Inside Pulse Games 2005 Year End Awards

BEST ACTION RPG

The Nominees:
Guild Wars
Jade Empire
Magna Carta
X-Men Legends 2

The Winner: X-MEN LEGENDS 2

In a year where RPGs were relatively light and action RPGs were pretty mediocre, X-Men Legends 2 stood out. It was great for so many reasons. It was easy to pick up. It was easy to play. And it was damn fun. Since the X-Men were teaming up with Magneto’s Brotherhood, you had the added bonus of being able to play with a team of 4 using a combination from both groups. If you wanted a combination of Magneto, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler and Cyclops, you could do that. And how cool is it that you can even play as another tin-head in Iron Man? The story was well crafted and the game looked great too. And as a cherry on top, this is a game that even non-RPG fans can really enjoy. -Lee

Fan Vote: X-Men Legends 2

BEST TURN-BASED RPG

The Nominees:
Digital Devil Saga 1
Digital Devil Saga 2
Pokemon XD
RPG Maker 3

The Winner: DIGITAL DEVIL SAGA 1

Everything I said in relation to DDS being PS2 GOTY still stands here. In a year when Turn Based RPG’s were largely rehashes or experimental wackiness, DDS hit the scene with a seriously solid control scheme and one of the best storylines I’ve seen in years. The fact that it’s accessible to all sorts of players, not just diehard Megaten fans, just makes it that much sweeter. -Mark B

Fan Vote: Digital Devil Saga

BEST TACTICAL RPG

The Nominees:
Advanced Wars DS
Fire Emblem: The Scared Stones
Makai Kingdom
Stella Deus

The Winner: ADVANCED WARS DS
Advanced Wars has always been one of the pinnacles of good gaming on the GBA. This certainly hasn’t changed with the move to the Nintendo DS. Advanced Wars: Dual Strike does what good sequels do. The good is added upon with more maps, more units, and a new Real-Time mode. While the story is pretty bleh, Advanced Wars DS manages to be an extremely entertaining game on pretty much every other *ahem* front. This is one of the strongest titles on the DS this year and well worth a purchase. -Tom P

Fan Vote: Advanced Wars DS

BEST PARTY GAME

The Nominees:
Karaoke Revolution
Mario Party 7
Singstar
Taito Legends

The Winner: MARIO PARTY 7

Even after seven iterations, Mario Party is still the Party Game to beat. Sure, the new boards aren’t really all that original, and many of the minigames feel like rehashes of older ones, but the simplistic nature and variety of the game makes it really stand out. Not only can you and three of your friends crowd around this one and have a blast, but this year’s version also sports 8 player support. Add in the returning microphone feature, and you’re ready for some truly enjoyable gaming. Just make sure you have some friends handy, as the single player experience isn’t nearly as entertaining. -Tom N

Fan Vote: Karaoke Revolution

BEST RHYTHM GAME

The Nominees:
Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 3
Donkey Konga 2
Guitar Hero
Pump it Up: Exceed

The Winner: GUITAR HERO

When the biggest complaint about the game is that you want more of it to play, you’ve got a solid title on your hands. While Guitar Hero feels very short do to a song list that ends up making you wish this song was on it rather then this song, there are still 47 rocking tracks to um rock out to. The song list ranges from the latest hits by Audioslave and Sum 41 to some classic tracks by Ozzy Osbourne, the Ramones, and my personal favorite, the Blue Oyster Cult. Red Octane has made a game that already has fans screaming “We want Chilly Willie!!!” in hopes of a sequel. -Tom P

Fan Vote: Guitar Hero

BEST PLATFORMER

The Nominees:
God of War
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Psychonauts
Sonic Rush

The Winner: PSYCHONAUTS

As a rule, I pretty much loathe Platformers. Along with FPS games, they are my least favorite genres. But then I learned the maker of Grim Fandango was giving us a platformer filled with psychics, super heroics, and a voice actor I wish would have said “Obey the Fist!” at least once during the game. And I decided to step out of my shooter/fighter/RPG box and give it a try. When all was said and done, Psychonauts was my runner up for GOTY in 2005.

