After spending the day with some buddies and absolutely destroying the competition in L4D's versus mode, it's time to step away from that and post up my piece for the day a little earlier than usual, since I have the privilege of going to see Blue Man Group live tonight. Today's topic is a less of a rant than yesterday, with 2/3 praise, 1/3 ranting.
Game awards are being thrown out like crazy at this time of year, and everyone reading this has probably already seen or read several of them. Too keep from going overboard, I'm simply going to talk about the best game, worst game, and most under-appreciated game from 2008, in my opinion. I can't claim to have played every game that came out this year, but I sure as heck played a lot of them!
...and away we go...
Game of the Year 2008: FALLOUT 3
OXM gave it GOTY honors as well, and the game truly deserves it. The wastelands of DC have been incredibly well realized, and a joy to explore. The apocalypse has never been this much fun. Bethesda did a great job improving on Oblivion in every single way, offering a lot more choice in how events unfold. No game I've EVER played had me a immersed in the experience, where I would tell myself I'd only play for an hour, and the next time I would look at the clock, three hours had passed! It's easy to lose track of time while playing Fallout 3, and the staggering amount of content here means gamers get every penny's worth of entertainment from their purchase. If you want to know more about how I feel on this gem of a game, read the review I wrote for it for x360a (linked on the right side of this page)
Worst Game of 2008: Zoids Assault
I would much rather play Jumper: Griffin's story that try to slog through what has to be the worst strategy RPG ever made. The use of film-grain effects in incredible overdone to the point of almost being painful to the eyes, and to call the cutscenes You-Tube quality would be an insult to You-Tube. Character customization is extremely limited, and there are no side quests, so if you can't beat a mission, you're STUCK there until you manage to get it right. To my sorrow, I ignored reviews saying how bad it was, thinking my love of SRPGs would see me through to get the game's 1000 points. Now, I'm incredibly glad I punted that game back to Gamefly before scoring any points, so I could delete if off my card, and pretend Zoids Assault never happened. I implore you never to play that game.
Most Criminally Under-appreciated Game: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
Sure, the critical reviews have been pretty good, but 2/3 of the player response I've heard has been "Waaaaaaaaaaaa.... It's not exactly like the original Banjo-Kazooie!!!!" I know people who mock the game and refuse to play it for that very reason. Give me a break! Rare has created an incredibly fun and creative game, and they get blasted for being original. Creating vehicles to solve challenges is a great way to get the brain going, and testing your creations against other humans in multiplayer is great... when people actually play online (there aren't many who do). The controls also aren't nearly as challenging as some claim them to be. If you build a crappy vehicle, it will handle like crap; it's that simple. While the game certainly isn't perfect, it's a wonderful game, worthy of more praise and less tears from people who can't handle the change. If you have not played Nuts and Bolts yet, I highly recommend doing so.
And there you have it, my picks for best, worst, and most under-appreciated. I kept this relatively short as I didn't want to feel like I was trying to review three games at once.
BLOG NOTE: At the very bottom of the right column is a new feature, listing upcoming posts and what they will be about. While I would love it if people read everything I post, I know that's not too realistic an expectation, so the preview of topics makes it easier to know when you want to tune in. Unlike the blog, the preview text won't be updated daily, but will be changed often enough so you know what the topic will be at least 1 day in advance.
That's all for today folks!
*Images borrowed from xbox360achievements.org