Top 100 Favorite Video Games of All Timeby Joseph Roberts | created - 24 Dec 2010 | updated - 22 Feb 2011 | Public
Here is my list of my Top Favorite Video Games of All Time. This is something I never see on this site, despite its' excellent library. I've tried desperately to strike a healthy balance between quality, effect and personal nostalgia in this list and understand completely if you wish to push me in front of a bus for some of my views and placements of these games. At another time I may post a list about the true greats of all time, but for now these are just personal faves. Please note that I am a human being with a limited lifespan and may not have gotten around to some of YOUR favorite games, ala Infamous, God of War series (shocking I know), The Force Unleashed 2, etc. (If you liked my list and wish to recommend a title that you think I'd like, feel free.) Something I'll warn you about first is that I'm incredibly long-winded, as you can tell, and often go into my own experiences with these games, but I feel that these explanations are neccessary to understand where I'm coming from. Secondly, I am campaign/story gamer, so Online Gamers BEWARE!. Not to say that I never frequent the multiplayer scene, but when I play a game, story is what matters most to me in nearly every case. There are a few exceptions, as you'll read, but for the games that have made giant leaps in the online gaming world, they wont be as high on MY list if they didn't have at least a story that caught my interest. Also, if you're wanting to get the full effect of reading this list IT IS BEST TO START FROM BOTTOM TO TOP. Also Also Also, there are some very minor spoilers in #'s, --you know what, just go ahead and assume that I am spoiling the ending of every game on the entire list. That way you're warned and I don't have to skim and renumber every one of my reviews. And P.S. the bottom few are my honorable mentions. Enjoy.
1. Mass Effect 2 (2010 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
After being revived from death and having to join a pro-human organization without a choice, Commander Shepard must assemble a team, battle a new threat, and make tough choices in order to save the galaxy from total annihilation once more.
Well, here we are at the top of the mountain. For those of you who read my message about reading from BOTTOM TO TOP, I congratulate you, unless of course you read the message and ignored it, in which case, you suck and I hope rabid bats tear your face off and wear it on halloween. In truth, if you have read this far, or even any at all, thanks for taking a look at my list. I really wouldn't mind doing this kind of thing for the rest of my life and anyone who likes what they've read I really appreciate it.
How do you describe a game that is so extraordinary as Mass Effect 2? Where do you begin? With the superb graphics, that stand with the best today? Do you go with the gameplay that feels a thousand times more polished than the first with absolutely tons of available sidequests as well as Downloadable content? Maybe with the fact that this is the first story game that has allowed a player to carry over player-made decisions onto another game, and with this comes a promise that the character you crafted to YOUR expectations would be waiting for you in this story. (That alone is something that gamers like myself have been waiting years for.) And don't even get me started on the story and where the team at Bioware is taking this series. Not only are your character relationships you made in ME1 still intact, but now they have new and truly exciting avenues that they can take. This is doubly true for the Lair of The Shadow Broker DLC with character Liara T'soni. (Highly recommended, along with all the other DLC) Then there is Shephard. The hero who has a bit more personality than before, is forged through player decisions that can alter the state of your party dramatically. And forging him or her is another matter altogether. How exactly do you craft a character who is the most important human in the galaxy? And more, a character who knows it? These elements are sheer brilliance and the amazing experience gifted to us in the first is grossly intensified. The action feels real and livid. The romantic stories feel romantic (particularly with Thane, Jack and Tali Zorah, who seem the slightly less than obvious choices) And the music (yes, I'm yet again, going into the music) composed by Jack Wall fits the situations of the game even better than the first entry. Some take issue with the mining and doorlock minigames because of their repetitive nature. To me, it is small potatoes considering the rest of the experience. By the end, you feel the weight of your decisions and their consequences on your shoulders, be they good or bad. The brilliant thing, though, is that you've felt this all along. That feeling is something that never lets up, and because of that, I have absolutely no reservations about sticking this game at #1 where it deserves. And I have no worries about Mass Effect 3 in 2011 either. Bioware has proven to be the best out there when it comes to delivering an experience that satisfies. I will only be sorry to see what has become an embodiment of my great love of gaming come to a close. I don't think I'll stop gaming or anything, but rather I'll look forward to the day some other amazing title can knock this game off its well-earned throne. Until then, Mass Effect 2 will keep bringing me back for more every time. P.S. Favorite Characters: Tali Zorah vas Normandy, Thane and Garrus. Oh, and Kaiden Alenko... HA! NOT! Leaving you with the nuke, dude!
Last Note: 2011 is going to be a very good year. Thanks for reading. Cheers.
2. Fainaru fantajî X (2001 Video Game)
T | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
A celebrated young athlete is drawn from his futuristic hometown and convenient lifestyle to a harsh and techno-phobic land by a mysterious force only known as Sin.
Sculpting a fantasy that has absolutely no hand in the real world is difficult work when presenting it to an audience, but Squaresoft (or Square Enix) made it look astonishingly easy when they dropped us into Spira. From the moment we watch Tidus play a game of Blitzball and then watch everything he loves get destroyed by the beast known as Sin, we are absolutely engrossed in this vast exploration. After that, he is brought a thousand years into the future. While we begin to familiarize ourselves with a new world, we slowly find ourselves falling in love with it. The mythology that follows, the relationships, and of course the beautifully executed romance make us wish this experience would never end, and the romance deserves a word of its own. The relationship between Tidus and Yuna is truthfully the reason this game is marked here at #2. It is without question the greatest love story in games. Anybody who says otherwise has either never played this game or has never dated anyone, loser. Anybody who agrees knows that this is because we relate so well with the two involved. We watch from the moment these two meet and follow their awkward silence, polite comments, laughter, and ultimately their heart wrenching conclusion that still cannot be more perfectly done. So much so in fact, that by the end, I myself was quite literally blubbering like a schoolgirl. No joke (and no shame, guys) because the ending is just that good. The music also by Nobuo Uematsu (which here is his best work) captures the emotions with astounding perfection. The repetition of themes never gets old. In conclusion, Final Fantasy X is not just a work of art, it is a masterpiece in its purest form.
3. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Drama
When the nations of the world rely upon private military companies to fight their battles for them, renegade Liquid Ocelot emerges as the head of a potent coalition of mercenary powers. Solid Snake returns to save the world once again.
It was very difficult for me to decide the next three entries. Placing any one of them below another almost seems like an injustice to them, but here we are with the last of the Metal Gear Solid series as have yet to come out. This game has so many of my favorites that it seems again strange to have it at #3. First, it is overall my favorite series, though I'll admit it is in danger of losing its throne to Mass Effect. The series that can mix the military realism with the supernatural so effortlessly and so well is fully concluded in its' tale of Solid Snake when we see the culmination of all he has been fighting for. It is because he keeps fighting that Solid Snake is my favorite gaming character of all time. While he is our greatest hope, he never loses sight of the fact that our greatest hope is also a killer who is dying and in a bizarre and ironic twist, may just be our greatest threat. All of these elements added, however, to the already insurmountable pressure added on by the state of things, does not keep him from fighting the good fight. He constantly tells Otacon, I still have a job to do, which is Snake's sort of humble way of saying that he has a destiny to fulfill and he isn't going to waste time questioning it. In the face of all odds, Old Snake continues to inspire as he perserveres through the last of his trials. One of these trials also happens to be my favorite moment in gaming history: Snake must reach his final destination, but to do so he must walk through a long hallway of microwave emitters. As the player, we have a simple task: mash down on the triangle button as fast and hard as we can in order to see Snake through to the other side. The moment is so dramatic and telling of who Snake is, that by the bitter end, when he is literally crawling while he is being roasted alive, we feel the strongest connection to the hero on the screen than ever before. Guns of The Patriots is a brazen work of art in this aspect and I will always hail the timeless Metal Gear series amongst my absolute favorites.
4. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After being tracked down by Harry Flynn, Nathan Drake goes on a quest for Marco Polo' lost fleet. However when things take an unexpected turn for the worst, Drake must rely on those closest to him in order to find the Cintomani Stone.
The great gets greater. Uncharted 2 has so much going for it it isn't even prudent to think about writing all that is great about it in a review... but here it goes. First, with his authentic charm, excellent sense of humor, and believable reactions to the situations he's placed in, Nathan Drake is probably the most relatable hero in gaming. Nolan North has done a phenomenal job voice acting (and acting) this character. Nathan Drake could easily be called the Han Solo of gaming. And not far behind him is his expertly crafted heroine Elena Fiscer. She blows just about all other female leads out of the water with all that she does to compliment the scenes, and she does it without being a busty, brainless bimbo. (Try saying that five times... without thinking about it.) The music offered up by Greg Edmondson is also pitch perfect for the modern Indiana Jones styled adventure. In terms of cinematics, it doesn't get any better than this. This game feels more like a blockbuster than some of the blockbusters out there. It is simply extraordinary what Naughty Dog has been able to accomplish, and the fact that Uncharted 3 is slated for 2011 only serves to prove that next year is going to be a very good year for gaming.
5. Mass Effect (2007 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Mystery
In a technologically advanced future, an elite human soldier takes command of a prototype star ship and works to defend the galaxy from danger.
Down to the last five, and what better to break us in than an introduction to what has potential to be the greatest gaming series ever. There are various sorts of space sagas (Star Wars, Star Trek... what else is there...?) but Mass Effect for some including myself, has a tale and a universe that stands above even what the film industry would call our 'greatest'. Think I'm kidding? No, I'm not. I'd honestly rather sit for hours at a time building the absolutely astounding tale of Commander Shepard and the Normandy crew than watch any of the Star Wars movies and yes, that includes the original series. I'll grant you this; that this game is enhanced by its sequel, and had it come out and been terrible I probably would not feel this way, but the point is that Mass Effect 2 did come out and it was spectacular and it made playing through this one all the better. Something that I believe is critically understated in the gaming community by GameInformer and the like is that this game sports what was, to me, the most intimidating villain I have EVER been presented with. Saren was a good villain, but in the scene where Shepard meets Sovereign for the first time, face to face, I felt more dread and more hopelessly outmatched than any final boss has ever made me feel. When hearing a description of just what Shepard is up against, it honestly had me wondering how this could possibly end well. The ending satisfies, but the only thing I regret is that the experience with Sovereign is so short lived. Still, the overall story does not end and I have great hopes for what Bioware will dish out next.
6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, War
A massacre at a Russian airport leads to a war between Russia and the United States. Meanwhile, a Task Force is sent to find the perpetrators and bring the bloodshed to an end.
When Goldeneye first came out, First Person Shooters were reinvigorated and became such a premium for gamers. Now, those of us who game are faced with a terrible truth about them: they always age and are not timeless. I spent countless hours on Goldeneye, and now it is hardly playable. I think, how can these get much better than they are now, and then I remember, I thought the same thing then. Lots of FPSs were dropped from my faves list, but Modern Warfare 2 really makes me remember why I love them. Terrific graphics, flawless gameplay and incredible set pieces put this one high above the other shooters out there for me. It doesn't hurt also that my favorite composer, Hans Zimmer, is responsible for the outstanding musical score. His themes bring a spirit of urgency and raw courage to the table that make you remember why we love our actual soldiers fighting for us out there. That may sound dramatic, but just listen to the score and you'll see what I'm talking about. Obviously, I am a fan of soundtracks, and I can say that this is my personal pick for the top greatest game soundtrack out there. In short, this game is, as of yet, the perfect FPS experience, in my opinion, and CANNOT be missed by any fan of the genre.
7. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Crime
In 1964, a U.S. government operative codenamed "Snake" must infiltrate mountainous Soviet territory to rescue a scientist building a weapon of terrible power.
The Metal Gear series come to us in a very different style in this game. We trade in the buildings for dense jungles, near future for the Cold War, crammed storyline for a more lengthy narrative, and tough military feel for James Bondlike presentation. Coming upon this, as a Metal Gear fan, one could like some aspects, but, in others, be terrified to think that their beloved series had finally succumbed to basing itself around the worst of popular vote. Thankfully, this is not the case. An origin story of Solid Snake's former nemesis, Big Boss, takes a different approach in order to give the player a different perspective on the events lining up in the grand storyline. By the end, you more than sympathize with the lead, and then you wonder what the final entry will entail. This piece is excellent, but the most compelling part of it is the character who is hands down one of the most compelling in all of gaming: The Boss. (Not to be confused with Big Boss) The Boss is an American patriot who has served her country without equal and is Big Boss's (or Snake's) master whom he has shared the most personal of experiences with. When he discovers in the beginning that she is defecting to the Soviet Union, a terrible truth slowly starts to awaken in him, as he is constantly reminded by those around him, he will have to face her and he will have to kill her. When the player is tasked with this, we begin to realize what implications this really has for Snake. Then there is the ending, where we learn about the main reason why Big Boss is turned into the rebellious villain later. Naturally, World War 3 is on the line and the appearance of the greatest (or at least most intimidating) of the giant mech machines is present. With all of this, it makes it easy to rank it so high.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Link, a young man from a small farming village, finds Hyrule is being consumed by an otherworldly twilight. Guided by a strange pixie named Midna, he endeavors to return light to the land and confront the usurper king Zant.
When it comes to the effect and quality of the Legend of Zelda series, I believe Ocarina of Time stands at the top, but when it is MY list of personal faves, Twilight Princess reigns. This story resonated with me because of the fascinating undertones that one can dig up from the story. A young man, who appears to be a normal boy on the outside, but when the veil is dropped (or perhaps lifted) he is a beast. His nature and personality do not change, and yet both of these conflicting roles he's placed in are synchronized in this young man. Beyond these roles, at the heart of the story, he is a hero. Link comes to us anymore as the ancestral child of the previous game's hero, but his spirit, his courage and his determination never change. Likewise, the Twilight Princess herself faces opposing forms, but within she is the same. This puts her above the former Zelda roles in my book, and makes her one of, if not the most, fascinating character in the series. The control scheme is, as always, solid. Traits from the previous titles can be found here, only they are now even more refined. The romance, fantasy, and bravery of the series is all properly in its place. Long live the silent hero.
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998 Video Game)
E | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
A young Hylian boy discovers that his destiny is to free the Seven Sages and save the land of Hyrule from the treacherous sorcerer Ganondorf.
The Legend of Zelda is at last brought to the 3D world, and who could ever forget such an astounding title. Moments like seeing Ganon appear as Ganondorf for the first time, or meeting Zelda in the castle garden as children, or retrieving the Master Sword from the Temple of Time, or waking up as a young adult seven years later-- these are all, as any gamer will tell you, like a child who remembers bedside stories, images that are not forgotten easily. Moments so perfectly crafted, that even though its graphics are aged and its gameplay out of date, one can pick up this title and, like pouring through the pages of the storybook, feel right at home. A fairy tale above all others.
10. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Crime
You control Batman as he fights to subdue The Joker and his fellows when they seize control of the Arkham Island.
Batman is the hero that always interested me the most. At times, especially due to the a-maz-ing films that Christopher Nolan has given us, it has been easy to forget that he is indeed a superhero at all. His psychology feels real to his circumstances, and though he has a complete arsenal of gadgets at his fingertips, he is not superpowered or supernatural. Still, his character has been around for quite a while and this game is truly a celebration of everything we love about the Dark Knight. This is doubly true for those of us who have enjoyed the animated series and comics, as much of the history is explored and the voice acting is mainly harvested from the series. Mark Hamill is especially memorable in his iconic role of The Joker. The gameplay is definitely worth noting, also. This game has easily the best hand-to-hand combat system around, and with all of the Bat's detective gear at hand, you really do feel like you are walking in his steps as he solves mysteries and battles his way through loads of his worst enemies. The environment of Arkham is also something to behold. Long hallways and cells, marked with notable clues to let you in on who the Bat put there, are packed with side puzzles left to you by (who else?) The Riddler. You don't have to be a Batman fan to enjoy this game, but it just may might make you one. Can't wait for Arkham City.
11. Kingdom Hearts II (2005 Video Game)
E10+ | Action, Adventure, Family
Sora and friends face mysterious new enemies as they continue their journey to save all worlds, and find Riku and King Mickey.
