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'WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2008' - Consoles and PC

by Rainier on Dec. 31, 2008 @ 9:33 a.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions and the top handheld and downloadable titles, and now, we're rolling out the top console/PC offerings. Once that's out of the way, we'll start the countdown of the top 20 titles, including what WP considers to be the best game of 2008. Read more for the results!

PS2

5. LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

Without a doubt, LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a worthy addition to the witty and entertaining LEGO gaming franchise. With plenty of goodies to collect and surprises to uncover, you will easily find a respectable amount of replay value as you attempt to obtain the best possible score for each episode. Anyone looking for a great family-oriented entertainment title would be hard-pressed to find a better offering than LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures.

4. Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is fun. That's basically the only word to describe it. It isn't particularly deep or thought-provoking, or noticeably challenging. It's just fun. Spending 30 hours or so with these characters is an enjoyable time, and while it won't be the sort of RPG you replay often or will remain with you long after the credits roll, you'll have a fun time with it. The school setting is unique enough to really set Mana Khemia apart from most of the bombastic "save the world" RPGs, since even fellow school-based RPG Persona 3 was far more focused on symbolism and drama than goofy fun, and the gameplay is enjoyable enough to keep you going. Don't play Mana Khemia expecting a life-changing experience or the new baseline for RPGs. Play it expecting to smile.

3. Yakuza 2

Yakuza 2 is a fantastic sequel to an already great game. While not a whole lot has changed to make this one feel like a big revolution from the first, enough issues were fixed to make Yakuza 2 feel far more playable and complete when it comes to the gameplay, and while the story takes a small step back, it's definitely a far cry from being bad. This one is definitely worth checking out if you were a fan of the original and if you missed out on the first, you could pick it up along with this for less than the price of a next-gen title at this point. Definitely do so if you haven't already, and hopefully we'll get to see part three soon enough.

2. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 - FES

Whether you're a newcomer or veteran, there is very little reason not to buy Persona 3 FES. Almost every addition to The Journey makes it a superior experience to the original Persona 3. On top of that, the budget price of $29.99 makes it a deal you simply can't pass up, whether you're someone who missed Persona 3 the first time, or a veteran of the series.

1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

On the surface, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 may seem like a simple repackaging of Persona 3, but under the surface lies something more. Persona 4 is Persona 3, but better in perhaps every way. Everything — from the story to the combat system to the dungeon crawling and Social Links — has been improved. Considering that Persona 3 was already an excellent game, Persona 4 is a true standout. If you're an RPG fan who owns a PlayStation 2, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game. You won't regret it.

PS3

5. Valkyria Chronicles

There's something about a Sega game that makes it "Sega," and Valkyria Chronicles has that unmistakable touch to it that the Shining Force titles on the Genesis and Dragon Force for the Saturn have had. It's one of the best games that I've played for the current generation, and strategy-minded JRPG fanatics might want to book a trip to Gallia for a unique experience on the PS3. Challenging, frustrating, but every bit as rewarding, Valkyria Chronicles is proof that Sega can create something new while wrapping it within the familiar feel of a classic.

4. Fallout 3

Fallout 3 feels like a Fallout game, and that is absolutely the highest compliment. Despite the changes, much of the charm and fun of the franchise remains intact, and despite the similarities to Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, you never feel like you're playing anything but a Fallout game. Fallout 3 is a game with a ridiculous amount of value for your money and easily worth the full $60. This isn't Oblivion: With Guns, but an honest-to-goodness Fallout 3, and a fine addition to the franchise.

3. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

There are many aspects of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots that would qualify it as one of the best stealth games of all time. The flexible and creative gameplay elements are stronger than ever, backed by arguably the best engine to date for such a game.

2. Resistance 2

When taken as a whole, Resistance2 comes exceptionally close to attaining gaming perfection. Only minor graphical shortcomings and a weak story hold back this title from an even higher score. As it stands, though, this is a title that every PS3 owner should play, as its strengths utterly dwarf its weaknesses, and we ultimately emerge with the very definition of what makes a great game. The world needs you to step up and save us from the Chimera scourge; this is a call to arms that you should happily accept.

1. LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet is a great platformer with incredible artistic direction and sound, and with some great gameplay to back it up. While the main game is short and can sometimes be a little hard to control, it remains a ton of fun to play, and the fantastic level creator means that as long as LBP has a community, there will always be new levels to play, giving this game a seemingly endless replay value. It's not flawless, as the controls can and will frustrate you as you play, but everything else is just so much fun and so well done that you should not hesitate to play this game. This is certainly one of the PlayStation 3's finest titles and an excellent addition to anyone's video game collection.

Wii

5. Sam & Max Season One

The soundscape may be imperfect, but the sheer sense of writing quality makes up the difference. Sam & Max: Season One looks just fine on the Wii, and the Freelance Police are back in glorious action. Any adventure gamer who hasn't yet enjoyed the game is advised to pick this up immediately. Check your sense of Euclidean physics and normal causality at the door, and be ready for humor.

