Tuesday, 29 November 2016

100 Really Great Games That I Love For Various Reasons

A forum I post on proposed a thread where we list our top 100 games. There were no rules, or restrictions, it was just a free for all where we could mix quality with nostalgia. I decided to write a few descriptions why for each game, because it seemed like a fun thing to do, but partly because I really like Tevis Thompson's Game Review Drabbles anddoing something similar felt like a fairly creative challenge. I don't care if I have avoided "the best" in a series, I have not played every game in existence, and to be honest that isn't what this list is about.

Advance Wars - So hard that, as a child, I broke my first GBA screen by headbutting it in a rage. Prior to that I spent many hours playing it with my friends. Tactical perfection.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike - Summed up the courage to play this over a decade after the first, it is sublime.

Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - The first game I remember specifically asking my parents for. I shudder to think of the hours I put into it.

Ape Escape - Novelty via dual analogue fun, and a genuine contender to the highs of the Mario series in my eyes.

Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance 2 - I never had the attention span for BG2, but I played Dark Alliance a lot with my dad.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 - The Edge forum classic, and a smart and dynamic FPS to boot.

Bayonetta - The best spectacle fighter ever? I'll tell you when this gun-stiletto wearing witch has stopped pinning my face to the screen.

Bloodborne - Hands down the game of this generation so far. As dense and rewarding as the best novels.

Borderlands 2 - More co-op forum fun. Far more entertaining than the OG.

Burnout 3 - The only racing game I've ever loved. It makes me sad there will probably never be anything as joyous and fast as this again.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin - I played a lot of these games but this one remains a highlight.

Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow - My favourite of the Series, I even liked drawing the seals.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - Whilst not my favourite, it’s easily the best. I never did get to grips with its magic system.

Command and Conquer Tiberian Sun - Similar to AoEII, I put unspeakable hours into this against the AI. Also it had Kane in it.

Dark Souls - I have cooled on this a lot, but it's entirely defined its own genre.

Dead Space 2 - Aliens to Dead Space's Alien, but altogether more entertaining and full of smart references to the first.

Demon's Souls - I was glad to be in on the ground floor for this pioneering horrorshow.

Devil May Cry - This game changed a lot of how I think about games with its extensive difficulty modifiers.

Devil May Cry 3 - The only game to rival Bayonetta, and it does it on sheer style alone.

Diablo 3 - Many hours spent playing this with Bollockoff, a friendship I am still glad of.

Dota 2 - Something like 600 hours spent with this. It's part of me, and I can't stand it these days.

Eternal Darkness Sanity's Requiem - One of the smartest and most entertaining horror titles. Endlessly inventive.

Final Fantasy X - I played this so much at my dad's that the disk wore out. Awful voice acting, the best turn based combat.

Final Fantasy VII - Recently went back to this and it all hangs together because of that timeless score and immense aesthetic.

Final Fantasy XII - Hunting marks was the salve for this game's lacklustre story, which was fine because the gambit system was slick.

FTL - Probably the best roguelike? Endless hours of nihilistic Star Trek.

Gears of War 3 - The best multiplayer, and thus hours of fun with the forum.

God of War 2 - The biggest and best spectacle the series managed, in my eyes.

Gone Home - Kind of a new dawn for gaming, the Indie darling that will go down in history as the most important indie title after Braid.

Gunstar Heroes - Flawless fun, with a surprising amount of depth.

Half Life - I was young enough when I played this to be utterly enraptured by it, which kind of ruined the admittedly superior HL2 for me.

Halo - Hard to argue with its mechanical brilliance, and the Halo itself is a great environment for the most part.

Halo 3 - Again, a sickening amount of hours poured into a console defining multiplayer.

Hotline Miami - grotty, vicious, intoxicating fun. Any game with a high death count that doesn't restart as fast as HM is kidding itself.

Ikaruga - I am shit at it, but it has style and smarts.

Journey - An experience that you can share with almost anyone, and all the better for it. A truly transcendent game. 

Kid Icarus: Uprising - Weird, awkward, but utterly compelling, with a plot that escalates to stupid levels.

Left 4 Dead 2 - The greatest asymmetric multiplayer game ever. 

Legend of Dragoon - A bizarre, inventive RPG with a mad rhythm combat system.

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - the weird side of Zelda, and my first entry into the series. I am very fond of this little game.

Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - A pure delight. Everything Zelda should be. Sack off the broodiness and enjoy the calm flat ocean of serenity.

Little King's Story - Deep, difficult, and startlingly unique. Like RC2, it's town building but with a layer of joy added on.

Mario Kart Double Dash - I skipped days of revision to play this, every hour was worth it. Baby Park is the best party course ever.

Mario Sunshine - I didn’t play 64 until years later, and so this remains my first and most memorable Mario game.

Mario Power Tennis - Doubles during summer, a stupid but tactile game.

Mass Effect 2 - One of the few games that has ever nailed the feel of big budget television, and the suicide mission is the most compelling denouement that a game has ever devised.

Mechcommander - An overlooked gem. If you are good enough, you can hijack a Madcat on the third mission and be set for the rest of the game.

Mechwarrior 3 - Played many hours of this sat on my dad’s knee. 

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - The music and the action meet in a way that few games even bother to try and emulate. It’s just fuckin’ rad. 

Metal Gear Solid - A bit of an eye-opener as a kid, this really pushed me towards the Japanese stuff.

Metal Gear Solid 2 - The first, best and maybe only post-modern game. So smart it hurts, but by strokes dumb as a bag of hammers. So maybe the only videogame to intentionally handle bathos too.

