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Avatar image for liquiddragon
#1 Edited by liquiddragon (3321 posts) -

I finally got around to The Darkness about a week ago and really enjoyed it. The game has a ton of stuff you don't see everyday like weird phone calls you have to make for bonus content, occasional messages received via a pager, and an open world like structure that has you taking on optional side quests by revisiting areas by subway. And man, having lived in NYC for 5 years, the subway stations are so lovingly rendered, it made me miss a part of my life which I don't remember really that fondly.

Anyway, those were all well and good but the thing that still impressed me wholeheartedly in 2017 was the voice acting. Across the board, except for the kids, just do a fantastic job with lines that aren't necessarily all great. There are stuff about this game that don't hold up today and probably weren't great even then, like the the shooting, but I can definitely recommend it. The problem is, it's only on PS3/360. I was able to cop it for $5 at a local game shop so I doubt it'll cost you an arm and a leg but you will have to drag out your old system.

Which games still impress you to this day and why? (This isn't a thread about whether a game holds up. I'm asking what aspect of an older game impresses you today.)

Please, pick a game or 2 and explain what's impressive to you about them. Lists are boring.

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#2 Posted by Volta (5 posts) -

Resident Evil 4 (2005) still holds up really well. Fallout 3 (2008) is very good, and in my opinion better than any of its sequels.

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#3 Posted by paulmako (1958 posts) -

Age of Empires 2

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#4 Edited by GuitarGod (134 posts) -

resident evil 1-4

metal gear solid franchise

Hitman contracts, blood money -- perfect stealth games

all of the harry potter games from PS2 era were pretty awesome actually, loved those games.

shadow of the colossus

atv off road fury 2, one of the best racers ever, so much fun doing tricks combos and the soundtrack is perfect from that era ps2

spiderman 1 and 2, actually really great open world games with stellar combat and level design ps2

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#5 Edited by BoOzak (2570 posts) -

Ninja Gaiden Black, MGS 2-4 and The Chronicles of Riddick. (since you mentioned The Darkness) Few first person games attempt hand to hand combat and that game did it pretty well, which reminds me that I really want another Codemned. I dont know if those games aged well but I really liked them when they came out.

As to why they impressed me. Ninja Gaiden on the xbox had a really cool tone and flow to the combat that i'd never seen before, MGS 2, 3 & 4 were amazing visually at the time and had an attention to detail that most games even today lack. And the Chronicles of Riddick was just a cool first person action adventure which you dont see much of these days. (Deus Ex and Dishonored both lean a bit more towards being a RPG)

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#6 Edited by OurSin_360 (6156 posts) -

It still weirds me out that a game like that is considered old now lol. Anything from the 360/ps3 era doesn't feel that old to me yet, i feel like games haven't really changed all that much since last gen beyond just size and graphics. Can't believe the darkness came out 10 years ago!

I think most games from that era hold up, but i guess i haven't played many too recently. Skyrim was 2011 and people still play that thing like it's new

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#7 Posted by thatbendorf (102 posts) -

2010 is considered old? Man, that makes me feel old.

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#8 Posted by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -

I've been playing Company of Heroes for a few weeks now and it's amazing.

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#9 Posted by csl316 (14959 posts) -

Okami is still super great, when it comes to just art and atmosphere and all that.

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#10 Edited by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

I think the old Operation Flashpoint games are still highly impressive. Sure there is the ARMA series that improve some on that same gameplay, but I still prefer Cold War Crisis and the expansions.

It still blows my mind how they managed to create a tactical military sim that feels so real and so open back in 2001. I have yet to come across anything like it.

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#11 Posted by godzilla_sushi (1353 posts) -
@paulmako said:

Age of Empires 2

Now this is an answer I can get behind!

I'm pretty keen on playing the first Doom at least once a year and it never gets old. The music and sound, the speed, that game is awesome forever. In fact.....might just go play it today!

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#12 Edited by monetarydread (2888 posts) -

I find that most old games don't hold up too well unless you have played through them already and have some form of nostalgia pulling you through. Even then, i find that nostalgia doesn't feed me to the end and I burn out after an hour or two.

Older games that hold up:

* Dragon Quest 8

* Super Mario World

* Secret of Mana

* The Legend Of Zelda

* Dungeon Hack

* Unreal (2008)

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#13 Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -

2010 is considered old? Man, that makes me feel old.

Think about it this way. In 2006 1999 was seven years prior. That's the difference between Gears of War and Sonic Adventure. By the time Gears hit I think yeah, Sonic was an old game.

Of course the change of pace in the games industry is much lower now than it was then, but 7 years is still a reasonably long time.

