The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2006!
#6: Kingdom Hearts II - 14 points
#1: 1 (brunojoey)
#2: 2 (Brannox, ffff0)
HM: 1 (Sheria)
Release date: NA: March 28, AU: September 28, EU: September 29
Developer: Square Enix Product Development Division 1
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action role-playing
Platform(s): PlayStation 2
ffff0 last edited by
I’ve played all Kingdom Hearts games in 2019. According to my notes (I already forgot everything about it), Kingdom Hearts II wasn’t the worst of them, but it forced you to run though all worlds a second time which felt completely unnecessary. Any other year I wouldn’t vote for such was-it-even-worth-my-time? experience, but I’ve played only four 2006 games, so to vote for my #1 I had to fill other slots with filler games.
Brannox last edited by Brannox
Fantastic! Seeing Kingdom Hearts II make the cut, and being so high, gives me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling.
I've long championed the franchise for being such a big fan (which, nowadays, KH has become the go-to interjection joke of any conversation where it even isn't the subject and I'm starting to get extremely irritated by it so I don't bring it up as much). For a long while, KH II was my favorite before thinking on it many years ago and defaulting to the first as my favorite.
That said, Kingdom Hearts II is incredible. Yes, the opening hours tutorial of the Seven Days as Roxas is annoying, but I argue the payoff is VERY worth it, especially on the last couple of days, ending with the fight against Axel. But once you get control of Sora, it's awesome from that point.
Returning to worlds from the first game to see how things have changed is really neat, from Olympus Coliseum to Agrabah, but by far for me the best returning world is easily Hollow Bastion. There's so much that happens, so much to do, so many great Final Fantasy characters, and in my opinion, not just this game, but the ENTIRE franchise's coolest moment:
Returning from Space Paranoids (more on that in a moment), the legion of Heartless attack at Organization XIII's command, Goofy gets knocked. The fuck. Out. Causing Mickey to ditch his hood and enter the fight. Then you tag team with most of the Final Fantasy heroes for an all too brief period: Tifa, Yuffie, Squall, and Cloud. You then reunite with Goofy, but still stand alone, 1 vs. 1000, in one of the most gratifying fights. All of this culminates with Sora finally meeting Xemas and Saix, and they reveal Sora defeating Heartless serves their purpose of collecting Hearts to become real. Feeling hopeless and in darkness, Riku (though you don't know it at the moment) saves Sora with a box holding a picture of the Twilight Town gang and a bar of Sea Salt Ice Cream (which I always find hilarious it never melts).
But the new worlds are also wonderful in their own right. My top three are (in order) Space Paranoids, Port Royal, and The World That Never Was. For the former two, I'm a fan of both Tron and Pirates, and getting to play in those worlds is surreal (To the point Port Royal is my favorite KH III location). As for TWTNW, I just love the aesthetic, music, major plot points, and several boss fights as you climb the castle.
I really enjoyed the runback through the worlds a second time, kind of like I said just a minute ago about revisiting places from KH 1, but here, you can see how things have progressed within the same game AND get to visit new areas upon your second return. There are a couple of personal duds for me, like The Hundred Acre Wood and easily my most despised world Atlantica (which I didn't mind all that much in KH 1, but turning it into a musical mini-game place is terrible), but overall, KH II has a GREAT world roster, and might even be my favorite if I sat down to think about it.
As far as combat goes, I think it's both a benefit and a setback with the sheer amount of options you have. From standard combat, a reworked magic system, Drive Forms, new Summons, new Keyblades, Reaction Commands, and MANY new abilities, it does allow you to customize a loadout better than KH 1, but personally, I prefer the magic system from the first game from as a unit based system as opposed to the solid bar here. As for Summons, I NEVER use them because I don't see the point, and while Drives are just the BEST.... they sadly don't get much use from me except boss fights because of the health benefit, losing a party member(s), and the increased power you get.
I also love how, only being blown away by KH III, the verticality is much better in KH II, especially as you acquire movement abilities allowing you to jump and superglide great heights and distances respectively in a short amount of time. Trying to utilize your abilities to reach shining crowns in the levels to unlock puzzle pieces for great items is a fun side tangent when not focusing on fighting or an objective.
I just went back a few months ago and decided to do a lot of endgame stuff on a PS3 save file of KH II: FM and did more than I thought I could: Beat Sephiroth in four tries, fully completed the Synthesis requirement, defeated most of the data versions of Organization XIII (Except Xemnas, because being forced to take over as Riku without your traversal abilities in a second round fight that shouldn't be there is awful; Demyx, because taking out that many water forms in such a short amount of time is irritating; and Luxord, because gambling games requiring split-second timing is the bane of my existence), and won most of the mini-games, including every one from Mushroom XIII (which, the one you have to hit in the air 85 TIMES WITHOUT TOUCHING THE GROUND.... Never again). To say I'm proud of this and reigniting my love for the game as a whole is a colossal understatement.
On the whole Kingdom Hearts II is a fantastic game that I adore and I'm ecstatic to see it here. It's my 3rd favorite game of the franchise and my 25th favorite of all time. As always, high-fives, fist bumps, or whichever you prefer to fellow voters @Sheria, @ffff0, and @brunojoey!
bam541 last edited by
Wow I expected this to be higher, especially since it's considered to be one of the best games in the series.
NeoCweeny last edited by NeoCweeny
4 Gears of War
2 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
1 The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion
Nimbat1003 last edited by Nimbat1003
Wow I can't believe destry all Humans 2 made it this high...oh.
#5: Ōkami - 19 points
#2: 1 (Phbz)
#3: 3 (JDINCINERATOR, Crepe, Bigdude1)
#4: 3 (Sentinel Beach, Oscillator, Axel)
Release date: NA: 19 September
Developer: Clover Studio
Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Wii
Sentinel Beach last edited by
Okami is a looooooong ass game, but damn, if it isn't also an excellent one! I played the PS3 version in 2013, got the platinum trophy and all. What an adventure. I'll most likely never touch it again, but those are some good memories I got from the game.
Oscillator last edited by
The controls are clunky, the gameplay is repetitive, but the fantastic vibes of Okami's characters and settings nearly make up for its shortcomings.
JDINCINERATOR last edited by
I worry that Okami is a game that'll be defined as "didn't sell well" which is obviously a hugely reductive branding of an incredibly beautiful and artistically awe-inspiring adventure game. The strength of Okami's utter brilliance is really nestled in the fact it made the top 5 here and it's a critical darling-but not in a snobbish way just a commending way as is to say go check this gorgeous experience out. The 2017 HD release shows that this timeless classic hasn't been forgotten and let's not forget 2011's quasi-follow-up Okamiden on the Nintendo DS. A stunning game indeed.
Brannox last edited by
Every time I see Okami, I both get sensory overload with its art style, and am always reminded how it didn't do well enough the team dissolved. I also remember a port of this had the IGN watermark, and while inconsequential, it's an oddity I can't help but wonder how it happens.
As for the game itself, I've always heard it's a "Zelda-like," but I don't know in what ways, be it dungeons, bosses, combat, exploration, etc. Regardless, it's the quintessential cult-classic that'll never get a follow-up, which is sad because Psychonauts 2 proves its possible.
Bigdude1 last edited by
played it recently on the switch in portable mode exclusively. it was one of those games for me that i was just engrossed the whole way and didnt stop playing it daily until i was finished.
bam541 last edited by bam541
I was so disappointed with Okami. The art style, the vibes, the story presentation are all top notch, but the actual gameplay is just not engaging. Exploring loses it charm very quickly, and I don't even remember anything else that you do in this game. The characters and story could only help it for so long. I wish that it went for a short game approach like Ico instead. Couldn't play this more than 6 hours tbh. I don't even know how you can make a game that looks this cool, and be so boring at the same time.
Phbz last edited by
Played Okami in 2020 for the first time. It was a very good surprise, basically a Zelda better than most Zeldas. Biggest complaint is being too long and combat should be more challenging, but it's a wonderful tale in a wonderful world. Using your powers to solve environmental puzzles kept things fresh enough when it comes to exploration. I would love a sequel.
JDINCINERATOR last edited by JDINCINERATOR
Anybody want to bring the full top 20 games of 2006 to Ben's community showcase?
Crepe last edited by
@phbz I agree with this, except that I only like it better than a handful of Zelda games. The variety of weapons in combat was awesome, and the dungeons were great.
