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The best (and worst) PC games of 2002
November 27th 2002, 12:08 CET by Creole Ned

Recent reports indicate that the year will be record-setting for consoles and there's little to suggest that PC gaming won't be the same. There have been a wide variety of quality releases in 2002, so with the last few weeks of the year winding down, chime in with your thoughts on the best PC games of the year. Conversely, feel free to comment on those titles you felt disappointed or downright stunk.

Here's a quick look at some of the major titles released, categorized roughly by genre:

RPG fans had an unusually rich selection of games to choose from, ranging from the sprawling, single-player epic (of walking!) Morrowind, to the action-oriented Dungeon Siege, which sought to out-Diablo Diablo. Straddling a middle ground was the long-awaited Neverwinter Nights, the first RPG to fully incorporate the 3rd Edition D&D rules. All three games included editors and toolsets or had them available as downloads, further seeking to extend the longevity of each. Other RPG's of note were Divine Divinity, Gothic (technically a 2001 release) and Arx Fatalis.

Strategy fans had an assortment of sequels to choose from. New World Computing released Heroes of Might & Magic IV. Qualifying as a sleeper hit was the hard-to-find Moonbase Commander. On the real-time front, Blizzard finally released Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Ensemble followed up Age of Kings with the fully 3D Age of Mythology. Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 saw the venerable series updated (if modestly). Will the soon-to-be released Master of Orion 3 also be a worthy candidate? And has Irrational Games' comic book-themed Freedom Force been overshadowed by the big boys?

On the persistent world, pay-to-play front we saw the release of Asheron's Call 2 and Neocron. Can either game stand out in an increasingly crowded market, one that will see even more titles come out in 2003?

Fans of first person shooters faced an unusually high number of releases. Primary among them is Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, a perennial bestseller and winner of many rave reviews. It's also proven to be the most consistently popular shooter online after the 800 pound gorilla known as Counter-Strike. Competing with itself, EA also published Battlefield 1942, a sprawling multiplayer game with a focus on vehicles -- air, ground and sea. Rounding out the World War II theme was 2001's late entry, the occult-laced Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Raven dealt out a double dose of sequels with Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast and Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix. Monolith successfully returned with No One Lives Forever 2. Epic took the reins from DE to finish up and release Unreal Tournament 2003. Not to be outdone, 4D Rulers also released one of the other few old school shooters of 2002, Gore. Ahem. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter offered a better dose of "beauty without brains". Westwood proved that the Command & Conquer series may not work in an FPS format with the tepidly-received Renegade -- but is it an overlooked winner? Eschewing the first person perspective, Hitman 2 generated good sales along with controversy over its subject matter.

Defying genres were Derek "Smartpants" Smart's latest opus, Battlecruiser Millenium, Rockstar's PC port of Grand Theft Auto 3 and, of course, what may be the true winner of 2002, Sponge Bob Square Pants: Operation Krabby Patty!

Naturally, many titles are missing from the above list, including entire generes (sports, for example). What are your picks for the best PC games of 2002?
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Home » Topic: The best (and worst) PC games of 2002

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#1 by mgns
2002-11-27 12:12:39
When was Halo released?

the planet is fine, the people are fucked.
#2 by Matt Davis
2002-11-27 12:35:48
http://looroll.com
A year ago yesterday (The same day the XBox launched).

Everyone in this room is now dumber for having heard it. God have mercy on your soul.
#3 by Matt Davis
2002-11-27 12:43:09
http://looroll.com
Battlefield 1942 has to be one of the ones up there, and as buggy as it was, I don't think I've ever had so much fun on one single level and the full version definitely had some amazing high points, especially when you get to play it on LAN.

RtCW can't be a game of the year, because that was launched last year (Nov 20th), although I am still playing it.

Warcraft III was pure entertainment, and sure I cheated a few of the levels I got stuck on, but its been the only RTS I've truely enjoyed.

I know theres mixed feelings about this on PC, but I feel that morrowind was by far more entertaining that NWN, probably in the minority here, move quickly crappers for I have an opinion here.

On the console its been a true bumper season, GTA3 and VC, Metroid Prime and fusion, Starfox Adventures, Mario Sunshine (as hard as it was, its was still pretty damn good fun up to a point).

Whats happened to all the cool games that are supposed to come out at Christmas on the PC? There seems to be none that are worth any hype what-so-ever this year, merry console christmas!

Everyone in this room is now dumber for having heard it. God have mercy on your soul.
#4 by Matthew Gallant
2002-11-27 13:18:00
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
GOTY is Installation Crap Shoot, by InstallShield and co-produced by Sony and Macrovision. I've played this game more than any other this year.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#5 by Funkdrunk
2002-11-27 13:21:29
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
I know I'm of the minority opinion on this one, but my favorite game of this past year (on the PC) was Freedom Force.  Something about that game rang chords with me, dunno why.

