Shea’s Top 10 Games from 2005

I’ve never gone back and put together a list of my favorite games from 2000-2009. Until now. Here are my retrospective favorite games from 2005.

Games I Played

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
Crash Tag Team Racing
Devil May Cry 3
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
Dynasty Warriors 5
God of War
Gran Turismo 4
Kirby: Canvas Curse
Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
Pokemon Emerald
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Ratchet: Deadlocked
Resident Evil 4
Rise of the Kasai
Shadow of the Colossus
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Star Wars: Republic Commando
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Ultimate Spider-Man
We Love Katamari
World Series of Poker
Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse

Honorable Mentions

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

10. Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

Call of Duty gets plenty of hate nowadays, and even its near future setting is beginning to feel tired, but back in the times of WWII shooter dominance, Call of Duty came on the scene in a big way. Where Medal of Honor focused more on realism — at least so much as first-person shooters can — Call of Duty made no qualms about its spectacle. Everything was exploding at all times, and it was amazing. Big Red One was the console version of Call of Duty 2, and it differed from most other Call of Duty games by only focusing on one military unit instead of switching back and forth between several.

9. Star Wars: Battlefront 2

Star Wars Battlefront was my game of the year from 2004, and Battlefront 2 fell into the same trap that many games did of being a great, yet disappointing sequel. The biggest problem I had with Battlefront 2 was the ability to play as hero characters. I know for most people this was one of the cooler features, but for me, part of what made Battlefront special was the “boots on the ground” feel of playing as a nameless soldier in a larger war. The gameplay still felt great and I enjoyed the new maps and missions, but the some of the magic just wasn’t quite there anymore.

8. Devil May Cry 3

I have complicated memories of the Devil May Cry series. I’ve never been someone that’s really enjoyed combo-based third-person action games — probably based on my lack of skill in traditional combo-based fighting games. There’s something about complex button combos that just doesn’t click with me; they’ve never felt natural in my hands. But, I really enjoyed Devil May Cry 3 in spite of that. I wasn’t scoring “S” ranks coming out of missions, but I was still having fun. Everything was so over the top, and I dug the gothic yet colorful vibe.

7. God of War

To me, God of War was a better version of something like Devil May Cry. There were still combos, but they felt easier and were less essential in killing dudes. They had similar aesthetics, but Devil May Cry definitely had the edge in terms of protagonists. Kratos wasn’t exactly a three-dimensional character, which only makes me more excited for the changes they’re making in the new game. Despite the story not being its strongest aspect, the concept was so cool. Being able to fight greek gods was awesome, and each boss battle offered up a unique challenge.

6. Gran Turismo 4

Gran Turismo 4 was another case of “most of the same” not always being a bad thing. I largely never really got into driving games, but something about Gran Turismo was special. It was absolutely stunning to look at, and the car enthusiast in me liked collecting my favorite models. I wasn’t the best at the actual racing, but I didn’t care. The tracks were varied enough that I didn’t mind having to replay them a few times in order to place higher. And at the time, the visuals made it feel like I was really driving those gorgeous cars.

5. Xenosaga Episode II:

I’m still waiting for a Xenosaga HD remaster, but I might end up waiting forever. Most people I talk to didn’t really know anything about the Xenosaga series, with Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest being forefront in their minds. I’m not saying that Xenosaga was objectively better than some of those other games, but to me it was special. The second game vastly improved over the first in terms of combat, story, depth, and graphics. It was just all-around a better game. There was a fun air of mystery to the story, which was satisfyingly mixed with sci-fi and monster movie elements.

4. Psychonauts

Psychonauts has become a cult hit in recent years, with a VR game and direct sequel in development. At the time of release, Psychonauts didn’t sell well, but it sure was a fun game to play. At its core, this was a third-person platformer — but as you progressed farther into the game, you unlocked psychic abilities like levitation, telekinesis, and invisibility. You also got to go into the minds of different characters to help them solve their problems, which added an interesting visual and gameplay wrinkle.

3. Dynasty Warriors 5

This one is an obvious personal preference. I would never argue that the Dynasty Warriors games are the most polished, unique experiences in gaming, but some of my favorite gaming memories as a kid were playing Dynasty Warriors 4 and 5. There was just something really cool about being able to pick between dozens of playable characters that all had their own fighting style, playing through seemingly endless story missions with action-packed cutscenes in between. Sure, there was an insane amount of enemy pop-in, but there were also literally thousands of enemies on every map.

2. Resident Evil 4

I’m not a big Resident Evil person. I find the stories to typically be complete nonsense, and I just don’t think the tank controls are fun. Why would I want to play a game where I can’t move and aim at the same time? It seems absurd. But somehow, Resident Evil 4 transcends those issues to become something quite special. Sure, the story is still pretty stupid and there are way too many escort mission scenarios, but the game is just fun. The enemies are both hilarious and terrifying, the shooting feels good despite the archaic mechanics, and the inventory system was incredibly unique. I’m not one of those people that thinks Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games ever made, but it’s definitely really, really good.

1. Shadow of the Colossus

On the other hand, Shadow of the Colossus is one of the greatest games ever made. To be fair, it’s a hard game to go back to because of its camera and control issues. I tried to play it a few years back when the HD version was released, and I didn’t make it very far. But if you look at the game at its time of release and where video games were back then, it’s astounding what Team ICO was able to accomplish. I can’t think of any other game that has developed such a sense of scale, and made me care so much about its characters without one single line of dialogue. Fighting each colossus felt completely different than the one before it, and there was always a sense of sadness when you were finally able to take one down. It was a melancholic game, but one that has remained bright in my memory for over a decade. That’s something pretty special.

And there you have it, my top 10 games from 2005! Be sure to leave your favorite in the comments, and check out my other video game rankings!

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