4. de Blob

It's easy to dismiss de Blob as "just another casual title" based on its premise, but to do so would be a mistake. It is a rare game that can appeal equally well to both the casual and hardcore crowds, yet de Blob does just that. It is a brilliant fusion of simple mechanics and in-depth play that deserves checking out. If you own a Wii, de Blob should be on your short list.

3. Okami

The final verdict is that Okami for the Wii is an excellent offering and a fine addition to your library if you don't already own the PlayStation 2 version. The small complaints are a small price to pay for such an exquisite adventure, a title that really proves that quality third-party support for Nintendo is much more than a dream at this point.

2. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Excellence permeates Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The gameplay is as good as ever, and the changes to the system seem to be for the better. The replay value is through the roof, not just because of the wonderful gameplay, but also due to the seemingly endless parade of items to collect. Between the trophies, stickers and unlockable challenges, you'll probably still be unlocking things in Brawl when the next Smash Bros. title comes out. Super Smash Bros. Brawl may not be perfect, but it is definitely a game that everyone with a Wii should own.

1. No More Heroes

Anime otaku and arcade gamers will have plenty to slash at in No More Heroes for the Wii, as they fight through a unique mix of over-the-top action and funky humor. If MIDI music brings a misty tear in your eye and you find yourself fencing against your shadow while watching Ninja Scroll, then No More Heroes could be what your inner swordsman is craving.

X360

5. Grand Theft Auto IV

If you're even vaguely interested in GTA, then you're going to enjoy GTA IV. Minor flaws are overshadowed by the improved gunplay, amazing multiplayer and shockingly addictive social interactions that really turn GTA IV into something special. With a large, detailed city to explore and a nearly infinite amount of replay value, Grand Theft Auto IV is most certainly a game worth buying, and it should keep even the most hardcore of gamers busy for weeks, if not months.

4. Rock Band 2

Overall, Rock Band 2 is a game that is completely worth your money. It does a lot to cater to nearly all skill levels and playing styles, and it's one of the most user-friendly rhythm games ever published. The enhanced support for online play makes it easier to find people to play with and gives you more things to do. Rock Band 2 is, basically, an awesome game that's been made more awesome.

3. Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is an amazing game, and I highly recommend it, but only if you are able to play online. If you are an offline-only player, then give it a rental; if not, buy the game. I have a feeling that this title will become as big of a multiplayer phenomenon as its brethren, Counter-Strike.

2. Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2 achieves exactly what it sets out to do: make a better Gears of War. The multiplayer is a nice step forward and nearly worth the price of admission on its own, but the campaign ultimately feels like more of the same, just prettier and shinier. If you loved the original, you're going to eat this one up.

1. Fallout 3

Fallout 3 feels like a Fallout game, and that is absolutely the highest compliment. Despite the changes, much of the charm and fun of the franchise remains intact, and despite the similarities to Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, you never feel like you're playing anything but a Fallout game. Fallout 3 is a game with a ridiculous amount of value for your money and easily worth the full $60. This isn't Oblivion: With Guns, but an honest-to-goodness Fallout 3, and a fine addition to the franchise.

PC

5. Spore

Spore is not the gaming paradigm shift it might have been touted as, but it's a highly impressive and ambitious undertaking unlike any other before, ultimately hitting more of its lofty targets than it misses. In doing so, it delivers a gaming experience that you shouldn't miss.

4. Mass Effect

Mass Effect is an ambitious crossbreed between a sci-fi RPG and a third-person shooter, and its many strengths outweigh some small but nonetheless significant flaws. It is similar in many ways to Bioware's other RPG outings, and if you enjoyed Knights of the Old Republic in particular, Mass Effect is probably a good way of spending the 40 hours or so that it takes to complete the game.

3. Sins of a Solar Empire

In a game genre that is normally filled with complex and difficult-to-learn games, Sins of a Solar Empire manages to find some good, solid middle ground. The title successfully delivers a real-time space strategy that offers 4X and RTS fans an experience that is both detailed and easy to learn. Veteran 4Xers may find the reduced complexity to be a shortcoming, but I found that the title offers a perfect level of complexity while still maintaining the delicate balance between strategy and action. It is an exceptional sci-fi, real-time strategy experience.

2. Fallout 3

Fallout 3 isn't perfect, but its shortcomings pale before the fun that keeps pushing you to find out what's over the next hill of rubble. The world that Bethesda has created houses an engaging RPG that easily stands as a passionate demonstration of its love for the series. As Ron Perlman says at the start, "War never changes," and with Fallout 3, the postapocalyptic spirit of the series continues to march on.

1. Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is a shining example of zombies done right in a video game. It's an action-packed riot with gore galore and is four times as fun with friends. If you have even a minor passing interest in zombies, shooters or horror games in general, you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to play it. If nothing else, think of Left 4 Dead as a virtual zombie plague simulator. When the zombie apocalypse comes, you'll be better prepared than everyone else to deal with the horde.

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