2008 Games in Review
Aping the format from last year’s post, which was inspired by the one from this post by nama, here’s the games I beat and/or played a significant amount of this year, and brief impressions of each:
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations (DS) – Adds a good deal of closure to the Fey family drama. Got a somewhat telling spoiler via DS Fanboy of all places, but not the biggest. Still prefer Justice for All; it’s the Empire Strikes Back of the series, in certain respects.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (DS) – A decent monster collecting/breeding RPG, with those lovely Dragon Quest trappings. Lighthearted, engrossing fun.
Front Mission (DS) – Would’ve been very surprised if I didn’t end up loving this, which I did. However, FM4 is still my favorite out of the Front Missions I’ve played, especially in terms of story and characterization.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS) – A great introduction for a new set of characters; playing the previous Ace Attorney games is absolutely not required. Features decent use of the DS’ features, a good soundtrack, and Klavier Gavin, the sexiest prosecutor in video games.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64 via Wii VC) – Not one of the best Kirby games, but still enjoyable.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves (PS2) – Regularly playing as Bentley and Murray, as well as Sly, was a welcome change of pace, and Bentley’s “hacking” levels were much improved from the first game’s. Pretty good, in general, but not sure if it’s as good as the first game.
Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (PS2) – Features an improved battle and customization system, but less interesting new characters (with the exceptions of Taro and Hanako), and a story that’s not as engaging as the first game’s.
Tales of Symphonia (GC) – The cel-shaded graphics were kind of blurry, and the story got very convoluted at times, but otherwise, I really liked this one.
Rondo of Swords (DS) – Probably the hardest RPG I played and beat this year. The battle system is neat, but the story is a bit lacking.
Devil May Cry (PS2) – Second full playthrough, played mainly to reacquaint myself with Dante before delving into DMC2 and 3. Still fun.
The World Ends With You (DS) – My personal game of the year, out of those that I played that were new. Also the best Square RPG since Chrono Trigger. I’d followed this game with interest since news of it first surfaced in Japan, and news of an English-language release filled me with joy. That it turned out to be as excellent as it is was a delight, and I’m glad that my last time voluntarily paying the Square Enix Tax would be on this masterpiece.
Devil May Cry 2 (PS2) – All right, and certainly had some memorable moments, but I can see why people were complaining about this one.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil (PS2) – Out of all the games I played that didn’t come out this year and hadn’t played before, this is a serious contender for my favorite, and one of the best platformers on the PS2. Imaginative levels, gorgeous graphics, and a catchy soundtrack make this a must-play.
Wild ARMs 5 (PS2) – Has an enjoyable battle system, but otherwise, there’s not much to recommend about this game. The characters, dungeons, story, music, and so forth fall short of being great and settle for mediocre instead.
Harvest Moon (SNES via Wii VC) – Second full playthrough. Still as addictive as ever. Had a kid this time, too!
Adventures of Lolo 2 (NES via Wii VC) – Harder than the first Lolo. IIRC, I set this one aside for awhile before coming back to it. Couldn’t have made my way through it without an FAQ.
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure (Wii) – Another one I set aside, then came back to, this time after finding out that the music box things were optional minigames. Still had to run to an FAQ at some point very late in the game, though. Anyway, great game that will have you doing much thinking and strategizing.
Wario World (GC) – Fairly solid platformer, but not a classic by any stretch of the imagination.
Mario Kart Wii (Wii) – Got all the gold trophies possible in Grand Prix. Good, and using the Wii Wheel was fun, but overall, I enjoyed Mario Kart DS a little bit more.
Ys Book I & II (TG-16 via Wii VC) – Everything about the soundtrack to this game is true. An interesting old school JRPG with a neat visual style, elaborate (for the time) cutscenes, and huge dungeons in Book II.
Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition (PS2) – Really good, and hard even on easy, but the final battle was something of a letdown.
Final Fantasy VII (PS1) – Still my favorite game. Although the PC version is still superior, I played the PS1 one since the couch is more comfortable than my computer chair.
