Top 10 Video Games of 2005

Rather than just remembering that 2005 is another great year for video games, the line of games released in these 365 days have been considered the best of their genres. We never a year of releases that had a fantastic variety of games that was all over the place. FPS, Survival Horror, RPG’s, stealth games, action adventures, beat’em ups, 3D Platformers, sandbox games, and Music & Rhythem games got it’s resurrection with Guitar Hero. It didn’t’ even matter what game machine you have, there was something offered for you! This is a year that has been filled with a lot of ups and downs for many of the games being released because there were so many titles coming out and gamers weren’t made out of money. Meanwhile there were new handheld systems that finally has 3D Graphics that’s in console level quality like the Nintendo DS and the Playstation Portable. This was also the year when Microsoft had released their next generation console the Xbox 360. As a result of having so anythings coming out in 2005, there had been a lot of titles that didn’t sell as well as the marketer hoped and as a result, showed that this was a year that should know that there were too much being released. Are we going to have another year in gaming that has as much titles as 2005? For the sake that there were just so many great games released this year, it made counting down 10 of the best games of 2005 so difficult leaving a lot of titles out of the list…

HONORABLE MENTION

Resident Evil 4

 I do have a serious grudge about all the changes this game did for the whole franchise and for survival horror (if you can even call it that anymore) in general, but I won’t lie and tell you that I did have fun with this game. Though I was vastly disappointed with the games, horror the physics and shooting mechanics and even the combat is absolutely fun. You can really feel the impact when you shoot at any enemy and you can still feel more of it when you upgrade the weapons. The reason why this game is low on the list, is not because of the lack of horror itself (remember I’m throwing that rule out the window for this list), is because there are just so many very annoying aspects of the game like protecting Ashley, playing as Ashley, the sewer monster, taking out two El Gigantes in the chamber, random quick time events, and especially the tedious puzzles. These are all of the reasons that I stated that I feel that this game is very overrated and does not deserve to be in the Top 10.

 Jade Empire

We haven’t seen an original Bioware title since MDK2 and being a great follow up to KOTOR was really fantastic! Though I really would love to have Bioware to make KOTOR2 instead of having another developer that gave us a disappointing experience, Jade Empire is a masterful action RPG set in a fantasy martial arts theme. Jade Empire was one of the developer’s first attempts at creating an entire universe of its own, and while the world wasn’t as interesting or involved as Mass Effect’s would be, it was still incredibly interesting–it’s no wonder fans clamor for sequels to this day. You make plenty of choices on your way to the end of the game, choosing to follow either the Way of the Open Palm or the Way of the Closed Fist as they fight to find their master. Early seeds of future BioWare game mechanics–including player romance and choice-driven gameplay–were present in the game, making Jade Empire a true spiritual predecessor to games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

For the longest time, it seemed that Final Fantasy conquered the RPG market so much that it even destroy Dragon Quest, it’s competitor. But once Enix and Square Soft united as Square Enix, they brought back Akira Toriama to resurrect this forgotten RPG series. This is honestly the last great JRPG before the trend of Western RPG dominated the gaming market worldwide. Dragon Quest VIII had it all. A fully three-dimensional environment (a first for the series), a beautifuly orchestrated soundtrack, superb voice acting, an enjoyable alchemy system, a battle arena where you could fight and recruit monsters, a simple yet effective story and a lovable cast. It’s no wonder that the game became an international smash hit, and even today it is considered by many to be the best Dragon Quest game in the series. This title screams classic RPG at it’s fullest, but at the same time does a lot of different thing never seen from the genre.  It’s what all RPGs might be like if Final Fantasy VII hadn’t come along and changed everything. Far from a throwback, it succeeds spectacularly in marrying old-school RPG concepts with cutting-edge graphics and an uncommonly charming world. If this is a throwback, we’ll happily continue living in the past.

So with that out of the way, here is the 10 best video games of 2005!

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Number 10.  –  Shadow of the Colossus

Shocked to see one of the most beloved games of all time to be placed at number 10? Well, outside of the scale and beautiful level designs, Shadow of the Colossus should have been more… much, much more. One of the missed opportunities that Shadow of the Colossus left out is giving us a larger variety of bosses; only having 16 Colossi and nothing much more to the game kinda leaves something to be desired. Other than that, this game pushes the Emotion engine more so than any other PS2 title in its library. It used up the PS2’s best graphics, motion that objects makes, and even the size and scale of this game’s world to feel impeccable. It’s the one title that got every game on the edge of their seat because there hasn’t been a game to look anywhere like this! Shadow of the Colossus is so well crafted that it’s being used as an example so much whenever the topic of video game is art comes around. Shadow of the Colossus significantly made history of what video games can do when looking at this interactive media in a much more dynamic level.

