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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.


Gears of War 2 by
published Monday, Jan 26th

Gamebrit Game Of The Year Awards 2008

Gamebrit.com opened it’s doors back in August of 2008, but us as a team have been gaming for a large number of years, so, in a incredibly late fashion, it’s with pleasure that we present to you the first annual Gamebrit Awards.

The Gamebrit Awards aim to celebrate the best in videogaming from the past twelve months, and not only are we honoring all games on all major platforms, we will also be selecting the best home grown title; along with the best game developed right here in the United Kingdom.

All the titles in the categories below were pre selected by Gamebrit’s staff team and after much further debate an overall winner was chosen. We hope you agree that our choices are deservedly awarded, if not be sure to join the debate on our forums to discuss the awards and the industry as a whole with like-minded gamers.

So without further a due let the awards commence:

iPhone Game Of The Year

Winner – Sim City iPhone

Nominations:
Fieldrunners
Super Monkey Ball
Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart
Bomboozle

Sim City
The visuals of SimCity 3000 combined with the gameplay of SimCity 2000 gave us the biggest and most ambitious iPhone app of 2008: SimCity iPhone from EA. With the ability to pinch in and out of your custom-built city to edit those fine details, this rendition of SC is both pretty on the eye, and pretty damn playable. The fun, addicting gameplay that you remember from the PC version remain intact to give great value for your £5.99 to provide hours of high fun.

Nintendo DS Game Of The Year

Winner – Professor Layton And The Curious Village

Nominations:
Advance Wars: Day of Ruin
Apollo Justice
The World ends with you
Soul Bubbles

Professor Layton & The Curious Village

It took its sweet time to arrive here but Professor Layton and the Curious Village was worth the wait. After a clever ad campaign and word-of-mouth it became one of the most sought after titles over the Christmas period, selling out across the country and fetching stupid prices on eBay. This popularity was no accident as Professor Layton is one of the most addictive and engrossing games of the year and a great bridge title to bring together new and old gamers.

Playstation Portable Game Of The Year

Winner – Patapon

Nominations:
Loco Roco 2
Echochrome
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Space Invaders Extreme

Patapon

The people behind LocoRoco have once again delivered a game that’s crazy, original and downright addictive. Patapon built on the idea of simple 2D graphics and combined it with a rhythm led, side scrolling, fighting game. This may sound like an unusual match but it’s an instant hit and has won critical acclaim across the industry. It covers all bases providing artistic visuals, perfectly mapped controls and a soundtrack that will get stuck in your head and won’t let go. This is not only one of the PSP’s finest but a game that should be experienced by everyone.

Multiplayer Game Of The Year

Winner – Burnout Paradise

Nominations:
Gears Of War 2
Left 4 Dead
Smash Bros Brawl
Mario Kart Wii

Burnout: Paradise

Despite being out for more than a year, Criterion, another UK based developer, have been supporting Burnout Paradise with a slew of downloadable content since release, it’s this continued support along with a amazingly thorough game to build upon that make Burnout Paradise our multiplayer game of the year. A solid multiplayer experience, different to any other racing game make Burnout Paradise such an appealing multiplayer affair. The open structure of the multiplayer gave gamers a choice in how to play which is still refreshing more than a year after release.

Download Game Of The Year

Winner – Braid (XBLA)

Nominations:
Geometry Wars 2
Lost Winds
Pixel Junk Monsters
Megaman 9

Braid

An independently developed title takes the scoop for downloadable game of the year. Braid (available on Xbox Live) married beautifully unique visuals with captivating and thought provoking gameplay. A highly satisfying puzzle challenge with indefinte style. Jonathon Blow, congratulations.

British Developer Of The Year

Winner – Media Molecule

Nominations:
Fable 2 – Lionhead Studios
GTA IV – Rockstar North
Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts – Rare
Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise – Rare

Media Molecule

Coming from a small office in Guildford, newly formed Media Molecule gave the world not only LittleBigPlanet but also a fresh approach to games development. They’ve drawn on 70+ years of combined gaming experience and are packed full of people who love making and playing games. This is incredibly clear from the game they’ve made so far and the community feel they’ve created that surrounds everything they do. The Media Molecule ‘family’ has got a bright future ahead of them and it’s genuinely exciting to wonder what project they’ll embark on next.

PC Game Of The Year

Winner – Red Alert 3

Nominations:
Spore
Football Manager 2009
Far Cry 2
GTA 4

Red Alert 3

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the famous phrase, but EA went ahead and fixed it anyway, by introducing a fully playable online co-op campaign. Fortunately nothing has stopped the consistency of the Red Alert franchise from being the awesome Real Time Strategy gaming series that we all remember, as the third (if played alongside a friend) could be considered the best yet of the trilogy. It may not do a great deal to introduce new players to the series, but RA fanboys will be drooling over HD Tesla Tanks, heavy naval combat and most importantly… Jenny McCarthy and Gemma Atkinson wearing leather in HD!

Playstation 3 Game Of The Year

Winner – LittleBigPlanet

Nominations:
Metal Gear Solid 4
Grand Theft Auto 4
Burnout Paradise
Resistance 2

LittleBigPlanet

Fresh from new developers Media Molecule, LittleBigPlanet put creativity back in the hands of players. Combining classic platforming with a do-it-yourself attitude, this game established itself amongst the PS3’s elite titles. Add to this an adorable lead character, limitless customization and one of the most fun multiplayer experiences around and you have an incredibly enjoyable game. With the ongoing content updates as well as the numerous user built levels being uploaded every day, LittleBigPlanet’s hold on the gaming world isn’t due to end anytime soon.

