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Game of the Year Awards 2008 - Best RPG

by The RPGWatch Team, 2009-01-09

For two weeks you could vote for the Best RPG of 2008. Besides that we as editors also voted for the games that we thought were the best in 2008.


The Winner: Fallout 3

There are many things that can be - and have been - said about Fallout 3. There is the whole controversy about Bethesda getting the rights to the franchise and producing the sequel - but that is now in the past.  There are many positive qualities to the game and a host of minor and major issues as well.  But regardless of what it may or may not say about the state of the RPG genre, one thing is clear: Fallout 3 is a blast to play, deserving of top honors, and one of the best RPG's of the past several years.

Fallout 3 Fallout 3


The Runner up: Mass Effect

Mass Effect is BioWare's new generation Knights of the Old Republic, streamlined and with an action combat system. The setting is clearly inspired by the likes of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5 (Buck Rogers?) – familiar and accessible space opera – although the background lore Codex built into the game is suprisingly deep. This is classic post-Baldur's Gate II BioWare stuff – for better or worse – with strong archetypical characters, an emphasis on linear storytelling and an awful inventory system. The cinematic dialogue system keeps the story and the action flowing together and although many of the separate gameplay elements are hit-or-miss, the sum is a rollicking ride.

Mass effect Mass Effect


Third Place: King's Bounty: The Legend

Coming in just under Mass Effect with our readers, Katauri Interactive's strategy/rpg hybrid title revived the classic turn-based combat of games like Heroes of Might and Magic and combined it with a satisfying quest system and wide open world to produce a game that contains many of  the best elements of both genres. Here's hoping King's Bounty:The Legend will see as many high quality sequels and expansions as the classic games that inspired it.

King's Bounty: The Legend King's Bounty: The Legend


Editors' Choice: Fallout 3

Mirroring our readers, Fallout 3 was the winner of our editorial vote. Bethesda's revival of the classic series is heavily flawed but the post-apocalyptic landscape they have created is utterly compelling (once you get past the timeline oddities) and worth many hours of exploration. It's easy to be cynical and note that the competition isn't that strong but Fallout 3's gloriously decayed gameworld alone makes it stand out.

Mass Effect dropped away compared to our visitors' vote – it's a slick package with cinematic flair but the cut-and-paste planetary exploration just doesn't work, the combat is uneven and although the new dialogue wheel keeps things moving, it also reduces the depth. Obviously, our readers saw the balance of these issues against the grand space adventure a little differently. Instead, Avernum 5 crept into second place – Spiderweb's games might have basic graphics but they represent classic RPG gameplay that is hard to find elsewhere and this latest trip to Avernum's caverns is one of their best.

The surprise package of the year is undoubtedly King's Bounty: this addictive Russian strategy/RPG manages to remain faithful to the original King's Bounty legacy, while extending the formula and adding it's own charm - it's funny and silly and challenging, all at once. If it wasn't for the uneven retail release, this might have scored higher.

Mount & Blade and Sacred 2 round out the team's votes; it's worth mentioning that we have a small editorial team and not everyone has played all the releases, which does potentially skew the team results.


The Numbers

The following tables shows the complete results of the voting.

Visitors' Choice
Rank Game Percentage
1 Fallout 3
2 Mass Effect 10,7
3 King's Bounty: The Legend 10,1
4 Avernum 5 9,1
5 Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir 8,1
6 Mount & Blade 4,5
7 Sacred 2: Fallen Angel 2,0
8 Fable 2 1,4

All other games scored a percentage of less than 1%.

Editors' Choice
Rank Game Percentage
1 Fallout 3 22,9
2 Avernum 5 18,8
3 King's Bounty: The Legend 16,7
3 Mount & Blade 16,7
3 Sacred 2: Fallen Angel 16,7
4 Mass Effect 8,3


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