5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
14. Pikmin 2 (GC)
24. Pikmin (GC)
28. Portal (PC)
5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
14. Pikmin 2 (GC)
24. Pikmin (GC)
28. Portal (PC)
#50: Just Cause 2 (360)
#49: Rage (360)
#48: Call of Duty: Black Ops (360)
#47: God of War (PS2)
#46: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (PS2)
#45: Empire Earth 2 (PC)
#44: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (360)
#43: Project Gotham Racing 4 (360)
#42: Grid (360)
#41: Dead Space (360)
#40: Red Dead Redemption (360)
#39: Dirt 3 (360)
#38: Gears of War 3 (360)
#37: Uncharted 2 (PS3)
#36: Guitar Hero 2 (360)
#35: Half Life 2 + Half Life 2: Episode 1 &2 (360)
#34: Fable 2 (360)
#33: Need for Speed Underground 2 (PS2)
#32: Rock Band (360)
#31: Assassin's Creed (360)
#30: Grand Theft Auto IV (360)
#29: Dirt (360)
#28: geoDefense (WP7)
#27: Fable 3 (360)
#26: Need for Speed Most Wanted (360)
#25: Mirror's Edge (360)
#24: Forza Motorsport (Xbox)
#23: Halo 3: ODST (360)
#22: Forza Motorsport 3 (360)
#21: Dirt 2 (360)
#20: Borderlands (360)
#19: Portal 2 (360)
#18: Assassin's Creed 2 (360)
#17: Fable (Xbox)
#16: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (360)
#15: Guitar Hero 3 (360)
#14: Rock Band 2 (360)
#13: God of War 3 (PS3)
#12: Bioshock (360)
#11: Halo CE (Xbox)
#10: Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Platinum Edition (PC)
#9: The Lord of the Rings Battle For Middle Earth II/Rise of the Witch King (PC)
#8: Fallout 3 (360)
#7: Rock Band 3 (360)
#6: Halo Reach (360)
#5: Forza Motorsport 4 (360)
#4: Mass Effect (360)
#3: Halo 2 (Xbox)
#2: Halo 3 (360)
#1 Mass Effect 2 (360)
50. Vanquish (PS3)
49. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses (PS2)
48. Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku (GBA)
47. Portal 2 (PS3/ PC)
46. Batman Returns (Sega Genisis)
45. Pac-man (Arcade/ Everywhere)
44. Mortal Kombat (Sega Genisis)
43. Jurassic Park (Sega Genisis)
42. Resident Evil 2 (PS1)
41. God of War (PS2)
40. Smackdown 2: Know Your Role
39. Assassin`s Creed: Brotherhood (PS3)
38. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1)
37. God of War 3 (PS3)
36. Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker (PSP)
35. Dark Souls (PS3)
34. Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3)
33. Monster Rancher 2 (PS1)
32. Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)
31. Mass Effect 2 (PC)
30. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
29. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
28. FFIX (PS1)
27. Suikoden V (PS2)
26. Ape Escape (PS1)
25. Marvel Ultimate Alliance (PS2)
24. Gundam Battle Assault 2 (PS1)
23. The King of Fighter XI (PS2)
22. Uncharted 2 (PS3)
21. Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII (PSP)
20. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)
19. Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Milennium (PS2)
18. Tekken 3 (PS1)
17. Grand Turismo 2 (PS1)
16. Mass Effect (PC)
15. Dokapon Kingdom (PS2)
14. Fifa 09 (PS3)
13. Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 (PS2)
12. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition: Remix (PS2)
11. Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
10. Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
9. Pokemon Silver (GBC)
8. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genisis)
7. Twisted Metal 2 (PS1)
6. The Legend of Dragoon (PS1)
5. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PS1)
4. Starcraft/ Brood War (PC)
3. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots/ Metal Gear Online (PS3)
2. Suikoden (PS1)
1. Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
50. Duck Tales (NES)
49. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN)
48. Rescue Rangers (NES)
47. Donkey Kong 64 (N64)
46. Ace Attorney Apollo Justice (DS)
45. Parasite Eve (PS2)
44. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
43. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GC)
42. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Story (SNES)
41. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
40. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
39. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
38. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)
37. Bioshock (PC)
36. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC)
35. Starcraft (PC)
34. Metroid Fusion (GBA)
33. Super Mario Bros. (NES)
32. Diablo II (PC)
31. Resident Evil 4 (GC)
30. Minecraft (PC)
29. Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)
28. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (PC)
27. Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
26. Rome: Total War (PC)
25. Skies of Arcadia (GC)
24. Chrono Cross (PS2)
23. Eternal Darkness (GC)
22. Metroid Zero Mission (GBA)
21. Super Mario 64 (N64)
20. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
19. Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (PC)
18. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
17. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
16. Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
15. Final Fantasy IV (SNES)
14. Valkyrie Profile (PS2)
13. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
12. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (PS2)
11. Super Mario World (SNES)
10. Xenogears (PS2)
9. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
8. Terranigma (SNES)
7. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GC)
6. Super Metroid (SNES)
5. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
4. Metroid Prime (GC)
3. Final Fantasy VI (SNES)
2. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
#50. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$ (gamecube) - No, it's not just a port of the GBA game. It's a million times better because it has the best crazy multiplayer I ever played and you can use a gba link to make an extra controller. That and because I have huge nostalgic memory playing it with my cousins and we constantly were laughing. Thought I would get rid of it but I think it still deserves to be on this list.
#49. Sonic CD (PC) - I love the sonic series but for some reason I never found the love for this series as much as I did for mario. This game was the best sonic I've played (until a later entry) and the levels you travel through are fun as hell. I still get that title song stuck in my head sometimes and whenever we played the sonic stage in brawl I made sure that song played 100%. I don't know why I choose this game over the others, esspecially since I played this alone, but I guess that I found it the most rewarding in how speed flowed with the level design. Anyway, still great, catchy inrto song, great level design. TONNSSS OF BLAASSTT PRROOSSSCCEESSSIINNGGGG!!!!!!!!
#48. Half-Life 2 (PC) - This game is fun. I remember being young and watching my uncle play the first game. Funny enough, I still have never even played Half-life 1. Might play it sooner but most likely later. All in all, I think this game was still the star of the orange box. Don't know why its not higher though.
#47. Portal 2 (PC/PS3) - I Love this game a lot but for some reason it barely cracked the top 50 list. I think that if I didn't have high expectations for this game that I would like this game a lot more. It met the expectations but I just think that the co-op just needed a little bit more. Great single player, enjoyable story and characters too. Need to play the dlc though, but I'll get around to it.
#46. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (ds) - I love this zelda for some odd reason. I bought Phantom Hourglass expecting it to be like wind waker but was sadly dissapointed in that the story and ending were kinda crap. After getting this game for like $20 new at target (I remember when I get good deals) I played this non-stop for some odd reason for loving the train so much. It has one of my favorite tools in any zelda game (the sand wand) and it has the Spirit tower designed how the temple of the ocean king should have been. It's a great zelda game and very tranquil when riding the train. Great story too, definatly worth the $20.
