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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Xbox 360 VGChartz Game of the Year Awards 2008

Posted by: Machina-AX

I think it's fair to say this has been the Xbox 360's best year to date. We've had some huge sequels this year, including Grand Theft Auto IV, Gears of War 2, Fallout 3, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Rock Band 2, Call of Duty: World at War and Prince of Persia. We've also had some pretty unique titles as well, including Braid, Castle Crashers, Mirror's Edge, GRID, Dead Space and Left 4 Dead. The list of AAA and AA titles also grows ever longer (17 and 112 respectively, according to Metacritic). And with the highest tie ratio of any of the current generation of consoles it's no surprise that the million sellers are racking up as well. As such by the end of the year the Xbox 360 will have 62 million sellers, not even including XBLA titles. Anywho, formalities out of the way, here are our Games of the Year (with pictures!):

Best Third-Person Shooter: Gears of War 2

Third-Person Shooter of the year goes to Gears of War 2. Not only the Xbox 360’s biggest exclusive of 2008, but already one of the console’s most commercially and critically successful games, shifting a massive 1.89 million copies in the 1st week. The Gears of War franchise has quickly established itself as one of the most iconic third-person shooting franchises in gaming today. And so it easily wins the award for best Xbox 360 Third-Person Shooter.

Runner-up: Grand Theft Auto IV

Reader's Choice: Gears of War 2

Best First-Person Shooter: Left 4 Dead

Valve have done it again. With their focus on co-operative and competitive multiplayer, Valve have taken one of the most popular genres in gaming and combined it with zombies to make a fan favourite. It’s also a staff favourite, and wins best First-Person Shooter on the Xbox 360 for 2008.

Runner-up: Call of Duty: World at War

Reader's Choice: Left 4 Dead

Best Action/Adventure: Prince of Persia

Ubisoft have taken Prince of Persia in a new direction, with a new hero, a gifted ally and an open world structure. But the classic blend of fantastic visuals, unique platforming and solid combat won over many of the staff. Our Xbox 360 Action/Adventure game of the year is Prince of Persia.

Runner-up: Mirror's Edge

Reader's Choice: Ninja Gaiden II

Best Platformer: Prince of Persia

Our Xbox 360 Platformer of the year is also Prince of Persia. Prince of Persia achieves an impressive level of fluidity and grace in the seamless climbing, swinging and jumping moves that are the staple of the platformer genre. And that is precisely why we name it our Xbox 360 Platformer of the year.

Runner-up: Mega Man 9

Reader's Choice: Braid

Best Fighter: Soul Calibur IV

Coming out on top in a surprisingly close battle with Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix, Soul Calibur IV takes the Fighter crown. And having only just recently passed the million seller mark, it’s perhaps fitting that it gets the VGChartz award for best Xbox 360 Fighter of the year.

Runner-up: Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix

Reader's Choice: Soul Calibur IV

Best Racing: Burnout Paradise

The popular Burnout franchise continues to shine. Set in the beautiful open world of Paradise City, Burnout puts you in control of which events to race in and when. Featuring instant access online multiplayer, a variety of single player racing modes, and great damage modelling, Burnout Paradise is our Xbox 360 Racing game of the year.

Runners-up: Race Driver: GRID and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (tied)

Reader's Choice: Burnout Paradise

Best RPG: Fallout 3

In Fallout 3, Bethesda have managed to make a fantastic post-apocalyptic RPG. You emerge from Vault 101 into the bright light of the Capital Wasteland 200 years after the bombs were dropped on Washington DC, and you’re free to explore the world around you and carve out your own path through the game. It’s a great premise for an RPG, and it makes for a fantastic world to explore. Fallout 3 is our Xbox 360 RPG of the year.

Runner-up: Fable II

Reader's Choice: Fable II

Best Music/Peripheral: Guitar Hero: World Tour

The Guitar Hero franchise continues to evolve and improve. World Tour introduces the concept of the complete band set-up first conceived by Rock Band to the Guitar Hero franchise for the first time. Combine that with an extensive track list and you get the VGChartz Xbox 360 Music/Peripheral game of the year.

