I feel it will be interesting to know everyone's Goty each year in the 2000's and honorable mentions. Here's mine.
Tekken Tag Tournament: A great spin on the 3D fighting genre and Tekken formula.
Halo: Combat Evolved: This game revolutionised shooters, had amazing graphics, a wonderful world that made you want to explore and it still holds up today gameplay wise. Just an amazing game in my opinion, one of the best FPS games out there.
Honorable mentions: Devil May Cry, Max Payne
Dishonorable mentions: GTA 3
GTA: Vice City: I didn't enjoy GTA 3 much but Vice City was a huge step up, in just a year! The atmosphere of Vice City was amazing, Starfish Island is one of the most memorable places in video games for me, the soundtrack was great and the controls were far better. This is what truly made open world games what they are today.
SimCity 4: The sheer scope and scale of this city builder is insane even now, let alone in 2003. There were tons of tools at your disposal, the region was huge, there were variety of architectures and running the game at 1080p60fps is a challenge even with my GTX 1050 and i7-770HQ laptop in 2017.
Honorable mentions: Pokemon FireRed, NFS Underground, Max Payne 2
Dishonorable mentions: Devil May Cry 2
Pokemon Emerald: Hours and hours of content with lots of good sidequests and the best starter Pokemons after the original. Also Emerald's generation of Pokemons are the best and I like having so much water ;)
Honorable mentions: NFS Undergound 2, Halo 2, Gran Turismo 4
GTA San Andreas: It came out on PC in 2005 where I played it and its scale and scope still mesmerizes me to this day. This is what made me a gamer, a game with interesting world, fun exploration, memorable characters, a touching narrative, fun gunplay and lots of content. If it were released in 2004 on PC like the PS2 version and Devil May Cry 3 then I would've chosen NFS Most Wanted, which cemented gaming as a hobby for me.
Devil May Cry 3: How Itsuno went from one of the worst games I've ever played to one of the best perplexes me. This is the guy who bought the crap Devil May Cry 2 to us but then turned it on its head and made this masterpiece to make up for it. The combat in this game is incredibly deep with fantastic weapon variety and the ability to ascertain one of the buttons on your controller to different functions. Such a seemingly simple thing brought so much complexity to an already impressive arsenal of weapons. The script and cinematography are cheesy but revel in it and turn cheesy into fun. The boss fights are great too and there are a lot of them, some weird, some intense, mostly all of them fun.
Honorable mentions: NFS Most Wanted, God of War, GTA Liberty City Stories, Tekken 5
Dishonorable mentions: Pursuit Force, Coded Arms
GTA Vice City Stories: This is the best GTA game ever made despite just being a PSP game. That's also why its severely underrated, but it took Vice City and added neon lights, improved gunplay, had a great story and more memorable characters and featured an empire building side quest that I really enjoyed. Also it just had way better mission design. Easily one of the best games of all time, and my second favourite PSP game. The portability definitely was a bonus though, and playing a true GTA game on the go that surpassed all the console and PC versions just blows me away.
Honorable mentions: Tekken: Dark Resurrection, Resistance: Fall of Man, Cricket 07
Dishonorable mentions: Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, NFS Carbon Own The City
God of War 2: This is the game that elevated the series to one of my all time favourites. The story was captivating with many memorable and emotional moments, the game was incredibly long for a linear action game at 18 hours on my first playthrough, the puzzles were a step up from the original, the weapon selection is one of the best in any action game, there were so many great boss fights and it didn't have those terrible platforming sections of the first.
Honorable mention: BioShock, Halo 3
Dishonorable mentions: Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Transformers: The Game, NFS Undercover, NFS Prostreet
God of War: Chains of Olympus: This game has one of the best opening boss battles alongside Hydra King and Asylum Demon and was the first truly amazing hack and slash game on a portable. The graphics blew me away but so did the characterisation of Kratos and the environments you traverse in. Tartarus is one of the most atmospheric areas in the series, the river of Styx is memorable with the huge volumes of blood in a perpetual twilight and the darkness that fell when Morpheus abducted Helios. This game definitely did the atmosphere right, but it also had good boss battles, an interesting story and introduced the Gauntlet of Zeus, known as Nemean Cestus in God of War 3.
