The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2003!



  • The urban appeal of Tony Hawk's Underground is fantastic and the ways it freshens up series by bringing new features in like getting off your skateboard is bold and welcome. A terrific Tony Hawk's game with an attitudinal bent that fits seamlessly into the year 2003.



  • I'm surprised how few games from my top 8 made the list. Only 1 so far and I didn't vote for Wind Waker.



  • The first Tony Hawk with a story, which really helped liven up the large, semi-open world areas that the series started using in the previous game, THPS 4.

    While I still feel the "Caveman" technique (getting off your board) took away from the arcadey purity of Tony Hawk, it did make the level design more interesting at the same time. Several of the levels are quite memorable (Hawaii is the standout for me), while I can only recall bits and pieces of a few from THPS 4.

    Also the last soundtrack of the series that really flowed well, IMO:

    Youtube Video

    Youtube Video

    Youtube Video



  • Hey! Another game from our first iteration of our Hall of Greats! (And it takes me until right now to realize how we had multiple submissions from the same year). What I said for Prince of Persia applies to THUG, and like Sentinel_Beach, the most exposure I've had was to @DIPSET's presentation, to which I also strongly recommend checking out.



  • 0_1661024420779_Jak II.png

    #4: Jak II - 14 points

    Votes

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

    Information

    Release date: NA: October 14, AU: October 15, EU: October 17
    Developer: Naughty Dog
    Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Genre: Platform, third-person shooter, action-adventure
    Platform(s): PlayStation 2

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • I've watched the first Jak & Daxter courtesy of Brad's full playthrough some time back (of which I really enjoyed), but I don't have any other exposure to the series beyond I hear Jak II is "GTA-like" and is often derided. Because I haven't experienced it, I can neither agree or argue this point, but I DO say it is a deterrent from me trying it out.



  • Oh baby, that's a good number. I love the Jak trilogy, it was and still is my favourite ouf of the PS2 era's three trilogies: Jak/Ratchet/Sly. This second game in the series is the hardest of the bunch, goddamn there were difficult missions in there! Like for instance trying to escape the Haven City's guards from the water slums with all the shacks and catwalks etc. That mission is burned into my memory as something diabolical.

    But in a larger sense, this is the game when Naughty Dog started to write good stories and characters. This is when it started. I remember back then when I sometimes just watched all the cutscenes (and there were a lot of them!) from the main menu after finishing the game because it was simply like a really good animated movie.



  • lol I legitimately didn't think it would be this high. Probably my least favorite Jak game, might be on the lower end of Naughty Dog games too for me. The more edgy story tone felt jarring to me mostly because of how sudden it is (I played this right after the first game on the HD remaster). I honestly remember nothing from any of the Jak games' stories so I can't say much more than that. I don't think the open world is as fun to navigate in Jak 3, mostly because Jak 3's exploration felt a bit more active and there's not much to see and do in Jak II's open world. But it's still a cool game to play, mostly to compare it to ND's recent open level attempts.



  • Unbelievably happy that Tony Hawk's Underground made the Top 5!

    THUG is probably P4P my favourite video game of all time. It is also the best Tony Hawk game in my opinion. People talk about "Caveman" being the biggest development in THUG, but really, it was building upon the open world mission structure from THPS4.

    By eliminating the 2 minute timer, the missions got really advanced and varied in THUG. The combo system mastered in THPS3 is utilized to the fullest in THUG because the missions require you to combo huge lines across maps. Overall, the challenges require you to use the tools the game gives you moreso than challenges from past games like "Grind the levers" or "Kickflip 5 pumpkins" or "Find SKATE"

    And the maps are so fucking great too. By far the best in the series with Hawaii, Moscow, Manhattan, and Vancouver being overall top tier.

    --

    This was also just a magical time for skateboarding overall. In 2000-2007, there were so many insane legendary videos out, each pushing boundaries and cementing their status as some of the best skate videos ever made. In 2002-2003 when THUG released, there were a good handful of all time great skate videos: Girl Skateboards — "Yeah Right", Flip — "Sorry", Emerica – "This is Skateboarding", Zero – "Dying to Live"

    In THUG, you actually get to choose a sponsor and ride for these teams. As you play through the game, you unlock footage from these videos.

