5. Star Wars Battlefront II (2005, PS2/Xbox/PC)
In the early days of online console shooters, Star Wars Battlefront II was an early standout. Sure, there was a PC version and obviously is looked better, ran better, and allowed for larger player counts, but at the time it was without a doubt the largest in scope of any console shooter. At a time when the dominant console shooter (Halo 2) allowed for 16 player games, Star Wars Battlefront II doubled that. The game took many cues from the Battlefield series, providing large firefights and wide open play areas. Unfortunately the game’s developer, Pandemic, has since gone under, so it’s unlikely we’ll see a true sequel.
4. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000, PC)
Baldur’s Gate II is one of the finest examples of CRPG genre. Like its predecessor, Baldur’s Gate II is set within the Dungeons and Dragon’s universe, more specifically Forgotten Realms. While the first game was the landmark title, being both Bioware’s first Role Playing game and the kick starter for the late ’90s/early 2000′s CRPG boom, the second game was an improvement and refinement on the original, with many heralding it as the best CRPG ever made. Regardless of which game you think is better, it is a fair bet that the western RPG landscape would be very different today if not for the Baldur’s Gate series.
3. Goldeneye 007 (1997, N64)
Goldeneye on the N64 is one of the games that, 15 years after its release, is more notable for its innovations and contributions to the evolution of the medium, as opposed to being a timeless classic. In fact, it is not a timeless classic classic by any means. The greatness of Goldeneye is judged 100% on when and on what platform it was released. If you tried to play the game today, you would be in awe at the outdated controls and blurry visuals. However, at the time, Goldeneye was the first console FPS that was anywhere near the quality of PC shooters. It also popularized split screen deathmatch, and was the precursor to Halo LAN parties. Oh yeah, it was also based on a James Bond movie and did a great a job of doing justice to the plot of the film in video game form.
2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003, Xbox/PC)
When it comes to licensed games, Star Wars games seem to have the highest overall quantity and quality. There are dozens of Star Wars games on pretty much every platform of the past 30 years, and many of them are good, and some of them are even great. However, only one can be considered a true masterpiece, and that is of course Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Bioware took everything they learned from making three RPGs set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe and improved the formula in many ways for their first foray into science fiction. KOTOR was one of the first RPGs to be fully voice acted, and voice acted well, a practice which Bioware has become known for in the years since. KOTOR is the perfect combination of the things that make Star Wars great and things that Bioware one of the greatest RPG developers of all time, and KOTOR is one of their best games.
1. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009, PS3/X360/PC)
Before Arkham Asylum, the idea of a comic book game being a game of the year contender was almost laughable. Ten years from now, Arkham Asylum may be remembered for doing for comic book games what Halo did for console shooters or Super Mario Bros did for platformers. Unlike many big screen adaptations of Batman, Arkham Asylum wasn’t afraid to embrace every aspect of the source material, while still treating the fiction with seriousness and respect. The reverence for the source material combined with some of the best third person melee combat ever are really what set Arkham Asylum apart from other comic book games, and also what makes it the best licensed game of all time.