365 Games To Play Before You Die - #28-31: Current Gen Games

365 Games To Play Before You Die


A couple of newer games today which I consider to be future classics.

Previous 5 Games

#23: DOOM
#24: MDK
#25: The Operative: No One Lives Forever
#26: Far Cry
#27: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter


 

#28: Braid

Platform(s): XBLA, PC and PSN (eventually)
Release: 2008
Developer(s): Number None
Best Quote: 'Now we are all sons of Bitches'
GB Wiki Page

When Braid fist came out and everybody was giving it rave reviews and saying how it proves gaming is an art form I was bit skeptical. Even Ryan's 5 star review didn't have me fully convinced and I still thought that Braid looked too pretentious. A year later the game was released on PC and I thought it was time to see if people were overhyping something that actually wasn't that great. Now I'm ready to admit that I was wrong in doubting all those people. Mostly.

Braid is truly a special game. It doesn't force itself to be something it's not to appeal to a mass audience and it's a game which is telling the story, what the story actually is about is left to the interpretation of the player. What elevates Braid from other games with great stories is that the gameplay is intrinsically tied to the plot and that is something which isn't seen much.

People go on about Braid as the 'art' game (along with the two other most commonly refereed to 'art' games: Shadow of the Colossus and BioShock) but to me it doesn't really matter. That's because it's just an amazing experience which weaves story with gameplay so seamlessly and is still a great puzzle game.
 
 
 

#29: Left 4 Dead

Platform(s): PC and Xbox 360
Release: 2008
Developer(s): Valve
Best Quote: 'Pills here!'
GB Wiki Page

Controversial? Not really. Too soon? Not soon enough. Left 4 Dead may be less then a year old and getting a sequel in a few months but it has already become one of my all time favourite games. It's games based on zombies (infected if you want to be accurate), which everybody loves and it's in co-op, the most fun way to play a game.

L4D is just the perfect co-op game. Each character is instantly recognisable and so are all of the boss infected with there individual groans and screeches. The levels may not be very long but with AI director you get different experience. Even now I still get surprised at what's thrown at me as it never happened before.

I'm also excited for Left 4 Dead 2. It may be a year since the original's release but it looks like Valve are adding a substantial amount of new content and completely relocating the game, which sounds great to me.

 

#30: Mass Effect

Platform(s): Xbox 360 and PC
Release: 2007
Developer(s): BioWare
Best Quote: Asari Councillor: Commander, Is this some kind of game? Are you calling in a report just so you can cut us off again?
                      Commander Shepard: You know it.
                       [disconnects communication]
                      Joker: That never gets old, does it?
GB Wiki Page

BioWare know there RPGs and they know how to make a good story to, as seen in KOTOR. So it's no surprise that Mass Effect is one of, if not the, best RPGs fo this generation. It has all the BioWare staples from player choice to an engaging story and very fleshed out world (seriously, I gave up on the codex and reading all the planet descriptions but it's nice that it's there).

I'm always attracted to a game with a good story so ME was game that immediately drew me in so when I got my 360 it was one the first games I picked up. As in other BioWare game you get choices over your actions but this time they have a much more direct impact over your story and the character involved. That's my favourite part of ME, seeing how your actions effect the course of your adventure.

Another big reason that I picked up ME was the fact that your story would carry over to Mass Effect 2. I haven't seen many games do this so I really hope that this turns out to be something substantial and not just that my character model is the same. I'm currently on my second playthrough and the recent signs of new dlc is good for me as I'm trying to reach level 60 and a lot of side missions can get repetitive (I've got Bring Down the Sky and even that just feels like a longer version of an ordinary side mission) so this will help me on my way.

 

#31: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360, PS3, DS and soon on Wii
Release: 2007
Developer(s): Infinity Ward
Best Quote: 'Cost of a single B-2 Bomber: $2.2 Billion'
GB Wiki Page

What's there to say. You've all probably played this game already because it sold over 13 million copies and it's a brilliant FPS. While the other Call of Duties were fun COD4 took the series to bigger and better places by having a fast paced story and engaging multiplayer mode.

I only really played the single player part of the game because the multiplayer aspect was not the kind I like, not to say that it's bad because it's use of levelling up and perks are cool features. The single player itself was enough to satisfy me. It's so relentlessly fast paced and before you know it your in another country playing a different character but still have a hell of a lot of fun. The variation in levels is also perfect. While you have most of the normal run and gun section there's also the memorable guile suite level and the just as memorable bomber section.

