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My top ten games of 2008

January 7, 2009

Top ten time and that means one thing… Bigger prettier banners! These are the ten games that gave me, Dalagonash, the most fun for my moolah, the games that offered most fun no matter how much I played them, the ten that impressed me most with creative features and forward thinking, the ten that I look forward to playing every time I turn them on, the ten that (snip -Dala).

Spore

For me this game was far more than the sum of its parts, if I wanted to play Civ I would have but instead I had a group of personal creatures with my own buildings and vehicles and walked all over my opponents, silly inferior races! Spore let me get creative with simple tools, see other people’s creations thanks to the game’s Internet sharing and see what other people have done with my races thanks to a Facebook style mini feed. The game gave me hours of enjoyment with the creation tools and build up; it’s just a shame that the massive part of the game, the space stage, never grabbed me by the loins as I went off playing other games. I am however looking forward to the first gameplay expansion that will let me go all Star Trek and land on alien planets, beam me up Scotty!

Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise

Two years ago I named the first Viva Pinata one of my favourite games of the year and in 2008, it hadn’t lost any of its charm. More of an expansion pack than a genuine sequel, Trouble in Paradise still added a number of noteworthy features that make it a far better game that the first. Online and local multiplayer? Check, camera for screenshots? Check, more toys and ways to have fun with your garden? Check, more focused gameplay goals? Check, and most importantly, more pinata and more things to discover about each one, I always said the best thing about Viva was the exploration and taking the game at your pace, and Pinata 2 continues the superb design, now go buy it please?

World of Goo

It’s not often a game can take you by surprise in the modern game industry but I spotted World of Goo one day on Steam and thought ‘that sounds good for a laugh’, what I got was a charming mix of Lemmings, Tim Burton, and a senior school science lesson. Tasking you to build structures using goo balls the aim is the build towards a pipe so that you can get a set number of Goo balls out of the level, the game never repeated ideas and while this made it a bit short, it never felt like a one trick pony and the addition of ACD targets for each level alongside fantastic art direction and faultless presentation makes World of Goo a deceptively playable and deep game.

No More Heroes

Hideo Kowho? SUDA 51 is the only gaming auteur that matters to me, merging amazing minimalist graphics with a bonkers story, managing to make a perverted wrestling fan, Travis Touchdown, one of the best characters in all of video gaming and combining it all with gameplay that actually suits the Wii. I think of it this highly and I played the neutered PAL version, had the claret been splashing all over the walls maybe I would have thought even higher of it.

Fun fact: My housemate probably wishes he had the ending on camera as I was genuinely shouting at the screen in confusion and amusement.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Forget the ‘Hollywood rivalling scripts’ or the ‘compelling lead character’ GTA IV is here because for me Liberty City was one of 2008’s most believable game worlds, from riding in the back of a taxi watching the world go by to stumbling drunk back to your car realising it’s probably not a good idea to drive, to the improved gun combat. GTA IV may not have the complete reckless fun of Saints Row, but it had a fantastic city and plenty of memorable characters and moments. Yes the incessant phone calls got annoying but for the fifty odd hours I played it the game was fantastic ride, I just wish the multiplayer had taken off better than it did.

Little Big Planet

A game that makes me wish there were more hours in the day, I don’t own a PS3 but I’ve tried to spend as much time as possible on my housemate’s copy of this. Sure the platforming is a little floaty and that’s why I don’t think quite as highly of it as I could, but the sheer variety and creativity that can come out of the robust level creator is what makes LBP rather than its core gameplay and it’s as easy to use as it can be, although the occasional problem can put your work back several minutes but what Media Molecule have achieved will go down as their legacy.

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

This game was a disappointment for some but those are the people that went into Nuts & Bolts wanting a traditional platformer, but for those going into it with an open mind found an intriquing vehicle creation, puzzle solving, racing, sporting cacophony of varied and enticing fun. One minute you’re collecting notes and boxes around the beautiful HUB world, the next you’re creating a new super vehicle to blast around one of the worlds, then you’re striving to get another TT Trophy or knock a friend off the leaderboard, then suddenly you’re playing football with a group of fur and feather freaks in mechanical contraptions over live, and then seven hours have gone by and it’ 3.00 a.m in the morning…

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Warcraft and MMORPGs are an acquired taste as it is but Wrath of the Lich King takes moves to making them both more accessible and more fun for everyone, locations are filled with quests that conclude in epic events such as riding a mammoth into battle, using gigantic siege weapons to kill hundreds of undead, combating scourge commanders, the game made lore more accessible and also made quests more fun with less collectathons and more straight up fun! Dungeons were also refined from vanilla WoW’s several hour trawls to thirty minute boss packed set pieces. The package was polished with a variety of achievements that gave players new interesting ways to play dungeons beyond simply finishing them, the only problem with it is that you need to reach level 70 before you’re allowed to experience the best adventure of 2008, it’s like being told you have to watch and pay attention to every Batman film before watching Dark Knight…

Rock Band (2)

A couple of years ago Guitar Hero nosedived onto the gaming scene and made a tidal wave, its legacy has been preserved and milked by the chaps at Activision but it was Harmonix’s successor hat continued the true spirit of fantastic music, spot on note charts, and fantastic visual style. The confusing release of Rock Band titles meant that the UK saw Rock Band finally released in 2008 and the second title appear only on 360, and not with all the instruments… Ignoring this faux pas on EA’s part the game offering amazing four instrument multiplayer bliss, guitar parts were fun to play rather than finger twisting nightmares, singing was fun, and the drums were a challenging addition, many evenings were spent pretending to be an upcoming rock sensation, and I have completely destroyed my housemate’s opinion of David Bowe’s Suffragette City! Epic win!

Left 4 Dead

The game of 2008 that I still feel excited about every single time it is mentioned, every single time people want to play, every time someone has a new story from a recent play session, the one game that makes a group of four people work as a genuine team against the hordes of undead, the funniest game of 2008, the hardest and most intense game, the most subtle and possibly best story, and the only game I threw £30 against in 2008 that will keep giving and giving into 2009 for no extra cost and maybe beyond. The main campaigns are amazing and infinitely re playable thanks to the AI Director, the Versus mode is an amazing addition and the most creative form of competitive play ever and the promise of new content and user created mods appearing into 2009 and beyond make it the best game and best purchase of 2008!

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4 comments

  1. ehhhhhh sufferegettte cittaaaeeeee!!!!


  2. /o/……./o/…….\o/ <– Bill running from the zombies.

    Nice choices.


  3. “possibly best story” – No. Just no. Left 4 Dead has no story. There are zombies. That is it.


  4. Left 4 Dead’s story is subdued, reading the notes left by others around the walls and on posters, listening to the characters spouting conspiracy stories alongside their unique and charming banter.

    It’s not a typical story but the snippets of narrative lead to you creating your own ideas as to the source of the infection like a true survivor caught up in the zombie apocalypse.



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