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Big Ross’ Top 10 Video Games (for Consoles) of 2008

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer


Image First things first, let me be honest.  As I disclosed around this time last year, there is more than a little subjectivity in this list.  I realize the title implies that I have played every video game released this past calendar year and judged them all against each other and found the ten very best, but that just isn't true.  I have neither the time nor the money to allow me to perform such a feat.  Instead in this list you will find games that I have actually played and deemed the best of the year, and the great part about a list such as this is that if your personal favorite doesn't appear here you can rant about it in the forums!  Here we go!

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Honorable Mention: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Resistance 2, Little Big Planet, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Rock Band 2

Consider this is my attempt to at least somewhat cover my ass for failing to include some great games that I just haven't been able to play this past year.  Any of these games could (and probably should) be placed in a top ten list, but I'm just not willing to judge them solely on second-hand reviews.  I'll tell ya this much, if the rumors that MGS4 might be ported to the Xbox 360 (the only console I own) turn into reality, chances are you'll see that game on a list similar to this one next year.

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10. Dead Space & Left 4 Dead (tie)

I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but is it possible to judge a video game by its demo?  The only exposure I've had to either of these games is their respective demo available on Xbox Live.  Yet even with that limited experience it seems to me that each distinguishes itself and offers some degree of innovation in a genre that has been around almost as long as first-person shooters.  Dead Space takes the genre to where no man has gone before with its sci-fi, Event Horizon-like setting and pushes the survival aspect to the limits with its challenging dismemberment combat mechanic and lack of a pause menu.  Left 4 Dead allows gamers to share the scares with its 4 player, cooperative online gameplay and shines with its all around high level of quality, not surprising given it was developed by the makers of the Half-Life series.

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9. Dark Sector

There is a very simple reason this game is on this list (when I suspect it's not on a lot of others).  That reason is Krull.  I loved this fantasy movie from the 1980's as a kid, and a part of me still does.  I was fixated on wielding the Glaive, and Dark Sector allowed me to do just that, in a manner of speaking.  I should probably have put one of those honorable mentions in its place, or some other game, but I didn't play any of those.  I did play Dark Sector, and I had a hell of a good time while doing so.

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8. Call of Duty: World at War

The Call of Duty series is the Law & Order of military-themed first person shooters.  By that I mean it continues to turn out a product year after year that while adhering to a fairly constant formula continues to entertain.  With World at War the COD series returns from its departure to Modern Warfare to the familiar setting of WWII.  As the name implies, this time around you step into the combat boots of soldiers around the world, not all of them American.  There's not much new here, but it's another solid notch in the COD belt.

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7. Grand Theft Auto IV

You know, this game was fun for awhile, but the more I played the more negatives I perceived and the more bored/frustrated I became.  Maybe I'm not the key demographic for this game.  Maybe it's just not my style.  I will concede that it is a great game and can be great fun, but it's low in the rankings for a reason.

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6. Fable 2

Only at #6 you say?  Yes.  If that position surprises you, then you obviously haven't read my review of the game.  I can recognize that the quality and fun-factor are high enough to warrant its placement in the top ten, but I stand by my criticisms of Fable II.  There are far too many annoying, frustrating, flawed aspects of this game for me to put it any higher.

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5. Mario Kart Wii

As I point out in CC2k's upcoming Video Game Gift Giving Guide (what alliteration!), one of the best gifts a guy can give his sweetheart is a Nintendo Wii.  If you heed my advice one of the games you should get is Mario Kart Wii.  I promise you'll be playing well into the new year.  While I agree with a sentiment by Mike Leader that a lot of the games for the Wii feel like Greatest Hits compilations of Nintendo's past glory, with Mario Kart Wii as no exception, this game is still great, great fun.

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4. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Although I focused on this game's flaws in an earlier review, there's still enough gaming goodness to warrant a spot for it on this end-of-the-year list.  While it is a little too short, frustrating and even maddening at times, this game still combines a compelling story with great graphics and offers gamers a command of the Force never before available.  Perhaps I was a bit too harsh in my review; in hindsight I feel that Star Wars: The Force Unleashed could easily sit in the top 5 greatest Star Wars games ever.  But I still think the real shame is that it could have ascended to the very top and didn't.

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3. Guitar Hero: World Tour

Guitar Hero had the faux-musician gaming genre (or whatever you call it) in a monopoly-like stranglehold for years.  Then Rock Band came along and said, "A guitar?  That's it?  Hah!  We'll see your guitar and raise you a microphone and drum set."  The folks behind Guitar Hero did what U.S. auto makers seem incapable of: they adapted.  With Guitar Hero: World Tour, they offered a microphone, improved their guitar design, and included a drum set with added cymbals.  With a set list that features more original performances than any previous GH game, as well as a sweet craft-your-own music feature, we can once again fantasize about being rock gods.  Rock on!

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2. Gears of War 2

What more can I say about this sequel?  The developers gave gamers more of what they loved from the first Gears of War, corrected a lot of the problems perceived with the first game, and ratcheted up the scope, story, gore, and multiplayer.  Gears 2 is the rare sequel that surpasses the original, and the second best game I've played this year.

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1. Fallout 3

While I struggled a bit to order some of the other games in this list, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind where Fallout 3 belongs.  No other game that I have played this year rivals Fallout 3 by any measure.  Bethesda Softworks have successfully meshed the Fallout world with their open-world RPG design to create the all-around best gaming experience I've had in 2008.  Can it get any better?  Considering there's still plenty of gaming for me to do even after playing through the main campaign once already, and adding to that the DLC due for an early 2009 release, and somehow the answer is yes it can. 

Author: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

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