The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2003!



  • Didn't expect Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb to be here. That's a nice surprise =D



  • Courtesy of Forza, PGR has been completely replaced, and as a result I have no desire to play them. Which is kind of a shame, as from what I've heard, PGR is solid throughout, but Forza just passed it and never looked back.

    As far as Indiana Jones, I have no relation/interest in the franchise (yes, that includes movies), though I do have the healthy curiosity to see how MachineGames's take is going to be. But we probably won't hear about that for another couple years.



  • @brannox Forza Motorsport is Xbox's answer to Sony's Gran Turismo, with an emphasis on heavy, simulation-style physics and handling.

    PGR, on the other hand, leans further towards lighter, arcadier physics and handling, and has gameplay to match. "Kudos" points are handed out for powersliding, taking clean lines, drafting, hitting top speed, etc. There are special modes such as steering through traffic cones, and overtaking a certain number of cars within a time limit.

    PGR also has a lot more style than both Forza Motorsport and its arcadier counterpart Forza Horizon. Locations are more exotic, car brands are more obscure, incredible amounts of detail are put into the tracks. Even things like the menus, HUD, and car showroom come across as very classy. But Forza just screams blandness throughout. Its lighting engine in particular has always given the cars a flatter look.

    Forza didn't replace PGR through quality (though PGR 3 was rushed for the 360 launch and caused the series to lose a lot of momentum); Microsoft's marketing team just decided to put all its eggs in one basket.

    On PGR 2 specifically, it tightened up many things compared to the original (a launch day title for the Xbox). Cars felt like they gripped the track more, tracks were made wider and the camera was pulled back, the lighting was polished up, and WAY more content was included. PGR 2's car roster and soundtrack are both MASSIVE, and it debuted the biggest track in the series, Germany's 14 mile long Nürburgring Nordschleife.

    PGR 2 was the first entry with Xbox Live support, and it was a hit on the service, with a notable highlight being the community gametype Cat & Mouse, wherein teams each with a supercar and a little slow car (being able to combine car classes was a genius decision) try to get their slow car across the finish line of the Nürburgring first:

    Youtube Video

    More stuff about PGR 2 here - shorturl.at/gvy18



  • @oscillator While I will not argue concerning quality (again, haven't played), I don't know why Forza won out, but: They're still getting made whereas PGR isn't (probably mostly in part to your point regarding PGR 3). And to your comparison regarding Forza being a challenger to GT, it makes sense to me Xbox at the time would want to take some of the market from their competitor, and when they realized there was (and will always be) the desire to have arcade-y and freeform within racing games, Horizon came to be in a bid to keep the brand and simulation while adding something different; thus PGR became the casualty as Forza became more popular.





  • lol I got Indiana Jones in. You know what, maybe not having a lot of voters in the recent top 20s isn't so bad after all xD.

    I haven't finished the game yet (started it somewhat recently) but I'm just enjoying it too much. It's closer to the old Tomb Raider games with the gameplay focusing on traversal, figuring out your way in the linear levels, with mostly short combat sections here and there. It's actually pretty story-light, there's not too much dialogue or cutscenes so far, which makes it impressive that they managed to capture the spirit of the movies so well in mostly gameplay.

    The way this game feels is very interesting, it captures the slower paced vibe of those Tomb Raider games but it's nowhere near as clunky. You'll still be positioning the camera just right so you can move and jump to the right places, but it feels more natural to control Indy here.

    The combat is very old-school, there's guns but you'll be mostly using the autoaim since the manual aim is very slow and unpractical in combat, which makes even the gunfights feel like a scrappy bar brawl. Honestly that's kinda perfect for an Indy game, so in short the combat could be more complex and stuff but it's already fun enough for what it is, and the game doesn't overuse the combat at all.

    Also, Indy's whip here is pretty great. You can disarm weapons from enemies with it, you can use it as a grapple hook at certain spots and the sound effect when you hit someone is satisfying. It's a very good game y'all, massively underrated. I really do believe that it'll be one of my favorite games ever, but I need to finish it to make sure.



  • 0_1660248160889_Soulcalibur II.png

    #15: Soulcalibur II - 6 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 0
    #3: 0
    #4: 2 (Sentinel Beach, Axel)
    HM: 2 (Shoulderguy, DIPSET)

    Information

    Release date: NA: August 27, EU: September 26
    Developer: Project Soul
    Publisher: Namco
    Genre: Fighting
    Platform(s): Arcade, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • The only exposure to SoulCalibur I have is to IV, which I discussed in the 2008 countdown, but as far as II goes, I consistently hear it's the series' best, particularly the Gamecube version with the Cover-boy...