We return to the universe crafted by Square Enix and Disney only to discover that the same people we saved are in trouble again, and the villains are back, just in newer and slightly different forms. The story is still very great, though in certain areas seems a bit rushed, though where there is certain areas that are lesser than the first, the gameplay is infinitely better. To be honest, the gameplay alone is the main reason it is here this high on the list. Maybe it's just me, but this is some of the most lightning-fast and addictive gameplay I have ever encountered. The ability selection is easy and adds much to the action, and the return of Uematsu's beautiful themes keep us believing that these worlds are truly mixed. The effect of this game was not as large as the first entry, (or, for that matter, as large as tons of others below it) but it does not change the fact that in terms of overall enjoyment, I will choose this game over those below it every time. And, yes, I know you think I'm crazy. Don't care.
12. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Drama
Two years after the death of Solid Snake, a rookie FOX-HOUND agent, on his first mission, infiltrates an offshore decontamination facility to rescue the President.
We return to the Metal Gear series, but only for a brief time as Solid Snake. Here the spotlight is shined on Raiden, who is more like the gamer than we are originally lead to believe, and with Kojima's way of messing with a gamers mind, this affects us quite a bit by the end. The gameplay is still awesome and the experience only heightened by its sequels. Worst line: Raiden: I was... overwhelmed. Best line: Campbell: I need scissors! 61!
13. Kingdom Hearts (2002 Video Game)
E | Action, Adventure, Comedy
When a boy named Sora loses his home, he understands he has to visit many worlds to restore peace to the universe.
A game that totally blew me away, and I have no regrets about putting it or its sequel in my top 20. When I first heard that Squaresoft (now Square Enix) and Disney were teaming up to make an RPG, I had serious doubts. Despite Square's excellent track record, I couldn't help but worry that this partnership with Disney would only hamper their creativity. This may be true with the later entries, but this game took me entirely by surprise as it began to tell a stirring tale of darkness, deception, and ultimately the power of friendship in a way so excellent and unforgettable that it simply cannot be ignored. Anybody who has ever been a child has someone in the famed Disney films they can relate to (and those who don't usually draw to The Nightmare Before Christmas, so it all works out) and meeting up with these characters in a game that boasts phenomenal voicework from most of the original actors is an experience that really, I think, cannot be missed. The music also from all of these various stories return with a twist fitting the story that is so purely added by the genius of Nobuo Uematsu, that one can almost feel both the old and new themes melding in their ears. (Wow! You talk funny, Mr. Roberts.) Wait, there's more! On the Square side of the story we have excellent cameo appearences with added voicework from several of the Final Fantasy titles. These characters are obviously a lot cooler than their Disney counterparts, but the addition of Donald and Goofy to your party is something that even the most hardcore of gamers can be proud of. This game in short (too late) is a masterpiece, and I only hope more fans will jump on board so that Square and Disney will finally give us an updated sequel on the consoles.
14. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Treasure hunter Nathan Drake, embarks in the adventure of his life searching for the legendary treasure, El Dorado while fighting a group of mercenaries.
The creators at Naughty Dog give us the most cinematic series to date in this amazing title. Here, we are introduced to Nathan Drake and Elena Fiscer who, with exceptional motion capture and even more exceptional voice acting, bring this tale to life as we follow the treasure hunter and reporter through adventures that include Nazi U-boats, lush jungles, pirates, and mutant zombies. I know, in hind sight it sounds like an Ed Wood film, but it really is one of the greats.
15. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (2003 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Drama
Dingo Egret is an ice harvester on the Jovian moon of Callisto who discovered a lone Orbital Frame, Jehuty. As he is investigating, incoming enemies starts attacking Callisto and Dingo had ... See full summary »
Many probably wont understand this game in my top 20, and I understand why, but its my list and I immensely appreciate this title so here is where it stays. Z.O.E. is one of the most brilliant ideas I have come upon, and though it has been further explored with an anime series, I don't believe justice has been fully made for it. I wonder at times if even Hideo Kojima knows the potential he has here. The journey the player makes as Dingo Egret (I know, bad name, whatever) within the orbital frame Jehuty is so unique and has such a mythology behind it, what with the element of Metatron and the learning-to-feel back-up battle control system ADA alone, you could really take this series to unprecedented heights. But enough about where this series 'could' go. This game boasts graphics that are in true anime form that still hold up well today and a gameplay system that is still every bit as fast-paced and fun as the day I first played it, not to mention an excellent soundtrack and story that is expected with a Kojima title. Kojima himself says that he cannot promise when, but that there will be another sequel to this. Well, when that happens, I hope he lets us fans of the series build our own customizable Orbital Frames. I mean, how awesome would that be?
16. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (2010 Video Game)
T | Action, Sci-Fi
Four years after the events of StarCraft: Brood War, Jim Raynor fights against the Dominion and begins a search for artifacts when at the same time zerg attack once again.
Blizzard knows how to craft an experience. One of the great regrets of my life is that I have never taken the time to fully engage myself in World of Warcraft so I could know what the crap everyone has been talking about. Still, I had the first Starcraft the year it came out, and like so many other fans, every year that passed I held on to the hope of the promised sequel. I would revisit the first from time to time each year while life went by, my amount of siblings grew (7 times), and I got a bit paler from never going outside so I could play more video games. (Suddenly, I am depressed...) But then, the sun shined and the news FINALLY, after an agonizing 12 years, came that the sequel was coming. I waited a bit longer and then was finally blessed with what is, to me, the single greatest PC experience to date. Customizable armies, an exceptionally engaging story, gorgeous graphics, and gameplay that is, in a word, perfect gives me more reason to ignore the rest of my life once again. Well, at least until the two other parts of series come out... which, I guess, will ultimately end in the same way, so there you go.
17. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003 Video Game)
M | Action, Crime, Drama
The brooding cop has left the DEA and returned to the NYPD. When his latest case ends up involving the thought-dead femme fatale Mona Sax, he finds that his journey through the night is far from over.
