After a couple years of writing and games that I thought I might not have expressed just how much fun they were, comes the hardest article to write that I have ever posted. My top 25 games of all time. There are so many games that when I thought about it, could be anywhere from 10 to 20. My top 3 is set in stone, with a few titles having the power to punch their way into my top 5. That said these are all games have sired nostalgia, was just to fun to put down, or just been a great stress reliever. Either way all of these games are memorable to me. As in all “top” lists, this is purely my opinion. I’m sure I’m leaving out games that others would put in, and with playing so many over the years on different platforms I could leave out some I’d still wholeheartedly recommend. Here they are.
If there is something the old Bioware team could do, it is write a story. This game created a fantasy world full of memorable events and characters. Mages are powerful allies but need to be contained, templars are the defacto policeman of them and capable fighters in their own right, and the dwarves and elves were used as saw fit. The blight is upon you, and the I dare say if you played this game before watching or reading Lord of the Rings you would consider LotR a knockoff. Superbly well done in all aspects, this semi-open world is full of great lore and loot to be had, and deserves a mention as a must play game. Inquisition tries its best but just can’t measure up to the bar set with Origins.
I love platformers, electronica/chiptunes, and pixel graphics. This is the culmination of everything done right together. It is hard, challenging, fun and super rewarding when you see your time on top of your friends leaderboard. This is the best platformer I’ve played since Mario at the time, only being challenged by the likes of Electronic Super Joy. (which has an even BETTER soundtrack btw)
This one is a favorite of my brother, and playing together was pure bliss. One of the first fully fledged mech games with great mechanics. Interchangeable parts, weapons and stats, the early mech culture of Japan made a great game come to the west.
This is my list, so my choice of favorite Final Fantasy goes to X-2. It was the First FF game I played, and loved every minute of it. I am somewhat of a completionist, and getting all the dresspheres and weapons was a ton of fun. I loved to experiment with different playstyles, and the effects and combos were fun and never got old. Also Yojimbo can get erased from history for all I care with that 1 hp leaving move…
Hack n Slash games are great when they are done great, and this one was fantastic. Games that go for quirky humor fail so frequently, it was refreshing to see one that made you chuckle every time instead of grimace. Watching Dante go at it with brother Virgil was fun. It has some great cgi cutscenes of epic battles between them. The boss battles were memorable, and when you defeated them they became a weapon of their particular type of power. This is a superb game, and Jester was by far my favorite character.
Confession. I love singleplayer games. I love a story, and feel this is the primary reason games should be made. Halo 1 was classic in all reguards, but I actually loved the multiplayer almost as much as singleplayer, and that is a lot. Halo 2 did not disappoint, nor did 3. Then I played Reach. The ending is one of the sole reasons this game is on this list. Something about fighting a losing battle makes the trip all that more memorable.
Wow having to pick just one Assassins Creed game is brutal. I love this iconic series. Even more ironically is the fact that my favorite Assassins Creed game is more of an open world pirate adventure than it is an Assassins Creed game. Still this is the most fun I’ve had since the first one, and I’ve been a fan ever since. The latest entry AC Syndicate was great as well. Check out our reviews for both here: http://fg-2.com/2014/04/14/review-assassins-creed-iv-black-flag/ http://fg-2.com/2017/04/01/review-assassins-creed-syndicate/
I love space, fps, ships and Star Wars. Guess what, another game with a combination of elements I love in a wonderful and memorable package. Taking control of Luke, Vader and Yoda were epic, and the space battles. Oh the space battles. This is another title my brother and later my sister had tons of fun shooting each other with. This is the first loss I ever took in a game from my brother. I will never forget, I will never forgive. Empire at War deserves a mention being great from a spacefleet building/battle aspect as well.
I love open world games, where you can go anywhere and do anything. Now Mercenaries 2 wasn’t realistic by any means, but the arcade run and gun just worked. The call-in artillery strikes and bomb strikes were the bread and butter of this game. The amount of vehicles and aircraft available was fantastic, and I still launch this game from time to time. Look for it on Origin maybe in the “On the House” category from time to time. Also the vehicle detection system was great, where you were disguised in a vehicle of the faction you are around unless you did something to stand out. Current games should take cues from this *cough cough GhostRecon Wildlands*
While Resident Evil may have departed from the true horror part of the series (I mean besides the controls ZING) Resident Evil 4 did a fantastic job of toeing the line with equal bits of scares and action oriented gameplay. Widely reguarded as the best entry of the series, I put over 100 hours into this one, and maybe another 100 after unlocking the Suit/TommyGun/infinite ammo combo. I had a great time with 5 and 6as well, but Resident Evil 7 is an amazing comeback for the horror aspect and warrants your attention.
