So, Eurogamer has posted the results of their reader survey on the best games of 2008. I don’t really ‘do’ lists, since I consider the process of attempting to place a definitive order on an array of essentially different experiences as futile as putting sparkly costumes on mice and expecting a rendition of Strictly Come Dancing to naturally ensue.
Nevertheless, the list did serve to remind me that we’ve been quite spoiled for games in 2008 again. I picked out a number from the 50 that were of interest to me:
- Rez HD (40) - same great game, cleaner lines
- Okami (35) - Zelda with a dog/Shinto flavour. Good but a little by-the-numbers (like Zelda in fact)
- Bioshock (33) - Not really 2008 for me, but it’s in their list (PS3) so I included anyway. A flawed classic with a unique and fantastically realised atmosphere
- Team Fortress 2 (31) - Great art style and team role system, even if it does tend to suffer from the same polarisation of skill level that blights most online twitch games
- Mass Effect (25) - despite a few shortcomings, still the best space opera RPG I’ve played bar KOTOR
- Geometry Wars 2 (23) - the best arcade game I’ve played in years, without exception
- Rock Band (18), Rock Band 2 (13) - easily the best multiplayer music experience so far, plus fantastic DLC support. More longevity than Dracula.
- Prof. Layton & the Curious Village (14) - a fusion of Enid Blyton and a Mensa test. Brilliant.
- Portal (12) - pure indie class, changes the FPS rules and sprinkles with comedy.
- Braid (8) - perhaps a little pretentious at times, but with constantly surprising variations on the core time manipulation mechanic, you can easily forgive it. Too clever for its own good.
- Left 4 Dead (7) - the game that made co-op a core, unshakable foundation rather than just an bolt-on. The design looks deceptively simple on the surface, but really it’s very smart. Best first-person multi-player game in ages.
- Fable 2 (6) - the main plot may be simple, but the world that surrounds it is absorbing, quirky, beautiful and full of surprises. Extra points for being unashamedly British.
And that’s only the games I own (and particularly liked). There are a number of others I’d like to get sometime:
- World of Goo (26) - intuitive and fun, I must finish the demo & buy the full game sometime
- Dead Space (10) - Seems like RE4 and System Shock fused together, which is no bad thing.
- Little Big Planet (5) - the only game that makes me want a PS3, for being too damn cute and having a visual programming system built-in. For when Sony make a cheaper PS3 perhaps.
- Gears of War 2 (3) - GOW1 was the FPS that looked just like a dumb no-neck marine game, but delivered a surprisingly refined sci-fi experience when I finally got it from eBay early this year. Hence, GOW2 is firmly on my xmas list.
- Fallout 3 (1) - I still have my doubts, since I hated the similarly lauded Oblivion for its vast but insipid experience. I can’t decide if F3 is for the same kind of audience (ie those with OCD and a lot of time) or not. Definitely a maybe. 😕
So if nothing else, the list makes me grateful for what has been another great gaming year.