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special >> 2005 bluestorm awards >> special acheivement

Most Improved

The Winner Is: Resident Evil 4 (GCN, also on PS2)

By far one of the most improved games this year came from the Resident Evil series. Improved is putting it lightly, since RE4 is more of a re-imagining of the game franchise, something that feels fresh and different, and yet still somewhat familiar. RE4 abandoned the pre-rendered environments with clunky controls and invetory management in favor of a behind-the-shoulder perspective with accurate controls and a much better way of managing your items (keeping keys and puzzle items seperate is a big plus). From start to finish, Resident Evil 4 provided an experience that felt more satisfying and fun that all of the past RE games combined.

Runner Up: Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition (Xbox, also on PS2)

Rockstar vastly improved it's Midnight Club franchise this year by using licensed cars and parts, make racing a little more fun by coming up with less frustrating course layouts and having a very diverse soundtrack that turns out to be the best licensed soundtrack to be used this year. Too bad they had to make the game look similar to EA's Need For Speed Underground games.

Least Improved

The Loser Is: Namcomuseum 50th Anniversary (Xbox, also on GCN, PS2)

Namco, what the hell is up with the lack of new games in your collection? How is it Midway, Capcom, and Tatio can provide us with games we haven't played or seen before in other compilations, but you keep on throwing in Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Mana and Galaga for the third time in a row? GIVE US NEW GAMES!

Runner Up: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (Xbox)

While it's still the same game from the PS2, that's essentially the problem: it's still the same game. The graphics didn't get the same treatment the Double Pack got, and the only new thing they offer is a replay function. But, this is a port, after all.

Most Original

The Winner Is: Killer 7 (GCN, also on PS2)

Despite on what you think of the gameplay style, the visuals and story of Killer 7 is by far the most unique any game has had to offer this year. Violent and vulgar, but at the same time artistic and creative, Killer 7 is worth trying just for the experience. Just be sure you're over 17.

Runner Up: Mercenaries (Xbox, also on PS2)

Mercenaries was a very unexpected suprise this year. While on the surface, it seems like a GTA clone, but really this is more of a spirtual successor to Rare's Blast Corps, where almost anything can be destroyed. The concept of being a mercenary hunting down criminals in a North Korean warzone is interesting (especially since much of it's content is timely), and it's fun going around and having the freedom to do much of what you want.

Least Original

The Loser Is: Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (GCN, also on PS2, XBOX and XBOX 360)

The series seems to be on a bit of a decline since 2003's Underground, where each installment seems less original than the last, and the story mode seems to get more hackneyed within each new installment. Sure, there are BMX bikes you can ride, but nothing really has changed, and nothing about this game really seems like an original thought.

Runner Up: Juiced (Xbox, also on PS2)

It's another street racing game, where you can buy cars and parts and race them for cash, respect and so forth. The only unique thing here is betting, and that's really not enough to make a game very original.

Most Disappointing

The Loser: Star Fox Assault (GCN)

Wow, Star Fox Assault failed to meet my expectations this year. What could have been a great return to the space shooter franchise is nothing but letdown. While the flying segments were fine, there wasn't enough of them, nor enough stages for that matter. The remaining portions of the game felt shallow and lacked heart. Even worse are the cinematics and story, which was just plain stupid. A real black-eye for the franchise .