Funk.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.  ~Henry L. Mencken
#6 by Marsh Davies
2002-11-27 13:26:31
www.verbalchilli.com
GTA3 and Medal of Honour provided me with the most lengthy play. GTA3 for it's wonderful single player, and MOH for the fantastic multiplayer. Since I came to uni before I bought UT2k3 it's had a rather short life on my computer since I can't use the internet for games whilst I'm here.

#7 by MCorleone
2002-11-27 14:02:53
Freedom Force was a fun little game.  For FPS GOTY I would go with JK2, which as it happens I'm playing through again right now.  I've got every graphic detail cranked up and the game is just amazing.  I'm the furthest thing from a Star Wars fanbois, I hate the movies in fact, but I can truly understand why some people fall for the SW world when I'm force-pulling enemies and throwing my lightsabre through baddies and controlling it with my thoughts.  

Awesome, awesome game with great attention to detail.  I hope they announce an add-on.

Imagine the world in a bottle.  We take that bottle, smash it, and open your throat with it.  I warn you, we are murderous - COIL
#8 by "ART SCHMART!"
2002-11-27 14:39:35
Duke Nukem Manhattan Project <- Best Game Evar!  

/ sarchasm
#9 by Duality
2002-11-27 14:41:42
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
As relatively quiet as it was, the only game that still gets me thinking about it is Mafia.  It was a genuinely moving story that melded 3rd person action and Grand Theft Auto style play seemlessly and beautifully.

And I must say, it really has fueled my love of mobster movies / TV.  Just got the Godfather trilogy.  I don't know why I never bothered to watch it further.  The books are next, of course.
#10 by m0nty
2002-11-27 14:44:18
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
You forgot Ironstorm, which is as good as Half-Life according to some reports.
#11 by PrfBrain
2002-11-27 15:29:51
brain@arn.net
I'd have to say Neverwinter Nights is at the top of my list, followed in random order by Freedom Force, Warcraft III, Medal Of Honor, and Battlefield:1942.

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.
#12 by MCorleone
2002-11-27 15:38:20
NWN gets my vote for most underwhelming of 02.  It took all the fun of the infinity engine games and extracted it, leaving only the husk and structure of a game.  Now if they removed the XP cap, maybe, but as it is they destroyed the whole point of playing add-ons.  If your character doesn't progress then there's no point.

Imagine the world in a bottle.  We take that bottle, smash it, and open your throat with it.  I warn you, we are murderous - COIL
#13 by Matthew Gallant
2002-11-27 15:45:42
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
If your character doesn't progress then there's no point.


I want to be Super Saiyan level 10!!!!

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#14 by Matthew Gallant
2002-11-27 15:47:38
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
No, wait, 11.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#15 by MCorleone
2002-11-27 16:05:12
I think you're waiting for DBZOnline, Matt.

Imagine the world in a bottle.  We take that bottle, smash it, and open your throat with it.  I warn you, we are murderous - COIL
#16 by Dethstryk
2002-11-27 16:06:44
jemartin@tcainternet.com
I wish Halo could come out and be one of the best PC games of the year. Thanks, Microsoft. I really wanted you to buy it and keep it on your stupid fucking system.

Any faith I had in humanity has taken a train to Monte Carlo and spent the last of my savings on roulette.
#17 by Matt Davis
2002-11-27 16:08:11
http://looroll.com
Rent the console and game, EOD.

Everyone in this room is now dumber for having heard it. God have mercy on your soul.
#18 by Dethstryk
2002-11-27 16:11:30
jemartin@tcainternet.com
FPS. Console controller. Nah.

Any faith I had in humanity has taken a train to Monte Carlo and spent the last of my savings on roulette.
#19 by _Fury_
2002-11-27 16:16:00
ajhill@wi.rr.com
Your loss.

PC GOTY? For me it's WC3, easy. It's the only PC game that came out this year that I'll still play.

Shit talking dickhead sucker fool.
#20 by Marsh Davies
2002-11-27 16:17:08
www.verbalchilli.com
m0nty -

I played the demo for Ironstorm, and was wholeheartedly underwhelmed by it. Nothing good to say about it. If that pile of arse is what they care to show potential customers, I doubt the full game would be worth the hard disk space.

#21 by Matt Davis
2002-11-27 16:21:55
http://looroll.com
Dethstryk,

Halo works really nicely with the controller, until a year ago I was a die hard PC gamer, there are pros and cons to this of course, but you're missing out in many ways, I whole heartedly believe that Gearbox's port of Halo will be sub-xbox level and disapppointing.

Halo is not worth buying the console for but definitely a borrower or renter though.

