#13: Resident Evil 4 (GameCube/Wii)
Release Date: January 11, 2005
Last Year: #14
The Resident Evil franchise had always fascinated me since the original game debuted on the PlayStation 15 years ago. The concept of surviving a world full of flesh eating zombies and other bio-engineered monstrosities both terrified and intrigued me. So I was always watching friends of mine play these games, as I never dared to play them myself (the tank-like controls and the fixed camera angles did nothing to cast away my fears). But when Resident Evil 4 came out, I was finally ready. The game seemed like a fresh take on the series, and I was ready to take control of Leon S. Kennedy and solve the mysteries of this Spanish village. And let me tell you, Resident Evil 4 was one of the most intense, frightening, action-packed, "holy crap holy crap!" video games I've ever played. In short, the game is brilliant, with every corner holding some new event that will either make you crap your pants or shout out "That was awesome!". The game also positioned Leon S. Kennedy as the number one badass in my book. Hasta luego.
Favorite Boss: Jack Krauser
Jump-out-of-my-Skin Moment: The Oven Man
#12: WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos/The Frozen Throne (PC)
Release Date: July 3, 2002
Last Year: #13
WarCraft III really came out of the blue for me. I mean, I loved StarCraft and I've always enjoyed myself when playing Blizzard's RTS'... but I never realized that I'd love WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos (and it's expansion, The Frozen Throne) this much. For the actual RTS game itself, I enjoy the slower pace compared to StarCraft, as well as the new heroes with RPG-style leveling. I also really enjoyed the four races and the epic storyline that pitted the forces of Azeroth against the Burning Legion. But what made this game really special for me were the Custom Maps of Battle.Net. Tower Defense games as far as the eye could see (with my favorite type being the different themed 'Mauls'), the beginning of DotA (including the most racist and homophobic people ever), and every other type of gameplay style under the sun. There was so much to see and do... it's almost overwhelming. WarCraft III is easily my most played game ever... and for good reason. Whether it's the main game or the thousands of custom ones... everything is just so much fun.
Favorite Race: Undead
Favorite 'Maul': PokeMaul
#11: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GameCube)
Release Date: March 26, 2003
Last Year: #11
There are many things that make The Wind Waker stand out, and it's not just the game's cel-shaded visuals (which are completely brilliant). The game starts our young hero off on this tiny little island in the middle of a Great Sea. The land of Hyrule, which I had come to adore by that point, went missing without a trace. Only later on, in one of the most awe-inspiring and heart-wrenching events that I've encountered in a video game, did I realize that Hyrule had been flooded... and that the handful of islands were all that remained. The game also made us look at the character of Ganondorf, and his role in The Wind Waker has made him my favorite video game villain of all time. Sure, there's a lame Triforce hunt near the end, but other than that, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was a sublime experience for me with events that will continue to be unforgettable. Also, playing in Link's PJ's is awesome.
Favorite New Character: Makar
Awesome Facial Expressions: Here