games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games of 2006 – Wii Sports, Final Fantasy 12, More

December 12, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison
wii sports

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! 2006 was a big year for games as the PS2 was generally on its way out, but in its place was the release of the Wii and the PS3. We all know how that battle went. The PS3/Xbox 360/Wii fights is where a lot of the fanboy arguments came to fruition, thanks to the internet. There have always been fights before about which is the better console, namely SNES vs. Genesis, but with the internet, idiots everywhere could annoyingly profess their opinions on the subject. Speaking on fanboy things, Zelda: Twilight Princess is most decidedly not on this list, for it being a kind of bad game, and (inarguably) the worst in the “main” Zelda franchise. Let’s begin:

#8: Tomb Raider Legend

Tomb Raider was the first legitimately good Tomb Raider game, ever made. A big reason is that Eidos took the franchise away from CORE and gave it to Crystal Dynamics, who have been making it since then. Legend isn’t the best game in the Tomb Raider franchise, but it makes a ton of strides into making it a viable franchise. Lara controls great, the combat is vastly improved, and the puzzle solving actually makes some sense. Probably the only knock against it, is that it’s a short game.

#7: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

The earlier X-Men Legends games were good, but Ultimate Alliance is a richer experience. It features 23 playable characters, plus about a dozen more if the console supported DLC. Instead of just feature characters from the X-Men universe, it had such heavy hitters as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Silver Surfer, Venom and so-on. At its heart, the game is still a re-skinned Diablo dungeon-crawler just instead of spell effects and demons, you are firing off mutant powers against various evil Marvel characters. This is one game I’m glad was re-released on modern consoles, with the DLC intact, and with the recent demise of Marvel Heroes, it gives me some hope that they might make Ultimate Alliance 3 someday.

#6: Gears of War

Unlike some people, I don’t have a particular fondness for the Gears of War games. I recognize they are good games, but something about the gameplay just never really clicked for me. Having said that though, I still have Gears 1 on this list for being an important game in the lifespan of the Xbox 360. While Gears didn’t introduce the cover system, it made it a more natural system than previous games, with controls that were quick and responsive. The basic shooting in Gears has always been fun, but plugging up those damn holes in the first game got to be real tedious in spots. Also, Marcus is just a cool character, perfectly voiced by John DiMaggio, he gives him a lot more personality than what is initially presented.

#5: Final Fantasy 12

This is a partial cheat, since I didn’t actually play Final Fantasy 12 until this year with the re-release. Having played it now, I can see why it’s held in esteem as one of the best “modern” Final Fantasy’s around. While the original PS2 version didn’t have the multiple job system, or custom characters, it still had the Gambit system, letting you program your characters based on situations in the game, instead of micro-managing them. You can program them to attack, use spells if they are able, heal one another, cure status effects, and so on. The story isn’t bad, it’s not a superb RPG narrative, but it does keep the player interested in what’s going on. Also, like with Final Fantasy 15, I love the hunting system in the game, where you can undertake side missions to hunt down and explore new areas to find your intended target.

#4: Mega Man Powered Up

I was as shocked as anyone when Capcom announced a new Mega Man this week. Mainly because Capcom hasn’t made a good Mega Man game in over a decade, since Powered up and Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter on the PSP. Between the two, Powered Up is the better game, with a more creative re-imagining of the original Mega Man game, only now Mega Man is an adorable chibi character. Aside from expanding the game, adding two additional robot masters for you to tackle, Powered Up also let you play as any of them through their own storyline, where each has their own personality. Lastly, there were a level creator in the game, where you could make and upload your own levels for others to try, or download some and give them a whirl. If Mega Man 11 has even half the attributes that Powered Up had, it will likely be a good game.

#3: Suikoden 5

Alas, this is where the Suikoden series basically ended, outside of a middling DS game a few years later. Suikoden 5 has elements of both the Suikoden series, like the 108 Stars of Destiny, the rune system, and a few reoccurring characters, but it breaks a few RPG conventions in some creative ways. I love that your character is a prince, but he has no power in the royal structure at all. In Suikoden 5, Falena is a somewhat matriarchal society, so instead of a Kingdom, it’s a Queendom, headed by your mother who is getting somewhat crazed the more she uses her rune. The gameplay returns to the type of system in Suikoden 2, where you had 6 controllable party members in battle, and it has the typical headquarter upgrade system that all the Suikoden games used. Sadly, this was the last true Suikoden game, and while it’s a solid effort, the series should have kept on going.

#2: Wii Sports

Wii Sports was the game that made the Wii a gaming juggernaut. Aside from being the pack-in game, which was an incredibly smart decision on Nintendo’s part, it was the game that sold motion controls as a concept. While it’s true that it didn’t have 1 to 1 fidelity, it has enough precision to fool most people. It only has 5 games, Tennis, Golf, Bowling, Boxing and Baseball, with the only somewhat clunker being Boxing. The other games are simplified from their real-world counterparts, but they offer enough core gameplay as to make it seem like you are actually doing the events. Being the pack in, Wii Sports was also far and away the most popular selling game with over 82 million copies sold.

#1: Sonic the Hedgehog


#1: Bully

To me, Bully is the best game that Rockstar has made, above GTA or Red Dead Redemption. This might sacrilege to some people but what I appreciate about Bully is the restraint it has. At the start of the game, you can only explore the school and that’s in limited fashion. It’s only after you beat a few chapter can you begin to go into town. Beat a few more, and you can go into the carnival, beat a few more and you go into the old town, and so on. This lets you get really acclimated to the school and town as a whole, since you are stuck in certain spots for long periods of time. The basic gameplay is akin to GTA or Red Dead but with a somewhat kid-friendly twist. You aren’t using Uzi’s to kill gang members or rocket launchers to blow up tanks, instead you are using your sling shot to harass school mascots, or a potato gun to defend a secret hideout. The characters are good, the gameplay is fun, and the world of Bully is still enjoyable to explore.

For comments, list which games you liked in 2006 and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Games of 2007

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison