360Monster’s Games of 2006 Part II
Last month we brought you our run-down of the best Xbox 360 titles per genre, as well as the worst. At the end of it all, if you lasted that long, we had a short-list of contenders for the best Xbox 360 title of 2006. If you haven’t listened to our Episode 4 Podcast already, you will still be on tender hooks to know which title won our Console Monster Golden Egg Cup Award.
So without further delay, let’s re-cap the shortlist, followed by the titles that didn’t make the final cut and then finally the top five.
Game of the Year (2006) Nominees:
Gears of War
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Rainbow Six: Vegas
Call of Duty 3
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
The nominees that didn’t make it…
Saint’s Row: An impressive yet unoriginal single player experience helped by an incredibly unique online experience made Saint’s Row an easy favourite here at 360monster. However, too many frame rate flaws and tedious mistakes killed this game’s potential to become a true Game of the Year nominee.
Call of Duty 3: Unlike last year’s extremely disappointing LIVE setup, COD3 came back this year to offer an excellent multiplayer proving that Call of Duty is still the best World War II FPS franchise. While still enjoyable, COD3’s single player mode in its performance and offerings is a bit of a let-down when compared to its predecessor.
Burnout: Revenge: An excellent racing port of one of the best from 2005, Burnout Revenge proved that it is still just as exciting last year on the Xbox as it was on the Xbox 360 this year. But for many who played it somewhere else, the game lacks many new options to make its longevity rather small.
Dead Rising: Just falling short of our Top 5 of 2006 is Dead Rising. An extremely fun combat system just couldn’t be “saved” from its recurring technical flaws.
360monster’s Top 5
5. Viva Piñata
We couldn’t resist. Viva Piñata is definitely worthy of a top Game of the Year nomination. Of course it wasn’t designed for the hardcore gamers but for casual gamers, this was not hard to fall in love with. To be honest, so did a lot of us at 360monster and there is no questioning our hardcore status. Viva Piñata mastered the ability to introduce a child’s game for everyone that for lack of a better word is not blatantly childish. Sure the game has some technical and children based issues that do push it back from being the next big thing like Pokémon, but still, Viva Piñata is colourful, enjoyable and definitely one of last year’s best. It was guilty pleasure to some but downright fun to others.
4. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Foreshadowed by the vast amount of superb titles released in November, many forgot about GRAW and its superb gameplay. We didn’t. In our minds, GRAW was one of this year’s best amongst all platforms, let alone the 360. With the best graphics seen on the 360 until November, GRAW showcased what was yet to come, and left us eagerly awaiting new games from Ubisoft.
Oblivion clearly was worthy of our Game of the Year award. By far it was the best single player experience, to perhaps, hit the Xbox platform since the birth of the original ES. ESIV possessed one of the finest orchestrated scores in gaming history and one of the most open games ever, if not the most. Yet still, Oblivion is an RPG. In the end, you need an RPG to be perfect in it’s entirety to be considered a year’s best. Oblivion wasn’t, but it was the closest to perfection to come out of the genre in a long, long time.
Just beating out Oblivion for the silver medal and also neck in neck with the #1 Game of the Year is Rainbow Six Vegas. Clearly a big favourite here at 360monster achieving a 9.5 rating, RSV proves that synergy works. The concept of blending Sin City and “stop and pop” warfare was genius…talk about casino action! Ubisoft brought their digital Vegas to life and transported us all to a virtual world of stealth and fast paced environments. Rainbow Six also offered the best multiplayer game of the year…probably since Halo 2 even.
360monster’s Game of the Year Award
1. Gears of War
Nearly two years ago, the next generation was revealed to us in the form of a sleek white box. It was at this point in time we were promised the “7th generation”, a generation that would show more technical power for consoles than most PCs can ever dream of bearing. When we first saw footage of Gears of War, many of us questioned whether it would live up to its hype. Could it be possible that what we were seeing was true in-game media? Thankfully, it was…and much more! Gears of War opened our eyes to a new generation, a world of endless possibilities, a fresh approach to gaming we had not yet encountered.
More importantly, GOW showed us Epic’s true ability. Whether it’s a testament to the Xbox 360’s capabilities or to the amazing effort and detail perfection of Epic Games, a question yet to be answered, really does not matter. Either way, we all agreed, Gears of War defined 2006. During a year of transition and upgrades, Gears set an unobtainable bar both technically and from a shooter perspective.
Gears met all expectations from its stunning technical performance to its amazingly attractive gameplay. Lancer, Chainsaw, Hammer of Dawn, Marcus, General RAAM, Berserkers, Cole, Baird, Locusts, Wretches, Brumaks, Torque Bow…the list can go on forever. Gears is becoming its own universe…and if you’re not in by now it is time you get your ass over there.
Originally Written By: Steve Wysowski