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Welp, yet another busy and exciting year. New marriage, rough times without pay, sudden boon of cash near the end of the year. All very interesting.
For the list last year, see Top Games Of 2004.
The best of the best
- First, let's take a look at the very best games that came out in 2005. In 2005, we saw two new portable systems come out, as well as a new console (XBox 360). Even still, the vast majority of awesome games were from the systems that are now in their twilight time.
- GTA: Liberty City Stories for the PSP. Honestly, there is only one must have PSP title thus far, and that title is "GTA: LCS". This is basically GTA3's engine, updated for the PSP with some of the features and functionality found in the more recent games. You have better controlled air-vehicles, helicopters, motorcycles, etc. Once again, this game takes place in Liberty City, which means fans of GTA3 will find the city quite familier. Honestly, I was expecting to be distracted by the fact it really was the same city, but I found it more like I was returning to someplace I loved and cherished. Plus I got to shoot people. Anyway... I'm amazed that handhelds can do stuff like this game, and it undoubtedly deserves to be up here.
- Shadow of The Colossus for the PS2. Ico's creators bring us a new work of art with this title. Once again, they bring us a spectacular world with a delicate and subtle story. The game is ultimately very short, and the controls can be complex, so it doesn't quite live up to the Ico heritage. However, that shouldn't stop anyone from picking this up, as it is still leaps and bounds beyond most other games in terms of artistic value.
- Fable: The Lost Chapters for the XBox. Actually, I am putting this on as a nod to the original fable from 2004. I did not get a chance to actually play this game until 2005, so I did not realize how amazing it was and thus, did not include it in last year's list of great games. Thankfully, we got an update to it this year so I can include it and still be faithful to games that came out in 2005 :-) Honestly, if you own an XBox, you must own this game. It's a law.
The best of the rest
And now, the best of the rest, in no particular order:
- Farcry: Instincts for the XBox. Quite frankly this is a FPS that puts Halo 2 to shame (Halo 2 should be on this list, but isn't. So "Nyeah!"). An amazing FPS that is even better than the already stellar PC version. Seriously, this game is the bomb.
- We Love Katamari for the PS2. Last year's incredible PS2 title gets an incredible sequel. Ultimately, you wont see very much new here, but considering how fun the first was, that is totally fine by me. And it's budget priced to boot!
- Nintendogs for the DS. Okay, okay, this seems really gimmicky. But it actually has some very cool sandbox-style gameplay in this little series. Also, my wife loves it, so it MUST be good.
- Gran Tourismo 4 for the PS2. I should just put these games on this list as they come out and not even play them. Seriously, Polyphonic has been steadily making these better and better without ever losing anything that has made the previous games great. More so than any other producer, this company has earned the reputation to expect great things from every title they bring out. GT4 builds upon everything great from GT3 and adds some spectacular new gameplay. The only downside was the regrettable loss of the online element. If it would have had this, GT4 easily would be up with the best of the best.
- Mercenaries for the PS2. Also available for the XBox, but I found the PS2's controller to work better with the game. You got GTA in my military shooter! You got military shooter in my GTA! Excellent gameplay with a gripping, twisting storyline.
- Lego Star Wars for the PS2. Holy crap! A kids game on this list! Well, this one deserves to be. In a nutshell, this game tells the entire story of Episodes I, II, and III, and does so better than their movie counterparts. And it does it with Lego people! How cool is that?
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for the GBA. Classic Zelda executed in a near perfect way. The only downside is, if you've already played through all the older Zelda NES, GB and GBA titles, you will feel a pretty strong sense of deja vu here.
- Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for the PS2. BAH! Okay, the FFX12 demo is a pretty big draw for this game, but the game itself is actually still quite good. Throw in the fact that the same team that did the Dark Cloud games did the character design and you know this has to be a great title.
- Animal Crossing: Wild World for the DS. Same classic Animal Crossing gameplay updated for the DS. Had there been more new things in this title, it easily would have been in the top games.
The Worst of 2004
- Area 51 for... uh... anything. David Duchovny, Marylin Manson, and other big voices coupled with excellent graphics and fast pace shooting action should spell success for any franchise looking to reinvent itself. Unfortunately, the highly repetative gameplay and completely linear levels drag this title down. If you're a hardcore FPS fan you will find some fun here, but for all others, pass it by.
- The Chronicles of Narnia for the PS2. At first glance, the graphics will probably draw you in. You may even find youself saying things like "holy crap! this looks awesome!" Then, when you see the developer is "Traveler's Tales" (who have made so many great titles, including "Lego Star Wars" above), you may think this title will be pure gold. Unfortunately, it isn't. The game stumbles all over itself with a horrid camera, wonky controls, and an AI that is dumb as dirt.
- Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green for the XBox. You know, I had no idea what I was thinking when I tried this game out. I seriously was running on pure sugar, hope, and fanboy-adrenaline when I thought this may be a good game. Holy crap! This game is like sticking your penis in a vat of acid and then feeding it to a starving crocodile.
Stuff I am looking forward to in 2006
- FFXI for the XBox 360. Been playing FFXI for two years now on my PS2 and am I ready for a graphical upgrade :-)
- Ryu ga Gotoku for the PS2. Sega's answer to GTA. Yes, please!
- Monster Hunter for the PSP. Okay, the PS2 game sucked ass... but I have high hopes for a PSP port (mainly because I really want FFXI on my PSP... and I may be a bit desperate for anything that is remotely close to it :-)
- Viewtiful Joe for the DS. The others were so good, the portable one should be excellent.. Or, at least, we can hope it will be.