Continuing with the open world theme, Far Cry 2 is still my favorite entry in the series. I really liked the friend system, as simplistic as it was. I loved the freedom to attack from any angle, with any weapon I saw fit. I’d often reenact the movie Sniper, taking the outposts out from afar. When that didn’t wipe them all I’d take to stealth, and finally rushing in with my favorite close quarters or melee weapon when the final enemy realized his doom. The map was fairly large for its time, and had unique terrain to navigate and ways to do it, my favorite being the hang glider. Far Cry 3 had the best antagonist in Vaas, which may have been the best all time in personality and voice acting. 4 was good and Primal is unique and worth a look as well.
I have never been a big fan of mmos. Not until Guild Wars. This game intrigued me, again, with the open world combat aspect. It had a massive game world, a good story, and great combat. This is where I first learned to like the multiplayer aspect of games (online multiplayer outside of sports titles) I joined a guild, and actually logged over 2k hours in this game all together. I don’t like spending too much time on one game, because of so many games out there I want to try. (my game count is over 5,000, with 4k of those on Steam alone) I even tried to play THIS game singleplayer at first, which you can almost do using the games “heroes and henchman”. However I quickly discovered guild events and build strategies could actually be fun. Guild Wars 2 continues this tradition of innovative gameplay and fun, although I don’t get as much time to dedicate to a single game these days.
Starting with Tecmo Bowl and all following, I loved this game. 2 was the one with “super graphic cutscenes” with receivers skying in the air for the ball, or receivers jumping over the goal line for a touchdown. Another title I played countless games with my dad and brother. This game had all the current NFL players and stats. Not to mention at the time when my 49ers still had the best receiver ever in Jerry Rice. I was thrilled with its state of the art graphics for the time and great gameplay. I was sneaking this game in before school instead of sleeping.
I honestly feel sorry for people who can’t include classics in their top 25. I might be showing my age a bit but playing games in this revolutionary era just gives me an appreciation for newer games and how far we’ve come. SMB3 was great in every way. I still can hear the music to this game vividly, and see the world themes. Sky world number 5 being my favorite, and bouncing around in that green boot. Mario 3 holds a special place in my heart, altho I can still remember every warp in SMB2 and every hidden key in Super Mario World, which made the Mario competition close.
This game is one of many that proves solid gameplay is required to make a great game, state of the art graphics is not. This game has a solid empire building aspect, and domination has never felt so rewarding. Probably due to the fact that it takes time. Sure you can cheat and move around instantly, but playing the game as intended requires careful maneuvering and a lot of time. Either by starting as a vassal for another empire, taking up someone’s lost throne and taking over, to starting with your own horse and banner, taking over midieval Calradia is a ton of fun. The castle sieges, tournament jousting and keeping your units and vassals happy is a unique challenge. There have been a ton of mods to keep it fresh. Check out some of them here .
Having Half Life 2 this far down the list is surprising even for me, saying something of how hard a list like this is to settle on. This isn’t truly open world but it sure feels like it. The story and scope of this game is amazing. Gordon Freeman is a known on the internet to non-gamers. That tells you something. It is a revolutionary story-driven physics based masterpiece. I mean Garrys Mod still has 41 thousand daily players, that tells you all you need to know. Speedrunning this game is amazing as well, and will be the next reason I revisit this title.
Another great combination of gameplay and story. The Project Aces team is an internal development team at Namco Bandai responsible for all Ace Combat titles since 2001. They took the early great games in the series and basically incorporated a great story around that gameplay. Deciding on Ace Combat 0 over other iconic games in the series such as 4 and 5 is based on your teammate turned antagonist Pixy. The series also has a tradition of story advancing cutscenes, flying fortress bosses, and any game in the series you can pick up I can guarantee you will have fun with.
This may surprise more than a few that my favorite game in the series is 2. I loved the quirkiness of everything from the camera pics you upload (there is some suggestive material that gets snide remarks by Otacon) to the off the wall comments by the Colonel. Kojima was praised for the making of a “postmodern” game, with an intricate storyline exploring social, philosophical and cyberpunk themes. Touches of information control, coverups, conspiracy theories, censorship and the manipulation of free will are conveyed, and even though it had lengthy dialogue sections I never felt it disrupted the gameplay. I thought it added to the experience. The best part of the game for me was when it faked the “game over” screen during the wonky AI section, where you could continue playing. Check it out here .
