December 24, 2004

~ PART 2 ~

Welcome to the second part of the 2004 Future Gamez Awards where a winner is picked for each different major genre as well as a winner for the Best Sound and Graphics as well as the Best Overall Game of 2004. If you missed Part 1 of the awards where the best and worst of 2004 as well as best developers, peripheral and technology were awarded then I would suggest you go there to check out the other winners first. If you've checked them out then read on.

Best Puzzle/Strategy/Music Game
Winner: SingStar Party (Sony)
Karaoke has really taken off in Australia over the last couple of years and it was little surprise to see game developers jump on the bandwagon. Sony released their first game in May 2004, but the second game upped the ante with new game modes, and an ability to use songs from the first disc. This game is tremendous fun and a worthy purchase for all those not scared to pick up a mic in front of friends.
Runners Up: The Urbz: Sims in the City (EA Games), Eye Toy: Play 2 (Sony).

Best Fighting Game
Winner: Mortal Kombat: Deception (Midway)
Midway have really become a powerhouse developer over the last couple of years and their premiere series is Mortal Kombat. This latest game includes a tonne of characters and levels but it's the inclusion of online gameplay that will keep most gamers entertained the longest. Get bored of that and you have the Konquest mode, Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat to have a look at as well. A sensational game that deserves this award.
Runners Up: Def Jam Fight For NY (Aki Corp.), WWE Smackdown Vs Raw (Yukes).

Best Sports Game
Winner: Pro Evolution Soccer 4 (Konami)
With this series winning the award for the second year in a row some may think I have some bias towards soccer. Not the case. In fact I almost never watch the sport. Having said that this game wins due to the depth of gameplay which is stunning. The only disappointment is the lack of online gameplay, but this still remains a winner and deserves to be in every PS2 collection.
Runners Up: Madden NFL 2005 (Tiburon), Fight Night 2004 (EA Sports).

Best Platform Game
Winner: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft)
While not as exciting as the original game this sequel from Ubisoft is certainly a platform game to be proud of. In tone and graphically the game is a lot darker with a lot more emphasis on combat. The game still has plenty of wall running, gap jumping and ledge climbing which makes this the platform game to have this year. The game is also quite a bit longer then the original ensuring you'll be playing well into the night.
Runners Up: Sly 2 (Sucker Punch), Whiplash (Crystal Dynamics).

Best Action/Shooting Game
Winner: Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (Insomniac)
Certainly more of an action then platform title now then the previous titles this game is sensational. Graphics, sound, gameplay, and longevity all combine to make this an essential purchase this Christmas. Most importantly the game remains fun with some splendid cut-scenes. Everything in this game is near perfect and is certainly one of the best online games this year.
Runners Up: Onimusha 3: Demon Siege (Capcom), Gradius V (Konami).

Best (Traditional) Role Playing Game
Winner: Final Fantasy X-2 (Square-Enix)
Little surprise that Square-Enix would come up here. Hell, it was hard to even come up with enough possibilities to have three decent RPG's for this category. All three of these games are worthy of being in any gamers collection but Final Fantasy X-2 comes up trumps due to the quality of cut-scenes, depth of story and general gameplay mechanics. RPG fans won't be disappointed by this game, but it hasn't been the best year. Fortunately 2005 is looking much better.
Runners Up: Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (Tri-Ace), Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (Black Isle Studios).

Best Adventure Game
Winner: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar North)
This game is so big and includes so many gameplay elements that it was hard to put into a category. Possibly RPG, or possibly Best Action/Shooting game. In the end we felt the game best fits the Adventure genre making this a clear winner. If you don't know about this game then you probably don't own a PS2. This is the biggest game ever, but a country mile (or a couple of hundred) with great graphics and sound, but more importantly a monster storyline.
Runners Up: Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly (Tecmo), Silent Hill 4 (Konami).

Best Racing Game
Winner: Burnout 3 (Criterion)
Fast, bloody fast. For that reason this game wins the Best Racing Game award. Never has a game conveyed the sense of speed which Criterion have managed to achieve with this game. If that wasn't enough you can add in some of the most exciting collisions ever as cars break apart and end up all over the tracks. The online gameplay is a blast while the mini-games will keep you coming back for weeks, months or years. Don't expect any games to get close to this one - until Burnout 4 comes out eventually. Runners Up: FlatOut (Bugbear), Need for Speed Underground 2 (EA Games).

Best Sound in a Game
Winner: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar North)
So the game lost the DTS sound from the original title, but given the lack of people that could play the game with such great sound quality it comes as little surprise. The reason why this game wins this category is not the voice acting, there is better, nor the sound effects, but rather the massive number of licensed songs in the game (around 100) as well as the hilarious radio DJ's. This is a technical achievement deserving of this Best Sound in a Game award for 2004.
Runners Up: Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly (Tecmo), Silent Hill 4 (Konami).

Best Graphics in a Game
Winner: Burnout 3 (Criterion)
The car detail may not be the greatest ever seen, but what makes this game so spectacular is the speed and effects. The scenery hurls past at lightning speed and the car sparks and shudders as you graze an object. All this occurs with traffic on the tracks and with only the smallest hint of occasional slowdown. If you want to show off the PS2 at its fines you can't got past Criterion's Burnout 3.
Runners Up: Jak 3 (Naughty Dog), Viewtiful Joe (Capcom).


Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Take Two Games
Release Date: 29/10/2004

Another year of stunning titles on Playstation 2, but one game stands out as an absolute highlight that will stand the test of time, perhaps not technically, but in terms of size and scope. If you don't have this game it's like running a car without an engine. With over 100 hours of gameplay and virtually unlimited replay value Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas met every expectation that came with it - something quite rare in todays industry. This game is an absolute necessity for every collection. Enough said.

Runners Up: Burnout 3 (Criterion), Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (Insomniac), Onimusha 3: Demon Siege (Capcom), Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly (Tecmo).

Click here to go to Part 1 of the 2004 Future Gamez Awards, including the worst of 2004.

I hope you enjoyed reading this Awards for 2004. If you have any comments feel free to e-mail me at the usual address: