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My Top Ten Games of '08


10. Space Invaders Extreme (Nintendo DS)

I know this is an odd choice to start my top 10 list, but it really was that fun. It�s in my DS 90% of the time and I�ve yet to grow tired of it.

So, why is this game better than Castle Crashers or Braid, or any of those other games that aren�t in my list? See, that�s the thing. I wouldn�t say it�s a �better game� if I�m going by the typical gamer definition. I just had more fun with it than anything else not listed here.

The music, the art, the gameplay - It all just fit into a nice simple package. I could sit and play this game wherever and whenever. It�s my go-to game. It�s my �I don�t have shit to do and I�m too lazy to play anything else� game. It�s my comfort game. That�s it. It�s just fun.

9 . Rock Band 2 (XBOX 360)

I don�t know if it�s fair to place this game in my top 10, but fuck it.

I see Rock Band as a really cheap track pack/expansion pack. It improved on a lot of the first game�s faults. We were also allowed to upload our original Rock Band songs into our HDD for a slightly annoying $5 price tag and it�s still fun. Is there any other reason this should be listed?

I think not.


8. Gears of War 2 (XBOX 360)

�Bigger, better, and more badass.� Cliffy B. Could you be anymore lame?

Even though it sounds stupid and cheesy, isn�t that what we all really want from game sequels? No one really wants them to truly change. We just say that so we can look cool and independent on blogs and message boards -- or do we? Gamers have it so tough.

Regardless of what you may want from a sequel, I thought Gears of War 2 was a big stupid roller coaster ride. It lacked substance, sure, but sometimes I just want to sit down and blow bodies away. We can get a lot of different things from games. We can go after a great story like Bioshock�s, or we can blow monsters away like it�s going out of style in Gears of War.

I�m slightly disappointed they�re still serious about that story, but the gameplay is there and it�s meaty. (boy is it meaty).

Don�t ever ask me to play straight up multiplayer with you though. I can�t stand Gears of War 2�s versus modes. Holler at me if you want to do some horde mode though.

7. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Nintendo DS)

We gamers are very forgetful - So much so that it seems we forgot about one of the year�s greatest DS title; Professor Layton.

The game is admittedly difficult to replay. A lot of the fun comes from trying to figure out those silly puzzles. That goes away once you understand what you�re doing from the start or already know the answer. It was still a highly enjoyable 8 or 10 hours.

The game�s European art style was refreshing and charming as well. There were no androgynous anime characters, thankfully. The townspeople did love their riddles a tad too much, but I�d rather have these crazies over Cloud and his freak friends any day.

We really needs it�s sequels over here right now. Get to it, Nintendo.

6. Fable II (XBOX 360)

I�m not really interested in RPGs most of the time - especially JRPGs. There are a few exceptions, but I find it really difficult to play games that use turn based combat. I�m also getting sick of the �Lord of the Rings� setting every RPG seems to adopt. After all of that, how is it possible that I enjoyed Fable II?

The combat in Fable II wasn�t dull. It had a few layers of strategic customization but was also simple. For once something that came out of Molyneux�s mouth came true. I mean, it did feel like I was button mashing at first, but after an hour or so of playing I got into the rhythm of things. The interchangeable magic abilities let you have some fun and effective combinations (time freeze + highest level lighting = win).

While Fable II�s story didn�t push any boundaries, it and it�s characters were charming. Oddly enough, the game did evoke a rainbow of different emotions from me. I nearly freaked when I heard my own son had run into issues. I don�t know if children can get hurt in Fable II though. I guess it�s best that I don�t find out.

Oh, and the dog was awesome!

5. Grand Theft Auto IV (XBOX 360)

Grand Theft Auto is one of those games that�s easy to hate. It�s AAA, it had hype, and it�s a sequel.

I don�t usually go into games expecting anything from them. I buy games that I think I�ll enjoy, and Grand Theft Auto IV was something that appealed to me. I mean, I�ve always been a fan of those older car chase films, and this video game was just that.

You could nitpick the shit out of this game. It�s insanely ambitious, and the presentation is fantastic. It�s very easy to pick out issues when everything just looks so fluid. Niko�s drunk animation is a perfect example. When you see him drunkenly walk around to hail a cab and Niko instantly sobers up and walks into the cab it�s highly noticeable.

Problems and all, I enjoyed the experience as a whole. I loved the car physics, I semi-enjoyed the gunplay, and I loved the characters. This is actually the first GTA game I have ever completed. I thought Niko�s conflicted character was interesting enough for me to keep going. I was also treated to some amazing missions (the bank heist was incredible).

4. Little Big Planet (Playstation 3)

From the first time I saw those charming little sack people, I fell in love - however, I wasn�t quiet sold on it�s �build your own levels� design. I�m not very creative and I certainly don�t know how to make a fun platformer. I was also frightened that the developers pushing it�s user generated content would half-ass the content that came in the disc. Thankfully, all my worries never came to fruition.

Apart from a few misplaced checkpoints and slightly sharp difficulty curve, the content that came in the disc was absolutely phenomenal. The detractors will complain about the �loose� controls (I actually thought they were fine), but the amount of creative possibilities is astonishing. It cushions that small issue.