The third installment of the Bioshock series continues the fun gameplay of the first two in the series and adds a AAA story to the mix. The gameplay was really unique as well with the skyhook and being able to leap around the fictional steampunk nation of Columbia, held suspended in the air by quantum levitation. Your interactions with the rescued Elizabeth make this, for me, the most memorable of any game companion. This is a game about choice, and consequences. I was simply amazed as the beauty of the story when it unfolded. I watched a well known gamer and streamer actually start crying when she realized what happened. That made me realize what an impact a game can have, and that it can truly be considered an artform. Our review is here .
There are very few gaming franchises that have a following quite like Mass Effect. When community outcries can actually change a game, you know it has a following. They created a complete masterpiece in universe, story, characters, and protagonist. The story was great, the interaction of everyone and the choices you were faced with had a real impact on the game. You are trying to do the impossible, gathering support and resources along the way. And if you don’t do enough guess what? You won’t survive. This is one of the games that you want to revisit from time to time just to relive the joy that you had from the very first launch.
Counter Strike 1.6 was the first game I ever played competitively. The most adrenaline rush I’ve ever had from a game at the time was in the Cal-im tournament. (you might have to google that one RIP) This is the game that actually got me into PC gaming. I still remember the box art. Yes you read that correctly the box art. “Counter-Strike, its like a drug” I would play this game for literally hours on end, for days in the summer of my knee surgery. It was a fantastic distraction to a miserable summer. I made great friends under a great community of Hotel California.
Fallout 3 is one of the greatest adventures in gaming history, only possibly eclipsed by the number 2 game in my list. This iconic game has been played over 1,000 hours across Playstation, Xbox and finally PC for me. Where Fallout 4 is a prettier game, Fallout 3 will be my favorite for the content and thought Besthesda put into this game. In every corner, sometimes far away from any main or side quests will be a story. From a dead NPC of each faction outside a stronghold, to a skeleton at a locked door with an edition of “Tumblers Today” and bobby pins, there is so much content and thought this game is a delight to play.
Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past
I don’t know if people realize the effort put into this game for the massive size at the time of release. Everything from lightworld to darkworld, bosses, items, to the iconic soundtrack, Link to the Past holds a special place in my heart and the hearts of many Legend of Zelda fans alike. One of the first games I ever sank a tremendous amount of time in, and quite the delight to play. After all the problems I had beating this game as a kid, the first finish felt super rewarding a couple years after my first launch of the game. Now I’ve found a whole new reason to play… The tremendous speedrunning community it has. Shoutouts to https://www.twitch.tv/xelna for the current world record, and if you want to get into this look at https://www.twitch.tv/speedgaming and http://www.speedrun.com/The_Legend_of_Zelda . LttP will forever hold my #1 spot in the franchise, with the Minish Cap and Wind Waker close behind.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The choice of TES Oblivion over Skyrim for me is obvious. Story and content. The sheer size of this open world adventure is impressive. I think I ran around for hours before even completing one main mission. This game set the bar for Skyrim so high because of the guild quests. The warriors guild, mages guild, thieves guild and dark brotherhood quests are so thought out and involved they could be their own expansion. Speaking of expansions, the Shivering Isles could be the best DLC of any game all time. Sheogorath was a fantastic character. Oblivion mods are also rampant, and again check out http://www.nexusmods.com/oblivion/?
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl
Never have I been so impressed by a game in my life. This game has an innovative “A-Life, emergent AI” , where NPC’s carry on their lives in this dangerous 60km exclusion zone outside of the Chernobyl NPP after the 1986 disaster and meltdown. You start as a “STALKER”, or someone who navigates the zone in search of artifacts to sell or fame and fortune, just trying to survive. And their are a ton of things trying to kill you. If it’s not the other factions in the game or scientists that need your help, it’s the Mutants. Oh boy. Play this game in the dark at night. The best way to describe this game is Counter-Strike meets Fallout meets a fictional Chernobyl aftermath masterpiece. The sheer terror of the sounds alone is unnerving, adding the traits of telekinesis, invisibility, or size and force, these things will give you nightmares. All with their own habitats and lives, which will quickly try to take your own. Each area in this open world classic has a certain misery and charm to it, and the fantastic Stalker 2009 complete mods by Pavel Dolgov only enhance this. Check it out here .
Never have I had so much difficulty with an article. Honorable mentions go to TMNT: Turtles in Time, Rocket League, Life Force, Battlefield 3, Max Payne 2, Kingdoms of Amalur, Grand Theft Auto 4, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Borderlands, Witcher 3, Street Figher 2 Turbo, Neverhood, Elite Dangerous, Heavenly Sword, Dead Space, Just Cause 2, Tomb Raider, Saints Row 4, Wolfenstein TNO, and Empire Earth. There are several titles which fell just outside my top 25 list. Think there is a glaring omission? Drop me a line and let me know.