By ShadowVirus 26 Comments
I've been contemplating with this idea for a while, trying to figure out exactly what my favourite games ever are. And I decided as I turned 20 this year, it would be a good time to tell you my top games that I've played from the past 20 years. The following list may not exactly be the 20 best games ever, but they are my top games, my favourite games. A lot of the reasons why they're my favourite have to do with nostalgia and good memories of the game, not always gameplay. Also I should warn you, I do talk about spoilers in some of the following games.
So without further ado, here are my 20 favourite games I've ever played.
This is definitely not a great game, nor is it the best Sonic game, but its definitely one of my favourites due to the story, oh and also the Chao Garden. I spent so much time in that garden, even looking online to try and figured out what to feed to Chao to make the angel Chao, the devil Chao or the Sonic Chao. I probably spent most of my time playing this game in the Chao Garden, I loved taking care and raising each one of them.
But the reason this gets a place in my top 20 games is the story. The game is split in to two separate stories, good and evil. The good story features Sonic, Tails and Knuckles each in their own individual levels (The Knuckles levels were the worst! So were the Tails ones to be honest), and the evil story follows Dr. Robotnik (I refuse to call him Eggman) and the newly introduced Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat. If I remember the main story isn't great, Robotnik awakens the Ultimate Life Form a.k.a Shadow the Hedgehog, uses him to get the 7 Chaos Emeralds, blah, blah, blah, then they're in a space station called ARK preparing to destroy the world for money or something. But once Sonic and friends save the day the real story begins, the final chapter of the story opens up.
This part of the story features Gerald Robotnik, Dr. Robotnik's and Maria's (Maria is the girl who Shadow can't stop talking about throughout the whole game because she sacrificed herself to save Shadow's life earlier in the past) grandfather and the creator of Shadow and the ARK space station. After he went insane he made the ARK plummet to the Earth the next time all 7 Chaos Emeralds are put inside it, which just so happens to be what Dr. Robotnik just did. The space station start it's collision course with Earth. Sonic, Shadow and the rest have to put their differences aside and work together to stop the ARK which forces Sonic and Shadow to turn into Super Sonic and hyper Shadow to defeat the Ultimate Lifeform Prototype in space which has some amazing music to go with it (In fact, the entire game has one of my favourite soundtracks I've listened to, here's the song that plays during the final battle). Defeating the prototype doesn't stop the ARK so Shadow then sacrifices himself to stop the ARK colliding with the Earth. I haven't played all the Sonic games but I think I can safely say it has the best story to go with a Sonic game and also my one of my favourite video game stories.
QuackShot is a Sega Master System game which stars, you guessed it, Micke Mo-- no wait, Donald Duck. Now technically this game came out in 1991 making it 21 years old, but I first played it within 20 years so it counts. Our hero of the story finds a treasure map in one of his uncle, Scrooge McDuck's books. Donald then goes on a massive adventure to find said treasure, this adventure takes him across the globe, going from Egypt to Mexico and the Antarctic to Transylvania where Donald has to fight Dracula himself.
The reason this game is one of favourite games ever is because it was one of the first home console games I played, my whole family liked playing it, and the range of gameplay and levels were amazing, especially one level where you're riding on telephone wires avoiding electricity, sound kinda dull but at the time I loved it. The game also has a great Metroidvania feel to it, you'll get to the end of a level and realise you can't complete it without a certain gun. Those guns include plunger guns that shoot plungers which will stick to walls allowing you to climb them, or popcorn gun which allows you to more easily take down your enemies.
I have so many great memories playing this game, it looked fantastic, it has great gameplay and was a fun and interesting game. I'm sure people would overlook this game because it's a Disney tie in Donald Duck game but I can't stress enough how much you should play this game if you like Metroid style platformers.
Just like QuackShot this game also came out 1991, but I'm letting that slide because this was the first home console I ever played, and just like QuackShot I hold so many memories to this game. The music, the levels, the bosses, the fast paced game play, I loved and still love everything about this game.
If you're unaware of this game, it's the first Sonic game ever, and it's my favourite Sonic game. The game play was perfect, it was so fast paced, you were able to just storm through the levels, and once you played it enough you would know where all the secrets, shortcuts and enemies are meaning you can get through those levels even faster. Each world consisted of three acts, the third one always ending in a boss fight with Dr. Robotnik and one of his killer contraptions and then saving the captured animals that he was turning into evil robots. The worlds all have a different unique feel to them, you start in the classic Green Hill Zone, go to a to a pinball zone, a labyrinth zone and to that horrible underwater world. And the game had multiple endings, a bad ending where Robotnik escapes and good ending you get when you collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds which frees all the captured animals and everyone is oh so happy.
Now, possibly my favourite part of this game is the music. The opening title screen music is one of my most memorable songs I know, all the music in this game is absolutely amazing, and that, along with the fast paced gameplay and bright and colourful art style is why this is one of my favourite games ever.
