The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (XBOX)
RPG 06 June 2002
The third installment in a legendary action RPG series developed by Bethesda since 1994. The story once again takes the player to the realm of Tamriel, this time to the east, to the Morrowind province. The player assumes the role of a prisoner released from imprisonment by the Emperor and given a secret mission. As it turns out, the protagonist may be the reincarnation of the legendary, treacherously murdered hero by the name of Nerevar, and his mission is to stop the reemerging evil that his previous self had once defeated. The player can chooses from ten available races and twenty-one character classes - thanks to the game's flexible character progression system the character development is influenced mainly by the player's preferred gameplay style. The player can freely choose which quests to complete and when. The game's fully 3D visuals are a big step forward in comparison to the previous installments in the franchise. Additionally, a special editor allows the player to modify the game world to a very large degree.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBOX)
Action 07 June 2005
The seventh installment in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series – one of the most popular game franchises in history that brought Rockstar Games company international fame. The series has been letting the player start as a petty criminal and work his way to the top of the criminal underground. This next part of the series is the biggest one so far, featuring world – the State of San Andreas – almost three times larger than Vice City. Among many innovations, there are several thing worthy of mention: improved AI of civilians, option to recruit gang members, increased number of interactive buildings, hunger factor, swimming, and new means of transportation (e.g. bicycles). On top of that, there game features numerous extra activities, highlighting the sandbox character of gameplay. The game features the atmosphere of the 1990s, apparent in both the graphics and the soundtrack available via the numerous in-game radio stations.
The Sims 2 (XBOX)
Simulation 24 October 2005
A sequel to the bestselling human life simulation game – The Sims (2000). The Sims 2 was developed by Maxis Studio (SimCity, EA Land, and others) in cooperation with the Electronic Arts company. Players again take care of virtual characters leading them through their entire lives – from early childhood till elderly age. The main goal is to achieve as high Life Score as possible, which stands for how well a sim leads his/her life. When compared with its predecessor, The Sims 2 offers much more complex character creator and a wider array of available objects. A new, more efficient game engine allowed for presenting the life of the sims in fully 3D graphics.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (XBOX)
Action 04 November 2003
A new installment in the bestselling series of action games. The game expands the ideas introduced in the third entry in the franchise, released in 2001. The game was developed by the authors of the previous installments who, after having been bought by the American giant, were transformed into Rockstar North. The game takes place in the 80's in a completely new metropolis called Vice City. The player becomes Tommy Vercetti, who was sent by his boss to establish a foothold in the city while taking care of the local gangs and corrupted police. The game has similar mechanics to its predecessor and focuses mostly on completing various non-linear story missions. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City added some new features, such as the possibility to use motorcycles and helicopters. The graphics, inspired by aesthetics of the 80's, were greatly improved as well. During the game, the player is accompanied by a varied soundtrack broadcast by several different radio stations.
The Sims (XBOX)
Simulation 14 January 2003
A bestselling life simulator developed by Maxis, a studio that specializes in the genre (they've created SimCity, SimTown and other titles). The Sims enables the player to take care of a virtual family of Sims. During the game the player must take care of various needs of his characters – starting with typically physiological ones (eating, toilet, hygiene etc.), through social relations, to career. The player has great freedom in expanding his family’s house, which can be furnished with various items that will be useful for the Sims. The gameplay mechanics are based on very simple principles and lack any violence, making the game a good title for casual players. A specific humor and large number of funny animations of character’s reactions are worth mentioning.
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.
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.
Just Cause (XBOX)
Action 22 September 2006
A third-person action game developed by the Swedish Avalanche studio (Just Cause is their first AAA project). The game takes players to an exotic South American island called San Esperito, which covers the area of over 1200 square miles. The player assumes the role of Rico Rodriguez - a CIA agent tasked with overthrowing the corrupt self-made government and investigate whether the island holds any weapons of mass destruction. The players get at their disposal an open world waiting for them to explore with no limitations. To do this, the player can utilize cars, boats, choppers, airplanes, and even parachute. On his mission, Rico encounters factions fighting for power over the island - one can gain their trust by completing special missions assigned by a given faction. In total, the story campaign comprises 20 main missions and a number of side missions that can be completed in any order. The player can use a wide arsenal featuring 25 types of weapons and multiple pieces of gear - from standard pistols to rocket launchers.