While I still prefer FPSs like Half-Life to the COD series it's still an amazing game and I can't complain when other games are using it as a mold because I'd rather they copy COD4 then some other crappy game.

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365 Games To Play Before You Die - #25-27: FPS's

365 Games To Play Before You Die


Today it's all FPS's with three gems from years past.

 
Previous 5 Games

 
 
 

#25: The Operative: No One Lives Forever

Platform(s): PC, PS2 and Mac
Release: 2000
Developer(s): Monolith
Best Quote: 'You look like you need a monkey!'
GB Wiki Page

Who would have thought, a funny first person-shooter! Well No One Lives Forever (NOLF) manages it with style. You play as secret agent Cate Archer who works for UNITY, an anti-terror organisation who aim to keep world peace. After a series of operative assassinations Cate is given the task of finding out what's going and her investigations lead to her to the conclusion that the aptly-named H.A.R.M organisation is behind it all. Now she must infiltrate and stop them before they take over the world. Don't worry, it's funnier then it sounds.

NOLF perfectly combines the cool gadgets and stylishness of James Bond with the ridiculousness and absurdity of Austin Powers to make a unique experience. The game is set in the 1960s and all the locations fit this just perfectly. Gadgets are also used too with tools varying from a cigarette lighter/blow torch to a robotic poodle.
 

 

#26: Far Cry

Platform(s): PC
Release: 2004
Developer(s): Crytek
Best Quote: None
GB Wiki Page

Far Cry was Crytek's first game and they probably couldn't ask for a better way to start their careers. Obviously the game is well known for it's graphics, which were way better then anything else at the time, (a trend Crytek continued with Crysis) but the actual FPS part was great too.

The game wasn't your typical linear shooter and gave you an open island to play around with. You could choose to take your enemies head-on or in some cases bypass the completely. AI was also a feature that was the best of its time and your enemies could be pretty intelligent and brutal at times.

While I've yet to play Far Cry 2 I can only hope it took the strong points of the original and improved upon them.
 

 

#27: Serious Sam: The First Encounter

Platform(s): PC
Release: 2002
Developer(s): Croteam
Best Quote: 'My flaming fists of fury will destroy you fiend! Ha ha ha...oh God, who writes this stuff?' (don't remember which game in the series this is from but it doesn't matter)
GB Wiki Page

Now this is not a serious game (no pun intended). Serious Sam is just about blowing enemies away with your vast amounts of weapons. Enormous levels, tons (and that really means tons) of enemies and huge (again that really means huge, just look at this) bosses. It's just a blast to play and that is why everybody should play it before they die.

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365 Games To Play Before You Die - #24: MDK

365 Games To Play Before You Die


Previous 5 Games



#24: MDK

Platform(s): PC, Mac and PS1
Release: 1997
Developer(s) Shiny
Best Quote: 'Flange Orbits'
GB Wiki Page

Why does no one ever talk about this game? MDK is easily one of the most original third person shooters that I've ever played but it seems that nobody else has even heard about this game. Developed by Shiny (of Earthworm Jim fame) the game has you playing as Kurt Hectic, a humble janitor and a fan of Goulash who ends up in an absurd (but hilarious) story to save the world.

Graphically MDK was nothing less then state-of-the-art at the time it was released and is one of the games that hasn't been affected by time. The game was mainly a third person shooter but it had tons of variety and several gameplay types throughout, the best of them being the stream riding sequences.

I've said it many times before but you don't find original IPs that often these days so it's a breath of fresh air when something like MDK comes along. A game which truly breaks the mold and doesn't rely on game clichés or tired old gaming conventions. Games need to think for themselves and this is one that does.

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365 Games To Play Before You Die - #21-23

365 Games To Play Before You Die


Previous 5 Games

 


#21: Advance Wars

Platform(s): GBA
Release: 2001
Developer(s): Intelligent Systems
Best Quote: Can't remember
GB Wiki Page

I never owned a GBA so when I got my DS I went back and played many games that I'd missed out on. Advance Wars was one of those games. I heard lots of people saying great things about it so I was eager to give it a try. For those who haven't played it AW is a turn-based strategy game in which you control an army.

Strategy is definitely needed if you want to complete the game as a wrong move can cause you a lot of problem. What I really liked about the game was how vibrant and colourful everything was, it really makes the game more fun to play. While I never finished AW the story was also a part of the game I liked as it wasn't predictable, from as far as I'd played. I've been meaning to play the latest games in the series which came out for the DS but it's a game where you have to play for quite a while but the DS isn't the system which I spend a lot of time on.
 

 

#22: Sonic the Hedgehog

Platform(s): Mega Drive, Master System, XBLA, VC, iPhone and GBA
Release: 1991
Developer(s): Sonic Team
Best Quote: None
GB Wiki Page

He may be nothing compared to his original self these days but Sonic is still one of the most iconic gaming mascots of all time and it's all because of this game. Sonic the Hedgehog was 'edgier' and had more of an 'attitude' compared to Nintendo owned rival but most importantly he was in good platformers (until Sonic & Knuckles at least).

The best part of Sonic is the speed and the ability to race through levels. It was handy that the levels themselves were well designed so that you could go fast. That's what made Sonic fun and it's so frustrating that we have to suffer through endless bad games in the series just because Sonic Team wants to try out crappy new ideas. I just can't understand why they don't stick to what makes Sonic what it is.
 


#23: DOOM

Platform(s): PC, XBLA, PS1, iPhone, SNES and several others
Release: 1993
Developer(s): id Software
Best Quote: None
GB Wiki Page

This is the granddaddy of all FPSs (well technically it's Wolfenstein 3D but this was better and more popular). A true classic DOOM had all the things that modern shooters have but before they became generic: It had a space marine as the main character, it had demons, it had big guns, it had multiplayer, it had mods and most importantly it was all in three-dimensions.

DOOM isn't just great because of it's legacy. It's and FPS which hold up to this day, maybe not graphically (which still looks ok) but in terms of what actually matters - the gameplay. No wonder the game is still doing well on services such as XBLA, it just goes to show that if you focus on your game mechanics you can make a timeless product which will be fun more then a decade after its release.

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365 Games To Play Before You Die - #18-20: Free Games

365 Games To Play Before You Die


Not all good games have to be bought or cost money. Today I going to list three of my favourite flash/downloadable games that I've played. I think a lot of people assume that all flash games are crappy, badly designed games but that's only true for some of them. There are loads of brilliant free online game on the web so I recommend people to check out jayisgames.com which is a brilliant site and is the best place to find about new online games. They update daily so there's always something new to play.

Previous 5 Games

 


#18: Knytt

Platform(s): PC
Release: 2006
Developer(s): Nifflas ( Nicklas Nygren)
Best Quote: None
GB Wiki Page
Game Site

Knytt is all about atmosphere. You play as a Knytt (a small humanoid creature) who has been abducted by aliens whose UFO subsequently crashes on an unknown planet. Know you must recover all the pieces of the ship so that you can return home. The game is a platformer and your only controls are running, jumping, climbing walls and shining a light which shows you your nearest item (similar to Shadow of the Colossus).

The game is purposefully minimalist and it works really well. There is some ambient background music which works well and all the backgrounds are really beautiful as they create the mood for this strange planet. There are some other animals in the world but apart from them your basically alone in your quest to get back home. This adds to feeling of exploration, adventure and isolation as you're a little person who has big task accomplish.

It doesn't matter if you just play for five minutes because the game is more about the experience then actually 'winning'. 


#19: Grow Cube

Platfrom(s): PC
Release: 2005
Developer(s): ON
Best Quote: None
GB Wiki Page (needs to be deleted - flash game)
Game Site

This is a game that I'm really not sure how to describe. In the centre you have a cube and on the sides you have different panels with objects in them. You click all the panels once and every time you do it affects the cub in some way. The most important thing is the order you use the objects in as there is only one correct solution. Confused? Just play the game.

The best part about Grow Cube (or any of the Grow games for that matter) is that even if you select things in the wrong order you'll still get a unique result each time. It's experimenting with all the different combinations which really makes the game fun. Grow Cube is just one of the several Grow games which are all available on ON's website, eyezmaze.
 

#20: Winterbells

Paltform(s): PC
Release: 2006
Developer(s): Ferry Halim
Best Quote: None
Game Site

A common theme with all the games today's blog is simplicity. That is Winterbells' greatest feature and why it's one of the best flash games I have ever played. Clcik once to make the rabbit jump and then move your mouse to make him hit the bells. The more bells he hits the higher his score get and peridically a bird will fly across the screen, hitting it will double your score. Simple.

The thing that really drew me to the game is how polished and well designed it is. The music is soothing and the art style is elegant. It's just a very well made game. You might think that I'm a bit crazy to like such a small and simple game but that's what I love about it. I can come back to it at any time and instantly become engaged.

This is just one of a number of great game from Ferry Halim who is an amazing flash game designer. His Orsinal site is full of little gaming gems such as A Dog For All Seasons, Sunny Day Sky and Cats, to name a few.

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365 Games To Play Before You Die - #16: The Movies & #17: Tropico

365 Games To Play Before You Die


A double dose of management games today.

Previous 5 Games

 


#16: The Movies

Platform(s): PC and Mac
Release: 2005
Developer(s): Lionhead
Best Quote: Nothing in particular but the background radio DJ's were all funny.
GB Wiki Page

Lionhead has a good history with management sims (as Bullfrog) but I was still quite surprised with the quality of The Movies. Part lot management games part machinima maker, The Movies puts you in charge of a movie studio and lets you loose to your own devices.

The management part of the game is the best part and plays just how you want it to. You're constantly juggling the needs of your stars with the upkeep of you lot and if you can get it right you'll have the cash and kudos as a reward. The games biggest problem is the gap between the machinima making and the rest of the game. To create a a good movie your going to have to spend a lot of time tinkering around with the tools and that doesn't flow with the rest of the game. The tools they give you are great but again require hefty time investment if you want to actually do something decent with them.
 
To me The Movies is one of those good games which people never seem to talk about. It came and went and many people never took notice when they really should have. If you ever get a chance you should check it out.
 


#17: Tropico

Platform(s): PC and Mac
Release: 2001
Developer(s): PopTop
Best Quote: None
GB Wiki Page

Everyone has to admit that they would love playing as a dictator. Having full control over your populace and controlling there every move is the best part of Tropico. Even though you can choose to play honourable elected politician that isn't the most fun route in this game.

Tropico also had a vibrant Caribbean setting which wasn't used much in games, apart from those with pirates. The music also fit with the theme perfectly and added to the authentic Cuban feel. I'm looking forward to Tropico 3 as I never played the second game but I feel like getting into the series again.

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365 Games To Play Before You Die - #14 and #15

365 Games To Play Before You Die


Well I've got no real excuse for not posting a game yesterday except for laziness.

Previous 5 Games

 

 

#14: Worms Armageddon

Platform(s): PC, PS1, N64, Dreamcast, Mac and GBC
Release: 1999
Developer(s): Team17
Best Quote: Hallelujah!
GB Wiki Page

Everybody loves worms (or at least they should). It's a game that even if everything goes wrong and you make a catastrophic mistake you're still enjoying yourself, it's a game where any can learn how to play in a couple of minutes and it's a game where you're never quite sure what's going to happen next.

I chose Armageddon because it was the Worm's game which I probably played the most but all of them (except the 3D ones) are just as fun and offer the same gameplay. The best aspect of the worms game is the variety of destructive weapons from the classic that is the Holy Hand Grenade to the just as classic Super Sheep, all the weapons cause massive damage and all the weapons can end up killing you by accident.

I hadn't played a Worms game in a while so I downloaded Worms 2: Armageddon on XBLA and was re-hooked. As with several other games on this list local multiplayer is a big reason that I played the games. Worms was no different and it's great fun with a large group.
 

 

#15: Lemmings

Platform(s): Everything
Release: 1991
Developer(s): DMA Design
Best Quote: None
GB Wiki Page

You know after two weeks I sometimes can't be asked to write two decent paragraphs on every game on this list, so I'm not going to. This game's quite fun and there's not much more to say.

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Alan Wake

Well it was never given a proper 09 release date but I'd still like to have played it this year.

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365 Games To Play Before You Die - #13: Lylat Wars (Star Fox 64)

365 Games To Play Before You Die


Previous 5 Games




#13: Lylat Wars (Star Fox 64)

Platform(s): Nintendo 64
Release: 1997
Developer(s): Nintendo
Best Quote: I know what you're all thinking but I'm not going to use it
GB Wiki Page

Surprisingly this is the first Nintendo game to make it on to my list but it's definitely one of my favourites. Lylat Wars (as it was called in PAL territories and what I've always referred to it as) was one of several N64 that I played with my brothers and cousins in 4-player multiplayer. Even though you had tiny space on the screen to see your character (and TVs were much smaller then) you could still clearly tell what was happening and everyone just went into their own zone. We endlessly played the Battle Royale mode over all the others as we liked each other being killed off rather then winning by any other means.

The single player was also great and not if only because of the voice acting. All the characters had voices that suited them perfectly (even if some were annoying) and all of them were delivered perfectly. I also wanted to get the highest medals in all the levels so I could unlock the extra multiplayer elements as, if you haven't realised, that was the biggest part of the game to me.

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