2004: Half-Life 2
I bet you didn’t see this one coming. As the first game to use the now legendary Source Engine, Half-Life 2 had mind-blowing physics that are still impressive today. It wasn’t afraid to show off either, with physics based see-saw puzzles at every turn imaginable. Yet it never gets old, a testament to the technical accomplishment of everyone’s favourite single player FPS.
2005: Gran Turismo 4
GT4 still stands up as one of the best racing titles of the last console generation, and its success can be pinned on its level of realism. Whilst the graphics and racing mechanics formed the main bulk of this lifelike racer, the physics were there in full force to remind us of the power of the Playstation 2.
It looks a little dated now, but Black was one of the most cinematic action shooters money could buy back in 2006. The guns looked and sounded like a powerhouse, and the little touches to the physics engine were classic cool. You never forget shooting through a steel door with a shotgun.
Skate is still one of the best skating games money can buy, and its realistic board physics are certainly a big part of this long lasting appeal. Actually having the board detached from the player models gave the game a new depth, and the physics certainly made bailing a fun past time.