GamesRadar's Officially Annual Platinum Chalice Awards 2008

Has it really only been 12 months since the last avalanche of “Best Games of 200X” awards? Well, we all love a good list, and you won’t find a better barf bag of random praises than our own Platinum Chalice awards, the place to have someone else’s gaming opinions shoved upon you.

How important are these awards? So important. Real important. What do the other guys have, gold trophies? Screw that. We blew our entire 2009 budget on a seven foot triple-goblet covered with the only precious metal officially sponsored by King Louis XV. And if platinum’s worth more than gold, then our awards are instantly twice as awesome as everyone else’s.

So let’s begin. These are, without any doubt (because we said so), the best games of 2008.


The Horde is coming. First, you hear the screaming, the primal cries of hundreds of hungry infected. Then, you see them coming: Zombies charging down alleyways, zombies crashing through windows, and MORE ZOMBIES breaking down doors. You burn them with Molotov cocktails, blow them up with pipe bombs and unload dozens of shotgun shells into the writhing waves of flesh crashing against you. The carpet of dead bodies around you grows thicker, but the Horde is relentless.


Every time you think you’ve cleared an area, there’s always a Hunter ready to pounce on you or a Smoker ready to surprise any stragglers. No matter how many times our team falls to the ground just inches from the next safe room, Left 4 Dead never feels frustrating or repetitive. Instead, it’s full of wonderfully stressful “last stand” moments that pit you and your team against the impossible. You will die a lot, but that’s really part of what makes the game such a blast. Just be sure not to play when Fragile Ears McCursy Pants isn’t around.

Remember the Helm’s Deep scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers? Gears of War 2’s Horde mode – 50 increasingly intense levels of frantic siege battle – feels a lot like that. However, the vicious variety of the Locust Horde – from sniping Drones and mace-wielding Maulers to slobbering Blood Mounts and explosive Ticker time bombs – makes an army of orcs and trolls seem downright tame.




If you’ve had a chance to explore Fallout 3’s irradiated wasteland, then you already know that there are few things more rewarding than being locked in a life-or-death struggle with a mutant horror and not only killing it, but watching as its face splinters and explodes in slow motion.  It’s like a giant, gruesome middle finger in the face of your enemy, and the rush that comes with it will instantly propel your self-image from hopeless wasteland survivor to conquering badass. It’s nasty, sure, but blowing the heads and limbs off of sneering raiders and roaring Super Mutants in a horrific bullet-time display – courtesy of the turn-based VATS targeting system - is infinitely more gratifying than enemies who just fall over dead when shot, maybe even with a little spray of blood if the publishers aren’t feeling too timid.


The spectacle reaches a ridiculous fever pitch, however, once you add the Bloody Mess perk to your character’s skill set. Blast a crab-like Mirelurk (for example) in the face with that turned on, and not only will said face shatter in slow motion, but all of its stunted crabby limbs will fly off for no clear reason other than that maybe the blast was somehow SO POWERFUL as to create a massive, organ-jellying shockwave within its shell. So while the plot, characters and ruined world of Fallout 3 are awesome, make no mistake, it’s the chunky goresplosions that propel it from being merely “great” to one of the best games of 2008.



Pfft, Fallout 3 may contain awesome bloodshed, but that game wasn’t designed around the very need to dismember your antagonists, just the luxury. Dead Space’ll make you feel bad-ass with every single kill.




Last year we handed this out to Konami for rewarding our years of unwavering fandom with Contra IV and Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles. That one-two punch of classic gaming was more than enough to secure the award. Apparently Capcom saw that and felt the need to utterly destroy Konami’s two-game offering and splurted out not one, not two, but five retro revivals, each one a fitting entry in its respective legacy.


First and foremost is HD Remix, the totally re-done, outrageously gorgeous update to the single most popular fighting game of all time. Before that we had Mega Man 9, a game so fantastically old-school we gave it a whole week of ongoing content, celebrating everything he and Rush have brought to gaming over the past two decades. These two alone represented a surefire win, one by proving 17-year-old games still have online relevance and unbreakable gameplay, and the other by proving an even older series is just as fun today as it was in the ‘80s.


Mere weeks prior to Mega Man 9 was Bionic Commando Rearmed, perhaps our favorite of the bunch. They took the original NES game and spruced it up with hyper-detailed HD visuals and one of the best remixed soundtracks we’ve ever heard, thereby making an already excellent title ready for its next-gen debut. And finally we have Commando 3 and 1942: Joint Strike, two more revamps for gamers who’ve been killing bad guys since “Sweet Child o’ Mine” topped the charts.

In other words, old people.



Want the retro feel without so much running and gunning? Square-Enix went back to the well and revived Final Fantasy IV, Chrono Trigger and Dragon Quest IV this year, each one a 30-50 hour epic wholly deserving of your time.

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  • rabbeseking - January 10, 2009 5:07 a.m.