Metal Gear Solid 3 - Kojima finally does it, produces a game with characters that are no longer ciphers, and manages the most emotional gunshot in all of 
game history, Pigeon Rank or not.

Metal Gear Solid V - It’s underdeveloped and it knows it, but as a game that works by shoving systems together until they break, it is maddeningly entertaining.

Metroid Prime - Maybe the best game about exploring and looking at old rocks ever, with some of the most giddy and intense boss battles committed to code.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate - It’s a skinner box, but instead of making numbers go up you fight the most amazingly animated and personality filled monsters that have ever made it into a game. The root of the Souls’ series combat, and the best co-op game ever to boot.

Ninja Gaiden Black - I like games that kick you around, and this is one of the best and most fair.

Okami - Clover do Zelda, but you’re a wolf and it’s never going to age visually.

Onimusha 2 - Oni May Cry, but slower, and nastier.

Plants VS. Zombies - I cannot deny how enjoyable this game is. A masterpiece of rewarding the player.

Pokemon Blue - Hard to dispute Pokemon’s importance in my formative years. 

Portal - Valve’s prototype games are better than most full budget games.

Portal 2 - This is as good as the first, it has scale and wit in abundance. 

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time - Witty, elegant, with rewarding 3D platforming.

R-Type - Like someone else said earlier, it still looks fucked up to this day. I hear the title music in my sleep.

R-Type: Final - An elegiac stroll through an abandoned museum. The only game I can name that cares about, and is an ode to its own history.

Rayman Origins - Deliriously animated fun, with a real eye for the joy of kineticism. 

Resident Evil 4 - The definitive attache case management simulator, with the best Shinki Mikami action game ever tacked on for fun. Arranging ammo has never been as visceral, and the continuous inventivity and intensity of the Leon bit is ok too.

RezHD - It’s very pretty isn’t it?

Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 - I love these games, and even though I never got good at them, managing parks was Sim City but boisterous, juvenile, and in the end far more rewarding. Interestingly enough I hate roller coasters.

Rome: Total War - See entry: Shogun: Total War, but imagine it looks better and you can shout SPQR a lot.

Shadow of the Colossus - Plaintive, poignant, predictable? Perhaps, but who cares. The first game to make me wince at landing a blow.

Shogun: Total War - Many hours spent with the father type playing this game. Calvary crashing into infantry flanks and archers mowing down advancing peasants never gets old.

Sins of a Solar Empire - The most interesting part of Return of the Jedi stretched over a galaxy dominating game. You can build titans now, and it takes the crown for space RTS.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - The best music and levels in all the Sonic series.

Soul Calibur 2 - Raphael could parry if you mashed the C-Stick on the Gamecube. This led to many unfair victories.

Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain - An incredibly METAL and DVRK game with some disgusting visual design, warped soundtrack, and incredible voice acting. Vampires via Lovecraft perhaps.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - The ultimate survival game, so immersive that you’ll give yourself back ache from craning over your mouse to land shots on scouting soldiers.

Super Mario Galaxy - It’s a toybox of a game that never gets old, and is far better than its lacking sequel.

Super Meat Boy - For a few months this was all I played. I never got good at it, but it felt good to play.

Super Smash Brothers Melee - I played this nearly everyday for nearly 2 years. I wish I had been good at it, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Tales of Symphonia - An underrated but enjoyable RPG with great voice talent, wonderful visuals, and an engaging battle system. 

Team Fortress 2 - Possibly the most iconic PC game of all time? Leave it to Valve to nail a visual style that feels timeless to this day.

The Binding of Isaac Rebirth - The MGSV of roguelikes - no combination is too far for this mechanical beauty.

The Swapper - An existential puzzle game with a lovely DIY aesthetic. 

The Witness - A singular, searing display of talent and innovation. Made by a guy who hates the state of modern gaming - his reply is to create the most VIDEO GAME thing he can: an island frozen in a moment for you to solve.

Thumper - Brutal, prog rock album cover nightmare made flesh. Love 2 be fast beetle.

Time Splitters 2 - Zombie mode, 4 pads, as many AI as the game will load. Delicious.

Tomb Raider - I played this with my dad, shit scared of every enemy. The series will never regain that atmosphere.

Total Annihilation - ZERG RUSH the game, with a billion units, and true Land Sea Air battles. You could install it on the school PCs in a few minutes and enjoy a lunchbreak of PeeWee skirmishing.

Towerfall Ascension - The best same room multiplayer game ever.

Unreal Tournament - I was never a crack shot, but it was my first taste of online, and only Titanfall 2 has come close to that speed and thrill.

Vanquish - The concept of videogame distilled into two actions: slowmo, and rocketslide. 

Viewtiful Joe - Clover’s secret best game, which ties a great combat system to a relevant set of mechanics and ends up being disarmingly fun, and ruthlessly hard. 

Viva Pinata - One of the greatest management games ever, and the only kids game where the prime interaction is making animals fuck each other.

Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos - The most epic and lovably crafted single player RTS game with some of the most inventive races ever committed to a strategy title.

Wario Ware - Balancing on Turtles became more fun than a thousand lovingly rendered headshots.

We Love Katamari - OH! The same thing! This was the very first game We ever rolled up! Oh, We feel a little emotional. We should put this in the diary.

X-Wing - The only simulator game I have really played. It was incredibly difficult, but far more immersive than most modern games. Maybe they should stop faffing around with Elite and remake this, but with graphics.

XCOM: Enemy Within - You haven’t lived until you’ve punched a fucking Chrysalid’s head in with a MEC. The add-on campaign makes the game the definitive “oh fucking hell how did I miss that?” simulator ever, and the base assault is glorious.

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