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Time for the TOP 5 ULTIMATE GAMES OF FUNK. Actually a tiny change in my top 5 this year as I switched the places of Portal 2 and Witcher 3, but honestly they're pretty much tied in my mind, but if nothing else Witcher 3 deserves to enjoy a spot on the podium for once. It's been a pleasure to share my favorite games again and also happy new year to all of you!


Last Year


(Box) Art



StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Of all RTS games I’ve ever played or tried StarCraft II is definitely the one that has clicked for me the most (that might seem weird with Warcraft III a few spots higher but we’ll get to that). SC2 is easy to learn and damn near impossible to master, the perfect storm of clean-cut mechanics, fast pacing and plenty of excellent quality of life elements that are hard not to miss in other RTS games once you get used to them here. Multitasking is the bread and butter of an RTS and the game is built damn well to accommodate that which is one of the key reasons the base gameplay is so damn satisfying. Over time I’ve become less inclined to play competitive games, so I haven’t actually played a regular ladder match in a long time, but there was a time where it really grabbed me like few games have… And luckily the game offers so much more that I can still enjoy from the extremely extensive Co-op mode to the Arcade full of interesting, fun or wacky player made maps. And of course, the campaigns.


Truly great RTS campaigns are quite far between, but SC2 is a shining oasis in that desert offering not one but three (and a half?) excellent campaigns. It raises the bar with hugely varied and compelling missions, each with bonus objectives and achievements, a hub for talking with characters in between missions and researching upgrades using collected resources, adding a great amount of cool customization options which further compel multiple playthroughs to try out everything. All of this helps to make the campaigns feel like actual campaigns that these characters undertake rather than a series of missions which helps strengthen the storytelling, and while it did take a slight dive in Legacy of the Void, the story really is great and a true sci-fi epic. Honestly even just the campaigns would have been enough to earn StarCraft II a prominent spot on my list and when you throw in everything else and consider that this game was pretty much the game that I played for a couple of years after its original release and you got yourself a game that most definitely belongs near the top.



Portal 2

This was a triumph. Those words might stem from the original, but they are easily as applicable to the sequel. Portal 2 is closer to perfection than a game has any right to be, improving and expanding upon an already great predecessor to give us both a fantastic puzzle game and excellent and hilarious writing. GLaDOS is back, both meaner and funnier in this incarnation and this time she’s also joined by Wheatley and Cave Johnson to form a trinity of hilarity. Wheatley’s awkward britishism is the perfect contrast to the sharp-tongued GLaDOS and Cave Johnson… Cave Johnson is a legendary character like few others, and a source of inspiration to us all. If he isn’t then fire him goddammit and get me someone who is!


The game builds upon the simple but clever gameplay of the original with tractor beams and gels to craft excellent puzzles and also has you exploring far beyond the extends of the test chambers, expanding the scope of both the game and the lore surrounding Aperture Science. And on top of the single-player there’s the excellent co-op mode which gives you just the right amount of opportunities to squash you ally along the way. There’s even a map editor allowing you to make you own puzzle rooms and people have made tons of clever stuff with it; I’ve only made a single map myself way back but I remember having a lot of fun with it. Just about the only complain I can make for this entertaining, puzzling and at times inspiring game is that it lacks the Advanced Chambers of the first games, which were great for some extra challenge after beating the main game, but again with the tons of player created puzzles you can certainly still find something that challenges you further if that is what you desire.


Portal 2 did end up decreasing a spot this year, but to be honest my #3 and #4 are fairly interchangeable. Either way it’s among the best of the very best.



The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Very easily my Game of the Year for 2015, but actually I didn’t get to play it until a bit later on. Having played the two previous games in the years before and enjoying them greatly, I got the Witcher 3 for PC not super long after release, but it hadn’t occurred to me to check the required specs for the game… which, as it turned out, my PC at the time didn’t fulfill. And so, my fancy boxed copy of the Witcher 3 ended up sitting on my desk for at least 6 months before I build a new PC and could finally boot it up. As you can tell from its spot on the list it was well worth the wait. Take the excellent storytelling of the first game, the rock-solid gameplay of the second game, a beautiful massive open world, throw it all a pot, stir gently, and voilá you’ve got yourself an RPG masterpiece.


I’ve mentioned before on my list that Skyrim (#19) and Breath of the Wild (#12) have some of the greatest open-worlds out there in my eyes, and actually in terms of the world itself I do think they outdo the Witcher 3 a smidge, but what takes the Witcher 3 to even greater heights in my eyes in the amazing storytelling that the game is simply drenched in. From the epic main questline, to the fantastic DLC, to just the regular quests that you can find by the dozen, with nearly all of it the story-telling and dialogue is just on point. I must have spent close to 200 hours completing nearly everything this game has to offer and the hours simply melted away because I was so immersed in the world of the Witcher, in being Geralt on every step of his journey, both the main story, the side quests and all the fluff in between from haggling about the price for killing a Cockatrice to kicking back with a game of Gwent.


