Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners

Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners Top10 MegaGames of 2006 - The Winners

The game that you voted as the Top MegaGame of 2006 claims the Top Spot with 3 times as many votes as the Number 2 game, Company of Heroes. Designed as a non-linear, and very vague, sequel to Morrowind, the Top MegaGame of 2006 is claimed to be the first next-gen game and is the title that has re-ignited gamer excitement over the RPG genre.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion brought to life the world of Cyrodiil with a very large game world and highly detailed environments while the freedom it allows the player to explore this world sets it apart from other similar titles. Much of the appeal of Oblivion comes from its new AI system, called Radiant AI, which gives non-player characters (NPCs) the ability to make their own choices based on the world around them. They'll decide where to eat or who to talk to and what they'll say. They'll sleep, go to church, and even steal items, all based on their individual characteristics. Full facial animations and lip-synching, combined with full speech for all dialog, allows NPCs to come to life like never before.

All this technology brings the game-world to life as traversing it becomes a unique experience for each player. Additionally, the physics, interactive world and visual excellence of the game suck the player even further into the role she assumes. The game also features a greatly improved combat system which made battles fun while special attacks have never been more exciting.

The same freedom that Oblivion offers when playing it, it also offers in customizability. There are a vast number of mods out there that greatly prolong the playability of the game while the ability to edit many of the game's options also helps players customize their gaming experience to meet their needs.

Although most of our voters were quick to glorify the game there are some small complaints about the game; the plot is probably one of the weakest in the series while the AI, although efficient at making the game interesting is, clearly, not precisely what was advertised. The quick cash-in expansions also created some muttering from gamers although most are eager to get their hands on the, recently released, expansion pack, The Shivering Isles.

Flawed yet enchanting, Oblivion has captured the controller of gamer hearts as it has sold extremely well and has its place with the greats of gaming guaranteed.

Our readers were exuberant with praise for The Top MegaGame of 2006 and one such comment stated, …best game ever. Best sounds, graphics, gameplay, open world, huge amount of mods, editable to the limits. You can even change the whole world and make it like a totally different game. Everything you can imagine. This game can't be explained by words. You have to see it to believe it.

Another reader was slightly less happy about the effect Oblivion has had on his life, it's such a life-sucker, but fun to play at the same time. Basically you could start to play this game and get so immersed in it, that by the time you've finished a session on it, you've grown a beard and gathered dust on your head!

Many readers were also impressed by the game's flexibility which allowed them to …jump out and play a side mission/story then jump back in to the main story.

Another reader wanted to set the record straight regarding any comparison between Oblivion and other RPG titles, Oblivion is the perfect compliment to World of Warcraft, with WoW you get what you need to have an awesome online experience while with Oblivion you get to enjoy the single player campaigns and the freedom they offer. What our reader has not clarified is when exactly will players get a chance to eat, drink or interact with other animals if they choose to play both games?

What most voters agreed on is the long-lasting appeal of Oblivion and as one user, simply, put it, …150 hours of playing says it all!

As promised, we begin revealing the most relevant Top10, a list of titles voted for by the hardcore gamer away from big publisher interests and NDA agreements.

The first game we encounter as we approach the Top 10 MegaGames of 2006 is another fine example of EA's odd strategy of creating inspiring franchises and then shooting them down. As a result you never know which game you're going to get from the world's biggest publisher, the fresh new title or the cashing-in version?

Where Need for Speed Most Wanted succeeded in bringing new and exciting gameplay elements to the franchise, this year's Need for Speed Carbon failed to build on the success of its predecessor. Some of the choices made by the development team also seem questionable especially as the role of the police seems now to have been reduced to random cameos with no significant impact on the game. NFS Carbon however, is the title that will bring the franchise to Sony's PS3 and does offer a shiny package of beautiful visuals and exciting, if slightly too easy, gameplay.

To demonstrate the unease of the gamers that voted for the new NFS we have to stress that the most popular position of the game, in MG voter Top 3 lists, was 3rd while it was the game that most people that voted for also criticized. One reader completed his description of the game by stating …as for realism, forget it. Another reader claims, …pretty easy gameplay (with a controller) and fairly easy levels.

The game voted at Number 9 by MG readers is a title that has had to find its way in the shadow of a much larger blockbuster. The game however, has managed to carve out its own niche and has quickly gained a dedicated following. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, a game described as, a linear, fantasy first-person action-role-playing-game, is developing into one of the guiltiest pleasures in gaming.

Often described a s Oblivion for Dummies, Dark Messiah has proved that there is much more to it than that. DM is a game that will have you guessing regarding its origins. Mistakenly compared to Oblivion and Arx Fatalis, the game seems to owe more of its existence to the Thief gaming franchise.

