games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games of 2005 – Resident Evil 4, Guitar Hero, More

December 5, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Resident Evil 4

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week, I’m talking about the games of 2005. 2005 was the year that started a lot of the modern trends we have now, primiarily because of the launch of the Xbox 360. This is where downloadable games (generally) started, online console gaming became more prevalent, and so on. Still, PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube games were still around and still going great. A few games that didn’t quite make this top 8 were: SWAT 4, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus and Lumines. I’m sure there will be plenty of comments admonishing me for not having God of War on this list, but I’m just not a fan of the game much. Still, let’s begin:

#8: Indigo Prophecy

To me, this is probably David Cage’s most cohesive work. Or at least the most understandable, at least till the end, where it goes off the rails. You play as three protagonists, Lucas Kane who is a normal guy till he suddenly get possessed and kills a random person in a diner. His story is about evading the cops and trying to figure out what happened to him. On his trail are the other two playable characters, detectives Carla Valenti and Tyler Mills. There are some great set-piece action scenes in Indigo Prophecy (or Farenheit in other parts of the world), and the story is a good mix of real world and science fiction, right up until the end.

#7: The Warriors

Rockstar’s The Warriors was a really great love letter to the source material. It serves as a prequel and re-telling of the movie, it somewhat follows the same beats as the movie, the Warriors are accused of killing the gang leader Cyrus, and they have to make their way back to Coney Island while all the other gangs are looking to take them out. The game goes further than the movie though, with backstories on each of the main Warriors characters, like Swan, Ajax and Rembrandt, giving them much more personality. While the game isn’t as open as a GTA game was, there was still plenty of activities for you and your gang to do, from general gang brawls to breaking into stores or stealing car radios. The Warriors is probably one of the best examples of a 3D brawler type of game, akin to Streets of Rage or Double Dragon.

#6: Guitar Hero

There were rhythm games before Guitar Hero sure, but none of them broke into the mainstream like Guitar Hero did. It put Harmonix on the map, and while I like Frequency and Amplitude, this was the game that made them a decently popular name. The gameplay is simple at first, just press the buttons in time with the on-screen notes with a given song. However, the true test is that more complex songs requite greater dexterity from the player, particularly when you add in the 4th and 5th buttons on the guitar. Arguably, the only bad part of Guitar Hero, at the time, was that almost all (I think) of the songs were cover versions of the songs, and not done by the actual musicians. Some are pretty decent, but some are really awful. Thankfully once the music genre matured, they were able to get the “real” versions of the songs.

#5: Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

Mercenaries will always be remembered by me as having a ton of destructible environments and the “Deck of 52” system. The game let you destroy damn near anything you wanted, save for some key level geometry that just wouldn’t get flattened. Still, I’d guess that at least 60% of the game had destructible things, which is about 50% more than most games these days. The way you approached the bosses was cool as well, due to the card system. Aside from a few specific story missions, you could try and take out any boss at your own speed, with each having a value associated with them, either dead or alive.

#4: Need for Speed: Most Wanted

The first Most Wanted game in the best game in the entire NFS franchise for one reason: Razor Callahan. The story in Most Wanted is really over the top but in a completely endearing way, not in a fake, pandering way like the past decade of Need for Speed games. Aside from that, the game just had a perfect balance of open-world racing, and trying to elude the cops. The “open-world” aspects are a tad half-baked, there’s not any real collectibles or a ton of side activities, at least compared to other open-world racing games, but it’s still a superb experience, especially once the cops start chasing you, and you have to evade them. The best version was the Xbox 360 one, which can still fetch a pretty penny on used game markets.

#3: Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 was a real game-changer for the franchise. It completely ditched the tank controls and fixed camera angles that the earlier games had for a more action-oriented but still scary game. You play the returning character Leon S. Kennedy, as he has to infilitrate a remote village to rescue the President’s kidnapped daughter. It’s a somewhat flimsy excuse, but it serves the game well enough, especially since it gives the franchise a reason to have whole new monsters. Instead of the slow, shambling zombies of the first few games, the new enemies are the Las Plagas, which are parasites that infect people and turn them crazed, but still intelligent. RE4 did have an over-reliance on quick time events, but overall it was a positive experience.

#2: Amped 3

Amped 3 was the best game when the Xbox 360, bar none. Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero and Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved were good games, or at least I think so, but Amped 3 was the definitive game when the system came out. Other games, especially sequels of games, tend to play it safe when they come out. Amped 1 and 2 are passable snowboarding games but there’s no spark there. Amped 3 is literally bursting with creativity and wackiness, which is why I still fondly remember it 12 years after it came out. Aside from the completely bonkers story, it just has little touches that made it unique, like the way you could change your landing “flair”, or the different side activities you could do. The recent game STEEP had some of the same gameplay as Amped 3 did, but almost none of the personality, which is why I think it largely failed.

#1: Psychonauts

The 3D mascot platformer is largely gone in today’s market, outside of Nintendo’s output, obviously. Still, Double Fine made a fantastic one with Psychonauts. Staring the psychic Raz, he is at summer camp trying to become a Psychonaut agent. It’s not all fun and games though, as other kids in the camp are having their brains mysteriously remove and Raz sets out to uncover who is doing it. Psychonauts is brimming with style, every level is inside a different person’s (or mutated fish’s) damaged mind, and all are wildly different. From the black velvet-inspired world of Edgar the wrestler, to the board game mind of Fred Bonaparte, to the second-person perspective craziness of the Milkman level, each world has its own distinct look and gameplay mechanic that makes it unique. I’m seriously glad that Psychonauts 2 is getting made, and I hope it, along with resurgent games in the Ratchet & Clank, and Crash Bandicoot series, means the genre is finally coming back.

For comments, list which games were your favorite in 2005 and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Games of 2006

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison