Grand Theft Auto IV
The Grand Theft Auto series has never been particularly well known for being a graphical powerhouse. Grand Theft Auto IV, however, changed that. Ditching the series previous cartoony appearance, it took the graphics in a more realistic direction, along with a darker, superb story full of liars, friends, and dead bodies. The controls are excellent, and the detail put into simple things like walking up stairs is amazing. Couple this with some of the greatest audio in a video game yet, the same go anywhere, do anything gameplay that made the series famous in the first place, and online multiplayer that lets you reek havoc across Liberty City with friends, and you have one of the best Xbox 360 games of the year.
What can be said about Fallout 3 that hasn’t already been said? It proves that a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. can be really, really fun. The main quests have been vastly improved from Oblivion, not to mention superb side quests that will add untold hours to the game. The art is fantastic, whether it be mutant creatures, or the destroyed beauty of Washington. The V.A.T.S system is both rewarding and useful, the humor is dead on, the graphics are amazing, and the RPG elements are included just right so you don’t ever feel like you’ll have to level grind to succeed. The question shouldn’t be are you going to play Fallout 3, but when are you?
Left 4 Dead
When Valve sets out to do something, they set out to do it right and Left 4 Dead is one of those endeavors that clicks on all cylinders. Sure there are issues with the game, including the inclusion of only four maps, but no one can deny that Left 4 Dead gets it right on the gameplay front. If you are a fan of the zombie genre, first-person shooters or co-op games there is very little reason for not playing this game which is hands down one of the best co-op shooters to come out in years.
Prince of Persia
The prince gets a reboot and boy is it a good one. The game takes all the great aspects of last generations Prince of Persia games, mixes it with some Assassin’s Creed and the Playstation 2 classic Ico, and redoes the art style to give it a fresh new feel. The Prince of Persia series hasn’t felt this fresh since Sand of Time was released and even then this new Prince does so many things better that this version of the prince may be the best one yet. Where Assassin’s Creed might have taken a few missteps Prince of Persia gets it right delivering the most fantastic journey in gaming, at least on the 360, this year.
Gears of War 2
Was anyone really expecting anything less? Forget about some of the awful boss battles, and you’re still left with one of the best multiplayer experiences on the 360. The graphics seem to have done the impossible by looking even better than the original in both art and in technical specs. Horde mode is one of the greatest additions to a game ever, as playing with up to 4 friends taking on wave after wave of enemies is both thrilling and satisfying. The main gameplay has stayed unchanged, which is perfectly fine, with minor tweaks that make the game even more gratifying, from new executions, weapons, enemies, and modes. Is it “Bigger, Badder, and More Badass”? We’d say so.