In December certain things are inevitable, inflated credit card debt, Bill O'Reilly's 'War on Christmas' and year-end retrospectives reminding how ridiculous the events of the past year sound when stacked up next to each other. I abhor the "buy now pay later with nauseatingly increasing interest rates" culture that is bestowed upon my generation. The last time I checked I wasn't a crotchety bloviater that panders to the ideals of 70 year olds. All that's left for me in December is a good old fashion Review Round-Up of all the reviews that I have unleashed onto the Newsvinian masses. Merry Christmas.
In no particular order (except alphabetic) here is quick round-up of my reviews for games that were released in 2006. The 2-3 sentence synopsis may not necessarily be from my original review, but is how I feel after playing the game for the past year, 6 months or 3 weeks. And without further adieu:
Burnout Revenge (x360)
It may have just been a polished port of the Xbox version with an enhanced wide screen perspective, but Burnout Revenge holds up to the fun test. Or at least until the next Burnout game comes out. If you can't stand realistic racing games because you crash too much and you haven't played this game, do yourself a favor and put this on your Christmas list.
Dead Rising (x360)
Hyper hyping hyped-up hype. Yeah, it was fun - there were zombies and you killed them in exaggerated ways (I guess any way you killed a zombie would be exaggerated...) but, it still fell flat with repetition after a while. You may not agree with this and I'm happy for you. I wish I could play it more.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (x360)
If you like RPG's and own an Xbox 360 you choices are pretty limited. Luckily, Oblivion holds it's solid 4 out of 5 rating over time, and that's probably a good thing since this thing is huge so if you want to get through everything you're going to need to play for a solid year straight. Be warned though, this first person action-RPG might not for you if you're a 13 year-old Cutie Honey/Ranma 1/2 anime-loving JPRG freak.
Fight Night Round 3 (x360)
Yeah, this one does not hold onto it's original 4 out of 5 rating and I want to downgrade it to a 3 - a low 3. Sure, it's pretty, but it's repetitive. The only reason to play it is for the quick 1,000 gamer points you can scoop up with it's 8 Achievements.
Final Fantasy IV Advanced (GBA)
Yup, a remake of a 15 year old game. It does hold-up to the test of time but not the test of console. Playing an in depth role playing game on a hand held is a challenge - just for the fact that the nature of the system is to play in short bursts and then putting down. It's kind of hard to remember what you have to do next...
Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
Gorgeous, in-depth, and emotional - maybe to the point where it's an overkill. Flawless executed storyline and visuals, it just maybe a little too much for some people. FFXII knows it's core audience and caters directly to it leaving everyone else putting the controller down and moving on half way through the game.
God Hand (PS2)
Fun, quirky and ugly. It's short too, so you won't be mad at yourself for spending too much time beating this title. Skip it, unless Devil May Cry gives you a hard-on.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
If you love video games and haven't played Twilight Princess yet, you need to drop everything and go pick it up. Buy a Wii if you have to, just get this title. Okay, if you have to you can pick it up for the Gamecube too.
Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time (nDS)
Nintendo knows how to create games for there system. The battle scenes are fun, the visuals are adorable and it's pick-up anytime an play style fits in perfectly with the system. It definitely deserves its score.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance (x360)
Great title, fun brawler, would make a great Christmas present for the Xbox 360 owning comic book geek in your family. Oh, and don't forget all the multiplayer fun you can have with this, that might help them make that friend that their life is missing.
New Super Mario Bros. (nDS)
The return of the side-scrolling platformer is delicious, and I'm glad that Mario is the one that fed it to us. Addictive replayability and friendly face to look at while you stomp the forces of Koopa-dom make for a must buy game. And if you don't have a DS already, go get one and then get this game.
Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii)
As one of the many launch titles for the Wii it's hard to narrow down must buy games from those to rent and those to avoid. RRR is a rental at best. Minimal story line that is held together with a collection of mini-games that can lose all appeal unless you are playing them with a group of friends.
Rockstar Presents: Table Tennis (x360)
Another fun party game as it can become stale and repetitive when playing it by your self. It also has the distinct honor of being one of the few ping pong related games on any system. It also is a ping pong simulator so don't expect any game of the year awards.
Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting Edition (XBL)
Some wonderful experiencing from your childhood should remain tucked away in your blissful memories. The game play just doesn't hold up nowadays and the execution on the 360 just feels half-assed. Just download the trial, don't waste your money buying it.
Titan's Quest (PC)
This years sleeper hit. If you loved Diablo II (and I know all of you did) this is the closest you will get to Diablo 3. Why update the hack and slash formula that Blizzard perfected oh so many years ago? That's what Titan's Quest says and emulates it almost exactly and wraps it in a juicy mythological coating. Easy for you to swallow.
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (x360)
Billed as the second-coming of the skateboard video gaming messiah Project 8 comes off more like a Benny Hin. Nothing revolutionary but there is a shiny polish on it and it is still familiar and comforting. And like Benny Hin, THP8 will rob you of your hard earned $60 and smile the whole time.
X-Men: The Official Game of the Movie (x360)
The Official Game of the Movie subtitle expresses everything that you need to know. It's a movie license game. Period. Stay away from this steamer.
As you can see not all of the titles had proper reviews over the year - this was due to me playing the game too much to sit down and write one - but, I hope if you didn't get a chance to play some of these titles now is as good a time as any. Please take my opinions with a grain of salt as well - they are merely opinions after all.
Merry Christmas and Happy Gaming!