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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2008' - Countdown, 20-11

by Rainier on Jan. 1, 2009 @ 12:32 p.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions, top handheld and downloadable titles, and top console/PC offerings. Today we're starting the countdown of the top 20 titles – tune in tomorrow to see what WP considers to be the best game of 2008. Read more for the results!

20. Rez HD (XBLA)

It's hard to really come up with any reasons to not recommend Rez HD to anyone with $10 and a penchant for fun, unique games. The premise and presentation may be a bit too "out there" for some, but those who aren't afraid to try something new will likely be pleasantly surprised. Furthermore, given the fact that there's a lot of junk polluting the gaming atmosphere, it's always good to support one of the truly innovative titles that actually manage to see the light of day. If you're on the fence about this one, then do yourself a favor and go ahead and take the plunge. You'll likely be glad you did.

19. TIE – Bionic Commando Rearmed (PSN/XBLA/PC) and Sam & Max Season One (Wii)

Bionic Commando Rearmed is easily a strong enough title to go for $30 on the PSP, and it's definitely a worthy PlayStation Network/Live Arcade title at $10. The graphics overhaul, improved boss battles, hacking mini-game, new weapons and bionic arm abilities, multiplayer support and additional content will provide immense replay value. Existing and future fans of the series should grab it and hope that the next-gen offering can compete when it's released later this year. It's going to be tough to top this.

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.

18. TIE – Castle Crashers (XBLA) and Patapon (PSP)

If your eyes fill with tears of nostalgia at the very mention of side-scrolling brawlers in the vein of Golden Axe and Double Dragon, then don't be put off by the price of 1,200 MS points because it's worth every penny if you have the friends with whom to enjoy it. The demo will tell you everything you need to know, so if you like that, you'll love the finished product. Castle Crashers has been a long time in the making, but truly worth it: It's one of the strongest downloads on XBLA and a genuine labor of love.

Patapon, much likes its spiritual brothers Katamari Damacy and Loco Roco, isn't going to appeal to everyone. It's strange, quirky, and unlike any other game on the market. It's also incredibly fun. The unusual mix of rhythm and strategy gameplay blends together surprisingly well, and it isn't strange to look up from a session of Patapon only to realize that you've lost a few hours when you only intended to play for five minutes. It isn't a flawless game, and the slight focus on grinding up your Patapons and sometimes difficult-to-understand objectives may turn off some gamers, but if you actually find yourself enjoying Patapon, those will be incredibly minor issues. At the surprising budget price of only $20, Patapon is the sort of game that all PSP owners owe it to themselves to at least try.

17. de Blob (Wii)

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.

16. Yakuza 2 (PS2)

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.

15. Okami (Wii)

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.

14. Final Fantasy IV (NDS)

Final Fantasy IV was one of the best games on the SNES, and not much has changed on the DS. The updated graphics and visual flair may make it more appealing to new gamers, but it retains enough of the old game to warm SNES gamers' nostalgic hearts. The new Augment-focused combat system takes a bit of getting used to, and I'm a bit saddened that it takes away from the uniqueness of each character. It made up for that by Augments being limited, which means you're given a lot more customization options with your characters while ensuring that each one retains hiso r her own niche. Final Fantasy IV is a great title, and certainly one worth owning, even if you've already played through the game before on the SNES, Playstation or GBA. If you're willing to deal with a Final Fantasy that actually challenges you to use all of your resources, you'll find Final Fantasy IV to be quite a fun game indeed.

13. Mega Man 9 (WiiWare/PSN/XBLA)

As far as level design and overall game quality go, Mega Man 9 is one of the better downloadable titles. The difficulty curve is fairly solid, although gamers who aren't used to the unforgiving quirks of NES-era gameplay may end up wanting to throw their controllers a few times. It is fun and challenging enough that you'll end up replaying it over and over, especially with the addition of challenges and Downloadable Content. Mega Man 9 isn't just a cheap attempt to cash in on nostalgia … it is a new Mega Man game, and one can only hope that Capcom's inevitable future attempts at 8-bit revivals are even half as successful. If you've got any of the three next-generation systems and a fondness in your heart for Mega Man, there is absolutely no reason not to spend the $10 for this game. Your inner child will thank you.

12. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 - FES (PS2)

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.

11. Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3/X360/PC)

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.

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