Hailed as one of the greatest gaming years of our time ... we were introduced to new and sequel games that blew us away. Taking time away from our loved ones and money from our savings, 2004 marked a year that brought us Doom3 and Half Life 2. Not to mention new comers like Far Cry and World of Warcraft. And that is only on the PC. Halo 2 graced XBOX, and GTA San Andreas broke records for PS2. But my list will only portray the PC games ... because I find them to be years ahead in technology and fun.
So, before I begin I would like to mention the games that did not make the cut ...
- Painkiller: Flat out fun. Demonic side of Serious Sam
- Sims 2: There is a reason why the whole world is playing this game. But didn't make the cut.
- COD UO: Call of Duty UO was an impressive sequel and great multi. Very close to GOY.
- BFV: Battlefield series grew stronger with this one. Maybe BF 2 will make the cut next year.
- CoR: Chronicles of Riddick. Sleeper success. Great game but not GOY good.
- PoP: Prince of Persia came back with a slap to the face, only good things can come of this!
Now without further ado ... I present to you my Game of the Year finalists (winner December 31st):
By order of when I first played it:
1) UT 2004: The Unreal Tourney series is one of a kind and I have been playing them since they first came out many years ago. I was not too excited about UT 04 because I felt that the series was starting to lack or I was getting bored of it ... however the very first map of this game made my jaw drop. New engine with incredible graphics made this game amazing. UT 04 defined multiplayer FUN. With dozen of multi gaming options, UT 04 is the best of the best and has a very long lasting value. Pure fun and gets straight to the point for its fans is why this is GOY finalist.
2) FarCry: What can I say about this game? Did anyone know? Did anyone know how a small company created one of the greatest games ever? People say over or under hyped ... I say its just plain and simple INCREDIBLE. One of the hardest FPS's I have played this game has only 1 single draw back ... the graphics are too sweet. Makes the lagging a little hard FOR MOST COMPUTERS ... but the game and engine is to die for. The AI makes it impossible to complete the levels but you sit back and you understand the appreciation this game deserves. In the end I was not prepared for such a marvel ... this is a GOY finalist because the graphics, game play, and flat out fun is one to remember, forever!
3) Rome Total War: You knew it was coming. We were waiting for so long, and even with its cult following hyping it up, RTW delivered with a bang. With just the right amount of strategy and War playing, this game consumes you into a world of the past and make you ruler. You won't appreciate this game until you give it a weeks play to full understand how indepth the game really is. GOY finalist because its the bread and butter of strategy games. Like Civilization, this game will be talked about for years to come.
4) Doom 3: I honestly don't think there has been a single game more demanded or hyped or even had to live up to its predecessor as Doom 3. Doom2 changed the gaming industries many years ago, and fans all over the world was hoping the same for Doom 3. Did it satisfy? Too many, the answer is NO, but this is why Doom 3 is a GOY finalist. First it accomplished what it was set out for. To scare the living crap out of you. The graphics were an evolutionary step to real life and the AI and engine were the first of a kind. GOY you betcha, and many games will learn from this one. Doom 3 only failed for those who game it unfair expectations. For all others this is a game for the ages.
5) Half Life 2: There is a flip side to the coin. Many believe HL2 was the most anticipated game not D3. I don't want to get into but the fact remains that Half Life 2 is one of the greatest games I have ever played. The new engine and graphics run smoothly but the most impressive aspect of HL2 is the story integration. Half Life 2 did not fail on any level. What sets HL2 apart from other games is the atmosphere you are put in and believe. It truly feels as though when you play this game you are in that world with "big brother" chasing after you. When a game pulls you in to a character you feel, its done an incredible job. GOY ... more like top 5 games of all time. Only draw back, when will HL3 come out?
6) World of Warcraft: Blizzard did it again. It marked another game to improve its resume as one of the best gaming companies ever, and they did it in grand fashion introducing WoW. One can't imagine the complexity or longevity of this game until they play 20 hours and realize they didn't even hit maybe 1% of the game. Too many people pick on the little drawbacks and kinks in the game ... but its a GOY finalist because of one true fact ... its addictively fun. It does what every game should be ... fun. I have not had this much fun with a game since I first played Diablo or Doom2. I have not wanted to play a game 10 hours straight until I played WoW. This game does its job and more, and they have successfully grabbed me into a world I will play for years ... and pay! Well done Blizzard, well done!
So, in conclusion 2004 marks one of my favorite years for PC gaming EVER. It is easy to say that we have 4 or 5 games that will be talked about many years from now, and the new games will have to follow. This is just my opinion and of course many will disagree with my GOY, however one thing is for certain, there were some of the best games for all people in 2004. Everyone ended this year satisfied, and will be playing them for a long time. Good job 2004 you were very impressive!!