The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2003!

  • 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!

  • Late 90s - early 2000s was a time when I knew only about 3 video game franchises: Doom/Quake, Need for Speed and Command & Conquer. I do not remember anything about Generals specifically, but I think it was still good. Since I've played only 5 gamse from 2003 and remember none of them, I've put Command & Conquer: Generals in my 1st place.

  • Oh man... It's been almost twenty years since Generals? Feels like yesterday when I played it with my brother. Actually he ended up playing it more in the end, but it was still just a super fun game to watch as well. We still quote some lines from Generals from time to time, just as stupid inside jokes between brothers, you know. "Shh, I sense danger may be near..."

  • 0_1660503452367_SpongeBob SquarePants Battle for Bikini Bottom.png

    #10: SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - 7 points


    #1: 0
    #2: 1 (Capnbobamous)
    #3: 0
    #4: 1 (bam541)
    HM: 1 (Sentinel Beach)


    Release date: NA: October 31, EU: November 28
    Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
    Publisher: THQ
    Genre: Platform, action-adventure
    Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance



  • This is the one Spongebob game I consistently hear is the best of ANY SB game, but since I'm averse to the character/IP for a multitude of reasons, I steer clear of it.

  • @brannox Just out of interest and curiosity-what makes you averse to Spongebob?

  • I based my vote on mostly my memories of the OG game on PS2, and also partly on how much fun I had with the recent remaster release. The remaster itself had a few screws loose and made the game more uneven than it is, but I still had a ton of fun with it. The Spongebob IP is just a gold mine for jolly vibes, and that is the part the OG game nailed the most, which is still very much the case in the remaster despite the problems it had. Getting to explore various well-designed Bikini Bottom levels, having entertaining interactions with familiar faces along the way, and listening to the very underrated soundtrack, it all blends to a solid game that is more than successful at translating the IP into videogame form.

  • Mario Kart, Beyond Good & Evil and Spongebob were all potential honorable montions for me. All good games but not "good enough" I guess.

    FF X-2 and C&C Generals I have yet to play.

    Final Fantasy doesn't really count anyways because @Sheria 's real number 1 is Double Dash.

  • @jdincinerator Inside the show, for me, it's a bit too stupid and many characters feel one note. Outside the show, it's tangled up in some childhood memories I try to forget, and that's all I say on it.

  • Playing catch up again.

    SoulCalibur II

    I never would have played this game if Super Smash Bros Melee didn't get me really into fighting games when I was little. Those TV advertisements sold me. There was one where the health bar kinda attacks the screen or something and I just thought it looked wild. Once I saw Link fighting and that sold me. I recall the ads being sort of edgy and just tickled my 7-8 year old brain the right way.

    Youtube Video – [01:16..]

    Youtube Video – [00:06..]

    SCII is probably one of the first "bad" games I played. Not in terms of quality, but in terms of me playing a game that had big titty girls bouncing around everywhere. I knew I did NOT want mom seeing me playing that shit.

    Nightmare was such a cool character. Again, something about him just tapped into my imagination. I wished there was more plot or lore because these characters really stood out to me as above and beyond.

    All in all, it's the only Soulcalibur game that I dug deep into. I would like to play it again. A lot of people bought it despite not being fighting fans. I think it's casual nature is really appealing. I'd play a new one because of how casual the game is overall.

  • 0_1660590156969_WWE SmackDown Here Comes the Pain.png

    #9: WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain - 8 points


    #2: 0
    #3: 1 (DIPSET)
    #4: 0
    HM: 0


    Release date: NA: October 27, EU: November 7
    Developer: Yuke's
    Publisher: THQ
    Genre: Sports
    Platform(s): PlayStation 2



  • It's been fun watching the adventures of Defaulte Giga with Allies but I've never played this game myself. WWF No Mercy is the wrestling game I've played the most and it's one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games.

  • I did buy this game because of the great Defaulte Giga. Will play it and love it I'm sure eventually! I enjoy Raw vs Smackdown 2006 and this wasn't that far behind so I'm sure I'll love this!

  • Never really cared for wrestling in any of its forms, so I'm forced to say once again, another game I can't comment on.

  • Here Comes The Pain is a truly spectacular wrestling game. It's got pretty much everything I want out of a wrestling game and then some. Look at those visuals and tell me it isn't one of the best looking PS2 games out there. The in-ring action is thunderous, you can hear every move make this resounding thud it's absolutely destructive. You got new match types like the Elimination Chamber and Bra and Panties matches, the former is an exciting addition and I suspect droves of WWE fans were pining for it after the 2002 Survivor Series-so seeing it in HCTP was breathtaking.

    HCTP is the absolute best wrestling game in terms of in-ring action and it's great that it's in the top 10. I'd like to thank @Dipset for joining me in getting this game into the top 10, HCTP really deserves it.

    I remember I had to choose between buying this and another game that's presumably going to be in the countdown quite soon. I chose the latter and I was still desperate for HCTP. I saw a display for HCTP outside a shop and I wanted it so badly. Thankfully I was allowed to rent it from a Blockbuster and try it out, then I got it for Christmas which was sweet.

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  • 0_1660680820826_The Simpsons Hit & Run.png

    #8: The Simpsons: Hit & Run - 9 points


    #1: 0
    #3: 0
    #4: 1 (Shoulderguy)
    HM: 3 (bruno_saurus, bam541, Capnbobamous)


    Release date: NA: September 16, EU: October 31
    Developer: Radical Entertainment
    Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games
    Genre: Action-adventure, Driving
    Platform(s): GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC



  • Man, Hit and Run needs a remake. I hear only good things but never managed to play it and am not ready to pay new game price for it.

  • Ahh yes the counterpart to my difficult videogame purchasing decision in 2003. The Simpsons: Hit & Run was so awfully exciting and still is a real treasure. Some may call it a GTA knockoff but that's why it's so good because smashing The Simpsons and GTA together is a brilliant fusion. I loved the collectibles, the missions, the story, the nods to the TV show's episodes. What a game and what a horribly painful videogame purchasing decision I had to make. I chose Hit & Run over Here Comes The Pain.

  • The driving physics in The Simpsons: Hit & Run were a little janky at times and some of the mission time limits could be very difficult. Despite that, it was still an absolute blast to explore Springfield in this game and to interact with many of it's different characters, with excellent writing that evoked some of the very best of The Simpsons tv show.