The inclusion of DM in the Top 10 MegaGames of 2006 makes it clear that gamers have not forgotten the simpler joys of gaming and Dark messiah of Might and Magic offers that in shovel-loads. For a game that also acts as a tribute to Thief, it was surprising to see the number of readers claiming that it was the game's innovative gameplay that won them over.

…due to the good graphics and innovative gameplay I include it in my top 3. said one reader while another went so far as to say, Amazing graphics, but even better was the fact that it made killing monsters juice up the adrenaline again. Excellent combat system, and probably one of the only games that I said "I wish Oblivion had done that!".

Any game that has been in development for over 10 years deserves some attention and MG readers have showered the title at Number 8 with their love. A game which has changed developers and had faced more delays than Duke Nukem , Prey managed to prove that you can't keep a good thing down.

The story of a young man's struggle to understand and embrace his heritage, played out on a living, breathing alien spaceship, captivated gamers while new innovations; such as portals and gravity walls and switches added an extra dimension to gameplay and made for some of the more original in-game puzzles of 2006.

The Doom engine was spruced up enough top seem contemporary and so Prey managed to evade its old-news profile and to demonstrate that a reluctant boy, a captive girl, a dead old man and a see-through hawk can save the world.

Some may claim that Prey bit off more than it could chew with the inclusion of so many new gameplay features but it seems that the end result was a well-orchestrated symphony of gaming carnage.

…first word from my mouth after playing this it is simply great the thing i like the most is its innovative portal thing enemies appear out of thin air 1 sec u are here and the other over there really nice and yes also the fact that i like fps games said one voter while another claimed, generally an under-rated game. played it and loved the lack of gravity. the best thing is that its built on the same engine as doom 3 and quake 4 but runs with no lag when maxed out. great fun.

The game you awarded the Number 7 spot to, is part of a franchise that ranks as one of the ultimate online gaming experiences. Its second iteration saw a more focused attempt by its developer to promote Team Play and has been very successful at creating a strong community around the game.

BattleField 2142 brings even more Team Play features to the table and though the changes, from BF2, may be subtle, they do offer an enhanced gaming experience. Critics expressed doubts as to whether this version offered enough; they may have been right judging by the very generic timeline followed by the game but the real-world effect of the, subtle, changes implemented by DiCE has been judged by gamers to be very satisfactory.

With an Expansion, Northern Strike, all ready, BF 2142 has proved popular enough with gamers to be labeled a commercial success but now MegaGames readers have also confirmed that the BF formula is still going strong.

… everything was getting better and then: 2142! The titan has arrived, great gameplay, great laughs!, remarked one reader while another commented, … amazing levels incredible action and instant unlocks and ranks. eye popping graphics if you have a good card and ram, and online is fun and fantastic.
Some however, could not help but offer a bit of criticism, along with their vote, … It's just a great new fps title in a great series, albiet a series reknowned for bugs and glitches.

Nintendo's new console offering, unlike its predecessor, has had an immediate impact on the world of gaming. The Western world has been quick to adapt to the use of the Wiimote and, judging by the response of MegaGames readers, the future belongs to Wii.
The first Wii title to feature in the Top10 MegaGames of 2006 is at number 6 and has been the game that every Wii owner has tried. Wii Sports has won gamers and non-gamers over by its simplicity and the feeling of achievement it provides to players. The Tennis and Bowling games appear to be the two most popular aspects of Wii Sports, according to our voters, while most of you found the adjustment to the use of the Wiimote a simple 0process.

Wii Sports is yet another message from Nintendo to the industry; you don't need to have a multi-million dollar budget in order to produce a fun game.
Many have been quick to claim that Wii Sports is just a gimmick-game created in order to promote the Wiimote but it is not until you actually try the game that you realize that a lot of thought has gone into such a simple game. God is in the details and Wii Sports proves that nothing can beat a well thought out game.
Most Wii Sports voters were very enthusiastic when describing the game, …who ever said big things come in small packages was a genius! For a game that measures 12 cm in height and weights 16grams it's truly a heavyweight in fun factor. After only a few minutes of playing Wii Sports I began to truly understand where Nintendo was taking the gaming industry. My wife who hates video games was asking me if she could play tennis with me and now we play Wii Sports all the time! For the first time ever my wife, Pella, is actively buying and renting video games. Thank you Nintendo.
Another reader explains how much value for money we get, …got this baby on day one and still haven't stopped playing. Definitely over 100 hours of play so far with who knows how much more to go.

The game voted Top MegaGame of 2004 was bound to spawn a sequel but fifth place for a game such as H-L 2 would have been unheard of had not its creator decided to follow the episodic model of game development. Mini-game, mini awards and so Half-Life 2: Episode 1 gets fifth place based, mainly, on its reduced gameplay hours.