Wii Game Of The Year

Winner – Smash Bros Brawl

Nominations:
No More Heroes
Mario Kart Wii
De Blob
Zack & Wiki

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Despite all the massive hype, director Masahiro Sakurai managed to deliver on just about all his promises for this sequel. The impressive selection of playable characters, stages cameos and nods to the company’s glossy past made this a virtual wet dream for Nintendo fans around the globe and it quickly became one of the best selling hardcore titles of the year. The addition of a fully-fledged single player, online options and level editors gave gamers even more reasons to immerse themselves in the Smash Bros universe.

Xbox 360 Game Of The Year

Winner – Gears Of War 2

Nominations:
GTA 4
Burnout Paradise
Fallout 3
Fable 2

Gears Of War 2

Gears of War 2 was a highly anticipated sequel to a game that has sold over 5 million copies worldwide and had won many awards in 2007 including Game of the Year. It did not disappoint. A compelling story saw the characters progress in the fight against impossible odds with scenes of great atmosphere. Gripping multiplayer with new modes, such as Horde, meant that Gears of War 2 set a new record for the number of simultaneous players on Xbox Live, with over 1.5 million people logging on to play the game.

Gamebrit Game Of The Year

Winner – Gears Of War 2
Nominations:
Grand Theft Auto 4
Metal Gear Solid 4
LittleBigPlanet
Burnout Paradise
Fallout 3
Spore
Professor Layton & The Curious Village
Left 4 Dead
Smash Bros. Brawl

Gears Of War 2
As the above mentions, Gears of War 2 offered enough fresh material, coupled with the necessary high standards of graphics and sound, to win both Xbox 360 Game of the Year and Game Brit Game of the Year 2008. Congratulations Epic.


by
published Saturday, Nov 15th

Professor Layton And The Curious Village Review

Having found huge success with their expanded audience titles like Brain Training, Nintendogs and Wii Sports Nintendo were keen to introduce so-called ‘bridge’ titles – games that would lead non-gamers into more traditional video game territory. So far Mario Kart Wii could be held up as the best title that encapsulates this vision more than any other; taking an established franchise, adding a simplified and fun control mechanism in the form of the Wii Wheel, then marketing the hell out of it with lifestyle ads. The worldwide sales show just how powerful this combination can be, even if the hardcore followers have expressed concern over the apparent watering down of one of their favourite franchises.

There haven’t been a great deal of other games that can boast the same wide-ranging appeal, but Level 5 may have come up with the perfect solution in Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Taking the well-established graphic adventure genre and supplanting Brain Training-style puzzles appears to be a stroke of genius, especially as both styles sit perfectly with the DS’ stylus control system and the portable nature of the system. Add a unique and charming graphical style and an intriguing and compelling ‘who-dunnit’ plot and you have a winner on your hands. Nintendo and Level 5 seemed to have pitched their marketing just right with a title that could appeal to gamers young and old.

Curious Village’s story takes place in the village of St. Mystere shortly after the death of Baron Reinhold who has left his entire fortune to whoever can find the mysterious Golden Apple. Professor Hershel Layton the world-renowned puzzle-solving architect and his young assistant Luke have been asked by the Baron’s widow to solve the mystery and locate the lost treasure. The entire village is filled with puzzles, which the Professor has to tackle to get clues on the Golden Apple and its whereabouts. It’s these puzzles that make up the majority of the gameplay and there are some real head-scratchers to get past if you want to see the end of the game.

Even amongst the first twenty or so puzzles you’ll come across there are some that are likely to have you pulling your hair out and reaching for the nearest FAQ. If you get really stuck you can use a hint coin, which can be found hidden in the village (tap any conspicuous barrels around the village and you’re sure to find a few) and will come in very handy for getting through the ten-hours of puzzling ahead of you. Each puzzle is worth a certain amount of points. Complete it on your first go and get maximum points; mess up and points will be dropped from your possible reward. Aside from points you can also win mystery items and other such things to help you on your way.

Completing one that has had you stumped for a while without resorting to using hints is immensely satisfying and is why Professor Layton is such a hard game to put down. Not all of them are essential to complete to get through the game but you’ll be keen to find as many as you can. Most can be found by tapping at any objects that catch your eye in each scene. There’s a large variety amongst the 130 puzzles, with a mix of logic, maths and visual tasks and for the most part they are integrated nicely into the story and environments.

Speaking of which, the presentation is one of the other big selling points for Curious Village; the soft watercolour style is unlike anything out on the market at the moment. It looks a bit like French children’s book illustrations from the early 20th century, with a touch of Studio Ghibli (who incidentally will be having a hand in Level 5’s latest RPG). The cut-scenes that divulge story elements are fluidly animated and look great on the small DS screen. Level 5 should also be commended for the excellent soundtrack that plays quietly in the background; clearly taking inspiration from French folk music, this accompanies the art-style perfectly.

It’s hard to pick any faults with Professor Layton’s first adventure, but any main concerns would have to lie with the difficulty curve, which is more like an uneven road than a well-defined hill. You can be stumped for ages on one puzzle then whiz through the next few without much thought. Although this is partly due to the variety of puzzles and how peoples brains are tuned; some will naturally find the logic puzzles more difficult than the visual ones or vice versa, which isn’t really the game’s fault.

Level 5 have already found great success in the US and Japan (where Professor Layton and it’s sequels have become huge sellers) and that looks set to continue in the UK. Debuting at a well-deserved number six in the UK games chart is no small feat for a new handheld IP and will hopefully mean that we’ll be able to sample Layton’s next two adventures. If you or your family enjoyed the brain training games but wished they had a bit more substance, Professor Layton is the perfect solution.