On to the year 2001! This was a year when the PS2 really was in its prime, as will be noted by all the honorable mentions. But the game of the year comes from Microsoft's new kid on the block (at the time), the Xbox:
Halo: Combat Evolved
Platform: Xbox, PC
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Bungie Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date (North America): November 15, 2001 (Xbox)
Halo was the first video game I put a lot of time into on a console since I had owned my Super Nintendo. Also, I was never a big fan of shooters until I played this game. Now, they're arguably my favorite type of game. This game (and the following sequels) and the experiences I had playing it are a big part of that. Everything about this game was great. The gameplay, the graphics, the campaign, the soundtrack, and especially the multiplayer. This was pre-Xbox Live, so there was only split-screen and system link, but that was more than enough. I played this game non-stop my first semester of college. All the guys on the hall did. It was how we bonded. And the only reason we stopped playing it was because Halo 2 came out eventually. This game not only succeeded by itself, but also laid the foundation for one of the most successful (both critically and monetarily) game franchises of all time. And (though some people do not agree with this) many people feel that Halo: CE single-handily saved Microsoft's new Xbox from dying out right after it started due to the fact that the video market had been dominated by Nintendo and Sony (especially the PS2) for so long. I feel that even though the Xbox might not have died out right away without Halo, it's hard to picture the Xbox 360 being where it is now on the sales charts if no Halo games had ever been made. And it all started with Halo: CE.
As I'm obviously more partial towards Halo, and I never owned a PS2 up until about a year ago, many of the honorable mentions for 2001 are games I've never played, or played very little. But going through the list of big games that came out in 2001, it's easy to see that the PS2 was still the dominant console by far. The following games are games who have done so well and been so praised that even someone who hasn't extensively played them knows about their quality and the impact they've had on gaming over the years. So without futher ado, the Honorable Mentions:
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)
Final Fantasy X (PS2)- I have played this game a fair amount, and though I wouldn't say it's one of my favorites (I'm not a big fan of JRPGs in general), I can understand why people love it. I'm not even close to finishing it, but the world and story are captivating so far, and I know that for the time the graphics and full voice work were unprecedented.
Devil May Cry (PS2)
Silent Hill 2 (PS2)- Apparently one of the scariest games ever (if not the scariest). I will have to play it someday to see if that is true.
That does it for 2001. Feel free to comment and/or list any of the games you remember loving from this year, and be sure to check back soon for the year 2002!