#45. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) - I think this game gets so much hate because of its multiplayer and while I think that the multiplayer is good, What really made this game awesome was the spec ops. Just playing those missions with my cousin was just so much fun and I didn't think that it would be so much fun. I haven't even played MW3 yet but I know I'm gonna buy it just to play those spec ops missions with my cousin.
#44 Metroid Prime (Gamecube) - I never was interested in the metroid series until the original super smash bros. on N64. I played a little bit of fussion, but I only played it for a short time. Going to costco one day I remember seeing Prime in the gamecube sectoin and I thought it had such a cool cover. I got it for $19 and soon I was enthralled in such a unique first person adventure. I loved how they pushed the focus for exploration and how fun the boss fights are. I think they got it right when keeping the story completely optional by scanning. I thought that all this game needed for it to be perfect was a multiplayer mode, but as I found out in MP2, that was a hope I wish was never realized.
#43 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (wii) - I think this game is 200% balls to the wall. It had everything that made the original game so much fun and took out the stuff the were not. While the boss fights are fun and unique, I think the original fights are still more intriguing. All in all, this game is a worthy sequel and shows how awesome weird thing can be.
#42 SBCG4AP (Wii) - My god is this game fan service in its purest form. It gives all its fans what they have always wanted and more. It's so hilarious and while some episodes are more funny than others, it just shows me how much I love the homestar series. If they ever make a second season (I really hope they do) I'm buying them all they days they come out.
#41. Demon's Souls (PS3) - This is one of those games that I think got my attention because of the internetz. I gave it a shot after getting it for like $10 on amazon but once I got it, I think I only played it for 2 hours before I gave up on it the first time. I then gave it another chance over a winter break and man did I really get into it. This is a game that tests you to go that little extra over of what you can achieve. It can be very frustrating at times but man is it worth it.
#40. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (wii) - I love this game, but I think I should say more. If only they had a better online component and I think it would have been a lot better. A fun game to play, esspecially with friends.
#39. Grand Theft Auto III (PS2) - There is so many things I like about this game that I probably should just say one thing on why its awesome. Flame Thrower time trials.
#38. Golden Sun (GBA) - I think I remember seeing a weird commercial on this game and I was like "WTF??" I then saw my friend playing the game and saw how much fun he was having so I bought it at gamestop new but the asshole gave me a used copy while still charging it as used (damn asshole at the register.) I think this game pushed at just how awesome sprites could look on the GBA and if anything it showed that a portable rpg is a great idea. Play this game if you have any interest in rpg's. You owe it to yourself
#37. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (genesis) - Nostalgia definetly puts this game on my list. It was one of the first co-op games that I ever played and with mickey mouse and donald duck fighting monsters with magic is just fricken awesome. I just loved playing this game all the way through with my cousin and having a blast getting to next boss. I hope they put this game on the virtual console soon.
#36. The Simpsons Hit & Run (gamecube) - This game is also one of pure fan service. I was little bummed about Road Rage, but man did this game totally redeem itself and is probably the best simpsons game since the arcade game. The entire voice cast gives their talents to the game and it makes the game so much more hilarious. the extra costumes, the landmarks, the amount of customs cars, this game had it all and I'm so glad this game exsists.
#35. WarioWare: Twisted! (GBA) - I wish that more games on the GBA used the gyroscope because man this game showed how awesome those controls are. I love the wario ware series but man, Nintendo totally knew how to make a sequel to the first game and man that game was also awesome (see #50.) I thought that the novelty of the gyroscope would wear off fast, but they always gave you new and funny mini-games to play. Time and time I kept going back just to play those mini games like mewtroid and the homerun derby. Another great game that was one of the swan songs for the GBA.
#34. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (gamecube) - This game got it perfect. First mission is blowing up the death star? Hell Yea, and it just gets better. Going to Vespin and blowing it up. Stealing the transport ship from the empire. Being Darth vader and stoping the rebels. Man this game has it all. Play it if you are a star wars fan. You wont be dissapointed.
#33. Ms.Pac-Man (arcade/genesis) - Playing pacman now really makes me ask myself why this game is fun. I then realize that it's because that eating the 4 ghosts in a row is just so satisfying. going through board through board makes it just more satisfying and enjoyable that you want to piss those ghosts off and eat all those damn pills. Now, it seems like a primative game, but I still need to put it here just for what it put forward for arcade games.
#32. BioShock (PS3) - Buying this game for $20 with my PS3 was something I was glad to do. I never played the system shock games but I heard rave reviews about his game on the PC. I thought this game was awesome from the moment it started and it just kept on getting better and better. The story, setting, guns, and plasmids made this game so much more than what I expected it to be. I also remember wishing it had multiplayer after I finished it, but after seeing the MP in B2, I'm now glad they didn't. I think this game pushed the boudries and I can't wait for Infinate.
#31. Sonic Colors (wii) - I never thought that I would ever play a good Sonic game since everything sonic related that came out after SA2B was not that great. Then as the Sonic revival was happening after unleashed, they announced what I thought was a stupid game title "Sonic Colors." It came out and I held out for the longest time on getting it, but after hearing good things about it and then seeing it for $18 on amazon, I got my hands on the game and man was I blown away. This game shows how awsome a 3D Sonic game can be and made me a rebeliever of the blue hedgehog again. Now I need to buy generations. :)
#30. Meteos (ds) - This game was the better puzzle game that Q! released, not Lumines, Meteos! This game was the best puzzle game I have played since I first played Tetris and man this game showed how awesome games can be on the DS.
#29. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess(wii) - This game took to long to come out but IMO the wait for Zelda games is always worth it and this game was no exception.
#28. NBA Jam Tournament Edition (arcade) - I really like this game.
#27 Rune Factory Frontier (wii) - This is the first of 2 games that this site has influenced me to buy and has made its way onto this list. I don't even think I have played a Harvest Moon game since friends of mineral town on GBA but man did this game really shake up the formula in such an awesome way. I can't believe how it took this long to mesh these two RPG formulas together and how amazing they turn out. This game needs to be played by more people and I should probably buy the sequel, but I still need to find out what the heck that red minotaur is.
#26. Super Mario World (snes) - Who the hell doesn't like this game. It's what made you hack your PSP's for.
#25. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade) - Even though his attack range sucked, I always would choose Michelangelo.
#24. Kingdom Hearts (PS2) - I think this game is rated where it should be but I think I'm a little more biased towards it since I was born on Disney (I've seen every movie, I live an hour to Disneyland.) This game made me buy a PS2 and to tell you the truth I'm glad it did. This game has most of the iconic characters in Disney, has an amazingly fun action RPG system, and has an emotional story that makes me cry every time I beat it. I don't think that I can wait much longer till KH3, but I should probably play the DS games first now that I think of it.
#23. pokemon gold (GBC) - Because Silver is for suckers (I had both, but I had Gold in Japanese also :) thanks to straight A's in 4th grade.)
#22. The Simpsons (arcade) - I think out of all the arcade games that I have played, this one has sucked the most quarters out of me. I think that almost every resturant, bowling alley, and movie theater I went to had this game, and man did I always love playing this game. Playing with others added comined attacks and made this game so much fun. The only gripe I have with this game is that Marge attacked with a vacuum cleaner. Seriously, WTH??!!?
#21. Pikmin (gamecube) - Before I even bought my gamecube, I bought Pikmin and man is this game amazing. A small scale console RTS that is so much fun that it just begs to be played multiple times just to get off that planet 1 day earlier. I think this game showed a brighter and promising future for the Gamecube that never really came, but atleast we got a sequal that is amazing.
#20. Guitar Hero 2 (PS2) - I still play this game and I still have fun rocking out to TROGDOR. That song alone makes this game worthy of this spot.
#19. Dick Tracy (GB) - This is probably the most nostalgic game you will see on my list. Why I have it so high is because it is an amazing action game that coincided with when I got the comic books and saw the movie. Is this game exactly like the movie, not really, but it just used the story as a means to fighting all the bad guys and man this game did what any liseced game should do. Be fun, memorable, and and stick to the characters just enough so that the experience is enjoyable and makes sense. Man this game did it all right.
#18. Paper Mario (N64) - I went 2 years without buying a game for my N64 and when I finally got this game, man did I love it.
#17. Donkey Kong Country Returns (wii) - Retro did it again in reviving a dead Nintendo franchise and making it amazing. Oh Retro, how I am glad Nintendo knows what to do with you.
#16. Diddy Kong Racing (N64) - Rareware made this game so awesome that they had to include Banjo and Conqur in it.
#15. Super Mario Galaxy (wii) - This game is pure joy and its sequel is even better.
#14. Psychonauts (PS2) - Back in the day when the only funny game that I had ever played was Banjo-Kazooie, humor was a scarcity in the games I played. Then I saw Psychonauts at a Gamestop for $10. I got it and the rest was history. IAM THE MILK MAN. MY MILK IS DELICIOUS!
#13. animaniacs pc game pack (PC) - I'm still amazed at how this game compeatly parodied videogames all together while being a great compilation of the games they were mocking. It had great humor, an amazing adveture game, and all around was just fun. I love this game.
#12. No More Heroes (wii) - I always wanted to play Killer 7 ever since I read the Nintendo Power article on it, but only being 14 when it came out and my mom and the store clerk being competent about the ESRB rating system, I had no dice. Then I saw the first trailer for NMH on the internet and man was I captured by its uniqueness. This game even came out a couple weeks early to my surprise and even greater surprise that my friends bought it for me for my birthday. I love this game. Its sense of style, the writing, the assassins, the side jobs, riding the speltiger. This game made swinging a wiimote awesome and made cool something that I would normally see strange.
#11. Pikmin 2 (gamecube) - This game is one of the perfect sequals that have been made that I have played. It made what the original was 50 times better. I loved the single player, the new pikmin are fun, and the multiplayer was amazing with me and my cousins going hours upon hours playing it. I am definately buying the Wii U just to play Pikmin 3.
#10. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) - Never really got into SM64 when it was released, but man did I play the hell out of this game. So funny, so much fun, loved turning into the washing machine.
#9. Super Smash Bros. Melee (gamecube) - If you bought a Gamecube, you had this game, and I played it till the very end.
#8. ToeJam & Earl (genesis/wii) - Co-op in its purest form. Man the good times I had playing this game with my cousin. Good times.
#7. Resident Evil 4 (gamecube) - I really thought that I would be completely lost when I played this game since I haven't even played 0-3 9and still haven't, but man is this game awesome. Everything that was in this game stood out for me and man when the scary moments came, they scared the crap out of me. This game is an amazing gem.
#6. The legend of Zelda: A link to the past (SNES/GBA) - I got a SNES the same Chanukah that I got a N64 so we just kept the SNES at my grandparents house when we would visit. This game came with it and holy crap, did it change my life. I barely remember how I liked mediocre games that I played before I played this. It made into the Nintendo fan that I am today and holy crap does this game stand the test of time with colors.
#5. Pokémon Red (GB) - THIS. GAME. CHANGED. EVERYTHING.
#4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (gamecube) - This game made me feel so relaxed and calm when I was playing through it. Just sailing through the sea and listening to the music was enough to make this game great. Though, this is a Zelda game and with that you get amazing dungeons, clever puzzles, and epic boss fights. The ending is one of the best in any video game that I ever played and its definatly my favorite zelda game.
#3. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2) - This used to be my favorite game for a long time and until just the last couple years, I never thought that any other game would beat it. What can I say about this game that hasn't already been said...hmmm... Better play this or the Last Guardian will never come out.
#2. The World Ends With You (ds) - Like I said earlier with Rune Factory Frontier, this game was heavily influenced in me buying it by this community. And, I can't thank you enough. I knew that this game would be good, (I liked Chain of memories (Jupiter's previous game)) but I never knew how amazing this uniqwue game was. The story, gameplay, art style,music, everything is perfect in this game and getting the secret ending is just the incentive for the player just for those couple extra seconds to the ending. This game is a masterpiece if I could ever call a game that had everything, but alas it just falls a little short to.....
#1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (wii) - This game is fun in its purest and most concentrated form. It's like they knew the way that they could make galaxy 1 better and they did that and more. The platforming is perfect, the music is amazing with new catchy tunes and remastered, orchestral classics, the power-ups are inventive and fun, the level design is some of the best I have ever played. This game is perfection in my eyes and is a monument to why Mario and Nintendo are still the masters at what gaming can achieve. Miyamoto had so much imagination in his brain that he couldn't fit it all in one galaxy, and for that I thank him.
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50. Guitar Hero: Metallica (PS3)
49. Worms 2 (PC)
48. Tony Hawks American Wasteland (PS2)
47. Getforce Gemini (N64)
46. Pokemon Emerald (GBA)
45. Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
50. Wii Sports (Wii)
What needs to be said? Introduced the world to motion controls and the Tennis and bowling are still some of the best party games I own.
49. Starquake (Amstrad CPC464- also on Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Atari)
This game was brilliant, if a bit difficult. You play BLOB (Bio-Logically Operated Being) who crash lands on a planet full of hostiles beings and has to find all the pieces of a core needed to stabilise the planet (A total of 9 different pieces). It was open world, featured hovercraft, teleporters and the locations of the core and it's pieces would randomly change with each new game. Really ahead of its time the game area was massive, colourful and it was a joy to explore its 2D landscapes.
48. Age of Empires III (& Expansions) (PC)
Third game in the Age of Empires series of RTS games (fourth if you include Age of Mythology). This one added some new gameplay ideas such as adding mecenaries, fixed trade routes and a levelling home city. Some of these ideas can be seen in the recently released Age of Empires Online.
47. Tekken 5/Dark Ressurection (PS2/PSP, also on PSN)
One of only 2 beat-em-up on my list. I could never get on with the 2D fighters (partly because I sucked... well, mostly). In Tekken, everything just seemed to click and this represents one of the best in the series. I haven't got 6 mind and the new Street Fighter/Tekken games looks to have potential...
46. Prince of Persia (PS3, also on 360 & PC)
I've always felt this game got an undeservedly hard time. Yes, it's not as hard as the previous games, the enemies are a bit dull and fights a bit repetitive, but platforming mechanics were just a joy that few games can replicate. The sheer perfection in the platforming mechanics combined with the impressive art and intriguing characters are what made this game great.
