GruntLogic's Top 100 Favorite Video Games
156 8 01. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions - PlayStation Portable
I've heard that if William Shakespeare made a video game, it would look like this. The tale of an unsung hero, set against the backdrop of a continent spanning war of succession, with themes of class warfare. Where flawed heroes clash with conflicted villains, with a dash of byzantine conspiracy.
Final Fantasy Tactics is a deep, but accessible game. There is plenty of depth to be found in leveling up character's stats between job classes. The turn-based combat is quite simple and effective, I absolutely adore the sprites used for characters and monsters, and I enjoy how these cartoonish looking characters engage in ruthless combat.
I feel that War of the Lions is technically superior over the Playstation version due to it's introduction of animated cutscenes, additional character classes, and a wireless multiplayer mode.
This is a pretty solid example of gameplay. It's one of the earlier missions. It's one of the first kind of difficult missions that may make you rethink how you've been playing the game. If you can beat this mission, you'll have a good idea how to proceed with the rest of the game.
399 8.7 02. Fallout 2 - PC Games
This is a game of absurd, dark humor and ultraviolence. Fitting for a game set in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. Just the right mix of RPG elements of character upgrades and (essentially) turn-based combat.
One small thing that I strongly appreciate in this game is the crazy amount of flavor text. Every single item that you can carry in your inventory has a description, and they are often quite detailed.
I also appreciate just how many different ways you can customize your character to suit your play style.
43 8.3 03. Maniac Mansion - Famicom and NES
A classic, old-school point-and-click adventure. USE Maniac Mansion WITH NES and PLAY. And whatever you do, do NOT PUT Hamster IN Microwave, TURN ON Microwave, and then later GIVE Exploded Hamster TO Weird Ed.
I feel that this is LucasFilm Games' finest adventure. It was also their first. It was very simple, and I love the goofy humor. There are many little things that you can do in the game that you might not notice the first few times you play through. For instance, you can help the Green Tentacle get a recording contract by mailing in his demo to a publisher. However, if you play as Sid or Razor, you can send in their own recorded material, and the publisher will send Sid or Razor a contract, and if you show this contract to the Green Tentacle, he'll go crazy and kill that character! OR! You could send in a recording of the Tentacle Mating Song, which is a high-pitched squeal that can shatter glass, and the game will show a cutscene of the publisher playing the recording and having the windows in his office shatter. Little things. They can make all the difference.
379 8.2 04. DOOM - PC Games
You're a space marine. There are demons. Find the key card to open the door. Find the exit. Also, Kill anything that moves. It helps that the game has a bitchin' soundtrack that keeps pace with the fast paced frantic shooting.
Having recently read The Masters of DOOM by David Kushner, I now have a greater appreciation for the genius of John Carmack and John Romero, the creators of DOOM. This is a game that exploded onto the gaming scene and really established First-Person Shooters as their own genre.
It's really hard to argue with a game developer who voluntarily chooses to utilize the shareware model of business.
222 8.2 05. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Nintendo Wii
One of the most visually impressive games with possibly the best use of motion controls on the Wii. Combat in Skyward Sword is always an interesting challenge, and the dynamic use of color is very impressive as well. They've made numerous small and subtle changes to the usual Legend of Zelda formula that keep things feeling fresh, but without feeling like they've abandoned what made Legend of Zelda games fun to play in the first place.
I can't lie, I'm a huge fanboy when it comes to the Legend of Zelda series. I have beaten every single Legend of Zelda game released on every console. With that in mind, I really do think that Skyward Sword is my favorite Legend of Zelda game. I love the combat, the exploration, the music, the graphical style, just everything. ...okay, maybe not EVERYTHING. Your "companion," Fi, can get really annoying. Almost everything that she says is extremely obvious and completely redundant. But even in Ocarina of Time (widely regarded as the best TLoZ game), you had an annoying companion in Navi. Maybe that's a sad hallmark of an otherwise superb TLoZ game?
222 8.8 06. Planescape: Torment - PC Games
What can change the nature of a man? This is the central question posed to the character of this game, the Nameless One. As The Nameless One, you must discover your past, and as you find out, the many past lives you have lived. The Nameless One has been "killed" many times, but as an immortal he always awakens from this temporary death, only sometimes being killed erases his memory.
This game makes full use of the old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition rule set. And I use the word "rule" only in the loosest sense. That was one of the great things about 2nd edition, it was extremely flexible and customizable.
Mechanics aside, I cannot give enough praise to the story of this game. I wouldn't DARE give any spoilers, so I will simply have to remain silent on many of the finer points of this games story, and just STRONGLY encourage everyone reading this to go find this game wherever you can (you can still pick it up at GOG.com), and play it through to the end.
