Games

This is a summation of every game review on the site arranged by year. Reviews are arranged in star order, highest first. Thumbnail review links are provided for all nine and ten star games. Platforms referred to are the platforms the game was played on, not the platforms it is available on. To find a specific game you’re looking for it is easiest to use the find function of your browser.

2014 Games:

★★★★★ ★★

Square Enix delivered another baffling yet compelling and fun RPG with  Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

★★★★★ ★

PS4 / Xbox One equal Infamous: Second Son is graphically superlative but severely lacking in atmosphere.

2013 Games:

Killzone: Shadow Fall

Killzone: Shadow Fall

★★★★★ ★★★★

PS4 / Xbox One equal PS4’s launch saw the release of the best Killzone to date with Killzone: Shadow Fall; the graphics and sound are superb and the campaign is beautifully balanced and paced.

★★★★★ ★★★

 Remember Me was rather overlooked sales- and reviews-wise but is an excellent third-person action game with a cool custom combo system.

2012 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★

 Forza Horizon has a very satisfying driving feel but you won’t always be able to see where you’re going.  Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is a diamond in the rough with great tracks, a superb cockpit view and challenging but satisfying gameplay.  PlayStation Vita 75x16 LEGO Lord of the Rings is a fun, generous game.

★★★★★ ★

 Criterion Games’ bored Need for Speed: Most Wanted is only most wanted until you play it.

2011 Games:

 

★★★★★ ★★★★★

Rocksteady do right by Batman once more with open-world action adventure Batman: Arkham City. Portal 2 is the funniest game ever made, a wonderful puzzler and simply one of the all-time must-play games.  Dark Souls is generously wonderful.

   Motorstorm: Apocalypse 

★★★★★ ★★★★

 infamous 2 (PS3-exclusive) improves on and doesn’t break the perfect controls and wonderful playability of inFamous. This is a terrific game that deserved more commercial success. Though it felt like the Call of Duty franchise might be heading for a fall, the outstanding Modern Warfare 3 is most certainly not it. Fun, rather wonderful detective thriller L.A. Noire is a game that generates a very special feeling despite featuring a number of things you could point at and criticise. Bulletstorm (first-person shooter) is a fun time especially if you turn the swearing off.  Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3-exclusive action adventure) is a great game but there are rather too many bad guys to shoot your way through.  PS3-exclusive Motorstorm: Apocalypse is Evolution Studios best game to date and one of the most impressive racing games of it’s time.

★★★★★ ★★★

Pigsy’s Perfect 10 is a very good eight out of ten DLC prequel for Ninja Theory’s very good eight out of ten Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Rango is that rarity in movie games: fun. And the music is better than in the movie. Super rare, then. Play Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. You can shoot giant insects and giant robots. Codemasters reaffirm their position at the top of the racing game tree with Dirt 3. Uncharted: Golden Abyss suffers from the same too-many-bad-guys problems on the first and third Uncharted games but is still, unquestionably, a must-play adventure.  SOCOM: Special Forces is an excellent military shooter with the addition of tactical control over your squad giving it a different feel to the superficially similar Call of Duty and Battlefield.

★★★★★ ★★

 Captain America: Super Soldier proved to be a good movie tie-in: fun and fitting (I’d say it was better than the movie itself). Given that this was one of Sega’s otherwise execrable Marvel licensed games makes it even more impressive. Well done, Next Level Games.


2010 Games:

   

★★★★★ ★★★★

Split/Second is a much better game than the reality show theme, late title change to Split/Second: Velocity and demo would have you believe. It’s spectacular, thrilling and rewarding.  Mass Effect 2 (science fiction action RPG) is brilliant, spectacular and a lot of fun but it’s structural technique is too transparent. Puzzle platformer Limbo is satisfying, ingenious and delightful. Awakening was a massive continuation for Dragon Age: Origins, calling it DLC does it a disservice. It continues the story and is fun and engrossing.

