My Favorite Games
Aside from #1, this list isn't in any particular order. It's just too difficult to compare games of different genres, and from different eras of video game development.
Aside from #1, this list isn't in any particular order. It's just too difficult to compare games of different genres, and from different eras of video game development.
The pinnacle for me. This game had excellent atmosphere, customization options in the form of plasmid and tonic layouts, memorable characters, and a fantastic story. The graphics and sound were also incredible.
w/ Immortal Throne. This game was a superb action RPG. This was the first game I played that allowed dual-classing. After gaining your first few levels, you would choose another class to couple with your first, and this allowed for interesting and potentially very powerful skill interactions. The locales in the game were interesting, and although I found the story of Diablo II to be more compelling, Titan Quest bests it in every other department. The ragdoll physics were tons of fun as well - nothing like hitting a level 1 enemy with your level 50 character to see them fly 30 feet away. I only wish I'd been able to jump on this train a bit earlier, as the community had dwindled by the time I began to play. It's a lot of fun to match your character against monsters of Greek mythos, such as Polyphemus the Cyclops or an enormous Hydra.
Extremely good first person shooter. The atmosphere was fantastic, and I found the story quite novel. The player learns the story through answering machines that are found throughout the game. Most notable here, though, is the fantastic gameplay. Everything feels and looks amazing - grenades exploding in slow-motion, the smoothness of gunfire and movement, and the creepiness of Alma. However, the game lacks real customization options.
The is the most incredible RTS I have experienced. The game takes nothing about itself seriously, which I absolutely love. The game manages to include a ton of interesting and powerful units, but maintains a decent balance between the Allies and the Soviets (the two factions). The mechanics are complex enough to maintain interest, but not so complex that micro-managing becomes a chore. You'll have time to step back and enjoy the chaos you've created, be it from your Terror Drones (small spiderlike machines built to dismantle enemy vehicles) or your Chrono Legionnaires (soldiers with the ability to teleport around and remove units or structures from the current timeline with a bizarre gun).
Most elements of this game are fairly mediocre, the exception being the story. Simply put, this game has a better story to tell than any other game I've played. To date, it is the only game that has ever made me shed a tear. The arc of the story resonates deeply with personal philosophies I hold dear. You owe it to yourself to play this game if you think of video games as an art form.
This is the only fighting game I've ever put a substantial amount of time into, and it was deep enough to sufficiently reward me. I watched videos of professionals playing in tournaments, and although I never learned to guard-impact as smoothly, I picked up some cool tricks. Voldo, Cervantes, Astaroth, and Seung Mina were my favorites. There was just so much to learn here, and there were as many different playstyles as there were players.
This game is hilarious, and I laughed out loud on multiple occasions. Not only that, but it is very solid first-person shooter as well. Graphics are crisp and gameplay is smooth, as the player actually feels like a femme fatale, at one point going toe-to-toe with ninja assassins. Let's also not forget the tricycle chase scene.
The first time I came down with a case of loot-lust. Antibiotics don't help, just incessant clicking of your right mouse button. All jokes aside though, the game had a pretty compelling story, and a deep skill tree for each class. It was extremely fun to get online with some of your friends and kill a few Demon Lords.
My first experience with bullet-time. It was love at first dodge-dive. And Remedy knew how much fun it was, as the last enemy you killed in each room flew against the wall in slo-mo. The story and style is fantastic, with the gritty crime noir atmosphere permeating the whole experience.
This game is a pretty enjoyable first-person shooter, but it really stood out in multiplayer. We met on mIRC, in #outlaws_players on the Undernet. We had dedicated servers, and a ladder. My handle was "shotgun_joe," so if there are any old Outlaws players wandering around, say "Howdy!" It might not have been the most balanced multiplayer, but it was certainly fun. You could also use the program "Lawmaker" to create your own detailed levels and play them with your friends.
Intense is the word for this experience. Forget guns or swords, let's use 2X4's and pipes to beat down our enemies! It never gets old either! Enemies react realistically, with feints and frustration. The story is also great, with the player in the shoes of Ethan Thomas, chasing down a copycat serial killer. I usually pay no attention to voice acting (unless it is atrocious), but the voice acting here was really fun.
There was a time when I replayed this entire series every year on a SNES emulator. This is such an incredible platformer. Some gamers love DKC2 for the addition of the DK coin, but I found the environments and playable characters more classic and entertaining in the original. This game also featured fun, shiny graphics, and some of the best game music I've ever heard.
