Top Games of 2008 and other stuffs like that

I don’t have a Wii or PSP anymore, and I haven’t bought a new DS game in over a year… so those are left out of my lists.  And I know ya’ll haven’t heard from me in a while, but I am hoping to make this over to be PS3 trophy focused sometime in the near future (PS3 trophies are my new crack).  But anyway, here is my top shits from 2008.

Console games:

1.  Resistance 2 (PS3) – My game of the year based off the shear amount of awesomeness that comes with the package.  The online Co-Op is the star of the show as it has a very huge MMO/WOW instanced dungeon feel to it.  The action is intense, the bosses are tough as nails, all the classes must work well together.   This mode alone is worth the $60.   But then you add on the amazingly well paced campaign mode which features, by far, the most epic battles a shooter has ever seen.  If you thought you were in a living war with COD/Halo/Gears…  you ain’t seen shit compared to some of the shit that R2 throws at you.  And then there is the competitive mode, which features a bunch of different game types and battles up to 60 players.  This is my least favorite of the 3, but it is really well done.  It’s just not my style of online shooter…  yet I do see myself sinking some hours into it because of the quality of how it’s put together (and note to other PS3 developers…  R2 can do parties, clans, in game invites, etc…  learn from them!).  Then you wrap the whole package with an XP system that is cumulative across all 3 game types (and individual leveling systems within each game type also… and in the case of co-op there is leveling with each class) and you have one hell of a gigantic fucking shooter that offers more in one package than any other game ever (save for The Orange Box… though that is a collection of games)

2.  Motorstorm: Pacific Rift (PS3) – The greatest racer I have ever played, hands down.   I have sunk over 60 hours into this game already and there is no end in sight.  The single player is much improved from the first MS, though the last 2 levels bring back the dreaded SUPER AI OF FUCKING DOOM.  The online setup is much improved also, with a party system and matchmaking which gives you a random track/car selection so you need to be good at everything to get up the ranks.   The Time Attack mode is very addicting and the ability to download the ghosts of the top racers is really nice.   Just overall an amazing package of arcade off road racing with 100s of cars split between 8 classes and 16 excellent tracks all with multiple routes.  Great fucking game.

3.  Little Big Planet (PS3) –  It was hard to not put this game at number one but I dropped it down to 3 just because of the niche it’s fallen into for me.   I love the game, it’s amazingly fun and the level editor is even more robust than I imagined.  Also, the quality of some of the levels online is just unbelievable.  But I don’t throw this game in for hours at a time anymore, it’s more of a pickup and play for 15 minutes as I check out some new levels online or spend some time on my “This Woman Really Hates You” trilogy of levels that I’m trying to complete.   By far the most imaginative game released this year or maybe any year, and I’ll still be throwing in this game long after most of the games on this list fall to the wayside.

4.  Socom: Confrontation (PS3) -They got the gameplay right, which is the most important part of any game…  so Socom does deliver.  But it also has a ton of broken promises that we are waiting for in patches.   But they are working on it and it should eventually be the game it should have been at launch.   I almost expect this to be my GOTY next year, once everything is implemented and the map selection is widened with DLC.  But still, even in it’s incomplete state Socrack can consume your soul for a huge chunk of hours at a time.

5.  Gears of War 2 (360) –  I may have been on crack on my first play through of the single player when I actually enjoyed the story, a second playthrough had me scratching my head.  But still, I can’t ignore how much fun I had beating the game in single player.  As for multiplayer, co-op is dope, competitive is poop (IMO… I know it’s good, I just don’t like it) but the star of the show is Horde Mode.  Man that shit is fun.   GoW2 is a very nice package and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

6.  NCAA 09 (360) – Two words:  Online Dynasty.   The game is great fun and has no hugely glaring faults…  but really, the online dynasties are the best shit added to a sports game in a long time (other than something a bit further down the list).

7.  Battlefield: Bad Company (360) – A fairly straightforward campaign mode but I sure did enjoy blowing the living bejesus out of everything in my path.  The online multiplayer was an absolute blast also with a pretty decent unlock system.  The addition of free DLC that included a new mode and 4 new maps was nice to see, especially from a company like EA.

8.  NHL 09 (360) – I’m no hockey nut, nor am I a huge hockey gamer, but this game owned my soul for a good month, and probably still could be if there weren’t so many fucking awesome games coming out every other minute.   But the team play is the best addition to sports games since online (edging out the aforementioned online dynasties).   Scoring can be difficult and sometimes your team gets the EA screw, but overall this game is just plain fun.  I do plan on picking this one up again once all these releases calm down.