What would an all time favourite games list be without a Mario Kart game, I've had so much fun playing all the Mario Kart at one point in my life, but when it comes down to choosing one I had to pick Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Mario Kart 64 is probably my favourite one from technical gameplay view point just because there are parts of the game which you can master to become better at the game such as when you skid over a banana peel if you hit the brakes immediately you will stop yourself from spinning out of control, plus the blue shell is not an unavoidable, 1st place racer item only. It skids across the middle of the track taking out any other racers on the track meaning it's not just whoever is in 1st place at the time that gets hit. Plus you can hold it behind you like you would another shell except it won't break if something hits it, so the game has more ways to master the game and become good at it, plus it has my favourite Mario Kart track ever Yoshi Valley, a track with so many multiple paths that it becomes a maze and the game can't even tell who is in 1st place which becomes a great race of who will escape the maze first.
But, ultimately I had to choose Mario Kart: Double Dash!! as my favourite Mario Kart game ever. Just because it has a bigger charatcer selection, multiple vehicles per racers, some great Mario Kart tracks, and the best thing of all, allowing you to choose 2 characters per kart. It gave the game a great mix and match mechanic which allowed you to create your own super karting team. It's also one of the Mario Kart games where I had the most fun playing multiplayer with my friends.
It was hard to choose just one Mario Kart game, I also love Mario Kart Wii because of the online and it's just a great game, they all are and I knew at least one Mario Kart game had to be on this list and I chose Double Dash as my favourite one ever.
Whenever I play an RPG, I will always choose the rouge/thief charatcer if I can because I love being stealthy, hiding in the shadows, picking of my enemies one by one and getting out without anyone seeing me. Sounds very familiar to the Hitman franchise. A set of games that puts you into the shoes of the cold blooded killer Agent 47, and my all-time favourite game from this franchise is Blood Money. Out of all the games I feel it has the best gameplay and level design, although Hitman 2 does have some brilliant levels that are better than anything in Blood Money.
I love playing Blood Money the way it's meant to be played, sneak around the level, perhaps get a disguise? Find your target and take him/her out without anyone seeing and hide the evidence. If I screw up anywhere in the level, if anyone spots me or notices a dead body I will immediately restart the level and try again, if I don't get the Silent Assassin ranking then I have to keep trying until I do.
The game is so robust that there are always multiple ways of killing your targets, there's a few methods which are recommended and will always look like an accident, such as poising someone's food, dropping a chandelier on their head or swapping a fake gun with a real gun during a play based on WWII. Then there's the other methods of following or leading someone to a discreet location and taking them out, hiding the body and escape before anyone see you. And finally, you can storm in all guns blazing, but no one will recommend that to you because the gun play isn't great, but I find doing that every now and then can be fun to mix all it up a bit.
Anyway, this game is amazing, it gives the player so much choice and freedom to do whatever they want in the game, but can also be played like a puzzle game of knowing when to kill who and where to be a what time to avoid the guards and such. The gameplay is great and unique, has plenty of re-playability and a pretty sweet ending sequence.
Just like Mario Kart, I have to have a Smash Bros. game on this list, I've played them all, I love them all, and it was a hard decision to just pick one. I ended up picking Melee, it was close between that and Brawl though. Brawl has the bigger character roster, more levels, better graphics and online play. But for me it comes down to staying up to the early hours of the morning playing Melee with my friends, leaving my Gamecube on for 10 hours to unlock Mewtwo was an insane way to unlock any character in any game, kind of boring and tedious but insane.
There's not much else to say about this game, it's Smash Bros. Sureley everyones played it and has their own memories of playing this game with their friends and fighting as their favourite Nintendo character and it had a pretty fun single player mode which shocked me as I was expecting this to just be a fighting game, not a adventure game as well.
This is a great game which I will always have fond memories for and was an easy decision to be one of my favourite games ever.
Also, I mained Falco.
14. Mega Man 2
Another game over 20 years old, but let's not get so technical about that rule because this game needs to be on this list. I love the whole Mega Man franchise, the characters, the setting and the balls hard run and gun style game play. This isn't just your regular platformer, this platformer requires precise jumping and movement, one small step and you'll fall to your death, and if that's not enough then the levels are riddled with enemies, in the perfect position to shoot you in mid-jump to knock you back to your death. This game can get frustrating and is incredibly hard but I love that, it makes the game more trial and error, you're never going to complete a Mega Man level the first time you play it, but after a couple hundred times you get use to the level layout will know the perfect way to get through each level.
Then there's the boss battles, if you thought the individual levels were a pain to traverse, good luck fighting the bosses. Same as the levels you won't beat a boss the first time you fight them, it takes a while to understand their complex patterns and learn how to counter attack it. The Mega Man games have the included strategy of being able to use the weapon of a boss you've defeated, and every boss is weak to another one of the bosses weapon, this means the first boss you decided to tackle will always be the hardest as you need to use your default mega blaster to beat them, once you get a new power you just need to figure out which boss is weak to it and tackle them next. Then of course every Mega Man game ends with the even harder 4 stage Wily's Castle level. These levels force you to use every ability and power you've learnt throughout the game and make you re-fight the 8 bosses again as well as Dr. Wily himself.
