The Best Gaming Moments of 2008 - Andy

2008 was such a year of gaming promise for me as a console owner. We were promised the latest and greatest instalments of some of the best gaming franchises around, such as Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear Solid, as well as some groundbreaking new titles like Haze.

Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the games never really lived up to the hype and promise. Haze was just another shooter with an uninspired story and hackneyed gimmicks. GTA4 and MGS4 were fun to play but brought nothing new to the table. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue turned out the be little more than a tech demo.

It wasn't until the last quarter of the year that we managed to get some truly outstanding games – where we'd had a fairly barren year up till the autumn, suddenly we had a glut of games. Even better, many of those games managed to live up to the hyperbole, making the seemingly endless wait worth the while after all. In all my thirty-odd years of playing games, I can't remember a time when we've had so many triple-A titles in such a short space of time.

This flood of decent games means two things: firstly, so many good games in such a short time makes choosing a favourite gaming moment much harder; secondly, it almost guarantees that the game I choose will come from the last quarter of this year. Of course, the second point might just be because my memory isn't quite what it used to be…

The Best Gaming Moments of 2008 The Best Gaming Moments - Andy overcomes his fear

There is only one game that has kept me occupied for hours on end, exploring every little nook and cranny and itching to get back for more. The game? Fallout 3, baby.

Fallout 3 is a game that firmly divided people's opinions long before the game was ever published. Right from the first announcement, you fell into one of two camps: either you felt that Bethesda could never be Interplay, and that Fallout 2 could never be beaten by a usurper. Or you had an open mind and believed that Bethesda's back catalogue was decent enough to show that they might have enough skill to produce a game worthy of its predecessors. Perhaps, like me, you just had you fingers crossed for the months leading up to the game's release.

Thankfully, all our hopes were realised, and Fallout 3 turned out to live up to most people's dreams. Sure, there are a couple of niggles in the game, but none of them is truly earth-shattering – and just remember, you're playing Fallout, something most of us thought we'd never be doing again. There are so many side-quests and things to discover in the game that choosing one favourite moment is difficult, for me there is one that stands out from fairly close to the beginning of the game, when you're still fresh out of the vault and a bit wet behind the ears.

You're told that you need to visit Threedog, the DJ at Galaxy News Radio, as he knows where your father has gone. You've battled your way through the subway through hordes of ghouls, and you meet up with a band of Brotherhood of Steel soldiers who are on their way back to the HQ at Galaxy News Radio. You decide to tag along, since you're all going in the same direction anyway, and a little extra help is always welcome, right?

The Best Gaming Moments of 2008 The Best Gaming Moments - Andy overcomes his fear

No sooner have you started moving than you’re winding your way through a maze of buildings inhabited by gangs of super mutants. Now, bear in mind that I was still quite low-level at this stage of the game, and super mutants come as a bit of a shock. They're big, ugly, and they take a helluva lot of damage to kill. They also cheat by using big weapons like rocket launchers – which is just not cricket, old chap. Best to hang back and let the soldiers do all the hard work because all I’ve got is .32 pistol in poor condition.

So, after battling through a couple of groups of super mutants, I reach the square where GNR is located. There are a few more super mutants around, but now I’m all a bit blasé about these creatures, so I rush in to have a go of it.

Suddenly, the ground begins to shake, a wall tumbles down and I’m staring at the largest baddy since the last level of Serious Sam. It’s a super mutant behemoth – the superest of super-duper mutants, if you will. A creature that stands thirty feet tall in its socks, it dwarfs the other super mutants, and hurls damage (and people) around with gay abandon. I might have had to change my underwear, that's how scary it was.

Five fraught minutes later the battle is over, the square littered with bodies of soldiers and mutants alike, and I realise that the hissing sound I can hear is not coming from the speakers but from the adrenaline buzzing through my own body.

Of course, if one behemoth isn't enough for your adrenaline rush, there are four others scattered around the wastelands and an achievement if you manage to take them all down. I'd wait until you get some better weapons, though.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04