2008 Game of the Year

The first post of 2009.  And it’s about games.  Predictable?  Anyway…

A new year means numerous awards are being handed out for the previous one.  Numerous gaming sites have awarded their “game of the year” title to certain “worthy” titles.  Only three sites are on my shortlist; Gamespot, GameFAQs and Game Revolution.  Gamespot gave their prize to Metal Gear Solid 4.  Not a bad pick, by any means, but in their reader’s choice poll, they left out quite a few titles.  Seriously, the choices are Braid, Burnout Paradise, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Left 4 Dead, NHL 09, No More Heroes, Resistance 2, The World Ends With You, and Metal Gear Solid 4.  Two major titles are missing from that list, Gears of War 2 and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  So much for reader’s choice…  On the other hand, GameFAQs lets readers vote for their picks in their polls (since there’s no editor) but I’m sure we’ll find out why Gamespot left Super Smash Bros. Brawl out of their reader’s choice voting.

Game Revolution awarded LittleBigPlanet as their best title.  It’s a PS3 game where you play as a walking sack named Sackboy.  God, and people made fun of the Wii for its stupid name (and rightfully so).  Ok, so I haven’t played the game, and at $60, I’m not about to.  The consensus, though, is that the story is short and an Internet connection is required to enjoy the game.  Lame.  Multiplayer and single player should go hand in hand…unless it’s the latest Battlefield game.  Fallout 3 was runner-up to LittleBigPlanet so I guess I should be grateful.

As for my picks, Metal Gear Solid 4 definitely gets the PS3 game of the year.  Resistance 2 comes close because I’m a fan of insane multiplayer.  Gears of Wars 2 wins the Xbox 360 game of the year without a question.  Super Smash Bros.Brawl was the number one game for the Wii last year because it was the only Wii-exclusive game that came out that was worth a crap.  Ok, Ok, by “worth a crap” I mean “worth paying attention to.”  Mario Kart Wii was a let-down and every other title came out on another console or was too gimmicky/casual.  Wii Music, anyone?

Before I pick the game of the year, I want to hand out some dubious award.  And the losers are…

Most Overrated:  There are two games deserving of this title.  The first is Fallout 3.  Even when we don’t compare this game to the original titles (an absurd notion, since the 3 clearly indicates sequel to the previous installments), Fallout 3 is what would happen if Oblivion experienced an apocalyptic nuclear exchange.  Well, Oblivion was a good game, so what’s wrong?  Well, the numerous issues that marred Oblivion (the crud AI, conversations that belong in a C-movie, for example) are still present.  Add in absurd quests and it’s amazing this game has gotten great reviews.

Oh, and Grand Theft Auto IV is also heavily overrated and is our second winner.  Gamespot gave it a perfect 10, yet the PS2 titles play better.  The controls suck and they took away some of the fun of the previous titles and retained all the things people hate about GTA.  You have to pay attention to and play through a lackluster plot, utilize a cover scheme that was ripped off from Gears of War, and the difficult missions.  Missions that should you fail, you have to drive all the way back to the starting location, no matter where the hell you are in the city.  Maybe Saints Row and its sequel spoiled me but Grand Theft Auto does so many things wrong.  How can a ripoff do better than the material it was ripping off?

No catchy title but a dishonorable award should be given to LittleBigPlanet.  I can’t like a game that got delayed because of one song that might offend members of a certain religion that won’t be named here.  The kicker is that the song was written and sung by a guy who is a member of that religion.  I can only hope his new year’s resolution was to find a better religion.  Anyway, after they took the song out, American members of that religion complained about restrictions on freedom of speech.

I’ll try a dubious title for the next one…  Game That Was Cool Until You Paid For It and Realized How Much It Sucked.  I actually had a game in mind until I thought of Fable 2.  I subsequently forgot about the game I was thinking of.  Fable 2 has a few minor additions from the first one but still plays roughly the same.  Sure, the choices you make matter (a refreshing concept in a role-playing game, something the first game lacked) but they still amount to stupid-good and stupid-evil.  Y’know, where the “good” options make you into a doormat that’s willing to make everyone’s life better and “evil” choice results in murder.  Good thing I didn’t pay for Fable 2.  I didn’t pay for Mario Kart Wii either, another game I was considering.  No, that wasn’t the game Fable 2 pushed from my mind.

I’ve run out of dubious awards so let’s just get on with it.  While the console awards were exclusive-only, let’s throw multi-platform titles into the mix!  Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV have no chance but they could have been in the mix, otherwise.  Saints Row 2 does, though.  In fact, Saints Row 2 has to have been the most fun game I’ve played all year.  Sure, there are “better” titles (Gears of War 2 is a quality game) but the most fun?  It has all the components needed.  Freedom to do just about whatever the hell you want, character creation and customization, a meager plot (more is better, but it was enough) and tons of fun.

Ah the hell with it, Saints Row 2 wins my pick…and my heart.

This is our city.  We do whatever the fuck we want to!

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