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 411mania » Games » Columns

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The 10th Hour 01.02.09: The Top 25 Games of 2008 (Part 2)
Posted by Derek Robbins on 01.02.2009



Be sure to check out PART 1 if you haven't already done so...

10

Continued from Part 1

10-) Gears of War 2 (X-Box 360) - We're finally at the top-10 of the year. GoW2 leads the charge at the number 10 spot. You may be wondering why this is so low, and like…I admit, if I was more into shooting games it would probably be a little higher, but I just didn't like it as much as everyone else. Don't misunderstand me, this is a game that you should own if you own an X-Box 360. It's a great game. It's certainly worthy of being on my list, and I can't blame websites for placing it in the top-5. It's just, I don't know, I'm not a big shooter guy. Of course, if you're a regular reader you most likely knew that.

So what makes GoW 2 so good? Well, first of all, I should point out that aesthetically, it's a damn beautiful title and one of the best looking of the year. I didn't think a game could rival MGS 4 in graphics this year, but to my surprise GoW 2 is right there. Complimented by those graphics is the same gameplay that you knew and loved from the first gears but expanded upon. New abilities such as the ability to pick up the body of fallen enemies and using them as shields help to freshen up the experience. Also, the ability to play a co-op mode where each player has a different difficulty is cool. I can say for sure if you were a big fan of the first Gears game, you should absolutely be enamored with this product.

Of course, the big draw of shooters would have to be the multiplayer play, and Gears doesn't disappoint there. Despite some people complaining about lag (I honestly didn't notice any, but I mean…when reading the reviews they mention it so whatever) and bugs, I think the online experience is better than ever. The incorporation of a halo-like match-making system is a god send and really makes matching up easier than ever before. It's great that you can play with more people at a time now. It was four in the last game (I believe. I forgot though), and in this game it's ten. For shooters, as a rule, the more people you get the more chaotic and fun things are. So, I had more fun with Gears 2 multiplayer than I did Gears 1. There's also an inclusion of bots and a new horde mode that allows for players to fight against waves of locust. There's no story, no anything. Just you (and some friends) versus Locust. It's simple fun and a blast to play.

Gears of War II is a great game and if I liked shooters more, it'd probably be higher on this list. I mean, I liked playing it…but it's nothing I stuck with for too long, which is probably why it's not higher. If you liked the original Gears, you'll like this game. That's really all I can say about it. It doesn't change much, but given the kind of gaming market we live in today, what sequel does? If you own a 360, buy it. Simple. It may have a bad plot and bad voice work, but who even cares? Shooters are all about the gameplay, baby.

Gears

9-) No More Heroes (Wii) - No More Heroes, in America, appeared to have an absolutely moronic launch date. Probably the most hyped wii game EVER was due to come out a week after its release and, to be frank, it's not like a ton of people were staying up late at night ponder what playing this game would be like. Luckily, things worked out well for this little title. That hyped wii title, Brawl, was delayed until March and No More Heroes was released a couple of weeks earlier than expected. Thanks to this, it sold a bit better here than I would have thought and somehow netted a sequel despite absolutely putrid sales in Japan.

It is indeed worth the praise that it gets. In the game you take control of Travis Touchdown. He is an otaku (anime nerd)/gamer geek. While there are some bits of social commentary and interesting story elements, most people probably won't care about that. You have to dig a little bit to see things. Luckily, the game isn't so pretentious that you absolutely MUST dig to enjoy it. It can definitely be enjoyed for what it is. An anime nerd trying to become the number one assassin in the world in order to nail this one French girl who is married to his brother.

Err, uhm, anyhow…the basic control in No More Heroes is fairly basic. You play with the Wii Mote and Nunchuck. You run around, sling your beam sword, and occasionally use your remote in certain ways in order to dodge and reverse attacks. On the easiest difficulty settings it is very easy to mash (I don't guess that would be the right word…) your way through the game, but in order to make it through the harder difficulty levels and take on the amazing duel-centric boss battles you'll need to know what you're doing. As you're slashing through enemies, you'll be greeted with showers of blood and money. On a primal level, it's a very satisfying experience.

