2008 was a grand year indeed in the world of gaming. There are many things I would like to pontificate about, but I can't hold attention spans long enough to go through everything. Alas, I have some of my most poigniant thoughts ready to go.
The Console Wars
The so called "Console Wars" continued an even more hilarious battle, as the best selling console managed to get hammered as a non-gamer machine. Even funnier, an epic battle ensues between one machine that's overpriced and underutilized, and the another that has hardware as reliable as an American automobile and a questionably overpriced online service.
Does it seem that Sony and MIcrosoft seemingly switched spots since the previous gen?
The PS2 is almost unanimously the most successful gaming console in the history of brain cell murder. So many people, including myself, who got a PS2 at launch had to send it in for repairs on NUMEROUS occasions. The damn thing stopped reading discs about 8 times before I performed a Dem Mok to it. The RRoD is almost a case of the sniffles compared to the horror I encountered with my PS2.
When the Xbox came out, a superior and ahead-of-the-trade console started gaining quick momentum. I never owned one until Halo 2 came out, but even then did it seem moot to attempt a second library of games when I had what I wanted for PS2. The only game I got for Xbox that I already had for PS2 was GTA: San Andreas, and was last Christmas. I loved and missed that game so much that I needed to rekindle it somehow, and my Xbox was the only last gen working.
I want a PS3 badly now, but its more for the Bluray capability since I know have an HDTV, and potential of a few exclusives that have yet to be announced (*cough* FF7 remake *cough*).
Most Anticipated of the Year
When January hit, the first on my list of an epic year of gaming purchases was Burnout Paradise city. I played the holy hell out of it, along with my twin nephews. It lost legs for a bit, until the badassary of free DLC came out and reignited our love for this game. It's fun to turn on for a few minutes at at time now, just to do a few jumps and epically crash w/o the threat of losing a hot, Welsh princess.
Let me not pretend that the game that had me tossing my own salad was coming out in April after a delay, which was GTA IV. On these blogs, I had joined others in our saladthons in waiting for this game. In my first Midnight launches (while dropping $80 on the SE), it had been a while since I was that hyped about anything not a new Batman movie. The days following the launch, I assumed that the difficulty and lack of a few key elements I've always been used to in the 3D GTA series was due to the game being more better than I am. I thought the tripping over steps, realistic driving physics, and awesome Verizon network never dropping a cellphone call were all in part of this game being too awesome for me to handle.
Not until another game scheduled for release this year started dropping trailers left and right, did I start to learn what was missing from my GTA experience.
Good god, where was my good olle army chasing/epic cop dodging/stupid ass fun? It was nowhere to be found. GTA went and did what so many other forms of entertainment do that eventually lead to the fall of Rome: it took itself too seriously. Maybe a game like this should NOT attempt realism. What the hell do any of us want to do in a GTA game that has anything to do with REALISM????
The fallout from GTA IV nearly put me back in a gaming purgatory, as games that peaked my interest like The Force Unleashed and another Madden loomed on the horizon. I skipped on Madden and thankfully The Force Unleashed. Two games that were guaranteed purchases by me were Gears 2 and Fallout 3.
Haven behold the beauty of Gears of War 2. Like the first one, I'm taking baby steps with the game, hoping to make it last as long as possible. I only play a few check points at a time, between doing other stuff on my 360. Fallout 3 is waiting in the wings. I am in the belief that it will consume all of my gaming time, so I do NOT want to play this while finishing up other games. I believe it will be that demanding.
As I continually ride the jock of my favorite Caped Crusader, I locked up Lego Batman and MK vs DC late in the winter as well. I only picked up these two games cuz they were on sale at good prices. I was honestly gonna pass on both, but Lego Batman was on sale for $25 bucks at Meijer on Thanksgiving Day. I was only supposed to get some last minute fixens for dinner, but came home with that and Lego Indiana Jones for $20 as a xmas gift for my nephew. MK vs DC has only been mine for two days now, since Target had it and other games on sale for $39 bucks.
I'll go on record right now saying that I HATE Gamestop. I refuse to do business with them. Its that simple. Since I don't do online shopping either, my access to used games is all but dead. Thankfully, one of those private owned gaming shops opened up near by called Destiny Games
. Since I'm n olf fashioned Detroit boy, I love supporting private businesses. With that being said, a gaming version of this business model was enough reason to partake in some good, used games.
I picked up Saint's Row just to fill the fodder time after I stopped playing GTA IV. I didn't even bother worrying about achievements as I cheated my way though this game. It was a good idea, IMO, as taking over Stillwater black-by-block was a fun experience.
Rainbow Six Vegas was another used purchase, which I pulled off a few days ago as well. I loved the tactile based FPS action, as I missed playing COD4, but was no interested in World at War. It's becoming a bit of a pain the ass getting into online games, but I'm gonna play this along with Gears 2 until its time to make love to Fallout 3.
I saw at Destiny Games a copy of Bioshock for like 20 bucks. I may get that after I finish Fallout sometime before Resident Evil 5's arrival.
Another set of surprises came from the world of Xbox Live Arcade. I pulled the trigger on 4 games games that have made my days vetty happy.
Castle Crashers is simply a revelation in arcade beat'em-ups. Going 4 players with all three of my nephews was undoubtedly the best fun I've had with them this year in gaming. The graphics and silly gameplay make this a game great for party atmospheres and hang outs with the churrins. I know there are a lot of bugs playing online, so I hope none of that occurs if I play it local.
Everyone's rocking Uno, but I got it for the first time this month. I have a bunch of online friends who now own 360s, so we chose this simple game to play while voice chatting. It's pretty fun playing this with only the DVD remote.
My nephews played the hell out of Assault Heroes, so I jumped on that when it was on sale for like 400 MS points. I really don't touch it all that much, but I love watching them play it.
Finally, the beast that I had been waiting for on Xbox Live is Turbo Remix. Super Street Fighter II is legendary in every respect. An HD REMIX came out at the same time as I got an HDTV, so it made the want of this game shoot through the roof. I'm one of the many getting owned almost every time I play, but its still fun to play and I'm glad I have it.
Favorite of 2008
This year in gaming on the Xbox 360 gave us so many gems. I haven't beaten arguably the two best games in Gears 2 and Fallout 3 yet,, so I'm sure my opinion may change. Until then, one game busted through the door this year, and turned my GTA IV frown upside down.
Saint's Row 2.
No where NEAR the best game of the year. You won't even see it being considered, but not a rat ass do I give. Saint's Row 2 has become my favorite game on the Xbox 360 this year, a space I had set up for the other sandbox game of the year. This game is easily the biggest surprise, but sits at the top as the best fun I've had in a game all year. We all strive to find that perfect game that is polished so clean, you can't tell if its real, or if its the the final installment of an epic franchise, or if its a game so hyped up that there's no way it could represent the suck. Saint's Row 2 was not a spotlight game, nor a highly anticipated game in the gaming world. What it was and still is, is a very viable alternative.
Maybe its because it takes me back to the days of San Andreas, but who knows. I get that feeling I got with the GTA games on the PS2 more from Saint's Row 2 than from GTA IV, and that means everything to me.
So 2008 was a splendid year, I spent the most on games this year than any other year, and I'm very please with all of my choices. I'm wondering if I should have gotten Fable 2 along the way, but maybe I can swipe that up used, along with a few other down the road.
I hope your 2008 was just as awesome, and here's to a good 2009. read