Number 9.  –  SSX on Tour

Since the Tony Hawk skateboarding series has faded out of popularity, it seemed that a lot of gamers jump aboard the Snowboarding extreme sports genre. SSX is bare none some of the finest extreme sports games ever and bard none, SSX on Tour is not only the best of the series, but also the best extreme sports game of all time. The gameplay, the longevity, art style, and even the physics was near perfect! Whenever you want to start the game, you can choose any mountain you want to snowboard and even which area you want to start. The Closer you are to the peak of the mountain, the longer your gameplay experience will be. Just like any extreme sports game, SSX on Tour is able to do some of the sickest moves of all time. The smoothness of the controls is what made this game near perfect for many of it’s fans. I’ve even known a lot of people that plays this game everyday and just ski from the top of the mountain to the finish line and call it a day. That’s considered a half an hour of fun and because SSX on Tour is just so casual and simple, the experience just feels seamless each time you pick up and play.

Number 8.  –  Destroy All Humans

You want a video game satire of a life time, then how come you haven’t checked out Destroy All Humans yet? This is honestly one of the best parody games since the Gex series and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. It makes fun of the cheesy UFO invasion movies from the 1950’s and turn it into a brilliant, yet underrated sandbox game. You play as an invader name Krypto set off to (what else) destroy the human race. But it isn’t as simple as blindly destroying a vast population, you have to go through a series of missions to plan out some of the most important humans to destroy before they can escape. You get a chance to destroy cows, civilians, militaries, and even the men in black with the laser weapons you wield, the power-up you earn, and even use your own UFO to even destroy buildings! This is a game the truly lives up to its name and it never bores you! Hell, even the game cutscenes were hilarious mixing gross out humor and even satirizing the 50’s decade. Sure, God of War is an extremely violent game that is a lot of fun, but Destroy All Humans is a better game because of all the abilities you can do to kill as many humans as you can! It has so much creativity and likeness to it that makes it worth play again and again! It’s a no brainer to say that if you want to play a sandbox game that’s different from anything that GTA does, you should definitely pick up Destroy All Humans!

Number 7.  –  The Warriors  

This is the best movie license video game of all time! I know that it’s much better than GoldenEye on the N64 and even the movie that it’s based on! In fact, this Rockstar title is more recognized than even the historically controversial movie. It made all of the characters feel fleshed out and the game given us a huge backstory of the Warriors and all the gang wars they had to endure to remain the top of their turf. This is one of those rare times where it’s important to see the movie before playing the game. The game makes much more sense and with the back story Rockstar gives the Warriors gang in the game, you appreciate the movie that much more. As a top-notch revision of the old-school “beat-’em ups” the Warriors are definitely able to throw down successfully both as part of a team and when going solo. But just because you can fight back doesn’t mean you have to. Much like Manhunt, stealth plays a vital role in your success. Sometimes the odds become overwhelming for your gang meaning hightailing it is not only the wise option, it is the only one. Stealth allows the Warriors to get the drop on scouts and pass them undetected instead of always fighting through hordes of enemies. Like the Grand Theft Auto series, Rockstar marvelously portrays New York City in 1979 — a rough place that swallowed you if you weren’t paying attention, not the tourist-friendly place we hear about today as well as a great soundtrack featuring songs from the movie as well as other great tracks from the period. The only real “downside” of the game is the limited open-endedness. Unlike Grand Theft Auto games there are limits to where and when you can visit certain locations and once the movie ends, the game ends. It would have been nice to see what happened to the Warriors after their hellish night.

Number 6.  –  Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

From the early to mid 2000’s, the Tom Clancy video game series were the top military games in the market. Somehow the whole franchise ever got better after Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. It’s so amazing that with stunning graphics that could fill up the entire disc, Chaos Theory had so many features like co-op, online multiplayer (spies vs. mercs), and a lot of replay value with each and every one of the levels. When it comes down to it, what makes Chaos Theory great to this day is the constant variety the game throws at you. Part of the reason is that Chaos Theory is the last classic Splinter Cell game before they had to change the direction of the series to lose it’s identity.  There is no one right way, and you aren’t punished for taking one over the other, though those looking for 100 percent ratings on all of the missions will need to go full stealth – not killing anyone or setting off alarms. Even so, I never felt restricted even when going full-stealth, because the levels offered you so many options for being stealthy that you never even really notice you’re doing things one way. Chaos Theory, amazingly, can be both very difficult and very easy, depending on your play style. If you aren’t happy with the direction that the series has taken over the past few entries, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory holds up spectacularly, and can easily be called the best in the series thus far. Any fan of the stealth genre should do themselves a favor and pick this game up.

