This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's a reason that sequels exist: because their predecessors were good games. And, this is true with most of the games mentioned. They're all fun and good games. But that's where it ends. There is nothing revolutionary, nothing particularly awe-inspiring. You just going through the same motions with a new plot line, upgraded graphics, an annoying new feature, and perhaps a new weapon or two.
That conclusion kind of got us down. What's the point of naming a Game of the Year when it's simply a newer version of a game that's already been out there? We might as well create a category called, "Sequel of the Year," and treat these games as what they are: rehashes of stuff we've played. Again, that's not to say they aren't enjoyable, just not worthy, perhaps, of the GOTY title.
And then that brings me to think about what games were not sequels this year. Well, there's Tales of Symphonia, Psi-Ops, "Fable" (which we have yet to play, therefore is not on our list), and "Star Wars: Battlefront," which I guess, technically, is like the 457th "Star Wars" game to be created but I still think of it as an original.
Of those games, I truly enjoyed "Tales of Symphonia" and "Psi-Ops". "SW: Battlefront" is an amazing game that I became very addicted to, but its excellence is based more on the XboxLIVE aspect than the actual single-player campaign; although that was fun, too.
"Tales of Symphonia" truly surprised both Ali and myself as we still have a reticence for RPGs, although we're getting over that and real-time (or limited turn based) RPGs like "KOTOR" and "ToS" are quickly becoming some of our favorite games.
Still, give me a game like "Psi-Ops" any day of the week and I'm a happy camper. The third-person action/stealth shooter is one of my favorite genres with games such as "Splinter Cell," "SW: Battlefront," and "Metal Gear Solid". The revolutionary aspect regarding "Psi-Ops" is that you are able to use mind powers to move almost any object in the game, set people on fire, see through walls, etc. This opened up a sort of third dimesion to the game making it so you could throw enemies off of cliffs just as easily as shooting them in the head. You could also throw enemies into objects, such as exploding barrels, or into other enemies. Rag doll physics made this all the more fun. Granted, you can do some of this stuff in "Star Wars" games with various "force powers" but "Psi-Ops" did a great job of integrating this seemlessly into the control scheme making it second nature to utilize a mind power over your weapon.
We have a tough choice to make tomorrow. What will be the LB Game of the Year? You'll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, if you want to add your opinion go to our GOTY thread on the Lunaboards.