Top 10 new games of 2005

(at least in my humble opinion). Everyone else is doing this list, so I will too! (No MMOs included.)

10: F.E.A.R.: Best shooter of last year. Well done atmospherics and the AI was really well done (or at least it reponded well to my cheesy hide-behind-a-wall-and-ambush-people with the classic throw-lots-of-grenades response!)

9: Dawn of War: Winter Assault: Yeah, it’s an expansion pack, bite me. With AOE3 still needing lots of work, this one is still the best online RTS out there. If people weren’t so cheesy with the Imperial Guard in online games this would be higher on the list. Yes, commissar, I’m looking at you.

8: Indigo Prophecy: Flawed near the end, but the game makes up for it in atmosphere. Very cinematic, yet still feels as though it gives you choices that matter (even though they don’t!) Plus adventure games are supposed to be dead so it’s nice to see one that isn’t.

7: Final Fantasy IV Advance: It’s FF4. On a GBA. And you don’t have to run some wacky emulator program! Now when they get FF6 on a GBA I’ll probably never use my PC for a year or something.

6: God of War: Unlike others I don’t think this is QUITE god’s gift to gaming, because I *hate* jumping puzzles, but the fact that a game full of jumping puzzles made this list should say something. Great art, great story, and great jumping around mutilating things with swords.

5: Guitar Hero: Just plain fun. Plus they have all kinds of 70’s songs that this old man actually remembers and stuff.

4: Mercenaries: It’s Grand Theft Auto: North Korea and that’s all you need to know.

3: Knights of the Old Republic 2 (pretty sure this was a 2005 release – at least the PC version was): This is where RPGs need to go. Meaningful branching choices, NPCs you actually sort of care about, and an ending that wasn’t finished. OK, so that last part? We can skip. But this game would have been dead-on perfect if not for the painfully obvious crap-we-gotta-ship-this-thing-NOW ending. Did the fans ever fan-patch this one yet?

2: Hearts of Iron 2: This IS the penultimate World War 2 strategy game. If you disagree, you are wrong. End of story. I played this more than any game has a right to be played. When CORE comes out? I’ll play it more. When the expansion comes out? I’ll play it even more! Woo hoo!

1: Civilization 4. DUH. Out of the box it’s unbelievably addictive. The multiplayer is painless to set up and far, far more fun than it has any right to be. It’s Civ. It even has Leonard Nimoy intoning “I got pig iron. I got pig iron. I got ALL pig iron.” What more could you want out of life?