I did mention boss battles briefly in the above paragraph, and I think I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't delve into it a bit more. This game is only ranked nine on this list, but out of every game it has easily the best boss fights. Every single encounter, and I mean EVERY ONE, could be a final boss battle in another game. All the bosses are interesting characters and it is a joy to slash through them. The game's true final boss, who I won't spoil for you, is such an intense fight that you'll remember it for a long while. If NMH 2 can deliver the same level of boss fights that this one did, the wii will be in very good hands.

Yeah, NMH had a couple of problems. The over-world was not necessary and grinding for money could be lame at times, but I have to be honest with you: it was just a different experience. It's unlike anything else on consoles today and if you're looking for something to give you faith in the wii, look no further than this. I can't wait to see Travis Touchdown's adventures continue. Excellent, excellent job Suda 51. A game similar to this – in target audience, not necessarily gameplay – Mad World is due to come out next year for the Wii. If it's half as good as NMH, it'll be phenomenal.

NMH

8-) Left 4 Dead (PC/360) - Man, do I love Valve. They somehow continually release shooters that even I, a man who hates everything in the world and live in my fortress at Mt St. Bitter, can enjoy. L4D is the latest of that batch, and my lord is it fantastic. I feel kind of bad for slipping it at only number 8, but I feel that there just aren't enough maps to play in to justify it being higher. Not many places to choose but replayable, which is good…but the fact is, it is still lacking in levels. Agh…I am conflicted!

What makes L4D so good is that you absolutely must work together with your team to make it through a situation. You see, you're teamed with three other humans (or AI) to go against a horde of infected humans that are inflicted with some sort of virus. For whatever reason, your survivors are all immune to the virus. Unfortunately, everyone is infected around you and you must make it through. Since you are literally four versus hundreds, working together is absolutely important. If you get knocked down, you must have a buddy help you out. You'll have baddies come up behind you, it's good to have someone get your back…it's just a great experience, working with others to survive an onslaught of infected.

That's not the best part of the game, though. It's not like L4D invented fun co-op gameplay. You see, there's this AI element called the director that determines how a level will play out. L4D doesn't have auto-spawn points. You can't ever tell when something is going to come at you or when, it's the director's job to do this. The director alters the gameplay mechanics based on a number of things, namely the player's skill, the player's status, and the player's location. This is used to create a lot of replayability as the levels you go through are different each time thanks to this. Combine this with different visual and audio effects and you have yourself a really neat experience. As if that wasn't enough, the versus mode also allows you to take control of the infected. And even allows for a total of eight players to get into the action. Really, the game can help gamers weary of playing TF 2 over and over again out a lot.

For multiplayer purposes, L4D was easily the best shooter released this year. If you have friends to play the game with, you will have a lot of fun with it. This has to be the most fun I've had with a co-op shooter since Zombie revenge for the Dreamcast. Of course, maybe that's just because shooting zombies brings out the best in everyone.

As I've said before, I feel the experience is best on steam with Valve's notorious favoritism to their PC audience, but you really need to get it no matter what console it's available on. Co-op games don't get much better.

L4D

7-) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2) - I said the same damn thing last year. I thought the P3 would be the last good PS2 title. I thought that there would be no way that in the year 2008…that I would be awarding ANOTHER last-gen title a spot in the top-10 games of the year. Here we are again though, at slot number 7, with the best PS2 game of the year and perhaps one of the best RPGs on the console in general – Persona 4.

For those wondering if you'll like the game, I'll say it as frank as I can. If you don't like JRPGs, if you didn't like Persona 3, you're just not going to like this game. To be totally fair, there really wasn't much of an evolution between part 3 and 4. The battle system is largely the same, the only primary difference would be the ability to issue direct commands as your party members (in the last game, you had to issue orders and hope the AI wasn't stupid). I mean, yeah, arcana grinding is slightly more expanded in this game (they're more FES like, they give closure. And you can grind with EVERY member of your party. It has actual effect on their in-battle abilities now!) but for the most part…if you've played P3, you know what you're getting.