45. Duke Nukem 3D (PC, also on iPhone, Xbox Live and N64)
Going down my list I think this is the only 2D shooter. At a time when FPS' were taking themselves too seriously, along came Duke, his babes and 80's one liners. Beyond that though the guns were fun, levels huge/inventive and boss battles epic. Really should have stayed in the 90s though.
44. Tomb Raider Legend (PC, also on PS2, Xbox, PSN, XBL, and in the HD Trilogy)
In the last gen, Tomb Raider and Lara Croft needed a makeover (like this gen actually). They got it in spectacular form in Tomb Raider Legend. The mechanics were vastly improved so they were more in-line with Prince of Persia, but it kept the puzzles and Indiana Jones-esque feelings of adventure.
43. Age of Empires: Online (PC)
The new free-to-play Age of Empires game takes some of the best aspects of the series and places into an online environment. The basic AoE gameplay is still there but with more customisation, odd cartoony graphics (that somehow work) and an RPG-like levelling system.
42. Final Fantasy X (PS2)
This felt a bit linear for a FF game but the story and new strategic battle system kept me plugging through the game and I'm glad I did. The graphics at the time were pretty good too.
41. Bomb Jack (Amstrad CPC 464, also in Arcade, also on Commodore 64/16, Atari ST, Amiga, Game Boy and now on Wii Virtual Console)
This is the only video game my mother has ever played. Younger posters are probably thinking 'WTF?' but this game is pure platforming brilliance. Someone has planted 24 bombs in 5 high profile locations and it's up to Bomb Jack (with his impressive jumping and gliding ability) to collect and defuse them. Collect the bombs in the right order (denoted by the order the bombs sparkle) and get a massive bonus. But watch out for those fast moving robots! Now on Wii's Virtual Console if anyone wants to give it a go.
40. Neverwinter Nights 2 (+ Mask of the Betrayer & Storm of Zehir) (PC)
This game modernised Neverwinter Nights to some extent whilst still retaining much of what made Neverwinter great. A solid RPG with some interesting characters if a little stereotypical. Was also nice that you could control multiple characters in your party rather than just having a single henchman. Mask of the Betrayer added extra story whilst Storm of Zehir added some old school adventure seperate from the rest of the game.
39. Unreal Tournament (PC, also on DC and PS2)
This game was a revolution; the first game marketed as a pure online shooter. Fast paced action, multiple game modes, superb level design and a plethora of weaponry made this game sublime. Unreal Engine and Epic would never have been so big if it hadn't been for this game's success.
38. Tekken 3 (PS1)
Perfected the fighing mechanics in Tekken 1 & 2, mechanics that haven't changed a whole lot since. All the Tekken games since have replicated the mechanics of Tekken 3 only adding small evolutions to a brilliant game.
37. Assassins Creed II (PS3, also on 360 & PC)
The first game was a bit boring and repetitive. The sequel completely changed that with a massive playable world but with interesting quests and just generally filling the game with some superb content.
36. Age of Mythology & Titans Expansion (PC)
Brilliant Age of Empires gameplay combined with creatures of myth/legend and powers given by the gods. Was also the first 'Age of' game to go 3D. It worked (if a little unbalanced with the Titans expansion) and I still enjoying playing 2-player with my girlfriend.
35. God of War III (PS3)
I enjoyed all the God of War games but this one was truly astounding. Some absolutely breathtaking moments with moving levels, over the top fights and the visceral combat that makes God of War so much fun.
34. Tomb Raider (PS1 & PC, also available on SAT, PSN) (remade as Anniverssary on PC, PS2, 360, Wii, PSP)
The original Tomb Raider spawned a new gaming icon, two Hollywood films, started numerous models careers and was a damn good game to boot. Nice puzzles, a wonderous adventure and at times frustrating difficulty (especially when judging jumps). The remake modernised the controls for modern audiences and retains much of what made the original a classic.
33. The Witcher (PC)
At a time when everyone was "dumbing-down" RPGs to appeal to the masses, along came relatively unknown CDProjekt with The Witcher that showed there was still a market for core/traditional RPGs. I've yet to play the sequel, but the original is one of the best examples of modern Western RPGs around (ignoring the weird sex card collections).
32. Final Fantasy VI (SNES, PS, also on GB Advance, PSN)
If you can't remember the SNES generation, you need to get and play this game. This truly is a showcase of the near perfection attained at the end of the 2D era. As far as JRPGs go, it's still one of the best around with a fantastic story and a diverse array of characters.
31. Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
If you're a fan of Metal Gear Solid games, you'll love this. It beautifully rounds off the loose ends of the Metal Gear saga for Solid Snake. It does have a few too many cut scenes but has a deeply involved and emotional plot and classic yet modernised Metal Gear Solid gameplay (the first 2 chapters especially).
30. Counter-Strike/CS: Source (PC, other versions on X-box, XBL &PSN)
This is why PC gaming is great. A bunch of fans create a Half-Life mod that goes on to become one of the greatest multiplayer FPS ever. Through numerous iterations the game has kept improving and improving.
29. Call of Duty (PC, also on XBL, PSN)
The birth of one of the great gaming franchises in the world today. Call of Duty took the throne of WW2 shooter from Medal of Honor and never looked back. Great multiplayer gameplay and a superb single player campaign that saw you play as an American, British and Russian soldier, each giving a new perspective on the war. It's a far cry from the over-the-top action the series is now known for.
28. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2, remade in HD as part of ICO/SotC package on PS3)
This is typically held up as a prime example when people start describing games as an art form and it's pretty easy to see why. Unlike a lot of arty style media, this also had the bonus of being an entertaining game. The simple concept of a game filled with epic boss fights in a wonderfully unique environment just plain works, but the real beauty of the game comes in the subtle ways the game invokes emotional responses from the player, from the expressions on the colossi to the way Agro feels like riding a real horse.
27. Starcraft + Brood War expansion (PC, also on N64 as Starcraft 64)
Talk about unoriginal this game adding nothing new to RTS gameplay; 2 resources, 3 factions, basic RTS techs and units. It just did it all prefectly. Very few games in the genre are as amazingly polished as this one. The 3 races were incredibly well balanced and in the coming years were patched to perfection whilst they managed to incorporate a decent campaign mode into the game.
26. Chrono Trigger (SNES, also on DS, VC, PSN & PS)
There aren't many JRPGs like this one, it really stands out in the genre as an absolute gem of a game. The characters were all interesting, the epic story felt like a true odyssey through time and with multiple paths and endings this really does still stand as one of the best games ever made. The graphics have aged pretty well too.
25. Neverwinter Nights + Expansions Shadows of Undrentide & Hordes of the Underdark (PC)
I unfortunately didn't get into Baldurs Gate when it came out, so this was my first real foray into Western RPGs. From the start I loved it. The story was brilliant starting with a plague in Neverwinter and multiple problems aflicting the city to the betrayal of the Aribeth and the way the player handles each situation. The expansions were also good adding in prestige classes as well as new stories. Played this co-op with my partner which worked very well.
24. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty (PC)
Sequel to the game that's a Korean national sport and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide, Starcraft 2 is just superb. Everyone knows its popular in multiplayer (although the Terrans were somewhat overpowered and the Zerg the opposite on release), but what I was suprised with was the excellent single player campaign. You can see a lot of care and effort went into building a good story and campaign mode. Bring on Heart of the Swarm!
23. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Game of the Year Edition (PC, also on X-box)
This game just shows why the Elder Scrolls series is considerred one of the best WRPG franchises in existence. A wonderful open world that's highly unique in it's art-style and architecture; cities made from the carcasses of giant crabs, nomadic tribes, mechanical ruins and a range of natural scenery. As soon as you get off the boat there is just so much to do, so many skills to learn, places to explore and guilds to join. One of the best open-world RPGs ever created.
22. Age of Empires II + The Conquerors expansion (PC)
Sequel to the award winning Age of Empires and one of the greatest multiplayer RTS' ever created. The civs were well balanced, there was a whole range to choose from and each had their unique specialties (I both loved and cursed British longbowman!). Take your Civ from the Dark Ages, through to an era of castles and trebuchets, cavalry charges, infantry rushes, Korean war wagons and those blasted longbowman! A great RTS.
21. Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)
I believe this is the only racing/driving game on my list which shows you how highly I rate GT5 (although the new F1 games come mighty close to top 50). The driving physics as always are great, but it's the sheers amount of content and support from the devs that make this game so fantastic. The constant update of online events, patches and upgrades is astounding, especially for a game that already has such a huge amount of content. The new spec 2.0 is a great addition improving some of the inconsistencies and making the endurance races that bit more doable.
20. Fallout 3 (PC, also on 360 & PS3)
Fallout 1 & 2 were classic old-school RPGs. Fallout 3 is Oblivion with guns! When I found out Bethesda were doing the new game I was very excited and it didn't dissappoint. Large open sprawling world, the perks that made the original games great and an odd mix of old school Fallout atmosphere mixed with modern open-world Oblivion-esque gameplay. It just seemed to have a great mix of old and new WRPG elements. Nearly all of my gamer points are thanks to this game (A full 1500 thanks to the DLC!). The levelling system was great and exploring the each new area was actually a joy. The lessons learnt on Fallout 3 (and Oblivion for that matter) have also translated well into the new elder scrolls game Skyrim.
19. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (GB, also on GB Color & DS as DX)
I have a confession to make. This is the only Zelda game on my list! I'm still playing through OoT on VC, never completed A Link to the Past (which I really enjoyed) and Twilight Princess just missed out this year due to some top new releases. However, there's something to be said about the first time you play a Zelda game and this was my first. Maybe it was because I played it as a kid or maybe it was because it was the first Zelda game I'd played, but this fuelled my imagination in ways most modern games don't even come close to realising. The charming 2D sprites coupled with the superb design of items, levels and game progression made this one of the greatest game's ever made. I pretty much played this and nothing else for a 1.5 years; it's just a joy to play.
18. Portal (PC, also on PS3 & 360)
This was pure genius. Only a few hours long with a few bonus maps, but everything was sheer brilliance. The innovative portal gun, some inventive and mind bending physics puzzles and wonderfully funny. I played this on my own and went through the whole thing in a single sitting. A few weeks later I spent a few hours of a gaming session with some mates going through the campaign and simply laughing at their reactions. Pure gaming genius.
17. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC, also on PS3 & 360)
As a fan of Call of Duty from the very beginning, this game was the pinnacle of the series for me and showed off everything the franchise can be. Moving the time period from the over-done world war II setting to the modern day (meaning some very cool weaponry and varied gameplay) yet still retaining everything that made Call of Duty 1 & 2 great; a glorious single player campaign combined with a superb multiplayer.
The single-player campaign, whilst relatively short, is perhaps one of the most memorable and shocking. A solid narrative pushed you along, but added some truly shocking moments not seen in video games that made full use of the first-person perspective (nuke anyone?). The multiplaer in Call of Duty has always been good, and CoD4 was no different. New weaponry and a levelling system added to solid CoD gameplay. In many ways, this was the last (and arguably only) Call of Duty game to truly innovate.
16. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2, PC, also on X-box)
The only GTA game on my list as it's quite simply brilliant. For me, the content in this game alone was enough to push this game up to 16th. All the aspects that made GTAIII and Vice City great were thrown into this game and then the content was doubled to create a gloriously fun package. Great missions, lots of cars, diverse environments (3 different cities, countryside, dessert) and flying jets! I preffered the mafia story of Vice City, but the sheer volume of the game world and the variety of things to do make this game the best GTA game ever created!
15. Half-Life + HL: Source (PC also on PS2)
I think this game really needs to be put into perspective to truly appreciate the revolution it brough to the FPS genre and general single-player storytelling in video games. It came out in a time where FPS' were all arcade shooters like Quake, Doom or Unreal, had little to no narrative, poor AI, unrealistic damage models (didn't matter where you hit someone, the damage was the same) and where everyone was a beefed up generic soldier (actually, not much has changed in that respect). Half-Life broke the mold. You played a geeky scientist, headshots would actually kill, the AI actually flanked you and flushed you out with grenades rather than running into walls and the narrative was excellent and told throughout the game world.
Quite simply, it was the first game to truly combine all these aspects into one revolutionary package. The narrative especially; for the first level you didn't even get a gun as it just built-up tension and set the scene for the rest of the game. The lack of cut-scenes and the fact that everything was seen in first-person also meant that a greater level of immersion could be maintained making you actually feel like you were Gordon Freeman. It also balanced the action with superb level design and puzzle elements requiring you to actually use a modicum of thought as opposed to the pure gibb-fest of previous FPS titles.
It's also worth remembering that the mods that sprung from this game (namely Counterstrike, but others like Day of Defeat as well) have gone on to become some of the greatest and most popular multiplayer FPS' in the world, many still being played today. Basically, nearly every FPS on the market today has been influenced in one way or another by Half-Life.
14. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)
I was a little disappointed with Metal Gear Solid 2 and so I didn't bother playing this one immediately. After it went platinum I purchased it and realised I had missed out on an amazing game. It retained the gameplay that made Metal Gear Solid great, but evolved it for the new jungle environment. It also got rid of the radar and added a camouflage system due to the older technology in its cold war time period. The graphics as well were some of the best on PS2 and when played on an upscaled BC PS3, are still superior to a good number of early HD titles (let alone in the new MGS HD collection).
However, what really pushes this game to no. 14 is the storyline and the bosses. A common theme in Metal Gear is the relationship between mentor and student and here we learn of the relationship between Naked Snake (soon to be Big Boss) and his mentor The Boss. The ending is one of the most emotional I've seen/played in video games but also opens a range of questions for MGS4 whilst explaining some of the questions posed in MGS 1 & 2.
MGS boss fights are always spectacular, and MGS3 doesn't dissappoint. For this though, all I'll say is "The End" and "Ultimate sniper battle!".
