1. Fable II
The game in which Peter Molyneux makes up for a decade of grand promises and not so grand products. This was the Fable Lionhead had always promised us, but also so much more, allowing us to create our own brand of hero and forge their destiny in a world where decisions had consequences, both physical and emotional. For all its light tone and oddly British, often toilet-oriented humour, Fable II wasn't afraid to be ambitious, dark and deep. And yet a hundred different pieces of smart design combined to make it a game that anyone - from the most casual gamer to the worst been there, done that cynic - could enjoy.
The dog, for instance, provided vital aids to navigation and exploration, but never felt like just another gameplay mechanism. You can call the one button combat system simplistic and the core fight and explore gameplay repetitive, and yet the lure of experimenting, making a home and a family or simply messing around in Albion made the game one of the most compulsive time-sinks of the year. In fact, the more you went on, the stronger the game's grip became. This is as beautiful and polished an action RPG as anyone outside of Nintendo has ever created, and one that expertly balanced epic adventure and silly antics with the sort of skill that we'd normally only expect from a Legend of Zelda game.
For some hardcore gamers Fable II could never compare to a Fallout 3 or Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and in some ways its carrot over stick approach to challenge is its biggest flaw. Overall, however, this was a game that delivered on every count. This time Molyneux promised a game that would make you feel love. Well, Fable II was certainly built with it, and you'd need a heart of stone not to give some back. That's why it's our 2008 Game of the Year.
Read the full review of Fable II.