Metal Gear Solid for the original PlayStation changed my perception of what video games were. Despite the now-crude graphics and isometric gameplay, it remains one of the most quintessential cinematic games ever created. The PS2 follow-up turned up the graphic-quality more than a few notches, but it wasn't until MGS3 (Subsistence, with the new camera), that I forever fell in love with the series and its deep back story. MGS4 was a perfect wrap up to Snake's story, fixing all of my game-play complaints, and I'll be damned if that title screen with the music and the flowers and the gun in the face still doesn't haunt me.
Mass Effect 1 was my first introduction to a Bioware game. Yeah, I'm a horrible person. The series' reliance on dynamic conversations and a deep multi-game story arc scratched an itch I didn't know I had up to that point in time. While the games have their flaws, which have been well documented, the mixture of great voice acting, engaging action-based combat, and quests galore make this series one of my favorites. I can't wait for number 3, and have even bought all the books and comic books that fill in the story gaps between the games, something I've done for nothing else, game, movie, or other.
With Fumito Ueda and Team ICO's The Last Guardian beginning to show up on people's radar, their older games, ICO, and Shadow of the Colossus, have also had the spotlight shown back on them. It's understandable that many people are just finding out about them now, especially with the upcoming HD remastered collection, but I was all up on this game launch day thanks to some very glowing previews I was lucky enough to catch. While the Yorda mechanic had its problems, being an early PS2 game, this was the first game I had played which created a believable world that was as beautiful to look at as it was fun to conquer.
Okay, shame time. I own the original Yakuza but have yet to play it. Thankfully, 2 & 3 have excellent story recaps to catch players up to speed. I'm a sucker for RPG quests (spoilers: Fallout 3 and Mass Effect are somewhere coming up on my list here), and the Yakuza series has these in spades. The action-oriented combat system also makes for a nice change of pace from your typical RPG, and . . . don't tell anyone . . . but both 2 and 3 each had a moment that made me almost physically cry tears of sadness. Aside from Lost Odyssey's touching side-stories, this remains a feat no other games I've played have ever come close to accomplishing.
Like Uncharted, I totally skipped the first Assassin's Creed based on luke warm reviews, but made sure to pick it up and play through it to prepare for Assassin's Creed II, which had reportedly fixed most of the complaints from the first game. I dug the slower paced combat and admired the recreations of ancient cities which Ubisoft crafted. I ended up loving both games from beginning to end, and found the jaw dropping revelations at the end of the second game to make for one the most memorable endings to a game that I've ever played. That said, I'm a sucker for the religions of the world and conspiracy, so you're mileage may vary.
I didn't play the first Uncharted until previews of Uncharted 2 begin claiming the sequel was the best thing ever in the history of the universe. I ended up enjoying both quite a bit, particularly for the well-acted characters and beautiful environments. Both games had their issues, though 2 was pretty close to perfect, especially it's still-to-be-topped set pieces. It's too bad the stories didn't blow me away like the next series on my list did.
While Jack didn't do squat for me, the entire city of Rapture is probably one of my top five game characters of all-time. And tell me that Andrew Ryan's treatment of himself didn't shock the hell out of you too?
I was late to the God of War party. Right around the time a friend loaned me a PS2 copy of the first game, the re-mastered PS3 collection was announced. I beat the first Hydra boss on the PS2 and was blown away, but then decided to hold off and play the whole series in HD. I thought the mix-up of action and puzzles was great and matched with a decent story, although, is Kratos not an absurdly mad dude or what? I'd be mad too if I had to deal with the shit he does, but all the yelling is kind of crazy.
Okami was ashamedly my first Ocarina of Time-style game. I was drawn to it by the art style, but fell in love with the quest structure and awesome boss battles. This later led me to pick up LoZ: Twilight Princess as a Wii launch title, another great game. I would have included in my list, but it seemed less than genuine knowing there's better Zelda games out there that I haven't played yet.
So, I'm selfishly trying to hit the 20 blog post mark to complete a GB quest. I thought about cheating, but figured I'd try to do something that I could at least pretend is worthwhile. What follows are my top 16 games or game series. Hopefully this shit doesn't muck up the forums.