Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBOX)
Action 07 June 2005
The seventh installment in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series – one of the most popular game franchises in history that brought Rockstar Games company international fame. The series has been letting the player start as a petty criminal and work his way to the top of the criminal underground. This next part of the series is the biggest one so far, featuring world – the State of San Andreas – almost three times larger than Vice City. Among many innovations, there are several thing worthy of mention: improved AI of civilians, option to recruit gang members, increased number of interactive buildings, hunger factor, swimming, and new means of transportation (e.g. bicycles). On top of that, there game features numerous extra activities, highlighting the sandbox character of gameplay. The game features the atmosphere of the 1990s, apparent in both the graphics and the soundtrack available via the numerous in-game radio stations.
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (XBOX)
Action 28 January 2004
A 3D action game that takes the players to the 1930’s USA, the time when criminal underground flourished. The game was created by Czech developer Illusion Softworks, mainly known for the highly acclaimed tactical shooter Hidden & Dangerous. The story focuses on a rookie gangster named Tommy, who takes his first steps on the path of criminal life by doing jobs for an influential mafia family. Gameplay comes down to exploration of a virtual city and completing a string of story missions, featuring many subplots. While playing, you will engage in street shootouts, bank heists, car pursuits, and assassinations. The creators did their best to recreate the evocative atmosphere of the USA in the 1930s, and implemented weapons and cars from that period. Insanity 2 game engine made it possible to generate interactive, bustling city with road traffic and changing seasons.
Half-Life 2 (XBOX)
Action 15 November 2005
A sequel to the Valve Software's best-selling game that set new standards for the FPS genre back in 1998. Half-Life 2 is set several years after the events of the first game. Once again, the player assumes the role of Gordon Freeman – a doctor of physics who used to work in Black Mesa Labs, where an unfortunate incident opened a portal for alien life forms to invade the Earth. This time, the story takes us into a fictional City 17 and its immediate vicinity. The protagonist now works for a secret government organization. His mission is to repel the invaders from another dimension, in which he is aided by Alyx Vance – a young women fighting as a part of human resistance. The sequel introduces a technological revolution, employing the Valve’s proprietary game engine called Source. Its main advantage is excellent physics simulation, letting players destroy almost any element of environment and use various objects as covers or even weapons.
Doom 3 (XBOX)
Action 03 April 2005
The third installment of the legendary FPS series by id Software which set new standards in the genre’s development back in the mid-90s. The action takes place in a secret research facility of the UAC corporation on Mars, where the protagonist, an ex-marine whom we control, begins his service. Shortly thereafter, strange things begin to happen: the lab comes under attack, the communications with the HQ are severed, and the people we encounter turn into bloodthirsty monsters. It turns out that a space-time portal was opened as a result of an experiment, which led to a demon incursion that we have to repel. Compared to its predecessors from the past decade, Doom 3 offers not only fast-paced and incredibly bloody action but also quite extensive plot as well as a number of horror elements. The game also features high-quality graphics.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (XBOX)
Action 04 November 2003
A new installment in the bestselling series of action games. The game expands the ideas introduced in the third entry in the franchise, released in 2001. The game was developed by the authors of the previous installments who, after having been bought by the American giant, were transformed into Rockstar North. The game takes place in the 80's in a completely new metropolis called Vice City. The player becomes Tommy Vercetti, who was sent by his boss to establish a foothold in the city while taking care of the local gangs and corrupted police. The game has similar mechanics to its predecessor and focuses mostly on completing various non-linear story missions. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City added some new features, such as the possibility to use motorcycles and helicopters. The graphics, inspired by aesthetics of the 80's, were greatly improved as well. During the game, the player is accompanied by a varied soundtrack broadcast by several different radio stations.
Halo 2 (XBOX)
Action 08 November 2004
A sequel to bestselling shooter franchise from Bungie Software, which debuted 2001 as one of the launching titles of the Xbox console. We meet old friends from the first Halo, such as Master Chief or Cortana, who now try to protect the cradle of humanity against the assault of aggressive Covenant forces. The game reuses the best features of its predecessor while taking players to a completely new environment, filled with even more interesting and complex locations. The arsenal has been expanded along with list of available vehicles, and the capabilities of enemy artificial intelligence have been significantly improved. Also, the second Halo introduces environmental destruction, resulting in an even more realistic world and forcing players to use various tactics. Multiplayer options have been expanded with the addition of new game modes.
Medal of Honor: Airborne (XBOX)
After a series of spin-off productions released for the 6th-generation consoles, the popular FPS franchise comes back in a full-fledged multiplayer installment. In accordance with the title, the events of the World War II are observed through the eyes of Boyd Travers, a paratrooper of the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division. The game offers six campaigns that take place between years 1943 and 1945 in Sicily, Normandy, Netherlands, and Germany, and the choice of the drop point determines our next move to some extent. The developers naturally didn't forget about faithfully recreating weapons of the World War II period, which can be customized by addition of extra grip, different magazines, etc. Contrary to its predecessors, Airborne is powered by Unreal Engine 3 which translates into better graphics, animation, and facial expressions. The above is complemented by an extensive cooperative gameplay for up to 12 players.
