Games of the Year, 2001

Well, here's another year in which I played more than 10 games, but there weren't 10 that warranted inclusion on a list such as this.

List items

  • #8

    Although I never got into the single-player campaign, I had a lovely time playing this in multiplayer with friends. Although some of the games resembled minigames from Mario Party, I welcomed the polished and colorful versions presented here. I also want to highlight the soundscape of the game - the clinks, clacks, and monkey chatter very much added to the charm. We loved Monkey Fight and Monkey Target, as well as the sports-leaning competitions like Golf, Bowling, and Billiards.

  • #7

    The best word for this FPS is "solid." Although I can't say anything about the game was "outstanding," I appreciated the game's engine, weaponry, and environments. The oppressive Nazi castles seemed sure to house some ancient evil. I actually played this somewhat recently (I'm writing this in 2020), and it holds up rather well.

  • #6

    Though I certainly didn't get into Melee as much as some of my closest friends, I could tell that it was a competently designed fighting game that served as a elegant homage to some of Nintendo's best franchises. Although I could sometimes make a match interesting with Marth, I spent most of my time either trying to opportunistically land a big hit on my friends (Jigglypuff's sleep, DK's punch, Game & Watch's 9 bat, Luigi's headbutt) or just being so irritating (spamming Dr. Mario's pills or Samus' bombs) that they would leave me alone to watch the match in peace. Although I was never particularly skilled, I very much enjoyed watching talented Fox and Sheik players go to work.

  • #5

    There were so many exceptional things about this title. First off, it started my love affair with bullet time. It's since become one of my absolute favorite game mechanics, and now is a selling point to me for any game that features it. And it couldn't have been featured in a cooler, grittier world. The comic book-panel storytelling and noir one-liners, capably delivered by James McCaffrey's Max and coupled with Sam Lake's scowl, sucked me into this cold and bitter version of New York. Max doesn't heal, he just pounds painkillers as he roams these dingy and dilapidated apartment complexes. Max Payne also featured a behind-the-bullet camera to highlight the most devastating shots from your sniper rifle, adding yet another cinematic touch to the experience.

  • #4

    Though Yuri's Revenge couldn't have had the impact of it's base game, it competently expanded the experience with a new faction and new campaigns. It featured the same delightful camp, FMV cut scenes, and sense of humor that I knew and loved from Red Alert 2, while introducing some of the most entertaining units and structures. The Allies got a "Battle Fortress" that could be loaded with infantry, while the Soviets received a commando counterpart to Tanya, a Spy Plane that went some of the way to mitigating the Allied advantage with the Spy Satellite, and some Siege Choppers that were a blast to dispatch. On the other hand, Yuri's mind control towers and units could turn a player's most dangerous units back against them.

  • #3

    I feel like this is likely the first third-person, open world game that I played. Although the campaign was fun, more than anything I just appreciated the playground of Liberty City. I learned the city like the back of my hand, taking my Banshee into street races and over radical stunt jumps. I turned on the CORNERSLIKEMAD cheat and sideswiped random cars off the bridge and into the bay with a military transport truck. I cruised the town, listening to a custom mix of my own MP3s (I played the PC version) or one of the game's own amusing radio stations. GTA III was revolutionary.

  • #2

    While Diablo II started my obsession with ARPGs, allowing me to create interesting builds while doing boss runs and trading for rare gear, Lord of Destruction turned things up to 11. I now had two new classes to play with, the inclusion of runes (and runewords), and charms that could sit in your inventory and provide additional character enhancements. There were new uniques and set items that made more builds viable than ever, and a magnificent new 5th act to the game. The introductory cutscene to Lord of Destruction is one of the most memorable to me in all of gaming, and I'll never forget getting blown to smithereens later in the act by Nihlathak's chained corpse explosions.

  • #1

    It took quite a while before I actually understood the reverence that some have for the Silent Hill series. The vast majority of Silent Hill games from 2004 onwards reviewed somewhat poorly, and Silent Hill always seemed like an inferior rival to the Resident Evil series. A few years ago, however, I finally decided to see what the hullabaloo was all about. I was blown away... Silent Hill 2 was not only better than pretty much any Resident Evil game I'd ever played, but it merged gameplay, environment, and story in a way I hadn't seen before and likely haven't seen since. The enemies featured relate directly to the psychology of the main character, and the surreal, unnerving, and unpredictable environments served to induce in the player the same psychic confusion felt by James Sunderland. The game was also distinctively touching, an emotion not often found near horror titles. Silent Hill set the stage for what could've been an unbelievable franchise. A place, unique for each visitor, populated and shaped by their unique psyche and mental demons. After this experience, I too became one of the eternally disappointed masses, desperately hoping that Konami could somehow make lightning strike twice.