The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2006!
#8: Hitman: Blood Money - 13 points
#1: 1 (bam541)
#2: 1 (DIPSET)
#3: 1 (Sentinel Beach)
HM: 1 (kindiman)
Release date: EU: May 26, NA: May 30
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360
While I'm disconnected from Hitman, I THINK this is the Hitman that's consistently praised whereas Absolution is the derided one. Regardless, it feels good to see ioi really bring Hitman back in a big way with their recent trilogy. I'm curious about the future of the franchise since the studio is now working on 007.
bam541 last edited by
This is a bit too low! Funny thing is that I never managed to finish this game myself, it was a bit too hard for my younger self, and also I used to have a grim PS2 memory card problem where it would occasionally corrupt save datas randomly, and I can't afford a good memory card (cheap copies galore). Anyway this game's great. I have played through the first half of the game like a dozen times already because the save data problem, yet I never got bored of it. The levels are well designed and fun to explore, even if they're not as expansive as the newer Hitman levels. I used to know the level where you kill two people in a opera theater like the back of my hand, I played it so many times and it's such a fun level to master since there's a maze like basement level that connects all the important places. The levels are very varied in terms of setting and design too. There's the classic tropical drug cartel level, the American suburbs level, the Las Vegas casino level, and even a Mardi Gras level. It's a game brimming with exciting gameplay opportunities, and it definitely influenced the newer Hitman trilogy a lot, because most of the levels in the trilogy are so expansive that they're able to incorporate many kinds of themes and design approaches, and many of them can be traced to this game. I think Blood Money has been superseded by the new trilogy in terms of being a better Hitman game, but it's still a must play because there's a lot of unique and delightfully surprising things in this game.
NeoCweeny last edited by
Eventhough Rainbow Six Vegas loses some of the aspects that made the previous games great tactical shooters. Vegas is still an excellent action game. Im happy to see it making the list.
Residence: FOM is ok. I enjoyed it back in the day but can't remember much about it at this point.
Sentinel Beach last edited by
Blood Money was a freaking gem. Still is, although the new trilogy has surpassed it. This was my gateway to 47's world and there's been no turning back since. Excellent missions and all kinds of surroundings. "A New Life" in the suburbs is particularly fun to play around with.
I also got my first car on the same day as Blood Money in May '06.
I am intrigued by Blood Money and I feel if I played it I would've really taken to it. I had only played Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on PS2 but I can tell Blood Money is much better than that and possibly the best in the series.
#7: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - 14 points
#2: 3 (bam541, kindiman, NeoCweeny)
#4: 1 (JDINCINERATOR)
Release date: NA: October 31, EU: November 3, AU: November 10
Developer: Rockstar Leeds, Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platform(s): PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2
I'm frankly amazed that Vice City Stories is so high up the rankings. Didn't think the PSP would get much of a look in, though I get the sense now that Daxter hasn't gotten in. Even so Vice City Stories is a fantastic portable GTA brimming with new ideas. I don't like Vice City Stories quite as much as Liberty City Stories but VCS does fire on all cylinders regardless. Big props to @bam541 , @kindiman and @NeoCweeny for getting this up to #7.
Sentinel Beach last edited by
The original Vice City is in my Top 5 of all time, but Vice City Stories I just somehow never finished. I only bought it after it was ported to PS2 (never had a PSP). Not sure why, but the thrill was gone.
bam541 last edited by bam541
I don't think VCS is an all time great or anything like that, but it's a damn good portable game. I barely remember anything of the story, and none of the missions really stood out (same problem as Liberty City Stories pretty much), but like most GTA games, the chaotic playground aspect of the open world is what truly matters, and if you get that right then at very least you'll have a good game on your hands. Obviously the novelty of exploring the most atmospheric city in a GTA game on the go is very strong (and long lasting too), but what pushed VCS over the edge for me is the empire building side activites. It's not as addicting as the drug running side stuff in Chinatown Wars, but it add an extra depth to the GTA formula. I remember San Andreas having something similar with the gang wars stuff but it's far less developed there. All in all it's a worthwhile entry for people who are hungry for that classic GTA chaos.
Also, I don't know how to feel about Blood Money beaten by VCS... good on' ya VCS, but damn it feels wrong, lol. I imagine this list is gonna have interesting reactions from the allies if it ever gets to a community showcase.
Another GTA, another pass.
NeoCweeny last edited by
Vice City Stories is one of the best in the series imo. It has great main missions, I think the best selection of side missions of any GTA and also the best soundtrack of any GTA.
I really like these prequel GTAs. It's a shame there was never a San Andreas stories.
@brannox Do you dislike the GTA series and/or find the games forgettable?
E_Zed_Eh_Intern last edited by
Can you swim in this one?
@jdincinerator I dislike them across the board, but I've commented so much in the GOTY countdowns about my negativity toward them, it's to the point I can't anymore. To be very, VERY clear, while I don't mind being critical of anything, I don't want to be intentionally negative to be negative. This has clashed my desire to always leave a comment for every game in the countdowns because 1.) I want to participate in any way and 2.) Forum participation is paltry and nowhere like it was in its hey-day YEARS ago.
So in general, I don't like open world games, especially since GTA is the posterchild for the mindless "do-what-you-want-which-ultimately-always-leads-to-violent-slaughter" that's become so mainstream acceptable to the point I find it sickening. ESPECIALLY with how GTA V will never go away unless GTA VI comes out. Then THAT will never go away.
Oscillator last edited by
especially since GTA is the posterchild for the mindless "do-what-you-want-which-ultimately-always-leads-to-violent-slaughter" that's become so mainstream acceptable to the point I find it sickening.
Well said! :)
@brannox I completely understand where you're coming from. I guess I've been indoctrinated to GTA from a very young age that I've grown to love and enjoy every entry in the franchise even if they boil down to murder en masse. Gratuitous violence is an entertainment humans throughout history have relished in and I think it's a primal part of who we are, but yes the open-world style has suffered from major overkill both metaphorically and literally.
Yet if I'm honest violence isn't really why I love GTA. I love the characters, the themes (besides violence), the vibes and the radio stations. Yes much of it is M rated too but some of it has defined my vision of a particular era like when I think of the 80s Vice City is always stuck in my mind.
I do appreciate your perspective and I feel you should express yourself anyway you want to if you feel really negative then that's totally ok. It's all in the service of understanding the kind of gamer you are.
#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!