The most overrated games of 2008

We name and shame last year's most overrated games.

Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Despite what Rockstar’s legion of fans might tell you, GTA IV is unquestionably the most overrated game of 2008. Having single-handedly amassed over $710 million in publishing revenues and taking out the year’s top spot on, its placement on this list was assured from the very start. Relentlessly smug comments from Rockstar Games didn’t help matters either. For example, “GTA IV sets a new benchmark for interactive entertainment". After lofty proclamations like this, how could it not be overrated?

While unquestionably a very good game, GTA IV is not the revolutionary slice of perfection that so many critics claimed. It certainly isn’t the best video game of all time, or even the best game of 2008. In fact, we’d argue that THQ’s Saint's Row 2 provided the best virtual sandbox of the year, despite being thematically shallower.

For every moment of sheer, unadulterated brilliance, GTA IV throws up something boring or boneheaded to counter it — from the baffling omission of ambulance/pizza missions to the terminally dull man-dates. (No Steve, I DON’T want to go bowling!) Old gripes like the car handling remain largely unchecked, while some of the all-new features (like watching TV) are a complete waste of time. Brilliant characterisation aside, the game is far from perfect — something which the majority of the gaming press conspicuously failed to notice.

(You can read a more detailed account of our love-hate relationship with GTA IV here.)

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