For some people, 2006 was just another year of college. For others, it was a year of many great video games.
The new year marks the end of the Xbox 360’s first-year release, and most people think it has met the expectations of a next-generation system. But has it? Some say the Xbox 360 only has the same games as other consoles with better graphics, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Xbox 360 sports two of the top five games of the year.

5. “Gears of War”
This is a newer game for the Xbox 360, and a good one at that. “Gears of War” is in essence a wartime shooting game like many others, but it includes a few new features, such as an instant reload mini-game, as well as the stunning visuals required for any game at the top of the list.
4. “Final Fantasy XII”
This game is available for both the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox 360. It takes place in Ivalice — the same world as “Final Fantasy Tactics” — but with many changes. For one thing, the graphics are amazing. The regular-sized, 3D characters (as much as can be represented on a flat screen), the great role-playing/online game experience and the pure fantasy all contribute to making “Final Fantasy XII” one of the top games of 2006.
3. “Okami”
This PS2 game is pure art both in graphics and in gameplay. For those who don’t know, “Okami” puts you in the shoes (actually paws) of a wolf-goddess whose statue comes to life to defend her village from a dark dragon.
As you go through the game, you learn the 13 celestial brush strokes relating to the Chinese zodiac so that you can draw things on an in-game canvas to affect them. The variety of ways you can affect things ranges from bringing life to dead objects to dropping bombs on your enemies and even controlling the elements themselves. For innovative and visually appealing gameplay, “Okami” earns its place in the top five of 2006.
2. “Kingdom Hearts II”
Arguably the best game of 2006, this long-awaited sequel to both “Kingdom Hearts” (for PS2) and “Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories” (for Gameboy Advance) surpassed expectations. The game’s plot weaves a complex web with twists and turns around every corner, and unlike the first game, finishes off the story with a superb ending. The gameplay is no less appealing, and the ESRB rating that everyone can play “Kingdom Hearts II” is well deserved.
1. “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion”
Viewed by many as the best game of all time, not just 2006, “Oblivion” has the combination of plot, graphics and gameplay to put it at the top of the list. In a game where you can choose your class, skills and level-up bonuses to be whatever you like, the possibilities are endless. Weapon or magic? Brawl or sneak? Steal or protect? “Oblivion” allows you greater freedom in what you can do than many other games, possibly due to both the exceptional number of side-quests and the size of the world itself. If you haven’t played “Oblivion” yet, you’re missing out. For an exceptional combination of gameplay, graphics and story line, “Oblivion” is the #1 game of 2006.
2006 ended with the release of the Nintendo Wii (previously the Nintendo Revolution) and the highly anticipated PlayStation 3. Since their debut, the expectations for newer and better games are on the rise. For the moment though, make sure you play at least one of these games — you won’t be disappointed.