Video Game Reviews

With the summer approaching, all that stands in the way of three months of fun and relaxing in the sun are the dreaded final exams. But no one can spend every day at the beach. This is exactly what video games are for. So just for a moment, drop your textbooks and get your drool-cup ready for the top five most anticipated games of 2004.

#5 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
(Rel: Oct. 30, 2004)

Even the original Grand Theft Auto, released in PC format back in the early ’90s, was a huge hit. Children started to hijack their favorite cars from a very early age, and found it surprisingly addicting. and Grand Theft Auto withstood the test of time, having hits on each platform, graduating from the PC, to the Playstation, and eventually on to the Playstation 2 and X-box. Rockstar, the game’s developer, is famous for its overly violent, and boundary-pushing style, which is part of what makes the and Grand Theft Auto series so good. GTA is one of the only games where you can simply kill cops and run over hookers for hours on end just to eat up some time in between missions. Look for Rockstar to continue and improve upon its trademark open-ended gameplay, unique style and, to the dismay of many parents, the gore and violence in its latest installment, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

#4 Kingdom Hearts II
(Rel: Sept. 18)

When Disney and Square-Enix came together and merged their creative powers, something truly magical happened — Kingdom Hearts was born. The game is a nostalgic trip through most people’s childhood. It also has the elements of one of the best RPG’s on Playstation 2. The main character, Sora, and his trusty key fought off enemies to rescue King Mickey. But don’t be fooled, Kingdom Hearts, although enjoyable by children is satisfying to even the most hardcore gamer. The storyline is deep, like a good RPG should be, there’s no shortage of content and the characters are likeable — this allows the gamer to truly become a part of this wonderful adventure. Cameos from characters of past Disney and Square-Enix classics are plentiful in Kingdom Hearts. The story of Kingdom Hearts II will start where the original left off and hopefully grace us with more of its creators wonderful creativity and ingenuity.

#3 Half-Life 2
(Rel: June 2)

Half-Life was something of a phenomenon when it was released in 1998 on PC. Critics and gamers alike lauded it as the most gripping, frightening and intense game experience ever. Winning Game of the Year awards from over 50 publications Half-Life was truly a masterpiece of epic proportions. Telling the story of a science experiment gone wrong, Half-Life amazed gamers with its realistic graphics and a deep storyline, which seemed almost movie-like. The multiplayer side of Half-Life was equally inspiring, Half-Life was modified into what we know today as Counterstrike, becoming one of the most popular first person shooter multiplayers around. Ever since, gamers have been waiting for another dose of the game that they loved so much, and Valve has answered their call. Half-Life 2 is expected to build upon its prior success with improved graphics and will reinstate itself as the PC’s best first person shooter.

#2 Halo 2
(Rel: unknown)

Halo was, and still is, the best reason to own an X-box. Not since Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 have gamers wasted so many hours blowing each other to bits in the name of entertainment. Unlike Goldeneye however, Halo is set in space, which makes gameplay even more fun. The first person mode is ultra challenging. Halo boasts a really neat interface, stunning graphics and some of the smoothes controls found on a first person shooter. What makes Halo so special is its replay ability, the original is nearly two years old, and X-box owners won’t stop playing it until the day Halo 2 is released, which can’t come soon enough.

#1 Madden 2005
(Rel: unknown)

There is no better football game then Madden, period. Sure ESPN football has its neat little (but bugged) first person mode, and its cute cribs option, but Madden football is where its at. There’s a reason Madden has survived through every system, from SNES to the present. Every single year, gamers wait with anticipation and open wallets just to see what EA Sports added this year to the world’s most popular football simulation. Last year it was the playmaker scheme, which changed the game completely. And although EA Sports has been very tight lipped about what it plans to add, Madden fans can only expect the best from the best. Madden will stay on top for a long time.

Contact Chase Kobrin at