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Will you buy an Xbox One X on November 7?

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Game Profile
 Written by GT Staff  on January 20, 2006

Specials: The best of the best, all rolled up.


Year in, year out, the video game industry keeps on growing. Ever since Pong ushered in the video game industry in 1972, each year brings familiar faces in different places and new and wonderful worlds to explore.

But what if the gaming industry didn't keep churning out new titles for an ever more rabid audience? What if a crash of epic proportions forced us to make due with only the games that were released in the last year? What would we do then?

I'll tell you what we'd do then. We'd take the 52 best games released in 2005 (one for each week of this hypothetical new-gameless year) and gorge ourselves on all the gaming goodness that should be more than one person can handle in a year. So that's what we did. The staff of Gaming Target went back over the 2005 slate of games and picked out the games we'd keep playing for another year if we had to. Of course, we'll play all of these great games in 2006 anyway.

So what if the gaming industry stopped? These are the twelve greatest games from 2005 that we'll still be playing 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009...

The First Ten
The Second Ten
The Next Ten
The Last Ten
The Top 12


The Xbox 360 and PC Game of the Year goes to...

Call of Duty 2 (PC, Xbox 360)
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward

You want exciting non-stop action? You want gaming so intense you'll feel physically and emotionally exhausted at the end of each level? Then Call of Duty 2 is for you, soldier. Infinity Ward's sequel incredibly tops the original (which many consider one of the best shooters ever) and blows every other FPS out of the water to become the new standard by which all shooters should be judged. The action and intensity simply don't let up; just when you think Infinity Ward can't jack things up any more, they lay it on thicker and heavier than ever - and damn if you won't enjoy every second of it. Combine that with beautiful graphics (especially the impressive particle, smoke and explosion effects), ridiculously loud sound effects, a sweeping cinematic score, top notch voice acting, great AI and animation, and intricate historical detail and accuracy, and you've got an incredibly immersive shooter experience that sucks you in and won't let go. Add in the insanely fun online multiplayer battles and you've got a top contender for Game of the Year honors. - Troy Matsumiya

The "Comeback Player of the Year" Award goes to...

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening (PS2)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom

Once left for dead after the disappointing Devil May Cry 2, Capcom did what they have done numerous times - redeemed what they almost killed. In this prequel to the 2001 smash that brought action gaming back from its coma-like state, DMC3 ramps up everything that ruined #2 - the return of a more gothic setting, a better story, a renewed Dante - full of attitude to boot, very cool new characters like Lady and Vergil, and of course, very challenging action, rivaling some of the most difficult games ever made, which turned off a great many gamers who couldn't quite hack the 20 rough missions. Going a step further, DMC3 featured minor RPG elements, tons of hidden missions, numerous weapons Dante could select and switch to, and 5 fighting styles that vary wildly. The result is one of the more well-rounded action games of the last few years, and one of the top games in 2005. - Adam Woolcott

The "Old School" Award goes to...

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)
Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer: Level 5

Strip away all of the cel shading and the 3D graphics in the battle scenes and the voice acting and the extended cut scenes and the ridiculously long subtitle and what would you have? Why, you would have another perfect 8/16-bit game in the long running Dragon Warrior series, that's what. With all the so-called ?advancements? that are made to games every year it was a tremendous honor to see a game like Dragon Quest VIII be so perfect in everything that it did and bring a little of that old school magic to the waning days of the PS2. I don't think I need to say anymore. - John Scalzo

The PS2 Game of the Year goes to...