As for the main topic of this post, I'm not sure what you mean by "impressive." If you mean graphically impressive, my answer is almost nothing. Graphics are much better and more polished now than they were then, and while there are games from that era that look good (mostly due to art style) I wouldn't call them impressive.

If you mean still fun to play/impressive from a design perspective then the list is too long to give. Every time I play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night I am impressed by the music (and there are TONS of games with impressive soundtracks) and the incredible game design. That game is still just as amazing as it was the first time I played it. Halo: Combat Evolved is another game that really holds up in terms of playability. It's definitely old at this point, and the controls are kind of archaic, but the game is just such a joy to play that I boot up the Master Chief Collection and play through a level every few months just to enjoy that Halo combat. I like the sequels but something about the original just feels pure and joyful to me in a way that the later games don't.

I will say that Halo 3: ODST is incredibly impressive in terms of atmosphere, capturing a feeling of melancholy that most games never even try, but a lot of that is down to the soundtrack.

Super Mario World is still arguably the best platformer ever made, so that's impressive...it really just depends what you mean.

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#14 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

@oursin_360: @thatbendorf: I felt the same way util I booted up Dragon Age: Origins the other day.

early 360/ps3 stuff looks pretty rough now.

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#15 Posted by flasaltine (2546 posts) -

The old Infinity engine games like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. The depth of content, writing, and detail that went into these games would never happen today. It can't be done in a 3D engine because it would cost too much money, and anything not in a 3D engine will not be AAA and, again, won't have enough money to do it; Kickstarter money can only go so far. I like Pillars of Eternity but it felt pretty sparse compared to those old games.

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#16 Posted by TobbRobb (6582 posts) -

Halo games, Fear, Jak/Sly/Ratchet, Baldur's Gate 2, Resident Evil 4, Okami, Super Metroid, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Symphony of the Night, Metal Gear Solid games, SF3:Third Strike, Portal, Quake 3, Devil May Cry 3/4...

Goddamn, there's honestly too much to even go into. But the primary things that makes a game stand out as impressive still for me, is how well designed their core mechanics are or if they do something unique that I've yet to see anyone properly copy.

In the cases of Super Metroid and Sotn, I think they are the best realised versions of their genre and have never quite been met again.

Jak, Sly and Ratchet are the most well crafted franchises of their type, with art and gameplay that is basically timeless.

Resident Evil 4 is a unique snowflake of a game that has never really been reproduced, even within it's own franchise.

Okami will never stop being one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen.

Chaos Theory is the epitome of stealth design in my eyes. Yet to be even remotely matched, and in some capacity I think the genre regressed from that peak.

Halo and Fear made shooter encounters more dynamic and interesting than pretty much any other single player shooter.

Baldur's Gate 2 was the Witcher 3 before that game was even a concept. Just the sheer scope and detail of it's world is amazing.

My god I love just thinking about this stuff. But at some point this is just rambling, so I'mma cut it short.

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#17 Posted by Tortoise (291 posts) -

Booted up Wipeout HD on the PS3 the other day, still looks, plays and sounds great today. Came out in 2008!

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#18 Posted by fisk0 (6867 posts) -

I'd say Elite II: Frontier from 1993, which I don't think was just impressive for its time, in many regards I still think it's universe is more expansive and impressive than Elite: Dangerous, or at least what E:D was at release since I haven't bought the DLC. I suppose the original Elite could be mentioned to, since it was a full on 3D space exploration game released at the same time as Nintendo were figuring out platformers, even though it was much more limited in scope compared to Frontier, and more comparable to Elite: Dangerous.

I'll also say Midwinter - it's an open world sand box first person strategy game. From 1989. It does owe a little to the likewise impressive Carrier Command from 1988 though.

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#19 Edited by liquiddragon (3321 posts) -

@tortoise: Yeah, I'm not the biggest Wipeout fan but I'm impressed by how little that game seems to age.

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#20 Posted by Colonel_Pockets (1315 posts) -
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Call of Duty 4
  • Fallout 3
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Wind Waker
  • Sly Cooper 1-3
  • The Killzone 2 E3 trailer
  • Metroid Prime

Just to name a few....

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#21 Posted by WynnDuffy (1289 posts) -

Shenmue and Street Fighter III (which is several times better than V)

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#22 Edited by deactivated-5a0917a2494ce (1350 posts) -

Pretty much everything from the SNES/Genesis era holds up really well. Most stuff from PS1 thru PS2/Xbox is real rough. 360/PS3 era holds up well.

On the PC, pretty much every well regarded FPS, strategy, and adventure game holds up really well. It says something when you can still play Doom, a 25 year old game and it plays great. Isometric RPGs hold up really well. Other RPGs can be rough, even stuff like KOTOR.

