We welcome you to the PSX Extreme Game of the Year Awards 2008! It was a fantastic year for gaming, especially on the PlayStation 3, and we all enjoyed the first defining experiences of the new generation. You all know who the front-runners are, so we won't waste any more of your time with preamble and intro. We've already given you a peek at the nominations , but now it's time for the Grand Finale!

Achievement Awards

Best Graphics

Nominees

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Although we have to give an honorable mention to Gran Turismo 5: Prologue , nothing can top MGS4's unbelievable level of detail and overall professionalism when it comes to visuals. This is why many of us purchased the PS3 in the first place, and Kojima and Co. didn't let us down. Easily one of the most impressive graphical achievements ever, MGS4 is best seen on a fantastic HDTV…it's a jaw-dropping experience, plain and simple.

Best Sound

Nominees

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Both Dead Space and Resistance 2 put up a good fight, but once again, we couldn't look past the stellar voice acting, sound effects and music in Konami's masterpiece. It was the entire package from front to back – just like the graphics – and the sound is one of the big reasons why this game feels so epic. Yeah, you need a great TV for this experience, but you also need an awesome sound system to truly appreciate it!

Best Acting

Nominees

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

You may be noticing a bit of a trend, here. But this is another Achievement category where, as far as we're concerned, the winner is as clear as day. The voice acting was absolutely superb throughout the entire game, and without it, this largely cinematic production would've fallen flat on its face. These days, acting is a giant part of gaming, and when it's something like MGS4, it's crucial. They pulled it off beautifully, and nothing in 2008 can really compete. Not to take anything away from the other nominees, though; it's just that MGS4 is so good.

Best Multiplayer Game

Nominees

Winner: Resistance 2

In one of the toughest categories to determine – especially in terms of nominees – Resistance 2 emerges victorious, thanks primarily to an excellent 8-player co-op online mode and an absolutely insane 60-player competitive match limit. The game is more fluid and intense than ever before, and it's certainly one of the best multiplayer experiences of the generation. It's just so much better than the first one in terms of options and depth; you won't find a superior multi experience in 2008. And trust us, that's saying something, considering the competition.

Best Artistry/Art Direction

Nominees

Winner: LittleBigPlanet

Really, it didn't take us long to give Media Molecule's excellent platformer the Best Artistry award this year. There's just so much here, and it's all designed with meticulous attention and care. Everyone, regardless of their gaming preferences, should be ale to appreciate the immense amount of work that went into SackBoy and his ever-changing environment. This is the kind of work that absolutely needs to be rewarded; no ifs, ands or buts about it. We need more of this ingenuity in the industry.

Most Original/Innovative

Nominees

Winner: LittleBigPlanet

We give the nod to LBP once again, just because it broke new ground this year and the entire concept survives and flourishes on originality and innovation. At its core, it's little more than a basic platformer, but due to the limitless possibilities, this becomes a gamer's best friend…especially if he or she has a penchant for control. As Arnold said, "it's anything you want it to be," and that, if we're not mistaken, is the very basis of innovation in this industry that continually focuses more and more on increased player interactivity and freedom.

Most Overlooked

Nominees

Winner: Valkyria Chronicles

Sega went and made a great game…and nobody bought it. Granted, Western audiences aren't too keen on titles like this, anyway, but Valkyria Chronicles didn't even fare very well in Japan. We also want to remind you that although EA said that Dead Space and Mirror's Edge underperformed, and Sony expected bigger things from LittleBigPlanet , they all still did relatively well. "Relatively" is key, here; these are the titles that basically flopped in terms of sales, and VC should never have been overlooked. Ah well, this happens, sometimes.

Genre Awards

Best Puzzle Game

Nominees

Winner: echochrome

Well, we were pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel for this genre in 2008, but that's okay: echochrome would've beaten just about anything, really. It's one of the best and most original ideas we've ever seen, and if you want to test that brain of yours, this bad boy will challenge you to the max. The idea of "perception is truth" is genius, and taking a cue from M.C. Escher's freaky optical illusion art makes this puzzle game both singular and even addicting. You've got five minutes to complete your task; can you "see" in enough perspectives to achieve your goal…?

