Welcome to our review of gaming in 2008. This is where we take a list of games from a certain year and review them in bite-size segments—this time we will gather an idea of what 2008 was like, and more specifically, if that year progressed gaming or just made things worse! I know there were plenty of games out every year, but this list includes highlights and the most notable games that came out during 2008. I’ll also mention what importance they had/still have and what good elements they brought forward.
So, let’s kick off 2008!
Devil May Cry 4: 4/10
Repetitive and dull, this game is in total shambles. It offers mind-numbing puzzles, a new leading character we didn’t want, repetitive and overly churned-out fights with the same assortment of enemies we’ve seen before and, of course, fighting the same three bosses several times. Lazy from start to finish, oh and don’t even mention how you have to make your way to the mid-point of the game and have to go back to the very beginning again!
Dark Sector: 6/10
Not perfect, but for the first half it has great pacing, some intense horror elements and dynamic action with the glaive. It falls apart from the third act as it becomes long winded and dull, with a finale that throws everything at you and an ending that’s shockingly short. Roughly six seconds of footage. It might just be worth your while to take a look at this Resident Evil 4 clone for some fun death animations and decent set pieces.
Left 4 Dead: 7/10
An epic shooter from the people that brought you Evolve. Up to four people team up and run for their lives through different scenarios that center around a zombie apocalypse. Players must battle through hoards of relentless zombie foes as they escape from the horrors of the end of time. While it does feel a little repetitive for the most part and it lacks dynamic elements, Left 4 Dead still packs a punch. It harbours simple mechanics yet the combat is engaging and brutal, with a great formula for teamwork and cooperative play. The sequel is much better, adding more in terms of gameplay elements, but this is still a strong multiplayer title that can be enjoyed to this day.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot: 5/10
It had promise, until after the mid-way point again. But what makes this a lower score is how lazy it gets. It has a great start, with some brilliant lateral elements in investigating crime scenes and figuring out vital points of interest that offer multiple paths in a level with great, brutal combat. But the game overflows with tedious boss battles, and batshit crazy moments that make no sense. For example, giving our main hero super powers for the final could have been good but it’s delivered in a half-baked, Joss Whedon style that just makes it infuriating and overdrawn.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: 6/10
Another big letdown, with overly long cutscenes that offer no substance or, at moments, too much. Guns of the Patriots had few interesting gameplay mechanics and dull boss battles and set pieces—it misses the mark. The Vamp fight is the low point while some moments, such as the Metal Gear Rex and Ray fight, are wrapped in excellence surrounded by dull padding.
Gears of War 2: 9/10
Cautious, campy, but brutally excellent. It has great co-op, over the top violence and action that never loses its momentum. I know, it packs way too much stuff into the third act and ends on a bizarre note with easy boss battles, but it’s super fun and highly energetic until the very end. Multiplayer is ok, but this is where the legendary horde mode began.
Call of Duty: World at War: 8/10
Ok, don’t hate me for the score, but it’s a good Call of Duty game, and possibly one of the best. Taking us to World War II again, when everyone else was moving forward, the developers behind this war shooter showed us that they could deliver an almighty punch in the face. The identifying features of this game: Epic set pieces, intense action and, of course, Nazi Zombies!
Alone in the Dark: 6/10
It tried. At least, it tried and had some great ideas for a compelling and interactive action/horror experience. It has dynamic fire elements, free and fluent movement for your arms, meaning you’d have more interesting combat scenarios and be allowed to destroy objects in more of an organic way. Plus, it featured an open-world Central Park where you’d be hunted by scary monsters and have to resort to using light to stop them. All this sounds great, but the execution was way off! Featuring glitches galore, bad controls, an empty game world and a throwaway story and ending, this game gets a 6. But that’s just because the developers wanted to make something great. To be fair, it still managed to be better than the next Alone in the Dark game we got.
Dead Space: 7/10
Read my review, but it’s a great survival horror experience and it came at the right time. It does have its faults, but overall the game provides an engrossing and terrifying experience nonetheless—one with great scares, sound design and brutal combat.
Lost Odyssey: 9/10
Microsoft’s answer to JRPGs. It’s epic, beautiful and with great gameplay mechanics it took us back to a better time when JRPGs knew what they were. This is a must for Final Fantasy fans and for those who just want to enjoy a wondrous journey.
Army of Two: 5/10
There were some great ideas here, but it ended up being repetitive, dull and filled with corny jokes with sub-par action. The only truly awesome gameplay element it had to offer was the option to craft gold guns. At least its sequel is better, I guess.
Ninja Gaiden 2: 8/10
Fast, fluent and extremely challenging with lots of ninja fun and sexy outfits. This title doesn’t excel on big set pieces or for having an interesting story, but it keeps things energetic and engrossing with tons of fast-paced action and gore.
Mirror’s Edge: 7/10
This was a compelling, dynamic FPS with some great visuals and a wonderful soundtrack to match. The story was pretty lame and forgettable but the game overall is quite solid, yet short lived.
Battlefield: Bad Company: 8/10
Destruction, explosions and witty banter make up this compelling modern warfare shooter. With large open environments, massively detailed destruction and awesome set pieces, including a chase across a golf course, this Battlefield had it all. The story was subpar and the lack of impact for death did hold it back somewhat.
This one-dimensional shooter had an awful story, tedious and dull action with an interesting idea with its Overdose mechanic, but in the end it just didn’t push players into engaging or taking part in lateral combat.
Ron Perlman is awesome. The T-Rex fight at the end and some interesting ideas of taking on different situations with stealth or action. Overall though, it falls flat. Repetitive action, filled with needles QTEs and a dull revenge story did little to grip players. It was a noble rebooting that was boring and lifeless in the end.
Soulcalibur IV: 9/10
An excellent and energetic fighter with an awesome character creation tool with tons of color and charm under its belt—this was Soulcalibur IV. The guest appearance from Yoda makes it more interesting when you have two of them fighting one another.
Too Human: 3/10
We had so much hope for this massively epic multiplayer game. But it was dull, boring and very slow paced. Please, don’t even mention that death screen that took ages to finish. This was a mess and should be forgotten.
GTA IV: 8/10
This was a huge step in the series for all that it did to modernize the franchise: a dynamic narrative that reflected player choices, a large variation of gameplay types and mechanics that were all contained within a diverse, organic open world. Sadly the game did feel bloated. It had poor pacing in the first act and suffered from putting the focus on bland, generic characters. It wouldn’t be until GTA 5 that the series would reach its high point. Still, this is a very good game and a worthy highlight of the year.
Prince of Persia: 7/10
I know this was not liked by many, and I gather why. I personally liked this epic adventure of good vs evil. It was a great throwback to many great fantasy/adventure titles from the 80s and 90s, and it proved that Ubisoft could make a beautiful looking game that was fun. The combat was solid, the platforming was good and it had some very well-crafted set pieces. It did fail in that death had no impact, the pacing was slow due to repetitive mission objectives and the “additional” ending was unwelcome.
FABLE 2: 7/10
A worthy RPG from Peter “I just make stuff up” Molyneux that had some great set pieces, an interesting open world, a dynamic family aspect and tons of fun. It’s let down by its simple, paint-by-numbers morale system and lame ending. It’s still a great game and much better than the third one.
It was a mixed year, 2008, but one that was certainly better than 2007 and 2006, for the most part. We saw a huge leap in dynamic gameplay and interesting components for gaming overall. Even though some games may have been disappointing, like Metal Gear Solid 4, at least they tried something different. The games made the most of the tech the developers could work with in advancing gameplay, more so than the previous two years since the Xbox 360 and PS3 launched.