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (DS) – Easy as sin, and has me wondering what it was like when it contained SRPG elements. Absolutely wonderful story, especially the ending.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES via Wii VC) – A little flawed in spots, and a bit too minigame-heavy, but still a great start for the Mario RPGs that would follow. Was pleasantly surprised to see where those later games got some of their ideas from!
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves (PS2) – Taking the multi-character balance of Sly 2 and fracturing it even more, this game had its moments (certain ones involving planes and ships were especially enjoyable, as was the final dungeon and boss battle), but in general, it was a bit weaker than its predecessors.
Sonic Adventure (DC) – After seven years, I finally finished this with Sonic (and, subsequently, Super Sonic), making it the first Sonic game I’ve ever beaten. It was worth it.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) – Another fun and lighthearted Mario RPG. Thanks again, Kendal! Now that I’ve gone through this, I only have one Mario RPG left to play: Super Paper Mario.
Endless Games, Multiplayer Games, and Those Not Completed:
Various DDRs (PS2) – I’ve fallen off! I really need to pick this up again. Also, DDRX hasn’t been cracked open yet…
Planet Puzzle League (DS) – Still the BEST PUZZLE GAME EVAR. Especially the Garbage Attack mode. Shattered my record on that recently in Daily Play; my highest score is now 254.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) – Wow, did I get wrapped up in the hype for this one. Haven’t touched it much since beating the Subspace Emissary and trying (and failing) to unlock a certain character a few times.
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana (PS2) – Stopped playing after about an hour and later sold it. It was just too boring.
Sega Superstars Tennis (Wii) – Cute Sega mascot game, with some interesting twists. Haven’t played it much, but got it cheap (new) as part of a purchase using a gift card, so I don’t regret getting it.
Space Invaders Extreme (DS) – The other game I got with that order. Fantastic update on Space Invaders, but it’s also hard.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GC) – A few hours of playing Normal were too easy, so I started again with Hard. Big mistake, as the difficulty ramped up a ton. After learning that the final battle is impossible without a shit-ton of luck, I gave up.
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – Played as the “co-star” to my husband’s Mario. We had a lot of fun with this, and the final galaxy was, thankfully, not as painful as we had dreaded.
Okami (PS2) – Started this in early November along with my partners in crime. Haven’t heard from one of them in a couple weeks, though… nama, you still alive? Anyway, all right so far, and has been steadily getting better, but nothing addictive. Absolutely beautiful graphics, though, even with the occasional hiccup.
Wii Fit (Wii) – The Balance Board is gonna be sooo mad at me… I haven’t played in weeks. Another purchase helped along with a gift card (this one specifically intended to go toward Wii Fit). A good piece of lifestyle software, and the Balance Board is a very high-quality peripheral.
Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) – I feel this has been dumbed down from Wild World in a number of small, subtle ways, but I’m enjoying it otherwise. Connecting online is still a bitch.
Dokapon Kingdom (Wii) – A wonderful surprise that came out of nowhere, this is a board game for RPG nerds. Plays like an sadistic anime take on Monopoly.
Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (DS) – The improvements are welcome, but at the same time, it plays more like a traditional Harvest Moon than the first game did. One of the notable features is the ability to play as your own kid; hopefully the game will pick up some once I get around to that part.
Disgaea DS (DS) – One of my favorite games shrunk down to DS-size. Some stuff has been lost in the transition (most noticeably much of the voice acting), but the all-important story and gameplay are still there, and still awesome.
ETA (03/12/09): Very late edit, but I realized earlier this week that I forgot a game I played and didn’t complete last year – Metal Gear Solid (PC). Liked the production values (the voice acting in particular), but not so much the gameplay. It didn’t click with me, and I stopped playing very early on.
ETA (04/04/09): Whoops, forgot another one I played-but-didn’t-beat: Diablo. What little I played was very well done, but again, just didn’t click.