Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fan-boys prepare your mudslinging...

As anyone even remotely interested in games would tell you, the passion, zeal, and vigor of any serious gamer is powered by a little thing called lists. Making lists gives us purpose. They allow us to differentiate the true believers from the heretics, they give order to a world of chaos, and of course, they are the gasoline that fuels the ever-important fan-boy flame wars.

I have decided that every Thursday I will partake in this sacred ritual by laying down into writing lists of varying profundity. These lists may include, but are not limited to, ‘the ten most annoying characters ever created,’ ‘Five reasons why Grand Theft Auto is the most over-rated thing in all of history,’ and ‘Ten game franchises that must be put to rest for their-and our-own good.’

I will begin this rite in the most familiar way, i.e. a ten best list.

2008 is almost over and soon ‘best of 2008’ lists will flood the interwebs. Yet as we are all aware, fall is the time of year when all of the biggest blockbusters are released. In fact, there are no fewer than eight potential ‘Game of the Year’ winners being released between October, and November alone. So before we experience the deluge of amazing upcoming titles 2008 has to offer, let us take a moment to reflect on the year that was: 2007.

In my humble opinion, 2007 was possibly the best year for gaming ever-certainly the best since 1998. And although there are some great games that have and will come out this year (Fallout 3, Little Big Planet, etc.) quite frankly, 2008 has got nothing on 2007.

So, without further ado, I present my list for the ten best games that came out of the best year in a decade:

(In no particular order)

1. The Orange Box (PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3)
The Orange Box is not only the best deal in video gaming history but also packs the best shooter of the year in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and the best puzzler in Portal. This was my pick for game of the year.
2. Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo Wii)
It’s incredible that after more than twenty years Mario games are still just as innovative, exciting, and fun as they ever have been. Truly this is a masterpiece of gameplay.
3. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (Playstation 3)
Sure, it’s waaay to gun heavy, but Naughty Dog’s Uncharted is an absolute blast to play. (oh yeah, it looks pretty amazing too.)
4. Mass Effect (Xbox 360, PC)
Glaring technical shortcomings are forgiven when taken in conjunction with the scope and grandeur offered in Mass Effect. A wonderful adventure that is worth several play throughs.
5. Zack & Wiki: The Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure (Nintendo Wii)
It was good to see a third party finally utilize the Wiimote to its full potential. Zack & Wiki is a wickedly clever game and a joy to play. If you own a Wii, get it.
6. Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (Playstation 3)
With R & C we finally got those ‘Toy Story’ visuals we were promised way back when. Fortunately, while the story does fall flat about halfway through the game, gameplay is as fun and exciting as they come. (now if we could just get games to look as good as Ratatouille).
7.) The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo DS)
I don’t know how Nintendo does it, but two franchises twenty years old are still good enough to make a ten best list. Sure the music in this iteration is less than inspired and you can get through the game without dying, but that does little to detract from the shear joy derived from exploring this wonderfully realized and stylized world. Oh yeah, new control scheme? Dig it.
8.) Bioshock (PC, Xbox 360)
Bioshock is one of the most atmospheric games I’ve ever played. Not only does it look and sound fantastic but it also is a deep and engaging fps.
9.) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360, Playstation 3)
As a gamer who has never fully commited to the multiplayer revolution,
It’s great to see a company make a game with a single player campaign as fun as this. That being said, I still think that the multiplayer aspect of the game is phenomenal, easily the best on 360 this year (it’s true Halo fans)
10.) Metroid 3/Odin Sphere/Halo 3 (Nintendo Wii, Playstation 2, Xbox 360)
I know, I know its cheating, but I couldn’t decide! Three games all great in their own right-Metroid: graphics, Odin Sphere: art design, Halo: gameplay.

Well there you have it. If you haven’t played any of these games then I can’t recommend them enough.

…Oh and to keep the spirit of lists alive: If you disagree, then you have no idea what you are talking about.


Kyra Angeli said...

The only problem I see with Phantom Hourglass, personally, is just how much people seemed to bitch about Wind Waker when it first came out. I know that, personally, my brother and I had to go out and purchase Wind Waker so that we could play Phantom Hourglass and feel informed.

I'm surprised that some of the games that remain popular are from last year. I guess after the next gen systems are released the years just kind of blur together for me. I'm just no good with remembering dates.

I can't say I agree 100% with your list, but every person follows a different genre and has different tastes. It's hard to create something that people will agree with entirely.

Bob_without_a_torso said...

I only have Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3 off that list, I'm pretty far behind.

Gears of War 2 looks crazy though, might have to get a 360 for that one.

Grayday said...

With the exception of Bioshock, which a friend of mine is obsessed with, I know nothing of the games on your list, but I still think the idea is cool. You should consider doing a list for next week on the worst games of a particular year or a particular decade. It's just as fun to bash sucky games as it is to praise great games.