    There was just so much actual authentic skateboarding packing into one game. It was a magical time in history tbh. Glad I lived through it/



  • 0_1661110698274_Ratchet & Clank Going Commando.png

    #3: Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando - 20 points

    Votes

    #1: 1 (bruno_saurus)
    #2: 2 (Brannox, bam541)
    #3: 2 (Sentinel Beach, NeoCweeny)
    #4: 0
    HM: 1 (Capnbobamous)

    Information

    Release date: NA: November 11, PAL: November 21
    Developer: Insomniac Games
    Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Genre: Platformer
    Platform(s): PlayStation 2

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • I should've voted for Going Commando but it slipped my mind. A staggeringly good Ratchet & Clank game.



  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando is a great sequel and introduces many aspects to the series that I feel have become staples throughout the franchise: Upgradable weapons/health as you defeat enemies, purchasable armor with increased stats, the Challenge Arenas of fighting waves of foes with unique modifiers and bosses, large and expansive spaces searching for crystals, moonstones, and the like, and further fleshing out the titular duo as characters. This is also when James Arnold Taylor became the voice actor for Ratchet, bringing an immediate improvement over how much of a jerk Ratchet was in the original game.

    Of course the weapons are standouts as an R&C does, like the Bouncer, Plasma Coil, and Pulse Rifle for example, each changing up combat. That said, there were weapons like the Zodiac and Clank Zapper that felt like complete misses, but overall, it's a solid roster. Speaking of roster, the planet selection is interesting as well. Oozla is a fun choice for the first real explorable planet, being a deserted and depressing place with rain, natural creatures and overgrowth. Smolg's upper atmosphere shipping complex is a tricky maze of containers and creatures that feels like an airborne gauntlet. Snivelak, being the Thugs-4-Less HQ is reminiscent of the original's Umbris: A red-sky atop a place filled with traps and forces wanting to take you out.

    The places you go to are fun, but are not AS fascinating as the original's, yet this is the only game that holds the Bogon Galaxy and another lombax in Angela. The fact neither is ever referenced again in the franchise is bizarre to me and I wonder why Insomniac never referenced these in future games. The overall plot does have a neat twist halfway through, but having Qwark be the surprise villain at the literal end when he isn't shown (despite him being in disguise throughout), felt kind of a leap, but it's still a good time.

    Another thing I'll always hold dear is this is the first time the Insomniac Museum was put into an R&C game, and seeing a 3D modeled out space of the Insomniac offices at the time and where departments were with cut content and playable prototypes blew my mind. Every time I do a series replay, it's one of the highest of highlights to come back here and tour around again.

    All this praise said, there are a couple of issues that keep it in my personal ranking of "Good" of the entire franchise (Context: Personal rankings are Phenomenal, Great, Good, Bad, Blight on the Galaxy): Firstly, the space missions. I appreciate the change up to the gameplay, but some of them are extremely hard to get the elusive Platinum Bolt for the respective segment. Another downside is how it treats the legacy weapons. On one of the early planets, you can find a Gadgetron vendor and if you have a save of the previous game on your memory card, you're given eight weapons from said game, free of charge. A really neat feature for sure, but the issue is they don't upgrade like the other weapons and ammo isn't the easiest to come across, so I never feel incentivized to use them. A final nitpick critique I have are these dna looking blue canisters that increase your health are used to reward you for reaching some borderline blood vessel bursting spots. There are a couple that come to mind that are real easy to get/find, but there some put in areas where you need to be pixel perfect with your precision on jumping, gliding, and/or platforming. Frustrating, to say the least.

    Overall though, it's still a fantastic game. Besides being my runner up for GOTY from 2003, it's sixth favorite game of the franchise and 56th favorite game of all time, as of writing (which should say something about how much I love R&C games as a whole).

    To conclude, as always, shout-OUTS to my fellow voters for getting it all the way up to Bronze position on our collective podium: @Capnbobamous, @Sentinel-Beach, @NeoCweeny, @bam541, and @bruno_saurus!



