So, 2008 then? What a year. Everyone thought it would struggle following the stupendous year for quality games that was 2007, but it hasn't. There's been more 9/10 games than we can remember a year having, and even some perfect 10s. Yeah, 2008's been great, but that's not what you're here to be told. You're here for our run down of the top 50 games of the year. We'll be counting down 10 games at a time, from now till Christmas day itself when we'll unleash the top 10 in a special video feature, and reveal what game's nailed VideoGamer.com's coveted best game of 2008 award. Right, let's get this party started. Here's 50 to 41.
50. Bionic Commando Rearmed, Capcom - XBLA
What we said: Bionic Commando Rearmed is not a release for everyone. It's supposed to be hard, and you're supposed to like it. If you're short on patience or have a nervous disorder, then you should approach Rearmed with caution. If, however, you love the genre and harbour fond memories of the original, then this game will seem like a gift from the Eighties God of Shooty Bang-Bang. You may be slightly narked by the fact that you can't play co-op online, but hey - that wouldn't be very retro, would it?
49. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo - Wii
What we said: It's impossible not to admire the series' remarkable accessibility and engrossing multiplayer battles. Indeed, Smash Bros. is as addicting as it's ever been, but it's certainly not perfect. Some of the character additions left us baffled, and the Subspace Emissary just doesn't live up to the polish seen in every other aspect of the game. Either way, with an epic online mode, dozens of unlockable characters and stages and hundreds of collectible trophies, Brawl deserves its place in every Wii-owner's collection.
48. Sins of a Solar Empire, Stardock - PC
What we said: Sins of a Solar Empire will not be everyone's cup of tea. However, if you've been hooked to titles like Galactic Civilizations, experiencing '4X' strategy in a real-time environment may be a revelation for you. Likewise, if you got a kick out of Supreme Commander, but wanted to have freedom to explore the fictional setting, rather than play through a fixed campaign, then you're going to find a lot to like here. Ultimately, whether you're going to enjoy Sins of a Solar Empire will depend on whether you prefer deep, slow-burning strategy to the fast-paced thrills of a tactical RTS. With its mix-and-match gameplay, Sins is certainly a title out of the ordinary, but very much an acquired taste.
47. Battlefield: Bad Company, EA - 360 and PS3
What we said: Battlefield Bad Company might look like just another FPS but it feels very different. The open-world levels make for some unique gameplay opportunities and the multiplayer mode looks like it should gain a very large online community. The lack of any stand-out set-pieces and the initially twitchy controls prevent Bad Company from earning top marks, but it's a solid effort from DICE that any FPS fan is advised to pick up.
46. Mario Kart Wii, Nintendo - Wii
What we said: Mario Kart Wii is an excellent return to form for the series and tremendous fun when played with friends in split-screen or online. The often infuriating Grand Prix mode is likely to polarise gamers though, with some loving the unpredictability of it while others will simply give up after being taken down at the last minute by yet another Spiny Blue Shell. Other than online play, which to be honest isn't anything over and above what the majority of racing games include these days, Mario Kart Wii is pretty much more of the same fun gameplay, with the addition of a brilliant wheel that will do wonders to encourage newcomers to give the game a try.
45. Space Invaders Extreme, Square Enix - DS and PSP
What we said: For less than £20 Space Invaders Extreme is worth every penny, whether you're a DS or PSP gamer. The high-score hunting gameplay makes for an incredibly addictive retro gaming experience, and the sleek presentation gives it a modern appearance and feel. If you can choose between PSP and DS versions then the DS game is clearly the best choice. Online leaderboards are practically essential in a game of this type and it also makes playing with friends a lot more practical.
44. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, EA - PC
What we said: It's a quality game, that can't be denied. Play it with a mate and it's a lot of fun. The live action clips are so bad you can't not want to watch them, and the whole experience has that addictive quality that makes you want to play it when you're not, but it's a hugely conservative effort. The co-operative campaign is a nice addition, but we've been playing RTS games with friends on the same side for years in skirmishes, so this is more evolution than revolution. This is one for the series' army of fans.
43. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, SEGA - DS
What we said: If you're not a Sonic fan and instead are simply looking for a quality RPG, there's better on the DS, but Chronicles still comes highly recommended. If you're a Sonic fan Chronicles really is an essential purchase. It's one of the best Sonic games we've played in ages (given the quality of some Sonic games in recent years this doesn't come as a surprise) and, despite it not being as in-depth an RPG as we'd hoped, it's really a lot of fun while it lasts.
42. The Club, SEGA - 360, PS3 and PC
What we said: SEGA has a bit of a dilemma on its hands. The Club is the last game developed by Bizarre Creations that won't be published by Activision. Given how brilliant The Club is it's going to be hard for anyone else to pick up where Bizarre left off. That's all in the future though. As it stands The Club is one of the finest examples of bringing the essence of arcade gaming to modern consoles and a game no adrenaline junkie should pass up.
41. MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, Sony - PS3
What we said: PlayStation has had some hugely impressive racing franchises over the years and Pacific Rift shows that MotorStorm is on its way to join the greats. We're still not completely sold on what we believe is an overly harsh handling model that frequently restricts the amount of fun the average gamer can have, but it's not an insurmountable problem. Once you're in the groove you'll find some incredible tracks to scream around at high speed and the online play should provide plenty of longevity. With a brand new location, more tracks and more features, it's more or less exactly what fans wanted.
Continue reading our Top 50 Games of 2008 with our countdown of 40-31 right here.
Think we've got them in the right order? Distraught that your favourite didn't chart or appeared far lower than you'd have liked? Let us know in the comments section below.