Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best Videogames of the Year 2006

1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo) – Zelda continues its reputation as ‘the Beatles’ of the videogame industry. The most satisfying part of the game was its impeccable pacing; hour one to hour fifty was packed with timeless moments and solid ever engaging game play.
2. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Software) – Bethesda Software’s mega RPG is the most time consuming title of the year. The main quest will take you twenty-five hours to beat, but loads of side quests and in-depth customization make it damn hard to put down.
3. Gears of War (Epic) – Yes the graphics are unbelievable. Yes the cover-to-cover game play amplifies the action. And yes this is the best reason to own an Xbox 360. Microsoft now has another shooter to go along with the Chief.

Viva Piñata (Rare) - Remember Rare, the guys who made Goldeneye. After years of sucktackular titles, they got their groove back with this weird garden sim. The objective is to create a piñata town, but the social experiments will keep it in your imagination longer than you ever imagined.
5. Company of Heroes (Relic) – RTS genre got a huge boon with Relic’s latest masterpiece. It does not do anything too revolutionary, but what it does do: intense action, visual effects, and level design; it does very well. The best PC game of the year.
6. Elite Beat Agents (iNis) – Nintendo DS gets yet another quirky out of nowhere hit with this male cheerleading rhythm action game. It triumphs with its collection of pop music’s guiltiest pleasures, easy to learn game play, and a sense of bizarre fun that most developers don’t have the balls to pull off.
7. Okami (Clover Studios) – Clover has gone the way of the dinosaurs. As the dinosaurs left behind its remains to be studied let us hope that developers do the same with the company’s remarkable adventure title. Peerless in its design, art, and unique game mechanics no game matched it with its bold personality. (See Review)
8. Drill Dozer (Game Freak) – GBA has passed the torch to the DS as the dominant portable platform. That does not mean though that the system can’t get some killer games like Game Freak's, makers of Pokemon, ambition little platformer. The drilling mechanic offers little depth at first sight, hours later you find yourself creatively using it in ways you never imagined. Game design at its finest.
Ghost Recon Advance War Fighter (Ubi Soft) – The first must have title for the 360 sported some spiffy graphics that begged – no – demanded you to get an HDTV. To go along with the graphics Ubi Soft designed a well rounded squad based shooter that perfected the over the shoulder camera view.
10. Kingdom Hearts II (Square Enix) – Better than Final Fantasy XII and improved over the original, KHII showed off Square Enix’s best talents: robust production values, emotional packed storytelling, and a knack to create a world that you just want to explore every corner of.

~Matt Lazar

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