When done right, Film Noir can be one of the best genres to enjoy, and the stories of Max Payne puts most of them to shame. This second chapter into Max's dark tale is rough, gritty and stylishly beautiful. Centered around his relationship with Mona Sax, this game strikes the 'forbidden love' chord that most games (and films, for that matter) don't. Returning in the graphic novel style used in the first entry, this game sucks you in and doesn't let up for a moment. Looking forward to seeing my favorite troubled cop again when part part 3 comes out.
18. StarCraft (1998 Video Game)
T | Action, Sci-Fi
In 2499 in the Koprulu sector, a ferocious collective race known as the Zerg arrives to massacre the exiled human colonies while a highly advanced race, the Protoss, intervenes to exterminate the Zerg.
A unique RTS that is so perfectly balanced in every way, that the only thing that could knock it off of its PC throne is its sequel. The story of Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, the Zerg and the Protoss held our attention in the campaigns, but honing our skills in custom matches against our friends and our computers kept us holding on for part 2. More in that review.
19. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (2009 Video Game)
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Ratchet's in a whole heap of trouble! His best friend Clank is still missing and his arch-nemesis Dr Nefarious is plotting evil at the centre of the universe. Could things get any worse? ... See full summary »
A Crack in Time is really the pivotal point in this series. So many things added that made this already fantastic series that much greater. The humor is all still there, but the weight of the story is much greater as the players wonder if their beloved duo may finally be torn apart. The more serious tone is balanced by the crazed antics of our favorite villain Dr. Nefarious and the well timed wisecracks of Captain Qwark. We dig deeper into the fascinating backstory of Ratchet, but the one who really steals the show is Clank. Not to say that Clank has never had his own levels of awesomeness, but his levels and functions weren't quite on par with his partner. This notion is scrapped as Clank takes on the duties of The Great Clock and in so doing gives us some of the most clever gameplay this generation has seen. Nothing disappoints, and to say that I am excited about what Insomniac will come up with next for this series would be a gross understatement... ... ...but I AM excited about what Insomniac will come up with next for this series.
20. Halo 3 (2007 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Mystery
Master Chief and the Arbiter must join together to attack the Covenant and destroy the Flood.
Here, we are given the best of the series. The Chronicles of Master Chief come to a close (for the time being) and he walks out with a huge bang. Sort of an 'everything rolled into one and then some' experience with all of our favorite characters and features enhanced with updated graphics and gameplay. Throughout the finale you are cheering your beloved Spartan to victory and are only sad that you have to say goodbye. I'd also like to give props to Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori for the amazing soundtrack they gave this last entry, which like the series, got better with every new addition. I love the chronicles of the Chief, but my money says we haven't seen the last of him.
21. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (2004 Video Game)
M | Action, Romance, Sci-Fi
A retired Mercenary is called upon by the U.S. government to handle a hostile takeover of an Alaskan military base by his former special forces group. A remake of the classic Metal Gear Solid.
Like Ratchet and Clank, here is a series that got better and better as it went on, and it begins here with the first entry in the story. Note: I do realize that The Twin Snakes is a remake of the original PS1 classic and call me crazy, but I like the updated graphics, scenes and voice acting more than the original. (GASP!) Still, it is best to see both this game and its original as one for the sake of this review. Now, for those of us who know the Metal Gear saga well, it is here where most of us first experienced such ingenius elements that brought us out of our comfort zone and into the sensation of wondering if we have fallen asleep and stumbled into a dream during the hours of playtime with this game. Screens randomly going black, our memory cards being read for us out loud, and the ordering to put our controller on the floor and watch it rumble across the ground, and all of this by one of the most memorable villains of all time: Psycho Mantis. Those reasons are probably what makes this the greatest boss fight ever. The story is also phenomenal and the presentaion of it in cutscenes and exceptional voice acting has forever turned the course of games, giving each new release potential to give us all the same thrills of a hollywood blockbuster.
22. Red Dead Redemption (2010 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Crime
John Marston, former outlaw, is forced by the federal government to hunt down the members of his old gang.
I know, I know, what business do I have placing this, the greatest western video game ever, here at #22 instead of in the top 10. I understand, and while I was compiling this list, I was experiencing for the first time the quest of John Marston and very quickley had it placed there amongst Arkham Asylum and the other greats. Then I reached the end, and was left with a sour taste in my mouth. John Marston, first, is easily one of my favorite characters in modern gaming history. How he lost to Black Ops' Woods at the VGA awards for Best Gaming Character I'll never know, but it is because of the way he was treated at the end of the game that this title rests here. SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU WANT THE ENDING SPOILED! EVEN THOUGH IT IS TOO LATE BECAUSE THE ENDING IS ALREADY SPOILED IN A SENSE! DON'T GET MAD AT ME BECAUSE I SPOILED IT! EVEN THOUGH I'M ABOUT TO... SORT OF. Such themes about redemption that, I don't know, appear to be slightly important to the game, seem to run hollow when you give the title character no chance from saving his son, whom he's tried so hard to keep safe from the evil in the world, from a future of simple vengeance against the man who kills his father. In the end, what redemption is there when the sacrifice of John Marston does nothing to teach his son about living life without anger or bitterness, which is the way it seemed like he was trying to lead his son in the first place. It would have been better for the player to go into Deadeye mode in the end, like they already did, and let them take out Edgar Ross for themselves, thus saving their long-fought-for son from a life of revenge. The ending may fit the spirit of old western films, but it doesn't fit the spirit of the game from where I'm sitting.
23. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (2003 Video Game)
M | Action, Horror, Mystery
Twin sisters try to escape a haunted village with the help of the Camera Obscura, a camera with the power to see the impossible.
