Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Trying to determine GR's Top 5 Games of the Year was a painful experience for everyone involved. The truth is that there were plenty of games worthy of being in our Top 5 - far more than just 5 - and the process of weeding out the great from the greater was wrought with anxiety, arguments, and at least one known death. It got so grim, we even considered doing a Top 10 instead just to honor more games, but then we realized that would be exactly double the workload and promptly embraced the Top 5 idea again.
So despise, discuss, or defend the list to your heart's content, but don't dare disagree that all five of the following games totally rocked 2004.
Developer: The Creative Assembly
Forget all those silly epic movies - if you want to experience largescale warfare, look no further than Rome. A technical marvel, Rome: Total War stunned PC gamers with its impressive scope, intricate detail and inimitable delivery. Strategy fans simply couldn't do any better in 2004.
Sam Fisher goes online and kicks all kinds of ass in this fantastic sequel. Pandora Tomorrow's compelling cat-and-mouse multiplayer proves that you don't need giant guns and hectic action to be a super agent.
It's the little engine that could! Katamari Damacy rolls right past the overhyped heavy hitters and earns a spot in our Top 5 due to its innovative gameplay and impeccable style. Five months later and we're STILL singing those damn songs.
Look, we're not thrilled that GTA keeps winning GR awards, but no one does what Rockstar does. San Andreas is bigger and better than its Game of the Year winning forbears, a massive undertaking that is without peers as a single-player game. It just keeps going, and going, and going....