December 16, 2009 - It's the third day in Cheat Code Central's look back at the games that made up the last decade. We're up to 2004 and 2005, and the decision-making process of what games to highlight isn't getting any easier. With so many influential games out there, it's hard to narrow things down.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
GTA: SA was the grand finale for the series on the PS2, and what a finale it was. Taking everything GTA had been known for and expanding it into three cities and the surrounding countryside was a monumental undertaking. While this huge sandbox environment would be enough to entertain for weeks, San Andreas also managed to put together an epic story that seemed so 1990s it was scary. Just as cool, Samuel L. Jackson provided the voice of a key character. Lest we forget, there was something about a cup of hot coffee that got some attention, too.
Personal Highlight: Taking down the Sam Jackson-portrayed corrupt cop was a huge moment of vindication. Sure, there were all sorts of crazy hijinks, but this time the story was so compelling that it overshadowed the ridiculous situations I could put myself in. A close second was Woozie. Saying his name was just too much fun.
Half-Life 2 (PC)
Half-Life was a pretty important game. Not only did it revitalize the generally story-barren FPS genre with an engrossing tale, it gave Team Fortress and Counter Strike to the masses - hardly a small feat and big shoes for its sequel to fill. Yet Valve pulled it off, pulling down countless Game of the Year awards and selling roughly a bajillion copies. Also notable was the controversial copy protection, requiring gamers to register their copy through the digital distribution program Steam.
Personal Highlight: The gravity gun. Whether pulling plywood or mattresses, throwing random pieces of the environment at bad guys is therapeutic. After using seemingly hundreds of pistols, shotguns, and rayguns in video games, the gravity gun was both fresh and interesting.