125 8.7 07. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - PC Games
It's very rare that I come across an RPG game as wonderful as this. Granted, this is a game that you might want to do some homework in before you start playing. And by homework, just browse around wikipedia to learn more about the world that this game is set in. It's based on a series of books by the Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski. Note, I haven't actually read any of these short story collections, but I am highly interested now.
Many RPG games seem to almost shield you from the lore of their worlds, making them optional, rather than being at the heart of it. That is not the case with this game. They'll throw around a lot of names of people and places, and they don't come right out and tell you their importance, you're kind of expected to know something about them already.
This game is a sequel, and it definitely begins en media res. It picks up directly after the events of the first game, and this game rapidly brings you up to speed on the events of the first, when it's relevant.
I suppose I should tell you that you play as Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher. A Witcher is someone who was raised from a young age to be a monster hunter. Potential Witchers are subjected to trials and experiments, many of which are lethal. Those that survive are immune to disease, they're stronger, faster and more resilient than normal humans. This results in a kind of forced evolution -- a mutant, but there are also side-effects, such as sterility and the alteration of a Witcher's eyes so that they resemble a cat's eyes, but they can also see in the dark. In Geralt's case, the process also removed most of his pigmentation, and has granted him the nickname "The White Wolf."
I like the fact that the character you play as is a defined character, rather than a blank slate of a character that most RPG's stick you with. Geralt seems to have a lot in common with hardboiled detectives like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. He's not exactly heroic, but he does have a kind of idealism that he follows. He doesn't like picking sides, instead choosing his own path.
Speaking of which, I also find the fact that the game doesn't arbitrarily have "Right/Wrong" or "Good/Evil" decisions in the game. There are several major decision points in the game that will change how the story progresses. Like I said, these choices aren't right or wrong, there isn't an arbitrary "Morality Meter" measuring your level of saintliness or dickishness. However, the characters that you interact with will often remember your actions later in the game. You just use your best judgement.
I cannot understate that this game is definitely intended for mature audiences only. This can be a very gory game, and there is PLENTY of nudity involved, as well as quite a bit of salty language. But I never felt as though it was doing so just for shock value. It always felt organic to the game world. It only seems natural that Geralt would want to bone anything that moves when he's sterile and immune to diseases.
This game can be brutally difficult, even on the easier settings. My friend was watching me play and he turned away for a few seconds, and I managed to die while he was briefly looking away. This definitely isn't a game that will hold your hand. You have to remember to save regularly. Preparation is the key to winning many of the games more difficult battles. I've never felt like I haven't had adequate tools to deal with any situation, instead it felt more like I didn't make the best use of my available resources. This eases the frustration of dying for me, because I never feel like the game is being cheap, I just reload my last save and then approach the situation that killed me ealier with more caution and preparation.
The crafting interface is quite cumbersome and initially, quite confusing. Potions play a big role in preparing for the more difficult fights in the game, and you can only drink potions before a battle, not during. Again, this is explained in the books that potions that can heal wounds amongst other effects, are actually quite toxic to normal human beings. Witchers are trained to imbibe these potions in a meditative trance, and this is reflected in game by the fact that you can only meditate when there aren't enemies about. But getting back to the interface, it seemed kind of odd that I would select the potions that I wanted consume, and then I would exit out of the meditation, and I *thought* that I had consumed them, but it turns out that there is one more button I had to press AFTER I selected the potions to drink. So, select the potion(s), and then select the button to drink them. I think it would just be easier to combine the selection of the potion, and the drinking of the potion. Oh well, now I know. Oh yes, the game doesn't actually tell you this.
I suppose it seems like I might be complaining quite a bit about this game that I profess to enjoy. This game definitely has it's quirks, but I don't think they ever really prevented me from enjoying the game. I was growing tired of RPG games with overly simplified mechanics, and overly simple, tired tropes when it comes to storytelling. This game is a breath of fresh air for me. If you go into this game with the right mindset, you can get a lot out of it. The graphics are absolutely beautiful, some of the best I've seen on the Xbox 360. Which is quite a feat, considering that this game requires some pretty hefty high-end specs to run on PC, and the 360 manages to pull off some beautiful effects on 6 year old hardware. The combat is thoughtful and strategic and also fast and brutal. The story is wonderfully unique when compared to other more standard-fare western-styled RPG's. The game world has more of a feeling of Game of Thrones, with it's dirty, byzantine politics. This game is just as dark and brutal as Game of Thrones.
This is a beautiful game that I won't soon forget.
"People like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live." --Geralt of Rivia
347 8.8 08. Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360
I feel this is the best game that Rockstar Games has ever produced, which is saying quite a bit, story and character have always been Rockstar's strong suit, and in Red Dead Redemption, John Marston is the pinnacle of characters they've created. He really wants to do the right thing, and leave his past as an outlaw behind. He's trying to be a family man. But in the world of Red Dead Redemption, nothing is forgiven, and John can never escape his violent past. But the world is changing, and there's no room for people like Mr. Marston in it.
Like pretty much all of the sandbox games of Rockstar, this game is absolutely filled to the gills with "I can't believe that shit just happened!" moments. Some of these are scripted scenes, and they are wonderfully choreographed, and they are well thought out, and all of that good stuff. But what REALLY makes the game memorable are all of the times where unscripted things happen in the game. Just hang around Thieves Landing for a while. You'll see what I mean.
9 8.6 09. MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries - PC Games
What can I say, I love mechs! This is the best of the lot, whilst Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance is a good game and has a strong story, I like the more open universe of Mercenaries. I love the idea of working for a mercenary group, traveling across the galaxy, taking contracts as you please. There is certainly a good story to be had here too, as working for different factions in a war will eventually force you to pick sides, but be aware that your actions may have consequences that effect which of the three endings you get. And if you prefer straight up mech-on-mech combat without being saddled with a story, test your metal (get it? metal/mettle!) in the arena.
I come back to this game time and time again. There's something I love about pretty much every contract you can take in this game. I love the process of upgrading your mechs, and moving up in weight classes, from 30 ton Light mechs, all the way up to 100 ton Assault class mechs. I also enjoy micromanaging the mechs of all of my lancemates.
39 8.8 010. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - PC Games
I was highly curious as to how one of my favorite old-school games of the 90's would fare for this re-boot/remake. I can happily report that it has fared extremely well. All of the changes that have been made I feel are for the better. They stripped away a lot of the unnecessarily cumbersome interface and made it much more smooth and streamlined. The attempt to infuse a story was an interesting addition. It isn't necessarily the strongest addition, but again, it is welcome. It gives the events a bit of human emotion. The stern difficulty is still in place by default, with the option to scale the difficulty up or down.
All in all, I am THRILLED to see the loving treatment one of my favorite old-school PC games has received in this remake/reboot.
678 8.3 011. Grand Theft Auto IV - Xbox 360
Niko Bellic is one the best video game characters ever made. He is intensely sympathetic. He has a great motivation that is easy to build a story around, as vengeance stories often are. He has a unique story that fits into just about any gameplay style. As a military veteran who witnessed the horrors of war in the Balkans, he has explicitly stated his desire to leave his life of violence behind, but he is someone who could conceivably flip the fuck out and go on a kill-crazy rampage. Although story-wise, Niko is the straight man to everyone else's craziness.
As I've said before in my 30 Days of Video Games list, I feel like I relate to Niko in a great many ways, and I feel that this is one of the many reasons I think so highly of this game. The fact that it's just an absolute blast to play certainly helps too. I should also add that the DLC for this game: The Lost & Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, also have great protagonists (Johnny Klebitz and Luis Lopez, respectively) and strong stories as well.
68 8.9 012. Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition - PC Games
I've been in love with the Fallout universe for some time. It was simply glorious to behold a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. especially from a first/third person perspective.
This game is amazing in it's own right, but I feel the need to add that the Downloadable Content for this game is equally superb. Operation Anchorage, The Pitt, Point Lookout, and Broken Steel. All of them are magnificent expansions to this already lengthy and ... I'll even say it, EPIC game. THIS is how you do DLC.
106 8.4 013. Dishonored - PC Games
This game is a magnificent combination of several other superb games that came before it, namely: Bioshock, Deus Ex, and Thief: The Dark Project.
Playing as a functionally silent protagonist, Corvo Attano, you are given free reign as to how to exact your revenge upon those who have framed you for murder. The level of freedom the player is given is very similar to Deus Ex and Thief. The setting is even very similar to Thief in it's Victorian-era Steam-punk setting. I give the comparison to Bioshock because of the general similarity in gameplay, and the ease with which you can use and swap out your powers on the fly.
This game can be fairly short if you don't take the time to explore the actually fairly large levels in each mission. It would be a shame if you did that though, because this game takes pains to realize the world they've created. The city of Dunwall is lovingly brought to life through many in-game documents and dialogue.
The player is given an impressive array of tools to end the lives of all who oppose your quest for revenge, but some of the most satisfactory kills are when your enemies never see it coming, until they have a blade in their neck.
