2008 ended with a huge bang as November and December saw a parade of high quality releases. While this was good for gamers with enough time and cash (or generous gift-giving family and friends), it also meant that many very good games were lost in the shuffle or looked over in favor of the next big title. Most of these games listed will be worth buying after you get through your backlogs, as they can be found used or at a discounted price. I guess you could say this a “best of the rest” of sorts from me, but these are just a handful of games that I hope don’t get passed over by gamers going into the new year.
Burnout Paradise – Criterion created an arcade racer fan’s dream with Burnout Paradise and they’ve continued to support it extremely well through downloadable content. With more downloads (awesome ones at that!) on their way in 2009, Burnout Paradise is a very good deal for both 360 and PS3 owners. The game is perfect for online multiplayer addicts as there is a very active community, but the single player offering is also large enough to occupy you for countless hours.
Battlefield: Bad Company – EA kind of slid this one in under the radar, but the game was generally received well enough by critics. The game at first glance looks like a typical wartime FPS game, but it actually offers a lot of gameplay variety, an entertaining story, and a very humorous set of well-acted dialog. This will be an excellent pickup for getting through the next release drought on a budget.
Mega Man 9 – Available as a downloadable game on all three consoles, this game is an excellent modern day retro experience. The game is brutally difficult, but ultimately very rewarding. Just don’t send me the bill for your busted controllers, ok?
Bionic Commando Rearmed – Another downloadable game that can’t be skipped, especially if you were a fan of the NES original. Games like these are a prime example of why Capcom survived the transformation from arcade giant to console era bigwigs. Midway, take notes.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village – An interesting mix of puzzle and adventure gaming combined with a very charming art style make Professor Layton one of the more charming and enjoyable games released all year long.
Chrono Trigger DS – Quite possibly the best JRPG ever made, Chrono Trigger DS adds a few new things to the classic experience. If you haven’t played the SNES version, this one is a no brainer and you need to pick this up ASAP.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts – A charming and fun adventure/platformer from Rare that is much better than it’s given credit for. The game has hilarious dialog, very tight gameplay, and an undeniable addictive quality to it. I realize that many people were hoping for a more traditional Banjo-Kazooie experience, but if you ask me, this is every bit as satisfying.
Geometry Wars 2 – Not much to say here except for that this game is amazing. This is still my favorite Xbox Live Arcade game.
World of Goo – This is probably the most criminally overlooked game on the entire list. Available as a Wii Ware title, World of Goo will appeal to anybody that’s willing to sit down with it for a few moments.
Tecmo Bowl DS – Classic Tecmo Bowl gameplay with slightly updated graphics and Wi-Fi support. Awesome.
There are plenty more games that are worthy of being mentioned here, but let’s be honest, you can’t possibly have time to get to all of them, right? I’m sure I missed an obvious pick or two, so sorry if I spaced a pick you’d like to have seen me include on the list. Feel free to include your own in the comments section, however.
Coming soon, I’ll have my picks of games to keep an eye on for 2009.