What a decade it's been for gaming. The Noughties saw the release of no less than six new consoles, the rise of Microsoft as a serious industry player and the re-emergence of Nintendo as the dominant force. Yeah, it's been an incredible ten years of gaming goodness. But what lights have shined the brightest? What video games are destined to join the pantheon of the immortals? Here, in the final part of VideoGamer.com's mammoth Top 100 Games of the Noughties list, we tell you, counting down from 10 to 1. Like the best rollercoasters, there are peaks and troughs, nerve-shredding twists and turns, and a bit where you're really high up and wish you'd never got on the bloody thing in the first place. But hold on tight, weary video gamer, because by the time this ride ends, you'll know just how good the Noughties have been.
10. Gears of War 2 - Xbox 360, 2008
If there's a single game that represents the pinnacle of co-operative action gaming, Gears of War 2 is it. The campaign is a breathtaking ride through some of the most glorious locations ever committed to DVD, the pacing is pitch perfect and the set-pieces are stunning. No cover-based shooter has nailed the mechanic as well as Epic did with Gears 2. Add to the campaign a superb competitive multiplayer component and the time-sapping Horde mode, and you have an action game with few equals. While Gears of War ushered in the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation, Gears 2 bettered the original in every way.
9. Modern Warfare 2 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, 2009
You've probably heard of this one - and by now you're probably fed up of hearing about this one. Or maybe you're not, because at the moment roughly 75 per cent of the Earth's population is playing Modern Warfare 2. Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration, but the fact remains that there are a lot of people having an awful lot of fun with this game. The single player campaign is a bombastic triumph, and the co-op challenges offer a surprising degree of tactical depth, but it's the ultra-addictive multiplayer that remains the jewel in Infinity Ward's crown. The revamped create-a-class system is one of the slickest mechanics in first-person shooter history: You'll still get destroyed by a whiny 11-year-old from Forkland, Alabama - but as you die, you'll say to yourself, "I did it my way".
8. Half-Life 2 - PC, 2004
How do you follow up a game like Half-Life? If you're Valve, you take five years over it, and then release one of the most epic first-person shooter adventures of all time. At the time of release everyone seemed captivated by the in-game physics. Given how impressive they were, that's somewhat understandable - after all, the gravity gun is one of the best FPS weapons we've ever seen. However, HL2 owes its success to more than its special effects. For a start, there's City 17 - one of those gaming locations that seems to etch itself permanently into your brain. Then there's the endless procession of amazing set-pieces: the ant-lions' assault on Nova Prospekt, the fraught struggle against the Striders, and that bit where it felt like you were fighting through the Reichstag. It's no exaggeration to say to that Half-Life 2 has one of the best plots of any FPS, and there's still Episode 3 to come. And how could we forget Alyx, the greatest sidekick a psychotic scientist could wish for?
7. Deus Ex - PC, 2000
Just what is Deus Ex, anyway? Is it a role-playing game or a first-person shooter? Is it a paranoid conspiracy thriller, or a thoughtful exploration of how humans control each other? Deus Ex is all of these things, and it's a strong candidate for the best PC game of all time. Players take on the role of JC Denton, a sort of experimental secret agent who can augment his body with nano-mechanical superpowers. Player freedom is the name of the day, with multiple approaches and solutions available for any given assignment, while the plot is a twisty beast that blends pop culture mythology, government cover-ups, and artificial intelligences that turn into gods. In short, Deus Ex is sublime - and not even the sequel can hold a candle to it. Just try to ignore the hilariously bad voice acting in the Hong Kong sections. All together now: "Mister J C Denton! In the fresh!"
6. Halo 3 - Xbox 360, 2007
If Halo: Combat Evolved sold the Xbox, and Halo 2 sold Xbox LIVE, Halo 3 sold the Xbox 360 AND Xbox LIVE. Halo 3's multiplayer, both four-player campaign co-op and competitive, were tremendous, and still are today. It's a different look and feel to Modern Warfare - the recharge shield system and colourful art style are preferred by some, but essentially, it was the insane fun factor that made the game, and the series, one of the decade's best. Bungie smartly focused on Master Chief, perhaps the game character of the Noughties, for the campaign and delivered an epic story, even if it was, at times, nonsensical. Perhaps most innovative of all its features was its integration with Bungie.net, but the Forge mode and the video creation tools deserve a mention. There's a reason Halo: Reach will be 2010's biggest game: because Halo 3 was that good.
