Well, it's that time again - the end of the year and the beginning of the next one. Whilst you may all be ogling over your 2007 Keeley calendar, we have been beavering away at BitHQ to try and come up with what we think are the best products of 2006 in order to bring you this -
The 2006 bit-tech Awards
We've awarded 'Best of Year' badges to some of our favourite products published on bit-tech in the last 12 months. We're looking at the best games (RTS, RPG, FPS and Console) as well as graphics, motherboards, CPUs, peripherals, memory, cases, cooling, monitors and more.
If you missed it, we also released a rudimentary podcast of our discussions for this article. You can grab it here. Read on for our pick of the year's enthusiast kit.
RTS Game Of the Year: Company of Heroes Notable mentions: Defcon, Medieval 2
There have been a truck load of great RTS games released this year. Quite apart from the awesome expansion packs to Dawn of War, one of the best RTS games of yesteryear, we saw some cracking original games and sequels. Medieval 2 did a great job of expanding on the wargaming genre, and kept our Games Editor, Ryan Garside occupied for weeks, as he sought to expand his empire. Defcon was a surprise hit - coming from the same guys that made Darwinia, it was so different from anything we'd seen before that we knew it needed to be included here. Real invention and originality are not things we see often.
However, there was really only one choice for RTS of the year - Company of Heroes. In my personal view, this is the greatest RTS ever made. Quite apart from the intricate graphics and sublime sound design, it's one of those games that is easy to get into and tough to master. The campaign mode is well thought out, enjoyable, and compelling, whilst multiplayer has some fantasticaly designed maps and balanced gameplay. It's not Warcraft 3, which is an amazingly mature and popular RTS, but it has far more depth that rewards real skill, rather than just rushing.
So, congratulations to Relic and THQ, developer and publisher of our favourite RTS game of this year. Awesome.
Company of Heroes
RPG Game Of the Year: Elder Scrolls IV - Oblivion Notable mentions: Neverwinter Nights 2
It has been a quiet year for role playing games, with not much to trouble the market. However, we did see the release of one of the most spectacular games of any genre of all time - Oblivion.
Oblivion brought in a massive, massive game world that was rendered with stunning Direct X 9 effects and combined intense immersion with great gameplay. Part FPS, part RPG, part puzzler, all beautiful - we had not seen anything like this.
Oblivion is one of those games that is truly revolutionary, raising the bar for everyone else across the board to come. Quite possibly game of the year. Well done, also, to NeverWinter Nights 2, which built on the foundations of the original to provide - post patching - some really decent gameplay.