Psychologically speaking, this is the most frightening game I have ever played. The very Japanese feel of being spirited away to a haunted village is ever present, and in ways that don't have to be fully described to appreciate, the main characters Mio and Mayu are tied to the heart of it. The trouble of it all is that from the beginning there is a growing dread that one of you will die, and worse yet, one of you will be the other's demise. Such a concept, that is so fully burned into your mind by the end, gives you an intense understanding of the events that have led you to this point and leaves you with a cold pit in your chest. The game is not meant to be enjoyed, but I did enjoy it. It is a brilliant and beautiful picture of the things that frighten us the most.
24. Shadow of the Colossus (2005 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
A young man brings his deceased love to a forbidden land inhabited by colossal beings said to house the power to revive the dead.
What words come to mind when I think of Shadow of The Colossus? Beauty, romance, courage, darkness, sorrow, tragedy, deceit-- and I know that I am not the only one who would agree. This game was less about playing for fun (though fun it was) and more about making me feel honored to dig into the simple yet gorgeous storytelling. The only thing that keeps this game barricaded from the slots above it is really the ending, which starts off very well and then ends with a very odd perception of the things that had happened. It just didn't do justice for me.
25. Heavy Rain (2010 Video Game)
M | Adventure, Crime, Drama
As a child goes missing, his father tirelessly works to rescue him, while a journalist, an FBI agent, and a private detective try to identify his kidnapper known only as the "Origami Killer".
When it comes to the arguement of whether or not games are an artform, it is hard for Heavy Rain (or the entry above it) not to be mentioned. Heavy Rain is, I think, the greatest new step the world of gaming has made. Quantum Dream has brought us a fascinating criminal story that allows players to experience every perspective of the drama. 'Drama' is really the key word here, because with the use of unique mechanics, captivating situations, excellent graphics and beautifully composed music, the characters come to life as much as if you were watching it in the theatres. An impressive amount of story arcs also gives the players a sense of ownership of whatever the outcome may be. Your choices are what bring you to the end. Truly a gripping experience.
26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (2010 Video Game)
Action, Adventure, History
Desmond Miles continues to travel the memories of Ezio Auditore, bringing him to turn-of-the-century Rome with Ezio rebuilding the assassin order to bring down the tyrannical Borgia rule.
This game REALLY took a *leap of faith* in giving us a whole new story and gameplay to associate Desmond Miles and Ezio Auditore with. (Leap of faith-- yeah, I've been waiting to use that one.) Honestly, though, it isn't the story that takes frontrunner here, as it seems that with each entry the story gets more and more confusing (not that that is necessarily a bad thing in this case), but the thrills that come with being able to call forth allies on a moments notice to help you take out your enemies. Leveling up your Brotherhood and becoming more engrossed in the brilliant side tasks gives players more reason to come back than any other entry in the AC series, and that is saying a lot. Of course, however, those who would try to play this without playing at least AC2 will be making a gross mistake. Fair warning to any who haven't touched upon this fantastic series.
27. Dead Space (2008 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Horror
Engineer Isaac Clarke and his crew get stranded on a large, abandoned mining ship. There, Clarke needs to repair the giant ship while battling nasty aliens and solving the mystery of what happened to the ship.
Where Fatal Frame has more of the psychological fear factor, Dead Space brings the type of fear that is much more live, livid, and in your face. Bringing elements from Alien and The Thing, this game crafts a horror experience that stands up with the best of them. While the story does get slightly predictable, it does not make it any less interesting or frightening. The control scheme and upgrade system is pretty solid giving the player time, in between checking their corners for vicious and disturbing Necromorphs, to think about what to improve in the future. As far as the Survival Horror experience goes, this is top of the class and a must have for fans of the genre. Incidentally, Dead Space also happened to be my older brother's nickname in high school.
28. Resident Evil 4 (2005 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Crime
Six years after the events in Raccoon City, Leon Kennedy, now a federal agent, is sent to a rural part of Spain to rescue the U.S. President's kidnapped daughter, Ashley Graham from a sinister cult.
The over-the-shoulder tageting system that this game brought has now been copied and rehashed so many times that it is hard to keep count, but that doesn't mean that this still isn't one of the best at doing it. Even today, when I go through the Resident Evil series, I can play this game and it is still as smooth as any of our modern titles. The script is pedestrian, but the experience unforgettable.
Favorite exchange: Leon: Saddler, you're small time... Saddler: Hahahahaha.... writhe in my cage of torment...
Sounds like something out of Invader Zim.
29. Halo 2 (2004 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Mystery
Master Chief must defend Earth from invading Covenant forces.
Where Halo 1 was a great experience in itself, this was where I was made a believer in the series. Take everything you loved about the first game and multiply it and you have the experience of Halo 2. Duel wielding guns, significantly improved graphics, and the addition of the Arbiter who shares the spotlight from the Covenant angle. With amazing gameplay, I believe it is safe to say that this game also revolutionized online multiplayer gaming.
30. Max Payne (2001 Video Game)
M | Action, Crime, Drama
A troubled NYPD cop is framed for murder and finds himself being hunted by the police, the mob, and a ruthless corporation.
Bullet time comes to the world of gaming, but not with a Matrix rip-off, but with a truly impressive and painful noir story. Max Payne here becomes one of gamings greatest and most interesting characters. He has immense depth and, though he may not believe it, a high fortitude for pain and suffering, and this is what draws us into his character. With such deep loss that comes with the death of a wife and son, he continues to press on, and this is what makes him so inspiring.