Best Music/Rhythm Game

Nominees

Winner: Tie- Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour

We just knew this was gonna happen. We gave both Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2 the same scores, and for the most part, both musical experiences are very similar. It comes down to which soundtrack you prefer, but that's just too subjective so we had to ignore our own musical preferences. And in doing so, it was just impossible to choose between these two. They're both awesome, they're both bound to deliver what they promise, and you can't go wrong with either. Tie, and congrats to both.

Best Racing Game

Nominees

Winner: Gran Turismo 5: Prologue

There were plenty of great racing games in 2008, but once we decided to qualify Prologue as a competitor, we knew who the winner had to be. It may only be a demo, but as it actually takes longer to complete than some full games on store shelves these days, it's well worth our attention. And besides, this remains the most impressive and physically realistic racing experience of the generation so far, which means we're thoroughly amped up for the final product. Hopefully, it'll release towards the end of this year, but in 2008, nothing made us go "oh, wow!" like Gran Turismo 5: Prologue . That pretty much sums it up.

Best Sports Game

Nominees

Winner: MLB 08: The Show

It was a tough choice – we so do love Hot Shots – but in the end, there was no denying the amazing depth and quality of MLB 08: The Show . If you're a big-time fantasy baseball fan, and you're really into stats and micromanagement in your sports titles, look no further than The Show . A simulator of the highest order and the ability to bring you closer to the diamond than any other baseball game before, this one excels on just about every possible level. And we won't be surprised at all if 2009's iteration takes home this very same award one year from now!

Best RPG

Nominees

Winner: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Surprised? Yeah, we know just about everyone is giving this to Fallout 3 , and we very nearly did the same thing. But then we started to realize just how great Crisis Core really was, and also, just how accessible it was to all gamers. It wouldn't appeal only to Final Fantasy fans, and unless you can really get into the expansive masterpiece that is Fallout 3 , you'll toss it away relatively quickly. So while we could easily make the argument for Bethesda's RPG, we have to give the nod to Square-Enix's action/RPG that coerced many a consumer into a PSP purchase early in 2008. And wasn't it worth it?

Best Fighting Game

Nominees

Winner: Super Street Fighter Turbo HD Remix

In what may be another surprise, we weren't too enamored with any one fighting game this year, and although we had plenty of fun with Soul Calibur IV , we just couldn't pass on this remake. The original Street Fighter II was nearly perfect for its day, and Capcom just went and made everything better for Turbo HD Remix . Arnold calls it "the most balanced fighter" out there, and absolutely nobody will challenge SFII's timeless quality. We just didn't have a next-gen fighting title in 2008 that could compete with this wonderful overhaul of a classic.

Best FPS

Nominees

Winner: Resistance 2

Although it's typically a hotly contested category, we didn't think it was much of a competition: Resistance 2 , the sequel that is bigger and better than the original title in just about every way, takes the Best FPS crown this year. The stellar online multiplayer is only part of the equation; it also comes complete with a kick-ass single-player campaign that features the biggest and most intimidating bosses you'll ever see, plus more weapons, more environmental diversity, a better story (in our opinion), better acting (hey, Hale has a voice now!), and more over-the-top encounters. This is the entire shooter package, despite what the naysayers say. Really, we don't know what you're complaining about.

Best Action/Adventure Game

Nominees

Winner: Grand Theft Auto IV

An extraordinarily difficult category to choose, but considering our definition of "action/adventure," we just had to give it to Grand Theft Auto IV . MGS4 is outstanding, no doubt, but it almost defies categorization; it's tough to put the action/adventure label on it, just because it feels like an entirely new experience. But GTAIV is the perfect embodiment of this category, as Rockstar's more authentic and realistic crime drama became this generation's very first "almost-10" title. From the solidified gameplay mechanic to the excellent design of Liberty City to the great story and unlimited freedom, GTAIV is a gem. A gem of gems, in fact. Anybody want to disagree?

