Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Best Games of 2005

It’s that time of year again. You know you love them those wonderful “Best of” lists that every magazine and blog will compile. They are great for so many reasons. For the compilers, we get to impose our pop culture taste and tell you what we think is cool. For the reader, they get to point out sacrilegious omissions, confirm their own coolness, or scoff at the fact that someone thinks their opinion matters. Well, I love “Best of” lists for all those reasons and more. Today we will begin with the medium that most of you don’t really concern yourselves with: Video Games. You may click the back button on your browser…wait for it…not yet…now.

Platform Game of Year: Psychonauts

Even with very few platform games being made these days, Psychonauts is one of the best. You play as a Raz a kid that sneaks into a Psychic Camp with the dream of becoming a Psychonaut. Caught by the counselors, Raz has a day to learn all he can till his father comes to pick him up in the morning. Everything changes though when Raz discovers that his fellow campers are having their brains stolen. Now Raz must enter the brains of the counselors and other adults to find out who is behind the brain stealing. In each brain, Raz must journey through and battle that person’s mental baggage using his developing psychic powers.

The brilliance of this game is in its design. Each level is completely distinct and surreal. You never feel you are jumping, floating, or swinging in the same place twice. From the brain of paranoid milkman to a stage frightened actress to a painter that specializes in velvet painting, every level brings smile and wonderment. Game designers should take notice of this game. Extending from that, each character is designed uniquely and the voice acting is top notch. The game is also the funniest written game this year. With the platform genre fading into children specific games this one crosses over all age barriers.

Driving Game of the Year: Burnout: Revenge

I’ve discussed this game enough on this blog that what I’d say now is all rehash. So, I’ll keep it simple. You car enthusiasts and gear heads can keep your Grand Tourismo with its standard tracks and lack of car damage. I will take my blurring speed, traffic checking, and vertical takedowns and have a hell of a lot more fun.

Horror Game of the Year: Resident Evil 4

So I was a little harsh on my first blurb on this game. It’s not highly overrated. It’s just slightly overrated. On the good side it’s amazing the graphics they could pump out of that old PS2. The game looks amazing. The white-knuckle tension of fending off crazed villagers is certainly great. Trying to protect the President’s daughter is tolerable for escort missions. Having to go to the menu to switch weapons is a pain in the ass. I realize it raises the tension level and think that’s why I’m not so high on this game. I guess I’m not a fan of the horror genre in video games. Still I recognize how great this game is.

Pure Joy Game of the Year: We Love Katamari

If you get it you love it. If you don’t… This game shows that great graphics aren’t necessary to make a great game. All you need is a great control scheme, style, and sense of fun.

Action Game of the Year: God of War

I think a lot of games this year are a great indicator of how the timeline of a console works. Many people are complaining that the Xbox 360’s graphics aren’t a huge jump up from the current consoles. With games like Half-life 2 on Xbox, Resident Evil 4 and God of War on PS2 it shows that the best games seem to come out at the end of a consoles run. With God of War and Resident Evil 4 it’s clearly evident that the game designers have learned how to get the most out of the PS2.

God of War kicks serious ass in all the right ways. The story is fantastic with one twist you never see coming. It’s almost disheartening because you think you’re so close and then WHAM! As Kratos you must try to stop Ares from destroying Athens. With your blades you slash through minotaurs, cyclopses, harpies, and medusas to attain Pandora’s box.

The combo system is designed to easily pick-up but takes some time to master. Don’t forget the different powers that are given to you by the other gods. It is a near perfectly constructed game.

Adventure Game of the Year: Shadow of the Colossus

I’ve already done a whole post on the brilliance of this game. You can read about it here.

Game of the Year: Shadow of the Colossus

It really was close between this and God of War. It basically came down to one thing. When I finished God of War I thought, “What an outstanding game.” When I finished SotC I thought, “What an experience.” I’ve gone through Shadow twice and I still get choked up at the end. I’m a wuss.

Honorable Mentions:

Mercanaries: Grand Theft Auto in South Korea only you're mercanary rather than a thug. Special moment: Entering the code to play as old school Han Solo.

Half-Life 2, Lumines, and Ninja Gaiden Black

No comments: