PSX Extreme Game Of The Year Awards 2008
Best Puzzle Game
- Downstream Panic!
- Pipe Mania
Well, we were pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel for this genre in 2008, but that's okay: echochrome would've beaten just about anything, really. It's one of the best and most original ideas we've ever seen, and if you want to test that brain of yours, this bad boy will challenge you to the max. The idea of "perception is truth" is genius, and taking a cue from M.C. Escher's freaky optical illusion art makes this puzzle game both singular and even addicting. You've got five minutes to complete your task; can you "see" in enough perspectives to achieve your goal...?
Best Music/Rhythm Game
- Guitar Hero: World Tour
- Rock Band 2
Winner: Tie- Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour
We just knew this was gonna happen. We gave both Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2 the same scores, and for the most part, both musical experiences are very similar. It comes down to which soundtrack you prefer, but that's just too subjective so we had to ignore our own musical preferences. And in doing so, it was just impossible to choose between these two. They're both awesome, they're both bound to deliver what they promise, and you can't go wrong with either. Tie, and congrats to both.
Best Racing Game
- Burnout Paradise
- Wipeout HD
- MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
- Gran Turismo 5: Prologue
- Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Winner: Gran Turismo 5: Prologue
There were plenty of great racing games in 2008, but once we decided to qualify Prologue as a competitor, we knew who the winner had to be. It may only be a demo, but as it actually takes longer to complete than some full games on store shelves these days, it's well worth our attention. And besides, this remains the most impressive and physically realistic racing experience of the generation so far, which means we're thoroughly amped up for the final product. Hopefully, it'll release towards the end of this year, but in 2008, nothing made us go "oh, wow!" like Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. That pretty much sums it up.
Best Sports Game
- Madden NFL 09
- NHL 09
- MLB 08: The Show
- Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09
- FIFA Soccer 09
Winner: MLB 08: The Show
It was a tough choice - we so do love Hot Shots - but in the end, there was no denying the amazing depth and quality of MLB 08: The Show. If you're a big-time fantasy baseball fan, and you're really into stats and micromanagement in your sports titles, look no further than The Show. A simulator of the highest order and the ability to bring you closer to the diamond than any other baseball game before, this one excels on just about every possible level. And we won't be surprised at all if 2009's iteration takes home this very same award one year from now!
- Fallout 3
- Valkyria Chronicles
- Eternal Sonata
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Winner: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Surprised? Yeah, we know just about everyone is giving this to Fallout 3, and we very nearly did the same thing. But then we started to realize just how great Crisis Core really was, and also, just how accessible it was to all gamers. It wouldn't appeal only to Final Fantasy fans, and unless you can really get into the expansive masterpiece that is Fallout 3, you'll toss it away relatively quickly. So while we could easily make the argument for Bethesda's RPG, we have to give the nod to Square-Enix's action/RPG that coerced many a consumer into a PSP purchase early in 2008. And wasn't it worth it?
Best Fighting Game
- Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
- Soul Calibur IV
- Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
- Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
- WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009
Winner: Super Street Fighter Turbo HD Remix
In what may be another surprise, we weren't too enamored with any one fighting game this year, and although we had plenty of fun with Soul Calibur IV, we just couldn't pass on this remake. The original Street Fighter II was nearly perfect for its day, and Capcom just went and made everything better for Turbo HD Remix. Arnold calls it "the most balanced fighter" out there, and absolutely nobody will challenge SFII's timeless quality. We just didn't have a next-gen fighting title in 2008 that could compete with this wonderful overhaul of a classic.
- Far Cry 2
- Resistance 2
- Call of Duty: World at War
- Battlefield: Bad Company
Winner: Resistance 2
Although it's typically a hotly contested category, we didn't think it was much of a competition: Resistance 2, the sequel that is bigger and better than the original title in just about every way, takes the Best FPS crown this year. The stellar online multiplayer is only part of the equation; it also comes complete with a kick-ass single-player campaign that features the biggest and most intimidating bosses you'll ever see, plus more weapons, more environmental diversity, a better story (in our opinion), better acting (hey, Hale has a voice now!), and more over-the-top encounters. This is the entire shooter package, despite what the naysayers say. Really, we don't know what you're complaining about.
Best Action/Adventure Game
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- Devil May Cry 4
- Dead Space
- God of War: Chains of Olympus
Winner: Grand Theft Auto IV
An extraordinarily difficult category to choose, but considering our definition of "action/adventure," we just had to give it to Grand Theft Auto IV. MGS4 is outstanding, no doubt, but it almost defies categorization; it's tough to put the action/adventure label on it, just because it feels like an entirely new experience. But GTAIV is the perfect embodiment of this category, as Rockstar's more authentic and realistic crime drama became this generation's very first "almost-10" title. From the solidified gameplay mechanic to the excellent design of Liberty City to the great story and unlimited freedom, GTAIV is a gem. A gem of gems, in fact. Anybody want to disagree?
1/1/2009 Ben Dutka, Arnold Katayev