Honorable mentions: GTA 4, Resistance 2, Devil May Cry 4
Dishonorable mention: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
Demon's Souls: Demon's Souls is an RPG that truly stood out in a world full of games with cheesy characters and boring randomised encounters and repetitive grinding. Yes I'm talking other JRPG's here. WRPG's were better but lacked cohesion and just put a ton of stuff into their worlds for the sake of content. Demon's Souls went about it differently. It made the core combat rewarding, fun and strategic, and just playing the game itself feels like a reward rather than the arbitrary loot you can get off enemies like in other RPG's. The bosses were special too and the game had a beautiful melody and fantastic level design both in terms of atmosphere and pathways through which you could reach your destination. But not just that, Demon's Souls dared to be different. In a world full of wannabe Hollywood heroes trying to make you laugh with their witty one liners and a plot as predictable as a child buying Star Wars action figures, Demon's Souls had a character that didn't speak or react to other characters who actually told you the story, albeit in tidbits, along with the environment itself and items you could find across the world and from fallen enemies. That's how you do loot right.
Honorable mentions: Assassin's Creed 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Infamous, Uncharted 2, Killzone 2, MotorStorm: Arctic Edge, Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny
Dishonorable mention: Gran Turismo
God of War 3: A landmark in what a game can achieve in terms of epic scale and a fitting conclusion to one of gaming's greatest trilogy. It did so many things well that I don't feel like mentioning all of them. I did find the story underwhelming though, but the gameplay is top notch.
Red Dead Redemption: RDR is Rockstar's best game. I didn't know if I would like an open world game that didn't have a city before playing this game, but after playing it I realized I like an open world set in the countryside more. But that was because Rockstar designed it very well and the rest of the game lived upto the beautiful environments. My favourite horizontal open world game.
Honorable mentions: NFS Hot Pursuit, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, GTA EFLC, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Bayonetta
Dishonorable mentions: MGS Peace Walker, DBZ Tenkaichi Tag Team
Dark Souls: Dark Souls is a better Demon's Souls, with some setbacks but many improvements. That's all it needs to be the GOAT.
Honorable mentions: Batman: Arkham City, Resistance 3, Infamous 2
Dishonorable mentions: Assassin's Creed: Revelations, NFS The Run
Soulcalibur 5: An incredible fighting game with some of the best fighting mechanics though the lack of singleplayer content and terrible story hold it back from being an all time great. That's still enough to make it the GOTY in a weak year for content.
Honorable mentions: FIFA 13, Max Payne 3, Forza Horizon
Dishonorable mentions: Assassin's Creed 3, Halo 4
Gran Turismo 6: Gran Turismo 6 is the most feature complete and content rich racing simulator game ever made. The sheer number of cars and tracks, dynamic weather and day and night cycle, introduction of Vision Gran Turismo and good online community makes it just a bit better in my view than GTA V.
Honorable mentions: GTA V (The actual GOTY for 2013 considering GT6 became what it became over the course of two years. GTA V was better in 2013, but by 2015 things had changed), Tomb Raider, TLOU, DMC: Devil May Cry, MGR Revengeance, Steamworld Dig
Dishonorable mentions: Assassin's Creed 4, God of War: Ascension
Infamous: Second Son: The gameplay of Infamous has been a fantastic mix of ranged combat and platforming and Infamous Second Son I think did it better than the previous games, with a bit less focus on platforming and more on crazy fun. This game is one of the most fun games to play this generation and looks amazing.
Honorable mentions: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Titanfall, Dark Souls 2
Bloodborne: New IP's are Miyazaki's charm and this is the third GOTY award I'm giving to his game. The fast paced combat, atmosphere, design of all those characters and bosses, the boss fights, level design, pacing and music are all top notch stuff.
Honorable mentions: The Witcher 3, Batman: Arkham Knight
Dark Souls 3: Another Miyazaki game. Nothing to see here. GOTY stuff.
Honorable mentions: Uncharted 4, Doom, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, Ratchet and Clank, The Last Guardian, Forza Horizon 3
Zelda BOTW: Nintendo outdid themselves. One of the most innovative games I've ever played in a year filled with exciting new experiences. I haven't yet played all the games I want from 2017 yet, with Persona 5 and Super Mario Odyssey being the games I'm interested.
Honorable mentions: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, Tekken 7, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Nioh, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, GT Sport, Forza Motorsport 7