However, there does seem to be a bit of a disconnect between whether the game wants you to be a supernatural whirlwind of death, or a silent spectre of non-lethal justice. The game rewards the non-lethal path, but makes the game harder the more corpses you leave in your wake. The game also gives you a huge array of lethal options, but your non-lethal choices are somewhat limited. But there is a certain amount of cleverness required for the non-lethal path, which is kind of a reward in it's own way.
27 7.8 014. Bionic Commando Rearmed - Xbox 360 Live Arcade
Now THIS is how you do a port/re-release/update for a classic game. Updated visuals, updated sound, minor but much needed tweaks to the gameplay formula, and largely ditching the absurd difficulty in favor of making the game more accessible to us mere mortals who have only finite time to play a game. The old school difficulty can be restored, in all of it's old-school glory, if you so desire. A superb platforming experience.
Admittedly, this game is not for everyone. There is a decidedly a retro feel to this game. Even with the concessions they made, it's still a game from a previous era, and no amount of polish can hide that. However, there is still a lot to love about this game, especially the soundtrack. I enjoy firing up the soundtrack playlists I find on youtube for this game, and I can just listen to the tracks for the different levels in this game for quite some time. I think this is one of the very few times where the remixed new tracks are better than the original tracks.
143 9 015. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D - Nintendo 3DS
This one is a biggie. Widely regarded as the greatest Legend of Zelda game, and with good reason. In it's time, it was an incredibly impressive game. However, many of the design choices haven't aged particularly well. Compared to more modern games, the camera controls are kind of clunky, and it has not aged well at all, in the same way that any 90's game with polygonal graphics has. I will say that the 3DS version is probably the best, as I wasn't terribly fond of the N64 controller to begin with, I find the 3DS to be somewhat less of a pain to use, and in the case of aiming the slingshot and crossbow, it's significantly better than on the N64. The graphics have been updated on the 3DS so they look considerably better than they did on the Nintendo 64.
If you're a fan of the Legend of Zelda series, there's a good chance you've already played this game. If not, you definitely owe it to yourself to play it. If you've never played a Legend of Zelda game before, this is probably the single best place to start. There's not much I can say that thousands of other reviews haven't already said about this game. It's really just that good.
255 9.5 016. The Last of Us - PlayStation 3
This is one of the most emotionally draining games I've ever played. I love the story of Joel and Ellie as they venture across a ruined US countryside. The stealth system is marvelously implemented, being able to use Joel's "survivor instinct" to see the movements of enemies through walls, and when outright combat does break out, it is almost always a knock-down, drag-out, tooth-and-nail fight for survival. Calling it intense would be an understatement. I do also like how the game will slow down from time to time and let you just drink in the scenery, finding beauty amid the desolation.
144 9 017. The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection - PlayStation 3
This collection is invaluable to people (like myself) who may have missed these amazing games when they were on the PS2. Now having played them, I can see why they are praised so highly by everyone who's played them. These games are very good at telling a story indirectly. The setting and atmosphere do most of the heavy lifting where the story is concerned. If I do have a complaint, it's that the controls for Shadow of the Colossus aren't the most intuitive. Though I am inclined to cut the game some slack considering how it succeeds wildly at everything else it does.
Shadow of the Colossus is one of the few games that even once I've turned it off, I'm still engaged by the game. I'm always going over the events of the game in my head long after I'm done playing. This game is really that compelling.
449 8.6 018. Heavy Rain - PlayStation 3
I can't say that Heavy Rain is terribly innovative, because it plays very similarly to Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy. However, considering that exceedingly few games play that way, it still feels unique and fresh. I am incredibly impressed with the way this game tells it's story, and how the story can change based on the players decisions and performance. Also, this game has some of the most depressing endings I've ever witnessed.
1144 7.8 019. Grand Theft Auto III - PlayStation 2
I have recently had the pleasure of breaking this game out again, and I'm still just as thrilled to play it as I was when it first came out. The story may be a tad simple, just one of betrayal, revenge, and more betrayal, but it's enough to keep the game going forward. I feel like one of a just a handful of people who actually played the story missions instead of just roaming around, running over people and shooting cops, trying to see how high I could raise my wanted level, and how long I could survive once it was maxed out. I feel I should also say that I have NEVER used a cheat code for ANY GTA game. If I want an FBI car, I raise my wanted level up to get the FBI involved, carjack one of their cars, then ditch my wanted level and save the car in a garage. I'm just that good at this game. I love it. I still have many of the locations of items memorized.
Whilst I enjoy playing the increasingly challenging story missions, I'm not above engaging in some random ultraviolence. This game really does celebrate madcap rampages.