9.  Burnout: Paradise  (PS3) – I’ll admit to not really getting to the game when it came out earlier this year.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the open world structure and found it more frustrating that it needed to be.   But then game came out on the PSN as a download with the 1.5 patch which added tons of stuff like bikes, new events, cars, etc.   The game is just a much more cohesive unit now and is an absolute blast to play online or off.   Would easily be my racing game of the year in any other year, but MSPR is just too damn good.   This game is fantastic though and well worth the $30 price tag, and promises to get even better in 09 as they release more free content for it.

10.  MLB: The Show  (PS3) –  Definitely the single player sports game of the year, the amazing amount animations just make the game so fluid.  The problem is the online is an absolute disaster and probably should have just been cut from the game as it’s basically unplayable.  But none of this takes away from how awesome this game is offline.

Downloadable games (covers games *ONLY* available via download):

1.  Pixel Junk Monsters/Encore (PS3) – This game ate up the biggest chunk of my downloadable game time by far.  I am a huge fan of tower defense games and PJE ups the ante with a controlable character that you use to balance your time between upgrading towers and collecting coins and other drops from the monsters killed by your towers.  It has a fantastic co-op mode and has online scoreboards.  It’s the type of game that you just keep going back to even in the face of other great games.   Hell, when the trophies were released for it I was spending my nights playing this instead of Gears 2, MSPR, LBP and other amazing games.   That’s just how addictive this game gets.

2.  Bionic Commando:Rearmed  (PS3) – Quite possibly my favorite non-sports/non-Nintendo old school game and this makeover is just about perfect.  The graphics are sharp, the controls are spot on and the slight tweaking of the levels make it even more solid than its original.  There is also a challenge mode which I didn’t really care for but if you are into that type of thing it’s quite large.

3.  Braid (360) – Heavy handed writing aside, this game drew you into a very neat world with mind bending puzzles.  Manipulation of time isn’t the newest thing to happen to videogames but Braid probably does it best.  I’m looking forward to a sequel or add on pack.   Definitely this year’s Portal.

4.  Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty (PS3) – A great idea implemented perfectly.  Insomniac was sitting on an amazing engine with R+C: Future tools of destruction, and instead of making an add on pack they decided to make a shorter “new” game using the engine and offer it as a download only.  Incredible fun and great graphics, I hope to see more games do this in the future as it’s a good way to drum up new sales *AND* get people to go back and buy your old game it’s based off of.

5.  Wipeout HD (PS3)– Wipeout still requires you to sorta get in the zone, so to speak, to really get into it.  When you first fire it up you think “well, it’s pretty, and it’s freakin fast, but man I just crash into every wall.”   But once you get over that initially steep learning curve you have a great futuristic racer that offers as much content for $20 that other games do for $60.   But if you can’t get over that hump, Wipeout HD might be a good one to pass on.   Personally I straddle back and forth on the hump, sometimes loving it and sometimes becoming very frustrated.  But when i can make it work it’s a top notch game.

6.  Pixel Junk Eden (PS3)– I didn’t get Pixel Junk Eden when it came out…  I have no idea why.  But I got it a couple weeks back when it first dropped down to $5 and it is probably the best $5 I’ve spent.   The world just sorta sucks you in and once you get the basics of the gameplay down (it plays like nothing you’ve played before, pretty much) it becomes an amazing experience.   Get it while it’s still $5, this is a game that should not be missed.

7.  Super Stardust HD (PS3) – As frantic a game as there ever was, you constantly be yelling “HOLY SHIT!” over and over as you make your way through insane waves of enemies and asteroids that should have probably killed you 9 times over but somehow your thumbs saved the day.  The add-on packs while a little pricey add a ton of replay value to the game.   This game is just top notch all the way through.  And I’m number one on my friends list in easy mode, so it eat dicks!  Number one in normal will be coming within a week or two.  Eat it again!

8.  Super Street Fighter 2 HD Remix (PS3) – It’s Street Fighter 2 but with HD graphics and slightly tweaked controls.  What else do you need to know?  Either you don’t give two shits or you already bought it.

9.  Duke Nukem 3D (360) – Little known fact about famousmortimer:  back in the day there used to be “pay to play” online gaming services for the PC, one of which was called TEN (Total Entertainment Network, I think).  I feel like a fool for paying for it, but one of my nerd badges comes from a contest this service held where they had a map designing contest for Duke Nukem 3D and the winner had their map hosted by them and downloaded by everyone.  Yep, I was the winner.  I think my map was called Five equals One or something like that, I forget, but the point is that I won.   I was a huge duke nukem junky back in the day and this rerelease on XBL is well done and brings back some great nostalgic feelings.  The online is well done also.

10.  Brain Challenge (360) – I never played any of the handheld versions of this game so I enjoyed it quite a bit on XBL.  It’s just a series of IQ Test-ish puzzles for you to figure out and that you get a score for…  but it’s oddly addicting.