Runner-up: Rock Band 2

Reader's Choice: Rock Band 2

Best Strategy/Simulation: Civilization Revolution

Civilization Revolution has been a great critical success, and it's picked up a loyal and appreciative fan base, but it's also been rather average as far as sales are concerned. It looks like the VGChartz staff want that to change... Civilization Revolution is our Strategy/Simulation game of the year.

Runner-up: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise

Reader's Choice: Civilization Revolution

Best Sports: Madden NFL 09

Much maligned for being ‘the same game every year’, Madden NFL 09 sports more than 85 new features and enhancements, including a much needed interactive tutorial mode, more online features, and a visual upgrade. And the sales speak for themselves – over 1 million copies sold within the 1st month. Madden NFL 09 is our Xbox 360 Sports title of the year.

Runner-up: NCAA Football 09

Reader's Choice: Fifa 09

Best Xbox LIVE Arcade: Braid

Braid is one of the most unexpected hits of the year due to the complete lack of hype up until the stellar review scores started rolling in. Braid is easily one of the Xbox 360’s most highly rated games, even making it onto the Metacritic and Gamerankings top 20. This unique time manipulating puzzle-platformer is our Xbox Live Arcade game of the year.

Runner-up: Castle Crashers

Reader's Choice:

Best Graphics: Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia was released just in time to qualify for our game of the year awards, and it’s a good job it did. This is the 3rd game of the year award for Prince of Persia, and it won this particular award by virtue of its strikingly original and beautiful art style. Prince of Persia wins the award for best Xbox 360 graphics.

Runner-up: Gears of War 2

Reader's Choice:
Gears of War 2

Best Musical Score: Braid

The second game of the year award for Braid, and this time it's for the beautiful music. A feature often under-appreciated and sometimes neglected, the sound and music for a game can be a vital piece of the puzzle. And as in so many respects, Braid got it spot on.

Runner-up: Mirror's Edge

Reader's Choice:
Lost Odyssey

Most Innovative: Mirror's Edge

EA really went out on a limb here. Not only is the art style so strikingly unique and beautiful, but the gameplay is also a blend of genres never before seen – that of the first person platformer, where the aim is often to avoid combat using Free Running techniques. Mirror’s Edge stands out as one of the most unique titles ever released on the Xbox 360, and that's why it wins the Game of the Year award for Innovation.

Runner-up: Left 4 Dead

Reader's Choice: Braid

Biggest Disappointment: Too Human

It’s often referred to as the Xbox 360’s Haze, and that’s not too far off. But disappointingly low review scores and mediocre sales alone are not enough to make a game a huge disappointment. But when the level of expectation is so high as to make the game a hinted contender for AAA status and multi-million sales figures, it then becomes a true disappointment when everything falls flat. And for this reason, Too Human is our Biggest Disappointment of the year.

Runner-up: Grand Theft Auto IV

Reader's Choice: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Best Game No One Played: Tales of Vesperia

Over the past year or so the Xbox 360 has received considerable JRPG support, including games like Lost Odyssey, The Last Remnant, Infinite Undiscovery, Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata. But with the exception of Lost Odyssey none of these games are even approaching 1 million sold. Tales of Vesperia is arguably the best of the bunch, but its sales are struggling at ~270,000 at the time of writing, and that Pal launch can’t come soon enough. That’s why Tales of Vesperia wins the award for the Best Game No One Played.

Runner-up: Mirror's Edge

Reader's Choice: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Game of the Year: Left 4 Dead

Yes, it did. It beat off Grand Theft Auto IV, Gears of War 2, Fallout 3, Prince of Persia, Braid, and all the others for the top spot. The staff voted Left 4 Dead the best Xbox 360 Game of the Year for its unique take on co-operative and competitive online play, for the thrill of creating the intense frenetic action of a zombie apocalypse which is only heightened by the ‘Director’, and for bringing something unique and innovative to the table. The dark horse of the bunch has won one, and the zombie apocalypse awaits...

Runner-up: Fallout 3

Reader's Choice:
Gears of War 2