The release of the Wii and the PlayStation 3 has lead to a bit of a lull in game releases this year. All the companies seem to be waiting to see what happens in the months after the launch before bringing out the big guns with the franchise games like Halo 3 and Metal Gear 4, the Snakes of Varying Consistency, or whatever it's called. That said there have been some fantastic releases this past year and most of them sequels.
1. Gears of War- XBox 360
The third person perspective has gotten a new update with this newest humans vs. aliens shooter. On a planet much like Earth, an unknown force comes out of the ground to take over the humanoid race above them. These "locusts" are tough and come in a plethora of increasingly dangerous forms. A revolutionary "grab cover and fire" system combined with the first truly "next-gen" graphics on a gaming system make Gears one of the best of the year.
2. EA Sports Games- All Platforms
EA Sports has continually been releasing some of the greatest sports games for years. Their sports run the gamut all the way from rugby to basketball with none disappointing. With the release of the newest consoles, EA has not disappointed with their yearly biggest releases: NHL 2007 and a special anniversary edition of Madden 2007.
3. Splinter Cell: Double Agent- All Platforms
Yet another sequel makes the list of the best games of 2006. The newest release featuring Tom Clancy's Sam Fisher character gives the player a chance to decide between good and bad, given the choice to either work for the terrorists or a secret American military group. The revolutionary "spys versus soldiers" multiplayer remains intact on the XBox and PC versions, adding even more replay and unbridled fun to the series.
4. Battlefield- PC, XBox 360
Keeping the team-based FPS tradition going, EA proves that they're the best at letting people shoot their friends on the internet. Fighting a futuristic war on an Earth that has been plunged into a second ice age, the player is immersed in a struggle for the remaining viable food-producing land. Using an online points-tracking system, the game allows for customization of the soldier and allows players to improve their avatars as a reward for both good teamwork and the amount of time played. With four different classes to choose from, and to upgrade, each player is able decide what they enjoy most.
5. Wii Sports- Wii
This release title on Nintendo's new Wii console showcases the versatility of the new motion-sensitive controllers. The sports include bowling, tennis, baseball, golf and boxing, and are a way for the player to investigate the interactive qualities of both the Wii-mote and the Nunchuk. Wii games are designed for playing with friends and Sports definitely demonstrates its ability to do just that. The graphics aren't nearly as good as the other next–generation systems, but the level of interaction makes up for the graphical shortcomings.
6. Guitar Hero 2- PS2
The latest release in the Guitar Hero series continues where the previous game left off. Including an interactive guitar controller rather than the traditional handhelds increases the player interaction with the game. Like Donkey Konga and Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero continues to bring new innovation to video games. Shredding hard either by yourself or against a friend to such great songs as "Monkey Wrench," this game gives the chance for wanna-be rock stars, like Jon Roe, Gauntlet sports editor, to live out their dreams.
7. Rayman: Raving Rabbids- Wii
Going in a completely different direction from the previous Rayman games, this compilation of mini games makes for a fun and often hilarious time. None of the games are overly-difficult, but they're all immensely fun. These stupid Rabbids put Rayman through the gauntlet of over 70 different mini games with hilarious names like "Bunnies Don't Know What to do with Cows"(a cow tossing game) and "Bunnies Get Confused Easily"(a "Simon" type memory game). With these there are included a typical DDR clone and a bunny shooting game. This fantastic party game will give hours of fun and laughter making it one of the best games on the Wii so far.
8. Final Fantasy XII- PS2
In the mid '80s the Final Fantasy series began and has since become the most easily recognized RPG franchise in history. With a multitude of spin-off games, this marks the 12th in the Square Enix numbered series. With each new and fantastic story there's just enough common ground shared with predecessors to keep franchise fans coming back. A huge innovation in this newest installment is a real time battle system, remnicent of popular online "massively multiplayer" games. This change makes this the most innovative Final Fantasy since the release of Tactics. Giving the player this new battle system, a deep upgrade system, and a number of characters going up against an impossible evil make this a great addition to Final Fantasy and RPGs in general
9. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion- PC, XBox 360
Following in the same style as Bethesda's previous flagship Morrowind, Oblivion is a massive game with hundreds of hours of game play. Easily one of the largest and most open RPGs of the year, Oblivion gives gamers many side quests to go along with the main quest. The character creator itself gives so many options that the creation of an ideal alter ego becomes a game onto itself.
10. Trauma Center: Second Opinion- Wii
This is one game that Nintendo has made innovative from the start putting players in the role of a superstar surgeon. The first of this series began on the Nintendo DS and used the touchpad to control the various medical instruments, and the newest release of this franchise appears on the Wii, using the system's unique controls to improve upon the formula. Using the Nunchuk to choose your medical implement you then use the wii-mote to do everything from plucking out tumors and shards of glass to stitching up the wound after you're done. Unique, to say the least.