Everyone in this room is now dumber for having heard it. God have mercy on your soul.
#22 by "Krink"
2002-11-27 16:55:23
Halo is quite possibly the gayest game ever.
#23 by MCorleone
2002-11-27 16:55:47
Gearbox is doing it?  Ick.  Yeah, I'll steer clear of it.  That HL mission pack was so self-congratulating it was pathetic.  I still hold that level where you have to move the valves and then move the gears in a gearbox up as the highlight of poor, poor decision-making.  "It's VALVE, it's GEARBOX!  Get it?!  Tee-hee!"

Ick.

Imagine the world in a bottle.  We take that bottle, smash it, and open your throat with it.  I warn you, we are murderous - COIL
#24 by jjohnsen
2002-11-27 16:59:42
http://www.johnsenclan.com
MOH and JK2 have been two of the most fun first person shooters I've played.  I'm going back now with a new videocard to replay both of them.

I am trying to catch up to Ergo's Dvd collection.
#25 by jafd
2002-11-27 17:00:26
The best game of the year was all the Infiltration on Butter.

It's a toss-up to me whether the many people with the demo or the fewer people with the full version were better. But both provided me the best enjoyment of the last year, and still are on my list of "games I wish I could play."

Prime is no longer on that list. I don't see Prime being GotY material, frankly, as I've been waiting 6 years give or take for it. We'll see. I'm already pissed I can't patch it.

Don't laugh -- you're next.
#26 by Ergo
2002-11-27 17:09:42
Prime?

I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!

DVDs
#27 by Bailey
2002-11-27 17:12:07
m0nty

You forgot Ironstorm, which is as good as Half-Life according to some reports.

Ugh. No. It feels about as polished and well-delivered as you'd expect a game to be when released with no plot of merit or interesting characters.

"Durr, fight the good fight. Bluh, the industrial military complex is making the war go on forever! HURR, CAPITALISM BAD, GAME OVER, BUY THE GLORIFIED ADD-ON PACK WE'LL CALL A SEQUEL."

Pass.

Sometimes the porn gets in my face and says "Don't delete me, I'm jerkable." At which point I ask "Yes, but will you be jerkable in three weeks?" And the porn is silent.
#28 by Bailey
2002-11-27 17:12:24
Optimus Prime!

Sometimes the porn gets in my face and says "Don't delete me, I'm jerkable." At which point I ask "Yes, but will you be jerkable in three weeks?" And the porn is silent.
#29 by Post-It
2002-11-27 17:13:00
keithlee@speakeasy.net
I agree with jafd on this one. My best online MP experiences of the past year were SoF2 games on butter. Hell, if nothing else is on butter, I would still play if someone were in the mood to put it up there...

Comment Signature
#30 by Bailey
2002-11-27 17:17:54
Well, as long as we're going down that grim alley: Hey Gabe, is Blah done yet?

Sometimes the porn gets in my face and says "Don't delete me, I'm jerkable." At which point I ask "Yes, but will you be jerkable in three weeks?" And the porn is silent.
#31 by TheTrunkDr.
2002-11-27 17:28:59
Gearbox is doing it?


oh and to think I could be working on that right now! but MS had way unrealistic expectations when we were talking to them, that's probably why it took forever for anyone to take the project.

I wasn't a big fan of halo, I liked alot of what they did gameplay wise, but I couldn't stand the levels, they were the same thing over and over, I never felt like I was getting anywhere and I was perpetually thinking to myself "haven't I already been here, am I going the right way?" and it just made it no fun for me. Also I've never been a fan of FPS on a console, I've never liked the control scheme, I'm of the opinion that if I want to play an FPS I'll just do it properly, on my PC.

That being said I would have to say Metroid Prime would be a definite contender for GOTY. Yes yes I know it's first person, but I much prefer the controls in it, and it's also not a typical first person game, if you've played you know what I mean, and it's definitely metroid.

She has a 286, Windows Millenium Edition, 2 gig.  I think that is all I really need to go on, right?
#32 by HoseWater
2002-11-27 17:47:22
barneyque@hotmail.com
Best MP this year would be SoF2 Demo on butter. Excellent server, great crowd. Thanks to all involved.

Best SP for me was Morrowind. I don't know if it was because it was a good game, or just because it was the first game of its type that I actually liked. And on that note, if I want more of that, what should I buy? ____ is to morrowind as quake is to doom.

blah blah zzzZZZZ 111111111111111111111111111111111111 zzZZZZZ
Heuh?
#33 by Fugazi(werking)
2002-11-27 17:49:00
I liked Medal of Honor and JK2 a lot. SOF2 multi was fabulous on butter and on some good public servers. It seems like none of the idiots plaguing Counterstrike moved over to SOF2...and that's a good thing.