  • If 2003 wouldn't have been so heavy, I might've voted for Soul Calibur II. Enjoyed it a lot when I was younger. The Adventure mode I recall being a fun and a challenging time! I had Soul Edge as a child and I don't know if I realized the two were connected, but maybe that's why I was drawn to getting it. Wasn't a big Nintendo kid besides Pokemon, so I doubt it was Link. Even though I do recall getting the Gamecube version!



  • 0_1660331407866_Mario Kart Double Dash.png

    #13: Mario Kart: Double Dash - 6 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 1 (E_Zed_Eh_Intern)
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 2 (bruno_saurus, Axel)

    Information

    Release date: EU: November 14, NA: November 17, AU: November 19
    Developer: Nintendo EAD
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Genre: Kart racing
    Platform(s): GameCube

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia


    0_1660331420018_Beyond Good & Evil.png

    #13: Beyond Good & Evil - 6 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 1 (ffff0)
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 2 (Shoulderguy, Sentinel Beach)

    Information

    Release date: NA: November 11, EU: November 14
    Developer: Ubisoft Pictures, Ubisoft Milan
    Publisher: Ubisoft
    Genre: Action-adventure
    Platform(s): PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • I finished Beyond Good & Evil for the first time about a year ago. Camera control was a little frustrating, but the great story, gameplay, and characters made it worth playing to the end.

    Double Dash is one of my least favorite Mario Kart games. It's still a fun time though, and it introduced some good tracks that I enjoyed playing more in other Mario Karts.



  • Double Dash introduced probably my favorite track, Baby Park. So that's enough for me as an Honorable Mention



  • Soulcalibur II's pretty phenomenal. It's a surpisingly deep game with its characters and all of their weapons. Lots of variety there. My main was Kilik with his staff, long-range filth I was. :) The Adventure mode was also cool af! Fighting games didn't generally have anything like that at the time.

    Beyond Good & Evil gets an HM from me for being a neat little game with a clear vision of its own. A recognizable style and atmosphere. It's not a cult classic for me as it is for some people, but it's an enjoyable little adventure.



  • Of the 11 games I've played from 2003, Double Dash places 9th, so it JUST misses getting an Honorable Mention from me.

    For the brief time I had a Gamecube, I think I played this the most (with the Wind Waker being 2nd). It took getting used to having two characters per kart, but I raced endlessly on the tracks. I'll always hold a special place in my heart for Baby Park and Yoshii's Circuit, which are probably my favorite tracks in the entire series. With Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, I have no desire to ever replay Double Dash (Especially since my favorite aforementioned tracks have been brought forward to the game), but still, for a time, this was a heavily played game from me.

    As far as Beyond Good and Evil, I've taken a look at some screenshots and a story synopsis a time or two, wondering if this is something I could get into. The Beyond Good & Evil 2 rereveal at Ubisoft's 2017 E3 close grabbed a hold of me for some time, but in light of Ubisoft have all the issues it has, plus the fact BG&E 2 is absolutely vaporware (I mean, they JUST hired their main narrative writer?! NOW?! FIVE YEARS after the rereveal?! That game's never coming. But hey, I never though Skull & Bones would ever come, but here we are...), has me become very averse to both Ubisoft and the BG&E brand for the time being.



  • I will only start playing BG&E when the sequel resurfaces. See y'all in 10 years



  • I'm a bit astonished that both Beyond Good & Evil and Mario Kart: Double Dash languish outside the top 10. I know I didn't vote for either because I only loosely played BG&E and never played Double Dash, though my younger brother bought a GameCube that came with it, but unfortunately it went missing so never got a chance to play it; however I feel both games were very highly regarded. It's good that my top pick hasn't come along yet though because that's definitely going to be in here.



  • I've played Beyond Good & Evil in 2011. I liked it. That's all I remember.



  • 0_1660421993633_Final Fantasy X-2.png

    #11: Final Fantasy X-2 - 6 points

    Votes

    #1: 1 (Sheria)
    #2: 0
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 1 (Brannox)

    Information

    Release date: NA: November 18, 2003
    Developer: Square Product Development Division 1
    Publisher: NA: Square Enix, PAL: Electronic Arts
    Genre: Role-playing
    Platform(s): PlayStation 2

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia


    0_1660422005024_Command & Conquer Generals.png

    #11: Command & Conquer: Generals - 6 points

    Votes

    #1: 1 (ffff0)
    #2: 0
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 1 (Sentinel Beach)

    Information

    Release date: NA: February 10, EU: February 14
    Developer: EA Pacific
    Publisher: EA Games
    Genre: Real-time strategy
    Platform(s): PC, Mac OS X

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • They could never make generals in this political climate lol



  • I've never played a Command & Conquer (much less any RTS), so I can't comment on it.