The use of Japanese mythology and Shinto deities was awesome. Usually that is an aspect of Japanese culture that you mostly find in museums, but it was great how much they leaned into it. It gave Okami a sprinkling of God of War-vibes.
DIPSET last edited by
Been busy. Catching up on some key games.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas
Honestly, this is one of the best tactical game for me. Released on the advent of the co-op boom, this game has such a fantastic approach to game design with co-op and loadouts in mind. The Vegas setting is entirely unique. It's modern combat with a face to it. Not just some indiscriminate bombed out location in some generic faux Middle Eastern country but this setting has personality.
Terrorist Hunt mode is oddly addicting and between this mode and the Campaign, there are 2 games in 1 here.
R6V and R6V2 are both awesome games, yet, weirdly different from one another. Gunplay feels slightly different from one game to the next and the aesthetics are very different. I replayed R6V2 recently and it doesn't hold up well on PS3 but on PC it's still great.
ONE. OF. THE. GREATS.
And it's too low on this list. It's still the best Hitman game in my opinion and different enough from the 2016 trilogy to stand on it's own island. Some levels are large while some are quite small. But the main crux of this game is how each level has an immense sense of discovery. And unlike the new trilogy, these assassinations play out a bit more organically and sandboxy. For example, you don't follow a breadcrumb trail to assassinate your target in a prescriptive way. You just need to really be observent and follow patters to find the time to strike.
"You Better Watch Out" is still my all time favourite Hitman level. It's a VIP Christmas party on a mountain side resort hotel. There is so much verticality to the design in this level. It perfectly pairs up the whimsical Christmas setting with some seriously tense encounters using Stealth to get deeper and deeper into the VIP sections of the party.
Overall, this game is just genius and oozes personality. This type of sandbox gameplay freedom puts Hitman in a world of it's own. There just isn't anything like it. On top of the gameplay, there is just a certain quirkyness to this game. The newspapers that describe your assassination when you beat the level are just so fun to read. If you get Silent Assassin rating and make everything look like an accident, the newspaper write up barely has any information and won't mention an assassin. Whereas, a bloodbath shootout is described as such.
10/10. Holds up. And I highly recommend new fans to play this one because it actually plays a lot differently than what you're used to in the new trilogy.
DIPSET last edited by
Resistance Fall of Man
I love this game and have played it 2-3 times. Most recently, I played the split screen co-op around Halloween 2019 with my roommate and we had a good time, but it's generic shooter qualities sometimes bored us a bit.
What works for R: FoM is that it came off of the momentum of Half Life 2 where any well made FPS of that time had some HL2 DNA in there and players could just sort of appreciate solid level design and a good variety of weapons and tools.
Now that it's older, it feels a bit aged. What keeps it fun is the enemy variety and their relatively smart AI. It's still a tough game and the checkpoints aren't forgiving in the slightest. BUT, I don't think I'd trade that in for something more modern. I just think a future Resistance game should follow the mould set in the original, but just be a bit more forgiving in terms of enemy spam and health packs.
Also, I really liked the alt WWII vibe in this game. It's storytelling execution was bad but I liked the green military garb and the old school guns. The little marching drum when you complete an objective. It had this Yankee Doodle Dandy vibe while simultaneously having bat shit sci-fi going on. Idk why R2 and R3 abandoned that aesthetic choice. Those games leaned into sci-fi way more.
Still fun but a bit too high on this list IMO.
GTA Vice City Stories
TBH, I remember not liking this one very much. It didn't hold a candle to Liberty City Stories which felt like an essential expansion upon GTA III. Whereas VCS kinda felt tagged on or something? I can't remember the specifics of why I didn't like this one as much but I never got attached to this version of Vice City like I did in the original on PS2. Maybe it was glitchy too?
There was a sweet Phil Collins concert if I remember correctly. More games need random concert scenes from IRL musicians.
@jdincinerator I can bring the top 20 to the community showcase if nobody else wants to bring it.
#4: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - 21 points
#1: 1 (E_Zed_Eh_Intern)
#2: 2 (Oscillator, Bigdude1)
#3: 1 (NeoCweeny)
#4: 1 (Capnbobamous)
HM: 3 (Phbz, Axel, Crepe)
Release date: NA: November 19, AU: December 7, EU: December 8
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Platform(s): Wii, GameCube, Nvidia Shield TV