By RayCarter 2 Comments
I've been gone for way too long. School, sports, school drama all jammed me out of the Giantbombverse. But thankfully it's New Year's Eve (at least in my hometown of Hong Kong SAR) and since it's the last year of the first decade of 2010, and that it's my last year of high-school before getting whisked off to Claremont, California for university, I've decided to post my top 10 games that I've ever played.
Two things before I move on:
1. This list is obviously very very flawed. I am your typical suburban gamer who can't play everything because of a tight budget and lack of time. So sorry, no Mass Effect 2, no Halo Reach, no Bayonetta, no super top-tier games because I haven't played them yet. If you want to know, I think I do have a good top 10, although I don't think any of these games could be considered to be timeless classics.
2. This Top 10 list is not in any order whatsoever. These games stand out above the rest of the pack, but I am not ready to compare each other just yet.
OK, here it goes. Go ahead and blast this list all you want : )
10. Resonance of Fate (XBOX 360)
This is actually a very very late entry; I only started to play it on Boxing Day 2010, the same time when I have myself my first console (XBOX 360). But it only took me a short amount of time to realize that Resonance is pretty special. I love the main threesome, with Nolan North's Vashyron leading the way. I also like the steampunk atmosphere of Basel. Oh, and the combat system is one of the most complex and most rewarding systems I've ever seen. The game is also long too (I've played through half the game and already sucked in 20 hours), Without a doubt, I was glad to buy Resonance of Fate as a starting game for my XBOX 360 (along with Lost Planet 2) and its entrance to my Top 10 in such short notice speaks volumes about its superior quality. RPG fans, make way for Resonance of Fate!
9. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (Nintendo DS)
Days of Ruin is a bastard child in terms of story. The developers decided to supplant a rough gritty story in place of the colorful, happy-go-lucky COs and their lame "Let's make friends and defeat some gothic black-coated jerks" storyline. To tell you the truth, that's my favorite part of Days of Ruin. The complete shift helped the story to usher forward and improve by leaps and bounds, and as a result I connect so much more readily with the characters (Brenner in particular). I also loved the way the game also made improvements and changes to the gameplay formula, by adding new units and reducing the CO power mechanic to force players to play more methodically and strategically. All in all, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a more complete package than its predecessors, as its story puts the game above previous installments.
8. Pokemon Crystal (Gameboy Color)
Ah yes, good ol' Pokemon. I've played everything up to the Emerald Version, but there's still no doubt that Pokemon Crystal is top dog. OK, so there's no Rayquaza, Kyogre and Groudon, but there certainly are some staples in Crystal that stayed put. For its limitations, Pokemon Crystal is the best at using its tech to its maximum potential in terms of presentation. The selection of male/female trainers, the animated battle cries the Pokemon make before they fight and the more cohesive story are all staples that future installments respected. Besides being an awesome game in its own right, thanks to great freedom of experimentation and ridiculous replay value, Pokemon Crystal is a positive trend-setter for the rest of the franchise. That's what separated it from other Versions (like its Gold/Silver counterparts).
7. KOF EX 2: Howling Blood (Gameboy Advance)
To this day, I still cannot understand why Gamespot would put Street Fighter II Revival Ahead of this game. KOF EX2 is better in almost every way possible: The number of characters, the graphics, the fluidity of the fighting animations are only a couple of great touches that helps make KOF EX2 a serious consideration for best fighting game for the Gameboy Advance. EX2 also resolved most of the problems found in EX1: Neo Blood, and typically improving off a sequel by leaps and bounds isn't an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. KOF EX2 for best fighting game for GBA. Down with Street Fighter!! OK, sorry I got carried away....
6. Megaman Zero (Gameboy Advance)
The duo of Zero and Ciel is one of my favorite pairings of all time. How different could you get between compassionate, surrogate mother Ciel and the cold, independent killing machine Zero? As I've stated in my review, I wished their relationship would be much, much more developed (much to the chagrin of Iris fans), but regardless, if you have good characters you stand a chance to get some attention. Of course, what will attract you to this game is not its story but its gameplay. It is ultra smooth and a very good challenge for those who like that sort of game. Graphics are also tops, especially the animations of Zero and his movements. Once you have superior gameplay, great graphics, two really good characters and underrated depth, this game is a joy to play. It's good that Megaman Zero has now a collection, but I think that the now-dead series should be more mainstream in the Megaman saga. Uh, I'm still bawling over Zero's death at MZ4. WHY CAPCOM WHY????