13. Portal 2 (PC, also on 360 & PS3)
What to say about a work of pure genius? The original Portal was fun. Short, unpretentious and pure gaming fun. Portal 2 could have just continued with the same, but instead added some fantastic new ideas, more mind-bending puzzles with some hilarious characters and great humour. The story mode alone really was comedy value and could have justified the asking price alone. Steve Merchant was great and really helped set the tone at the start of the game with comments like
"Most test subjects do experience some, uh, cognitive deterioration after a few months in suspension. Now, you've been under for quite a lot longer, and its *not* out of the question that you might have a *very* minor case of serious brain damage! But, don't be alarmed, alright? Uh, although if you do feel alarmed, try to hold on to that feeling because that is the proper reaction to being told that you've got brain damage."
The added co-op mode though really added to the value, although I have yet to complete it. What I have played though has been pure gaming bliss.
12. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, also on X-box)
It seems fitting I place this here when Star Wars: The Old Republic is officially released today.
Bioware make great RPGs. Mix Bioware and Star Wars and you get the greatest Star Wars game ever created (although The Old Republic may dethrone it). The game was pretty much an entire Star Wars trilogy wrapped into a single game and even with its own lil' "I am your Father" shock moment. The story was superb, the characters were deep and interesting but still quintessentially Star Wars. The relationship between you and the other characters was still player influenced as with older WRPGs, but were given a new level of polish due to the focus on story and the new graphical hardware available.
Being set 5000 years before the original Star Wars trilogy helped by giving the game greater freedom in comparison to other Star Wars games; not trapped by the original storyline but still balanced within the greatness of the Star Wars universe with lightsabers, force powers and space fights. The sequel didn't make my list this year but is also a great game if unfortunately a little rushed.
11. Age of Empires + Rise of Rome Expansion (PC)
The original Age of Empires is my highest rated RTS game. It might not have been as amazing in multiplayer as Age 2 and it might not have the outrageous units of Age of Mythology but there's an old school charm to this game... or maybe it's just because it was my first RTS! This and the original Starcraft came out at similar time, and they were both fantastic introductions into the RTS world.
Part of what made me enjoy this so much though was the setting. Guiding a civilisation from its early roots to the height of an empire really struck a cord with me, more so than the sequels. It is part of a small collection of games that must always be installed on my PC for instant access when I have that nostalgic feeling and it actually still holds up pretty well for a game that is over 13 years old. The graphics are obviously dated (although not as much as you might think) and the AI frustrating by todays standards but the solid balanced gameplay of the Age of Empires series doesn't age.
The Rise of Rome expansion also added 4 new civilisations including Rome and Carthage, some extra defensive units to balance the game further and upped the population limit for multiplayer to 200 from 50.
10. Dragon Age: Origins + Awakening expansion (PC also on 360 & PS3)
Spiritiual successor to Baldurs Gate, 5 years in the making and with a unique twist with the 6 different Origin stories. Last year this only made no. 15 but I had yet to play all the origin stories. Seems I had left some of the best until last because the Dwarven commoner storyline was one of the best origin story in the game and has helped to push this game to no. 10. I've also had a chance to play the Awakening expansion which was good, although not quite as entertaining as the main game and Dragon Age II, which was pretty poor and actually helped highlight everything the makes this game great.
The story is your basic modern fantasy fare; Tolkien-like but much darker (characters would frequently get covered in masses of blood to the point of looking like Kratos). However, what it lacks in orginality it makes up for in old-school gameplay and a mix of interesting characters ranging from the sterotypical (Alistair) to the bizzare (Morrigan, Zevran). The Origin stories were an especially interesting route with some rather unique twists for each one. A great RPG from Bioware. I really hope Dragon Age 3 takes more from this than Dragon Age 2.
9. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
The original was good, but didn't even make it onto my list. The sequel on the other hand took everything that made the original good, subtracted the crap and added an extra layer of awesome! Everything in this game just clicked and it acheived everything I want from a story-driven third-person action adventure game. It combined the platforming and puzzles elements of Tomb Raider with the shooting and cover system of Gears but also added a more strategic stealth element to the game rather than relying on the constant spawning of enemies in the original. Not particularly original you might say, but extremely ambitious and very difficult to pull off with the amount of polish they acheived.
I haven't even mentioned the amazing set-pieces that are quite simply mind-blowing. Gun-fights in a collapsing building, platforming on bombarded debris and an amazing combination of platforming and shooting for the train section. These were all aided with some clever physics, amazing visuals and some of the most beautiful vistas I've ever seen in video games. The views on the mountains and at the top of the hotel are truly amazing. The co-op and multiplayer are also very good fun and works very well, although the single-player is really what makes it for me.
Uncharted 3 came out this year a little too late to be included, but to be honest, I'm not sure it would have made it into the top 25. Uncharted 2 is where I felt they got the balance, story and polish just right. Lastly, it's set in Nepal for a large portion of the game, and as I'm Nepali by descent, it holds a special place in my heart :P
8. Final Fantasy VII (PS, PC, PSN)
Yes I'm part of the Final Fantasy VII "crew". The first 3D final fantasy, my first RPG and my favourite in the series. I had avoided most RPGs prior to this as I wasn't much into fantasy (oh how times change!) and they all seemed to revolve around fantasy settings. FF7 completely changed all that. A fresh new cyber punk world, an eclectic mix of characters, a combo of bizzare science & magic and ridiculously gigantic swords! The first 3-4 hours spent in Midgar & Kalm drew me into the story (and is probably the best intro to a JRPG I can think of) and then the apparent freedom of the world map completely astounded me.
Looking back this had nearly everything I wanted in a JRPG. The story was intense and emotional but it also had a great degree of freedom and player choice in the game world. I'll admit, the materia system isn't the best system in a JRPG as it didn't give a huge amount of customisation, and many characters seemed to be very similar no matter what materia you added. However, the plot, the world, the towns and hidden extras all made up for it.
I've now played it on PS, PC and PSP/PS3. Like a lot of games of that gen it hasn't aged well yet I still find myself playing through it when a new release is available. I can understand the hype/demand for a sequel, but to be honest, I'm not sure I'd trust SE with a modern remake. Part of FFVII and all earlier FF games was their ability to ignite your imagination. With voice acting and modern day visuals, much of that charm would be lost. Can you imagine this in HD with voice acting (Yuk!):
Anyway, back to my description I think the optional quests were some of the best in a Final Fantasy game: Chocobo breeding and racing, two optional characters with backstory, the Weapon bosses, the mini-games (Submarine, snowboarding, motorbike), the range of vehicles, the hidden locations and the little tit-bits of backstory. All added to an utterly amazing game.
7. Super Mario World (SNES, also on GBA & Wii VC)
Simply put: 2D platforming perfection! This is one of the few times I'll say "if you disagree, you're wrong!". Nintendo took the gameplay elements that made the NES games great and perfected them. Then they gave you a dinosaur to ride that could eat up your enemies! (Yoshi FTW btw). This is quite simply the pinnacle of 2D platformers. Nothing even comes close in terms of quality.
