2008 was yet another great year for video gamers. There were a plethora of great indie titles, along with some major studio blockbusters that have gone on to become all-time classics. Here are my picks for the best video games of 2008:
10 – Pixeljunk Monsters
While it may not make most lists of the top 10 video games of 2008, I have to include this addictive little tower strategy game that was a downloadable title for the PS3. I spent more time on this game than all the other titles together in 2008, and while it doesn’t have the graphical prowess or high production value of the other titles on this list, it is damn fun to play, and isn’t that the main thing?
9 – Rez HD
Yet another downloadable title cracks the list; this time for the Xbox 360, through their Xbox Live Arcade service. This cool game is an on rails shooter set to a trance-inducing beat. Again, gameplay is king, as this is actually a port of an old PS2 game with a few extra odds and ends, and graphically polished for the HD generation.
8 – Battlefield: Bad Company
Another entry in the massively popular Battlefield series by developer, DICE, Bad Company might not have been the series’ best but is good enough to find a spot on this list. Fantastic graphics, action packed game-play, frighteningly realistic audio, and destructible cover that changes the way the game is played make for an awesome multiplayer experience.
7 – Burnout: Paradise
When it comes to arcade racing video games the Burnout series is king, and each new sequel in this fun series seemed to raise the bar even higher. Burnout: Paradise strayed from its roots for this release, offering, for the first time, an open city to explore, allowing you to initiate multiplayer challenges at a whim, and bringing much greater replay value with this installment. If you are the type of gamer that prefers racing video games that allow instant access, rather than a million tweaks before you get behind the wheel then Burnout: Paradise is the only racing game you’ll need.
6 – Mass Effect
Technically this game came out in 2007 for the Xbox 360 console, but this entry refers specifically to the PC version which just came out this May, and thus nabs a spot on the list of the top 10 video games of 2008. With Mass Effect, Bioware has once again confirmed that they are the kings of the PC RPG genre. As always, the plot is rich and detailed, with different outcomes depending on the path you take. With beautiful graphics, stellar voice acting and an incredibly detailed combat system, Mass Effect was one of the can’t-miss video games of 2008.
5 – God of War: Chains of Olympus
The God of War series for the PS2 has been critically acclaimed for its incredible gameplay. It is little wonder then that the series made the transition to the PSP handheld game console. Developer Ready at Dawn has taken the daunting challenge of taking this ultra-popular series and adapting it to the PSP. They did a masterful job, staying true to the style of gameplay that made God of War such a huge hit on the PS2.
4 – Mario Kart: Wii
As with all Nintendo consoles, the best stuff seems to be their first-party releases starring their most memorable characters. Mario is back in another installment of this super fun arcade kart racer, and the transition to the Wii made the multiplayer gameplay even more fun than it already was. Though totally different than Burnout: Paradise, Mario Kart delivers the same awesome racing gameplay. A great couch game for taking on your buddies.
3 – Metal Gear Solid IV
The top 3 games on the list of the top 10 video games of 2008 are all so good that I basically just picked names out of a hat. This legendary video game franchise retires one of the biggest video game icons ever. Solid Snake was back for what was (supposed to be) his final mission on the Playstation 3 console, and video game icon, Hideo Kojima, does this great franchise justice, hitting all the right notes, and creating a game that is pretty much exactly what fanboys have been dreaming of.
2 – Super Smash Brothers Brawl
Though this game has a single player mode in reality it is all about the multiplayer. Quite possibly the funnest video game ever created, Super Smash Brothers Brawl will keep you and your buddies up till the wee hours of the morning as you battle head to head (to head to head) for the title of the best Brawler. Nintendo has provided a bevy of control options, allowing you to use a classic controller or even a gamecube controller if you prefer one of those two options to the Wii remote. You have the option to play as one of dozens of recognizable video game icons, each with their own unique abilities and combos to master. No other game on the list has the fun or the replay value that Brawl offers.
1 – Grand Theft Auto IV
The number 1 spot on the list of the top 10 video games of 2008 belongs to the latest installment in the monster Grand Theft Auto series by Rockstar Games. The scope of this game is truly awe-inspiring, and though the graphics might not appear as polished as other next generation console games when one thinks about just how vast Liberty City is and how much is going on it is truly stunning to see the level of detail that went into this title. The addition of multiplayer options for the first time gives Grand Theft Auto IV even more replay value than its predecessors. That’s saying something considering the open-ended gameplay of previous installments. From the visual presentation, the superlative voice acting, the fantastic storyline, and the never-ending open gameplay, GTA IV delivers on all levels. As long as you are not offended by the adult nature of the game then this video game is a must buy. Simply the best video game of 2008, bar none.