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G4TechTV Canada's 2008 Game of the Year Awards

Jan 22, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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It was a year of turmoil, strife and economic instability in 2008. Canadians went to the polls, saw huge companies like General Motors crumbling at the seams, and put up with what seemed like the longest winter in recent memory.

But there was something that Canadians could be optimistic about - video games. They may seem childish and frivolous, but what better form of escapism than controlling a hero who can save the world? More money was spent on video games than ever before (we're talking billions here), and the quality of the games themselves didn't falter at all. New IPs and sequels were released often and there really was something for everyone to enjoy in 2008.

Canada takes a look at some of the highlights of the year in video games - and believe us, there were many, many highlights:

GAME OF THE YEAR

Fallout 3John Powell: Fallout 3
Honourable Mentions: Gears of War 2, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot, NHL 09, Call of Duty: World at War, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy.

Although 'The Bourne Conspiracy’ really didn’t get the credit it deserved as a solid game that cut no corners when it came to content or length but ‘Fallout 3’ was beyond all others when it came to addictive gameplay and eerie atmosphere.

Daniel Barron: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Honourable Mentions: LittleBigPlanet, Gears of War 2, Super Smash Bros. Brawl

The crowning achievement in Hideo Kojima's series, MGS4 took gameplay and cinematics to a whole new level. Taking an aged Solid Snake all over the planet in a war-torn future, players were treated to a truly epic story featuring 20 minute-plus cutscenes. Everything else a fan could want in a Metal Gear game - plenty of sneaking, fantastic boss battles and enough weapons and gadgets to make James Bond jealous - was here, and then some. Not to be forgotten, either, is Metal Gear Online - the online component that was sadly overlooked by many gamers, but served as one of the best online games of 2008. MGS4 is reason alone to buy a Playstation 3.

 

TECH AWARDS

BEST AUDIO

Call of Duty: World at WarJohn Powell: Call of Duty: World at War.
Honourable Mentions: Silent Hill: Origins, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy, Dead Space.

From the maniacal kamikaze soldiers to the grinding tank treads, this is a war that rattled your molars in your own living room.

Daniel Barron: Braid
Honourable Mentions: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

With Braid, you had a game that was wonderfully unique, challenging, and altogether memorable, but what tied everything together was the achingly beautiful soundtrack. For that reason alone, it takes this award.

BEST GRAPHICS

John Powell: Fallout 3
Honourable Mentions: Gears of War 2, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot, Crysis: Warhead.

The environments alone put Fallout 3 ahead of the others with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot showing off the horsepower of the PS3 being a very close second.

Daniel Barron: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Honourable Mentions: Gears of War 2, LittleBigPlanet, Pure

Everything about MGS4 screamed 'gorgeous'. The character models, the lighting, every little detail in the game added that much more to make it truly epic in every way.

BEST MULTIPLAYER

John Powell: Call of Duty: World at War

Honourable Mentions: Gears of War 2, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Left For Dead.

With so much content available, Call of Duty: World at War proves to be two games for the price of one.

Daniel Barron: Gears of War 2

Honourable Mentions: Metal Gear Online, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii

Gears 2 gets this award based solely on its fantastic new 'Horde' mode, which has five players working co-operatively to take down wave after wave of enemies that get progressively more difficult to beat. It's unbelievably addictive, but that's not to say its other modes - including the new Wingman, and old favourites like Execution - aren't worth your time. Everything is set up easier than the first Gears, and inviting friends is now a piece of cake.

 

CONSOLE AWARDS

BEST XBOX 360 GAME

John Powell: Fallout 3

Honourable Mentions: Guitar Hero: On Tour, NHL 09, Call of Duty: World at War, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009.

Yeah. Yeah. I snuck the wrestling game in there but anyone who knows me wouldn’t expect anything less. Another strong year for 360 releases but Fallout 3 had it all. Amazing graphics. Wicked gameplay. A storyline with tons of mystery and intrigue.

Daniel Barron: Gears of War 2

Honourable Mentions: Pure, Turok, Fable II, Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Gears of War 2

We were expecting greatness from this sequel to Microsoft's massively popular new IP, but even we didn't think it would be this good. Though the campaign was fairly short, it had its share of action (Brumak fights - finally!), challenges (play on Hardcore or Insane) and co-op goodness. Though many gamers plowed through the campaign in a day or two, the multiplayer had plenty to keep those same gamers coming back again and again.

BEST WII GAME

Super Smash Bros. BrawlJohn Powell: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Honourable Mentions: Mario Kart Wii, Mario Super Sluggers, Rock Band, No More Heroes, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009.

Jump around. Kick the crap out of each other. Lots of groovy characters to choose from. What is not to like?

