Inside Pulse 12

Top 10 Xbox Live Games Of 2003



The Top 10 Xbox Live Games of 2003!

6.) PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 2
As a rule, I don’t like racing games. Never was into Gran Turismo, couldn’t get the hang of Midtown Madness, and stayed FAR away from ANYTHING with the words “F1” in the title. But something grabbed me with Project Gotham Racing 2. Something like no other racer has before. The COMPLETE Live experience.

Here, the online aspects aren’t restricted to when you race with your friends. Here, EVERYTHING has an online component. Your high scores. Your best times. The “ghosts” your best races. All are here, and are updated in real time. Once you complete something, you are automatically placed on a highscore list of that event. AND you can download a ghost of ANY racer you want to race against at ANY time, day or night. I’ve NEVER seen anything like this before. Not only does this give the sense of competition 24/7, but it gives you something to prove yourself with at all hours of the day. You NEED to get to rank 2,700 from 14,763! You HAVE to be the best.

And once you actually compete ONLINE, that’s an experience in itself, too. Not only are you playing for position, but you are playing to increase your online rank as well. Plus, with the multitude of race tracks and over 100 cars to see, there are literally THOUSANDS of ways to race. Just make sure you have the right cars to get the job done with!

I don’t care WHAT Bebito says in his review. The online aspects transform what could be an average-to-good title into an experience that has to be played to believe.

— Alex Willaims



The Top 10 Xbox Live Games of 2003!

5.) NBA INSIDE DRIVE 2004
After three quarters, I was down 15 points to “The N in New Jersey”. Many miles away, I could feel him beaming with pride, gloating over his apparent defeat of my Knicks team. I was cursing myself one second, vowing to make a last-ditch run for it the next. Mutual quit was NOT an option.

That’s when things started to turn around. A few three-pointers, some shot blocks and a couple of key rebounds were the catalyst, and suddenly I was right back in the game. I could feel The N in New Jersey sweating bullets. I didn’t need an X-Box Communicator to hear him cursing the fate his Nets found in the fourth quarter. And I can’t be certain, but I’m quite sure The N in New Jersey, playing this game one state over from me, threw his controller to the ground when Charlie Ward hit a last-second three to send the game into overtime.

That I eventually blew the game and lost in OT is of no consequence. The point is, NBA Inside Drive was MEANT to be played on X-Box Live. Franchise Mode is all well and good, but if you’re looking for excitement and a good opponent, X-Box Live is where you want to be. Create a fully customizable game with your choice of rosters, difficulty level, and time length; or simply join a game someone else has created. Or, play a ranked game, where a win could propel you into the upper echelon of Inside Drive players. The options are endless; however, don’t forget to talk trash the entire way through via the X-Box Communicator.

Not every game is going to end up like Berg411 vs. The N in New Jersey. You’ll win some, and you’ll lose some. And you’ll have a few that make you sweat a little, and quite a few that make you sweat a lot. This kind of interactive experience is what X-Box Live is all about, and NBA Inside Drive 2004 brings it in spades.

— Bryan Berg



The Top 10 Xbox Live Games of 2003!

4.) LINKS 2004
Golf isn’t the first thing you think of when someone mentions “online play” to you. I have to admit that the idea of playing Links 2004 online had me a little bit worried. I imagined two hour games, sitting idly watching people line up their shots and making Caddyshack references. Just like a real day golfing only without the sunburn, the green fees, and the time away from the wife. And from your couch. The beer is there either way.

Fortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Links did feature normal stroke play, match play, and skins games, but most of the games were something called “fast stroke” which was a normal stroke play game where all of their players took their shots concurrently. The evidence of the other players was limited to colorful traces of their balls’ flight paths. It’s golf on a true video gamer’s time scale, and it is the single best innovation of a terrific golf game.

True, those players with more advanced characters have an advantage, but it’s not as big as you think. With a fairly new character, I was able to hang, if not beat, players with four times the skill points my character had. Of course, you don’t even have to play with better players if you don’t want to. The excellent Xbox Live interface lets you seek out games against your peers, or against those worse than you, or those better than you if you’re looking for a challenge, or whatever lofts your wedge.

The game itself … well, it’s far more realistic and takes far more skill than … that OTHER console golf franchise. I went into this wondering how competitive the XSN Championship Links tournament would be. Now I know I’ve got a LOT of practicing to do before registration closes. Of course, the addition of the Xbox Communicator makes every game, ranked or not, just a friendly round of golf. You’re far more likely to hear a “good shot” or a self-deprecating comment than trash talk on these links, and that in itself is a good thing. Video golf players, pack up your virtual clubs and hit the online links, just don’t forget the beer.

— Cory Laflin


Top 10 Xbox Live Games Of 2003: Part 3