The DZ Awards 06: 30 – 21

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2005’s Age of Empires III offered a new saga in the legendary Real Time Strategy franchise with many new gameplay elements, an entirely new set of units and a whole new way to strategise. 2006’s expansion took that formula – what was good and what wasn’t as good, and overall improved the game while adding in even more elements to the fray such as the powerful natives of the Americas.

Wil: If there’s a game that’s taken up a lot of my time lately, that game is Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs. For me it added a lot more to a game I was already hooked on with a group of friends – certainly not a bad thing. I thought I had a lot of things down pact, and Warchiefs turned everything upside down and pushed it to the left. Over a year after the inital release of AOEIII, I’m still an avid player and I can’t see that ending any time soon. I can only hope that Ensemble Studios will introduce yet another exciting expansion as I don’t believe the potential of the spanned period of time has reached its full potential just yet.

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The stage is the Gurhal Star System, which consists of three planets. Each planet has its own unique culture that is formed by its inhabitant races… do we care? (Read Our Review)

Matt: Disappointing to hardcore PSO fans, too much time was spent on creating a lengthy story mode which alienated their fans- and whilst a fairly sturdy online mode keeps this title afloat, it seems too simple, too flawed, and too empty to compete in the MMORPG market. As a gamecube title, this would have been an excellent title, but right now it feels too little too late, and another cheap cash-in from a sagging sega-team.

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M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E (Read Our Review)

Matt: Difficulty spikes, over simplified combat and disappointing sections such as the pirates of the caribbean level let this game down at the end of the day; with its prequel showing such beautiful character design and heartwarming stories KH2 had a lot to live up to, and whilst still a great game its shortcomings hit hard what could well have been a top 10 game.

Thomas: While playing KHII I most definitely enjoyed it as much as I did while playing the original… sadly now a few months down the line I can hardly remember most of the games story. This is the completely opposite of the original as I still remember many moments from the game even though I finished it years ago. The first was a labor of love for the developers so maybe the second may have being a bit of a chore?

Sean: I really enjoyed this one. Full of nice touches, and the combat felt satisfying enough. The plot is still total nonsense though, and I didn’t much enjoy the five-hour long prologue…

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GarageGames meets XBLA with fantastic results (Read Our Review)

Thomas: One of the few XBLA titles I honestly felt happy paying the asking price for. It may have being aggravating at time but when mostly it was a whole lot of fun to play… it even gave the likes of Super Monkey Ball a run for it money and only cost a fraction of the amount.

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The shoulder buttons can be fun to!

Thomas: Pacchonbo- mo-inoinoi chakaretapatton pankorakettonto-n… that song was stuck in my head for weeks.

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As easy as Pi…. 3.141592653589793238462643383279 50288419716939937510

Matt: Nintendo have been taking the world by storm this year with the DS Lite, and Brain Training led the way in their mission to get new demographics involved in gaming. Making activities like answering 100 maths questions in a row huge amounts of fun is an incredible achievement, and this alone will probably make it a very important title for the industry in retrospect.

Jonathan: I got this for Christmas and have been religiously training my brain at least once a day using it. It’s great fun and my brain is down from 64 to about 35, which I’m quite proud of. I think it would be less but my mouth moves slower than my brain.

Sean: Not a huge fan myself, but there’s no denying the immense cultural impact of Brain Training. Does it actually help your brain, though? Well, I never played it properly, and I’m thick. So there you go.

Thomas: The “T” is for Telligent!

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Don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m special one (Read Our Review)

Joe: The best gets better and better. This simulation has gained even more features, and just gets it right all the time. Heard about a 14 year old chilean player at a club called Colo Colo? Yeah, he’s there. Amazing.

Andi: My review of this game was somewhat delayed, completely down to the two sleepless nights I had playing this heroin-like management sim. With the new tweaks and extras added to this years edition, it is hard to see how Sports Interactive will come up with something more intuitive, intelligent and compulsive in 2007. I bet they will, mind.

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This snuck into this spot on the list… then hung from the roof and broke our necks! (Read Our Review)

David: This year Ubisoft did the unthinkable and let Sam Fisher out to play in the sun, and what do you know, it works. Thanks to the series’ ever increasing forgivingness and some well designed levels you are no longer relegated to skulking in the shadows. The undercover nature of the game also worked in it’s favour, with decision points littered throughout the storyline and multiple endings you have to be careful what you do if you want to stop the terrorists and come out the other end with your skin intact. Splinter Cell really has evolved, it was a great game to start with, but every installment has brought improvements and it just keeps getting better and better.

Jonathan: Meh

Thomas: In my opinion it was not the reinvention of the series Ubi made it out to be but is a refreshing change and in turn a great game to play both on and offline.

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The greatest of all time? No only position 22 on our list. (Read Our Review)

Matt: An excellent early 360 title that really showcased the system’s graphical potential. Intense but well paced, easily one of the most enjoyed 2 player games in my house this year.

Thomas: It was great to look at… but a lot of thing are… it’s just not a game I want to live with

Jonathan: Meh

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Baby you can drive my car, Yes I’m gonna be a star. Beep beep yeah! (Read Our Review)

Andi: If this game doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you are dead on the inside. A tight combination of casual fun and seriously hardcore racing with some of the most gorgeous tracks in the history of the genre. It also includes the entire previous game, meaning you have absolutely no excuse not to own this.

Sean: One of the finest racers ever created, basically. Filled to the brim with challenges for you to complete, but it’s just as much fun to stick it in arcade mode and just drive for as long as the game will let you.

Thomas: I am dead on the inside