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War and Peace
The best games of 2005

5. God of War | Sony | PlayStation 2 | God of Warís whiplash gameplay is nicely complemented by an unrelentingly grim storyline that earns the gameís Mature rating as much as the blood and guts do. Plus, if you donít see whatís so awesome about plunging your Blades of Chaos through a Hydraís face, and then slamming it mouth-first onto the splintered mizzenmast of an ancient sea vessel, then I canít help you.

4. Nintendogs | Nintendo | Nintendo DS | Sure, by some definitions Nintendogs isnít technically a "game." Thereís no overriding objective, and very few obstacles. But oh, those cuddly lilí Nintendogs! Not many games try to appeal to oneís nurturing side, and even fewer succeed. Thanks to its perfect balance of technological adroitness and simplicity of concept, it took me three months to get tired of this game. My dogs have probably run away.

3. Guitar Hero | Red Octane | PlayStation 2 | Prior rhythm games have let us sing, dance, and even rap, but Guitar Hero is the first American title that offers the chance to melt faces with lick after lick of high-voltage rock and roll. From the dead-on renditions of songs like "Cowboys from Hell" to the perfectly engineered guitar controller, Guitar Hero is a rare example of a developer fully capitalizing on a great idea. Thereís only one problem: where the hell is "Back in Black?"

2. Shadow of the Colossus | Sony | PlayStation 2 | "Abstract" is not a term usually associated with video games, let alone good ones. Shadow of the Colossus is an exception. It has all the running and jumping and stabbing one would expect from an action-adventure game, but completely realigns these elements and in doing so carves out a whole new genre. Imitators canít be far behind, but theyíll never top this.

1. Resident Evil 4 | Capcom | GameCube and PlayStation 2 | Resident Evil 4 has one constant, underlying theme throughout its approximately 20-hour playing time: you are going to die. Thanks to superlative graphic and sound design, plus a revamped control scheme, RE4 provides an unsettling, all-too-realistic experience in which the only thing scarier than moving forward is staying still. This game haunts my dreams. In a good way.


Issue Date: December 23 - 29, 2005
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