But, in my opinion I think that Mafia was the best game I have played this year. Simply superb.

"Good health" is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.
#34 by Morn
2002-11-27 17:51:13
morn@planetcrap.com http://hmans.net
AGE OF MYTHOLOGY.

C R A P R A D I O - Game Music Internet Radio Thingy! Brrraaaiiinnns!
#35 by Morn
2002-11-27 17:51:31
morn@planetcrap.com http://hmans.net
But I'm waiting for Star Wars Galaxies. It's going to be the bestest game ever!

C R A P R A D I O - Game Music Internet Radio Thingy! Brrraaaiiinnns!
#36 by Ergo
2002-11-27 18:02:20
I loved JK2, especially once I figured out that the lightsaber was your most powerful weapon. Duh.

I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!

DVDs
#37 by "Balderama"
2002-11-27 18:03:13
support@real.com www.planetcrap.com
But will it have curry?
#38 by mgns
2002-11-27 18:11:52
MCorleone - could we have Maynard back please?

nicotine, valium, vicadin, marijuana, ecstasy, and alcohol.
#39 by Ashiran
2002-11-27 18:12:24
Age of Mythology turned out far better then I thought. Sure, the foundation is exactly the same as the AoE games, but the house constructed on it is far better build and painted.

"This is planetcrap, where we nuke everything from orbit." - Bailey
#40 by Foodbunny
2002-11-27 18:51:21
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
The experience cap is not a problem in Neverwinter Nights.  The problem is that the official campaign makes it too easy to get experience.  The original plan was for you to end the game at around level 10-12 and move into online play and maybe a month or three later you'd hit 20, but then they realised that not everyone will play online but everyone will want to see the higher power abilities, so they changed it.

No big deal, you start a new character for online play and try to find a mod-maker and a DM who isn't completely monty haul.  Except that everyone has played with the higher power abilities now and they expect it right off the bat, so very few people are playing dedicated low-level games that involve less experience.  They're spoiled and they can't go back now.

So it's the campaign and the players that are broken, not the level cap.  Yeah, that's it.

(Game of the Year is Princess Maker 2 and no I don't care when it came out)

It won't have any impact on DNF.  Nothing really does.
It Takes A Tough Man To Make A Tender Scott Miller.
#41 by Matthew Gallant
2002-11-27 19:17:44
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
This ~3.4MB movie is something I cut out of someone else's much larger movie and is what I consider to be Return to Castle Wolfenstein's entry into the game of the year competition (which I think is OK, because it was a December release, was it not?).

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#42 by LoneStar
2002-11-27 19:29:07
cwcraig64@hotmail.com
Dungeon Siege
Medal of Honor, Omaha Beach landing one of the best moments in FPS history.
NOLF2

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one
#43 by Marsh Davies
2002-11-27 19:31:09
www.verbalchilli.com
Generic Marsh Idiotic Question:

Okay, so how do I get Windows Media Player to turn off the fucking visualisation shite and actually play the movie rather than just the sound, which is clearly what I want to do because the file is a fucking movie file?

There is so much that is so wrong with WMP.

#44 by Ergo
2002-11-27 19:32:13
Sounds like you're missing a codec, most likely DivX. Go to DivX.com and download it.

I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!

DVDs
#45 by Matthew Gallant
2002-11-27 19:33:44
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Yep, you need DivX.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#46 by LoneStar
2002-11-27 19:33:53
cwcraig64@hotmail.com
Movie doesn't work for me.
I have never really got into RtCW MP because of my system but am going to give it a try now.
Liked the single player game, it was tough though!

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one
#47 by LoneStar
2002-11-27 19:34:09
cwcraig64@hotmail.com
Ok, movie worked.

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one
#48 by Marsh Davies
2002-11-27 19:38:21
www.verbalchilli.com
Okay, seen it. Cheers Ergo/Matt.

#49 by Bezzy
2002-11-27 19:52:06
painberry@hotmail.com http://www.antifactory.org
I think that probably the best indie game of this year is Mutant Storm. To get an 8 in Edge magazine is quite an achievement. They're the hardest judges I've ever come across (for a little reference, they gave splinter cell a 7).

Mutant Storm is better than Pontifex 2, anyhow.

My only problem with Bezzy is, truly and honestly, about one third of his longer, passionate posts make no sense to me.  I don't necessarily agree or disagree, I just literally can't parse them.  - Hugin
#50 by MCorleone
2002-11-27 20:08:43
Back by popular demand for two shows only...  Maynard!  

Yeah, the Centurions one was lame - I blame Marsh, my publisher, for rushing it.

Imagine the world in a bottle.  We take that bottle, smash it, and open your throat with it.  I warn you, we are murderous - COIL
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