I honestly had more fun with LBP�s local 4-player co-op than I did with Castle Crashers�. I know they�re different games, but that says something. I loved Castle Crashers, but it just can�t compete with the joy that came from playing this game with friends. It�s just on another level.

LittleBigPlanet is insanely aesthetically pleasing, and it has one of the (if not the) best soundtracks of the year. If you have a PS3, you should at least rent this game. You�re seriously depriving yourself of some damn good times. Those Sack Boys are disgustingly adorably cute.

3. Metal Gear Solid 4 (Playstation 3)

Speaking of games I didn�t expect to like, Metal Gear Solid 4 completely blew my expectations. Sure, I had some criticisms, but as an overall experience this game was gold.

Like I said, I didn�t expect to like MGS4. I was never a fan of the Metal Gear series or it�s genre (stealth shooters). I tried playing the original one as a kid, but I couldn�t take it�s controls or it�s gameplay. I almost didn�t buy it because of the experience I had when I was younger. Thank goodness that impulsive consumer deep within pushed me into dropping sixty dollars on a copy.

Like I said, stealth shooters are usually hard for me. There�s something about games with guns that makes me want to�you know - shoot stuff. Lucky for me, breaking out of stealth didn�t punish me. I was able to fire my weapon and wasn�t chastised by awful shooting mechanics. In fact, Metal Gear had fairly passable shooting mechanics.

The story, while presented in overly long and badly directed cut scenes did grab me by the balls. And yes, I did have knowledge of the events that happened in the previous games. I did my research. This research really only consisted of me watching the Metal Gear retrospective on Gametrailers.com. It�s quiet good and did help me understand a lot of the references in MGS4.

Also, Snake is quite possibly the coolest old dude in gaming history.

2. Left4Dead (PC)

Anyone who calls this game a mod is an absolute moron. There�s no question about it�

It�s really difficult for me to start. There are too many reasons why I love this game, and the simple answer could just be �zombies + co-op + Valve = winning formula.� That really should be enough.

I can go off about the little quips written in graffiti, the teamwork focused game design, the insane attention to detail, the lovable characters and their funny dialogue, but it really must be played to know why it�s so great. And no, the demo isn�t good enough.

While there isn�t a real story to push you through, what�s meant to be told is what you experienced. You making the story with all those fun moments you and your friends have is what�s really special here. The best part about it is the game�s unpredictability. That�s what sets it apart from Halo 3 or Gears of War�s co-op. Every game is different and there are only a few things you expect to happen.

�I can�t get over how fast they all are. It�s not even fair. I�m calling zombie bull shit on that, you know? They�re not�allowed to be so fast.�

- Zoey

1. Fallout 3 (PC)

Bethesda made a world. Bethesda made a world I find interesting, scary, depressing, funny, and fun to be in. Sometimes that�s all one asks from games. A place to escape. A different world to explore

Fallout 3 is an incredibly ambitious project. An open-world RPG with many different NPCs, quests, and have it so the players feel compelled to continue playing is really difficult to accomplish. Sadly, Bathesda didn�t do that with Oblivion. A lot of that game�s flaws seem to have been picked up and locked away with Fallout 3. Also, the setting wasn�t pulled from fucking Lord of the Rings.

Let me just say that the first few hours of Fallout 3 were not as fun as I expected they�d be. I understand it now that I look at it in retrospect.

From the time you escape the vault you�re not a very strong character. Two or three raiders can be problematic -- especially if all you have is a pistol that�s in bad condition. I think that�s the point, though. You�re in a new world. You�ve been locked in that vault for your entire life. You can�t expect to know anything about that harsh reality outside that big steel door.

As you progress, you do begin to get a handle on things and the game does become better as you go a long. You begin to explore and find those interesting gems out there in that awful wasteland. A lot of the side missions even made me laugh out loud. I mean, that�s what I love about this game. Exploring is actually fun. You don�t know what you�ll find, more often than not, you�ll get to find something cool and new.

Sure, the ending was ass, but the time I spent in the Capital Wasteland was too much fun for it to really affect me. This game is about the journey towards that last lackluster piece of the game. Don�t let it bother you too much.

Images shamelessly stolen from front page articles here at Destructoid.com.

Niero, we need a center option for BBCode. Doing it all in HTML is a pain in the ass. I still love you though.

All in all, 2008 was pretty solid. I don't know if it's as good as 2008 in terms of innovation, but I had just as much fun (if not more) this year.

Christmas is closing in. We've got less than 4 days 'till Christmas Eve, and I'm sort of glad. The shopping rush is nearly over and it's time to sit around with my family and get some solid gaming done as well. I hope the rest of you have a good time for the remainder of the year.

Happy Holidays,

Alex Carrillo

P.S. - George Bush is so close to leaving the White House. Mark your calendars. It's a time to rejoice.
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About vexed alexone of us since 12:48 PM on 08.04.2007

A Mexican.
Xbox LIVE:Vexed Alex
PSN ID:Alexandorator
Steam ID:http://steamcommunity.com/id/vex
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