★★★★★ ★★★

 Halo: Reach (360, science fiction shooter) is a nice swansong from creator Bungie. It’s an excellent, generous shooter, with no technical shortcomings (for the first time on 360).  MotoGP 09/10 (PS3) took a forgiving but fun motorcycle racing experience and added an interesting career mode. Codemasters’ superb Formula 1 game F1 2010 (Games for Windows Live) also came with a rewarding career mode as you start at the bottom and work your way up.  Gran Turismo 5 (driving sim) was seen by many as a disappointment (due to a lack of structured gameplay and some graphic glitches) but none could complain about the sublime driving experience. While the title proved a bit of a marketing turn-off, Enslaved’s third-person action gameplay, intriguing story and well-sketched characters were rewarding for anyone who bought it.  The Darkspawn Chronicles was the first and best mini-DLC for Dragon Age: Origins. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (action fantasy) is a great-looking game that frequently hits the God of War heights it is aiming for.  Darksiders (Windows PC) is a unique-looking new franchise with generous, varied and well-executed gameplay.

★★★★★ ★★

Heavy Rain (PS3 exclusive) provided a largely effective and refreshing game (an interactive movie, it called itself) though the writing, voice work and animation wasn’t up to the quality that most animated movies currently achieve. Leliana’s Song was a fun DLC for Dragon Age: Origins. Third-person science fiction action game Transformers: War for Cybertron has a fun Decepticon campaign but merely a solid Autobot one.

★★★★★ ★

 Alpha Protocol (espionage action RPG, Windows PC) was roundly trumped by Mass Effect 2 but is worth looking at now at a reduced price. Witch Hunt was just enough DLC for Dragon Age: Origins but it definitely left you wanting more resolution.  007: Blood Stone was a nice-looking, largely solid third-person shooting and action driving game but too many henchmen spoiled the broth.

★★★★★

The Golems of Amgarrak was the worst mini-DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, possibly because none of the companions from the original game show up.


2009 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★★★

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) is simply one of the best action games of all time. And so is Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time (PS3, Temporal Puzzle Action Adventure Platformer) Batman: Arkham Asylum (Games for Windows) surprised everyone by being atmospheric, interesting and satisfyingly brilliant (unlike all Batman and comic book games that had gone before).

 

★★★★★ ★★★★

Colin McRae: DiRT 2 (Games for Windows) is this generation’s best off-road racing game with perfect handling and outstanding presentation. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) had a plot that doesn’t make any sense but the technical quality of the shooting gameplay is perfect. Tomb Raider: Underworld is a fun, satisfying adventure at its best when you don’t use a walkthrough.

★★★★★ ★★★

SimBin arrived on consoles with the 360-exclusive Race Pro (360) and, in what is destined to be a big year for racing games, threw down a brilliant driving experience as a gauntlet to the big boys of Forza Motorsport 3, Gran Turismo 5 and Need for Speed: Shift. Sly Raccoon developer Sucker Punch delivered PS3-exclusive inFamous (PS3) and while the choice to be a super-hero or super-villain doesn’t quite convince, the ambition is welcome and the experience is incredibly fun and easy-to-play. With Supercar Challenge (PS3), Eutechnyx improved on every area of Ferrari Challenge: Trofeo Pirelli while not breaking the rewarding driving experience (take note Motorstorm: Pacific Rift). Final Fantasy XIII delivers a beautiful, lengthy RPG with an intriguing, if slightly baffling, story.  Dragon Age: Origins grows into an essential fantasy RPG.

★★★★★ ★★

Fuel (360) boasts the largest environment in a racing game ever (over five times the size of Oahu in Test Drive Unlimited) and, while it doesn’t quite fulfil it’s promise thanks to interface design choices, it remains an impressive achievement with a lot of racing in it. Forza Motorsport (360) was a disappointment for me thanks to uninvolving handling (though every other contemporary reviewer gushed over it).  Shatter (block breaker PS3 timed exclusive) is a solid block-breaking game with an outstanding soundtrack.  Red Faction: Guerrilla (third-person demolition-themed science fiction shooter) is fun but the characters po-faced and story stupid.

