Welcome to the third instalment in Eurogamer's Top 50 Games of 2008! Make sure to check out 50-41 and 40-31 for additional opportunities to swear at us, and remember, we know X is not better than Y. Each travesty is best explained by the Editor's blog detailing the setup. If you want to a straight list of what's better than what, which makes sense, you're better off with the Eurogamer Readers' Top 50 Games of 2008, to which thousands contributed. Thanks!
30. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Konami / Kojima Productions / PS3
Rich Leadbetter: I like to play games, not watch them, and this game is the worst yet for making you sit down and watch an impenetrable and dare I say it tedious plot play out. The tech's brilliant, the gameplay can be superb - but surely there has to be a better way of combining gameplay and narrative? Bottom line: I skipped the cut-scenes, totally lost track of what was going on, and lost interest completely after Act 2.
Kieron Gillen: I spent days begging Tom to let me re-review this after the furore around Oli's review lead to that bulging 2000-posts thread. Because those people seemed to think that Oli's review was somehow negative. They were clearly confused, and I wanted to make it totally clear what a negative review actually looks like. Tom decided it probably wasn't wise. Much like forty-two hour cut-scenes. Remember: Just because it's carefully constructed art made by one of videogames' true auteurs, doesn't mean that it can't be full of s***.
Christian Donlan: My favourite moment was completing the entire film noir section wearing an oil drum. Had to take it off for the final boss, sadly.
Simon Parkin: Nobody's interested in the middle ground when it comes to polarising videogames. When it comes to MGS4 this is a shame because there is just as much of merit in this experience as there is to spoil it. In his fine, thoughtful review for Eurogamer, Oli nailed this tension with skill and eloquence. That so many readers were unable to parse his thoughts, to appreciate the nuance and contradictions in the experience suggests that Kojima's series primarily appeals to immature gamers. Perhaps that's natural for a game born of Hollywood bombast, one that requires you to swallow its spectacle wholesale before being allowed to investigate its systems. Still, long live the middle ground: this is a game that has much to teach and much to learn, and we're all the poorer if it manages neither.
Oli Welsh: Most awkward moment of 2008: realising that Hideo Kojima was stood behind me while I was taking advantage of one of MGS4's interminable cut-scenes to check emails on my phone. Now he, along with most of the rest of the world, thinks I hate Metal Gear Solid 4, but they're all wrong. I love it. Deranged, flawed, insanely ambitious, meticulously detailed, ridiculous, clever, sexy, self-aware: I'm profoundly glad that multi-million-dollar lunatic labours of love like this get made, for all that it occasionally drove me spare. There were many better games released this year, but for my money none of them, save Lich King, contain so many great moments.
29. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Capcom / DS
Kristan Reed: OBJECTION! Actually, that's not true. I just wanted to be the only person obvious enough to throw that line in there. I love Ace Attorney games to bits. Everyone should play them.
Keza MacDonald: The speed with which Prosecutor Klavier Gavin replaced Edgeworth in my affections has me slightly concerned. Achtung, baby.
John Walker: I just want to type, "Oh happy day!" each time anyone asks me to write about an Ace Attorney game. Over and over. I was tentative about this one, concerned that it was going to that awkward place where it's the same idea with new characters. I never get past those. I care about the original cast! Fortunately, Apollo Justice was just a bluff. Despite playing as Justice, this is totally a Phoenix Wright game; the story is primarily about him. And it's just as great as the previous three. Sadly it's just as flawed as the previous three, with the same frustrations of illogical court puzzles. But it's incredibly hard to care about that when you're laughing so much. This is a game that contains the line, "My panties are in extra-dimensional space. Anything can fit in there." I loved it. It made me so happy. (But I'm still furious that it never mentions Maya or Pearly. Maya! Pearly! Are you okay?!)
28. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
KOEI / Atlus / PS2
Simon Parkin: Atlus is at the forefront of JRPG innovation even though its inventiveness with the form is mainly characterised by the absorbing of elements from other genres. Persona 3 is, in many ways, a Japanese Bully, the structure of the school day providing the form and order into which the drama slots. The social sim elements of the game and Pokmon-esque collecting and breeding of the titular Personas add depth and complexity to its more traditional dungeon crawling. The only drawback to buying the game now is the presence of its sequel, released in America this month, which builds upon and perfects almost all of its innovations.
Rob Fahey: The best JRPG of the year, bar none. Fresh, innovative and stylish, it feels like a genuine departure from what we've played before in this genre - and it manages all of this on the humble PS2.
27. Chrono Trigger DS
Square Enix / DS
Rob Fahey: Yeah, okay - Chrono Trigger is technically the best JRPG of the year, not Persona 3. Assuming that the year in question is 1995, of course.
John Walker: Wow, I should really get around to playing this.
Simon Parkin: While nostalgia is part of the aesthetic, through both design and circumstance, you needn't have played the Super Nintendo original to be bowled over by Chrono Trigger's timeless genius. Playing the game afresh today is a mixture of wonder and tragedy. Wonder at the quality of the design, storyline and tragedy that so few games caught on to its solutions to many of the JRPG format's restrictions and problems.
Tom Bramwell: This came out at the peak of my teenage love with JRPGs, and marked the point at which baby Tom realised he was grown up enough for the scary-looking turn-based RPGs. What I didn't appreciate at the time was that it was peerless, and I'd never love another JRPG as much as I did this.