December 31, 2006

~ PART 3 ~

Welcome to the third and final part of the 2006 Awards where we pick the winners in categories such as best technology, best graphics and sound and the Best Overall Game of 2006. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of the awards where the best and worst of 2006 as well as best developers, peripheral and games in each genre were awarded then I would suggest you go there to check out the other winners first. If you've checked them out then read on...

Best Game People Forgot to Buy
Winner: Psychonauts (PS2, Double Fine/Budcat Creations)
While this game took forever to make it to the shelves in Australia it was well worth the wait. From the creator of Full Throttle and Grim Fandango comes this very whacky, and utterly enjoyable game. Sure, technically there's better on the PS2 - that's a given - but we defy anyone to find a more amusing and entertaining title then this. Sadly the sales were well below the game deserved, and finding a copy may take a bit of work, but it's certainly worth it.
Runners Up: Tales of Eternia (PSP, Namco), Rogue Trooper (PS2, Rebellion).

Best New Technology or Game Engine
Winner: Black "Renderware" Engine (PS2, Criterion)
Criterion's Renderware software has been used in hundreds of games on the PS2, but their First Person Shooter ushered in a new level of detail, excitement and polish to the engine. The amount of particles blown about in explosions is stunning - windows shatter, buildings crumble and walls break apart while the gameplay is very solid as well. This game is a technical marvel and shows that even hardware 5 years old can put many of the lastest PC games to shame. This is a wonderful demonstration of the power of the Playstation 2.
Runners Up: SOCOM III (PS2, Zipper Interactive), Daxter (PSP, Ready at Dawn).

Best Intro & Cut Scenes In A Game
Winner: Kingdom Hearts II (PS2, Square-Enix)
When it comes to cut-scenes there weren't any absolute standout titles this year, but Square-Enix have come up with the goods with this title. With dozens of Disney characters it's hard not to fall in love with some of the gorgeous cut scenes in this title. The opening sequence shows the events from the first game superbly with some breathtaking scenes.
Runners Up: Splinter Cell: Double Agent (PS2, Ubisoft), Canis Canem Edit (aka Bully) (PS2, Rockstar Vancouver).

Best Artistic Style In A Game
Winner: Shadow of the Colossus (PS2, Sony Japan)
While technically not as polished or fluid as we would have hoped there is absolutely no doubt that this game was the most artistically impressive title of 2006. The design of the enemies, which are numerous times bigger then the games hero are simply spectacular. As they traverse across the alien landscape your jaws will hit the floor. Who can ever forget the first time you lay eyes on massive colossus in the distance! Brilliant.
Runners Up: LocoRoco (PSP, Sony Japan), Psychonauts (PS2, Double Fine/Budcat Creations).

Best Sound In A PSP Game
Winner: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (Rockstar Leeds)
Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto titles have always set a benchmark on whichever system they appear on, and this title is no exception. What really makes this game a clear winner is the stunning tracklist which includes over 100 songs, and superb commentary from DJ's on the numerous radio stations. It's amazing just how much audio the developer have been able to cram onto a single UMD - let alone a UMD that is also packed with an entire city, over 50 hours of gameplay and numerous multi-player games and cut scenes.
Runners Up: Daxter (Ready at Dawn), LocoRoco (Sony Japan).

Best Graphics in a PSP Game
Winner: Tekken: Dark Resurrection (Namco)
This was a pretty tough call. Do you take the highly detailed characters and backgrounds of Tekken, or the vast open city in GTA Vice City Stories. In the end the rock solid frame rate and vibrant colours of Namco's title wins out - just. This is a stunning title for Sony's handheld which pushes the system as close to PS2 titles as ever before. Visually stunning.
Runners Up: GTA: Vice City Stories (Rockstar Leeds), Daxter (Ready at Dawn).

Best Sound in a PS2 Game
Winner: Kingdom Hearts II (Square-Enix)
This game could really win two seperate sound categories - original score and voice acting. Both aspects are stunningly realised in this title. The orchestral score is a masterpiece equal to that in any blockbuster movie. It was the dozens of voice actors that really stand out with the three leads (Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) as Sora, David Gallagher (7th Heaven) as Riku, and Hayden Panettiere (Raising Helen) as Kairi) are stunning. Not only is the quality of the voicework great, but so is the actual script.
Runners Up: Dragon Quest VIII: The Journey of the Cursed King (Level 5), Black (Criterion).

Best Graphics in a PS2 Game
Winner: Black (Criterion)
Well I guess that if the game wins for the best engine it figures that it would win for best graphics - and that's true. This is probably the best use of the PS2's power to date, and while the cut scenes divide gamers - we personally liked the interrogation styled videos, many did not - there is no doubt that everyone would love the graphics. Stunningly detailed, wonderful particle effects this ushers in a new level, and a level never likely to be surpassed on the system.
Runners Up: Kingdom Hearts II (Square-Enix), Splinter Cell: Double Agent (Ubisoft).



Developer: Level 5
Publisher: Square-Enix
Distributer: Ubisoft
Release Date: 13/4/2006

When a game sells over 3 million copies in a single territory it's time to sit up and take notice. Fortunately it's not just Japanese gamers that can enjoy this title but also American and European. Square-Enix must be applauded for the localisation of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King which is simply superb, and possibly one of the best ever. If you like RPG's then this is a no brainer but even if you're not usually an RPG fan this game is still so brilliantly created that it also deserves your attention. Don't hire this game, with well over 60-70 hours (ignoring side quests) you'll never finish this in a couple of days.
A worthy winner of the 2006 Futuregamez Game of the Year.

Runners Up: Guitar Hero II (PS2, Harmonix), Daxter (PSP, Ready at Dawn), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PSP, Rockstar Leeds), Black (PS2, Criterion), Tekken: Dark Resurrection (PSP, Namco), Kingdom Hearts II (PS2, Square-Enix).

Return to Part 1 of the 2006 Future Gamez Awards.
Return to Part 2 of the 2006 Future Gamez Awards.

I hope you enjoyed reading this Awards for 2006. If you have any comments feel free to e-mail me at the usual address: