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BENDIS!
12-28-2006, 07:38 PM
The best and worst of 2006's video games By LOU KESTEN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 27, 11:54 AM ET



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It's a time of transition in the video-game industry. There are two brand new consoles, the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. There are two newish machines that are just hitting their stride, the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo DS, and one that the jury's still out on, the PlayStation Portable. And our old friends the PlayStation 2, the GameCube, the original-recipe Xbox and the Game Boy Advance are still being heard from.

With plenty of software being published for each of these systems, no one person can play every game released in a year. But I played an awful lot of them, and here are my 10 favorites along with the five that no gamer should be subjected to.

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BEST OF 2006

1. "Okami" (Capcom, for the PlayStation 2): This utterly original adventure delivered a perfect blend of puzzles and action in a mesmerizing tale based on Japanese mythology. The gorgeous graphics, inspired by classic Japanese art, look like nothing else you've ever seen in a video game.

2. "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" (Bethesda Softworks, for the Xbox 360): Two hundred hours in and I still feel like I haven't scratched the surface of this wide-ranging medieval role-playing adventure. With a compelling main story and hundreds of side missions, it's the first must-have game of the 360 era.

3. "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" (Nintendo, for the Wii, GameCube): The "Zelda" is a satisfying combination of the familiar (clever weapons, diabolical dungeons) and the new (Link is now a werewolf!). We always anticipate great things from "Zelda," but "Twilight Princess" delivers well beyond expectations.

4. "Gears of War" (Microsoft, for the Xbox 360): The second must-have for the 360 is "Gears of War," a riotous shooter that pits a team of human grunts against an insectoid army. It's gory, scary and thrilling, especially if you enjoy slicing up aliens with a chain saw.

5. "Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra" (Namco, for the PlayStation 2): The finale of the ambitious (some say pretentious) "Xenosaga" trilogy tackles religion, philosophy, metaphysics and more topics you wouldn't expect a game to address. It's really fun if you don't mind having your mind blown.

6. "Wii Sports" (Nintendo, for the Wii): Nintendo's new Wii console has gotten a lot of attention from people who don't normally play games. "Wii Sports," which is packed with the system, is an effective demonstration of its motion-sensing remote, and I have yet to meet anyone who can resist playing once they see it in action.

7. "New Super Mario Bros." (Nintendo, for the DS): The lovable plumber returns to his 2D roots in this side-scrolling running-and-jumping adventure. A blast for those of us who loved the original "SMB," and a real challenge for just about any player, with dozens of levels and tons of secrets.

8. "Final Fantasy XII" (Square Enix, for the PlayStation 2): I'm not completely sold on the new real-time battle system introduced in this installment, but it delivers everything grandiose story, lavish graphics and generous gameplay you expect from a "Final Fantasy" epic.

9. "LocoRoco" (Sony, for the PlayStation Portable): jellylike blobs ooze their way across colorful landscapes, splitting and recombining to get past obstacles. With its vibrant look and catchy soundtrack, it's the year's most endearing puzzle game

10. "Resistance: Fall of Man" (Sony, for the PlayStation 3): "Ratchet & Clank" creators Insomniac Games juice up the World War II shooter with alien invaders and flamboyant weapons. The best of the PS3 launch titles.

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WORST OF 2006

1. "25 to Life" (Eidos, for the Xbox, PlayStation 2): The only way an urban gangsta can escape to a better life is by killing hundreds of cops. The goriest, most reprehensible of the street crime sagas trying to rip off "Grand Theft Auto."

2. "Torino 2006" (2K Sports, for the Xbox, PlayStation 2): Fifteen winter games, all made crushingly dull by this halfhearted attempt to cash in on Olympic fever. Designers, you have three years to create a decent curling simulation before the Vancouver games.

3. "Jaws Unleashed" (Majesco, for the Xbox, PlayStation 2): Glitchy graphics, unnecessarily complicated controls and stupid missions take all the fun out of swimming around and chomping on innocent humans.

4. "Bomberman Act: Zero" (Konami, for the Xbox 360): That misplaced colon in the title was indicative of this slipshod production, which turned a colorful, lively party game into a morbid, unplayable mess.

5. "Superman Returns" (Electronic Arts, for the Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 2): The 1999 "Superman 64" is often called the worst video game ever. "Superman Returns" is a little just a little better.

sto110
12-28-2006, 07:39 PM
superman returns was my biggest dissapointment, so glad they put that demo out so i didnt buy it

Criden
12-28-2006, 07:45 PM
only played one game on this whole list (zelda, but for gc), so i'm curious to hear some opinions on how on-the-mark this guy is.

TheKraken
12-28-2006, 07:45 PM
Jaws Unleashed got demolished by most reviewers, and I don't really see why. It's certainly got its programming problems and every mission can be solved only by doing things no shark would be smart enough to do (How do you fight a giant boat trying to kill you? Swim down to the wrecked submarine and chuck the torpedos you find there at it, of course), but it's still fun as hell. Swimming around eating people takes a long time to get old, and some of the mini-games are hilarious (catching X amount of bungee jumpers in the time allowed is a favorite). I wouldn't call it a great game, but there's definitely worse things to rent out there...

WillieLee
12-28-2006, 07:47 PM
3. "Jaws Unleashed" (Majesco, for the Xbox, PlayStation 2): Glitchy graphics, unnecessarily complicated controls and stupid missions take all the fun out of swimming around and chomping on innocent humans.


"Jews Unleashed" would have been pretty cool.

Blandy vs Terrorism
12-28-2006, 07:48 PM
Eh, I'd agree on Gears if the single player had been longer. Not everyone has access to broadband for multiplayer.

Ryudo
12-28-2006, 07:48 PM
He's crazy, because Yoshi's Island DS isn't on there.

joeAR
12-28-2006, 07:49 PM
Eh, I'd agree on Gears if the single player had been longer. Not everyone has access to broadband for multiplayer.


You don't have friends that can come over to your house and play with you?

Cuckoo
12-28-2006, 07:51 PM
Oblivion was really good.

Ruwan Jay
12-28-2006, 07:53 PM
the 50 cent game (2005, i know!) was pretty stank and i got that for free in 06. i still believe that game broke my xbox!

Simps
12-28-2006, 07:55 PM
Why isn't Burger King's SNEAK KING on the "Best of" list? According to my mom and sister, it's the most fun video game they've ever played, and a steal at $4.

Blandy vs Terrorism
12-28-2006, 07:57 PM
You don't have friends that can come over to your house and play with you?

Maybe now that I'm in the Twin Cities. None of my friends back home ever do a damn thing. Plus, split screen bugs the shit out of me.

Edit: Oh yeah, and I'm not buying another controller just so they can come over and play anyways. :p

joeAR
12-28-2006, 08:01 PM
Why isn't Burger King's SNEAK KING on the "Best of" list? According to my mom and sister, it's the most fun video game they've ever played, and a steal at $4.


I actually want to play this game just cause of the fact that all you do is sneak up on people and give them food.

Scotty
12-28-2006, 08:03 PM
I love SneaKing it's frikken awesome, it's got a Tetris like addiction quality to it.

But more importantly

Where's the love for Dead Rising? That game fucking rocks.

joeAR
12-28-2006, 08:05 PM
But more importantly

Where's the love for Dead Rising? That game fucking rocks.


It really does. I now look at shower heads completley differently.

Simps
12-28-2006, 08:06 PM
I actually want to play this game just cause of the fact that all you do is sneak up on people and give them food.
Whoa whoa whoa, thats not ALL you do.




There's a level where you have to make yourself visible to a certain number of people.

Ziolko
12-28-2006, 08:16 PM
Do you actually "play" a Xenosaga game? I got the first one and I remember only actually playing about 5 out of the 30 minutes I spent on it.