I also love the radio stations in this game more than any other Grand Theft Auto game. Chatterbox and Flashback FM are my favorites.
This game really excels at juxtaposing hilarity with violence.
6 9.5 020. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Director's Cut) - Nintendo Wii U
I love stealth-based games, and this is a marvelous example of how to do stealth gameplay right. Mix in an interesting lead character, a fascinatingly believable science-fiction near-future setting, and add a dash of conspiracy, and you've got one amazing game. The boss fights were a bit of a let-down, but not enough to deter me from thoroughly enjoying myself.
This is a game that I think is kind of difficult to explain just exactly why I love it so much. Just like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. It has that same slick design that shines through in almost all aspects of the game. Again, the only thing that detracts from the game are the boss fights. It's really kind of disappointing how the game encourages stealth so much, and then FORCES you into open combat with boss characters. All the time you spent working on your stealth skills and hacking skills don't matter for squat when you're out in open combat. Still, if you have foreknowledge that the game is going to do that (like how I knew beforehand) you can adequately prepare for that eventuality, and it won't be quite so brutal. Even for as much as I (and everyone else who's played this game) complain about the boss fights, they're really short, and only occupy a very small percentage of the time you spend playing this game. So really, I feel it's a pretty small complaint. The stealth works, it's tense. The hacking is done very skillfully. The story and the character of Adam Jensen are compelling. Everything else works beautifully. Except for the damn boss fights. Still, don't let that deter you from playing this game. PLAY IT!
42 9 021. Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition - PC Games
An amazing game. I love just about everything about this game. I really love the wonderful cast of characters you encounter. The story is kind of standard "Save the World" fare, but of course there are little twists to make it a little more interesting. There is a huge amount of literature to be found in the game that really fleshes out the world they've created. The combat is visceral and satisfying. It shows just how much time and effort Bioware put into recording voice acting and writing good character scripts.
Again, this is a game that I appreciated how Bioware spent time scripting dialogue between your companions and the conversations that your companions would have with you, and how they would even comment on your relationships with your other companions!
48 8.2 022. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC Games
I love being abused by this game. It is hard as hell, but it's never unfair. This game absolutely will not give you an inch. You will die. Again and again. You will die. But each death is a learning experience. You come back, wiser and more determined. And ultimately, you will triumph, once you learn what you need to do. You will pass through fire and come through tempered, hard as steel.
In this game, there is no shame in running away.
505 8.4 023. Silent Hill 2 - PlayStation 2
This game is all about getting your story on. Everything is drenched in atmosphere and symbolism. I think Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw put it best in his review on Zero Punctuation. Watch it.
6 6.8 024. Myth 2: Soulblighter - PC Games
This is exactly my kind of Real-time Strategy game. It's not a resource-race unit-spamming festival. It's the careful and controlled use of your units to survive harrowingly bleak scenarios against increasingly impossible odds. Though should you triumph against a seemingly infinite army that has never known defeat, bards shall sing glorious songs of your victory in an age not yet dreamed.
The narration in between levels is really what brings this world alive for me. The narration gives each mission a much greater weight than it would have had otherwise. I feel that this game is emulating the feeling that the Fellowship must have had at the outset of the Lord of the Rings. Yes, I'm drawing a parallel between this game and the LotR. The feeling of desperation also seems to follow the same course. The desperate attempt to destroy the One Ring parallels the attempt to destroy Soulblighter, in each case, the fate of the world rests in the hands of a few brave souls.
SPOILERS IN THIS VIDEO! But at least the first mission intro will give you a good idea of what I'm talking about here.
39 9 025. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - Nintendo Wii U
One of the funnest Legend of Zelda titles there is to play. I won't talk about the cel-shaded graphics much, you either love them or you hate them. That said, this is probably the best use of cel-shading I've ever seen in a game. This is the first Legend of Zelda game where I felt like Link had an actual, distinct personality.
What few problems there were with the original game are all addressed in the HD rerelease. The sailing speed is increased 50%, and you don't have to conduct the wind requiem every time you want to sail in a different direction, the graphics have been improved, and a long, drawn-out glorified fetch quest has been significantly reduced. All in all, this is the definitive version of the game.
719 7.7 026. Metroid Prime - GameCube
I enjoyed just about every minute I spent exploring this strange, alien world. It was always fun tracking down upgrades and unlocking new areas to explore. The boss fights were fittingly epic and challenging. The immersive ambient soundtrack really pulls you into the adventure. An all-around terrific experience. There really isn't anything I can knock this game for. It is just an incredibly solid gaming experience.