  • All I remember from Going Commando is spending multiple nights playing the game to get the RYNO before the final boss fight, and then completely deleting that boss in seconds with it. One of the very first times where I'm actually compelled to go beyond just finishing the main story of a game.



  • "B2 Brawler is down and out!"
    A really fun game, my first R&C game. The upgradeable weapons system has always been the highlight of the whole series and I was immediately hooked already in this one.



  • I honestly had a lapse of judgement and didn't vote for R&C Going Commando but I probably should've. This was one of the three first PS2 games I ever played. When I got my PS2, it came with: Going Commando, Rise to Honor, and SOCOM II.

    Friends from school were really into R&C but I hadn't played it before. This game really knocked my socks off. I guess I didn't vote for it because I haven't played it in eons so I sort of forget. But I recall it being pretty mind blowing at the time.

    --

    Jak II

    Somehow I never played the Jak & Daxter series. It's pretty much blasphemy at this point because I love every single other Naughty Dog game. I do intend on getting the revamped PS+ at some point in 2022 or 2023 and punching through this series.

    My memory of Jak II is mostly from these ads that would play in the mall. The game seemed kinda edgy and mostly for teenagers. When I was 8 years old playing (mostly) E-rated games, I just assumed Jak was for Teens based on the marketing. Once I got older, I never played them.

    Damn shame.



  • 0_1661194480712_The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker.png

    #2: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - 27 points

    Votes

    #1: 3 (Phbz, E_Zed_Eh_Intern, Crepe)
    #2: 1 (Shoulderguy)
    #3: 2 (Brannox, Axel)
    #4: 1 (Oscillator)
    HM: 0

    Information

    Release date: NA: March 24, EU: May 2, AU: May 7
    Developer: Nintendo EAD
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Genre: Action-adventure
    Platform(s): GameCube

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia


    0_1661194491199_Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic.png

    #1: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - 28 points

    Votes

    #1: 3 (Brannox, Axel, Capnbobamous)
    #2: 1 (Phbz)
    #3: 1 (ffff0)
    #4: 2 (Sheria, NeoCweeny)
    HM: 2 (Oscillator, bruno_saurus)

    Information

    Release date: NA: July 15, EU: September 12
    Developer: BioWare
    Publisher: LucasArts
    Genre: Role-playing
    Platform(s): Xbox, PC, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is my #3 because I've played it and don't remember anything bad about it. Don't remember anything good either, that's why it's not higher.



  • My list:

    1. Command & Conquer: Generals
    2. Beyond Good & Evil
    3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
    4. Need for Speed: Underground. I think it was a decent game, but I think there were a couple of annying things there. I'm not sure.
    5. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup. I've played this only because I love Harry Potter. Gameplay is not as trashy as Quidditch segments in prior Harry Potter games, but it's not worth playing.


  • 14 games for me in 2003 and here's how they ranked:

    1. Pokémon Ruby
    2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
    3. Madden NFL 2004
    4. The Simpsons: Hit & Run
    5. SimCity 4
    6. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
    7. SoulCalibur II
    8. Beyond Good & Evil
    9. Tony Hawk's Underground
    10. Law & Order II: Double or Nothing
    11. Hoyle Casino 2004
    12. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
    13. NBA Live 2004
    14. The Sims Bustin' Out

    The feeling of crossing the ocean in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with that theme playing is the best! I played it for the first time with the HD version on Wii U and it was such a great journey through the largely-sunken ancient Kingdom of Hyrule, that is brought to life by it's beautiful art style.

    Overall when compared to other Zelda games Wind Waker ranks 5th for me. Behind Breath of the Wild, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time and A Link Between Worlds.

    It's too bad about the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic remake. I was excited to finally play this game for the first time but that won't happen any time soon, if it even gets remade at all. But as a fan of the old BioWare, It's nice to see that their games are still respected by the gaming community.



  • The lack of KOTOR oi my gaming history... It ain't right, I know that. I was looking forward to sinking my teeth on the remake, but, well, yeah. Maybe some day.