5. League of Legends (PC)
League of Legends is my DOTA experience, and boy howdy it was a really good one. It was the first real game that I ever had involving strong teamwork and communication between teammates. Terms like rage quit, mia, oracle etc. are now part of my vocabulary since they are common terms when sending instand messages to comrades to stage an attack or set up a defense.LoL also has strong graphics (well except when things lag) and the characters are all extremely different and warrant different styles of play. There is probably something for everybody. LoL is a very strong interpretation/ upgrade over the already-popular DOTA, and since it is free to download/make an account there is no reason for anybody to shy away from this game.
4. Command and Conquer 3 (PC)
Probably the only game that could be considered to be a "game of the year" candidate for most game sites in its time (I believe that it's 2007), Command and Conquer 3 blew me away with its simplicity (harvest materials, mass units, attack), variety (3 factions, different play styles) and strategic complexities (managing resources, massing certain types of units in army, build order etc). The campaign for both GDI and Nod campaigns are relatively lengthy, filled with really really difficult missions. Add a Scrin campaign, some excellent production values, and some really good multiplayer components you get a really methodical RTS that could be considered second to none, and perhaps it could even be the height of the fabled Command and Conquer franchise. If only I could get Kane's Wrath as well for the expansion : (
3. Fire Emblem (GBA)
In of itself Fire Emblem plays out like a mini version of Advance Wars with more depth. The rock paper scissors approach of sword, spear and axes, coupled with the addition of flying units (pegasus, wyverns), magic with it's own stone paper scissors order (nature, dark magic, light magic) and terrain/cover mechanics and you've got yourself a relatively deep combat system. But that's not my most memorable part of Fire Emblem, impressive as it is. The story is what drove the experience home. This little GBA conquistador has the best story I've seen so far. This is a monumental achievement considering that its story and exposition come from text boxes. The characters are incredibly realistic and easily likable. A death of a character (that is permanent, by the way) is much more significant from both a strategic and personal/emotional level. This is why I've decided to not play Fire Emblem at least for the time being; The story is too much for me as it broke my heart time and again. But hell, it sure was a great time while it lasted.
2. Tekken Dark Resurrection (PSP)
If Howling Blood is my pick to go for the goal as the king of fighting games on the GBA, I hope that Tekken Dark Resurrection for the PSP will be outright fighting champ for the Playstation Portable. The game is terrific, thanks to a deep combat system, with each fighter owning over 50 moves to master. Graphics are also great, very similar to its PS2 counterpart Tekken 5. There is so much customization allowed for your characters from top to bottom. A gazillion characters, a gazillion storylines to unlock, and many gazillion more fighting moves to digest to get to the endings of said stories (unless you buy the endings). Tekken Dojo is a challenge and should be a must for any Tekken master. If there's one nit-picky snag for this awesome game, it's Tekken Bowl. It's moronic. But hey, why be so down on that when everything else is spon on or off the charts?
1. Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA)
Hands down, a brawler that expands the mash mentality with some open ended adventure (as flawed as it is). This is a brawler that also requires some thought, simply because the enemies are too good to be beaten by simple button mashing. Boss battles are superb; they have an epic feel and they push you and Astro to the brink. Probably one of the very few brawlers, in my opinion, that has a very good story to boot with the great combat; Astro is as believable a main protagonist as any other solo main characters I've seen in my young gaming career. Provided that the adventure is pretty long (way above the standards of a typical brawler) you can expect to have a great time from start to finish. You'll also have a difficult time; You'll die a lot. One more thing, if you're a big fan of Osamu Tezuka's works, be prepared for a lot of goodies because many of Tezuka's creations make an appearance in this game (Astro included of course).
There you go. This is my top 10 games that I've played in my young life. No, they aren't the best games ever, but I still had a great time with those games; One way or another they changed my life. Maybe you should try them!
As an extension, I want to thank all the games that I've played; most of you gave me much comfort and taught me that I should have fun with life and that life isn't all about getting good grades (yes, alma-mater-to-be CDNIS, I'm talking about you).
I want to thank my parents of course, for bringing me here, even when they don't agree with me all the time. RIP dad.
I want to thank Giantbomb.com as a medium for me to express myself concerning games
I want to thank my friends for supporting me from start to finish, encouraging me when things go poorly.
And for you guys who commented on my work, I thank you for your feedback so that I could be a better game reviewer
I want to thank some mentors: Guys in giantbomb.com (Jeff, Ryan, Brad, Drew, Vinny, Alex etc), Greg Kasavin, and Josh Davis (formerly Darknessthecurse and TheSaneRevelation). You guys are awesome!
OK, that about wraps things up. I hope everyone had a merry Xmas, and I hope that we will all have a happy new year after 2010.
Matthew Kwok aka "RayCarter"
Hong Kong SAR