Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
By the time a series has reached its eighth iteration, most of its fire and lust for virtual life have been reduced to a few smoldering embers and ashes. Not so with Dragon Quest VIII. Instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel with their latest RPG masterpiece, the creators of this magical beast used the lessons learned in their seven previous drafts to craft an RPG so smooth and powerful, the virgins of the world should be glad it doesn't demand a monthly sacrifice. Because we'd listen.
Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
If you told us in January that a game in which Mario and Luigi team up with baby versions of themselves for chrono-capers was going to be one of the best RPGs of the year, we probably would have killed ourselves and addressed the suicide note to Bioware. Well, we're glad you didn't, because this is a brilliantly localized, wonderfully entertaining RPG with all kinds of appeal.
Publisher: Microsoft Developer: Bioware
Bolstered by an epic, engaging story, a brand new mythology complete with its very own language, a robust combat system, hours of voice work, an original score and some of the best graphics the Xbox has ever seen, this kung-fu spectacular kicked asses all over the place. More depth would have been nice, but it's still a master.