Although it has its very own, robust storyline, Episode 1 looks like, feels like and plays like its predecessor and this is probably the single most important reason behind its success; most gamers simply did not have enough of H-L 2. The 5 or so hours of gameplay and the similarity to the original game are probably the reasons behind the low position but we have to accept that had it not been for episodic gaming who knows how long we would have had to wait before Half-Life 3 was ready.

Episode 1 launches a trilogy which follows the story in the aftermath of the original game and sees players stepping into the hazard suit of Dr. Gordon Freeman. Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, will accompany you in your efforts to aid in the human resistance's desperate battle against the totalitarian alien menace of the Combine.

One of the typical responses we received from voters was, Solid FPS game like Half-Life 2. Better story, more entertaining but sadly three times as short.

Others were happy with what the game had to offer, if a little too involved in the storyline, The main reason why I voted for this game is because of the teamwork between the hero (Gordon Freeman) and Alyx Vance. This is the first game where you play co-operatively with another AI and man, you wish all the previous FPS allowed you to play co-op. You feel attached to Alyx and makes you feel you want to save the world just for her...

Another reader was quite impressed, ...its the first expansion to a video game that doesnt come itno market just to enhance developer team's budget but on the contrary continues the story and narrates the Freeman's adventures. This game also continues what original Half-Life did. That means it manages to be completely linear, yet to offer experience that 10 fps couldnt have offered in a single packet. Great disadvantage the playing time which (as far as i think) is not more than 4 - 5 hours at the most.

Having observed Wii Sports enter the Top 10 MegaGames of 2006, most of you must have understood that if Wii Sports was in, another, even more high profile Wii title, also had to be there. Touted as the killer app for the new Nintendo console, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a true gamers game. Offering an exciting mix of nods to the past and new technologies, the game, again, emphasized Nintendo's commitment to detail and the release of a full gaming experience.

The story is solid enough to give the entire game world an authentic feel, once again we find ourselves in the mystical land of Hyrule. This time the land is threatened by the greatest danger it has faced yet and our hero must put his life as a cowboy behind him and set-out on an adventure which will take him to distant lands and parallel realms. Link is sent to bear a gift to the royal family of Hyrule but before he can leave, tragedy strikes the village and he is yanked into a twilight gloom that has covered Hyrule. When he enters that realm, he transforms into a wolf and is captured. A mysterious figure named Midna helps him break free. With the aid of her magic, they set off to free the land from the shadows.

The use of the Wiimote was a big selling point, not for Zelda but for the console itself since acceptance of the controller by fans of the franchise would mark a great victory for the company. Assessing the overall contribution of the controller to the gaming experience is not an easy task and it is during Zelda gameplay were that polarity is most apparent. During the early stages of the game a lot about the use of the Wiimote seems rough and not that necessary, you shake the nunchuck you spin attack, you wobble the Wiimote and you slice, moves that really offer very little to the experience. As you progress however, you quickly realize that there is more to the use of the controller than little flicks of the wrist. When using your bow and arrows, for example, you actually feel like a marksman, even the use of depth of sound adds its little subtle touch, bringing the player closer to Hyrule.

To demonstrate the impact the game has had on players we bring you the comments of one of our voters, I found myself playing Twilight Princess for hours on end like the kid I was when I got my first Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with the Original Zelda. Nintendo delivered in every category with its latest installment of Zelda. The graphics were everything I expected and more, the music scores and sound effects were superb and last but not least the intuitiveness of the Wiimote with the built in speaker was engrossing! Another voter used fewer words but made a statement of similar impact, As fun to play as Ocarina of Time. The significance of the game for Nintendo cannot be overestimated and one of our voters reminds us, Majora's mask seemed to be the beginning of the end for the Zelda series, but twilight princess breathed fresh air into the series.

Entering the Top 3 is always an emotional time for gamers so you are welcome to take a few minutes to compose yourselves for the announcement of your Number 3 choice for Top MegaGame of 2006.

Many would have expected the title voted at Number 3 to have been right there at the top but in a year which saw surprises in every sector of the industry our Top 10 could not be an exception. The main reason, we suspect, that Gears of War did not claim top spot this year is that next-gen systems are still not in as widespread a use as their manufacturers would like us to think.

Advertised, long before its release, by Microsoft as the PS3 killer, Gears of War brought some of the most remarkable and highly respected game developers to the next-gen platform as Epic Games promised us to harness next-gen power. Using Unreal Engine 3, the visual competence of Gears of War cannot be questioned; the visual effects are top notch while the realism approaches never-before-seen levels.

In many ways in positions 4 and 3 of this year's Top10 we have a clash of cultures as the two games occupying those spots could well serve as examples of the philosophy of each console manufacturer they represent. Zelda carries impressive yet modest graphics and puts most of its eggs in the gameplay innovation basket while Gears is comfortable walking the well-trodden shooter path but allowing us to see more of the foliage and how ant colonies have formed between individual blades of grass.

