PSN/XBox Live). Take your pick. There's something for everyone. Except your cousin who only likes country. And that guy at the local record store.


  1. Great Post. MGS definitely would have topped my list, because it's so damn FUN! I dig Lil Big Planet, but it seems to hate your console!

  2. No sports, multi-player or GTA? Why not just rank colors not of the blue or yellow family of hues? It'd be just as challenging.

    Kidding - I loved the post. But GTA4 would probably make my list of best and I'd only have 1 on faves: NCAA (insert current year's addition here). And, I should know, because I love playing my xbo......oh, crap.

  3. I would also add Mario Kart Wii to the mix. I still think it is an amazing game, especially including the older courses and jazzing them up.