Other than the gameplay being perfect, it also had hundreds of diverse levels, some beautiful worlds to explore, brilliant level design and countless extras and hidden worlds with ridiculously hard challenges. I found the artwork especially enchanting (I especially liked Vanilla Dome and The Enchanted Forrest) as it really worked my imagination; I genuinely felt like I was in this amazing world where dinosaurs and plumbers could co-exist I also loved how after completing certain levels the world would change whether it be the destruction of a castle or the formation of a bridge. Speaking of the world, the world map actually had you effectively going round in a circle:
If you look at my list I believe this is only one of 3 2D platformers and definately the highest. I remember when I was about 7-10 years old playing this almost non-stop with my cousins and staying up late during the Summer holidays addicted to the joys of Super Mario World. I'm sure nostalgia plays a big part of my love for this game, but it's one of the few games I keep going back to just for the sake of playing. Give me a SNES and Super Mario World and I'll be satisfied for many years.
6. Metal Gear Solid (PS1, also on PSN and GC & X-box as MGS: Twin Snakes)
Back in the late 90s, everyone was talking about this game. The story, the stealth mechanics, the guards throwing grenades down vent shafts, the boss fights! I however, didn't know what the fuss was about and ignored it... until I played the demo. I then went out and bought it the next day.
So much about this game felt fresh and innovative. The stealth mechanics were amazing; constantly hiding behind cover, ensuring you didn't leave footprints in the snow; using camera blind-spots. It was all new. The level design was also superb using the keycards to gain specific access to new areas but still immersing you into the idea that this was a top secret facility that you were infiltrating. Even backtracking was fun!
It also had the unique Kojima style that rewarded clever and original thinking. The fight with Psycho Mantis is a clear example of this (switching controller input around and him reading you memory card!). Most games and designers wouldn't dare breach the fourth-wall for fear it would destroy immersion, yet in MGS it they breach the fourth wall on numerous occasions yet it actually improves immersion into the game world. Other examples of rewarding original thinking by the player include having the wolves piss on a cardboard box thereby enabling you to traverse their territory without getting attacked or using cigarette smoke to ID potential laser traps.
I haven't even mentioned the story which is probably the best in the series. It made you feel like you were truly in a movie and was a superb cinematic experience with a rollercoaster of emotions. It also had two seperate endings which always helps with the replay value and didn't go too outlandish as happened in MGS2.
In many ways, the gameplay and visuals haven't aged brilliantly (as most games of that generation), yet everything was crafted so perfectly to fit as a complete package very little compares. One observation of Twin Snakes on GameCube is that whilst they added moves from MGS2, they didn't fit with the core gameplay or design of the original. Taken as a whole package, it was probably the most well-thought out and polished game of the PS/N64 generation.
5. Mass Effect 2 (PC, also on 360 & PS3)
Another sequel where the original doesn't make the list but the sequel is ridiculously high up! Mass Effect 1 was good, but was plagued with poor shooting mechanics, a clunky RPG interface and some rather horrible bugs. ME2 fixed all that and then refined the experience to become more of a shooter/RPG hybrid than an RPG with tacked on shooter controls. Guess what? It worked brilliantly.
Rather than focus on weapon customisation and RPG-levelling, the RPG focus was shifted more towards character development and story-telling that helped to bring the player into the Mass Effect universe. The shooting elements were also changed so reloading and ammo conservation now became important. Gone were the numerous bugs that plagued the original. All these when combined together produced one of the best RPG/shooter hybrids on the market.
The characters were some of the most intriguing seen in a video game. Mordin was brilliant and hilarious, Thane was deep and philosophical and Miranda loyal and ideological (it also helped that Yvonne Strahovski from Chuck was in the game ). However, summing up these characters in a couple of words doesn't really do them justice. The vast majority of missions were based on the characters as you built your team and new layers were added as you did each mission. Discovering motivations and each characters personal story, as well as managing interactions between crew members were all part of what makes this game so amazing. The main story itself was actually relatively simplistic, but the smaller character stories were what made the game.
Add into the mix that all the decisions you made in ME1 are carried over to ME2 and you get a truly great RPG experience.
4. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC with expansions & mods, also on 360 & PS3)
The elder scrolls games have always offered immense freedom and player choice, and Oblivion was no different. However, they also had their share of problems and the storytelling aspects weren't always as strong as perhaps they should have been. Oblivion's storytelling improved greatly upon those found in Morrowind but also added elements to make the game more immersive. Voice acting helped to bring you into the world, especially in the main quest with Patrick Stewart and Sean Bean voicing two of the main characters. No longer did you attack something without hitting it; gone was the background die roll. Attacks were now based upon your own skill rather than purely based on stats. Mini-games meant a mixture of skill as well as statistics contributed to aspects like lockpicking. And the guild quest-lines each had their own fully developed storylines that felt as if they belonged in their own seperate game.
The content of Elder scrolls games is always massive and Oblivion didn't dissappoint, but it also avoided much of the problems of generic tasks that open world games typically have. It incorporated some brilliant quests with ingenius and genuinely interesting tasks. One such example is the dark brotherhood quest which tasks you to kill five people in a locked mansion without the others knowing. Each one becomes more paranoid and scared and each has their own biases as you kill each character. The fighters guild quest which tasks you go undercover to find out the secret behind the rival guild. Or the main-line quest where you witness the destruction of Kvatch and has you entering your first Oblivion gate. The storylines (Main and guilds) were all engaging and interesting and even the one-off questlines added to the sense that this was a vibarnt and living world.
However, for me, the quality described above is only half the story. The expansions, DLC, mods and the ingenuity of the modding community are what really boost this game up to third place. Officially, the Shivering Isles added a more vibrant and bizzare world more in line with Morrowind than traditional fantasy whilst the Kinghts of the Nine DLC added an opposite questline to the Dark Brotherhood. Unofficially the OOO mod, Kumiko manor, the Achaeology guild and saddle-bags (among many others) all added great content to an already brilliant game.
3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC, also on PS3 & 360)
The prequel to the highly acclaimed Deus Ex, this really could have gone either way (especially after the disappointing sequel Invisible War). Fortunately, the devs took everything good from Deus Ex, but rather than make a pure carbon copy they also added their own inventive spin on the stealth, story and art style. Very few games manage to blend the genres of shooter and RPG so brilliantly.
For the most part the gameplay was pure Deus Ex. Every level quest and level had multiple paths and methods for completion. You need to get into the police station. Do you hack through a terminal? sneak through the vents? use one of your augmentations? smooth talk your way through the front? go in guns blazing or kill all the civilians and pile their bodies up to get access to the fire escape?! The possibilities were virtually endless. You played the game in your own style and tailered the experience to your own playstyle.
The futuristic setting was superbly realised. The science was actually handled incredibly well and you could see a huge amount of research was done to ensure the setting was as realistic as possible whilst still being fun. It also helped the storyline which was far more mature than the vast majority of video games (and most Hollywood films for that matter). Rather than go for the typical action Sci-Fi story of most video games or even the heavy conspiracy theories of the original, they go for a more personal and philosophical approach by questioning what it is to be human. Very few games manage to pull off a story of this nature so successfully and still make the game fun.
The new additions were generally good. The stealth cover system was actually very good and the new third person perspective added to the game rather than ruining immersion as I'd originally feared. The art style obviously had a lot of thought and look stunning in all its renaissance, cyber punk glory. However, the game did have a few faults, namely the addition of compulsory boss fights. This was in complete contrast to the rest of the game, but the rest of the game really makes up for it. The ending also felt rushed and the final choice felt a little cheap. Even with these faults, it still manages to blend so many great elements of FPS, TPstealth and RPG genres so incredibly well that it it's my third fave game of all time.