332 8.6 027. Assassin's Creed II - Xbox 360
The first Assassin's Creed game was a very good game. This game fixed what few flaws existed in the first game, which makes this an absolutely GREAT game. I was very surprised and happy with how Ezio grows and changes as a character. He goes from a cocky, arrogant Italian noble to a confident & determined Assassin swept up in a huge conspiracy and world-controlling plot that plays with historical events and figures.
I loved how each area of the game had it's own feel. Venice, Florence, Forlì, San Gimignano, and the Tuscan countryside. Each area was distinct from the others. I was personally quite fond of Forlì and the Romagna region.
Although, The city upgrade minigame that was established in this game has only spiraled out of control in each subsequent Assassin's Creed game. The only purpose of money in these games is to make more money. After you make a really quite minimal amount, you can purchase all of the upgrades you need, after that, it's just making imaginary money just for it's own sake. Still, that minigame aside, it's a beautiful and well thought-out game.
19 8.5 028. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - PlayStation 4
Ya know, honestly, this game works gloriously as just a Pirating game, if you just ignore the whole Assassins vs Templars plot. I mean, I've spent several gaming sessions just sailing around the West Indies, conducting piracy willy-nilly, doing some harpooning and exploring on the side, and I had an absolute blast. It is just that spectacular.
That said, the story isn't bad either. It like that while there is the obligatory Assassins vs Templars schtick, I like the fact that it seems to focus more on the personal development of the protagonist, Edward Kenway. Assassin's Creed II did the same thing, focusing on the development of the protagonist, and it worked there just as it does here.
313 8.4 029. Batman: Arkham Asylum - Xbox 360
I truly felt like I was Batman. I became so immersed in this game, I felt a kind of mad glee at picking off bad guys one by one with brutal stealth takedowns and watching the remaining goons becoming increasingly panicked, jumping at shadows, never knowing when or where I'll strike next. I relished the terror that Batman inflicts upon the criminal scum of Gotham.
I do still consider this game to be superior to it's sequel, Arkham City. What that game gained in a sense of freedom by having a sandbox, it lost in having the tight, cohesive story of Arkham Asylum. Everything is here that needs to be here.
21 8.2 030. Gunpoint - PC Games
I love the hell out of this game! It's incredibly simple. And that simplicity lends the game a kind of elegant beauty. I also love the music in the game.
You play as Richard Conway. Freelance Private Investigator. He's also kind of an idiot. I like that, it gives the character a rather human touch. This game has a wonderful sense of humor, without being overwhelming. This isn't a comedy game, but it's a game where a lot of funny things do happen. The dialogue before and after the missions are quite witty. But added on top of all that is the fact that this game is just FUN to play.
141 8.9 031. Psychonauts - PC Games
229 7.4 032. Halo 3: ODST - Xbox 360
The best Halo game, period. I can't really say enough good things about this game. The gameplay is solid, as is par for the course for Halo games. A few small tweaks to the Halo formula really worked for this game, as it emphasizes the difference between the very human ODST troopers and the superhuman Master Chief with his regenerating health. The ODST troopers actually feel quite elite, but are still within the realm of us squishy mortals, unlike the Master Chief. This game forces the player to fight smarter than you would as the Master Chief. Marvelous voice acting and a well-written script fit together with a fantastic musical score.
The story of the ODST troopers is one that I would absolutely love to see 343 Industries expand upon.
Firefight is also a very strong additional gameplay mode in the Halo series, and it got it's start in Halo 3: ODST. Firefight in this game is no joke. The first few waves aren't terribly difficult, but the difficulty ramps up VERY quickly, making for some extremely intense combat.
238 8.2 033. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - PC Games
This is the first game about vampires that really made me feel like I was controlling a powerful hunter of the night. Still, for as powerful as you are among mere mortals, you meet your equal when it comes to the other Kindred that populate this immersive World of Darkness. Also, the scene with the Werewolf is a terrifying, pulse-pounding, on the edge-of-my-seat encounter.
There's some kind of slick quality to this game that's hard to describe. It's obvious that a lot of TLC went into making this game, and I've even been privy to download a mod several people have made that restored some content that was cut from the original game. Everything about this game is top notch: the voice acting, the score, the graphics (not the most impressive, but very well optimized), the script, and the story. It all makes for a very compelling game that I found very difficult to tear myself away from for very long.
44 8.5 034. Total War: Shogun 2 Limited Edition - PC Games
This game is a beautiful real-time/turn-based war strategy game. The turn-based part of this game is extremely solid as you manage your family, the loyalty of your generals, the output of your provinces, the movement of your armies, ninjas, shinobi, geisha, monks and other agents of diplomacy and espionage. When battles commence the game switches to a real-time battlefield with control of course of the battle placed firmly in your hands.
