Today's bunch really is a mixture of games that managed to steal our lives, bring us to tears, induce countless nerd rages and of course, make loads of new friends. Some of us have played these games more than we would like to admit, which only goes to prove their excellency. In case you missed it, click here for entries 40-31 which we posted up yesterday.
30. World of Warcraft (PC, 2004)
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft. Little needs to be said about the titan MMO that took the entire human population by surprise. Blizzard are known for their epic masterpieces, and WoW was no different. Love it or hate it, this detailed and balanced MMO has given gamers a reason to keep their virginities and avoid the sunlight for just a little while longer. Many would like to dismiss it's hold over them, but there's no denying it's presence in this last decade of gaming.
29. Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC, 2004)
Developer: Ion Storm Inc.
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
The greatest stealth series ever? Thief II may be considered the pinnacle, but the third game has a trump card: The Cradle. For most of the game Thief: Deadly Shadows is a cool fantasy sneak-em-up with an excellent narrative and the best central character in the form of Garrett, but it all takes a left turn at Shalebridge. An abandoned orphanage and insane asylum. Even Garrett, in his mission briefing, sounds scared of the place (and he's not scared of anything). It's all hints, suggestions and sounds at the start...then you find you're trapped with the inmates. Don't plan on sleeping ever again.
28. Rome: Total War (PC, 2004)
Developer: The Creative Assembly
"Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!"...and the incendiary pigs! And the Triarii! You can do exactly that in the real-time/turn based strategy hybrid Rome: Total War. The third game in the series after Shogun and Medieval, Rome was the turning point that really pushed the series on, with 3D Sprites in battles numbering thousands of soldiers, and a potentially unlimited scope for domination. Easily one of the best strategy games of the decade, Rome spawned two expansions, four more sequels and has one of the largest modding communities around. Total War has never been as complete as in Rome: Total War. It was even used to simulate historic battles in a BBC television series.
27. Company of Heroes (PC, 2006)
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Relic were no strangers to the RTS genre in the early 2000s, with the Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War series being a popular and well-rounded RTS. However, in 2006 they truly took themselves to the tip of the RTS pyramid with the release of Company of Heroes; a World War II RTS that combined resource management with small units and objectives to create an altogether more tactical and enthralling experience. Add to this the usage of advanced (for the time) DirectX10 technology and a new engine and it became clear that the game was company worth keeping, with decent multiplayer and a couple of expansions adding more campaigns for American, British and German forces. Company of Heroes took the overpopulated RTS genre and the overused World War II setting and managed to come up trumps. Bravo Relic!
26. Far Cry (PC, 2004)
Forget Far Cry 2 or Crysis, this is the definitive FPS. In fact, it's every FPS. Crytek's first (and arguably finest) game pinches from every single shooter out there at the time and manages to beat them all by offering variation and, most importantly, choice. The play-style might be more tactical than most other FPS', but Far Cry rewards thinking strategically. You can play levels again and again and again and every time it will play out differently. Plus the huge levels proved so impossible to do on consoles that it's still not available on anything but PC.