God of War (PS2)
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Sony Santa Monica

One of the most hyped PS2 titles in recent years, David Jaffe's God of War had a lot to live up to - and it did. Set in ancient Greek history, you guide Kratos through Athens, on a quest to defeat Ares, the God of War. For the most part, GoW was a straight up action game, but its more user-friendly (read: it's not an overly hard game) combat and added emphasis on puzzles & exploration breaks up the otherwise intense action sequences, which usually involve dozens of bloodthirsty enemies looking for your head. And thanks to numerous unlocakbles, such as a 'true' ending when you beat Ares on God mode, and the Challenge of the Gods minigames, this one has plenty of replay to pass the time when there's nothing else to play. Sure, God of War doesn't break any new ground or tries anything too inventive other than context-sensitive commands during battles, but GoW shows you can just make a dang fun action/adventure game with enough meat to make it a must buy game for your PS2. - Adam Woolcott

The PSP Game of the Year goes to...

Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories (PSP)
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Leeds

After three smash hits on PlayStation 2, the Grand Theft Auto franchise...returns home to Liberty. Taking place just a few years before the events of Grand Theft Auto III, this PSP rendition dubbed Liberty City Stories puts you in the shoes of Toni Cipriani, and explains, in gruesome, violent detail, how the former mob foot soldier became the right-hand man of Salvatore Leone. Just because this is a portable game, don't shake this off as a watered-down, scaled back GTA; on the contrary, LCS is arguably a bigger game than even GTA III. Thanks to a horde of missions of both story and side variety, hidden packages, jumps, and rampages, Liberty City Stories has enough content to last a PSP owner a long, long time. Topping it off, Rockstar included several fantastic multiplayer modes; a first for the franchise. Even though it doesn't take advantage of online play, this is a huge step forward for Grand Theft Auto. If there was no other PSP games out there, Liberty City Stories still makes the hardware worth owning. - Adam Woolcott

The Xbox Game of the Year goes to...

Jade Empire (Xbox)
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: BioWare

The second big Xbox game from BioWare, makers of the popular Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire wove a tale of ancient Asian legend. It's a bit ironic that this is a western RPG with an eastern subject, and despite the fact that the game is about as authentic as the local Chinese restaurant, Jade Empire really is a great RPG with a good plot.

Like most of the Xbox RPGs, Jade Empire wasn't your typical turn based affair. Jade Empire featured an active real time battle system that gave the player several different martial arts styles and allowed them to be mixed up in combat. The player could also take one of many party members into battle and make them fight, or stand back and lend aid. Dialogue flows in branches, and gives the player the decision to play the game as either evil or good, making the game open to multiple endings. Jade Empire is also visually impressive with amazing lighting details and features a heavily Asian influenced soundtrack. Anyone looking for an exciting Asian flavored RPG outing this New Year need look no farther than Jade Empire. - James Dauer

The DS Game of the Year goes to...

Mario Kart DS (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo

Fortunately for DS gamers, Nintendo played it safe with Mario Kart DS. Instead of implementing a plethora of clunky touch-screen features and mechanics to the already fun arcade-style racing of Mario Kart, they spent their time tweaking the gameplay and adding new features. As a result, Mario Kart DS is easily one of the best Mario Kart games of all times, and one of the best games in the DS' library.

Mario Kart DS was also an important release because it launched with the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Though the online implementation was a bit minimalist, it greatly expanded the replayability of the title and made multiplayer, an important aspect of any Mario Kart title, available to anyone who could get online. Add onto this a slick presentation and classic battle mode to make a title I would (and will) certainly be playing throughout 2006. - Dave Hulick

The "Yes a Grown Man Can Name His Dog Jim Jam" Award goes to...

Nintendogs (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo

In Japan, the DS is the casual gamer's system. Open ended games with no ?goal? or specific ending top the sales charts weekly, while hardware sales are through the roof. This is thanks in no small part to the phenomenon that was Nintendogs, a dog training sim that allows you to take care of and raise your own cute little puppy.

Using the touchscreen and built in microphone extensively, Nintendogs is quite a game to behold. The title uses every feature of the DS to bring your puppy to life and to make your pet feel as lifelike as possible. Incredible animation coupled with sharp graphics round off the visual package, and dog training competitions and a massive array of collectible items add to the replay value and keep you coming back to your dog week after week. - Dave Hulick

The "We Ran Out of Awards" Award goes to...