Oh, I do love me some turn-based strategy. While the real-time battles can be stunning to behold, I feel like the turn-based campaign map is where it's at. I love micro-managing my growing domain, managing fragile alliances, growing my economy, moving my network of spies, saboteurs, and assassins in place, and having them work their deadly trades. It's got everything I love about turn-based strategy.
560 8.7 035. Portal - PC Games
Wonderfully clever humor written into a short game that was superbly crafted. Although it does seem to drag on a bit towards the end, but not enough to ruin it or lower it's score, just enough to lower it a few notches on my favorite games of all-time list. Also unique for an FPS, in that you don't ever even have a proper "Gun," just a tool to place portals on walls, floors, and ceilings.
790 8.5 036. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - Super famicom and SNES
8 8.8 037. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon - PlayStation Network
Okay, where do I even begin with this game? This game is essentially everything awesome about 80's Movies and Video Games condensed into about a gig and a half.
This game is a stand-alone expansion for Far Cry 3. It really is functionally the same game, as far as game mechanics go, for the most part. Which isn't bad, considering that Far Cry 3's mechanics were superb.
In fact, I consider this game to be superior to the game it's based on. Mostly because in Far Cry 3, you play as Jason Brody, dude-brah extraordinaire, voice-acted by some schmuck. In Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, you play as Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt, Cyborg Commando, voiced by Michael Biehn. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon wins that contest, hands down.
63 8.2 038. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - Xbox 360
The re-release/remake of the original Halo: Combat Evolved is just as good as the original. Even better or rather I should say, even prettier with the updated graphics engine. They kept the gameplay exactly the same. The Magnum Pistol is still ridiculously overpowered, and the Warthog is still the indestructible thrillride it's always been.
It's hard to express the sheer joy and wonder this game conveyed in exploring the mysterious Halo world when it first came out on the Xbox. There is certainly a large amount of nostalgia involved with my love of this game. I can admit, however, that a lot of the level design in this game hasn't aged particularly well, as some of the levels in this game get repetitive, and many of those same repetitive levels are excruciatingly long. Playing through some missions of Halo in one sitting can turn into something of a test of physical endurance. Other levels, however, have held up particularly well. Most notably the levels: Truth and Reconciliation, and Halo. Both of those levels have a more open, almost sandbox feel to them, as they let you drive around pretty huge levels in the warthog, and you engage in some pretty huge battles. The updated graphics do seem to be almost jarring when the level design is still kind of outdated. All in all, it's still a great game, even if it's age is beginning to show.
537 8.9 039. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - PlayStation 3
40 9.3 040. Super Mario 3D World - Nintendo Wii U
It's always kind of weird describing a new Mario game. I mean, you know what Mario is, right? No need to explain it, right? It's wonderful. It has everything you expect from a Mario game, perfectly constructed platforming, a gentle, but steady difficulty curve, and the whole cast of characters you know and love. What's not to like?
But above and beyond that, this game stands out because of the simply amazing and beautiful things it's throwing at you roughly every ten minutes. Now, I can't say for certain if that pace keeps up throughout the whole game, because I haven't beaten it yet, and I don't plan to any time soon. You see, I am SAVORING this game. I just don't want it to end. The sheer amount of fantastic imagination that goes into this game is really staggering when you think of it. You have to stay within the boundaries of what constitutes a Mario game, so as not to alienate the legions of gamers who know and love Mario already, but you have to keep things fresh and interesting so it's not just simply a retread of things you've already done, and the fact that this game manages to do BOTH at the same time, expanding the boundaries of what a Mario game can be, and doing it consistently, I mean... that is just truly remarkable.
Also, it is just FUN. =D
79 8.2 041. Hotline Miami - PC Games
A surreal, drug-fueled, completely psychotic, murder frenzy. I found this game to be bizarrely addictive. I'm still not entirely sure just what exactly was going on, aside from mass murder sprees. The pulsing beat of the music just propels you onward. This game really needs to be played to be believed.
246 7.4 042. Diablo III - PC Games
I'll admit, I was one of the many people who was furious at Blizzard for changing the art style of Diablo. It turns out that I was angry over nothing. The thoroughly dark and creepy atmosphere of the first two games is alive and well in the third iteration. Now, it does feel a bit like deja vu playing this game, because the player will be doing essentially the same thing they were doing in the first two games. I will say however, that the proceedings have been made much more fluid. There's much less downtime between fights, and less time spent with a finger hovering over the button to quaff potions continually. There's still the ever-present inventory juggling, making frequent trips back to town to sell off excess junk (which is admittedly much easier than ever before), and comparing each new piece of equipment with your current gear to see if the new piece is incrementally better, which is kind of a drag, but I suppose that's the nature of these types of loot-based games. I'm also pleased with Blizzard's efforts to infuse the story into the action of the game itself, as well as the efforts to make each playable character an actual, defined character rather than just a semi-silent protagonist for the player to embody.
