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published Thursday, Jan 21st

Games Of The Decade – 50-31

If you hadn’t noticed already it’s 2010, which means that another decade has passed. What a decade it has been though, the ‘noughties’ has brought the next generation consoles, online gaming, downloadable content and most importantly some of the best gaming titles ever release. Take a look at what the Gamebrit Staff have decided are the best and most important 50 games of the last decade. First up 50-31.

 

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

50 – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The biggest step up in the franchise since GTA 3, San Andreas saw you take on a much larger map with more detail, excellent voice acting, and a plot that actually made you care about the characters. As with all GTA games, this title was met with bad press due to the violent content, but this is still one of the pinnacles of the PS2 and an excellent game.

Platform: PS2 Developer: Rockstar North Year: 2004

 

 

Professor Layton & The Curious Village

Professor Layton & The Curious Village

49 – Professor Layton & The Curious Village

Professor Layton already had three adventures released in Japan before Nintendo brought him to the UK. This first title was a cross between a French graphic novel and a GCSE maths exam, but was strangely compelling all the same.

Platform: Nintendo DS Developer: Level-5 Year: 2008

 

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus

48 – Shadow of the Colossus

Team Ico knew it would take something ‘Colossus’ to topple their debut game, but spiritual sequel Shadows of the Colossus more than matched its predecessor. Bringing down one of the game’s 16 colossi was an exhilarating but strangely emotional experience.

Platform: PS2 Developer: Team Ico Year: 2006

 

God Of War 2

God of War II

47 – God of War II

Taking all that made the original God of War so special, the developers dialled the action, puzzles and epic scale up a few notches. The result was even bigger environments to traverse, vastly improved graphics and brutal combat that even today is seen as a benchmark for hack and slash titles.

Platform: PS2 Developer: SCE Studios Santa Monica Year: 2007

 

Fable 2

Fable II

46 – Fable II

Hyped as an RPG giving real consequence to your choices, Fable II fell short of that promise. Instead it offered immersion in a story polar to the familiar po-faced, Kung-fu-onion filled JRPG. The game allows you to fart and puppet theatre your way to popularity or infamy.

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: Lionhead Studios Year: 2008

 

 

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock

45 – Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

While Guitar Hero III wasn’t the title that brought the Guitar Hero franchise the acclaim it so rightly deserved it certainly brought the idea of being able to download additional songs to the masses on the next generation of consoles. That and you could play as guitar legends Slash and Tom Morello.

Platform: Multi Developer: Neversoft Year: 2007

 

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker

44 – Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker

Nintendo took a big risk with the toon-shaded art style, but it paid off, as Wind Waker is still one of the most beautiful looking games ever. It may have been too short, too easy and had one of the most frustrating fetch-quests ever, but it still stands as an epic entry in the long-running franchise.

Platform: GameCube Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2003

 

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

43 – The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

It takes the RPG of yore and puts flesh, bone and decent acting to the text adventures that enthralled so many way back when. ES:IV melded adventure gaming perfectly with FPS’s. Creating the path for genre crossing games like Fallout 3 and Bioshock, introduces RPG elements to FPS games and paves the way for COD: Modern Warfare.

Platform: Multi Developer: Bethesda Year: 2006

 

Viva Pinata

Viva Pinata

42 – Viva Pinata

Attracting piñata animals with sweet-based names to a garden in order to breed them – the concept of Viva Pinata in a nutshell. Rare’s weird and wonderful take on animal breeding provided one of the most unique gaming experiences of the last decade. Delightfully colorful, wonderfully charming and incredibly additive, gardening has never been so much fun.

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: Rare Year: 2006

 

Grand Theft Auto Vice City

Grand Theft Auto Vice City

41 – Grand Theft Auto Vice City

Set in Miami with story components similar to those found in the Scarface films, Vice City offered an all-round action fest involving guns, drugs, and even rock and roll – depending on which station you listened to. You play as GTA III’s Tommy Vercetti who has just been released from jail and attempts a simple job for his old boss. Of course this simple job goes sour and you end up on a rollercoaster ride until you eventually become the top man of Vice City. Vice City is truly a masterpiece of sandbox gaming. “It’s time for the Lance Vance Dance!”