Criden
12-28-2006, 08:18 PM
Do you actually "play" a Xenosaga game? I got the first one and I remember only actually playing about 5 out of the 30 minutes I spent on it.

That was my impression, as well. Cinematic, and to the point where it makes MGS2 look like all gameplay. I also found the titles--Der Will Zur Macht and the like--hugely pretentious.

Hate_Prime
12-28-2006, 08:29 PM
the 50 cent game (2005, i know!) was pretty stank and i got that for free in 06. i still believe that game broke my xbox!

It might have driven your xbox yo commit suicide.

Ziolko
12-28-2006, 08:41 PM
That was my impression, as well. Cinematic, and to the point where it makes MGS2 look like all gameplay. I also found the titles--Der Will Zur Macht and the like--hugely pretentious.

It's a shame because the game that the series spawned from, Xenogears, really was a classic. Sure, it had a lot of sci-fi cliches, but it was really innovative in terms of gameplay and the story was engaging. I really can't say the same about Xenosaga.

Scotty
12-28-2006, 08:45 PM
It really does. I now look at shower heads completley differently.

And Lego heads.

Blandy vs Terrorism
12-28-2006, 08:50 PM
It's a shame because the game that the series spawned from, Xenogears, really was a classic. Sure, it had a lot of sci-fi cliches, but it was really innovative in terms of gameplay and the story was engaging. I really can't say the same about Xenosaga.

I concur. I got about 30 hours into the first one, and I couldn't stand just sitting there not even holding the controller anymore.

sonnylarue
12-28-2006, 08:55 PM
where's guitar hero?

Simps
12-28-2006, 08:58 PM
where's guitar hero?
Isn't II the same as the first one, just with different songs? That may be a reason for the lack of Guitar Hero love.

Ruwan Jay
12-28-2006, 09:38 PM
It might have driven your xbox yo commit suicide.

my xbox got JARULED by it. WORD!

moonspider
12-28-2006, 09:42 PM
He's crazy, because Yoshi's Island DS isn't on there.



yoshi rawks!

Marcdachamp
12-28-2006, 09:45 PM
Zelda should be number one, and Wii Sports and Ultimate Alliance should both be there.

BGPu
12-28-2006, 10:30 PM
I wouldn't rank Wii Sports as high as they did. Fun, but it still feels like half a game to me.

Zelda's the only Wii game that made my top 10.

Akira
12-29-2006, 04:25 AM
I own 3 out of the top 10 (Okami, FF XII, Resistance) and highly agree with their inclusions on this list

JoeE
12-29-2006, 04:29 AM
Xenosaga III? :?

I haven't played it but unless it's a massive improvement over the previous two I can't imagine it being the fifth best game of the year, and CERTAINLY not better than the masterpiece that was FFXII.

Still, he put Okami at the top of the list (above Zelda!), so it's really hard to complain about these picks.

Akira
12-29-2006, 04:29 AM
It's a shame because the game that the series spawned from, Xenogears, really was a classic. Sure, it had a lot of sci-fi cliches, but it was really innovative in terms of gameplay and the story was engaging. I really can't say the same about Xenosaga.

Agreed. Xenogears is one of the best RPGs ever, and all Xenosaga did was sully the name in the eyes of many games. :no:

JoeE
12-29-2006, 04:32 AM
I think you're sugarcoating Xenogears a bit much. While the gameplay actually was pretty good, the plot was just as convoluted as any of the Xenosaga games, and the second disc was a flat-out disaster. And I'm a fan.

Ziolko
12-29-2006, 04:39 AM
I think you're sugarcoating Xenogears a bit much. While the gameplay actually was pretty good, the plot was just as convoluted as any of the Xenosaga games, and the second disc was a flat-out disaster. And I'm a fan.

I never made it very far on a Xenosaga game so I can't really make the comparison, but I remember playing it at the time and thinking that the story was really deep for a PS1 game. Again, I personally liked the story a lot despite it's many sci-fi cliches and I felt there was enough mystery and WTF factors going on that kept me playing.