Mario games are always somewhat cute and cuddly in my opinion, so it was quite a logical step to give me a baby Mario. This game had fun pastel graphics, and great, happy music that I still listen to from time to time. This game just had an offbeat uniqueness about it that made me fall in love. One of my favorite levels includes the "baseball boys," who attempt to hit or pitch your eggs back at you when you try to hit them. You usually have to come up with a way to bounce them in at odd angles to take them out.
I have some friends who are diehard Mario Kart 64 guys, but I just never really dug that incarnation. For one, I think that the 64 controller was pretty much the most awkward controller in history. This game just felt better to me. The powerslides were more natural, the turns were tighter, and it even gave you an option for your friends who might not play the game as often as you. They could take control of the second character, and bump other cars and concentrate on shooting turtle shells and dropping banana peels.
This game started a revolution. It was just so incredible. Unlike Vice City and San Andreas, Rockstar seemed to understand what made a game like this fun. No lame mini-helicopter missions, no trial and error to find the game's final mission. The radio stations were hilarious, the cars felt good and were fun to drive, and this game began many gamers' infatuation with seeing just how much destruction they could create until the cops brought them down. After I beat the game, I found it hilarious to put in a code to tighten the turning radius of your car, and knock cars off of bridges with the troop transport from the military base. Insane Stunt Jump bonus!
The game was every bit the masterpiece that the first game was. The first game was said to be too easy, because of vita-chambers, so 2K made this one harder. But then that's no good either, according to critics, because then you don't feel like a big daddy, with splicers kicking your ass. Whatever, 2K can't win. The story was fantastic, the characters were memorable, and the game was enjoyable. Your arsenal was particularly well-suited for the Little Sister defense sections, with trap rivets, proximity mines, trap spears, and mini-turrets. I had a lot of fun with these. Combat felt better, with the plasmids and weapon available simultaneously. Also, Minerva's Den is the best DLC I've ever played - hopefully it woke some players up to the work 2K Marin put into this title.
This is the best music game I've ever played, and Guitar Hero's first foray into including drums and vocals into it's titles. The setlist was incredible, including a great deal of non-english songs, all of which are catchy and enjoyable to play. Also, the forgiving way in which this game handles guitar solos makes no song an absolute chore. Also, this was the first title in the series to introduce a way to create your own songs and download songs created by others. This adds a great deal of replay value!
It will always be "Trenched" in my heart, regardless of copyright claims. This is the best downloadable title I've ever played. The humor was nuanced and entertaining, and the "trenches" offered endless customization. The co-op play was fantastic (if a bit easy), and some new levels were released with Rise of the Martian Bear. That DLC could use a bit more length, but I'll take more TRENCHED any way I can get it :).
Anyone who knows me knows that I love co-op. Portal 2 co-op was incredible, and enhanced by the free (!) DLC Peer Review. No other co-op game has put me in a situation where I needed to coordinate and communicate with my partner like this one. Add to this a solid single player campaign with characters like Cave Johnson and Wheatley, and you have a winner on your hands.
This is tower defense at its finest. The sheer number of valid ways you tackle each level is a testament to its genius. The game has a great difficulty curve, and levels are quite manageable. Of course, if you're quick with your mouse (I played this title on PC) you'll have an easier time at it, but Popcap succeeds at creating a title that is both immersive and accessible. The humor is wonderful as well, and the development team has quite an imagination. I also can't neglect to mention the absolutely insane amount of mini-games and challenges that the game features. This is the most game you can get for under 20 dollars.
For all of the issues that this game had, I still found it immensely enjoyable. This game is really at its best when you are sneaking around, coordinating ambushes and strikes with a friend, which you can do in the cooperative campaign or Hunter missions. Although the majority of the weapon choices are useless and sometimes the game attempts to purposely put you on the defensive (which feels awful), I've yet to find a game where sneaking around is as satisfying to me. I feel that this game provides you the environmental information to make solid tactical choices.
I have debated for a long time about whether to include this title. The action feels fantastic, and the game tells a fantastic story. However, at times the mood did not quite resonate with me - it went in this bizarre Twin Peaks-esque direction. However, the action and implications of the story led me to ruminate on different interpretations for weeks at a time.
At the time of this writing, this is the newest game on the list. I love any game that will make you think about its contents, and I got into conversations about this game with friends, co-workers, and even non-gamers. I've played no other game that attempted to engage with the player on such a core level (save perhaps Cryostasis, Bioshock, or Max Payne 3). The way that dialogue is directed at the player, as well as the ways you see the characters unravel within the story, is absolutely magnificent. Combine this with competent third person gameplay and a fantastic soundtrack, and you've got something really special on your hands.