This is definitely a game that there’s even more to be said about, I’ve barely even touched on the (stellar) gameplay here, but I’ll wrap it up by pointing out that despite it not exactly being recent anymore, it is actually the latest game to have carved its way into my (very prestigious) Top 5 and if any of these games have a chance of increasing in rank, it’s this one.

Update: it did



Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

To many Warcraft III might not be a game they’ve given much thought to or heard about since the Reforged fiasco a few years back so let me just clarify a few things: The game is still alive. It’s still great. And Reforged is still a shit show. Last year they started patching the game again after a 16-month hiatus and the first patch they released ruined as much as it fixed, breaking or downgrading things that have been working fine for years. The basic game itself is definitely in working shape but a lot of the surrounding elements like menus, lobbies and newly introduced features has been handled very poorly and is still a mess. But enough about the negative and let’s get to why I still play this game and consider it among my favorites despite that.


If you were to summarize my “gaming career” with just one game then, well, it wouldn’t be a good summary, but Warcraft III would have to be that game. I’ve played this game by myself, at LAN parties, online, with friend and with strangers on and off for 15+ years, and though I haven’t the slightest idea of the hour count it has to be my most played gamed ever. To be honest if you look at purely melee gameplay, I actually do like StarCraft II even more as I hinted at earlier, but I most certainly enjoy Warcraft III for its hero-centric gameplay with leveling and items as well. However, it is the whole package of Warcraft III with everything it entails that has me coming back again and again. Like StarCraft II, Warcraft III offers an amazing campaign and while it’s structure might be a simpler list of missions, it makes up for that with storytelling that no other RTS can rival. The reason the World of Warcraft (#17) is so damn compelling is because the previous games, and mostly III, laid such an incredible foundation with lore and story of epic proportions and dozens of great characters; some great enough to basically have full expansions dedicated to them later on in WoW. Azeroth is quite simply one of my favorite fictional worlds and I have Warcraft III to thank for that.


And then there’s another giant element to Warcraft III, namely the custom maps. It’s difficult to say how much credit you can really give to a game itself for player created content, but if nothing else it gave the tools to create these maps and became a gathering ground for games of every kind imaginable as a result. I’ve probably spent more time on some custom maps in Warcraft III that I have on most actual games. It's an endless source of entertainment and admittedly one of the main things that has kept the game alive for so long.


All I can say in conclusion is that yeah, Warcraft III is the game that I play most and will continue to be so I expect. It’s always been the first game I’ve installed on a new computer, even weak laptops unfit for gaming, because this is a game I always need at hand, so of course it has to be among my favorites, recent problems be damned.



Tales of Symphonia

Frankly, it’s not even close. Tales of Symphonia is my number 1 and I have trouble imagining a game dethroning it short of an unlikely, perfectly executed remake. The first time I tried to play it I actually got stuck on a boss I couldn’t beat for the life of me less than 5 hours in (to be fair I was fairly young) and had to give up, but even back then seeing only the beginning of it there was something magical about this game. Fast-forward a few years when I gave it another shot starting from scratch, this time proceeding past the responsible boss and further still, only to find there was so much more to this game than I could have imagined. I won’t go much into details to avoid spoilers, but to those who haven’t played it my biggest recommendation is to just go out and get the Steam version or the upcoming remaster and play it right away, avoiding any of the marketing material as they’re way too quick to (partially) give away one of the greatest plot twists in gaming.


In my eyes its story is unrivaled, one that switches between epic, emotional, silly and everything in between and which you can quite honestly learn a lot from, I’m pretty sure I did. It also has hands down my favorite cast in any JRPG with half a dozen characters that rank among my favorites across all games. On the gameplay front, while the combat has admittedly been surpassed by later entries in the series, what’s here is still damn good though and the blueprint upon which the series has built ever since. And there’s also more to it than the combat, the game has puzzles aplenty in its many dungeons, often quite unique and clever ones, and that’s one area where I think later games never quite matched Symphonia. I’d also be remiss not to mention that the game has an incredible soundtrack, with great tracks aplenty and my favorite battle music of any game ever.


Yeah, that’s probably enough with the justification, let’s just say that I quite simply love Tales of Symphonia. Back after my first playthrough it even had me starting up a new game+ immediately afterwards, I think I played the game twice back-to-back without playing much else, which is simply not something I really do except with games that are specifically made for consecutive playthroughs. As a final closing comment to round out this Top 50 please note that the 2008 sequel to Tales of Symphonia is non-canon. Don’t question it, just trust me on this.

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2024 OpenCritic Prediction Leagues:

Nintendo | PlayStation | Multiplat