31. Assassin's Creed II (2009 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, History
Desmond Miles is trained to become a modern-day Assassin through the resurrected memories of ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who uncovers a massive Templar conspiracy in Renaissance Italy leading to the new Pope.
Desmond Miles escapes from Abstergo and with the help of his Assassin homies, we are introduced to Ezio Auditore. Altair was a cool character, but Ezio gave us a bit more substance to work with, and thus pushed this series even further on the awesome list. This series really reminds me of all those lonely, single nights I spent watching those documentaries about the Illuminati and the Templars. (SO many lonely, single nights) All the secret hidden stuff within the secret hidden stuff was really cool and interesting. Yep, Assassin's Creed is really a lot like that....(ugh, I really need a girlfriend...)
32. Guitar Hero 5 (2009 Video Game)
T | Music
My preferred choice when it comes to the GH games. Choices like The Killers, Muse, AFI and Bon Jovi kept me coming back to the point where I finally made it to Expert. The gameplay may not be as challenging as GH 3, but it is enough. Also, it makes for a good conversation piece when you bring the game to a work party and you've created everyone you work with. (Most of those conversations, for some reason, started with "Dude, you have no life...", but still... )
33. Fallout 3 (2008 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Centuries following nuclear war, a teen leaves the safety of an underground vault in order to find their father, who left in hopes of creating a water purifier.
This is probably the most immersive environment I have ever encountered in a game. Gobbs of skills to learn and an interesting set of stories do not add up to just the simple awe I feel whenever I step back into the Capitol Wasteland. No world in gaming has ever felt more fully realized than this. It is no joke when I say that it is like looking into a beautifully chilling painting that gets harder and harder to look away from the more I stare at it.
34. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (2004 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Comedy
There is a new villain in the Solana Galaxy. Ratchet and Clank have to stop Dr. Nefarious before he turns everyone into robots. The galactic president wants Ratchet and Clank to find the ... See full summary »
This time, I raise my glass to the one and only Dr. Nefarious, easily the funniest villain ever to grace the gaming world. His wild antics, fetish with Courtney Gears, and haughty butler are all things that add to his hilarity (that and the occasional soap opera that plays in his head). The voice acting performance is also, I think, the most noteworthy in the series. I have to clear my own throat just thinking about how hard it must be to scream LAWRENCE!!! over and over again. My hat is off to you, sir.
35. Call of Duty: World at War (2008 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Horror
An epic story of an American marine and a Soviet soldier in WWII.
Due to the overwhelming barrage of World War II games out there, I think that this one gets a bit overlooked, or at least underrated in my experience. This game features very well crafted gameplay and graphics, not to mention excellent voice performances by both Gary Oldman as SGT. Reznov and Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. The violence seems less glorified (mostly) and more appropriate to the setting while giving us something other than a revisit to Saving Private Ryan. The music is also pretty sweet, especially in the Russian campaign. (By the way, I know he's not playing Jack Bauer. 'Cause his character can die... and Jack Bauer cannot die.)
36. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Thriller
The Call of Duty series returns this time into a modern day setting. The player takes control of a character nicknamed "Soap," for the majority of the campaign and will need to progress through many modern warfare scenarios.
This was when First Person Shooters starting doing what I wanted them to do: letting me in on the action. I'm not talking about storming into a room and blowing the bejesus out of a bunch of terrorists. That was nice, but in moments like escaping a sinking ship, riding out a nuclear explosion, issuing justice on my enemy in mid cutscene-- those were me in those moments, playing those moments, and enjoying them in ways that other FPSs hadn't quite given me yet. Many other gamers probably feel the same, though most may haven't even thought of it. Anyway, this game gave me quite a ride and has kept me coming back for more ever since.
37. Left 4 Dead 2 (2009 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Horror
Four new survivors must make their way across the American South while surviving a zombie apocalypse.
Remember back in review #80 when I said that I wanted to be a zombie? NO! NO, YOU DON'T! CAUSE I NEVER SAID THAT! And you would know that if you hadn't been skipping reviews! So get back down to the bottom of the list and start climbing the ladder, you cheating little satan! GO! NOW! For those of you loyal enough to read this far (or at least are not easily offended), you get to know that I truly do adore this game. As the great George Washington once said, "There is nothing that passes the time better than absolutely annihilating a zombie." As it turns out, he was right, and it would seem that great things come in mountainous hordes of blood and guts. The thing about extreme violence: it works best when it looks really good on screen, and in this game, well, IT LOOKS REALLY GOOD. I think when you can almost feel the spray of undead meat on your face, the point has been well made. God bless the undead.
38. Assassin's Creed (2007 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, History
A man enters a machine called the Animus that lets him relive the memories of his ancestor, a 12th century assassin named Altair.
I love this game. I love it now, and I loved it when I first played it. So much so, in fact, that I actually started impersonating Altair and throwing up MY hood and making MY way through vast crowds to find MY targets. I took this impersonation very seriously. So much so that it really started to bug my older brother and sister. It's too bad that they are no longer with us... Ha! No. They're not dead. It never came to that...
39. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991 Video Game)
Action, Adventure, Family
The wizard Agahnim has abducted seven maidens, intent on using their power to open a portal to the Dark World. Armed with a trusty sword and shield, Link begins a great and treacherous journey.
(Just nix the whole four swords thing, I just mean A Link to The Past on SNES) For me, this is easily the best game on the SNES, and it is a game that I believe follows the tradition of the original Legend of Zelda in being a landmark in the gaming industry. With great moments given to us like retrieving the Master Sword and facing off with Ganon, it didn't matter to us that it was all being performed by tiny pixels on our screen. The puzzles were every bit as challenging and the moments every bit as epic as in the later sequels. True, the sequels got better with time, but this one still stands as a monument to us all.
