January 12, 2007 - Agreeing to agree is all part of the job here at IGN. When the game of the year awards come around each and every year, we all have to find a common ground with one another and reward the titles most deserving of accolades in their particular categories. But that doesn't mean that we forget about our personal favorites either. In fact, for the fourth year in a row we here on the IGN PlayStation Team have gotten together and decided to tell our readers all about our top 10 most beloved games of the year... on an individual basis that is.
Included on the following pages are the personal top 10 lists for all four members of the IGN PlayStation Team: Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Dunham, Executive Editor Chris Roper, and Editors Juan Castro and Jeff Haynes. The Sony-playing quartet has bared all in the resulting tirades, and we hope that our suggestions will not only tell you a little bit more about our gaming tastes on a personal level, but also, what we think you should be playing on your own (and we hope you enjoy it).
Oh and another thing -- since we're being so personal, we'd also like to take this opportunity to thank each and every reader (even the ones that don't agree with us) for their support day in and day out. Without your readership, your passion, and your help, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. So thank you very much.
Why? Late night sessions of Rainbow Six has always been one of my favorite after-work activities, and R6 Vegas kept one of my favorite traditions alive by adding plenty of bells and whistles. Its multiplayer component is great and highly customizable, and the single-player campaign is surprisingly long and challenging on the Realistic difficulty setting. Fun stuff to play with a couple of buddies for sure.
Why? I'm the office's biggest boxing fan and have really appreciated EA's ongoing "Sweet Science" franchise. The new styles implemented for this year's version were definitely welcome additions and the visuals for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 editions were fantastic. I also liked the new punch types and the two-player aspect was great as always. Now if only career mode hadn't been so shoddy...
8)Gears of War Platform: X360 Publisher: Microsoft Developer: Epic Games Release Date: November 2006
Why? I'll admit that when I played through Gears of War by myself for the first time I wasn't overly impressed (the story didn't resolve or explain anything!). But once I hooked up with my fellow PS editor Juan and started shooting things via co-op on Insane (with a couple of death matches here and there) I realized what a beauty this game is. And speaking of beauty, how about those graphics? Wow!
7)Bully Platform: PS2 Publisher: Rockstar Games Developer: Rockstar Vancouver Release Date: October 2006
Why? It's no secret that I'm a fan of Grand Theft Auto-style gameplay, and Rockstar's smaller and more focused Bully adds plenty to that formula. And while the interesting weapons and locations are all fine and good, it was the storyline and humor of young Jimmy Hopkins that really grabbed me in the end. Bully is fun and funny -- sounds like a good way to spend a couple of afternoons to me.
Why? For people who say, "They don't make games the way they used to" I beg to differ. Square Enix's excellent port of the "Lost" Super NES RPG, Final Fantasy V was my favorite handheld game of the year by far. A deep job switching system and a re-translated script really hammers home what a great game this 15 year-old role-player really was. Too bad we missed it before.
5)Resistance: Fall of Man Platform: PS3 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Developer: Insomniac Games Release Date: November 2006
Why? The only "must-own" PlayStation 3 title of 2006 was quite a whopper. Though I'd played a number of different first-person shooters this year (and every year for that matter), Resistance: Fall of Man stood out because of its unique weapons and great presentation. Having a near-flawless 40-person multiplayer function isn't so bad either. Bottom line: If you own a PS3, you must own Resistance too.
4)Burnout Revenge Platform: X360 Publisher: Criterion Games Developer: Electronic Arts Release Date: March 2006
Why? It didn't matter to me that Burnout Revenge hit last-gen systems in 2005, because the Xbox 360 version undoubtedly the one to get. Super fast, super pretty, and armed with more areas and better online play, it was an addictive, high-speed racer that I played to 100% conclusion... twice. How many other games are entertaining enough to compel you to do that? Not many.
Why? Civ 4 is a highly underrated multiplayer game and the Warlords expansion pack really adds a lot to that element. But even for players who like to go at it solo, Warlords is highly entertaining stuff. Not because of the new Vassal option or the extra leaders and Great Generals mind you, but because its gameplay is meticulously balanced and highly addictive.
2)Dead Rising Platform: X360 Publisher: Capcom Entertainment Developer: Capcom Release Date: August 2006
Why? I can't tell you how many times I played through this (I ended 2006 with 46 of the game's 50 achievements). I love zombie movies and games and Dead Rising is, by far, the best pure zombie game I've ever played. It has everything -- a solid story, deep combat mechanics, scary moments, and thousands and thousands of undead creatures hell-bent on eating your flesh. It's mindless fun to the nth degree and my favorite 360 game released so far.
1)Final Fantasy XII Platform: PS2 Publisher: Square Enix Developer: Square Enix Release Date: October 2006
Why? I was in the minority in an office that preferred Oblivion to most every Japanese-style RPG, but not a single game last year impressed me as much as Final Fantasy XII. It changed everything about a series that already had an impressive pedigree -- Its battle system, artistic style, and overall presentation. It had a great story with complex characters and a fantastically deep combat mechanic that kicked the butt of every other RPG this year. I highly recommend it.
Jeremy's Thoughts: The year that was 2006 was a period filled with strong games on every platform. It was a real coming out party for my Xbox 360 and the PS2 continued to show its stuff with the titles mention above and other greats such as Okami, MGS3: Subsistence, and a strong selection of RPGs. The PSP too had a great year in Daxter, Tekken, Syphon Filter, and LocoRoco, and Nintendo's Wii proved to all of us that "next-generation" doesn't always mean graphic technology. Congratulations all around.