    I'm going to go ahead and give credit to 4Player Podcast, a blog, podcast, community, and live broadcasting team. They raised over 1,500 dollars, from donations, for cancer research by doing a 24 hour live streaming video game-thon, and have also done a Legend of Zelda: OoT Race, to see who could beat it first. Read their blog: Where that video happened, and where you can watch them live: Thanks rabbeseking, Forum Mod at 4PP Forums
  • sk8erb0iluis777 - January 3, 2009 7:52 p.m.

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  • Codemunkey117 - December 30, 2008 1:26 a.m.

    EXELLENT ARTICLE!!! I agree with all but the GoTY runner up choice. Did we forget the anticipation and reviews of Halo 3!?!? At least something other than GTA4!!!!
  • NelosAngelos - December 28, 2008 7:26 p.m.

    Fallout 3, hell yes!! Game of the year ladies and gentlemen, and I couldn't agree more.
  • xSaintias - December 28, 2008 1 p.m.

    NO, WHY did you make the runner up for game of te year GRANBD THEFT AUTO 4 The game sucks, next time try something better?
  • WittyUsername - December 28, 2008 9:33 a.m.

    Capcom's retroness was so amazing this year it made me shat enough bricks to build a house that I could live in until the stench got to me and I had to raze it to the ground in a magical bonfire of shit and alcohol because of all the vodka in the shit house. So I'm basically saying they were good.
  • Gungfung - December 28, 2008 6:19 a.m.

    I also agree on Fallout 3 AND GTA 4 as GAME OF THE YEAR because they were the most funnest and long lasting games of 2008 AND i cant wait to see wat is in store for 2009!!
  • PerezI - December 24, 2008 6:50 p.m.

    Fallout 3 All Day Baby! Best game of the year by a long shot. How did GTA 4 make it to second place though? Boring as hell! I bought it the first day it came out and sold it the second day. Left 4 Dead. Right on there with every zombie just jumping on you because of the car alarm because of a stupid teammate woh wants the "challenge." Great Article!
  • strollingchimp - December 23, 2008 9:15 p.m.

    i'm glac that you have chosen fallout 3 for game of the year and i'm glad that gtaiv as runner up because i love both games
  • pinoklin - December 23, 2008 7:23 p.m.

    fallout kicks ass lol but i cant believe that they didnt included WOW WOTLK here...its easily the best game ive played all year...even though its an xpac it rulezzz......and last suckas
  • CountFenring - December 22, 2008 8:27 p.m.

    Huh, Okami got runner up at it's own award.
  • Milkman_Supreme - December 22, 2008 7:36 p.m.

    I'm happy that Fallout 3 and GTA4 won goty, they were my favorite games of the year too.
  • Jordo141 - December 22, 2008 5 p.m.

    So right in saying Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 is a very underrated game. It has multiplayer second only to Vegas 1
  • EvilInkarnate - December 22, 2008 4:18 p.m.

    "I'm not making the plan next time!!" Hahahaha!! Awesome L4D video!! Only thing better than that is the Super Mario Frustration video. Anywho, awesome article GR!! I, unlike a bunch of guys on this comments forum, totally agree with Fallout 3 for GoTY. I've been saying for a while, and especially after I got it the 1st day it came out, that it was gonna get GoTY. Between the openness, all the different paths, the gorgeous graphics and eerily surreal wasteland, the game is the closest game to near perfect that I've played all year. It's actually my 2nd favorite game, next to the perfection that is Bioshock!! I even have my Vault Boy bobblehead on the dash of my car...
  • foodlist97 - December 22, 2008 4:50 a.m.

    Yay!Fallout 3 got game of the year! that is probibly the best game i have ever played. im also happy that gears didnt get any rewards. that games suckes like hell. GTA 4 was a good choice for second. i knew Fallout 3 would be awesome because it resembles Oblivion and Oblivion is an awesome game.
  • RebornKusabi - December 21, 2008 11:32 p.m.

    I'm glad someone besides me thinks of Shanoa from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is hot. I guess it kinda proves, along with the runner-up choice, that you don't have to have massive cleavage and next to no clothing to have a hot game chick! Oh yeah and nice shout-out to the awesome Street Fighter Remix songs.
  • RonnyLive19881 - December 21, 2008 7:36 p.m.

    "I really do have to get around to buying Okami and no more heroes. I've been meaning to buy them for ages now." Do it! They are both awesome. I hope Okami gets a sequel like NMH! That would make my Decade.
  • jtan189 - December 21, 2008 4:01 p.m.

    Awesome article. I thought the LBP award was especially funny. GamesRadar is becoming my go-to place for games. Good work.
  • dreamgor - December 21, 2008 8:11 a.m.

    i HAVE TO AGREE on this it's so good but dissidia i have read that it comes to ds but some ppl say its only for PSP PLZ SAY THAT IT ISN't TRUE IT CAN't BE I WANT DISSIDIA!!!
  • marcusfenix22 - December 21, 2008 3:34 a.m.

    im so glad fallout 3 won over gta IV! Im tired of GTA IV taking in all the awards and fame! fallout 3 is just as good! anyway, great article!