★★★★★ ★

Grin produced a short (you’d be upset if you paid full price) but playable, fun-with-a-friend, non-spoilery and easy gamerscore movie tie-in Terminator: Salvation (360). James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game is another decent movie action game.  White Knight Chronicles (Fantasy RPG) is (too) easy-to-play and enjoyable as an refreshingly undemanding experience. Halo 3: ODST (science fiction shooter) kept sucking the fun out of itself and proved disappointing both in gameplay and technology.  Superstars® V8 Racing was widely derided for being an irrelevant racing game but I enjoyed playing it and relished the opportunity to race on some different tracks including the brilliant Portimão for the first time.

★★★★★

Mildly satirical third-person shooter Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard didn’t get much right but there’s a strong, but oddly unused, idea underpinning it.  Brave: A Warrior’s Tale is an adequate action game with a potentially captivating setting undermined by some technical deficiencies.

★★★★

 Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes (fantasy action platform adventure) suffered from a terrible jump mechanic which saw you only land where you expected about half the time.  Planet 51 could have been a nice friendly open-world racing game but it’s just not fun.

★★★

Out-of-the-box, Need for Speed: Shift (360) is nearly undrivable. Spend some time with it and it’s still nearly undrivable. Oddly, demo versions seem to drive differently.


2008 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★★

Burnout Paradise (360, PS3, open-world action racing) continued Criterion Games run of entertaining, high quality and technically outstanding experiences and was, for a longe time, just about the only third-party game where the PS3 provides on par or better visuals than the 360. Remarkably, they would update the game with staggering new content for free for the remainder of the year, content so good that they could have reasonably charged money for it. Outstanding! TreyArch surprised everyone by delivering a quality follow-up to lauded sister developer Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in the shape of the ticks-all-the-boxes Call of Duty: World at War. Capcom delivered the cool, fun and thrilling Devil May Cry 4 (PS3). Despite a significant number of game-breaking bugs (still present after patches), Fable II (360) proved a largely remarkable game and I look forward to revisiting Albion via downloadable content.

★★★★★ ★★★

Hideo Kojima managed the near-impossible by not disappointing anyone with Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3). Confusing, maybe, but not disappointing. The PS3 also boasted another nice exclusive, though much more low-key, in the rewarding Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli (PS3). Insomniac delivered a quarter-size follow-up to Tools of Destruction in the welcome shape of Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty (PS3).

★★★★★ ★★

Codemasters followed by the expansive and fun Colin McRae: Dirt with the very well-received Race Driver: Grid (PS3) but while the damage modelling was spectacular, the driving model was not. Ubisoft delivered an unexpectedly and applaudably atmospheric Lost video game (360) though, due to a game length of a few hours, you probably wouldn’t be happy paying full price for it. Pick it up on budget; I paid £6.99 and was delighted. Lucasarts delivered the nearly very good Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3) but it featured just too many little frustrations including a weedy lightsaber that hardly damages most enemies in the game and an annoying and non-sensical level where you pull a Star Destroyer out of the sky using the Force. Rockstar provided an open-world game where, thankfully, you couldn’t run pedestrians over or be nasty to anyone with Midnight Club: Los Angeles (360). Dreamworks really surprised us by backing up a surprisingly good animated movie with a surprisingly fun movie game in the rotund shape of Kung Fu Panda (360). Mirror’s Edge (PS3) was a laudable attempt even if it could be infuriating. Activision made a decent shooter for Quantum of Solace (360) but, like the parent movie, it didn’t feel Bondian. EA’s annual Need for Speed was Undercover (360, PS3), an unbranded sequel to Most Wanted but, while the gameplay remained fun, the technology used to present it on 360 and PS3 is not good enough.  Legendary (Fantasy Action Shooter) was hammered by contemporary critics but it is a decent shooter with great creatures. Though it got a bit mauled critically, Rise of the Argonauts is an entertaining, easy-to-play light action RPG.

