10. COMPANY OF HEROES
One of the best-looking real-time strategy games I’ve ever seen. The campaign offers a nice mix of mission types, and the focus on combat instead of resource management and base building keeps you in the thick of the action. A no-brainer for any RTS or WWII buff.
9. ELITE BEAT AGENTS
This is hands-down the weirdest rhythm game around, but it’s also one of the most compelling. Who knows what the hell is going on? It’s so awesomely fun, you simply won’t care.
8. THE SHIP
You’ve probably never heard of it, but this online multiplayer game is a combination of Clue, Murder on the Orient Express, and Doom. With fantastic art direction and some of the most complex gameplay I’ve ever seen in an online game, The Ship is innovative, funny, and well worth a try.
7. DEAD RISING
More zombies than you can shake a boomstick at, and more ways to dismember them than you’ve ever imagined possible. My personal favorite is the lawnmower; but with so many zombicidal possibilities, there is something for everyone.
6. CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS
The friend who recommended this game to me said, “It’s the only game that comes to mind that even adequately — and it does more than just that — simulates melee combat in the first person. The staggering blows you receive, the big wind-ups with a fire axe or a head butt, all put you right there — 100% immersion, baby.” It’s also creepy as all hell. Be sure to empty your bladder before playing.
5. TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON ADVANCED WARFIGHTER
Another Tom Clancy series that was starting to show its age got a major next-gen tune-up this year. Everything from the realistic character animation to the incredibly detailed HUD make this one of the most immersive combat sims of recent years.
4. TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX VEGAS
The R6 games were starting to get a bit stale for me, but Vegas blew the doors off this dusty old franchise, sometimes literally. The graphics are stunning, the new cover mechanic is arguably better implemented than in Gears of War, and on the Xbox 360 you can map your own face onto your character. Do you hear me, people? You can use your own damned face!
3. HITMAN: BLOOD MONEY
Half the fun is in comparing your strategies with your friends, because each mission can be completed in so many different ways. The missions themselves are cleverly written and often quite funny. As good as Splinter Cell: Double Agent is, Hitman wins for best stealth game of the year.
2. LEGO STAR WARS II: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY
It’s amazing that what seems like just another Star Wars game could melt this cynical old gamer’s icy heart, but LSW2 did and I’m a better man for it.
1. GEARS OF WAR
As I wrote in my review, this game isn’t quite the Second Coming most reviewers make it out to be. It is, however, the best game of the year.
PSYCHONAUTS: This is one of the best games ever made. Even though it came out in 2005, I’m mentioning it because it was just made backward compatible for the Xbox 360. If you haven’t played it, do yourself a favor and go pick up a used copy. Trust me.
written by Slayve (who would like to thank his friends from WTF Clan, Mopap and Komar, for their help in compiling this list)
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