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Best And Worst Games Of 2008

31 Dec 2008  by   Paul Younger

Instead of the same old “Top 10″ games of the year, we thought you, our more enlightened readership, would be more appreciative of what we thought were the best and worst games of this year.Our trusted reviewers have outlined the games they’ve enjoyed most this year, as well as the worst game of the year for them.

Feel free to comment, make remarks and even add your own best and worst games of the year in the comments section below and you never know, you might just be a part of our readers best and worst games of 2008 which will go live in January.

Tamer Asfahani

Best: Boom Blox (Wii)

This game combines all the great features the Wii has to offer.  Not only does it feel like a real party game where everyone can get involved, it’s also fantastic fun.  For a first outing in videogames Spielberg has offered family fun on a platform which wouldn’t necessirly be associated with destruction.  Fun destruction no less.  And if you’re not up for taking out the blox, then why not aim for some of the animal spectators in the background?  All good fun.

Worst: Too Human (360)

Considering Silicon Knights had been working on the story for around 10 years it’s only fair to say that an epic game of all proportions was expected.  Instead we were given a story and a game which made as much sense as Rumpelstiltskin, but lacked the narrative finesse of the aforementioned fairy tale.  Or any tale for that matter.  The game lacks soul and the gameplay is boring.  Hordes of enemies fill your screen, but hardly any of them present a different challenge.  Although some of the game’s forest-based puzzles are visually impressive, they’re pretty pointless.
10 years.  That’s the bit that I can’t get out of my head…with three years developing for 360.  Not good enough.

Andy Alderson

Best: FIFA ‘09 (Multi-platform)

In a year spilling over with AAA titles, FIFA ‘09 is perhaps not the most obvious choice for game of the year, but 2008 saw EA finally deliver a glorious middle finger to the perennially lazy Seabass. With lush visuals, realistic gameplay and the genre-busting Be a Pro mode (football meets RPG?), FIFA ’09 has barely been out of my disc tray for more than a couple of days.    

Worst: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (Multi-platform)

Spark Unlimited’s alternative history FPS is so bad that the confines of genre no longer seem appropriate – it could feasibly challenge Hollyoaks, tofu and the smoking ban for the title of ‘Worst thing ever.’ A decent idea (Nazis invade US mainland) is buried under layer after layer of half-arsed design and the result is about as enjoyable as smashing yourself repeatedly in the groin with a rusty hammer.

Jim Diaz

Best: Fallout 3 (Multi-platform) 

Bethesda takes its core Oblivion gameplay, adds V.A.T.S. targeting and packages it in a post-apocalyptic world.  If this is “Oblivion with Guns,” then I will take it since the end result is a highly entertaining and compelling RPG.   

Worst: Haze (PS3)

A heavily hyped shooter that was supposed to be a “Halo Killer” for the PlayStation 3.  That’s an insult to Halo.  This piece of dreg should be used in video game development as a case study on how not to make a FPS.

Spanner Spencer

Best: Boom Blox (Wii)

The Hindu god Kali is often branded as evil, but she’s the bringer of destruction and change – the redeemer of the universe, presenting us with the opportunity to improve through simple necessity. That’s what Boom Blox did for the Wii – it upheld Nintendo’s family friendly accessibility, and proved that destruction could be pleasant. Also, square sheep are funny.

Worst: GTA IV (Multi-platform)

To be fair, the game was fine – to begin with. But it became impossible to enjoy due to the suggestion that it was the perfect game before it was even released. GTA IV became the gaming equivalent of the Oscar nominees – its position acquired through the media’s fear to disagree with an assumed general consensus. It forced me to resent it, and soon there was nothing left to enjoy.

Peter Parrish

Best: Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden (PC)

Few games are funny. Even fewer are funny all the way through. Which is why this b-ball inspired indie production is the best of ’08, ahead of Left 4 Dead. A vicious parody of JRPG titles, internet subculture and overly serious narratives – plus an outstanding soundtrack. It’s free: go and slam with the best.

Worst: Assassin’s Creed (PC version)

Not a terrible game, certainly, but one overflowing with missed opportunities. PC owners waited six months for a port and got crappy escort missions plus the same old problems. Entertaining rooftop antics, ruined by baffling AI, tedious cutscenes and a dreadful future subplot. Takes about an hour to quit the thing, too.