Now, why did I choose Mega Man 2 as my favourite Mega Man game. Firstly I find it to be one of the easier Mega Man games, it's one of the only few I've actually completed. It contains some of my favourite bosses such as Metal Man and his Metal Blades (which ironically will kill Metal Man himself in one swift hit). And also the music in the first part of Wily's Castle I think is one of the most iconic video game tunes ever.
13. Half-Life 2
When I first played Half-Life 2, I thought it was incredibly boring, tedious and dull. It had a great opening in City 17 at the train station and in the apartment block. But after that, once the game really starts I was incredibly bored of it. First of all that scene with the teleporter that goes wrong and shoots you to different locations all across the world and then you end by leaving you just 3 feet outside the laboratory you were just in. And the guys inside, instead of opening the door and letting you in throw you a crowbar and tell you to head to Black Mesa which isn't very far away.
Yeah right, I had to traverse through sewers, train yards and some annoying sequences on a boat to eventually get my way to Black Mesa. This place is great though, get a sweet gravity gun and met a giant robot dog. So you get a quick tour around the place including that one hallway which no one should ever go down for any reason, kind of makes you wonder why it's there.
Then, after playing basketball with the dog for a while or something stupid, Black Mesa gets attacked by the Combine! As you rush back into the base rocks collapse the tunnels and your left with just one option, that tunnel that no one should ever go down, how convenient. Well, I head down the tunnel with my robot friend and it leads us to Ravenholm. Oh God, if I had to pick the most horrible level from any video game ever I would always pick Ravenholm, I hated that place. I'm not a big horror fan so to some this place may not be that scary but I hated it! Fair enough it's kind of fun seen as it's the first place you freely get to play with the gravity gun, and there are a lot of saw blades laying around for you to chop the zombies heads off which is excellent fun, but apart from that, fuck Ravenholm.
Now, it probably only takes a few hours from the start of the game to finish Ravenholme, for me it took a matter of months, I played this game probably a half hour at a time because I wasn't enjoying it, and like I said before, fuck Ravenholm. But once I got out of that horrendous place I felt that the game really opened up. The sand area with the Antlions was so fun, great physics puzzles to make paths and avoid stepping on the sand, and once you eventually get to control them and use their help to invade a Combine base is amazing! After Ravenholm I got hooked on this game and couldn't stop playing it, it suddenly became interesting to me, and the ending with the over-powered gravity gun is super fun.
Once I finished Half-Life 2 I immediately started played Episode 1 and 2. I finished episode 1 in one sitting I was so addicted to it, and I'm really looking forward to Half-Life 3 when that comes out soon.
Super Mario Sunshine is in no way the single best Mario game ever, surely that role goes to Mario 64, or maybe even Super Mario Bros. Both are classics, but for me, Super Mario Sunshine shines the most (Haha, get it, shine, ha... guys?). This was one of the first Gamecube games I played and it was great, it sticks to the Mario formula, go into a level, collect some stars, repeat until you defeat Bowser and save Princess Peach, right. This game does that perfectly but the thing that really hooked me was Isle Delfino, I freaking love the setting of this game, much better than the Galaxy games. The island is rich with different locations such as hotels, docks, theme parks and a bustling town filled with the cheerful Delfinos.
The story is pretty interesting as well, especially for a Mario game. Mario and friends are just planning on going on holiday to Isle Delfino, but Mario immediately gets arrested for graffiting the island. But it wasn't Mario, there's an imposter a foot, Shadow Mario. So Mary has to use his new friend/backpack F.L.U.D.D to clean the city of muck and clean his slate.
This game is one of my top games because I think its a great game, the story, the setting, all the characters. It has it all, and when I went back to play it recently I felt that it still holds up and I'm still waiting for another game to take place on the best holiday location in the Mushroom Kingdom, Isle Delfino.
Also, you get to wear shades and a hawaiin shirt which makes Mario look baller.
Now, I haven't played Spyro 2, well, since it was first released I guess. But all I remember from that game is sheer joy from playing it and I knew it had to feature in my top games of all time list.
I believe the story involves an evil sorcerer called Ripto generally being a menace in a land called Avalar. Spyro, while preparing to go on vacation gets suck through a portal into Avalar and is asked by the people of Avalar to save their once peaceful land from Ripto and his crew of no good goonies.
Now, the rest of what I remember is there are three hub worlds, each that path off to different individual levels. And all of these levels are extremely colourful, have great characters in them and are generally fun to play. Each level have multiple objectives that will net you Talismans for completing and sidequests that reward you with orbs.