P4 will take you at least 60 hours to complete. I know you're thinking: "Psh, game magazines give times like that all the time and games rarely take that long." Hey, I'm right there with ya, buddy. I'm telling you though, P4 is a LONG game. You have to do a lot of things in it too, you seriously have to ration your time. You need to know when to raise your stats, when to hang out with your friends, and when to delve into the dungeons. There's a lot going on and it can feel sort of hectic at times. You're combining a pokemon/dating sim/jrpg into a single package, so it takes some time to get used to.

Once you get into it though, it is damn rewarding. The story is amazingly well written and the characters are very likable. Usually in an RPG, there will be a character I absolutely loathe, but in P4…the main cast of playable characters are all amazing people. Even Teddie, the punning stuffed bear, becomes lovable after a while. If you can make HIM likable, you've done a damn good job of sucking me into your world. I don't think the story is quite as good as what you will find in P3, but it's right there with it. It's hard to say which one I prefer, but if held at gun-point I'd probably say P4. That's really saying something.

P4 has been one of my favorite games to come out this year. If it had been released on a current-gen platform I think it would be getting some GOTY buzz. Please, please let P5 come out on the PS3 or 360 so more people will talk about it? It's a great, deep game that deserves all the press in the world. I just, er, wish they would tone down on the honorifics.

Yuki

6-) Valkyria Chronicles (PS3) - This game should be getting more GOTY buzz. Period. I know it's not even in my top-5 games of the year, but the fact that it's not even in the top-10 on most website's list is not only a shame, it's god damn near criminal. What this game does for strategy RPGs in general is nothing short of amazing. When I look at the sales numbers for the game, the fact that only like 33 K copies of it have sold in America, I seriously die a little inside. I know that Sega didn't do anything to advertise this title, but come ON.

So basically what you do in this game is take control of a military squad in a region very reminiscent to World War II era Europe. You take turns selecting your troops and moving them. Usually when you think of a strategy RPG from Japan, you think of moving your characters across isometric planes to get the job done. That's not the case here. You select each unit individually, move them yourself, and fire away via aiming. It creates more strategy because you have to take into account a number of new pieces of information: where you are in relation to the enemy, whether the enemy can see you, what enemies are around you, whether you can make it out of a situation alright, and how many moves it will take you to complete a task. The method for strategy in this game, simply, is much more fun and easily accessible than in your typical SRPG.

Adding onto this is the fact that each of your troops fights with their own personality. You see, you draft members into your army and you get to know each one as an individual. For example, let's take Vyse, of Skies of Arcadia fame. When he is in your party, he loves to be put in adverse situations. So if you're surrounded by enemies, Vyse will be much, much stronger than in normal situations. On the opposite end of the scale, you have model Edy who hates to be put in the line of fire. If you have her in a crowded situation, a lot of her stats are lowered. She can't aim for shit. Also added, some troops have fondness for each other and work better as a team. So you also need to take into account how one feels about another. You have to deal with multiple individuals in other tactics-based games, but never before have those people actually felt like individuals. In this game, truly, each individual troop feels like a different person. I absolutely love that.

One other thing this game does well is look absolutely beautiful. The graphics look like they were ripped right out of an anime and looks fantastic in motion. They aren't as technically masterful as Metal Gear Solid 4's graphics, but in their own way, they are very beautiful. To compliment this is one of the best OSTs for a Sony exclusive title yet. The presentation in this game is absolutely great…I really can't compliment it enough.

I could talk about this game for hours. From the story to the characters, I am enamored with the game. I have to cut this short. Hell, I still have to review it (It's coming with the week. The holidays man, I tell ya, they really mess with your head) It's one of the best games for the PS3, and if you own a PS3 and not this game…change that right away. Valkyria Chronicles is one of the best games on the PS3. I am not kidding when I say this is right there with MGS 4 as this year's best PS3 game. It came out of nowhere and captured my heart. This is better than Dreamcast level Sega. Get this now.

Valkyria

5-) Braid (XBLA) - Never in a million years would I have guessed that a download only title for X-Box LIVE Arcade would crack my top-games of the year, let alone my top-5, but here we are. Most every game on this list is made by a company with several employees who are experienced game developers. People who are renown for making games. Braid has a total of two people working on it. One for the art, the other for the actual development. Jonathan Blow developed the game while David Hellman was responsible for the art. What followed is kind of an inspiration to the game industry: A good game is a good game. It doesn't matter if it's an established brand, it doesn't matter if the graphics are good, it doesn't matter who is making it…if you make a good game, you make a good game and Braid is certainly that.