Platform: PS2 Developer: Rockstar North Year: 2002

 

Metroid Prime

Metroid Prime

40 – Metroid Prime

Nintendo took a big gamble giving one of their greatest franchises to Retro Studios, but the Texas-based studio more than delivered. The moody atmosphere of the SNES title was recreated perfectly in 3D, as were all the other series’ staple elements, like epic bosses and unique alien worlds to explore.

Platform: GameCube Developer: Retro Studios Year: 2003

 

 

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros. Melee

39 – Super Smash Bros. Melee

Nintendo’s curious N64 beat-em-up was fully upgraded for the GameCube’s release, with over twenty of the company’s mascots fighting in themed arenas that took in nearly every facet of their illustrious history. Brawl may have expanded on every aspect of Melee, but this is by far the purer title.

Platform: GameCube Developer: HAL Laboratory Year: 2002

 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

38 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars games have always been hit and miss, but Bioware turned Knights of the Old Republic into one of the greatest RPGs of the last generation. Taking place a thousand years before the films, KOTOR took players on a whistle stop tour around that galaxy far, far away, during a great Jedi/Sith conflict.

Platform: Multi Developer: BioWare Year: 2003

 

Assassin's Creed II

Assassin's Creed II

37 – Assassin’s Creed II

A thrilling continuation of the story of Assassins versus Templars, and a great step up in terms of gameplay. Following the usual sequel formula of bigger equals better, Assassin’s Creed II gave players more abilities, weapons and variety as well as a more personal story. While not perfect, it still eclipses its predecessor at almost every hurdle.

Platform: Multi Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Year: 2009

 

Pokemon Gold & Silver

Pokemon Gold & Silver

36 – Pokemon Gold & Silver

The original Pokémon games were both brilliant – but that wasn’t enough for Game Freak and Creatures Inc. Not only were 100 more monsters to catch added, the now essential Poke-gear, dark and steel types and the breeding concept were included in what was the most revolutionary (and thus seminal) title of the franchise.

Platform: Game Boy Colour Developer: Game Freak Year: 2001

 

Ico

Ico

35 – Ico

Fumitsa Ueda’s haunting title remains the pinnacle of the PS2’s library. With minimalist story telling, Ico’s world told its own tale as you escaped from the mysterious ancient castle with kidnapped princess Yorda. This is quite rightly lauded as one of the most beautiful games ever made.

Platform: PS2 Developer: Team Ico Year: 2002

 

Mass Effect

Mass Effect

34 – Mass Effect

Where other RPG’s have offered a nuclear war hit Washington DC or a fiction version of the Earth as their setting, Mass Effect gave us the entire Universe as a playground, all of it. Well almost. Bioware’s RPG combined the traditional RPG elements with a solid third person action adventure to create one of the most epic and adventurous titles ever made.

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: BioWare Year: 2007

 

Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved

33 – Halo: Combat Evolved

A title which undeniably secured the future of the Xbox as a gaming platform. Launching alongside the system it was instrumental in the consoles initial success. Offering an engaging storyline that drops you right in the middle of a war. You battle on as humanity fights for its survival against the Covenant. In many gamers eyes, Halo is what made the Xbox what it is today as its flagship title in showing what the Xbox was really capable of at its launch.

Platform: Xbox Developer: Bungie Year: 2002

 

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing

32 – Animal Crossing

Shigeru Miyamoto’s unique ‘communication’ title was originally released for the N64 but retooled for the GameCube for a western audience. It took two years to make it to the UK after the US release but the wait was definitely worth it. Few games in the last decade managed to soak up player’s time so effortlessly.

Platform: GameCube Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2004

 

Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

31 – Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Nintendo set out to surpass Ocarina of Time and very nearly succeeded. Twilight Princess was still a magnificent adventure in its own right, combining an epic world with an engaging story and featuring some of the best puzzles in the series.