Big shoutout to MajorMitch for turning me onto this gem. Klei does an absolutely incredible job of giving your character wonderful mobility and a tremendous amount of environmental information simultaneously. It will be a long time before I play another stealth game as good as this one, and it doesn't hurt that the game actually has quite a serviceable story.
Firaxis has done a tremendous job with this game, providing players with meaningful and interesting choices throughout. As a commander, you must decide how to allocate your limited resources in the base, and then how to approach a variety of different mission types in the field. This game rewards smart play, and allowed me to customize my team to fit my play style.
I recently had the opportunity to play through both this title and it's predecessor, and although I had many good memories with Saints Row 2, this is clearly the superior title. The clear vision that Volition had is evident, and the bugs that plagued the second iteration are absent. Apoc-a-fist is something that should be experienced by every gamer.
This is the game the won this series such an adoring following - and it's no wonder, you can't affect players on such an emotional level and then fail to deliver on all of your following iterations. Silent Hill 2 was an excellent psychological metaphor, and the demons of our psyche can be as deadly as any zombie or terrorist.
For a while I had Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on the list. That game delivered a great story, and changed the scope of the FPS genre. However, I recently went back to play Modern Warfare, and I noticed that the maps are often horrifically designed. Black Ops to me represents the best Call of Duty multiplayer experience out there. Each map is composed of many different entrances and exits, and many different guns are viable within the game. It remains the only Call of Duty game in which I actually used all of the loadout slots I was allotted. Also, either due to player health or gun recoil, it just takes a bit longer to put down an opponent. It possesses design decisions which play to the strengths of the series.
This game represents a magnificent achievement. In most games that are advertised as possessing character-depth, I feel as though I'm just learning more details given to me by the writer. In Gone Home, I felt as though I was learning more about a real individual. The house contains so many details that make it feel "lived in," which adds tremendously to the immersion. As a grown man, I often feel dismissive of the seemingly melodramatic lives of teenagers - however, Gone Home made that emotional world feel real for me again. The pain of exclusion, and the desire to be understood - this game deserves to be played.
This game has a wonderful feel to it, and reminds me of Mark of the Ninja in terms of stealth and level navigation. Although the gameplay does not present the same depth, Gunpoint possesses better music and a wonderful sense of humor. This is my game of the year, 2013.
After debating the merits of Bethesda's various offerings, I have decided that my favorite title is Fallout 3. I love the atmosphere, and feel that the perks really give my character a personality. The music is incredible, and I had a blast exploring post-apocalyptic DC.
This game is pretty much Resident Evil 4, v.2. The upgrade system is wonderful, the atmosphere is intense, and the story is more intriguing. Alone in space...that's some terrifying stuff.
When I first launched this game, it had been a while since I had been able to play an RTS title. However, it was extremely easy to get back into the groove, with the wonderful graphics, compelling characters and voice-acting present here, as well as a way to upgrade your units based on the particular play-style you lean towards. Only afterwards did I learn that the lead designer on this game, Dustin Browder, also developed my beloved Red Alert 2. What can I say? He knows what I like.
Only years after release did I get myself together enough to play through this title. I had many excuses, including the fact that I didn't typically prefer games with a space setting (pay no mind to Starcraft 2, Dead Space, or X-COM: Enemy Unknown listed above), and that I didn't want to deal with running a party in my RPG. However, these surface objections quickly fell to the side as I was exposed to some of the most interesting world-building (how interesting are the Elcor and the Geth!?) and questlines I've been able to play through in a game. I spent hours during and after my playthrough thinking through the dynamics of the different decisions I was asked to make. Of particular note are the loyalty missions of Jacob, Miranda, Mordin, and Tali. I now finding myself agreeing with the popular notion that Mass Effect 2 is one of the few titles written with adults in mind.
This game was an absolutely fantastic co-op gem. Different levels and challenges called for different characters and builds, and the game required close communication between yourself and your partner. I haven't been "forced" to work so closely with a partner since playing Portal 2. "He's attacking you through me!"
This was my favorite game I played this year (2015). I put something like 60 hours into it, playing through all of the content with a friend. Levels often required different strategies, and you would sometimes find yourself using items on your characters you would never have anticipated. It didn't hurt that the game had a fantastic sense of humor, and that Richard Garfield (of MtG fame) apparently had a hand in development. This is the best free-to-play experience I've ever had. I ended up buying additional content, but there is easily around 40 hours of fantastic content available initially. "GARY!"
When this game initially came out, a close friend told me I'd love it. Unfortunately, I was dismissive, because when I finally played this thing, I fell in love. I loved the different types of builds you could create with your army, and how the challenges encouraged you to readily experiment. The graphics and pacing of the game are also quite charming.
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