[Originally posted on 1Up.com]
A little late maybe, but I thought it would be fun to pick a Game of the Year for last year since I increased my systems collection by no less than four new systems last year (NDS, PSP, PSTwo and an Atari 2600 variant, one of those that has the whole system in the controller, that you hook-up directly to your TV-set). So without further adue, this is my system favorites:
This was an easy one, not only because '05 was a relatively quite year for the GameCube, not only release wise, but also I didn't pick up that many titles for it even thought there are many I plan to pick up at some point (such as Fire Emblem, Battalion Wars, Paper Mario, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and Killer 7). Some if not most, I will probably end up playing on the Revolution instead. So why Resident Evil 4? Well it has so much going for it, and nothing of it has to do with the fact that it exists in the RE-universe, not from my point of view, since I never played any of the previous installments. No, RE4 is just so polished and well balanced, the graphics are amazing and it's one of the few games where I wanted more when I had just finished it. If it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to share this great game with a friend, I would have gone directly back and played it again. Instead I spent several days, maybe even weeks (I can't recall now) playing the survival mode on the second disc. This game really has the survival horror feeling down tight, the scene where you're in an old wooden house in the dark completely surrounded by hoards of mind controlled zombie-like villagers that are climbing through the windows and coming through the door from all directions is just excellent. The way they flank, dodge and move in on you with blind determination, is just really creepy and well animated. This game is one of the ones that has left the biggest impression on me, it's right up there with Monkey Island II and Super Mario Bros.
I didn't play that many other new games on the GameCube last year, but even if I had, I believe that PJ's KK would have faired well in comparison. This is definitely the best movie-to-game adaptation I've played, but what else would you expect when it was made by Michel Ancel, the man behind the excellent but overlooked Beyond Good & Evil from 2003, if you haven't played it, pick it up today! It's available for GameCube\PC\PS2\Xbox. Anyway, back to Kong, I have yet to see the movie, but the game did a remarkable job of capturing the feeling of being in a modern action movie. Not once did I get stuck and irritated, but it still provided a challenge, for the most part you got the feeling that you had only just made it past the last threat and you where constantly kept on your toes, even if there where some calm bits with some dialog to move the story ahead. Like Half-Life 2, alot of the dialog is handled in-game and while you are on the move, so there is hardly any moments where you are sitting idle watching an extended cut-scene. Excellent work, Michel, I'm looking forward to your next title (please let it be BG&E2!).
Like it's predecessors on the GBA, AWDS provides you with alot of play-time for it's relatively modest price. When you've played through the campaign, there's tons of maps to play in the War room, and more can be bought in the store, then there's the new real-time game variant, and I haven't even mentioned multi-player. As I wrote in a previous blog-entry, the AW games are the only ones that I have been unable to put away when I get off the train for work. The biting cold of November couldn't force me to put it down, nor the hazard of traversing inner-city streets without looking up. Just like with the first AW, I have no doubt that I will keep coming back to this one for years to come.
My first import game from Japan, this rythmn-game where you tap\drag\spinn the stylus on the touch-screen was a fresh change from the norm, both game-play wise, and story-wise. In Ouendan! you play the role of a band of male cheerleaders in black trench-coats. You job is to raise the spirits of the citizens in your town. You start out with simple tasks like helping a student cram for his exams, make sure a lowly secretary to impress on her boss, and defeat a bully-ish kid in a dodgeball:esc game, to finally band together with these people to save the planet from an in-coming meteor. All the story is told through Anime-like comic-strips on the upper screen while you tap away on the bottom one to complete the cheerleading song. I recommend this import to all you non-Japanese out there, you can understand it just fine without knowing Kanji.
No surprises here either, this is by far the one I've played the most. Sure it's a rip-off of Tetris, but the music-based play with the graphical style and effects just makes it hypnotizing and very soothing. It's the perfect game to escape into after a tough day when your head is buzzing and everything feels like a chore. Not much more to say about this one really, it's a simple but effective design that, like Advance Wars, will have you coming back for more for years to come.
Driving fast and recklessly and crashing is just lots of fun I guess. Although it does get quite repetitive after a while, and there are way to few songs, they get tiered quickly. But a great game for playing on-the-go, you can run a race or a crash in just a few minutes and there's over(?) 100 missions so there's plenty to do.
A great action-adventure that looks incredible for a PS2 title and does the job really well. There are few things to get irritated over in this game, it's a smooth ride with a well balanced difficulty curve, and even provides you with the option to switch to an easier setting if you get stuck for too long anywhere. The use of Greek-mythology hasn't been done properly since Kid Icarus so that felt fresh, and like one reviewer said "Everyone secretly want's to be Kratos".
I ran into a bit of a dilemma with this one... Since I got my PSTwo for Christmas I didn't play that many games on it in 2005. And of the games that I did play, many are older games released in previous years. Also I've gotten plenty of games in 2006 that where released in 2005, so I had to think, what am I trying to mediate with this blog-entry? Is it the games I most enjoyed during 2005 -or- the games released in 2005 that I have enjoyed the most (regardless of when) -or- is it both, i.e. the games released in 2005 that I most enjoyed during 2005? This is a tough one, but I decided that the latter was the best choice, because otherwise it just gets to muddled, this of course means there was no runner-up... oh well, this years list should probably be a bit more clear-cut, unless I end up getting The Legend of Zelda:Twilight Princess with my Revolution and buy no specific title for the system this year... So that brings us to the final award, the coveted Game of the Year, this might not be to hard to figure out from what I've written about the games above, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. And the winner is...
For all the reasons mentioned above, it's a game that still remains the strongest gaming-impression of last year in my mind, even though it was one of the first ones that I played in 2005, so let's hope that RE5 is as good or better and that they make a fantastic version for the Revolution utilizing it's controller to it's fullest, or come Christmas 2010... there might be a PSThree under my little-plastic Christmas tree. -_-;