2005 Was the Best Year

Screenshot: F.E.A.R still holds up as an intense first person shooter.
Written By: Elijah Moon Blackwell

They are going to kill me. I keep running, trying to get a chance to reload my weapon. Behind me, villagers are shouting in a foreign language as they chase me. What are they saying? Why are they attacking me? What is happening?

Resident Evil 4 is an amazing game. It was the first of the series to adopt a third person perspective, and the previous games had a fixed camera. The “zombies” were also different. Instead of a stereotypical rotten corpse, they seemed relatively normal, which added to the fear. This was a whole new enemy; a whole new experience.

While adult me isn’t scared of the game anymore, the gameplay is still intense and challenging. As the story progresses, the atmosphere morphs and changes. From a small village to a castle full of cultists, it almost feels like multiple games in one. On the first playthrough you have no idea what to expect. Due to the amount of secrets and extra content, you can play this game multiple times and not get bored. Never used a specific weapon on your first playthrough? Now is your time to experiment and use it. You unlocked a special mode upon beating the game? Welcome to the end game content.

The fan base behind this game is still large. Many players try to beat the game as fast as they can (referred to as a speed run). If you have played Resident Evil 4 before, check out some speed runs on YouTube. There are so many little details you probably didn’t know about the game.

Resident Evil 4 initially released in 2005. It is one of many masterpieces to release that year, making 2005 my favorite year in gaming due to the unique and memorable video games that were released.

Remember this is all in good fun and, most importantly, an opinion. It just so happens that the majority of the 2005 library are games I personally love. If I am talking about a game I like, there is a good chance it released in 2005 or it was close to it. Halo 2 is one of my all time favorites and it released in late 2004.

Again, this is about the numbers. Compared to any other year, 2005 has the most titles I consider noteworthy.

Here are just ten of the games that released that year.

Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic II

The Xbox version came out in December of 2004. PC users had to wait till February of 2005. So yeah, I think it qualifies the list.

Knights of the Old Republic II is an RPG. You can choose a variety of classes and use a wide range of weapons. The game was developed by BioWare, so there is a lot of dialogue. This isn’t a bad thing for those looking for a story rich game.

Sadly the game was rushed out, leaving a lot of areas unfinished. However, there exists a lot of fan made mods and patches that makes an already good product into a perfect one.

I played the whole game in high school and haven’t played it since. Maybe I need to play it again one day. If I find time…

Star Wars: Battlefront II

Being an expendable troop on the battlefield makes this game a memorable one. Most Star Wars games have you control the all powerful protagonist while this game makes you a statistic.

It plays like EA’s Battlefield series and other shooters that involve capturing strategic points. If a battle appeared in the movies then it is probably in this game. You can pilot the giant AT-AT walkers on Hoth or fly a Tie Fighter in space; there is so much to do.

You may ask yourself why Battlefront II never became an Esport. My hypothesis is the game balance. Some factions have very over-powered classes. Some maps are heavily one sided to reflect the movies. Anytime I play this game with friends and they lose it is always the balancing problems (or so they claim).

Regardless, it is a masterpiece, a full game with no DLC or expansions. Something EA would change for later Battlefront games, which I argue was for the worse.

You can find my video about this gem by clicking here

The Warriors

Movie licensed games usually suck. In The Worst Video Games I Was Unfortunately Gifted I talk about the 300 game for PlayStation Portable. Spoiler alert: it was bad.

Sometimes, though, they turn out well. In the case of The Warriors they managed to turn out perfectly. The game takes place before the events of the movie so you don’t need to see the film to understand the source material. The last few missions are scenes from the movie, but it is a very small portion of the game.

You control various members of The Warriors, a New York street gang whose turf is Coney Island. You explore a hub world and take missions from all sorts of characters. There are collectibles, mini-games and a pretty amazing multiplayer. These gangs fight, but they don’t shoot (most of the time anyway). Each character has their own fighting style, which keeps the game from being too repetitive.

