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Games Of The Decade: 2005

The last best games of a generation

With the first next-generation console landing at its tail-end, 2005 was very much a transition year for gaming... which also meant we got to play some absolutely cracking third and fourth generation games on PS2, Xbox and GameCube.

One of the best games of the generation, Resident Evil 4 kicked off the early months with its stunning debut on Nintendo Gamecube (later appearing on PS2), followed shortly by Sam Fisher's finest hour, the excellent Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.

More triple-A releases cleared the way for the next generation in the form of Sony's God of War and Tim Schafer's masterful platformer, Psychonauts. And when the Xbox 360 finally did release in December of that year, punters would discover that the best launch game available was also out for PC: Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 2.


The Contenders
Call of Duty 2
Resident Evil 4
God of War
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Psychonauts

The Runners Up
All five of our nominations are fantastic games, but there's one clear, standout title in our 2005 list (which you can see two paragraphs downwards). Call of Duty 2 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory in particular are both fantastic action games that stand up even five years on, while Psychonauts holds a firm place in the hearts of many gamers.

God of War, while undoubtedly a surprising and fantastic entry in the god-punching genre, didn't perhaps properly take off until the arrival of its brilliantly realised sequel in 2007. Plus it's not as good as this game...

The Winner: Resident Evil 4

Zoom

Capcom's true action classic reinvented an entire genre, taking the gaming populace by storm and moving GameCubes out of the shops even in its dieing hours.

It took years of construction and countless reboots by Resident Evil master Shinji Mikami, but finally his Japanese team managed to deliver - to our surprise - an innovative, near-perfectly formed action spin on the monster survival horror series - and it's still influencing action games to this day.

While introducing a new and refreshing gun-heavy slant to the tired franchise, Mikami's game took the brash decision of moving the in-game camera to an over-the-shoulder position, creating a claustrophobic and intense atmosphere in what would otherwise have been a great but not very scary action game.

This and many other Resi 4 hallmarks have since become near-standard in the genre (see Gears of War, Dead Space and others for examples of obvious Resi 4 spiritual decedents). But Capcom's masterpiece isn't known for its innovation in third-person shooters as much as it is for its brilliant design.

Context sensitive actions such as kicking down ladders and smashing doors mix with big bosses, intense QTE sequences and clever puzzles to form one hell of an action game. You could argue that it still sets the benchmark today - even its sequel didn't manage to receive anywhere near the level of critical acclaim.

Resident Evil 4 is definitely a big bullet point of the last decade. It's exciting to think that Mikami, now at Platinum Games, is yet to unleash his true Resi 4 follow-up.

The winner:
Resident Evil 4

Runners Up
The Contenders
Call of Duty 2
God of War
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Psychonauts

Your Shout
We've told you ours, now you tell us yours. Stick your top five and overall winner in the comments field below and we'll tell you why you're wrong.

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