The year 2006 was an interesting year. In the United States, there was a huge number of odd and notable national events, including the Northwest having the rainiest November on record (then receiving 10 inches of snow at Thanksgiving), California re-electing Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Vice President shooting somebody, and the continuing decline of the war in Iraq. With all of these things happening, it's easy to understand why people turn to entertainment (and hobbies) for their daily dose of distraction.
To distract you in 2007, here's my pick of the most amazing video games that came out in 2006 that you should make sure to play in 2007. Take a look at my pick for Game of the Year!
5) Rainbow Six Vegas Video Game
Rainbow Six Vegas
Ubisoft put this game out as a sequel to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series late in 2006. The game begins with combat in Mexico, but quickly moves the fighting to Las Vegas, Nevada. As expected, most of the combat in the game takes place in the city streets and in the casinos of Las Vegas.
Rainbow Six Vegas is a good First Person Shooter simply because it puts you right into the fight. Fast paced and exciting firefights, mixed with interesting locales (like the slot machine areas in casinos), makes for a great First Person Shooter that will playable for some time to come.
4) Saints Row Video Game
Volition released this game hoping it would have the same kind of success that the Grand Theft Auto series has had. You can move freely around the city of Stilwater (a fictional place), steal vehicles, buy weapons, get in firefights, and commit virtually any crime you can think of. Many of the things you could do in the Grand Theft Auto series you can do in Saints Row, and that's why it's so good.
Saints Row is one of those games that has all the things another good game has, and makes it better. Added features like restarting missions from the beginning if you fail (as opposed to going to jail or the hospital) help make this game fresh from the formula of Grand Theft Auto. The minigames (like running in front of cars in an attempt fraudulently gain insurance money) help to make the game fun and keeps things interesting. The story in the game is good, the aiming system is fun to use for firing weapons, and the GPS system in the game is the first I've used that actually helps you get places without getting you lost first. Saints Row is one of the very few good free roam games simply because it copied the awesome formula of Grand Theft Auto, and even added some good features to it.
3) Resistance: Fall of Man Video Game
Resistance Fall of Man
This First Person Shooter is one of the first games for Sony's newly released PLAYSTATION 3 console. The game takes place in Western Europe shortly after when World War II would have taken place. In the game, some kind of strange force had taken over Russia and Eastern Europe, and World War II never took place. When the force begins to take over the rest of Europe, the United States sends in troops to try and stop the European takeover. This game stars one of the soldiers in the United States army that fights this foreign army.
Resistance: Fall of Man has explosive firefights, a great storyline, and even better online play. The game even has some great graphics for a launch title. Most of the weapons in the game are unique and interesting, so they keep the game fun. Resistance is by far the best game released as a launch title for the PLAYSTATION 3, and will carry the PLAYSTATION 3 through the New Year and into 2007.
2) Zelda: Twilight Princess Video Game
Zelda Twilight PrincessThis RPG was highly anticipated for the Gamecube, and was delayed several times so that it would be ready to release on the Wii at its launch. The game features Link from the previous Zelda's, and includes all the usual features expected from a Zelda game.
Zelda was released around the same time as Final Fantasy XII (Playstation 2), but was luckily released on one of the next generation consoles. The Wii's surprising success at its launch was due to the lower prices, and sold out during the Christmas sales and through the New Year. This addition to the Zelda series was one of the best selling games during Christmas, and was the number one sold game to buyers of the Wii console. The new motion sensing utilized in the controller, and all of the small features this game are what keeps this game fun and interesting, and should be owned by any owner of the Wii console.
1) Gears of War Video Game
Marcus Fenix from Gears of War
This was a third person shooter developed by Epic, the makers of the Unreal Engine and the Unreal Tournament series. The game takes place on a planet similar to Earth called Serra. The planet has been taken over by a strange (and unknown) species of aliens called Locusts (for the ability to kill a large population of people quickly). A group of soldiers, called Gears, are out to take Serra back, and win the war once and for all.
Gears of War has the best graphics of any game ever made for any console, hands down. Rainbow Six Vegas has good graphics compared to other games, but Gears of War kicks, stamps, and throws Rainbow Six Vegas's graphics out the window. Epic Games made this game nearly perfect, with tons of interesting little touches to the game. The campaign story is fun (yet short), which can be played in about 10 hours on your own. If you want to, you can play the storyline with a friend, either online or split screen on one TV. You can also host a cooperation game online that any person can join and play with you.
The real fun, however, comes with the online play for this game. Epic did a very good job of making the levels in Gears of War fair for both sides, either because they are symmetrical, or because the teams swap sides after every battle. The weapons in the campaign are all available in the online gameplay, making it extremely easy for people that have only played the campaign to play online. The high level of online competition, low number of players in online matches, and fun maps make Gears of War one of the best online games of ALL time!
My pick for the Game of the Year is Gears of War, and that's it for the year of 2006. I hope that everybody had a safe and fun Christmas and New Year, and that all of you have a great 2007 ahead of you enjoying these terrific games and the new ones coming out soon!Matt Wood
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