An amazing crime game with it’s own flavor and mechanics. Just wish it got a PC port.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

Playing Grand Theft Auto in the school cafeteria before school started attracted a huge crowd of onlookers. It was unheard of at the time. Sure you can play GTA 2 for Game Boy Color but it wasn’t 3D. It was one of the games that made the PlayStation Portable stand out.

Looking back, it’s not a great game. Due to hardware limitations there isn’t much to do. Now-a-days you can play San Andreas or Vice City on your mobile devices. At the time, it was an awesome thing to have.

It is on the list because of it’s appeal at the time and the variety of memories I have with it. Would I play it today? Maybe for a few hours of nostalgia, but nothing more.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV

In college I fell in love with the Civilization series. You take command of a nation and evolve from the ancient age to the future era.

All the Civilization games are different in terms of mechanics. Sure, the game is always turn based, but there are different variables in play. It would be a daunting task to detail all the differences, so for now just take my word for it.

You can not master Civilization III and expect to be a pro in IV or right off the bat. That’s how different they are.

IV has an expansion pack called Colonization and it brings a new style to the series. Colonization was it’s own game on DOS but this is more intuitive and user friendly. You compete with the other factions of the world to colonize the new world.

One of the details I appreciate is the wild animals. Yeah, a panther can destroy your civilization. I don’t know if there is a record of wild animals suppressing an entire civilization but hey, it could’ve happened in the ancient age.

I played all the Civilization games out of curiosity and IV is my second favorite game, V being number one.

The editor, Katelyn Vause, feels differently. IV is her number one. Because of that I have an excuse to add it to the list and mention one of the greatest franchises in strategy gaming history.

F.E.A.R

If you are developing a first person shooter, please play F.E.A.R. It has one of best shooting mechanics ever. When you fire your gun, that bullet is going to hit something and it is going to cause an effect. From concrete chipping off the walls to sparks from a metal barrel, the bullets’ impacts are visible.

One cool detail is that when you shoot glass it shatters in pieces. The main character has a slow motion ability and watching glass fall after being shot a few times is absolutely stunning. Seriously, the game is absolutely amazing in terms of shooting.

The fear factor is kinda bad. The developers used haunted house style scares which worked on me as a kid but now-a-days just make me laugh. One jump scare in particular is an image that looks like a low resolution JPEG. It’s like a developer made something in Photoshop, saved it as a JPEG and just copy-pasted it into the game.

The scares are also super predictable after a while. Once the whole “turn the corner to be met by a scary face” gag happens three or so times you begin to recognize when it is going to happen again. Oh, it’s a dark hall way and there is about to be a 90 degree turn? Yeah, there is going to be a jump scare.

Don’t play F.E.A.R for the horror. Play it because the shooting is the absolute best.

I briefly mentioned F.E.A.R in the Christmas special video on our YouTube channel. Click here to see the specific part that involves F.E.A.R.

Animal Crossing: Wild World

It is a peaceful game. In high school I played Animal Crossing to relax. You can’t die and there is no real conflict. I mean sure, receiving a nasty letter from your neighbor because you missed their birthday is pretty combative but….that’s about it….I mean you can get stung by bees…..

Selling this game to someone who is used to action packed games is hard. Animal Crossing is a game about living life in a peaceful community. Laid-back and chill, that’s how I’d describe the whole experience. Having a bad day? Just listen to the amazing soundtrack and go plant some flowers.

Animal Crossing is coming to Switch sometime this year. If you haven’t played a previous entry, now is your time to climb aboard the hype train and join the community.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

I cried. I played this game on Xbox when it first released and it scared me to tears.

Lovecraftian games are sort of rare and that is mildly disappointing. As a kid I’d read H.P. Lovecraft in my bed with a flashlight and I couldn’t sleep once I put it down.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth captures the occult horror that Lovecraft portrayed in his literary works. I firmly believe that if Lovecraft lived to see this game, he would be proud.

While there is combat and shooting, it is a last resort. The majority of the game is spent surviving by running and hiding. You play as a detective and you can investigate everything. Each time you hit the investigate button, your character has something to say. “It’s just a grate,” “Nothing to see here but old books,” “A family photo”. I bet the voice actor had to do some serious over time to record all the lines. I wonder what it was like voice acting this game or if the actor has even played the game. Milton Lawrence, if you are reading this by some odd chance, good job and please let me ask you some questions!

If you are interested in playing this game be warned, the Windows version is extremely buggy. Once you fight off the bugs you are met with one difficult game. It’s Dark Souls level of hard at times.

Swat 4

I did a whole review of Swat 4, which can be found here. Swat 4 is not as good as third game but it is still alright in my book. The fact that law enforcement games are so rare is appalling. We need more games that put you in the shoes of various law enforcement agencies.

Swat 3 and 4 are first person shooters that aim to capture the tactical nature of real life swat teams. It’s a very tactical game. Going in lone wolf is hard and will probably result in death. Take it slow and plan your breach!

It’s not for everyone but since it’s pretty cheap it is worth a try. You can get a digital copy of Swat 4 at gog.com.

Great game for anyone who wishes to try out being on the side of law enforcement in a game.

Raze’s Hell

Ever controlled a demon that terrorizes cute little creatures by slicing them to bits? Raze’s Hell is that game. It is weird, violent and something I’ll never forget. My favorite part was the golf mini game. You punch a giant white ball towards a hole while a commentator screams profanities at you in a Scottish accent.

Raze’s Hell is a weird game that you have to experience on your own. Is it a good game? No, not really. In fact it is a pretty mediocre hack and slash. Play it once, laugh a few times, then pass it on to your friends. I’m not really sure what the developers of this game were thinking.

And that brings up a valid point; it wasn’t all perfect. 2005 was home to some notoriously terrible products. Here are a few games that I have actually played and can speak to their shortcomings.

Geist

I wrote about this game in the article The Worst Video Games I Was Unfortunately Gifted. To quickly recap, Geist is a game where you control a ghost. You can possess objects to scare people. When a person’s fear reaches a certain level you can posses them and control them. You had to do this to operate machines to unlock doors or to kill soldiers who had special ghost busting equipment.

It is more of a disappointment than a bad game. Growing up, I had several subscriptions to video game magazines. Reading about the game had me super hyped, and I begged my parents to buy me the game. While I don’t remember exactly when I got the game, I remember being disappointed.

The game is extremely linear. There are only certain objects to possess, meaning that there is only one way to progress. You can’t mix up your scares. But repeatability isn’t the only reason this game made me upset as a child. The overall gameplay is mediocre. Geist had basic shoot mechanics with few weapons available. Puzzles were difficult for me to solve and the plot was very forgetful.

One day I’ll get a GameCube and a copy of Geist to see if adult me thinks otherwise. For now, it is a bad memory.

Conflict: Global Terror

Limited saves, bad teammate AI and mediocre shooting mechanics. This is one of those games that requires you to play them to understand how bad it truly is.

By 2005 video games like Freedom Fighters and Max Payne set the bar high for third person shooters. Honestly, this game is so bland that there isn’t much more to say. It’s like eating a burger with no cheese or condiments. Sure you ate it and your belly is full, but was it really an enjoyable experience?

Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green

I had the unfortunate opportunity to play this horrible excuse for a video game. I did a review of this for our YouTube channel. You can find it by clicking here.

This game has a massive cult following with a dedicated unofficial fan website and a ton of user created mods. Because of this, I thought the game would be kind of good. There are games I like that got negative reviews, so maybe this was going to be a game to add to the list? Sadly not.

 

Bad games did get released in 2005, but the amount of masterpieces overshadow this fact. Remember that this is an opinion and just for fun. Every year is home to at least one good release.

No matter what evidence is thrown at me, I feel that 2005 was the best year.

When it comes to video game releases, what is your favorite year? Let us know at cdromfossil@gmail.com or leave a comment!

 

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