…in stuff that we Mike liked.
The Holidays are over and a New Year has begun but 2008 still burns. It was a year not unlike sex with a woman you fully didn’t understand. It was fun for a while but you will be paying for it and cursing it’s name for years to come.
But we like our entertainment here, and it was a great year for it so let’s focus on that.
It’s no secret that we were going to do a “Best Of” for ’08. One that turned all of our lists in to one definitive “Malden Voice” for the best in games, movies, music etc…
Sure they’re trite, boring and usually divisive but I was willing to do it anyways. However, the response was tepid and I should have clarified the format better. So I soldier on with my own, which can be later amended or added to by all of you.
I’m going to go top ten, in order, starting with games today, movies tomorrow and more as I see fit.
Mike’s Top Ten Games Of 2008
MLB 08 The Show – PSP
First a “what? what!? what?!?” for the list. You know I love some baseball but not too often baseball video games. This game’s ‘Road To The Show’ mode is basically an RPG and does so many things right you forgive the little things it does not so right (like BRUTAL load times).
So why did I pick the PSP version and not it’s big brother on PS3? Well I was living out of a suitcase all summer and it’s portable, that’s it. It’s on this list because I dumped a ton of hours in to it as it helped me get through a season where I didn’t watch much baseball and the M’s were terrible. A very personal pick and I don’t expect you guys to play it ever. EVER.
Oh how I thought this game would rank higher. In fact it almost slipped off the list. I guess every now and then you get swept up in the promise of what a game can deliver without asking yourself “do I really want what this game promises to deliver?” See, I still haven’t made a level yet, maybe only played a handful of user levels and haven’t finished the story mode.
So why is it even on my list? Despite my apathy toward making levels it still is a fun creation with a wonderful aesthetic, a great user community and SF2 and MGS4 DLC. I have played the story mode a lot and have fallen for the overall experience. And while I’m not always in to the jumping physics in the game I love the grab mechanic and wish more platformers had it.
I can’t say I’ve played a ton of this game but what I have really reminds me of Guardian Heroes. Which is one of the highest compliments I can pay a game. Sure the online was broken for quite awhile but it’s fixed now.The combos (and air combos!) are fantastic and I can’t wait to see how insane the spells get. A beat ’em up with depth and humor, what else do you need?
This is on the list not only because it deserves to be but with the hope that “other people” buy this and four player Malden mayhem can ensue.
The World Ends With You
Moody whiny protagonists are nothing new in the world of Square/Enix. However this game gives you such a great and original setting (for RPGs) that being a pretty Emo boy works. The dual screen combat system is great, even if I find it hard to even pay attention to the top screen. It’s just a game where all the elements of design come together to make an experience that you want to be a part of. A true gem from Japan in a year where that country struggles to find it’s identity in this generation of consoles.
World Of Goo
As some of you know I bought this for the Mac and recommend highly that you get it for PC/Mac over the WiiWare version. A another game where I was super impressed with the art and style. Oh yeah it’s a whole lot of fun to play. A puzzle game unlike any other I’ve played that gives me great hope for the future of not just Indie games but American made games in general.
Call it pretentious, call it a bizzare Mario homage but please call it a great game. It like, World Of Goo affirms all those previously discussed hopes I have now. A highly original puzzle/platformer where the difficulty never felt cheap and when you solved a puzzle you slap yourself in the head, cursing yourself for not thinking of that sooner.
Yeah it can be super frustrating, yeah the combat sucks but goddamn do I still love it. I’m all for original experiences and this game delivered in spades. ME has visceral thrills unlike any game I can remember. Whether you’re stringing together a series of moves or standing on the precipice of a jump you’re not quite sure you’ll survive, you FEEL it. For those of you who haven’t, you have to play the game that makes jumping exciting again.
Left 4 Dead
4 Player Co-op? Zombies? Why are Chad and I the only ones playing this again? Well I guess you all have your reasons but they’re all wrong. When this game is at it’s best there’s very few experiences that can match it. You have to love how you’re best laid plans are shot to shit by the AI director and in the ensuing chaos finding a way to survive. The most fun that you can have with multiple partners with your pants on* this year.
* I tried once playing with my pants off and well the heart palpatations were too much.
Far Cry 2
You all have no idea how close this was to being my number one. By no means is it a perfect experience because the complaints are legitimate, it’s flaws numerous but It’s still a lot of fun. If you notice my 2-4 picks are all First Person games, a genre I’ve stayed a way from. No doubt First Person CAN deliver more immersive experiences but until this generation The technology hasn’t been able to present to me a world that I wanted to be immersed in in that perspective.
Gone are corridors and shitty Alien derived Sci-Fi. Far Cry 2 gives me a gorgeous, morally ambiguous world I want to actually explore. I love playing it stealthy and when that plan goes to pot a sly smile briefly flashes across my face as I decide burn the whole jungle down around the bastards.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots
No shock here. While my ongoing tryst with Far Cry 2 almost stole my heart, Metal Gear has owned it for years and I can’t bring myself to throw that all away. And if it is truly Snake and Kojima’s swan song I thank them both for the memories.
You know why it’s great I’ll say no more.