The main characters in the game were great as well, Hunter who helps you out in the game by telling you how to jump, glide and other abilities. Elora who explains to Spyro a lot about the world of Avalar. The crazy professor who build contracpetions to help Spyro and finally the frustrating and greedy Moneybags, he forces you to pay him an extraordinary amount of money to learn simple abilities such as swimming and climbing ladders.
Apart from the main characters, each level has it's own distinct and unique style filled with their own interesting characters.
And once you complete the game and get all the orbs it unlocks a theme park for Spyro to play in an enjoy.
The Phoenix Wright trilogy is a great set of games on the DS, Apollo Justice and that Miles Edgeworth game were pretty interesting as well, but not as good as the original three in my eyes. And once again while making this list I had to decided one my one favourite game from a single franchise, for me it comes down to the second and third game, both have incredible last acts, which I feel is always the best of a Phoenix Wright game, the first few acts aren't usually as interesting. Phoenix Wright 2 ended with the trial about Maya's kidnapping by an assassin and the crooked TV actor, and 3 ended with the lawyer you were fighting against in the courtroom revealing himself to be the murderer. I ultimately picked Trials and Tribulations because the final case had a much bigger reveal and also you get to play as Edgeworth for part of that case, and the other cases delve into Phoenix's past a bit adding to his character.
So anyway, the Phoenix Wright games make you control Phoenix Wright himself, an attorney at law, each case involves you defending someone accused of murder or some other crime, but I'm pretty sure they always involve murder. Gameplay revolves around you hunting around the scene of the crime for clues and interrogating suspects to get as much evidence as you can hold in your briefcase then using it in the court of law to prove your client not guilty. And every time Phoenix steps into the court, his heated battle against his rival Edgeworth or any one of the other lawyers his path has crossed, always comes down to the wire. The game is so good at building suspense and disbelief but Phonix always manages to pull victory out at the last second.
I haven't even talked about the cast for this game, everyone has their own personal quirk, Phoenix the loveable but not very confident lawyer, always needs a helping or an extra little push to get the job done. Maya, Phoenix assistant through most of the games, the spiritual believer who also has a love of burgers and fast food. Edgeworth, Phoenix's rival and very talented lawyer, Dick Gumshoe, the clumsy detective who always gives Phoenix a helping hand whether he meant to or not. There's a whole cast of fun, colourful, interesting characters who you interact with in this game that make up the stories and cases of the series and what make this game so fun to play.
Another great, clue finding, adventure, DS series. Professor Layton is a world famous professor and puzzle solver, with the aid of his protege Luke they solve crimes and puzzles using only their minds and a handful of matchsticks.
This series is full of quirky and interesting characters, and also a bunch of weirdos. Every game stars with a big mystery for Layton to solve, it's your job to explore the environments, looking for hint coins and using them to solve all the riddles. Every game has a big selection of riddles for you to solve. The stories are always so involving and have some crazy over the top twist no one would see coming, except for Professor Layton, he usually knows what's going to happen before you even put the cartridge into the .
I've only played the first 3 games in the series, but quickly came to the decision that the third game, Unwound Future is my favourite. The first game sets up the characters and a great story to do with murder and robots and other cool stuff. The story of the second game didn't interest as much, and without a great story there's not much to the game.
So I chose the third one, it comes with the standard Layton gameplay you expect with, in my eyes, the best story in the series.
The game starts with Layton receiving a letter from the future from his apprentice Luke. He states that he needs Laytons help in the future, Layton and Luke use a time machine to travel 10 years into the future and help future Luke save London. I won't go into to much detail but there will be some spoilers below.
Turns out Layton is known in the future as a bit of a villain and people try to avoid him, of course there's a few twists and turns along the road but we end up meeting Laytons high school sweetheart, and with a pretty romantic and sad ending we get to see a side of Layton we've never seen before. The man who always seemed so cool and in control of himself loses it and shows some true emotion. I highly recommend you play this game for the story alone because I'm not afraid to say the ending of this game almost made me cry.
I'm sure not many people have heard of this game, it definitely flew under my radar at first, in fact I believe I only found out about this game due to this forum and the premise of the game sounded brilliant, 9 people strangers trapped on a sinking ship with only 9 hours to escape, and I heard the game had multiple endings each one of them involving all of the strangers meeting their death in very gruesome manners, it sort of sounded like a SAW video game or sort. So anyway, I gave it a shot and tried out the game, and I do not regret it.
The game is as much a game as Professor Layton is really, it's mostly story and dialouge with a few picture hunt style challenges. You play as teenage boy called Junpei who wakes up in a cabin of a ship, once he comes to his senses he realises the room is locked and there is a panel on the door with a number pad on it, doesn't take a genius to figure out how to get out. But then the room starts to fill with water so Junpei doesn't have all the time in the world to escape, after this tutorialising mission you escape the room and run into the 8 other strangers who escaped the cabins they're were trapped in.
After a good hour or more of the survivors talking and meeting and greeting, we're now introduced to the cast of the game and a key mechanic; the 9 doors.