I am, however, still pissed about the always-online requirement to play single-player. No thank you Blizzard.
672 8.5 043. Resident Evil 4 - GameCube
This game is easily my most favorite Resident Evil game.
I loved the character of Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 2, and I was extremely happy to see him return. I was very happy with the fact that they shifted away from having zombies be the primary enemies to having crazed villagers and cultists. Being pursued by intelligent enemies was a dramatic shift, and it subsequently ratcheted up the tension several notches compared to previous RE games. They shifted a little bit away from the horror and more towards the survival aspect of survival-horror. The enemies seem to dictate the pace of the game, for the most part. Surviving the assaults by these tenacious enemies always feel like an incredible accomplishment. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of terrifying moments to be found. In fact, I'm kind of getting the chills just REMEMBERING some of those moments. Oh, this game also should be noted because it was EASILY the best looking game on the Gamecube, maybe even the best looking game of that entire generation, and it still doesn't look too shabby. This game just really shines in every aspect. It was lovingly crafted, and it shows.
It introduced several very important changes to the RE formula. They changed the camera from having a fixed perspective to having it constantly behind Leon's shoulder, they allowed you to save the game at any save point without having to have a typewriter ribbon taking up space in your inventory, and perhaps most importantly the changed the tone of the dialogue from deadpan campy, to a more realistic style.
9 8.8 044. Wolfenstein: The New Order - PlayStation 4
Knowing the pedigree of the Wolfenstein games, I feel like this game is MUCH better than it has any right to be. This isn't just because the gameplay is superb (it is), it's because this game actually has a good story, which is something I'd never expect to say of a Wolfenstein game, but it's true. This is largely due the amazing cast of characters. Again, I never thought I'd say that about a Wolfenstein game either.
Now, story and characters aside, this game feels like it's very ambitious as well, like it's trying to have it's cake and eat it too. This game manages to have outstanding first person shooting, ratcheting up the craziness to dual-wielding assault rifles, and getting into lasergun fights on a Nazi moon base, to having actually GOOD stealth mechanics, silently creeping around, trying to take out the local Nazi commander before he can summon reinforcements.
I have to say, I'm really kind of happy that they went with more of a sci-fi imagining of a Third Reich rather than relying on the kind of old trope of supernaturally powered Nazi's. It's really one of very few, very fitting applications of the term "retro future."
1253 8.4 045. Half-Life 2 - PC Games
569 8.2 046. The Legend of Zelda - Famicom and NES
One of the first games I've ever played. Every few years I go back and play through this game. I can now beat it in a single day. I have this entire game memorized. It borders on being less of a action-adventure game than a puzzle game for me, and I already know all of the solutions. I never get tired of the classic theme music and sound effects.
113 8.3 047. Bastion - PC Games
6 9.3 048. Transistor - PC Games
I think I'm in love with Supergiant Games as a developer. Amir Rao as Director, Greg Kasavin as Writer & Designer, Gavin Simon as Programming Engineer, Jen Zee as Artist, Darren Korb as Composer, Logan Cunningham as a Voice Actor, Ashley Barrett as Vocalist. It's a beautiful team that makes beautiful games.
285 8.8 049. Final Fantasy III - Super famicom and SNES
The best Final Fantasy game, with a huge cast of characters. A huge open world to explore, and once you gain the use of an Airship the world becomes your plaything. The grand story that goes along with the game moves at a brisk pace. A game that destroys the world you knew and then lets you play in the wreckage of that world in the second half of the game is truly remarkable.
64 8.5 050. The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition - PC Games
A wonderfully funny Lucasarts adventure game. A classic. Guybrush Threepwood is a brilliant character. He wants to be a great pirate, despite not having anything resembling skill or aptitude, but he makes up for it with clever improvisation and a naive can-do spirit.
I will never let my friend live down the fact that he couldn't get past this troll. This is a great example of the unique logic of this game. This troll will only let you pass if you give him the correct item. He wants something that seems really important, but actually isn't. It seems like a good riddle. So you need to hunt around the island looking for something that matches that description, and my friend absolutely could not figure this puzzle out. Early on in the game, you can acquire a fish. In your inventory, you see it looks red. If you examine it further, it states that it's a herring of some sort. A Red Herring. BINGO! You give the troll the fish, and he lets you pass. I love it.
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