5. Grand Theft Auto IV - Xbox 360, PS3 and PC - 2008
How do can we condense the magic of Grand Theft Auto IV into a simple, 150 word description? How can we do justice to the unforgettable character of Niko Bellic, or to the insanely detailed world of Liberty City - an achievement that remains the pinnacle of sandbox gaming design? In short, we can't. Whether you were battling NOOSE troopers with a satchel of coke on your back, robbing a bank with a team of Irish idiots or simply watching Ricky Gervais at the local comedy club, GTA4 proved itself to be the most absorbing entry in the series to date. Some people moaned about the darker tone, lack of parachutes and Niko's incessantly-ringing phone, but all of these complaints were fixed by Rockstar's excellent downloadable expansions. Heaven knows how it'll raise the bar for the next one, 'cause GTA4 is a work of art.
4. Mario Galaxy - Wii, 2007
OK, we admit it: Mario Galaxy should have appeared much higher than it did in our Games of 2007 list. It's only when we look back at the beautiful world Nintendo created that the brilliance of the game shines through. Mario Galaxy is the game to hold up as an example of why Nintendo is still one of the best game developers in the world, and it single-handedly puts up two stunted, slightly worn plumber's fingers at anyone who claims the company doesn't make games for gamers any more. Play Mario Galaxy and it'll leave a lasting impression on you, make you feel better about everything and put a big, broad smile on your face.
3. World of Warcraft - PC, 2005
Before WoW, MMORPGs were a niche sub-genre - Sony's EverQuest was the leading light. If the Noughties taught us anything, it was to expect the unexpected. Blizzard launched WoW knowing it was an accessible and well-made MMO, but it had no idea it would quickly snowball into one of the most popular games on the planet. As subscriber numbers skyrocketed, other game publishers looked on in amazement. The result: Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, Aion. But the biggest surprise is the game's impact on pop culture: South Park, The Big Bang Theory, Vin Diesel, Jonathan Ross. High level characters are now discussed on talk shows and WoW is the subject of comedy. For the players, though, it's just the most addictive game ever created, as fun as it is involving, as demanding as it is rewarding. For them, WoW isn't just the game of the Noughties, It's the only game of the Noughties.
2. Resident Evil 4 - GameCube, 2005
"Whaddya buyin?" asks the hooded man with the glinting eyes. "Resi 4, RESI 4!" you scream. "I'll buy it at a high price!" However much you paid, and regardless of what platform you played it on, most of you will agree on one thing: Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games we've ever had. The sixth entry in Capcom's beloved horror franchise didn't just revamp its own series - it changed the face of action gaming, forever. Leon's first battle with the ganados in the village might well be the best video game opening of all time, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. From megalomaniac midgets to blind warriors with Freddy Kruger hands, the whole outing is packed with memorable foes and curve-ball game mechanics. Resi 4 redefined everything that a blockbuster shooter could and should do, and it remains the outright king of third-person action.
1. Shadow of the Colossus - PS2, 2006
Who knew a game that is essentially a series of boss battles would end up being so good? When we first saw Shadow of the Colossus and read the fevered fan reaction on internet forums, it's fair to say we didn't quite get it. It wasn't until the game's European release in 2006 that it really hit home. This is a game unlike any other. It's a joyous experience filled with the most fantastical creatures you're ever likely to see. For the majority of the campaign you're alone with a horse, and by the end you'll be emotionally attached to the stallion in a way the majority of human characters fail to achieve. We'll never forget the epic battles Shadow of the Colossus presented us, the sense of wonder it conjured and the overwhelming sadness that welled over us when it was all over.
That's it! VideoGamer.com's 100 Games of the Noughties is finally over. All that's left is for you to take it all in, work out what we got right and what we got wrong, and vent spleen.