of the Year
year, another chance to reflect upon twelve months of
gaming. And what a year it's been! Trying to
recall another period with so many astonishing masterpieces
is likely to lead back at least a decade. Aren't we
Everyone loves a list, so here at Resolution we opted to
select five games that defined 2008 for us, then rank them
in ascending order of preference. On the panel were
resident short-arse Lewis Denby, the ever-cynical Pete Hulme,
Nintendophile Graham Jones and cheeky chappy J.D.
Richardson. We talked. We debated. We
argued. We stomped around in a huff. And then,
eventually, we emerged with this...
each passing iteration of the Nintendo console comes yet
another update to the ever-popular Mario Kart series.
For the Wii edition, Miyamotos
team added motion control via the bundled Wii Wheel,
extensive online options, sixteen new tracks and sixteen
classics from previous kart outings in the Mushroom Kingdom.
It all adds up to provide one of the most enjoyable Mario
Kart titles to date, obliterating all of the gimmicky
mistakes made with the Gamecubes
Double Dash and focusing on tight racing action in a
similar vein to the DS version.
The single player game is set up in the standard Mario
Kart fashion of a four race Grand Prix, time trial or
battle. The usual mixture of weapons and power-ups is included, and as you progress through the game the enemy AI
will prove quite a challenge. So far, so similar.
one of my favourite games of the year, but with the
amount of great titles released in 2008, I'd understand
if it had to be bumped down the list." - Graham
actually still prefer Double Dash. It lacks the
focus on the racing, but the carnage is
unparalleled." - Lewis
in the online mode that Mario Kart Wii really comes
into its own. Nintendo has set up a points based system.
Upon registering online each player starts with 2000 points;
these will then be won or lost depending on how you fare in
whichever events you take part in. The clever part is that
only be pitted against opponents with a similar number of
points and therefore a similar level of ability. Its
a brilliant system that ensures that almost all matches are
tight and exciting, and should you beat a player with more
points than you, the reward is increased. There are also
regular challenges set by Nintendo, which you can take part
in and see how you compare to the rest of the world, and
even just the time trial leader boards can leave you in a
highly addicted state, obsessing over shaving the last
hundredth of a second from your best time.
There are other additions, such as the inclusion of
motorcycles as well as increasing the number of opponents
from the standard eight to twelve, which all improve on whats
gone before. There are also some mistakes such as the
dumbing-down of the power-slide / drift technique and not
following in Super Smash Bros' footsteps by providing
an ultimate edition of the series, but none of that can take
away from what it is an incredible addition to the Mario
Kart canon and the best online experience Nintendo has
enough, Ive not played Left
4 Dead in a surprising amount of time.
Maybe I overdid it in the first few weeks, clocking
up a ridiculous 20 hours in the few days after launch alone.
return to it. Again,
and again, and again. Its
magical, terrifying, brilliant multiplayer genius.
I think, on a completely purist level, its
the most fun Ive
had in a game for years.
The AI Director is a wonderful achievement, capable of
transforming what is essentially an old-school blaster into
something modern, versatile, dynamic and always surprising.
This alone elevates the solo experience into
something genuinely special
but, clearly, online is where it truly comes into its own.
I dont think Ive ever sworn at friends so much.
I dont think Ive ever felt so close to complete strangers.
Left 4 Dead boasts the incredible ability to
create a whole host of relationships between people all over
the world, as they fight together for survival.
I cant quite put into words the terror of finding a
Witch blocking the only exit of an area, or the sheer relief
in finally flooring a Tank.
I cant quite explain just how addictive this digital heroin
my favourite of these five, but only because I have a
soft-spot for Valve. I don't know if, for me, it has
enough staying power." - Pete
the dynamic AI system, I can't imagine it going
stale for a long time." - Lewis
no way of conveying just how hilarious it is to play as the
infected in Versus mode, carefully planning a fiendish
strategy, then launching at the opposition with a relentless
and visceral bloodlust.
ever laughed as hard as I did when, playing as the Tank, I
cornered one opponent and just repeatedly stamped on him
every time he tried to stand up again.
the little red devil sat on my shoulder.
Valve once again prove that videogame narrative doesnt
have to be about telling a story; it can be about
creating a story and dropping the player in it, for him or
her to discover throughout the game.
one brilliant section where someone has scrawled We
are the real monsters
on a wall. The
ensuing remarks from other survivors read like a YouTube
comments thread, before someone has wryly written I
miss the internet
beneath it. To
create a game so tragic and terrifying, yet bizarre and
hilarious, is one of the most fantastic FPS achievements to
So after waiting for about ten years for Fallout 3 we finally get it. Was it worth the wait? Of course it
was! Its more than I ever dreamed of, and then some! Id marry the game
if I could! Id have its babies and then marry it again!
No, seriously though, it is a good game.
So Fallout returns in a different
form than before, that being first-person perspective. It works very well,
much better than I thought it would. I never dreamed back in the day that I
would be playing a Fallout game on a
console, but thats what I was doing the day it came out, and loving it.
There have been a lot of great games this year, and some of them rightly share
an appearance on this list with Fallout
3, but if I could only choose one, it would be this.