★★★★★ ★

LEGO Indiana Jones (360) proved that the ultra-violent Indiana Jones trilogy does not fit in with LEGO. Budget game Score International: Baja 1000 (360) had the expected odd handling but much better than expected tracks and provided a decent amount of fun for the unbiased. The full-price series inspiration for Baja 1000, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift (PS3) proved disappointing by tweaking and breaking the perfect handling of the first game. The Spiderwick Chronicles (360) is an entirely acceptable movie game though it is unlikely the target audience (pre-teen children) would ever get to the end of it. Hellboy: The Science of Evil (360) tries harder than most movie tie-in’s and is better than most, too. Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (360) had a certain charm despite, or perhaps because of, technical shortcomings. As a platform game, Prince of Persia (360) was welcome but clunky controls undermined everything good it tried to do. Budget shooter Secret Service (360) is crisp and tightly focused. Frontlines: Fuel of War (360) was nearly great.  Haze (PS3-exclusive science fiction first-person shooter) is not as bad as it’s reputation would have you believe.

★★★★★

Budget title Sniper: Art of Victory (WWII sniper shooter) took a fine premise and nearly wasted it completely with some technical shortcomings.

★★★★

Atari keeps putting out games that should be great but which haven’t been finished or are fundamentally broken in some way. Alone in the Dark (360, 4/10) fits perfectly in with that company policy and it is, again, a huge shame. Turok (First-Person Dinosaur Shooter, 360) is evil. It looks like it’s going to be fun, and it is for a while, then stabs you in the eye and nicks all your savings.

★★★

Iron Man (360, 3/10) is an ugly, lazy game only of value for those interested in a decent lump of gamerscore. Crash: Mind Over Mutant (360, 3/10) is an endlessly irritating, charmless platformer and a step backwards for this over-rated character franchise.

★★

Jumper: Griffin’s Story (360, 2/10) is ugly and joyless both in gameplay and story. Though attractively designed and skilfully incorporating Sega’s franchises into a tennis game, Sega Superstars Tennis (Tennis and Mini-Games, 360) was too complicated and too hard to be fun.

 Prince Caspian (Action Movie Game, 360) is a fascinating game because it is exactly the same as all those lauded LEGO titles (also by Traveller’s Tales) but is horrid.


2007 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★★★

2007 was probably the best year ever for gaming with the likes of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3, 10/10) leading the way both critically and financially. Bioshock (360, 10/10) appealed to critics snobbery but also, surprisingly perhaps, to the masses with it’s wonderfully elaborate production design, interesting immersive gameplay and tangible atmosphere. The PC version of Mass Effect (science fiction action RPG) removed all the technical problems with the 360 release and let the wonderful game have it’s voice.

★★★★★ ★★★★

Codemasters gave the  recently unexpectedly deceased Colin McRae a fine send-off in the shape of Colin McRae: DiRT (PS3, 9/10). Despite being a bit short on tracks, Forza Motorsport 2 (360, 9/10) delivered the 360’s finest driving experience. Meanwhile, the PS3 started delivering some impressive exclusives in the shape of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3, 9/10); great looking and terrific fun to play. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary (9/10, 360) felt like a gift from the developers and publishers of the franchise and thank you to them.