Platform Awards

Best PS2 Game

Nominees

Winner: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

You may not have noticed, but Atlus produced one hell of a PS2 RPG this year, and it's the next installment in the critically acclaimed Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Persaon 4 takes the foundation from earlier entries and improves on it in just about every way, giving the player a more complete and fully realized role-playing adventure. You may not be a fan of the art style, but that doesn't stop the concept from being most original and the gameplay from being both deep and engaging. Just because we've moved on to the PlayStation 3 doesn't mean companies have stopped making games for the PS2, and RPG fans really can't ignore this bad boy.

Best PSP Game

Nominees

Winner: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Obviously, this was going to come down to two titles, and you should've known what the other was: Ready at Dawn's unbelievable God of War: Chains of Olympus . But after some deliberation, we just had to hand the award to Square-Enix's prequel that captured the hearts of handheld owners the world over. Nearly unparalleled visuals and a new action-oriented combat mechanic that just never seemed to get old, Crisis Core may be the finest PSP title to date. If you have a PSP and you don't own this game, you need to check your pulse…'cuz you may be dead. It may not be the FFVII remake we've all been hoping for, but it's the next best thing and there's nothing wrong with that!

Best PS3 Game

Nominees

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Let's face it: the PS3 was made for MGS4. This is not only the current generation's landmark achievement in our humble opinion, but it's also the defining title of the PlayStation 3's library. It redefined how we look at video games, expanded our minds, and raised the bar for the future, which is exactly what we expected it to do. A deep and captivating storyline, told by one of the industry's true masters, combined with a mesmerizing gameplay mechanic makes MGS4 a true-blue masterpiece. You can't take your eyes off the screen, and the PS3's capabilities are well used, here. It also makes us think: if the lifespan of this machine really is around 10 years, as Sony continues to claim, what might we be able to expect 5 or 6 years from now…? We got MGS4 in only the second year of the console's reign! Oh, dear Lord…the possibilities…

Special: The PSXE Favorite

Nominees

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Just to clarify: this is the staff "favorite;" it's not necessarily the "best" (that's coming up next). See, we just wanted to give you the list of games we personally had the most fun with in 2008, and as you can see it includes a couple titles that wouldn't be included in any Game of the Year Nominee list. We just adored the likes of Hot Shots and Devil May Cry 4 , and if you try to deny the fun factor in those games, we will fight you! Really, though, the memorable experience of playing MGS4 stands out most in our minds, and we would never say another title stands taller in our estimation. We just can't get over how great that game was, and when we played it, we were ceaselessly amazed. Our favorite, MGS4 is. Big thanks to Konami and Kojima.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for…

Game of the Year

Nominees

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Was there ever any doubt? What can we say about this game that hasn't been said already? We've been heaping praises upon this masterpiece throughout our Game of the Year Awards so far, and there was never any question in our minds. You have to try to understand just how incredible that is, given the competition. Grand Theft Auto IV was MGS4's closest competition (as you can see, it's a 10.0 versus a 9.9), but all the difference in the world is included in that .1 gap. It's not even definable or explainable, really. It's that one extra element that MGS4 had that no other title of 2008 had; it's that one "X factor" that continually blew us away with every passing minute played. Hideo Kojima has given us some memorable games over the years, but this is most certainly his crowning achievement. As great as all the nominees were, this really wasn't even close…and that is just how fantastic MGS4 really is. We know it; you know it.

And so there you have it. We've done our best to reward the games that deserved the recognition, but as you can see, it was the year of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots . Congratulations, MGS4…every gamer out there owes you a tremendous debt of gratitude. And here's to another great 2009, where even more memorable titles will come down the pike! ­čÖé

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