2. Half-Life 2 + Eps 1 &2 (PC, also on X-box and in Orange box on 360 & PS3)
Sequel to what is probably the most innovative FPS to ever grace the market, Half-Life 2 had a lot to live up to, but boy did it deliver. When released, the animations were some of the best ever seen, the graphics were superb even on a low spec PC, the physics implementation was revolutionary, the characters felt real, the battles were suitably epic in scale and it introduced the superb concept of the gravity based weapon.
Much like the original, HL2 retained the immersion by sticking to the first-person perspective. As the silent protagonist Gordon Freeman, you had the chance to let your imagination place your own persona into the image of Gordon Freeman. However, Valve took this concept and blew it out of the water with its dystopian setting and storytelling. Hidden extras in the world reveal tit-bits of info on the story and events leading up to HL2 and potential events in future games. You are always Gordon Freeman, so when/if you miss them, Gordon misses them. Control of Gordon's movements is always with the player, so when Gordon's physical abilities are impaired the feeling of being powerless is amplified. This is done well near the end of HL2 but utilised expertly throughout Episode 2.
Another factor that I think is often overlooked is the acting and animations of the characters. In most games, the acting is terrible and the characters feel like they're just generic plot devices. In HL2, the characters actually engage in real life actions. The actions of Alyx are where this is most apparent. Yes she's with you (or Gordon) and talking to you through large segments with good animation, but also little details like when she's teleported to her father's lab and she smiles and gives him a kiss on the cheek. Easily missed, but little details like this help to breathe life into the characters.
I haven't even mentioned the superb game design Valve implement where early on they allow you to explore an area to get the lay of the land before entering a gun fight. Or the immense battles vs soldiers and gunships on dystopian rooftops closely followed by mass battles with striders. Or the well paced vehicle sections where just as they start to get boring, you move onto something else. Or the little puzzle sections that give you breathing room from all the action. Or the brilliant implementation of physics as a gameplay mechanic with the gravity gun. The sheer variety and depth in the game is epic in every sense of the word. No other pure FPS does what Half-Life 2 manages in a single package.
Add to all this the fact that Valve are continually updating the Source engine and many little improvements are seemingly retrofitted into Half-Life 2 and Eps 1 & 2, and you get the greatest FPS single-player package on the planet.
1. Deus Ex (PC, also on PS2)
So, finally we reach number 1, although anyone who looked at last years list, this should be pretty obvious. This is quite simply the greatest game ever created! So many different play-styles, so many different decision trees, and a fantastic story to boot. If you like FPS or you like RPGs (even better if you like both!), this game has to be played. The tech may be old, but the story and the gameplay are timeless.
Set in a cyber punk world (set in the not too distant future) where a wide array of hidden political groups, terrorist factions, freedom fighters and advanced computer AI are all vying for for their ideological future. You play JC Denton, a new nano-augmented agent for anti-terrorist organisation UNATCO. The first level shoves you in the deep end and immediately sets the tone for the rest of the game. You enter the docks to find terrorists have attacked the base to steal the months supply of a vaccine for a global plague. You're tasked with finding the terrorist leader (alive). Immediately, your brother (a fellow agent) gives you the option of which weapon you want to carry: crossbow, sniper rifle or RPG.
You then have multiple options; Do you use stealth and sneak around? Do you go to the other side of the island and meet with the contact for the key to the front door? Do you pick the lock? Do you find a back way in? Do you hack the security systems and disable the cameras? Do you make for the ammo caches first? Do you go in guns blazing or silently take them down? Do you kill your enemies or just stun them? Do you avoid them alltogether? Do you bother with the secondary objective and save the captured agent or leave him? If you do rescue him do you give him a gun? When you reach your final objective do you follow orders or outright kill him?
All those decisions are on the first level and can have an immediate effect on the way other characters interact with you. In the future, the choices you make have serious repercussions on the characters around you including whether they live or die. The repercussions aren't always clear-cut either. Whether your pilot Jock lives at the end of the game is based solely on your curiosity rather than a clear positive/negative decision tree seen in most RPGs. All these decision trees and the detail in the world (you can drink and eat food, read newspapers, hack computers to read e-mails, get drunk/high etc.) make this game deeply immersive.
The games is ridiculously immersive to the point of embarrassment for me. I actually mistook the beeping of a stopwatch (in real life) for the sound the explosives make when they're about to go off and dived into the opposite room. Luckily, no-one saw, but yeah...
I haven't even talked about the story yet. The storyline is one of the best in video games history. A deep and involving plot that combines political intrigue, conspiracy and advanced science into one amazing package. What's so extraordinary is that it manages to retain an excellent storyline whilst still giving the player such huge freedom and choice. Only a select few games have ever acheived this, and I can't think of one that had as much choice as that offered in Deus Ex.
Add to all this the variety of weapons that included a measly batton/knife, grenades (EMP, gas, explosive), assault rifles, shotguns, RPGs, sniper rifles and massive energy weapons, and the variety of nano augmentations (enhancements) that included invisibility to either bots or organics, healing, super speed and jumping, spy bots, balistic protection and visual enhancements, and you get an amazing package.
This year saw a Deus Ex prequel in Human Revolution that made it to number 3, but even with the new graphics, the level of immersion is still slightly lacking by comparison as there is just a ridiculous amount of interaction in the original. That and it had stupid boss fights whereas the orginals boss fights still played out with multiple paths in mind. There were 3 different points you could fight Anna Navarre depending on player decisions for instance.
So the game was perfect in single player, many will complain the multiplayer wasn't that good. I entered the multiplayer with this in mind but have to say, I found it thoroughly enjoyable. The sheer variety of weapons and nano-augmentations kept it fresh, different and was actually a lot of fun. Bascially, this game is incredible, and if you haven't played it, you owe it to yourself to give this a go. Oh and it also predicts the future as it predicted 9/11 a year before it happened! Play this game for a view into our future! Oh, and theres a new High Def texture pack(s) for it:
50. River Raid - Atari 2600
49. Battletoads - NES
48. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 - Xbox
47. Guitar Hero: Metallica - Wii
46. Burnout - Gamecube
45. Prince of Persia: The sands of time - Gamecube
44. World of Goo - WiiWare
Wii FC: 6440 8298 7583 0720 XBOX GT: WICK1978 PSN: its_the_wick 3DS: 1676-3747-7846 Nintendo Network: its-the-wick
Systems I've owned: Atari 2600, NES, SNES, GBColor, N64, Gamecube, PS2, Xbox, GBAdvance, DSlite, PSP, Wii, Xbox360, PS3, 3DS, PSVita, PS4, 3DS XL, Wii U
The best quote I've seen this year:
|Angelus said: I'm a moron
BRB in 4 hours or so.
Love and tolerate.
50. Xenoblade: Chronicles (Wii)
Definitely the best JRPG this gen to date. A game with an epic storyline and a huge world. It very well deserves a place in my top 50 games of all time.
49. Yakuza (PS2)
48. Suikoden II (PSX)
47. Gran Turismo 4 (PS2)
46. Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 (PSX)
45. Dino Criss (PSX)