There are 9 locked doors in the ship each with the numbers 1 to 9 printed on them in some sort of red dripping liquid, I can only assume it's red paint, or a cherry based soft drink? And all of the 9 survivors have a watch on their wrist with the a number from 1-9 on them, to pass though one of the 9 doors the survivors have to create the digital root of the number using their bracelets. The digital root is adding the digits of the numbers added together until they make the number of the door you want to pass through (for example: 1+3+5+6 = 15; 1+5=6. This means people with bracelet 1, 3, 5 and 6 can pass through the number 6 door). Only the people who open the door can pass through it, and once they do they're bracelet activates a small bomb that was placed inside of them while they were knocked out, the only way to deactivate is to find another scanner somewhere in the new room and scan their bracelets. And also only between 3 and 5 people can go through a door at once. This creates the interesting situation of splitting the 9 survivors into two teams whenever you come across multiple doors.
Now, the multiple endings, this game does something that I've never seen do before and actually ties all the endings into the story, this means there's not just one true ending, well there is, but all the endings become canon with the story which is insane. Now the story features a lot of theories such as time travel, morphic fields, the Titanic, paradoxes and a cryogenically frozen Egyptian princess. It's definitely one of the best stories I've ever played in a game and can't recommend it enough.
7. Team Buddies
I'm not to sure if this game fits well on this list, there are some pretty well known and big games on this list, and this one is surely less known than the last game. But then I thought about and I don't care, this game is fantastic!
It's an RTS game where you command a team of 4 buddies and have to take down the enemy team of buddies, although instead of the traditional RTS game you have direct control of any of the fours buddies on your team. You can build stuff at your base using the building block pad, this is a 4 by 4 block pad where you can stack a combination of 8 crates onto the pad. For example, if you place a single crate down and kick it open you'll get a basic weapon such as a pistol or a uzi, if you place 4 crates down on the pad you'll get a bigger weapon like a rocket launcher or a flamethrower. Then you can build more buddies for you team by stacking upwards, 2 crates on top of each other make a basic buddy, 4 next to each other make an more advance buddy like a medic or a ninja, and if you fill the pad up with all 8 crates you'll get a vehicle like a tank or a plane.
The single player campaign mostly revolves around a set of multiplayer matches usually with the objective of killing everyone on the other team, some levels have unique objectives like recover a stolen bike or pick up garbage from the floor, hmm, now that I wrote that down it doesn't sound like fun does it, sounds like community service or something, anyway.
The game has a bright and cheerful look to it, the buddies are shaped like weird oblong pills, the world is filled with friendly animals like cats and dogs and the whole game has a cartoonish feel to it. Oh, and the buddies are some of the most foul mouthed game character I've ever heard who will stop at nothing to destroy anything that gets in their way, even if that means strapping bombs to a dog and leading them to the enemy base.
The reason this game is so high up on my list is because of memories, I've gone back to play this crazy game so many times and still enjoy playing it today, the game has a huge selection of weapons from shotguns and uzis to gatling guns and lightning grenades. A wide range of usable vehicles like tanks, mechs and U.F.O.s, and you can also recruit an array of different buddies such as commandos, cyborgs and stealthy buddies. And as well as team death match there are other game types such as capture the flag, except its capture a dog and bomball which plays like American Football, but with the ball replaced with a live bomb.
The Metal Gear Solid franchise is another great set of games I hold close to me, and that means its another set of games that I need to choose just one to go onto my list, and when it comes down to it, the first one is probably my favourite, not that there's anything wrong with the second two, I really liked 2, it had good gameplay and story and I find Raiden to be an acceptable character unlike some, but that game still didn't do anything above and beyond to get on this list, but the first game did.
If you're unaware of this game, you control Solid Snake, the legendary stealthy, hero of Outer Heaven, and he's be given the task of infiltrating a nuclear weapons disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island, were he must fight his brother Liquid Snake who is in charge of FOXHOUND and is attempting to use the Metal Gear on Shadow Moses to launch a nuclear strike.
For the time this game came out it was amazing, it had top of the line graphics and immersive cut-scenes. The gameplay was great as well, it's a stealth game so obviously you have to hide from your foes while making your way through the facility, you have plenty of tricks up your sleeve such as a pistol, multiple explosives, a radar to see enemies locations, knocking on walls to make sounds distracting near by guards and a very handy box to hide in. Now for me, it's not just the stealth that made this one of my favourite games, its the few scenes in the game that do that little bit more to make you feel even more immersed into the experience.
