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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Games of 2006

This is a brief overview of the games that I have played this year. Overall scores (out of 10) are indicated in bold arial font below the title of the game. The first game played is at the top of the list while the last is at the bottom; games in the list are in order of time played.

Mario Kart DS
Mario Kart DS is my debut game of the year and I was pleased with the game. Not only does Mario Kart DS engage me throughout the year because of its high replayability value (shine runners and balloon battle, Wi-Fi play), it is also enjoyable to hear the adorable voices of Mario and his pals. With numerous power-ups, races are exciting and the overall feel of the game is excellent. There is nothing to criticize about this game.

Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time
As a non-fan of RPGs, this game surprised me with its cute visuals and voices. The game lasts a long 23 hours and the story, although straightforward, constantly succeeds in pushing you deeper into the game. Some puzzle elements in this game give your brain some work to do. With several special attacks on offer, you can get creative with the ways to destroy your enemy. Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time is one fun and challenging game that should never be missed.

Need for Speed Most Wanted
Need for Speed Most Wanted re-enacts the various Hollywood police car chases on your screen. The game is extremely challenging and it provides maximum entertainment. For a racing game, I do not expect any storyline, but Need for Speed Most Wanted astonished me with one that is both engrossing and deep. What holds this game back in attaining a perfect 10 is its repetitive races, but the fun you get out of this game is enough to offset the error in game design.

Resident Evil Deadly Silence
Basically, this game is a rehash of the original Resident Evil 1, but with a slightly different mode that have gameplay elements that make use of the DS special functions like the microphone and the touch-screen. The game is decent, but the fatal mistake that the game makes is its controls. The controls, quite simply, are a mess. In the later stages of the game when more agile enemies appear, the controls become your secondary enemy. They are slow to respond and not up to mark. This game is a huge disappointment. Avoid it.

Guilty Gear Dust Strikers
For the first time, Guilty Gear arrives on the DS, but the addition of the unnecessary platforms (when you hit the up button, you do not actually jump into the air, but instead onto the upper platform and vice versa) and limited moves prove to be the failings of the DS version of Guilty Gear. Otherwise, Guilty Gear DS, well, feels like Guilty Gear games on any other platforms, which is good. Fortunately, the sound and graphics stay true to the traditional version of Guilty Gear.

Black boasts destructible explosive barrels and walls. Dust fly up in the air and you can see that some parts of the wall are chipped off by bullets. Indeed, Black is one of the best looking games on last-gen consoles, but beyond that, Black is nothing more than a linear FPS and mindless shooter. Nevertheless, playing Black is a great way to spend the weekend. A sequel is in the works.

Half-Life 2
Due to many problems concerning Steam while installing Half-Life 2 on my PC, I got the Xbox version. Half-Life 2 is the best game I have ever played. It is not a game that you just shoot and forget. Half-Life 2 has one of deepest and most engaging storyline I have ever encountered in any game. Its wide variety of enemies and weapons make it an even better game. Puzzle elements from the original Half-Life are back as well. You have to play Half-Life 2 yourself to experience its brilliance; there are no other words to describe this masterpiece.

New Super Mario Bros.
New Super Mario Bros. brings you back to the days of Super Mario Bros. but with the newly included power-ups and deformed terrain. The game still features the ever cute voice of Mario, whom you can switch to Luigi to play as. The game may look simple on the outside, but as a matter of fact, it is difficult to the point that you feel like giving up. However, I have grown out of the platformer genre of games and this game does not quite appeal to me. New Super Mario Bros. is still a good buy, though.

MechAssualt: Phantom War
Being a third-person shooter, I did not expect the game to possess perfect controls, but man, I was wrong, very wrong! MechAssualt: Phantom War has one of the best control schemes on a DS. Although the visuals are not cutting-edge, they are one of best for a DS game. The action is intense, and it never gets repetitive. However, the lack of Wi-Fi play is sorely missed.

Need for Speed Carbon
Need for Speed Carbon still has what its predecessor, Most Wanted has: a storyline. New additions include crew members and autosclupt. The flashy cars are back! Unfortunately, the game is incredibly easy and offers lesser content than Most Wanted. That does not mean Carbon is not a worthwhile buy; it still is, but it is too simple and offers no real challenge.

Gears of War
Being the Xbox 360’s flagship game title, Gears of War is supposed to be good and it is. Gears of War, to put it simply, is a unique game that employs the ‘take cover’ strategy. Graphics and sound is first-rate here, cut scenes are stunning. I cannot find any fault with the game. Multiplayer extends its replayability value.

Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty 3 brings back the chaotic feel of WW2 from Call of Duty 2. Where Call of Duty 2 lacks in the music department, Call of Duty 3 reinforces it with a memorable music. However, while Call of Duty 2 offered more gameplay variety and more intense action, Call of Duty 3 offers not a single memorable mission. Compared to Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3 is a minor disappointment, but multiplayer keeps its head above water. Although less cinematic now, Call of Duty 3 will still be a nice addition to your games library.

Battlefield 2142
If you like Counter Strike, you will like this game. The new Titan mode is a nice touch, but a limited map count of 10 does little of not making the game boring after a while, by which the gameplay will also become a little stale. Unpolished graphics are mostly dull colors round up what a slightly-above-average game is made of.

Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy
I was never a fan of Star Wars and neither did this game succeed increase my interest in Star Wars. Beautiful character models and pleasant humor are present, but what is devastating are that the lack of online support, repetitive gameplay, hard-to-see objectives, the almost complete lack of save points and occasional freezing are also present. My advice: Give it a miss. It is not worth your time and money.

Company of Heroes
Instead of making you focus more on the resource gathering, Company of Heroes forces you into the action. Breath-taking cut scenes complete with subtitles make their appearance. The gameplay is severely addicting and you will never want to stop playing it. Missions are varied and accompanied by music that is appropriate for every moment of the game. Graphics are one of the best around and so is the sound, which has been given much attention.

Medieval 2: Total War

Game is unfinished.

FlatOut 2

FlatOut 2 is one of the most satisfying games I have ever played, providing hours and hours of fun with its sheer destruction. There is a great variety of tracks and events for you to wreck havoc as well, increasing the game replayability value. Unfortunately, almost every vehicle handles similarly. Controls feel loose and may be unforgiving at times if you are not careful. FlatOut 2 also lacks online players. However, despite its shortcomings, it is still a very enjoyable game.


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