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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'WorthPlaying's Top 20 Games of 2005' - Part 1

by Rainier on Jan. 8, 2006 @ 2:17 a.m. PST

After a few weeks of deliberation and voting, "part one" of our top 20 games of 2005 is finally being unveiled! We're starting with titles ranked 11-20, so come back tomorrow for the top 10 and what WP considers to be the best game of 2005. Read more for the final results!

11. Burnout Revenge (Multi)

Burnout Revenge is a large improvement over Takedown, but the evolutionary leap isn't as great as it was between the second and third iterations. Still, there is plenty of chaos to warrant a purchase here, especially for fans of the last game. The sense of speed is upped a couple notches, the tracks are much more interesting, with alternate routes and lots of ramps, Crashbreaker races are immensely fun, traffic checking adds more wreckage and destruction (which is a good thing), the huge, multi-tiered crash stages are a big step up, and once again, even more speed. Fans of Takedown as well as racing in general should definitely pick up this tribute to speed and destruction.

12. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Multi)

If you haven't bought Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PS2 or PC, get up right now and go. We'll be here when you get back. This is the definitive chapter in arguably one of the most popular game series of all time. If you haven't ever played a Grand Theft Auto game… well, first of all, shame on you, but more importantly, this is the one to get you hooked. The only reason San Andreas shouldn't be a must-buy would be if you already owned the PS2 or PC version and couldn't justify another purchase for a couple of minor differences from the other two.

Given the wonderful environment design, new RPG elements, and extremely well done "gangsta" theme, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas comes as close to perfect as anything in the past few years. A few technical issues and an aging engine are the only complaints, and they're minor.

13. Guild Wars (PC)

The players who find themselves a home amongst friends in an active guild and become involved in heated competition will likely find Guild Wars a vicious addiction for quite some time. This really is a case of a very good game whose long-term appeal depends more on the player than on any faults in the game. It's an exceptional title on so many levels, and it's on those merits that Guild Wars deserves all of the accolades it has received. Buyers should balance their long-term gaming interests with what Guild Wars has to offer, while also keeping in mind that it does not charge a subscription and will continue to offer free updates.

14. Project Gotham Racing 3 (X360)

When all is said and done, Project Gotham Racing 3 is not much different from PGR 2, but it doesn't have to be. It was already an awesome game to begin with, and it's even better on the Xbox 360. This game is so polished that you would have no idea that Bizarre Creations received the final Xbox 360 hardware only two months ago and had to really put in some insane hours to get this wrapped up in time for launch. Kudos (pun intended) to the whole development team for making one of the best racing games even better, and showing off what the Xbox 360 can do. If you are a fan of any of the other PGR titles, then you will absolutely love PGR 3. This is one of the best launch games for the Xbox 360 in all genres, and it's also one of the best racing games to date.

15. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Multi)

The multiplayer mode from Pandora Tomorrow has made a comeback, and it's just as addictive as before. The co-op mode, by comparison, is great fun either online or off, and although it was a little limited in the beginning, Ubisoft has released several versus maps and two new co-op maps (either over Xbox Live or PC patches). If the series continues like this, I'm sure they'll fix these last few problems in Splinter Cell Double Agent. For now, though, they're here, they shouldn't be, and they're frustrating anomalies in a package that's otherwise very polished. If you don't like stealth games, this won't change your mind. If you don't like Splinter Cell, check out Chaos Theory. If you didn't care for the franchise before, this title could change your mind.

16. Dungeon Siege II (PC)

One thing's for sure, though: Dungeon Siege II isn't a misnomer. You'll be spelunking in dungeons from dusk until dawn, picking up all kinds of shiny trinkets and enchanted weapons as you go. There are side-quests that take you off the beaten path, but no matter how far you stray, but you always end up back on the beaten path, making the game is fairly linear. You can import your offline character into multiplayer, as all your settings get vaulted over at GameSpy, save games included, so you can continue your game from anywhere you like. Dungeon Siege II will keep you busy for at least 30-40 hours, and after that, you can unlock two more difficulty levels and take your powered-up characters through the campaign again and again. The Veteran and Elite modes do not add any extra content, only harder AI and more enemies, adding roughly another 50-60 hours for the die-hard fans.

17. Fable: The Lost Chapters (Xbox/PC)

When all is said and done, I cannot help but gush about Fable: The Lost Chapters. Its setbacks are negligible in the face of everything the game does right. It has everything I look for in an RPG - a quality story, superb visuals, excellent music, a hint of humor that doesn't overstay its welcome, and above all else, a sense of immersion that sweeps me away to another world. It is single-player experiences such as this one that drive my passion for massively multiplayer games, simply because of the cravings I get to occupy my time in a virtual reality as engaging as Albion. To anyone who has played the Xbox version but has a powerful PC rig as well, I say grab this game and relive everything you loved and more. To anyone who doesn't own an Xbox but loves a well-wrought story, I say buy this as soon as you possibly can. Fable: The Lost Chapters is a shining example of why Peter Molyneaux and Lionhead studios are so legendary in the industry.

18. Advance Wars: Dual Strike (NDS)

Prevailing over both sets of concerns, Advance Wars: Dual Strike presents a slick invitation to turn-based neophytes without making the party boring for experienced strategists. With the wacky approach to art design, characters and storytelling, it's not exactly a case of everything for everyone, but that makes it no less compelling an introduction. For gamers who've already done a couple tours of duty on the GBA, Dual Strike is a worthy continuation of the Advance Wars saga.

19. God of War (PS2)

God of War starts off strong, hurling hordes of baddies into your path, only to be slaughtered by your blades. The controls are very easy to master, giving you the ability to brutalize and murder your opponents in the sickest fashion; it really is a button-masher's dream due to the fact that dealing out 40- and 50-hit combos right from the get-go is no problem. With high quality gameplay, flashy graphics, and an impressive soundtrack, God of War is one of the better action games to come out in a long time, and its originality and flat-out style is enough to make a great addition to any gamer's collection. The blood, gore, and blatant nudity will be enough to attract any mature gamer, but the action and detailed storyline will keep any gamer addicted.

20. Gran Turismo 4 (PS2)

Gran Turismo 4 may not be the huge upgrade that you may have been hoping for. The basic "buy, race, upgrade, race, buy, and repeat" routine is still there, there is no damage, no online mode, and the soundtrack is questionable. However, everything else so close to perfect, it's hard to resent these shortcomings. If you never liked the GT series, this game probably won't turn you onto it, but if you even remotely enjoyed any of the past iterations, or have just been waiting for a comprehensive simulation racing game to come along, GT4 is here, waiting. A certain purity exudes from GT4, and despite its faults, it's still a first class, one-of-a-kind racer.

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