Pro Evolution Soccer
Whilst Konami’s soccer game never had the officially licensed teams or the superb presentation of its EA rival, it more than made up for it on the pitch. Pro Evolution Soccer split football fans in two, causing long-standing friendships to disintegrate over which game was the real deal, and PES won simply on playability. The fast-paced action combined with unparallel realism meant Konami had the upper hand for much of the decade. Year-on-year updates have heralded mostly superficial changes in the series, but scoring a 50 yard screamer in the last minute of injury time simply doesn’t feel the same anywhere else.
Further Reading: Review
EA Sports has enjoyed huge success with FIFA, and for good reason. The series has always boasted a huge number of teams, but lacked a special something in gameplay which Konami brought in spades. EA revamped FIFA 2008 with a new engine, and improved on it year-on-year since to ensure it kept its rivals at bay. With the best looks, improved gameplay and a host of online modes (which don’t suffer the same lag problems as that other game), FIFA has reclaimed its crown and is once again the football fan’s football game heading into the next decade.
Further Reading: Review
Devil May Cry
A spin off from development of the Resident Evil series, Devil May Cry uppercutted the action genre into the air and blew it to pieces with dual wielded pistols. Capcom’s story of a gothic world invaded by demons is beyond ridiculous, but peroxide-blonde, trenchcoated biker Dante is far too stylish for it to matter. The gorgeous graphics gloriously show off exactly what the PS2 is capable of, and the fine-tuned action and superb boss battles paved the way for a whole new genre. With a hero who can take on all comers with guns and giant swords before he turns into a demon to unleash the pain, Devil May Cry set the agenda on what hack and slash games should be, and few since have managed to match it.
Further Reading: Interview
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
World War II games had been hot property for much of the decade, but there were only so many battles to choose from before stagnation set in. Making a break from its forefathers, Call of Duty 4 set itself in an alternate present day and became an unstoppable juggernaut. Whilst the story (terrorists from Whereveristan try to blow up the West) was forgettable, the incredible set-pieces played from various characters’ view points were phenomenal, and some were ground breaking in their own right. Introducing customisable perks as a bonus for ranking up meant endless hours of slaughter online never grew old, and quickly won a rabid community of fans. Infinity Ward and Treyarch created a superb series, but Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare changed the gaming landscape forever.
Further Reading: Review, Interview