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Paul Govan

Best: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift (PS3)

The combination of scintillating speed and super smooth gameplay brings me back to MotorStorm again and again. Each of the four environments not only adds the variety lacking from the original but introduces different hazards and opportunities – water, fire and ridiculous jumps. Add to this the instant restart of races, and four player split screen and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift is a perfect fit for my family game playing habits.
 
Worst: FaceBreaker: Knock Out Wii (Wii)

For me this is the game that most let me down. I was eager to get my hands on what was promised to be an enhanced  Wii-Sports boxing experience. These expectations were shattered when I discovered this was a port of the 360/PS3 versions of the game with frustratingly needless gesture controls added in late in the day. In terms of opportunities missed this has to rank up there with the worst of 2008.

Mike Grant

Best: Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2 (Xbox LIVE! Arcade)

I’ve spent more hours on this game than Boy George and Naomi Campbell have on Community Service combined, which indicates how obsessed I am with Bizarre’s crazily beautiful and addictive shoot-or-avoid-depending-on-the-mode-em-up. Putting high score leaderboard rivalries front and centre at all times was officially the best game design decision of 2008.

Worst: Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (PS3/360)

Releasing PS2 games in 720p is enough to satisfy us, right? Wrong. There’s no better poster child for the advance of Western development than the sad sight of PES becoming FIFA’s red-headed step-child. I was playing this 5 years ago. Not literally the “worst” game of the year, but definitely the laziest and most disappointing.

Emily Knox

Best: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)

For me, the thought of another chapter of Metal Gear taking place on a ‘next gen’ console, and watching Solid Snake for hours in all his chiselled, grizzled, (and sadly, wrinkled) features fills me with excitement. Is that wrong, considering his age? I don’t care, because this game is captivating, exciting, intense, and has even thrown in a ‘solid’ online mode and a free factual database that Metal Gear-aholics will love.

Worst: Conflict: Denied Ops (Multi-platform)

Conflict: Denied Ops is by no means terrible – its main problem is that there are other co-operative shooters that are better in every conceivable way. Great music and sound, fun vehicle sections, wonderful graphics, interesting story and gameplay are just some of the things you won’t find here. There isn’t even an option to play split-screen horizontally, which is just plain weird.

Stephen Macek

Best: Fallout 3 (PS3)

Despite the flaws present, the PS3 version of Fallout 3 was the game that drew me in the most this year.  Looking in every nook and cranny to see what loot I could grab and fretting over just where to place my points as my character advanced.  It just doesn’t get better than that.

Worst: Wacky Races (Wii)

Despite being tied in to one of my favourite childhood cartoons, Wacky Races was just not fun.  I tried really hard to like it, but there was just no silver lining for me.  The best part of the game was taking it out of the Wii for the last time.

Jerry Friestad

Best: The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

It’s been a few years since I’ve found myself so lost in a game that I experience physical reactions to the actions in the game. I found myself completely lost in the world of Temeria. I sympathised with tragic characters, shared the joy of achievements, and felt truly terrible killing someone who did not deserve to die (enough to reload my last save). It seems making moral choices has been a gaming trend of 2008 but The Witcher: Enhanced Edition was the only game this year where the consequences to my actions impacted me emotionally. Although the Witcher was a late 2007 release the enhanced edition came out earlier this year and made a good game nearly perfect.

Worst: Fable 2

Now this probably isn’t the worst game mechanically, and I’m certainly not trying to spark controversy, but Fable 2 was the most loved game for no good reason. The story was bland, characters dropped out of the sky with no back-story and no reason to care about them, the villain was non-existent, the ending transcended underwhelming, and the social interaction was flawed.
Fable 2 put up invisible barriers in the campaign by making you become more renowned to continue the game. This is a cheap route developers take to extend the play time by forcing you to experience the game’s content instead of guiding the player to it from their own personal interest. You can become more accomplished by completing side-quests or you can brag and fart 100 times in front of a crowd with hardly any diminishing returns. Fable 2 was designed as a sandbox world where gamers would create their own “wow” moments from their own imagination. However if there’s no real story to keep you interested all Fable 2 becomes is a hack and slash version of the Sims.

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