Randy Hassan
12-29-2006, 04:50 AM
BEST OF 2006

1. "Okami"
Will the price on this drop soon? I'd like to get it, but I don't want to see it at half the price two weeks later.

JoeE
12-29-2006, 04:53 AM
It won't be a Greatest Hits title.

Ziolko
12-29-2006, 05:40 AM
Will the price on this drop soon? I'd like to get it, but I don't want to see it at half the price two weeks later.

It just came out so I don't think it'll drop in price until late 2007.

Akira
12-29-2006, 05:54 AM
I think you're sugarcoating Xenogears a bit much. While the gameplay actually was pretty good, the plot was just as convoluted as any of the Xenosaga games, and the second disc was a flat-out disaster. And I'm a fan.

Different strokes for different folks. I really enjoyed the story, characters, and dialoge of Xenogears, but could barely make it through the first 2 hours of Xenosaga. And that's not even mentioning the battle system. Xenogears' was probably my favorite battle system pre-FFXII.

Brewtown Andy
12-29-2006, 08:49 AM
It just came out so I don't think it'll drop in price until late 2007.If at all.

Matt Jay
12-29-2006, 08:58 AM
Different strokes for different folks. I really enjoyed the story, characters, and dialoge of Xenogears, but could barely make it through the first 2 hours of Xenosaga. And that's not even mentioning the battle system. Xenogears' was probably my favorite battle system pre-FFXII.

Xenogears, to this day, has the coolest story of any RPG I've played. But yeah, some moments in the second cd left me scratching my head.

A.Huerta
12-29-2006, 08:59 AM
I never made it very far on a Xenosaga game so I can't really make the comparison, but I remember playing it at the time and thinking that the story was really deep for a PS1 game. Again, I personally liked the story a lot despite it's many sci-fi cliches and I felt there was enough mystery and WTF factors going on that kept me playing.

The last boss was GOD! How cool is that.

And I love Fei/Id.

UltimateFactor
12-29-2006, 10:14 AM
Xenosaga III? :?

I haven't played it but unless it's a massive improvement over the previous two I can't imagine it being the fifth best game of the year, and CERTAINLY not better than the masterpiece that was FFXII.

Still, he put Okami at the top of the list (above Zelda!), so it's really hard to complain about these picks.

III was fuckin' awsome and overall better than FFXII. The biggest thing FFXII had over 'Saga were all the cool side quests you got to do with the hunts and super hard enemies that give you that breathless giddy feeling after you spend hours beating them. Other than that XS III was perfect. It's everything the final game in a trilogy should have been and more. My thing is, people were just so fuckin' finicky when it came to Xenosaga.

First game "Fuck this! If I wanted an interactive movie I would have bought one!

Second game: "Fuck this! The story sucks and I keep getting my ass kicked by enemies because they spent too much time on the battle engine giving me somthing to play this time around!"

Three was fuckin' perfect. Even if some people did whine because they cut a lot of the CGI and instead put a lot of story scenes into character text boxes this time around. Wish they'd make up their goddamned minds. Personally, I love the trilogy as a whole. The first was alright, all the cut scenes didn't bother me much. I loved the battle system in the second because if you didn't play right, even normal enemies could wipe you out at any time. I LIKE having to sweat trying to beat my enemies strategically. Sure, some of the battles were long and drawn out, but that's okay. Eh, can't please everyone. Funniest thing was everyone pissing on it because it wasn't Xenogears. "Bah! Xenogears is way better! It's a classic! This is shit compaired to that!" Yeah, so fuckin' what. Sure, I agree, singly the games weren't as good as Xenogears. But as a whole, once it was all said and done after III was over? It was better.

Also, I agree with the list, even though I've only played the PS2, DS, and GC intrants. Not getting a 360 until MagnaCarta II comes out.

J. R. Scherer
12-29-2006, 02:26 PM
Eh, I'd agree on Gears if the single player had been longer. Not everyone has access to broadband for multiplayer.

Yeah, those people don't count.