★★★★★ ★★★

PGR 4 (360, 8/10) would prove to be a fine swansong for Bizarre Creations city racer but it was generally, though a little unfairly, perceived as being a bit of a sales disappointment (it sold the least of the four Xbox Project Gotham Racing games). Mass Effect (360, 8/10) snatched gaming goodness from the jaws of technical incompetence and a large initial lack-of-fun hump. High quality PS3 exclusives included Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction (PS3, 8/10), Gran Turismo HD (PS3, 8/10) and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (8/10); the latter comfortably justifying your console purchase if you were a fan of the greatest driving franchise of them all. In the much-better-than-expected category we have Stranglehold (PS3, 8/10) which nailed the mood of a Hong Kong John Woo bullet extravaganza perfectly. Another better-than-expected game was the gleefully clunky Earth Defence Force 2017 (8/10) but many people are simply baffled by the genuine love fans like me have for it. A somewhat overlooked franchise, Flatout saw a tweaked sequel that provided another spectacular, fun action racer with Flatout: Ultimate Carnage (360, Games for Windows, 8/10).  Medal of Honor: Airborne did feature disagreeably bullet-proof enemies but also spectacular, unique and brilliant level design.

★★★★★ ★★

One of the biggest hits and most impressive games of the year was free-running action game Assassin’s Creed (360, 7/10). The ability of your main character to run across any part of the scenery was unendingly wonderful though not as satisfying as the destined-to-be-permanently-overlooked Crackdown. Though suffering a bit from too-frequent random battles (and had some ugly performance issues on PS3), Enchanted Arms (PS3, 7/10) was a charming JRPG with an entirely solid battle system. Sega Rally (360, 7/10) is probably the hardest racing game ever released. Simulador Turismo Carretera (PC, 7/10) distinguished itself among racing sims by using Argentinian national tracks that most of us worldwide have never heard of, let alone raced around before. LucasArts wrapped up the previous separately-released LEGO Star Wars games and added a few bits to provide a great value-for-money experience in LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (360, 7/10) (game complete time over fifty hours). Folklore (aka FolksSoul) (PS3, 7/10) proved to be one of the best visually designed games ever released (exclusive to PS3) and backed it up with a compelling story and good combat. While off-puttingly difficult for many, Climax’s final MotoGP game, MotoGP ‘07 (360, 7/10) did provide a huge amount of content and was rewarding if you put in the practice. PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword (7/10) disappointed with too-complicated, boring swordplay sucking up half the gameplay but did have real quality in just about every other area. Surf’s Up (360, 7/10) proved a pleasant surprise: a focused and fun movie game.  Cars: Mater-National (open-world racing, 360) is a pleasant light racing game. I enjoyed the much-maligned Two Worlds (open-world action RPG) immensely.

★★★★★ ★

Synetic delivered their first title for HD consoles in the form of Alarm for Cobra 11 (360, 6/10), released internationally as Crash Time and while it could be infuriating, it also had charm and character and perfectly weighted steering response. Endlessly grabbing irritation from an otherwise competent and very comprehensive package, Juiced 2’s (360, Games for Windows, 6/10) ridiculous rubber-band AI and graphics-blur eventually make playing it a chore. Real-time strategy, third-person action hybrid Overlord (360, 6/10) needed all it’s considerable charm to overcome some gnarly (he-he) technical, control and camera deficiencies.

★★★★★

Traveller’s Tale took a break from LEGO games (they were squishing LEGO Star Wars into Complete Saga form) to supply the almost fun Transformers: The Game (360, 5/10). Another underwhelming Spider-Man game (Friend or Foe, 360, 5/10) came and went but it had a jollier tone that made it, at least, tolerable.

★★★★

Electronic Arts stumbled technically with Need for Speed: ProStreet (360, 4/10) and it wasn’t, er, funly either. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (360, 4/10) was nearly a decent movie game but, somehow, it wasn’t really fun. Though it ended up being tiresome, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (4/10) was nearly a decent movie game. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Hard Evidence (4/10, 360) wastes a licence behind ugly, clunky execution. TMNT (4/10, 360) isn’t anything like as good as the better-than-expected film. Crash of the Titans (4/10, 360) is charmless and irritating despite some cool enemy designs.

★★★

Meet the Robinsons failed to make a fun game out of a dull movie. Monster Jam was ruined by technical deficiencies in physics.

★★

Even by the execrable standards of movie-related games, The Golden Compass (360, 2/10) is horrid. It would probably be more fun to have someone vomit in your eye. Though it still sold about 1.82 million copies across all formats.