11.  Jeopardy (PS3) – It’s Jeopardy, it has online, it has tons of questions…  it’s also not as good as it could have been.   But still, it’s Jeopardy, and me and the girlfriend enjoy playing it against each other.   Nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s a good time.

12.  Novastrike (PS3) – To be completely honest I had never even heard of this game before I saw it on the PSN $5 game sale list and the only reason I picked it up is because it had trophies.  While this game is no SSHD, it is a good and imaginative shooter in its own right.    It has an open world where you fly back and forth between different objectives (mostly defend this, kill that, escort this, kill this boss, etc).  The graphics are poop but I definitely got sucked in and played it from start to finish and am actually working on beating it again on a higher difficulty level.

PC Games:

1. Team Fortress 2 – While technically released last year, TF2 got some pretty huge updates in 08 and remains one of the best multiplayer shooters around.   I’m not sure what I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said, so instead i’ll give props to valve for releasing HUGE updates to this game often for FREE.  What a fucking concept.

2. Far Cry 2 – First open world FPS that actually works in an engaging way.  Just running around the countryside causing havoc is great fun, and the storyline itself isn’t too shabby either.  The biggest headscratcher is why is this game called Far Cry 2?  It doesn’t have any plot connections to the first, none of the same characters and literally takes place on the other side of the globe.   Oh well, who cares, Far Cry 2 is an excellent game.

3. World of Warcraft-The Burning Crusade – I have had a million issues with this expansion which I’ve gone over on my blog exstensively, but still, the amount of hours I spent playing this game can’t be ignored.  WoW is just a powerhouse.  The new expansion makes my list of games that didn’t excite me, but I think that has more to do with me than it does the actual expansion.   I was in the beta and it’s all very well done, I’m just sick of the whole world/gameplay/everything WoW associated.  But I do reserve the right to fall back into this addiction at a later date.

4. Crysis: Warhead – Crysis: Warhead is a great, great shooter that was my favorite game for a while, until Far Cry 2 came out and ate its lunch.  It’s hard to recommend this game now that FC2 is on the market, but I also can’t ignore the fun I had with it before hand.  The super powers especially are pretty damn neat.

5. Hinterland – Take a Diablo type point and click loot pinata type game and combine it with a city builder game with shades of Suikoden and you have Hinterland.  Oh, and it’s $20.  Very addicting and very fun with tons of replay if you get into building your city in different ways.   The combat doesn’t do anything better than Diablo 2, but it’s not much worse either…  which is a pretty good place to be.

6. Age of Conan – So, so, so much promise.  SO MUCH PROMISE!  And in fact, levels 1-20 are amazing and should just packaged as a single player game for consoles.  But the game quickly unravels and is an unfinished mess at higher levels.   If they get their act straightened out I may return to Hyboria again.  But from the looks of it, even 6 months later they still haven’t.

Big games that didn’t cut it for me.

1.  GTA4 – I don’t know, the game just didn’t do anything for me.  It looked nicer than previous games in the series, but story and character wise I felt like it was a step backwards.  The better controls were nice though.

2.  Madden 09 – This game couldn’t hold the jock strap of NCAA 09, and I am a MUCH bigger fan of pro ball than I am of college ball.  EA needs to get its act together with this franchise something serious.

3.  Star Wars: The Force Unleashed –  Using force powers was fun for a little while but I got bored rather quickly.  Maybe someday I’ll revisit it and see if I can find what others found so enjoyable about it.

4.  World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King – Like I said up above I am just over the whole WoW thing currently.  But currently doesn’t mean forever.  Or maybe it does.  Who knows.

Big games I haven’t played that could possibly infiltrate these lists:

1.  Metal Gear Solid 4

2.  COD: WaW

3.  Prince of Persia

4.  Left 4 Dead

5.  Fable 2

6.  Fallout 3

7.  Midnight Club: LA

8.  Dead Space

9.  Mirror’s Edge

I’m sure I left stuff out so I will be updating this list, I’m sure.

Numbers breakdown of all bought games:

PS3 only games: 12
360 only games: 3
PC only games:  4
Multi-console games bought for PS3: 3
Multi-console games bought for 360: 5
Multi-console games bought for PC: 2

Games not bought yet:
PS3 only: 1
360 only: 1
PC only: 1
Multi – Gonna get it ps3: 6
Multi – gonna get it 360:  1
Multi -Gonna get it PC: 0

There is no ignoring the fact that the 360 has a much better online experience than the PS3 (though games like Resistance 2 show that a top rate online experience *is* possible on the ps3).   But my addiction to PS3 trophies seems to have trumped that, for now.   And for my tastes, as far as exclusives go, the PS3 completely dominated this year.   So I guess here is some data to back up the fact that I am a PS3 fanboy.