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.
FlatOut 2 (XBOX)
Racing 30 June 2006
FlatOut 2 brings a continuation to a "brutal" racing game developed by Bugbear Entertainment. The original game combined regular racing competition with unlimited destruction - both cars and environmental objects could be damaged and / or destroyed. In FlatOut 2, the creators focused on extending the scope of mayhem the player witnesses, thus the only real challenge the player can encounter in this game constitutes of making it to the finish line in one piece. What's more, the crashes and car damage are visually even more impressive than in the original FlatOut, thanks to the improved graphics and an upgraded engine behind the in-game physics. The game offers 16 fully customizable cars, as well as 8 drivers differing in driving style and attitude towards opponents. FlatOut 2 brings both single player and multiplayer experience, for up to 8 players in the latter case. Additionally, Destruction Derbies were also included, similar to the original game. In Rag Doll events the player will "ski jump" or drive through fiery rings for example.
Indigo Prophecy (XBOX)
Adventure 16 September 2005
Featuring paranormal mystery/thriller esthetics, a third-person action-adventure game by Quantic Dream studio. The plot of Indigo Prophecy – perhaps better known as Fahrenheit - is set in New York City in year 2009. The city is witness to a series of inexplicably violent acts of murder committed by seemingly ordinary, lawful citizens. The action is presented from the point of view of two separate characters. One of them is Lucas Kane who experiences the mysterious event first hand as he kills a complete stranger in a restaurant's restroom. Haunted by strange visions, he decides to find out what is really happening. The other character is Lieutenant Carla Valenti who, along with her life partner Sergeant Tyler Miles, investigates the case. In the course of the game we will visit various locations, speak to other characters, and fight. What is characteristic for Indigo Prophecy is the dark, shrouded in mystery plot and the opportunity to solve the puzzle while playing either as the hunter, or the hunted.
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).
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.
Need for Speed: Underground (XBOX)
Racing 17 November 2003
The seventh installment in the legendary racing series developed since 1995. Created once again by EA Black Box, the game brings revolutionary changes to the series, focusing on illegal street racing, popularized mainly by The Fast and the Furious movie. This time, apart from usual races, the player can take part in several racing events, such as drifting competitions or drag races. The game offers a wide set of licensed cars popular among the illegal racing aficionados. The game stands out with a wide array of car customization options it delivers - the player can buy licensed car parts produced by the most popular real-life manufacturers. Money is an important aspect of the game, because the player spends the cash they earned in races to buy new cars and parts. Need for Speed: Underground features a diverse soundtrack as well. The player can listen to a variety of genres, such as rap, techno, or metal.
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 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (XBOX)
Adventure 03 November 2003
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (XBOX)
Adventure 01 December 2005
Another installment in the highly-rated action adventure game franchise following on the eponymous Prince, who in the past carelessly unsealed the mythical sands of time. After events of the previous part of the game, the protagonist return to his home – Babylon – plunged in the chaos of war. Soon it turns out that the previous actions of the hero led to the birth of his dark alter ego, whose spirit gradually takes over control over the protagonist's will. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones expands the mechanics implemented in the two previous installments and introduces new improvements to the combat system, as well as some innovative uses for the dagger of time and skills unavailable before, like sneaking. The biggest novelty offered by the game is the possibility of controlling two characters different with personalities, fighting styles, and abilities.
Call of Duty 3 (XBOX)
Action 07 November 2006
The third main installment in the popular FPS series, Call of Duty. It is also the first game in the franchise (not counting the console spin-offs) that in the end was not released on PCs. In contrast to the previous installments, this time the game was developed by Treyarch – the authors of the console version of Call of Duty 2. The plot of the game once again takes place on various fronts of World War II. This time one can play as American, British, Canadian, and Polish soldiers. The game mechanics remained almost unchanged in comparison to the previous games. However, there are several novelties. The developers implemented parachute drops and gave complete control over vehicles and boats to the player. Interactions with the surrounding were greatly improved. Overall realism has been improved – bullets behave different depending on what type of material they hit. Multiplayer mode was enhanced as well – now players can play in different roles and communicate using special commands.
Hitman: Contracts (XBOX)
Action 20 April 2004
The third installment in a popular stealth action game series, in which you play as the mysterious assassin known as Agent 47. Story-wise, Hitman: Contracts is made up of a series of flashback missions, beginning in a Parisian hotel, where the protagonist gets into after having been shot in the stomach during one of his missions. Heavily wounded, the protagonist is plagued by visions of his past contracts. Some of them are brand new missions and not related to one another, while some are more or less redesigned missions from the first Hitman game. Game mechanics employ the same well-proven gameplay formula from the previous installments in the series. Each of the 12 long missions features several objectives that can be completed in many different ways. Moreover, the game is darker and more brutal than its predecessors thanks to an interesting story and some audiovisual tricks.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (XBOX)
Action 13 August 2004
Jade Empire (XBOX)
RPG 12 April 2005
An action RPG developed by the creators of the Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights series. Initially, it was released solely for Xbox, then its expanded edition came out for the popular PC platform. The story of Jade Empire takes place in a fantasy world based on Chinese mythology. In the game, we assume the role of one of six characters — all of them students of a famous martial arts teacher called Master Li — that have to hone their skills under the supervision of their mentor in order to become true legends. The story is non-linear and is distinguished by the mechanism of making constant choices between good and evil, therefore each interaction with the environment, each conversation with an NPC, and even a fight influences the further plot progress and our character’s development path. The game offers fully 3D graphics with third-person perspective view and a real-time combat system that requires combining individual strikes into complex sequences.
Also known by the title Canis Canem Edit, Bully is a controversial action game developed by Rockstar Games. Originally, it was released for PlayStation 2, it was soon followed by Scholarship Edition for the next generation of consoles and PCs. The story takes place at the fictional Bullworth Academy, which combines an elite education facility with re-socialization grounds for juvenile offenders. The player assumes the role of a teenager who is trying to survive in these unusual circumstances. The protagonist encounters both strict teachers and unfriendly peers. The game is played from the third-person perspective and the player completes different assignments requiring them both to make friends among the peers and play different pranks on the teaching staff. The protagonist can join a local gang as well, which is trying to maintain control over the area forcefully.