That said, I played The Golden Compass (360, 2/10) before playing Beowulf The Game (360, 1/10) and that was an even more unpleasant experience. Like somebody vomiting in your mouth. And it still sold about half-a-million copies across all formats. Grief. Equally horrific was Shrek the Third (1/10) (well over one million copies sold). Adding to this catalogue of hateful movie games is Ratatouille (1/10, 360) (2.6 million sold, aaaagh!)


2006 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★★★

Bethesda released one of the best, and biggest, games of all times with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and just about everything in it was just that bit better than other games.

★★★★★ ★★★★

 In my opinion, Xbox 360’s best exclusive game, Alan Wake is a wonderful mix of engrossing, unusual action gameplay, cool technical achievement and atmospheric story-telling and scene-setting.

★★★★★ ★★★

Eden Games delivered a very pleasant surprise in the form of massive online open world racing game Test Drive Unlimited (360). Atari surprised no-one by releasing it before it was finished and with, especially on PC, a host of game- and system-stopping bugs. Microsoft delivered a terrific freebie for 360 with Hexic HD (360). PS3 owners got the last F1 game for four years in the largely outstanding shape of Formula One Championship Edition aka F1CE (PS3) and a great off-road game in the shape of Motorstorm (PS3, 8/10). Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent (360) is absorbing and satisfying once you get remember not to go charging in guns blazing.

★★★★★ ★★

Dumping the Tokyo Highway Challenge / Tokyo Highway Battle / Tokyo Xtreme Racer moniker, Ubisoft took Genki’s unique and agreeably positive Shutokou Battle X and released it in English-speaking territories as Import Tuner Challenge (360, 7/10). Crystal Dynamics took over the Tomb Raider franchise from Core Design and delivered an entertaining action adventure with Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (360, 7/10) and helped mitigate memories of the universally lambasted Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness and the beautiful but rubbish films starring Angelina Jolie. Also fitting into the better-than-expected category was movie game Cars (360, 7/10) which was fun and appropriate. Prey (360, 7/10) took a long time to arrive but introduced the gaming world to portals and took an impressive look at gravity but it’s tone was a bit off, especially in the first level. EA’s Need for Speed Carbon (360, 7/10) was fine but technical shortcomings took the edge off the tweaks made since Most Wanted. Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires (360, 7/10) seems to be a bad game but a genuine charm soon shines through the terrible graphics. Though it got critically mauled Genji: Days of the Blade (period action, PS3-exclusive) is a good action game that looks great and has plenty to master.

★★★★★ ★

Though hammered by contemporary critics, Eragon (360, 6/10) is an above-average movie game and miles better than the movie it was advertising. Ninety-Nine Nights (360, 6/10) is a badly-designed game harbouring decent, sometimes very spectacular gameplay. Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom (6/10) is a slightly disappointing action RPG so go in with lower expectations and you’ll probably enjoy most of it.

★★★★★

Superman Returns (360, 5/10) nailed the flying but absolutely nothing else made you feel super.  Just Cause (Open-World Action) featured beautiful, brilliant technology but little gameplay fun.

★★★★

I didn’t find Far Cry Instincts: Predator (360, 4/10) much fun but it does offer a lot for the first-person shooter fan including two single-player campaigns, full multiplayer options and even a map editor. Also suffering from a severe lack of fun was the largely dreary Call of Duty 3.

★★★

Despite utilising the exact same game design as the highly successful LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Bionicle Heroes (360, 3/10) was broken by its third-person camera and being no fun.


2005 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★★

Electronic Arts delivered an outstanding game to kick off their Need for Speed franchise on 360 with Need for Speed: Most Wanted (360, 9/10) which was great despite eye-bulging live-action cut-scenes and a low frame-rate. Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 4 (PS2, 9/10) delivered everything expected (tons of cars, amazing graphics, sound and sensation of car handling) and more (tons of tracks, the revolutionary photo mode and an AI driver management mode). CRC 2005: Cross Racing Championship is the best racing game you’ve never heard of.

