Note: You may very well disagree with some of my choices, but that’s why it’s a good list.
2004 Game of the Year: Burnout 3: Takedown
Runner-up: Half-Life 2
Burnout 3: Takedown came out of nowhere to get me excited to play the game. Up until that point I had never heard of the Burnout series and the reviews made it sound great. I played a ton of this game and while I didn’t like it that much online, it was fantastic offline. The new Road Rage mode won me over the most and made sure that I’d be a fan of the series to this day. Long live Burnout!
Now onto a game that I followed pretty closely through its development. From the leaked source code to the many delays, Half-Life 2 really did show what Valve Software had learned in their time with the original game. I remember the game being pretty immersive with all of the things you could mess with. I threw the pop can back at the guard that told me to pick it up and I also spent more time than usual in those first apartments throwing items out the window. Of course, nothing was more awesome than the gravity gun once you got it. A very satisfying A+ adventure!