One of these scenes is the boss fight against Psycho Mantis who can read your mind, because he can read your mind it makes him impossible to hit, but if you were to put your controller into the player 2 slot he wouldn't be able to read your thoughts. He can also read your memory card to see what games you've played and tell you about them, it's like magic! Another scene includes your first codec call with Meryl, the Colonel tells you to look on the back of the CD case to find here code number. Now at this point in the game you will have received a CD but you can't interact with it, this really stumped me, it took me a while to realise he meant the physical CD case you bought in the store with the game in it, because one of the screenshots on the back of the case shows a codec conversation between you and Meryl and it shows you her codec number, and this is the only way in the game to contact her. Finally there's a iconic torture scene which many games since then have used in some form or another. You have to rapidly tap the circle button to keep Snake alive during the torture sequence, if you succeed you get the good ending and a special bandana for your second playthrough, if you give up you get the bad ending, and if you die, well then you die, and it doesn't let you continue, you have to start back at your last save.
Another thing about this game was the multiple playthroughs, you would always unlock something when you complete the game which you could use on subsequent playthroughs, such as bandanas, a tuxedo, or even the Spider-Man costume.
So overall, this is a great game which still holds up today and remains one of the best and one of my favourite stealth games ever.
I honestly never played any of the Tony Hawks Pro Skater games, I played both THUG games, I played American Wasteland, and everyone knows the Pro Skater series were the highlight of the Tony Hawk franchise. I feel that the first Underground game sits on the line between the good games and the bad games. Underground introduced the jump off your skateboard mechanic which not everyone is a fan off, I didn't mind it as it allows you to have more control of your skater and be able to link combos together.
This game is on my list because, well, its the first Tony Hawk skateboarding game I play, and I just really liked it. I found the level design to be really interesting, the highly addictive high score chasing gameplay and a pretty interesting story. You create your own skater, a low-life skater just chillin' with his buds in his home town, then when pro skater Chad Muska visits their town. Once you impress Chad he invites you to an ameture tournament, so you and your friend Eric travel America on your journey to get sponsorded and become pro. And as the story progresses, they do become pro, but begin to fall apart after an argument, the game ends with your character and Eric having a skate-off in you home town. Something interesting about the finale of this game is, if you complete it three times, on the third time instead of having a skate-off, your character will just punch Eric in the face, and then you unlock Iron Man as a playable character, IRON MAN! How awesome is that.
Another great part of this game is the multiplayer, in fact this is the first PS2 game I played online, it was so fun playing this online and learning new things about the game and finding out things about the multiplayer, for instance in the fireball mode, you can shoot fireballs out of your skateboard at the other skaters. But if you rack up a big combo the fireball become bigger, this ended up with a great moment when me and my friend were online on the Russia level, we saw a massive fireball/explosion going off in the background wiping out most of the other skaters. The game was also riddled with glitches were not just exploited online but shared between everyone, glitches like the out of bounds glitch so you could leave the level or walk on lava, or the wall jump glitch were your able to wall ride your way out of sticky situations (especially useful if some areshole build a giant hole in their level which you can't escape.(Which I did)). And one final thing to mention is the soundtrack, every Tony Hawk game has a fantastic one, and this game is no different.
So, not only do I find this a brilliant game, great addictive gameplay, an amazing soundtrack, one of my first online multiplayer experiences and great memories, that's why this game gets a seat in the top 5 of top 20 games.
I'm not much of a racing fan, unless you include Mario Kart, but I wouldn't, I'm also not a big car aficionado which is why I never invested much in the genre. But when I heard all the hype about Burnout Paradise I had to get involved, and I'm glad I did. Burnout Paradise is an open world racing game set in the fictional location known as Paradise City (which you get reminded of every time you start the game by a Mr. Axl Rose.). The game features different race events such as stunt runs, marked man where you have to get from point A to B while be hunted down by some mysterious, black, threatening cars, road rage where you have to knock other racers off the cars and your regular run of the mill races. The thing I like about the races is there's not a set track that all the races have to follow, you can go anywhere you like through the city as long as you hit all the checkpoints, which means if you know a few sneaky shortcuts or two you can take them. The game offers a huge selection of unlicensed cars which you can customise with paint jobs, I've sunk so many hours into this game and don't think I have all the cars. Speaking of hours, this game is so easy to lose yourself in, at every junctions there's a new a new race or challenge or race to take part in, which when you complete enough you get a new car which you want to try out, or your just a few wins away from getting a new licence, or you've found a billboard or shortcut, or just roaring down the high street setting new records. Whatever it is, you can easily lose yourself in this huge world. The game also has a cracking soundtrack to suit the outrageous and dangerous street racing you will be taking part in, and I'm not talking about the rock and/or roll such as the earlier mention Guns N' Roses or Twisted Sisters. The music I love in this game is the classical music, nothing beats flipping your car our in a slow motion burst of flames while listening to Beethoven or running your car off a cliff top while subject to the smooth tunes of Mozart.
Now, my favourite part of this game comes from of the pieces of DLC, and I'm not talking about Big Wake Island, I actually never set foot or tire on that island. I'm talking about the Party Pack, the Party Pack had a great party mode where you and up to 7 friends could duke it out in pass and play minigames, these games, or challenges, include simple feats like race to the bottom of the hill as fast as you can or drive in incoming traffic for as long as you can to more complex challenges like drift for as long as you can with reversed controls or land a double barrel roll.