★★★★★ ★★★

One of the best movie video-game adaptations came from the man, Michel Ancel, behind the under-bought Beyond Good and Evil to tie with Peter Jackson’s indulgent King Kong (Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (360, PC, 8/10)). Project Gotham Racing 3 (360, 8/10) was probably the best-looking of all the launch titles for Microsoft’s new Xbox 360. Infinity Ward’s World War II shooter Call of Duty 2 became the template for all future first-person shooters.

★★★★★ ★★

Sega have been busy destroying their once-great reputation but Phantasy Star Universe (360, 7/10) proved a welcome and entertaining lifeboat in the sea of horrific Sonic games. Despite a broken final level Medal of Honor: European Assault (Xbox, 7/10) is an otherwise excellent World War II console shooter.  Fahrenheit aka Indigo Prophecy (PC) impressively summons different emotions to those players are used to experiencing.


2004 Games:

★★★★★ ★★

One of the PlayStation 2’s best looking and produced games ever was released in the form of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2, 7/10) but despite all the amazing things it got right, it got the camera and controls on the wrong side of the challenging / unusable balance that the previous two games had just about managed to hit. Killzone (PS2, 7/10) is a good first-person shooter that got slightly and unfairly over-shadowed by the Halo-beater hype generated around it. Headhunter: Redemption (PS2) is a good action game despite some intrusive camera and control issues.

★★★★★ ★

Galleon (broken action adventure) would have been genuinely great if the camera and controls allowed you to play the game.


2003 Games:

★★★★★ ★★

With many dissatisfied with the official Devil May Cry sequel, Capcom delivered, with Chaos Legion (PS2, 7/10), this better-than-it-appears button masher that is considered by some to be the game Devil May Cry 2 should have been.

★★★★★ ★

 Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb (Xbox, 6/10) hit the pitfalls of the third-person action game (misbehaving camera and inaccurate controls) but swung over them with an uncanny Harrison Ford impersonation and plenty to see and do.  R:Racing Evolution did better than most in adding a story to a racing game and making it accessible to all players but made it too easy to sustain long-term interest.

★★★★★

 Speed Kings (Xbox, 5/10) aimed for Burnout on two wheels but fell off with a ridiculous number of things to make life difficult for the player. The Burnout franchise would eventually supply awesome two-wheel action itself five years later in a free (!) add-on for the mighty Burnout Paradise.


2002 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★★★

Ico (PS2, 10/10) delivered one of the greatest gaming experiences of all time as you led a princess by the hand through an evocative game world with brilliantly animated enemies.

★★★★★ ★★★★

 Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (stealth espionage action) kicked off a new franchise in an outstanding manner.

★★★★★ ★

Auto Modellista (cel-shaded racer) looks great, has some wonderful customisation (including your garage) but doesn’t deliver a decent driving or racing model.


2001 Games:

2001 was a sad year for gaming when the Dreamcast finally succumbed to pressure on Sega’s wallet despite having, at the time, a significantly more impressive game library than Sony’s PlayStation 2 (Xbox and GameCube weren’t even available though, perhaps significantly, Xbox marketing was).

★★★★★ ★★★★

However, 2001 saw the PS2 remove that quality gap completely with total classics like Ace Combat: Distant Thunder (PS2, 9/10), Devil May Cry (PS2, 9/10), Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 3: A-spec (PS2, 9/10) and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2, 9/10) all being released.

★★★★★ ★★★

Superbike 2001 would arguably prove to be the most convincing motorcycle racing game ever released while the people who made it would release inexplicably blander and less convincing games for the next ten years.


2000 Games:

★★★★★ ★★★★

The Dreamcast’s ever-impressive software library got a headline racing game with the release of the extremely ambitious Metropolis Street Racer (Dreamcast, 9/10). It spawned Xbox-exclusive series Project Gotham Racing.

2 thoughts on “Games

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