As you know, I play three types of games. Shooters, Drivers and RPGs. My favorites are shooting RPGs which is why I tend to enjoy Tom Clancy's stuff. This year wasn't much different, except that the number of high quality games this year was very impressive.
10. Too Human
Almost didn't make the cut. I was surprised that I liked this game at all because it's so corny and rather button mashy. However it was very engaging and had a good mix of squad play that got me emotionally involved.
9. Frontlines: Fuel of War
This was a very good game and I spent a good deal of time in it. It had a lot of great promise for massive online squad based conflict that simply never lived up to its potential. It wasn't the game designers' fault, it just that gamers didn't run with it. If gamers who like R6V2 would have taken more to it.. well. They didn't, but even the single player was worth it.
8. Tom Clancy's End War
Same problem here. I'm going to give this game another chance however. It just got launched in during an awesome season. Lots of competition. This game is completely unique, nicely complex and yet very playable. It also lacks some enthusiastic support online, and is probably the underrated game of the year.
7. Call of Duty: World At War
Back to WW2 again? OK they did a good job. It's everything you expect COD to be but no more. Although I did have a lot of fun online with the zombies, the whole graduating to a 40s era tommy gun was a turn off - very ponderous and hard work for online shooting fun. However, as usual, the single player is extraordinarily chaotic, and COD gets the award for best flamethrower.
GRID is really a great driver. I have to say that I like it more than Forza. The great thing about GRID, aside from the huge variety of driving styles, is that it works the physicality of online driving better than any other game. PGR basically encourages ridiculous stunts with Cat and Mouse but is very annoying when you want pure driving. Forza is too damned touchy to be fun, and you have to be a genius mechanic to tune those cars. GRID is right in the middle, and does demolition derby right.
5. Midnight Club LA
I am so glad that I got this game. I had no idea it was going to be as much fun as it is. For a gearhead like me there is no other driving game that exploits the pure beauty of the automobile as this one. Online gaming is crappy but the single player more than makes up for it. A lot less realistic than GRID or PGR, but it does have precise control. A bit better than Burnout Paradise, MCLA benefitted from snappy dialog and memorable characters. Plus driving in recognizable LA was a huge plus. The open street mode of racing in MCLA is exactly what PGR was missing. This is an excellent driver.
4. Gears of War 2
I didn't expect Gears of War 2 to be so much better than the original. It was in every respect except one in which it was exactly the same. Basically when you hit the wall on single player, there is no way you can get past it without coop. For me it was the big courtyard before going down into the hole of Jacinto. I swear I played that level 100 times. Still, shooting from moving platforms did transform the feel of the game. Losing the detail of directing your partner and leaving it up to the AI was so good that I didn't even miss it. Everything seemed to click together better. New weapons, moving cover, new baddies, online lobbies, online game modes. They improved every single thing. This is an instant classic, and like its predecessor, burns you out in six weeks.
3. GTA 4
Everything great has been said about this game and it has lived up to its reputation in every way, except one. For some reason, I just never felt compelled to complete it in single player mode. I don't know exactly why that is, because unlike San Andreas, I didn't get weary of being a bad guy in this episode. For a sandbox adventure, this has some of the most tight and compelling storytelling of any game ever. And yet as soon as I put it down for a couple weeks, it lost all momentum.
2. Mercenaries 2
I don't know where this game came from, but I have never had so much fun being a destructive badass in any game. It found the perfect balance between realistic narrative, personal indestructability, variety of adventures and quests and stright up destructive fun. M2 has the largest destructable environment I've ever played in, and the widest variety of guns and vehicles as well as one of the largest maps. Super fun game. Just super.
1. Fallout 3.
This game owns me. I never thought I would play another game with as much intensity and devotion as I played Oblivion, but the folks at Bethesda have me pegged. I had no idea the game was coming, nor did I know they had been working on it for four years, but it shows. This is a massive, massive game. It is as intriguing and complex a world as ever has been written for any platform and it continues to fascinate and amaze me. I can only hope that as with Oblivion, I can continue to play and acquire skills after the completing the main quest.
Fable 2 - I really didn't expect that I would play it once and then drop it. The problem was that my son got into it and instead of playing myself, I just watched him play. Realizing how huge the game was, I stayed away from it.
Left 4 Dead - I hate zombie games. As great as L4D is Even Valve can't make me like exterminating vermin. I played for an hour or two and gave up. Beautiful, fast game. But I haven't been twitchy lately. Maybe I'll come back to it.
Spore - The most fun in Spore was all up to the tribal level. After that it sucked. Plus the security on that game was totally retarded. I cannot believe the nerve of EA to make it a single player license. Just one more reason I hate PC games. This had great potential, but turned out to be a dud.
Tiger Woods 09 - I only bought this to play online with my buds. I think I can say now once and for all that I don't like golf. Or rather that I can't stand the way in which golf is an extraordinary waste of time. TW09 makes that perfectly obvious. That's how realistic it is.