    Final Fantasy X-2 on the other hand, I certainly can. I have it 5th of the 11 games I've played from 2003, and honestly, I'm actually a little shocked not only to see it make our list, but that it's so high.

    Brief context: FFX is one of my absolute favorite games so needless to say just how fundamentally different the sequel is will always leave me mixed. I remember walking in my local Movie Gallery (does anyone remember those?) and seeing this cover and thinking, "Wait, there's a SEQUEL?! And why does Lulu look so DIFFERENT?!" (Granted, being a kid, I had no idea what was happening with this.) But, the store was actually selling it as opposed to renting (so the business was about to die I would imagine), and so it was bought, sight unseen as to its quality.

    I want to focus on the positives first: Mostly, the thing I really love about the entire game, is kind of the free-flow nature of going to most of the locations right at the start, as Yuna internally narrates how the world has changed since the conclusion of FFX. I really enjoy how many areas and just society as a whole evolves and changes what with Sin no longer a threat. Granted, there are drawbacks to this, such as Lake Macalania being removed with the exception of the inn tied to O'aka's quest and Bevelle only being at best a small place with the game's toughest dungeon to at worst being completely locked off dependent on a critical choice you make in Chapter 2. It's also a bummer you don't revisit Baaj and the Omega Dungeon, but how Djose, Zanarkand, Gagazet and especially Kilika are further built (literally in the latter's case) gives the world a wonderful sense of progression.

    Another positive is how flexible the combat is with the dressphere system. I have my favorite loadout (Dark Knight, Alchemist, Berserker), but I really appreciate how, if I wanted to switch to the Gun Mage, Lady Luck, Warrior, Thief, Gunner, Black/White Mage and so on, I can build my Garment Grid and switch mid-fight if I so choose. I also love how each character has a unique design and weapon for the same dressphere. Like the Samurai class using three of Auron's most iconic weapons and the girls dressed a little differently, or the Trainer using three recognizable pets from the world. It gives me a complete sense of ownership of playing how I want with so many possibilities that, while ultimately overwhelming, still demonstrates the viability of these systems.

    However, my criticisms are pretty significant. Primarily, I do not like the story at ALL. I'm not too thrilled Square decided to make Yuna a pop-star as her career of choice post-Summoner life, but beyond that, aside from seeking out if Tidus is out there somewhere, the main narrative is kind of a drag. Some recurring characters who are pretty interesting in FF X are pretty irksome here, such as Isaaru and Cid. New characters, like Nooj and Baralai have promise, but have a couple of things that hold them back from being decent. And don't get me started on LeBlanc and her goons... While I like the crew of the Gullwings for the most part (except for Brother. He annoys me), the ship itself is pretty sweet, and being able to bring different side characters aboard is fun, but they ultimately aren't enough of a make-good with the mostly eye-rolling main plot.

    And another thing I actually don't like is surprisingly the soundtrack. While FFX's tunes are some of my favorites and quite memorable, the only song I actually from X-2 is the main menu's before starting the game. I can't recall off the top of my head any other song from the game.

    The final dislike I'll mention is the Story Percentage system. I greatly dislike how, in a game with many choices and outcomes to quite a few scenarios, you basically need to get the exact right outcome in EVERY scenario to even have a shot at the 100% ending (Granted, since there's YouTube, I don't sweat getting a 100% run anymore, but still, it's the principle). You NEED a guide to manipulate things juuuuuuuuuuust right like pinning the Mi'ihen mystery on Rin or having the knowledge before hand giving a particular sphere to New Yevon permanently keeps you from reaching 100% at all. This kind of thing is infuriating sometimes and I"m happy games don't do this anymore.

    All of this novel said, Final Fantasy X-2 DOES have its moments. I was even (serendipitously enough) looking at some trophies I lack about a day or two ago and thinking how I could get them if I made another New Game Plus run (which will admittedly be a very long time. I've built up enough of a backlog for myself.) Overall FFX-2 is something X fans should at least go through once, but it's a game I can't in good conscience recommend to anyone else.

    To conclude, I want give props to @Sheria for not only giving it a vote, but it being their GOTY for 2003, thus getting it on our list!