Game of the Year 2008
2008 has been a huge year for the video game industry. Despite the global economic recession that has the entire world trapped in its grips, the video game industry has seen record breaking profits, leading analysts to even dub the industry as 'immune' to the recession. And it hasn't just been a great year for those involved on the industry side, either. 2008 has been an excellent year for gamers as well. One glance at any review aggregate will show just how many good games have come out this year - over 80 titles have been collectively ranked over 80%, a number unmatched in over four years. In particular, the PS3 itself has finally begun to bloom. 2008 is easily the best year so far for Sony's fledgling console. Despite Sony not cutting the PS3's hefty price, the PS3 sale's picked up considerably, selling on it's expansive library alone. The PS3's library saw an increase of quality titles by over 120%, now offering over 70 critically acclaimed titles to its users. And it goes without saying that with all these amazing titles coming out these year, we had one hell of a time trying to narrow it down to just pick one game to win our highly coveted Game of the Year award. Here are our nominees:
Grand Theft Auto IV:
One of the most commercially successful and critically received franchises finally makes the transition to the seventh generation of gaming consoles. Grand Theft Auto IV turned the series on its head, offering an infinitely more realistic take on the franchise, with a brand new physics engine and upgraded graphics. Deep down, however, the series retains its charm, still feeling like the Grand Theft Auto we all know and love, despite its high definition make over. Right now, the title stands as the best game of all time on review aggregates like MetaCritic and GameRankings, and had one of the most successful launches in terms of sales this generation.
LittleBigPlanet is a new face in the sea of established franchises, but somehow managed to stand apart from all of them regardless. LittleBigPlanet is a game you can't really appreciate until you've played it. On paper, it's a platformer with a level editor, but in motion, it's just so much more. While the game itself provides a very solid, if not a tad basic platforming experience, it's the charm that the title character, Sackboy, just exonerates that makes it so much more enjoyable. Add one of the most robust level creators, one that just inspires creativity, and you have a timeless game that could be held up with the likes of Super Mario Bros.
Resistance was the definitive launch title when the PS3 was first available in 2006. Just a mere two years later, and a mere one year after their previous blockbuster Ratchet and Clank title, Insomniac has churned out an impressive sequel to the launch title. Resistance 2 delivers on all fronts, with an epic single player campaign, and an incredibly innovative and addictive multiplayer. The 8 player co-op mode in particular is deserving of praise, not only does it breathe a breath of fresh air to the traditionally competitive online modes, but it manages to be an absolute blast to play as well.
Metal Gear Solid 4:
One of the pillars that the PlayStation empire has always relied on, the Metal Gear franchise is without a doubt one of the biggest and most influential series in the video game world. Once again raising the bar for graphics, audio, and overall presentation, Metal Gear Solid 4 manages to innovate in every aspect. Starting first with gameplay, everything about the series was scrapped and completely re-hauled to make it a fresh experience. And it worked. Metal Gear Solid 4 was the first PS3 exclusive to receive unanimous praise from nearly every publication, and has gone on to be one of the greatest PS3 games released to date.
The Fallout series produced award winning role playing titles when they were released close to ten years ago, and despite the large gap in time and a completely new developer, Fallout 3 has managed to continue in that tradition. Fallout 3 takes the best of the all but dead isometric, point and click style of its predecessors, and faithfully modernizes it, retaining the essence of what made the series work. Fallout 3 provides an expansive, open world, a detailed skill and level system, and fun combat system all wrapped up in a simply amazing presentation. And, despite some game ruining glitches that have since been ironed out, Bethesda has managed to a deliver an experience that can not only be enjoyed by fans of the original titles, but by a completely new crowd as well.
Our winner of the 2008 Game of the Year award is... Metal Gear Solid 4
The reason Metal Gear Solid 4 won our Game of the Year award isn't because of its stunning graphics, excellent soundtrack, stellar voice acting, or any single reason alone. MGS4 won our Game of the Year award because it manages to be more than just a game. It's an experience, something that many games offer but few ever deliver. Metal Gear Solid 4's intricate characters and well-paced plot provide an emotional roller coaster ride, skillfully crafted every step of the way by the game's director, Hideo Kojima. For the now iconic Solid Snake's final mission, no punches were held and his final moments were without a doubt accompanied by the tears of many a gamer. For many, Metal Gear Solid 4 is the definitive reason to own a PS3. But for many more, MGS4 is the reason to be a gamer.
Viewer's Choice Award 2008
We let you guys choose out of our Game of the Year nominees to find out what you would pick for your favorite title of the year. The winner of the first annual PCN Viewer's Choice of the Year award, taking over 60% of the votes, goes to Grand Theft Auto IV.