This mode is absolutely perfect when you have a lot of people playing the game at once, personally for me it's gotten to the point where me and my friends are all equally good at all of the challenges, so whenever we play we never know who will win, it's an even playing ground and always a fresh experience even though we've played it about a hundred and one times.
And that point alone is why this game easily made it high up on this list.
3. Portal 2
In to the top 3, and we're starting with my game of the year from last year. It sort of snuck up on me how much I love this game, during the GOTY awards last year, when I was creating my list, I looked at the games I played and came to the decision that out of all them, Portal 2 was my favourite, and that's not to say last year had bad games, it didn't, games such as Skyrim, Rayman Origins and Saints Row the Third made that list. I guess it kind of surprised me because when I think of this game I think of a single player campaign with not much re-playability, and I never touched the multiplayer part of this game, so it's kind of weird that this game made such an impact on me. And it's because that single player campaign was so detailed, well thought out, brilliant, smart, mind-blowing experience.
The main appeal of the story is the characters, Chell, the protagonist who we don't hear much from, but do get a bit of context about her back story in this game. GLaDOS, the rouge, murderous AI from the first game return and is as snarky and evil as ever, and newcomer to the series Wheatley who is charmful, hilarious and a helpful companion, and he got a bigger role in this game than I expected him to do, a much bigger role.
The story itself is pretty simple, Chell once again finds herself trapped inside the Aperture Science Enrichment Center and has to use the trusty portal gun to escape, although this time around we get a lot more back story, about Chell, GlaDOS and the history of Aperture Science where we get to meet possibly the best character in the series, Cave Johnson, the CEO of Aperture Science. We only get to interact with Cave Johnson through a series of voice over recordings designed for the original test subjects of Aperture Science, but he is still the funniest and most charming character. When we first hear Cave, he supplies some good laughs and explains a bit about the puzzles your in and tells you about some of the new features in the game such as the goo. But as the story goes on we start to learn of the downfall of Aperture Science and Cave Johnson and discover his relationship between GlaDOS and even Chell.
Now apart from the story, there is also gameplay in this game, and it's good, it's very good. At the core the game is a collection of rooms and chambers that you have to reach the exit off using your portal gun. The gun allows you to shoot an orange and blue portal or certain surfaces in the rooms and they connect to each other, you use these to solve all the puzzles. And you use them in conjunction with other elements of the puzzle, for example, using them to get to high ledges, for transporting cubes, for spraying goo, for redirecting lasers, for gaining momentum and for countless other acts that you can think off. The first game in the series had a great premise and made you go through all the test chambers until the finale of the game, Portal 2 goes off the rails a bit and takes you behind the scenes of Aperture, as well as underneath Aperture, which happens to be were they store old Aperture. I guess you can just bury your problems?
Anyway, this game is amazing, the gameplay, the story, the music, it fits together so well in an absolutely perfect and charming game that we've all now come to expect from Valve. In fact, as far as I can remember in recent history, it's the only game I rushed out to the shops as soon as I could just to get this game, I literally couldn't wait for it to be shipped to me from Amazon, and I think that statement is enough to justify why it gets a spot in my top 3 favourite games.
Well, I know I've made a big deal of only choosing one game from a franchise for this list, but I literally couldn't bring myself to choose between Metal Gear Solid 1 and 3. And I know what you may be thinking, I said earlier that Metal Gear Solid is my favourite Metal Gear game, well actually I didn't, if you go back and read it I was very careful to not compare it to this game as say it was my favourite in the series, and that's because this game is.
This game is phenomenal, were do I begin? the story? the environments? the gameplay? the characters? all the hidden secrets to discover? I guess lets just start from the top. Metal Gear Solid is the third game in the series but is chronologically the first in the series. The game takes place in 1964, during the cold war, you play Big Boss, or as he was known for the majority of this game, Naked Snake. His mission is to go behind enemy lines to rescue a Russian weapons designer known as Sokolov who wishes to defect to the United States. As you can imagine things go a bit pear shaped and not quite according to plan, so Snake has to return to Russia with the new mission of defeating The Boss, his former mentor and now traitor, Volgin, the leader of the Cobra Unit and destroy the Shagohod, which is a prototype Metal Gear.
Along the way Snake runs into each member of the Cobra Unit, including Young Ocelot who you may know as Ocelot from the first two games in the series. Ocelot plays a big part in this story, as he always does and in fact there's a cool little easter egg where if you kill Ocelot you will cause a time paradox because he is alive in the other games.
Other odd ball members of Cobra include The Pain, a man obsessed with wasps and uses them to attack you, he even uses them to create a shotgun if you believe that. The End, who is an incredibly old sniper who I can safely say you have one of the best boss battles of all time with which we'll get to later. The Fear, a very agile creepy fellow who used his camouflage to turn invisible and tries to poison Snake with poison top darts, there's a few more members but lets not get into that.