Number 5.  –  F.E.A.R.

Who you gonna call? Well the Ghostbusters can’t handle such a damning task, so we have the F.E.A.R. squad to do it. You’re looking at one of my all time favorite first-person shooters ever. I never seen so much tension with a video game’s atmosphere in all my life and it does it so successfully. There are just moments that makes you get on the edge of your seat when you see Alma who constantly jump scares you and more than plenty of disturbing scenes whenever your character hallucinates. Not to mention that this game offered some of the best gunplay of the genre. Basically you can activate a slow motion effect (Max Payne style) and watch every single bullet being shot to fly off the screen. Also the bullet shots are purely effective and highly detailed when they hit walls, enemies, and other objects. The physics and the graphical capabilities actually show how engaging and realistic gun combat can really be.  I did say that putting a lot of action in horror games ruins all suspense, but this game has a great balance between action and the horror so perfectly that it’s worth coming back to again and again. It’s just too bad that the sequels of F.E.A.R. totally ruined the experience and the whole point of the original game, but the first game is all that matters. I love F.E.A.R. for every ounce of breath and it shows that this is how first-person shooters should be done!

Number 4.  –  Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves

In 2005, the Jak & Ratchet series have already completed their trilogy in the PS2 and it’s Sly’s turn to finish their trilogy on the same console. While Jak & Ratched did their own spin-off titles from the popular mini games from their series (Jak X racing & Ratchet: Deadlocked gladiator) Sly 3 did it’s job to satisfy the PS2 platformer fans in 2005. Sly 2 was a huge game changer of the series for innovating sandbox with stealth and the 3rd game of the trilogy was going to carry out from where the game left off. Sly 3 did more than just that, it double it and fixed all of the flaws from the previous title. The game just has so much content and features that you couldn’t believe it’s all one a PS2 disc! You have a vast variety of levels with so many missions involved, hundred of mini games that is so much fun to play, and being able to not only play not only Sly, Bently, and Murray, but a bunch of new characters that are available to help the Sly gang. You get to play new characters like The Guru (who uses his psychic abilities to wipe out his enemies), Penelope (who specializes in mechanics and robots), King Panda (kung-fu master) and Dimitri (underwater swimming master) that are all used to accomplish missions! What really sticks Sly 3 out like a sore thumb is the fact that there are just a fantastic variety of levels set around the world like in China, Italy, Carribean, and so many more that makes streaming to level to level to feel like a great adventure. Within these adventures, you have mini games that goes out of the box of traditional stealth action gameplay like dog fights in the air, sailing a ship (reminiscent to Sid Meier’s Pirates), and so many more! Sucker Punch outdid themselves in making one of the most richest and varied stealth action games in the whole genre.

Number 3.  –  Psychonauts

Tim Schafer gathered up his team that worked on Grim Fandango (now known as Double Fine Productions) to create one of the most clever and creative games ever. And just like Grim Fandango, Psychonauts flew everybody’s radar and sold poor despite high praise from critics. So what makes Psychonauts a game that’s worth your time? How about being that it’s a 3D Platformer that are levels that are taken place in many of the character’s minds. Because we have a vast variety of characters in this game, it made each and every one of the levels to have a different challenge, completely different environment from each other, and the whole experience from start to finish is unpredictable. Not only that, but the style of the design is so cartoonish but more varied than any other game imaginable. That’s why Psychonauts achieved it’s goal of being original. Psychonauts just has a touch of everything that Tim Schafer is now known for; the comedy, creative gameplay, and even stylish designs that feels magical. In a sort of way, Psychonauts does feel a lot like an adventure seen from old Lucas Arts before they exclusively make Star Wars games. I also give this title a lot of credit for actually telling a great story in a 3D platformer, a genre that isn’t known for telling great narrative, that looks like it fits right into the adventure game genre. From going to a summer camp for psychics that turned out to be a giant conspiracy behind it became one of the most engaging and satisfying game narratives. You also didn’t expect the game to be taken so seriously, yet they swerve you with plenty of comedy (mostly dark humor). Even the gameplay is phenomenal with the traditional old school 3D Platformers, the game gives the player new abilities the more they progress in the game to reach new areas. Raz (being that he is a psychic) has the ability to use telekinesis, pyrokenisis, confuse enemies, turn invisible, levitate, regenerate, and even summon a glowing ball to roll, bounce, and even descend slowly. These are really some of the best power-ups ever seen in any video game and still to this day Psychonauts reigns supreme for begin the most creative and original concepts for a game. This title was absolutely brilliant that deserved a huge cult following after so many websites and game critics announced how underrated this game is. As we speak, Psychonauts is no longer underrated because everyone now is familiar with this title and chances are you have already played it (unless thetoplister.wordpress.com is the first video game website you’ve that checked out).

Number 2.  –  Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath

Who would have guessed that Oddworld Inhabitants, creators of quirky and environmentally conscious puzzle-adventures, could pull off a full-blown shooter? In a matter of fact, Stranger’s Wrath is a lot of things, an action adventure, 3D Platformer, first-person shooter, stealth-action game, and sandbox into one! A lot of very old Oddworld fans refuse to pick this game up because it doesn’t feature Abe in it. At this point, the whole Oddworld Quintology should not rely upon one character, we’re talking about a whole universe here and if we were going to experience much more of it, we need to have a different character to see more variety (and yet some familiar elements seen from the series. That’s where Stranger comes in, an elderly bounty hunter (reminiscent to Clint Eastwood) out to capture bounties for money, but most importantly looking for this creature called the Steef that’s almost extinct.  Yet the most unbelievable thing about Stranger’s Wrath is that the slow-paced, lever-pulling Oddworld universe has been transformed into a fast and frenzied action affair without losing a single ounce of its lovably weird personality. Despite the macho Western setting, the story’s theme still concerns nature vs. industry. And despite the hero’s tough-guy aura, you’re still fighting to protect dewy-eyed innocents from greed-obsessed monsters that look straight out of a demented Jim Henson film. Even the gun itself isn’t what you’d expect. Forget bullets–this baby shoots actual live ammo. As in, living creatures that you snatch off the ground, load into your crossbow and launch, screaming and writhing, at the enemy. And speaking of living creatures, the whole design of the game is absolutely gorgeous. It made the whole universe of Oddworld to feel so lively that it has it’s own personality. Constantly I just love exploring the vast world that the game leaves me and just have so much fun wondering off from the game’s story. It’s a darn shame that Oddworld Inhabitants were going in a brand new direction with the series, but because EA Games (being the most evil bastards in the whole gaming industry) refused to give the game any promotion, it flew pass a lot of people’s radar and it never got as much attention. Sure people can consider Psychonauts as one of the most underrated games of all time, but Stranger’s Wrath is even more-so because still to this day Oddworld Inhabitants constantly re-release many of the games of the series and still never could get as much attention as before. I urge you to pick up any version of Stranger’s Wrath and see why it’s that damn good of a game.

Number 1.  –  Timesplitters: Future Perfect

If there was just one of the few video game that was closest to perfection, I have to go with this FPS title. Unlike Halo, Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, and all the other serious shooters out there the Timesplitters series as a whole has a great sense of humor and never takes itself serious. It still has great First Person Shooter gameplay with all the violence, beheadings, and blood spraying everywhere you could want, but It manages to make you crack up while doing so. It’s wondrous to see what first started as a successor of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, Free Radical Design, former employees of Rare seeking to strike out on their own and the third installment resulted as being the best of the series. In a matter of fact, the features, content, and appeal is something that modern FPS fail to carry on with what Future Perfect offered. The multiplayer is great too because it is insanely customizable, thanks to the map maker feature that I never seen in a FPS (except if you mod games). You can make your own weapon sets. You can put in powerups. You can turn on character abilities if you like so each character has special qualities. The multiplayer has tons of game modes as well. From Deathmatches, Capture the Flag, Campfire, Shrink, Virus, and Monkey Assistant. Many of these games mode allows you and your friends to give you different challenges and variety than the typical FPS mode that lost it’s creativity. But that’s not all, you also got arcade mode, if the entertaining single player and fun multiplayer doesn’t’ wet your beak. Up to ten customizable bots can join the players, turning any Arcade game into a frenzied battle. Playable characters are all memorable — more than in other first-person shooters — and include a gingerbread man, a teenage girl in a miniskirt and shirt that reads “slut” and a man in cardboard pretending to be a robot. The bots contribute to the fun and mayhem of Timesplitters. Arcade League mode consisting of pre-made Arcade games give Timesplitters even more playability. If certain requirements are met in an Arcade League match, the player is rewarded with a trophy. More and better trophies unlock new playable characters and with over 100 characters to unlock, this game is the full package. This game just has almost everything for everyone to have a great time and constantly demands you to keep unlocking features of the game that makes it more rewarding. It has almost everything; monkeys, zombies, humor, epic moments, over 100 weapons, so much variety of game modes, customizing weapons, and a solid campaign mode. Future Perfect is the complete package of gaming fun and it nearly has everything to make a wonderful experience.

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