The game is played like a standard 2D platformer. There are physical puzzles that need to be solved, but there's also an interesting little catch. Like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, the player is allowed to rewind time. This helps to avoid death and to solve a variety of puzzles. So, like, it's Mario meets the Prince of Persia. To say that it's a unique experience doesn't even begin to describe it. It's also very nice that each level has a theme. Usually when you play through something, it all looks generally the same…but in Braid, each world really does FEEL different. I like that, it's unique, it's great.

To me, probably the most interesting thing about Braid would be the story. Some label it as pretentious, but if you really delve into it, you can actually find something that is legitimately deep. Not "deep and dark" like something you would see in Shadow the Hedgehog, but something that you actually think about, something that's actually well written. I REALLY enjoy that. The tale of Tim is an interesting one open to interpretation. Hell, even if you don't want to know about it, you can just skip it. You'd be missing out though.

Braid went through three years of development before it was finally released this year. The wait was definitely worth it, and I hope that PS3 and PC gamers can enjoy it soon. This game is just too good to remain on only one platform. It's an inspiration to Indy game developers everywhere that, yes, you CAN compete with the big-boys. This game was listed as one of the best of the year from just about every website that you can name, and for good reason. It IS one of the best. I personally don't think it's as good as the next games I have listed, but you know what? I could understand someone wanting to rank it higher.

Braid is great. Simple as that.

Braid

4-) Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Wii) - This is more of a personal choice, and if this list was listed in "amount of time spent playing", Brawl would easily be the number one game. Brawl may be a lot like Super Smash Brothers Melee in the eyes of many, but…man, I've been playing Melee since that game came out and I moved right onto Brawl with no hesitation. I can foresee myself playing Brawl until the release of the next game. Usually, a multiplayer game I'll play over the course of a few months, but Brawl? Brawl is something that I'll play for years. That deserves recognition of its own. I'm STILL not tired of this game and I've been playing for years. Chris Minotti, brother of AJ and Mike on the Exploding Barrel Podcast, helped me realize this. Brawl is a really, really special game to me.

Really, if you've played Smash Brothers Melee, you know what this game plays like. You can play with up to four friends and duke it out as your favorite Nintendo characters. This game is not like Street Fighter where each character has their own unique inputs, everyone has the type of input. Up+B will always be somebody's move. It just works, you can pick up ANY character and play as them. Of course, they don't all play the same. You have to master the little nuances, the little differences that each player has. That's what really draws you in.

What Brawl does different, and ultimately better, than Melee would have to be fanservice. Melee included a lot with the introduction of trophies, but Brawl goes damn near over-board. Brawl has over 300-tracks from Nintendo's greatest games, over 500 trophies with descriptions, a bunch of stickers to put on backgrounds, assist trophies for characters that didn't just quite make the cut as playable characters, and a story mode with a story like something you would see on a fanfiction website. It caters to US, the people who have been playing Nintendo for our whole lives, and I really love that. I don't like my Wii very much, but Brawl is the only game I own (outside of Street Fighter III and Capcom v. SNK 2) that I'll still be playing on a regular basis three years down the road. It's just a great experience.

I don't care what anyone says about it being the same game as melee. I don't care if people thought the game was disappointing, I don't care if people thought there should have been a bigger roster…it doesn't matter to me. I know that the most fun I've had on the Nintendo Wii was with this game, with its flawed online (it would have been GOTY if the online had been functional. I am dead serious), and even if it's not perfect, it captures everything I love about Nintendo and throws it into one neat little package. It's a love letter to me.

And I'm going to check "Yes".

Yeah!

3-) Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) - This is the game that made the Playstation 3 a must-own console for me. As you may know, I didn't own a PS3 until shortly before I took over as writer of B3yond the Report. I would avoid messageboards like the plague to make sure I missed spoilers for the game, I would not read reviews because I didn't want to see what I was missing…I wanted the MGS 4 experience to be one that felt un-spoiled and I ended up getting that. In early August I played and beat MGS 4 and absolutely loved it. It just takes everything I love about the series and throws it right into my face. AND IMPROVES ON IT! God do I love this game.

First, let's address the gameplay. Metal Gear Solid 4 seems to have a lot better gunplay than prior versions of the game. In those titles, it felt like the game wanted to make sure I didn't fight. Snake didn't feel much like a weapons expert, but a guy who should just be stealthing. In MGS 4, the gunplay is one of the strengths. It is easier to get weapons than ever before, and aiming/shooting is simpler than ever. It may be more casual friendly, but who cares? I think it makes it more fun. This is the only MGS that I think Ramboing would be a viable option. Running and gunning is easy, fun and effective. Of course, your main goal is to stealth around and that's made better than ever with the Octo-camo. You can now blend into any environment by simply leaning up against it and standing still. It eliminates all the menu work from MGS 3. It just plays very smooth.

Of course, MGS is the exact opposite of every other action game on the market. A lot of the fans, including myself, don't necessarily play for the gameplay, but instead are tooling around as Solid Snake for the story. We want to see where Snake will go next, we are heavily invested in his life. This game does not disappoint. Sure, I kind of wish that it would have ended when Sunny said: "Are you crying, Hal?" as opposed to the ending we got…but look, it was still awesome. That final boss fight is probably my favorite in gaming history. As a hardcore Earthbound fan, that means a LOT. I've never been more emotionally evolved in a last battle. It just felt like a long-time coming. You also get one of the most cinematic moments in gaming history. Remember that part of the game where Snake was crawling through that Microwaved room, his suit betraying his body? That cutscene going on at the top of the screen, depicting a ton of different actions (including the amazingly awesome and damn near tear inspiring Johnny/Meryl interactions), was one of the most memorable moments in gaming. Years from now, when I'm playing through Metal Gear Solid 6, I think I'll still remember that exact moment as my favorite moment in gaming history. It was awesome.

Of course, the single player wasn't the only part of this game. For once. There was also an online multiplayer mode. While it didn't always play smooth at the get-go, right now it's a pretty fun, lag-free experience that's easy to enjoy. While I don't think it's the best multiplayer shooter in the world, it is so much more fun due to MGS 4's improved gun-play. I probably won't be buying the expansions for the game, but if I were to I know I'd have fun with it. It's a neat little add-on that wasn't really demanded but I am darn thankful to have.

If you throw this package together and also toss in the amazing soundtrack featuring the absolutely beautiful song "Here's to You", you have one hell of a game experience. It may not be as good as Metal Gear Solid 3, but it's DAMN close. It's a wothy finale to Solid Snake's adventure. I cannot wait to see where kojima goes next with this. I know it's not the most well written thing in the world, but damn if it's not entertaining as all can be.

MGS 4 = System Seller.

MGS

2-) Grand Theft Auto IV (multiplatform) - This is a game that has been receiving a bit of flack lately. People that loved the game when it came out are turning on it for whatever reason, and I just don't get it. GTA IV, for a sequel, actually plays differently than other iterations of the popular franchise and actually improves in several ways the way things go on. I mean, yeah, you're still stealing cars and shooting people…but that's why it's called Grand Theft Auto. You're not going to be negotiating peace treaties, ya know?

GTA IV improves on the gunplay in several ways. Starting with GTA III, gunplay has been the weakest portion of these games. They went with un-reliable auto-targeting that never seemed to target the right guy. You'd always be hopelessly aiming at the un-armed civilian while the mobster you were after was shooting you down. San Andreas was able to address these problems pretty well, but GTA IV was really able to turn this into a strength. Aiming and shooting was something that was no longer a chore, but was fun. I looked forward to getting into gun-fights, which was something I couldn't always say about the other games in the series.

To go with the new gun-play, you also have the new way of driving. San Andreas felt more like an arcadey game in its driving, but GTA IV feels more realistic. The way the cars and stuff move is a lot more true to life than what you see in past games in the franchise. Some people feel that it makes the game a little less fun, but I am not on that boat. I think that this game NEEDED to be more realistic due to the story of the main character. For some reason, I think if you were just flying around the streets it just wouldn't feel right.