The only help Snake has in this mission are Colonel Campbell and Para-Medic who he converses with over the codec and a woman named Eva who helps Snake out whenever he is in a pinch. An interesting thing about this game is the new environments, it primarily takes place in jungles, swamps and forests unlike the rest of the series. It can make escape from guards that little bit more harder and complex. But because the game takes place in these rural locations it adds a whole new survival element to the game where Snake must worry about his camouflage and health. At any time you can change your uniform and face paint and must change it repeatedly to remain hidden in the environments. You must also take care of your health and hunger, if you get damaged you will have to use medical supplies to heal yourself, for example using bandages to cover wounds or burning leeches off you with your cigar. Then there's your hunger, and that's where the subtitle of this game comes into play, Snake Eater, you will have to capture and eat snakes, frogs, rabbits and anything else you come across.
There's so much I want to say about this game but I don't want this to get to long, the boss fight with The End is something I said I'd talk about. It takes place over three massive open areas and you must avoid The End as he tries to snipe you, its a long and sometimes tedious fight but is so satisfying when you kill him, which you can do in a manner of ways such as shooting him earlier in the game when you get a brief chance or leaving the game once you encounter him for a few days and when you come back he's dead. There's so many other great things in this game like that, I thought the multiplayer was really interesting and well done, the ending to the game is fantastic, it's sad but probably one of the best game endings ever, I can't even think of what else but if you haven't played this game, do it! Its out for almost everything now after the release of the 3DS version and the HD collection, no excuse to not play this one now.
And finally, after so much writing, so much reading, we've come to my favourite game I ever played in my 20 years of living, Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door. Just like when I was surprised that Portal 2 was my 2011 GOTY, I was surprised that this is my favourite game ever, I knew it would be top 3, top 5 at the least, but when I compared it to the rest of my collection it really was the only choice I had.
The one word I would use to sum up this game is magical. I would have been about 13 when this game came out and that's when I played it so I was a bit Mario fan at the time. This game is filled to the brim with charm, the paper style artwork is beautiful and Nintendo really play into it, they make everything feel like it actually is made of paper like Mario transforms into a paper airplane or rolls up so he can squeeze through narrow spaces.
The game takes place in Rougeport, Mario has been summoned there by Princess Peach who, surprise surprise, has been kidnapped, but for once not by Bowser, by Lord Crump and the X-Nauts. Anyway, I don't feel that story is too important in this game, it's a Mario game, you should know what you're getting into when you play it. But the game does have some amazing characters and locations. Characters such as Professor Frankley, the intellectual professot from Goomba University, he helps Mario examine the magical map of Rougeport and tells Mario where to head next and what he should be prepared for. You meet a whole other cast of characters from skeleton pirate kings, mafia piantas and wrestling hawks to a thieving mouse, giant dragons and a trio of devious ghost witches. And I didn't even mention the partners who join Marios adventure along the way such as Goombella, one of Professor Frankleys students, Admiral Bobbery, a rusty of retired sea captain who you recruit for one last sail across the sea and my personal favourite, Koops, the shy but lovable Koopa.
Rougeport is filled with a whole array of unique environments such as the filthy port where you will spend most of your time in the game, Glitzville the glamorous town where only the rich and famous live, the Glitz Pit, the wrestling arena floating among the clouds, only reachable by a blimp, there's more locations than that both those are some of my select favourite.
The game plays as a turn based RPG, if you walk into an enemy in the overworld you will initialise a turn based battle with them in front of a live crowd. The way the battles work are so simple as well, unlike most RPGs were your attacks will do damage between two numbers, the attacks in Paper Mario will always do the same amount of damage, it will change depending on enemies defence and a few other factors, but it makes the battles simple enough for you to be able to plan your next set of attacks, but also complex enough that you will have to think about your next move and really plan your attack. Also instead of regular stars you collect Crystal Stars, there are seven in total and each one gives Mario and friends a special attack they can use in battle. The world is also filled with much more such as the Trouble Center which acts as the games way of dishing out sidequests, as well as the Pit of 100-Trials which is 100 floors of increasingly harder challenges. You can also collect and buy badges in the game which are like perks, they can give you a health boost or a new move or something completely different and can help you when your in a pinch.
There's just so much you can do in this game and its so incredibly fun to play and explore the world, it filled with detail and little secrets for you to discover. There is no doubt that this game is easily the best game I've played, and will probably stay like that for the foreseeable future, or until the new Paper Mario game comes out, who knows? Anyway, for now, Paper Mario and The Thousand Year Door is my favourite game ever!
Thank you for taking the time to read this incredibly long blog post, I wasn't sure if I should split it up into multiple posts but that's just not my style. Also this is probably the most I've ever written outside of exams at University so I apologise if it's boring or if it's riddled with spelling errors and grammar mistakes but I'm not exactly much of a writer, I'm more of an artist. Anyway, thank you so much for reading, if you did read it or just skimmed it, either way, thank you, and maybe you'd like to share your top games you've ever played.