15 games that I'm really rather fond of
In no particular order...
In no particular order...
The first proper JRPG that I played. Made a huge impression on me at the time despite a sometimes muddled story, some pretty underdeveloped party members and common typos in the script. Despite its flaws it all worked beautifully and gave me an immersive and emotional experience that few games have given me since. And oh god, the music!
Even though Third Strike is the one I played the most and really practised at, this is the game that started it all for me. I still vividly remember being about 7 and watching my cousins take it in turns to complete arcade mode on the SNES.
I can't explain to you why this game is one of my favourites of all time. I just know that I was totally adsorbed into its world, characters and plot and loved the branching storylines that added greatly to replayability. The best of the series, in my opinion.
Just like with SF2 taking precedence over Third Strike, I really played RE2 and RE3 a lot more extensively than this one but none of them floored me as much as the first time I entered the world of survival horror.
I am torn between this and OoT. I find OoT more playable, more fun to explore in, but LttP has such a classic feel to it, even more than OoT, and it was the first time I played a game where there was a whole non-linear world (though you do of course have to do most events in a certain order) out there for you to explore. Up until that point it had been totally linear experiences like your standard platform game. I'm still not entirely sure why Link's ultimate tunic is pink, but that's just one of life's mysteries I guess. Also, along with FFVII, has some of my favourite videogame music of all time.
I haven't really been a fan of Tekken since, but this game was just incredible at the time. The "dial-a-combo" nature of Tekken is something that seems kind of lame to me now, but at that time it was a thing of beauty. It's not just nostalgia though. I've played Tekken 2 recently and I still think it stands up compared to the recent iterations, feeling more pure and well-conceived.
The pinnacle of the series. As John Carmack said, the Sonic series is a great example of over-design bogging a game down and detracting from its fundamental game mechanics. I'm massively paraphrasing him there, I read his original comment years ago. To me, Sonic 1 is a little too simple and has a few flaws that muddy the experience, Sonic 3 was trying far too hard and pulling in all the wrong directions. Sonic 2 sits in the middle, at the pinnacle of the franchise.
This is a great blend of WRPG openness and player choice mixed with the tighter design and battle system of a JRPG. The storyline depends on what character you choose to play and you'll meet the other characters you could have been as your storylines overlap at places. This game is so subtle and so well-crafted it's hard to do it justice with words alone.
The first Dragon Quest I played (being the first released in Europe) and it just blew me away. I've been back and played all the DQs apart from VI but this one still has the greatest place in my heart. It's the only DQ game where Toriyama's character designs are rendered so beautifully - in other DQs you can usually only tell he designed them due to the character portraits (which the original versions didn't even have anyway). The music is majestic and the world is vast and inviting. The seamless overworld takes this to places that FFXII could only dream of.
It was a little overhyped and a lot of the promises were more like exaggerations (or at least optimistic implications). Most doors in the town were locked and you could only interact with a limited amount of things. Still, there are few games that were made with as much obvious love and affection as this one, and you feel it every second you spend playing the game.
Now I know this game isn't really a classic in the same way the games so far have been. I know the characters kind of look like people wearing big plastic anime masks and that the plot jumps the intergalactic space shark towards the end, but I really did feel like I was a guy from a modern society who had been trapped on a "backwards" planet, forced to dance to their tune as they sort out their internal problems while wondering how you'll ever get off the planet. That hook, the fact I experienced the rare thing of actually feeling the same thing that a JRPG character is feeling, made this game so much more than the sum of its parts to me.
While I believe that all the games in this list are pretty damn unique (or at least the franchise to which they belong is...) this game bleeds uniqueness. It sweats it from every pore; it exhales, pisses and shits uniqueness. I know that doesn't mean much, after all being chased by a midget with a chainsaw is pretty unique too, but this is the best kind of unique experience. It's so tender, so sensitive and so subtle that it feels almost like you're dreaming it rather than playing a mass produced game on a PS2.
Hey look, a PC game! Like many of the other games on the list, this game is here because of its special atmosphere and the sheer depth of immersion the player (should) experience it while playing. This also has some very, very good writing worthy of a novel and probably the most compelling story in any WRPG.
First online game I ever played; it deserves it for that alone perhaps. But then add in how it's one of the most addictive games I've ever played and how it has one of the most striking and iconic art styles I can think of and you have an absolute classic. From its distinctive music, weapon designs, sound effects, enemies - even their names - and the sort of neon anime sci-fi flavour of it all, to the sort of clunky yet addictive team-based gameplay, this is a game that really did change console gaming forever. We take it for granted that consoles have online play now but this was the first real example of that (I know ChuChu Rocket came first, but that's more akin to an online flash game than the sort of online games we see all over the current gen consoles now) and also the spiritual forbear of the Monster Hunter series.
Again, Suikoden II is probably better and Suikoden V, loading times aside, is also more expansive, open and complex, but it's another case of "the first one I played" mixed with the feeling that there is a beauty in the simplicity in the earlier games of a series. Not as WRPG-esque as Romancing Saga 3, this still feels like a neat hybrid between JRPG and WRPG sensibilities, taking the non-linearity and more sombre tone from WRPGs mainly. It's really just a big game of "build your own castle and recruit your army and staff" all wrapped up in a surprisingly mature and cliché-free story.
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