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My games of 2006, 4-1.

January 3, 2007

4. Dead Rising (360) Zombies everywhere. The apocalyptic view that gamers have wanted to exist in since they saw Dawn of the Dead arrived on 360 and it did not disappoint. An amazing game from it’s hordes of the undead to it’s large weapon variety to it’s tongue in cheek humour, the game was instantly playable and a lot of fun. Dead Rising also succeeds in its ability to have lazy AI and a lazy save system to heighten the players feeling of being in a zombie apocalypse, the game punishes any lapse’s in thought by having a zombie grab you for instance, and the one save system means you have to take them carefully. The game is about concentrating on the zombies, and worrying about them, but it tries constantly to make you forget about them. That is the beauty of Dead Rising. (Score – 9)

3. New Super Mario Bros (DS) Nostalgia is a powerful weapon for a game to administer, that is what I said in my New Super Mario Bros review and I stick by it. The game feels distinctively Mario, in it’s playful level design, well hidden secret paths and challenging world 8, the game reeks Mario from every orifice. But backing this up is a brilliant engine and expanded move set which bode well for future Mario games. While not up to the dizzying heights of Super Mario World or bros 3, the game is a breath of pure fresh air in the modern market and a kick up the bum for platform game design at a time when the genre was starting to fade out. (Score – 9)

2. Viva Piñata (360) Piñata is all about discovery, and through this is highly addictive. The game presents you with basic tools and basic ideas and lets you run free, at your own pace. Piñata doesn’t force itself down the player’s throat, if you want to play slowly, becoming master romancer for everything along the way then you can. If you want to blast through and get to the rare piñatas, sacrificing all on your way there you are free to. Past this there is filling the journal for plants, piñatas and variants, finding all garden furniture, creating gardens based around certain Piñatas, the list goes on and it’s all about personal preference and personal discovery. The game lasts as long as you want, and it is as in-depth as you want, and the experience changes from person to person. A triumph for the media of video games, and its temperamental developer, Rare. (score – 9 )

1. The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess (Wii, GC) Zelda is a series that is frequently great, be it in game design or art, and Twilight Princess is the latest in this astounding series. Combining frequent homage to Ocarina with interesting new elements (such as horseback archery and the Twilight realm) the game is a constant gaming high. While I will admit, it starts better than it finishes, this slight diminish in the game is still not enough for it to be considered worse for it, as even in a weakened state Twilight Princess is better than most other games on the market. Combining brilliant dungeons with easy but fun and fulfilling boss confrontations and a nicely designed gameworld, Twilight Princess stands as an outstanding example of how to create a videogame, in its ability to enthral the player to trudge through dungeons, or its ambitious but achievable heart piece, fish, Poe and bug collections as well as the brilliant character design. Twilight Princess is a holy grail of game design, and the best game of 2006. (score – 10)

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