Radiata Stories (PS2)
Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer:Tri-Ace

It's always nice when you get a role-playing game that breaks tradition and eases off medodrama in lieu of humor and light-hearted tone. Radiata Stories is one such game; sure it has its moments of standard RPG shtick, but Jack Russel's tale also has numerous moments of amusement. Along with that, the Suikoden-style system of recruiting allies for your party lets you customize the action any way you wish, assembing a party unique to you. There's even a game-changing option halfway through that leads to 2 different endings, adding replay value, a rare thing in many role-plalyers. The action is a bit simple, like a toned-down Star Ocean: Till the End of Time battle system, but the new order system lets you command allies and set up links for a more in-depth feel to this action-RPG system. There might have been better RPG releases in 2005, but this might be the most unusual and unique. - Adam Woolcott

The GameCube Game of the Year goes to...

Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, PS2)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom

Though Resident Evil is still considered by many to be a top franchise, it really hadn't done anything groundbreaking since CODE: Veronica way back in 2000 on Dreamcast, as the franchise seemed stuck in its 1996 roots. However, to the surprise of many, Resident Evil is back, rating at least a 9.5 on the vengeance scale. While the familiar character of Leon Kennedy, star of RE2, is your playable avatar, that's just about the only familiar aspect of Resident Evil 4. There's no Umbrella - they're gone. There's no zombies - they're replaced by something far more dangerous. There's no clunky controls made worse by a frequently confusing camera - instead, the behind-the-back camera and slightly refined control system adds a far more action-oriented pace than previously seen. It's a jarring, almost unfathomable change of pace; but it works and netted spectacular results. One could be forgiven if you forgot Resident Evil even existed prior to RE4. - Adam Woolcott

The "Best Argument For Games as Art" Award goes to...

Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SCEE

In 2005 Sony finally released their spiritual successor to the cult classic ICO. Shadow of the Colossus let players experience the story of a mysterious young man as he searches for and battles a series of beautifully crafted giants, or as the game calls them, colossi. Each colossus has its own pattern and methods of defeat, giving the player a different challenge every battle.

While the gameplay in Shadow of the Colossus is both addicting and amazing, the very presentation of the game goes above and beyond many games we've seen this generation. The game features a fully orchestrated soundtrack, amazing lighting and particle effects, and awesome character design and art direction. Much like Ico before it, Shadow of the Colossus will stand through the ages as another game that may arguably be considered a piece of interactive artwork. - James Dauer

The "Best Package" Award goes to...

We Love Katamari (PS2)
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Namco

Katamari creator Keita Takahashi may hate games, gaming, gamers, and everything we stand for, but you have to admit, the man knows how to make a quirky game even quirkier. We Love Katamari doesn't stray far from the ?roll up junk into a big ball? formula that made the first game a hit but it does it so well it's hard not to get sucked in a second time. From racing your Katamari against cars to taking it underwater to fattening up a sumo wrestler to help him beat the champ, We Love Katamari has all the weird bases covered. And the final moment of pure Katamari zen was achieved as the diminutive Prince took a Katamari around the world scooping up landmark after landmark. And this game's storyline of the rise of the King of All Cosmos is a riot. It's very easy to see how he gets more vain and ridiculous as the game wears on. And those tights! If this is the last we ever see of the Prince, the cousins and the glorious King of All Cosmos on a console it will be a sad day indeed. - John Scalzo

So there you have it, all of the best games of 2005. And part of me feels like we didn't even scratch the surface. So to all of those people that say gaming's in a rut, all there are is sequels and that developers have run out of creativity, I say: you're wrong. Good gaming is whatever you make it, and 2005 was an amazing year. And with the twilight of the Xbox, GameCube and PS2 and the new dawn of the Xbox 360, PS3, Revolution, DS and PSP, 2006 should be even better.



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