It’s funny, it’s stylish, it plays amazingly well (a rarity in 3D platformers), and it reeks of originality from the second you turn it on, until you finally beat the game. If you haven’t played Psychonauts, then you are missing out on what was not only the best platformer of the year, but the best platformer since you could get 2D Sonic on a console. -Lucard

Fan Vote: God of War

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME

The Nominees:
Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
King Kong
Mercenaries
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

The Winner: HULK: ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION

In a very close contest, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction won best Action/Adventure game. Here’s why. In it, you get to run around an expansive city and desert smashing everything you see set to the backdrop of an engrossing story. Not only is it fun taking on the gigantic Hulk Busters, jet fighters, tanks, and occasional police officer, but more often then not, it’s challenging. The sheer amount of side missions, unlockables, and joy you’ll get from crushing military forces will keep you coming back to this game again and again. In short, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is the game Spider Man 2 wanted to be. -Tom P.
Fan Vote: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

BEST HORROR GAME

The Nominees:
Fatal Frame 3
Haunting Ground
Obscure
Resident Evil 4

The Winner: RESIDENT EVIL 4

Horrific monsters, awesome gameplay, a complete reinvention of a seriously stale series, and all sorts of shock value for your buck, RE4 more than earns its keep as the bearer of the Survival Horror franchise torch. Whereas some games will try to freak you with subtlety and minor shock value, RE4 is all about cheap scares and scary monstrosities from the bowels of Hell… er, Umbrella. There’s absolutely nothing subtle here, but there doesn’t need to be. Every time you hear some crazy villager scream in Spanish, your blood will run cold and you’ll grip the aim button like your life depends on it. I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more. -Mark B

Fan Vote: Resident Evil 4

BEST ALL AGES GAME

The Nominees:
Finny the Fish
Lego Star Wars
Nintendogs
Pokemon XD

The Winner: NINTENDOGS

The cutest game of the year had to be Nintendogs. Picking up poop has never been this much fun. With 19 different breeds of dogs, Nintendogs certainly had some bite to go with its bark though. Besides feeding, washing, walking, and playing with your dogs, you could always enter it into a competition to earn some cold hard cash. Even after that gets old, you can still always hit your dogs in the head with the stick or watch them freak out when you toss a bark ball their way. Nintendogs offers all the advantages of pet ownership without the torn up newspapers, hair on the furniture, and piss stains on the rug. -Tom P

Fan Vote: Lego Star Wars

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE

The Nominees:
Final Fantasy IV
GTA Trilogy
Popocropolis
Taito Legends

The Winner: TAITO LEGENDS

Let’s make something really clear. This anthology has Bubble Bobble. It has Rainbow Islands. It Has Space Invaders. Those three games alone are pretty much unbeatable compared to any other three games from whatever developer you decide to put up against Taito. Hell, Bubble Bobble received the highest overall score of all time from Inside Pulse. That pretty much gave Taito Legends a lock for this award when Sega decided to publish these games on one handy dandy DVD.

Taito was one of the most amazing publishers in 70’s and 80’s. Their games were addicting, simple to learn, and featured catchy music with great graphics. Even today their games are still head and shoulder above 95% of the crap that sells for fifty bucks at your local gaming store. Next time you go, make a smart decision and pay only twenty for nearly 30 games that defy greatness. -Lucard

Fan Vote: Final Fantasy IV

MOST UNIQUE GAME
The Nominees:
Finny the Fish
Nintendogs
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
We Love Katamari

The Winner: FINNY THE FISH

Wanna raise a virtual pet? Get a Neopeti or kick Hewie in Haunting Ground. We had a Katamari game last year. And Lawyer drama? Just watch A&E. But a game where you play as a Fish who thinks and acts like a fish instead of a furrie with attitude as most animals are treated in video games? Where you have to eat little creepy crawlies that you hope aren’t bait and have to same the world from a hideous monster and you’re given spiritual wisdom by a Kappa, one of the most evil creatures in Japanese folklore? That’s some wacky shit right there.

Finny the Fish is not a great game by any stretch of the imagination. But it is the most original game I’ve played in years, and the first game to really delve into the concept of an underwater physics engine or crossing over an animal sim with a full length open ended adventure game. You need to experience it to get a better understanding of just what the game entails, but rest assured, you won’t have played anything like it before. -Lucard

Fan Vote: Nintendogs

Back to Part 1!
Go to Part 3!