"I've no bearing
on it, but I'm willing to accept
this one as everyone I know is currently
engrossed by it." - Graham
"It's a very close second for my favourite of 2008. In
any normal year, it'd be miles ahead
of the pack." - Lewis
It has its flaws, like most games do,
but I wont dwell on them as they are very minor. I think the only thing
that really bugs me is how you cant actually carry on playing the
game after you finish the main story, unlike Oblivion.
Theres no way you will see everything before that happens, as its quite
sudden and with no warning. So you just have to start again with a new
character. Oh well, good excuse to play it again, I suppose.
One of my favourite things about Fallout
3 is the combat. Its fantastically violent in a cinematic way: the
camera follows bullets in slow motion as they fly towards their target, heads
separate from bodies and bounce across the floor, men and women explode in
glorious gory detail...
...Jesus. Next Ill be drinking blood and dancing around a fire with burning
virgins in it. Best lay off Fallout 3
for a while, go cold turkey.
Its taken me a while to get Little
Big Planet, but I think Im finally there. The
decisive moment came when I was playing the game at a friends house the other week, supposedly as a quick stop-gap
between a Call of Duty 4 deathmatch and shudder a forced stint on Sonic Unleashed.
As I idly wandered around the gloriously-designed levels, I found
myself enjoying it a little more each minute, eager to discover what surprises
awaited me just off-screen. Then
someone spoilt my fun.
Come on, youve been on that for ages.
No I havent! Its been, like, ten minutes.
No, its been over an hour.
It had. And I hadnt even ventured into the level editor or online
"It's one of those
revolutionary games, so I'd imagine it deserves
to be in the list more than any other. But I haven't
managed to play it yet, so..." - Pete
"It's so fantastically
inventive, and original, and just beautifully
wonderful, and I'm gushing even thinking
about it." - Graham
standard, single-player mode, its
the best platformer since Super Mario Galaxy.
In co-operative mode, it takes on a whole different dimension, with a
range of brilliant approaches to the gameplay.
When you start thinking about using the surprisingly powerful yet
instantly accessible creation tools, and sharing your talents online, it
begins to look very special indeed.
The community-based core of Little Big Planet is what I imagine Spore
was trying to do. But the
Creature Creator tool in Will Wrights
game really was just a content-creation device: the ability to drop new
entities into a game world that remained the same.
Little Big Planet allows you to design the playground where all
this crazy fun takes place. Creating
the avatars to run around in it is only the first task on a never-ending list.
Sure, Media Molecule are hardly the first development house to release editing
tools with their software, but theyre
the first to build a whole game around the concept that anyone can
create their own experiences. Its
a punk-rock middle finger to anyone who believes videogame creation should be
left to programmers in dark rooms, and one of the most forward-thinking games
On paper, it was about as far away from my idea of a perfect videogame as it's
possible to get. In reality, its
managed to sway that notion in a whole new direction.
Grand Theft Auto 4
fairly obvious choice for any game
of the year
award and probably any greatest
games of all time
list is the latest Liberty City-based crime spree. Rockstar took the blueprint
of the previous Grand Theft Auto games and then poured themselves into
the creation of the most realistic and vibrant city ever seen in a videogame.
Within this incredible world live a host of the most memorable characters,
including one of the deepest and most sympathetic protagonists ever seen in
the form of Niko Bellic.
Players take on the role of this Eastern European immigrant and are then
thrown into the usual mix of sandbox-style gameplay and a plethora of
different missions - some a simple case of 'drive to location A, pick up a package and
transport to location B'; others more complex, such as the now-legendary bank
heist mission. Niko will also have to live out his real life, meeting friends
and dating women, surfing the internet, watching TV and, of course, just
stealing cars and having fun trying to escape the police.
everyone had realised by now how much
of a disappointment GTA4 was. If anything, it was
a step back from the previous games." - Pete
"I think it needed
a step back to basics. San Andreas was fun
but it really did stretch the limits of absurdity. I had months
of fun with GTA4 in single-player, and multiplayer was
ace. Then there's the stunning achievement of Liberty
City itself, the brilliant voice acting and story...
I could go on." - J.D.
"It took the GTA template, refined it, tightened it up, and
rebuilt it in one of the most convincing and brilliant
ways I've ever seen. It's my game of the year, just
edging ahead of Fallout - and that's saying
something." - Lewis
may have been disappointed by the lack of progression in gameplay; some felt
it was a backwards step from the huge world and character building of San
Andreas. Others just fell in love with Liberty City itself and allowed
themselves to be immersed into its criminal underworld, following the lives of
its inhabitants and taking part in an incredibly compelling story focusing on
the darker side of the American Dream.
Grand Theft Auto IV
is quite frankly one of the most finely crafted videogames of all time. Niko
and the other well-developed characters provide the basis for a truly
interesting story, but the star of this particular show is the amazingly
detailed world Rockstar have created. Liberty City is dark and gritty. Its
beautiful and vibrant. Its
a fantastic package that deserves to be played over and over again by gamers
of every generation for years to come.
Our own personal favourites...
Lewis: Grand Theft Auto 4
Pete: Guitar Hero: World Tour
Graham: Grand Theft Auto 4
J.D.: Fallout 3
And narrowly missing out...
Hero: World Tour
Gears of War 2
Far Cry 2
World of Goo