40. Super Mario 64 (1996 Video Game)
K-A | Animation, Action, Adventure
When the evil Bowser steals 120 power stars and traps Princess Peach within the walls of her own castle, it's up to Mario to save her once again.
What a step for Mario into the 3D world. Extraordinary platforming that brought all of the worlds and levels from the originals to life. I'm not as into the Mario franchise as so many other Nintendo fans are, though I have played some of the Newer entries and fully understand their enthusiasm. Even still, Super Mario 64 remains King in my book.
41. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004 Video Game)
M | Action, Adventure, Comedy
A family tragedy prompts gangster Carl "CJ" Johnson to return home, only to find it overrun by crime and corruption, which he must regain control of the streets before it gets even worse.
Truly a vast experience. With a story that mirrored tones from various Quentin Tarantino movies, and gameplay who's sky was literally the limit, it was hard to be bored with what San Andreas had to offer. Voicework was great, and certain features (building your gangs turf one block at a time) highly memorable. An excellent experience.
42. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (2004 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Drama
You play an exiled and depowered Jedi Knight who has returned to the Republic and must restore both your powers and the devastated Jedi Order to challenge the Sith.
So, if the first had such an impact, why do I rank the second slightly higher? Honestly, when it comes to stories that are branches of another, I truly enjoy it when they challenge the source material, because in taking such measures, these stories seem more to come into their own, if that makes any sense. This game, I believe, did just that: took things that we knew about the Star Wars universe and turned them upside down. Jedi masters who were dedicated to the Light Side clearly being in the wrong, Sith logic making perfect sense, and perhaps the most intruiging: the possible end of the Force. As a faithful follower of Star Wars, this story rocked me to my core without betraying what I loved about its universe. The gameplay is also worth noting. A plethora of forcepowers, skills and even attributes that were once not worth the effort now made vital to the various strategies the players emplored. This game fixed what few problems existed in the first, while giving us a story that was every bit as enjoyable. I'm sure I do not stand alone in saying that I truly hope that Bioware does not abandon us to sum up what happened to Revan and the Exile on our own.
43. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
A republic soldier, training to become a Jedi Knight, is given the task of halting the conquest of Darth Malak by discovering the location of a weapon known as the Star Forge.
The KOTOR series is perhaps the best step that the Star Wars universe has made in the gaming industry, and such a step can only be achieved by the brilliant team at Bioware. (God bless you all for bringing us this game and its sequel) The story of Darth Revan was truly inspired and was one of the greatest surprises at that time. Everything that a Star Wars fan appreciated about the films (meaning the original three) could find something in turn to appreciate about this game. The Force is indeed strong with this one.
44. Burnout 3: Takedown (2004 Video Game)
T | Sport
The third installment in the Burnout series, introducing 'Takedowns', which allows players to slam their opponents until they crash. Each game variant is featured in a single-player campaign mode called World Tour.
Director: Alexander Ward
This, to me, is the greatest racing game to date. High speed adrenaline rushes, dodging traffic at every turn, a slow-motion crash cam and excellent graphics make this one easily stand alone. Above all, Takedown mode was its best feature. I believe my older brother and I capped out at 212 takedowns in a single sitting. Another note worth mentioning is that this is another game that utilizes the custom soundtrack feature. I had music from Kill Bill, Collateral, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Run Lola Run-- all the themes you need to enjoy racing to its uttermost potential. Good times. If you haven't already, try this feature, please.
45. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (2007 Video Game)
Action, Adventure, Comedy
Ratchet and clank find their home world attacked by the infamous emperor Tachyon and must go on the run while trying to find the other lombaxes.
Ratchet & Clank moves to the PS3 and we get to see them in the same light as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, only they could blow the crap out of them with all the guns they've got. The Ratchet & Clank formula really doesn't change, so much as evolve to something greater each time, and Tools of Destruction is no exception. All you really need to know.
46. GoldenEye 007 (1997 Video Game)
T | Action, Adventure, Thriller
James Bond must track down agent-turned-terrorist Alec Trevelyan to stop the launch of a powerful satellite. Play the game that set the stage for the First-person shooter genre on the console.
How many times did I play through this game, listening to the recycled yelps from the soldiers as I shot them with my silenced PP7. My older brother has enjoyed many laughs due to my ability to reenact these hilarious noises at all of the appropriate times in life. But, seriously, every fan of FPS's has to appreciate this game, and even more does the gamer who frequents the multiplayer scene, since this game really is the multiplayer godfather. I don't frequent the multiplayer scene often, but that doesn't mean I don't immensely appreciate this title. So much so that I take all of my drinks shaken not stirred. Even soft drinks... yep, that's right. I'm Bond, baby.
47. Grand Theft Auto III (2001 Video Game)
M | Action, Comedy, Crime
A young bank robber escapes from police custody and works his way up through the mafia ladder of crime-ridden Liberty City, USA.
One of the games that changed the scope of how games where to be made, viewed, and played in the future. An excellent open-world feel that the players with time come to realistically familiarize themselves with, as though Liberty City really does become THEIR city. The story is a bit scetchy, mostly in part to the silent hero, but with the variety of missions and promises for new wide open terrains filled with more characters to assist and to put down, this game keeps the player climbing their way to the top. Another aspect worth mentioning, is the choice of music Rockstar went with. It is no accident that occassionally the themes playing over the radio are the originals from the movie Scarface. So, hooray! Fun fact for the day! Thank you, Mr. Roberts!
48. Tetris (1984 Video Game)
E | Action, Family