After much fighting and debate the NZGamer Staff make their picks for the 2004 Game of the Year awards.
Sometimes gaming just doesn't get any better than this. 2004 was a standout. This was the year in which every console hit their prime, from the hysteria inducing midnight launches of the most thickly hyped software to the pure unbridled excellence of the sleeper hit. And just like every year, NZGamer is here to tell you its picks for each platforms personal standout, followed by the prestigious overall Game of The Year crown. We hope you will enjoy reading our picks as much as we enjoyed playing them. So without further ado, let the award ceremony commence!
NZGamer GameCube Game of the Year
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
"Sequel to the greatest game ever made" is what some critics called it, that's a lot to live up to, fortunately Metroid Prime 2: Echoes doesn't falter one step in providing an immersive and high-quality gaming adventure. The Metroid series has always had a dark and mysterious tone to it and Echoes really fleshed this out in the creation of the dual worlds of Aether, one possessed by dark creatures called the Ing and one where the Ing were at war with the peaceful and proud Luminoth race. Samus Aran again is caught up in the fray and selflessly puts her incredible skill to good use by helping the Luminoth destroy the Ing. Echoes is every bit as good as the original Metroid Prime sporting all its fantastic traits, organic and unique level design, brilliant art direction and a powerful and gripping storyline. Echoes is a game that draws you in and makes you forget about the real world, while you're holding that GameCube controller you are Samus Aran, it's just that believable.
- Paper Mario 2: The Thousand Year Door
- Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Reader's Choice - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
NZGamer PlayStation 2 Game of the Year
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The Grand Theft Auto series on the PlayStation 2 has always been ranked right up there with other G.O.T.Y contenders for all three installments, but none have been as massive and immense as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is. San Andreas puts the player into the shoes of Carl Johnson, who returns to his home town of Los Santos, San Andreas after hearing about his mother been killed. As the storyline progresses the world opens up and the player can explore the other two cities in the state of San Andreas; San Fierro and Las Venturas. The world is huge, and you can traverse it, through the cities, countryside and desert with whatever means of transport you want, from tractors to military jets. With the sheer amount of mini-games and side missions, San Andreas will be a game that will last you for hours upon hours. Go anywhere and do anything has never been more true.
- Jak 3
- Burnout 3
Reader's Choice - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
NZGamer Xbox Game of the Year
If any game this year was more hyped than any other, then Halo 2 was certainly it. Somehow the game lived up to it's hype and delivered the most comprehensive Xbox Live support ever seen on the platform, and in doing created the best game to play on Live. Master Chief returned in Halo 2 to further squash the powerful Covenant threat but this time we got to hear the story told from another side, the Covenant themselves. Truth be told Halo 2 was very similar to it's predecessor but sported a hefty graphical overhaul, more in depth storyline and a few more extra features (like dual-wielding) which really made the game seem a whole lot different, fresh, new and exciting. Again, the Live component needs mentioning as right now everyone with a copy of Halo 2 and a Live subscription is playing it. Brilliant map design and user-friendly interfaces make Halo 2 Live a game which you'll still see people playing when inevitable Halo 3 comes out.
- Ninja Gaiden
- Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Reader's Choice - Halo 2
NZGamer PC Game of the Year
The Sims 2
The best selling PC game of all time was what the original Sims game was touted as. After many add-ons and upgrades to the original game, the time had come for a completely new outlook on life. Along came The Sims 2, where you are able to control your own personal 'doll house' just like you always dreamed. The Sims 2 takes controlling your own Sims to the next level, where anything and everything is possible. One of the major upgrades which The Sims 2 boasted was the inclusion of 'Wants' and 'Fears'. These give you milestones to strive for and achievements to reach at. While a controversial pick for PC G.O.T.Y, The Sims 2 appeals to people of all ages, with solid, addictive gameplay. It redefines and brings a whole new meaning to the simulation genre.
- Half-Life 2
- World of Warcraft
- DOOM 3
Reader's Choice - Half-Life 2
NZGamer GBA Game of the Year
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green
It was somewhat a snail of a year for intrepid GameBoy Advance owners in 2004, the AAA titles were trickling slow and thinly, with growing Revolution rumblings and the DS release on the horizon it might have seemed Nintendo was 'away elsewhere'. And then it hit. The mass wave of hysteria that only a Pokemon game can produce - even a re-release of two existing Pokemon games. Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen weren?t your typical sequels, refitted with improved GBA graphics and repackaged with wireless link capability this was a revival of the original Pokemon Red and Blue versions that kicked the whole Pokemon phenomenon off all those years ago. Was it a cash-in? Yes. Was it any good? Yes. FireRed and LeafGreen might have been a deliberate attempt to empty the pockets of Pokemon lovers, but it had just enough extra oomph to make it feel new again. Still fun, still addictive, still made you wanna catch 'em all over again.
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Reader's Choice - Harvest Moon
And The NZGamer Game of the Year..
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The PlayStation 2 hit Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas takes the award for 2004 Game of the Year, and rightfully so. Up against tough competition San Andreas shines just that little bit brighter. GTA: San Andreas has changed the way to look at open-ended gaming, allowing the player to gamble at casinos, eat fast-food restaurants, work out at gyms, buy weapons at weapon stores, the list goes on. Play as the gangster from the hood, drive around in low-riders or sports cars, live a life of luxury taking private jets, play the role of a cop, a taxi-driver, a fire-fighter, a pimp, a valet service. There is nothing you can?t do. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' gameplay and replay value is unparalleled, and for that we give it the coveted 2004 Game of the Year award.
Reader's Choice - DOOM 3
While 2004 was no doubt a great year for gaming, 2005 will also another outstanding year in our view, with the release of some major titles coming up and the handheld market expanding. Of course there will also be news on the next iteration of the Playstation, Xbox and GameCube consoles which we look forward to. 2005 will also be huge year for NZGamer and will be full of suprises for everybody to look forward to. You can expect to see reviews for all of 2005's hottest games, along with more extra features than ever before. We look forward to bringing you the latest in all things gaming, so keep it locked to NZGamer.com