Daniel Barron: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Honourable Mentions: Mario Kart Wii,

Once again, Nintendo outdid itself with the latest iteration of its 'Smash Bros.' series. The general idea didn't change - up to four players battle it out using any one of severalvideo game characters featured on past or current Nintendo consoles - but so many extras were packed in here that it seems nigh impossible that gamers could ever get bored of playing. Online play wasn't perfect, but still good, and the addition of a single player story mode was a great idea.

 

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the PatriotsBEST PLAYSTATION 3 GAME

Daniel Barron: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Honourable Mentions: LittleBigPlanet, Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Reason enough to own a Playstation 3, MGS4 took advantage of everything the PS3 had offer to make something that, to be called simply 'a game' is almost a travesty. Must be played to believe.

 

BEST PSP GAME

God of War: Chains of OlympusJohn Powell: God of War: Chains of Olympus

Honourable Mentions: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.

The adventures of Kratos make their mark on the PSP platform and everything is just as good on that widescreen tiny screen. Nothing else even came close. Own a PSP and not this game? Get your I.Q. checked immediately.

 

BEST DS GAME

John Powell: Unsolved Crimes

Honourable Mentions: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Final Fantasy IV.

Even thought I am a huge Castlevania fan and Final Fantasy provided hours and hours of adventure, a little detective game from Empire Interactive had me cracking open that Dual Screen again and again. Captivating storylines, memorable characters and really, really challenging mysteries make Unsolved Crimes another title that got glossed over just because it didn’t involve a crosshair.

Daniel Barron: Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Honourable Mentions: Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword

A sleeper hit from Nintendo, Professor Layton featured a ton of brain teasers and riddles for gamers to figure out, all wrapped around a neat little story featuring a number of memorable characters. Some puzzles were misses, but most hit. A game that could be played and enjoyed by just about anyone.

 

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR

John Powell: Bus Simulator 2008

Dishonourable Mentions: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, Haze, Wii Music, Vampire Reign: Altered Species.

I know. I know. I couldn’t believe that someone green lighted a Vampire Reign sequel either and in other years, it would win hands down but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compares to the mind-numbing, blood clotting gameplay that is Bus Simulator 2008. Why blast away legions of undead, race really cool cars or adventure through a dangerous medieval world when you can pick up passengers, get bonus points for keeping a schedule and have 8 bus models to choose from? Kill me now.

Daniel Barron: Lair (PS3)

Dishonourable Mentions: Left 4 Dead

It's difficult to put into words just how bad Lair was. Even taking away the fact that this was a first party game that was supposed to launch the PS3 into the stratosphere, it was a massive disappointment from beginning to end. Godawful controls, crappy dialogue, horribly-paced ... Lair was and is a total travesty.

 

GENRE AWARDS

BEST KIDS GAME

John Powell: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Honourable Mentions: Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kung Fu Panda, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Lego Batman: The Video Game, Avatar: Into the Inferno.

Sure. Web of Shadows is rated Teen because of some of the scary parts (Pa-leeze!), the game had everything a Spidey fan could ever want. You had guest stars like Wolverine and Moon Knight, great villains like Venom, Electro and Vulture. Amazingly cool combo moves and the entire city of New York to explore. To top it all off, the plot is pretty darn cool, especially when Wolverine and Venom merge. Yuck! The game engine has been done before in previous Spidey titles but nothing nearly as good as this.

Daniel Barron: LittleBigPlanet

Honourable Mentions: Mario Kart Wii

LittleBigPlanet was a crowning achievement for developer Media Molecule. But take away its level creator, its online capabilities, the challenges of its later levels, and the rest of its layers, and you still have yourself a true pick-up-and-play game that is just plain fun and adorable, to be completely honest. Run, jump, grab stuff and be silly. It doesn't get much better than that, no matter what age you are.

 

BEST SHOOTER

John Powell: Gears of War 2

Honourable Mentions: Crysis: Warhead, Call of Duty: World at War, Resistance 2.

Daniel Barron: Gears of War 2

Honourable Mentions: Turok, Rainbow Six Vegas 2

 

BEST SPORTS GAME

John Powell: NHL 09 and WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009

 

Rock Band 2BEST RHYTHM GAME

John Powell: Guitar Hero: On Tour

Honourable Mentions: Rock Band 2

Daniel Barron: Rock Band 2

Honourable Mentions: Guitar Hero: Aerosmith

 

BEST PUZZLE GAME

John Powell: World of Goo

Honourable Mentions: Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2, Bejeweled Twist.

Daniel Barron: N+

Honourable Mentions: World of Goo, Boom Blox

 

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE

John Powell: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot

Honourable Mentions: War, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy, Grand Theft Auto IV.

 

Fable IIBEST RPG

John Powell: Fallout 3

Honourable Mentions: Fable II, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.

Daniel Barron: Fable 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.