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Yeah, Yeah...we're just as sick of best-of stories and year-end wrap-ups as you are. After all, 2005 just ended--it's not like it's shrouded in ancient history. We don't see the point in waxing nostalgic about games you're probably still playing. So--as is our style around these parts--we're doing our awards differently: While we once again rounded up EGM's entire team of reviewers to vote on 2005's best titles, we're also offering new tricks and quirky gameplay suggestions that'll coax a little more life out of the games. Hence the words "replay edition" in our title up there, see?
But before you pop these winning games back into your consoles, we have one quick word about our rules: We disqualified our overall Game of the Year winner from the other categories, just so it doesn't go hogging everything.
Which game nabbed the top prize? Flip the page and see. You might just learn a few things about some of your other favorite games while you're at it.
Xbox 360 Game of the Year
Project Gotham Racing 3
So that's where the next-gen, get-over-here-you've-gotta-see-this graphics have been hiding--Project Gotham Racing 3 and its spectacular in-cockpit view. One look at this game in motion and even nonfans of racing have to say, "Oh, damn." Plays pretty good, too.
Did you try this? PGR3 has a replay camera glitch you can use to get outside of the track boundaries, but it's tough to pull off reliably. Load up a saved replay, switch to the TV cam, and pause the action when the camera's placed on the far side of the track wall. Go into photo mode and with a bit of luck (cycling through the various camera angles sometimes helps), you may be able to break free. Then you can really see the world.
Call of Duty 2
Xbox Game of the Year
Oh, yank your noses out of the air, PC snobs. Sure, this Xbox port of the hit PC first-person shooter isn't as pretty or as smooth as the original, but it's still the most inventive, atmospheric, and thrilling thing we've played on the console all year.
Did you try this? We bet you didn't know you could haul Dog the robo-beast's toy ball (seen the first time you meet him at Black Mesa East) all the way through Ravenholm (the ramshackle creepsville seen in the screen to the bottom right). But why would you want to? The jittery toy acts as a distraction for all the tortured souls you'll meet in this Resident Evil-flavored creepsville. Just drop it on the ground near the monsters and they'll attack it instead of you. Then cut 'em down to size with buzz-saw blades while they're busy swinging away. Oh, and the ball packs a wallop, too, if you'd rather chuck it at the enemies with your gravity gun.
Runner-Up: Forza Motorsport
Slickest Compilation: Capcom Classics Collection
Straight from that decade between kindergarten and high school, we get 22 arcade hits, including legitimate quarter-powered classics Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Mercs, Forgotten Worlds, 1943, and Ghouls 'n' Ghosts. But the clincher: This collection, for both PS2 and Xbox, packs Mike Haggar, Final Fight's towering mayor who doesn't call in the SWAT team when thugs kidnap his daughter. Instead, he rips off his shirt and rescues her himself. You'd have to be a damn communist not to vote for this guy--or his killer compilation.
Proof That You Don't Need a Multimillion-dollar Sports License:
Blitz: The League
Midway's men of the gridiron flipped the bird to the uptight suits at the National Football League, and it turned out to be the smartest play-call in years for the series. Through its controversial story mode, Blitz: The League (PS2/XB) showed football fans the dirtier side of the sport ("juicing," front-office politics, and...oh yeah, prostitutes). Also, who doesn't enjoy pretending that the goalpost is a toilet after scoring a touchdown?
Playstation 2 Game of the Year
God of War
Kratos, God of War's pasty Spartan, began his game career literally with a bang. But the new action stud impressed us outside the bedroom, thanks to …