Platform: GameCube & Wii Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2006

 

 

So there you have 50-31 of the 50 best games of the decade. Agree or disagree with out our choices let us know over at out forum. Next up positions 30-11. If you want spoilers go straight to the top 10.


Shadow of the Colossus by
published Tuesday, Mar 28th

Shadow of the Colossus Review

When Ico was quietly released for the PS2 back in 2001 critics lauded it as one of the finest games ever made. Although it never achieved the success it deserved it did go on to sell a very respectable 800,000 copies worldwide and word of mouth coupled with it’s well known rarity ensured it was highly sought after on eBay.

With its notoriety in the gaming publics mind it was little surprise that any news of a sequel would be warmly received. Early screenshots of Nico, as it was known (a play on words – the Japanese word for two is Ni), garnered great amounts of interest across the gaming world which waited patiently for more details. They waited years for Team Ico to release their follow-up, now with a new title, Wander and Colossus, and boy was it worth the wait.

Shadow of Colossus tells the tale of a young man called Wander who has travelled to a vast and desolate land in search of an ancient power that can bring his (presumably) lover back from the dead. The beginning is just as ambiguous as Ico was; there are no clear explanations as to the relationship between the young lady and Wander or why he has brought her here, instead the developers seem to encourage players to let their own imagination fill in the gaps. That’s not to say players are dumped in a scenario without any explanation; the impressive opening shows Wander galloping across an enormous bridge that stretches across the land and is a suitable introduction of what to expect from the game. This is Ico in a way, just bigger (in every sense) and with a sense of scale that dwarfs even the original’s castle setting.

Fans of Ico will immediately feel at home here; those of you who spent hours just looking at the intricate sun-kissed architecture will love the temple and various ruins that scatter Shadow’s world. Keen-eyed players will notice the familiarity between Ico’s eerie tomb room and this game’s dank temple. As you lay the young woman at the Temple’s alter a disembodied, misogynous voice tells you what you must do to revive her; locate and destroy the 16 Colossi that roam this land. It all sounds so simple until you find the first Colossus who is probably as tall as the room you start off in (and is ultimately one of the smaller enemies you must conquer).

The first thing you’ll notice about the Colussi you fight is their immense size; they are absolutely huge. Each must be scaled in order to find their weakpoint which can be stabbed with your sword in order to bring them down. Actually getting to that weakpoint is the hard part; there are a variety of ways of climbing up them and you’ll have to watch their attack patterns to plan how to get on them. These fights make up the majority of the game (there are no other enemies in the land) and are extremely enjoyable, there are few games that can match the sense of exhilaration as you make your way up the Colossi and bringing each one down gives you an immense satisfaction as well as a tingling of regret. After all it is never fully explained whether these creatures are good or evil and seeing them collapse as you literally stab them to death is a sorry sight.

When the Lead Designer Fumito Ueda said he wanted to evoke emotions in the player he wasn’t just blowing smoke as Shadow of Colossus is certainly capable of bringing out a variety of emotions as you play. There’s a deep sense of foreboding and loneliness as you search the wasteland for your next target, with the lifeless surroundings offering little in the way of comfort. Your only friend along the journey is your faithful horse Agro, without whom your task would be much harder. There are many nice touches included as you develop a relationship with him, you can even pat him on the side instead of digging your spurs into him once he has gotten used to you.

Together you soon get into the pattern of searching for the Colossus using your sword (which shines a reflection in the direction of the next foe, as long as you are not in the shadow), finding a way into the lair and then working out how to bring them down, it’s the same for each one but it would be hard to fault the game for this. What could be criticised is the way the game forces you to defeat the Colossi in a particular order instead of being able to tackle them as you wish. This does ensure the game lasts longer but exploring every inch would have brought with it a greater reward rather than using the sword to home in on the next foe. This quibble aside Shadow of Colossus is one of the greatest games ever made on this or any platform.

Now that Sony have seen sense and re-released Ico why not reward them and yourself by picking both games up. You certainly won’t regret it.