One great advantage of Gears of War is the novelty factor; It is the first game to be able to claim to truly offer next-gen graphics and there is a clear awe effect when you first witness it. Games that will use the same formula from now on, will have to consider bringing more to the table than just fancy visuals.

Another advantage for Gears of War is its online modes, taking a developer with tons of experience in online gaming and pairing their skills with Microsoft's Xbox live behemoth was a genius move that has paid off. Love it or hate it, Gears of War is a complete package of light entertainment. It might nit stay with you for years but it is great fun while it lasts.

One of our voters was quick to express a very common desire among PC gamers, Maybe the first title people will recognize as a worthy 3rd person shooter making its debut slightly before Rainbow 6: Vegas to steal the win in my books. Now can it do the same for the pc?
Another voter was even more expressive, Oh, what a great game that is, the fast game play, the weapons to kill for, and the over the shoulder view to make that chainsaw kill oh soooo sweeeeet! What more do you want, it's got everything. Gears of War will surely leave you speechless. But if any of you are not yet certain about the game, this final comment from a voter should help tip the scales, one way or another, for you, Gears of war, nothing but carnage a game that has a gun with a chainsaw? How can it not be in the top 10.

In an industry where money talks, it is a rare occasion when an outsider can make his presence felt. This year however, one game more than any other has surprised critics and gamers alike and has managed to enter the most prestigious gaming lists; including the Top 10 MegaGames of 2006. MG readers have voted Company of Heroes to the Number 2 spot.

Company of Heroes released to little hype and could have gone unnoticed had it not been such a well made game. Eventually, word got out and soon gamers everywhere were talking about it. Just when the WWII genre was looking for a new lease of life, Company of Heroes put on its medic outfit and breathed that fresh air into the genre's battle-scarred lungs. But CoH did more than just revive an ailing game setting; it also revitalized the RTS genre. Never before has an RTS title seemed so intuitive, so complete and so much darn fun.

Adding to the genre by opting for realism and bringing the confusion of excitement of intense battle to our living rooms, CoH also confirmed that a well made game will win even the most demanding gamer over. What could be more fun than watching your troops revolt to an inconsiderate order or spending hours deciding exactly how to ambush enemy armor.

Another wonderful piece of gaming craftsmanship comes from the in-game environments. Created with great attention to detail each setting is not simply a place of natural, or man-made, fully-destructible beauty but rather a wonderful canvas for the player to develop his strategic goals. Buildings, for example, offer great tactical enigmas as they are easy to ambush but an invaluable resource for the player.

MegaGames voters were very pleased with Company of Heroes and some even describe the experience as… sensual, -A brilliant strategy game with unusually good looking visuals. It takes its
genre into the next level, total and absolute environmental destruction and
pleasant to the senses. Others stress their surprise at the quality of the game, This game was a true sucker punch to my jaw. 2006 is the year of the World War 2 game, with them coming out of the woodwork. There's only so many times you can play through WW2 before it gets very repetitious, or so i thought. Company of Heroes is beautifully done, with extraordinary graphics that raised the bar for Real Time Strategy games. Every model and animation is flawlessly done, and nearly everything in game can be destroyed or deformed in some way, from buildings, down to trees, and even concrete flooring can be blasted apart. The voice acting is high quality and gives a feel of realism to the game, the men you command are actually important, instead of expendable peons to be thrown into an attack without care. The level design and story were intelligent and fun to play through, without a huge difficulty curve. Finally, the games take on vehicle combat breathed fresh life into the tired and ages-old technique of tank spamming your way to victory. This game is my second nomination because I truly didn't expect much from this game but wow was I ever wrong!

Yet another voter puts into words the way most gamers felt when they encountered Company of Heroes, Completely immersive environment, gorgeous graphics, smooth and simple gameplay, re-invented the WW2 RTS. When I paused and zoomed in on a jeep I was trying to get out of harm's way (it had just uncovered a Panther tank), the look of terror on the soldiers' faces was the kind of touch the developers didn't need to bother with, yet there it was. Another example: in the battle for the town square of Carentan, I paused to plan out my next few steps. "What's that in the middle of the courtyard?" I thought. I zoomed in and it was an anti-tank shell my G.I.s had just fired from their confiscated Pak 38 AT gun. I paused it in mid-flight! Nice. Bonus points for CoH - Prior to this game, I had never - NEVER - finished an RTS. Not the Command and Conquer series, not the Warcraft series (well, I cheated to finished W2), nothing. After finishing CoH, I ran out and bought EIGHT RTSs, knowing full well they wouldn't hold a candle to the game that re-invigorated my interest in the genre.