Grand Theft Auto III (XBOX)
Action 04 November 2003
Another installment in the controversial series of action games started in 1997. Grand Theft Auto III was developed by the authors of the original game, the DMA Design studio, this time under the wings of Rockstar. The third entry revolutionized the series by unleashing the players into an open, fully three-dimensional world brimming with virtual life. This was possible thanks to the RenderWare technology. The game takes place in Liberty City, a virtual adaptation of New York. The main protagonist is a young man named Claude who dreams about becoming the boss of the underworld and taking revenge on people who almost sent him to prison. The story of the game is non-linear and develops as the player completes dozens of assignments from various mafia bosses. A large arsenal of weapons can be useful in completing these tasks. The game also contains dozens of vehicles which – similarly as in the previous installments of the series – can be used with no limitations.
Hitman: Blood Money (XBOX)
Action 26 May 2006
The fourth installment in a popular game series about Agent 47, the perfect assassin, completing various contracts for the ICA organization. When its members are being meticulously eliminated and 47 loses contact with his superior, Diana Burnwood, he reaches the conclusion that he will become the next target. In order to save his skin 47 decides to stop the man behind the killings, Alexander Cayn, and his terrorist organization called the Franchise. When it comes to gameplay Hitman: Blood Money retains the core mechanics of the series, offering expansive missions whose objectives can be completed in many different ways. To do this we can use a wide arsenal of weapons, spearheaded by the silent and deadly fiber wire. The variety of moves and actions the protagonist can perform is greater than before, and the game offers a simple economy system. The money you earn lets you buy new deadly tools for your arsenal, weapon upgrades, and useful gadgets.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (XBOX)
Action 25 November 2003
A continuation of the extremely successful action game from 2001. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is once again developed by the Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment with the help from the publisher Take-Two Interactive. The action takes place one year after events of the first installment. Max Payne is back in NYPD. Unfortunately, the dark past still haunts him – the life of the hero is threatened by Mona – a beautiful killer, who steals his heart. There are not many changes in gameplay – it still combines elements of a third-person perspective shooter and an adventure game. Once again the developers implemented Bullet Time mechanics, offering new movement possibilities (like the thrilling bullet dodging).
Thief: Deadly Shadows (XBOX)
Action 11 June 2004
The third installment in the bestselling first-person stealth series, Thief, developed by Ion Storm studio - team composed mostly of developers responsible for the first two parts of the series. The story of Thief: Deadly Shadows is independent from its predecessors, though once again we play the part of well-known thief named Garrett who was the main protagonist of the previous games as well. This time, Garrett's quest is to stop a long-prophesied advent of an era of darkness, which requires him to steal valuable treasures and artifacts from different parts of the city. But things take an unexpected turn when Garrett inadvertently awakens the ancient evil, and becomes considered a traitor by the members of his guild. In terms of game mechanics, the title does not differ significantly from its predecessors, and every mission in the game can be completed in several different ways. The main difference is the new graphic engine and body awareness mechanism through which we have much more control over the hero's actions.
The Godfather (XBOX)
Action 21 March 2006
An action game based on the novel by Mario Puzo and its movie adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola. You play as a thief, who makes his way into the world of the Corleone family. By doing various tasks for them, he climbs up the mafia career ladder and earns growing respect from other criminals. The game is set in New York, at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s. The non-linear character of the gameplay allows you to choose the order of missions to complete as you wish. Like the Grand Theft Auto series, The Godfather features an open world, and the game is full of spectacular pursuits and shootouts, as the Corleone family has many enemies, e.g. Tattagalia, Cuneo or Stracci. The characters in the game are based on their movie counterparts, and are voiced by actors such as Marlon Brando, James Caan and Robert Duvall. The game features high-quality visuals and the music based on that from the movie.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (XBOX)
Action 28 November 2002
A third-person stealth action game by Ubisoft Montreal, inspired by the works of the famous Tom Clancy and the NetForce novel series. We assume the role of Sam Fisher, a federal agent and an operative of a secret unit within NSA (National Security Agency). The protagonist's task is to perform missions given to him by the agency, usually involving elimination of incredibly dangerous enemies, destroying documents, or infiltrating secret installations. Contrary to such series as Rainbow Six or Ghost Recon, where the emphasis is put on teamwork and commanding a unit, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell focuses on controlling one character, making it more of a stealth game. There is no shortage of open confrontation opportunities in the title, though. In such scenarios, we can choose from 13 available weapons and other useful gadgets.