Probably my favorite part about the game would have to be the story. For the second console GTA in a row, I was really ensnared about what was going on. Niko's pursuit of the American dream was a very interesting one. I wanted to see him succeed, I wanted to see his enemies fail…to me, Niko was an interesting character. I don't get why people are calling him boring. He had a lot of depth and was right up there with Junpei Iori of Persona 3 fame as far as realism is concerned. The ordeals he goes through, the ideas of forgiveness, the struggle of an immigrant in the city…it's all very captivating to me at least. I guess another thing that helped me like the story was its satirical nature. Most everything needed to be taken with a grain of salt and I liked that. Games that are legitimately deep like that I really enjoy. This wasn't just an excuse to kill people, it was more than that! Or so I tell myself.

If you wanted to play GTA IV, odds are by now you already have. Opinions on it right now are pretty divided, and I suppose I can respect you for not liking it. I will not agree with your opinion, but…I suppose I can respect it. On the other hand, I will continue to enjoy this title for a while. The online aspects and the great story will resonate with me for a good long while.

Not to mention it gave us one of the greatest songs ever. EINZ ZWEI DREI, SHIGGY SHIGGY SCHWEINE.

Niko

1-) Fallout 3 (multiplatform) - I didn't see this one coming, to be quite honest with you. It is a well documented fact that I hate WRPGs. Almost every one I have tried to play, usually the media or a friend recommends it to me, I think is just a boring, boring example of a game. There's just something about them that really tick me off. Like, I tried to like Oblivion, I really did, but every time I tried to play it, I set it down in frustration. Was it the generic fantasy story that rubbed me the wrong way? Was it the stupid first person melee combat? Was it the horrible NPCes? I have no earthly idea, but I could never stick with it. That's why it's so surprising that my 2008 game of the year comes from the very same company who made Oblivion. Bethesda Software, you did a bang-up job with Fallout 3.

Well first, let me go out right now and say that Fallout 3 plays a lot better than Oblivion. 1st person sword play is so ridiculously boring. There never seemed to be any skill involved with just swinging my sword like that. Maybe I needed a WRPG that incorporated gunplay into it. For whatever reason, when I fought…I enjoyed it! I enjoyed shooting enemies, I enjoyed patrolling the wastelands for weapons and stuff to fight with. This wasn't me going through a generic fantasy background, this was me tromping through a post-apocalyptic waste land with a gun. It felt exciting to run across ghouls, it felt exciting fighting bandits. To slow down combat with the VATS system and shoot someone in a specified body part felt neat. It's also really cool that you fine good weapons early on, but they're too broken to make proper use of. It makes it feel more realistic than you progressively finding better items for no reason at all. I loved it. For the first time in a WRPG, I actually ENJOYED fighting.

Like, maybe that's all I needed. It helped me go from story element to story element and it was all very entertaining. The story is a well-written one that takes use of the setting very well. It was interesting to learn how the world ended, it was interesting to learn about how these fallout shelters were founded, the whole experience was just something cool. I think I really dug that this setting is something that could conceivable happen in the future. You see, the generic fantasy setting of games such as Oblivion absolutely could not happen, but perhaps in a couple hundred years nuclear warfare COULD happen. Wouldn't you want to know how it took place? I think that's part of what makes Fallout 3 so darn interesting.

The only real complaint I have about Fallout 3 would be the ending. It's just not very good, it's something that I feel let down with, especially after playing so many hours to finish the game. Have you ever heard of an ending so bad that people actually want Bethesda to patch THAT out? Well, now you have. I noted earlier in the year that Fallout 3 was supposed to have multiple variations on the ending, and while it does…most of those "endings" are just small changes in dialogue. That's cool and all, but they could have done better.

Fallout 3 is pretty much a complete package though. From the story, to the awesome music – the 50's music really does it for me -, to THREE DOG (AWOOOOOOOO), to the gameplay…everything about this game is great. This was not anywhere near my list of the top-10 games of 2008 because I just…I didn't care about it at all. I didn't want another Bethesda WRPG. Yet here we are, January 1st – second when you read it – and this is where Fallout 3 places on my list.

Fallout 3. The 10th Hour's 2008 GOTY. Who would have thought that, eh?

F3

Honorable Mentions: Civ Rev, Mercenaries 2, World of Goo, and Castle Crashers

A couple of other awards before I go:

Worst Game of the year: TNA Impact (multiplatform). Dude, this game was horrible. Every wrestler played the same, the story mode was absolutely horrible, and there were ridiculously few game modes. I wanted to love a TNA game because I have a soft-spot for wrestling titles, but to say this game was pure shit is an under-statement. What an awful game. At least Impact 2 can't get any worse.

Worst Trend - Nintendo shying away from ‘core gaming kind of hurts me. Especially when they go as far to say that Animal Crossing is a hardcore title. Please. Don't insult my intelligence. It's sad that I can't name one 1st Party Nintendo (Okay, I thought of one. Punchout Wii. Damn you) title coming out in 2009 that I want. Luckily the third party stuff might be half-decent.

Worst Developer - Activision's marketing policy: SEQUEL, SEQUEL, SEQUEL, SEQUEL, SEQUEL, SEQUEL, SEQUEL, SEQUEL, SEQUEL. WE ARE THE BEST DEVS EVER GUYS.

Best blurring of reality - Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm for the PS3 actually looked like the anime. There were times when I was playing that I could have sworn I was watching the show as I played. I guess it also helps that the game is a rather fun one. If more anime-style games can be made like this, I'll be a happy man.

Most welcome surprise of the year - Final Fantasy XIII is going to X-Box? Good. I'm glad more people can experience FF XIII. Everything I've seen about it looks absolutely awesome, so the more people that can play it, the better. As long as it doesn't mean I have to see a delay for it to release on the 360 at the same time. That would be a drag.

Worst DLC of the year - Those stupid costume packs from Little Big Planet. What a god damn waste of money. If you spend money on costumes for that game, you should feel really silly. You know you're just paying Sony to advertise for them, don't you?

Worst fans of the year - Diablo fans are so stupid. "WAAAAAH! I HATE COLORFUL GAMES." Seriously, shut the fuck up. Diablo 3 looks like it'll be damn awesome, just be thankful you're getting it.

Best fans of the year - Boy, that's a tough one ain't it? I'm going to say Street Fighter fans for jumping on the SF II Turbo HD Bandwagon. That's such a good game, isn't it? Who cares if we're buying the same game we played years ago, look at how pretty it is! Look at it!

Worst button on a controller to play SF II Turbo HD Remix with, I am dead serious this button sucks: Fuck you R2 button. Why won't you work on a consistent basis? I just want to hard kick with you, but you fight me every step of the way! I don't want to have R1 be my kick button! Ahhh…you're making me so sad, man.

Hottest Video Game Character: Selvaria Bles. Fuck yeah. Valkyria Chronicles was made even better!

Well, I guess that's it for this week. If you have anything to comment on, which I'm sure you will, do so below. Tell me what your game of the year candidates are, what you think are some worthy awards, or well…just comment about anything I guess. Anything you guys say helps me to become a better writer and I truly appreciate it. My e-mail is Dragonmaster_Alex_158@hotmail.com. You can always just comment down below too.

Before I go though, here are some links around the game section. Keeping descriptions short because, well, this is already a fucking long article as is:

Todd Vote writes Eye on the Future. Wii edition this week.

Mark Salmela writes Games Only a Mother Could Love. This week it's Night Trap.

Vincent Chiucchi writes The Hall of Shame. It's a shameful 2009. You're right Vince, Diablo fans suck.

Theo Fraser writes The Nintendophiles

I write B3yond the Report

Trace Aber writes Living LIVE.

Jordan "The Ogre" Williams writes Working Title. This week the Workie winners are revealed.

Joe Roche writes the
Full Circle 360 News Report

Vincent Chiucchi also writes the Select and Start News Report

AJ and Mike Minotti are the voices behind the Exploding Barrel Podcast. Mike, AJ, and Chris reveal their number five game of the year this week.

I think that's all the new content…if I missed you though, I'm sorry!

Happy New Years everyone, thanks for reading. Next week will be the obligatory '09 themed article.

'til the crossroads

Selvaria - That's Selvaria if you were wondering.


Screenshots
All 9 The 10th Hour Screenshots





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