Zestful Contemplation’s Best of 2008 Awards
Way the hell after 2008 is a thing of the past, it’s Zestful Contemplation’s Best of 2008 Awards. I’m not pretending to make my awards comprehensive or unbiased or any of that other pretentious crap. The fact that these awards reflect my own personal experiences, tastes, and dislikes is exactly the point. I haven’t played every game that came out this year and I’m not going to consider a boatload of titles I never played. But I did play a huge number of games this year, and these choices reflect my personal tastes and thoughts about the games I spent time with in 2008.
Best Action Game
- Castle Crashers
- God of War: Chains of Olympus
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- No More Heroes
Talk about a hotly contested category. Just about every game in existence could be slotted into this space without trying all that hard. Still, when you break the categories down as much as I have in these awards there are relatively few true contenders for this title among the games that mattered to me this year.
God of War: Chains of Olympus was incredible, but nothing we haven’t seen before (plus the needlessly difficult ending seriously turned me off). No More Heroes was brilliant in story and graphics, but the gameplay, as good as the majority of it was, spent too much time in its tacked-on and horribly done “open world” bits to compete for this award. Castle Crashers was a good little blip of fun, but, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t find it as replayable and addicting as most seemed to.
No, as anticlimactic as it may be, the gold has to go to Grand Theft Auto IV. As much as a part of me wants to see something else win because everyone under the sun is giving innumerable awards to GTA IV and it would be fun to be different, there’s a reason why GTA IV is hording the awards for itself this year.
GTA IV is essentially a reinvention of its franchise that is a lot different than what many were expecting (much like Prince of Persia). With this in mind, I think GTA IV pulls off the change the best. I won’t ramble on for hours about its obvious strengths (although I could), but in short: the graphics are amazing, the world is incredibly detailed, the story missions are actually fun this time, the story is worth caring about, it has a great cast of characters and great voice acting, it has its own damn Internet, etc.
This is the first GTA game I have actually gotten to the end of before getting really sick of it. I didn’t even feel the need to screw around and pointlessly kill hapless passersby either, although I did sate that urge on occasion. The main package was strong enough this time that it didn’t need all that pointless haphazard nonsense to succeed, although it was still mostly available if you wanted it. Niko’s tale was emotionally gripping, enthralling, and fun, making it the best action game of 2008.