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#23 Edited by deactivated-5a0917a2494ce (1350 posts) -

@wynnduffy: steer fight 3 third strike is still the best fighting game ever made. Well, it would be a tie between that, garou, samurai showdown 2, guilty gear, and capcom vs snk 2

But Shenmue, I'm hoping that's a troll because it played terribly when it came out and is horrific to play today.

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#24 Posted by lead_dispencer (534 posts) -

To the gentleman who mentioned age of empires II. You are correct. That game is so good and may end up being timeless! I also second the other MGS games mostly 2-4 unless you have the redone version of 1 on the GameCube.

Also to the Duder who plays company of heroes. I love that game and I could do endless skirmishes against the CPU any time. It's a shame the second one never got its hooks in me

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#25 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2047 posts) -

The Wind Waker.

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#26 Edited by MeierTheRed (5913 posts) -

Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic, still play that game once a year almost. Still enjoyable on both original XBOX and PC.

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#27 Posted by WynnDuffy (1289 posts) -


But Shenmue, I'm hoping that's a troll because it played terribly when it came out and is horrific to play today.

Thought it was fine when it came out and the graphics & world on display are very impressive for 1999, especially when you view using the VGA box

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#28 Edited by Rich666 (426 posts) -

(keeping my list to PS1 and on because if I were to include the NES-SNES era the list would be too damn long)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night {best game of all time aside from Dark Souls}

Zelda OoT

Mario Kart 64


Silent Hill 1-4 (Silent Hill 2 as the standout of the series)

Demon's Souls

Street Fighter Alpha 2

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

Rainbow 6: Rogue Spear


Halo 1-3

TES: Oblivion

Capcom v SNK 2

Resident Evil 1-4 (Part 2 being the best)

MGS 1-3 {Again part 2 being the standout)



House of the Dead 1-2

Hydro Thunder

Devil May Cry

Twisted Metal 2

(I'm sure there's more but I'm tired)

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#29 Posted by Naoiko (1676 posts) -

Okami. Came out in 2006 and even the original ps2 version is still amazing. Looks great, plays great, sounds great...it's just great!

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#30 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (7830 posts) -

Symphony of the night: The sprite work alone is still pretty impressive.

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#31 Posted by FrostyRyan (2920 posts) -

The Resident Evil remake on gamecube is still one of the best looking games ever made.

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#32 Posted by xPolyMorphic (118 posts) -

Resident Evil 4

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#33 Posted by Spoonman671 (5874 posts) -
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#34 Posted by BeachThunder (15137 posts) -

I played System Shock 1 for the first time last year. The fact that it was first released in 1994 is mind-boggling.

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#35 Edited by BabyChooChoo (7092 posts) -

Ninja Gaiden/Black/Sigma can go toe to toe to any other game in the character action genre as far as I'm concerned. There's a fluidity and sheer ruthlessness to the pacing of the combat that has yet to be matched outside of the series. The regular combat encounters are generally all great, but that game also has some fantastic bosses. Alma is a bitch. She will forever be a bitch. But I honest don't think I will ever be able to forget fighting her.

I think almost all of the Metal Gear Solid games fit as well. If you think about it, it's kinda impressive that those games were ever made in the first place. "We're going to take control away from the player for double digit minutes at a time (hours when you get into MGS4) to tell this absolutely insane, "serious" story." By the way, here's a bunch of caricatures, wacky spy antics, potty humor, and sex jokes. One moment, you're listening to your otaku science buddy talking about having sex with his mother. The next, you're killing your mentor in an attempt to clear the name of your entire nation. And all that's punctuated by stuff like tricking guards with Playboy magazines and a fucking cyborg ninja breakdance-fighting bipedal robots that make cow noises. Like...the sheer amount of insanity stuffed into each game is already impressive enough, but it's even more impressive that it comes together in an arguably cohesive manner to the point it's one of the most beloved video game series of all time.

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#36 Posted by Fezrock (727 posts) -

Final Fantasy Tactics

Its super easy to break, but it still may be the best-designed, most fun of the tactical, turn-based games out there. The story is also really well done, especially if you read the background writing in the journal. Its a mature tale of a country going through a civil war, with numerous twists and turns.

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#37 Posted by doctordonkey (1818 posts) -

Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden II are still the greatest character action games of all time. You could fire both of those up on the 360 right now and still come away feeling as good about them as something modern like Nioh.

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#38 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4312 posts) -

Chrono Trigger is still an impressive game, but i guess that 16 bit jRPG's tend to be quite timeless.

Metal Gear games are still very impressive, although i do have a lot of nostalgia for it.

Far Cry 2 has some impressive environmental stuff.

Crysis is still graphically impressive.

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#39 Posted by Slasktotten (90 posts) -

@spoonman671: oh man does front mission 3 still hold up? I remember trying to get into it recently but found the tutorial and intro cinematic to be super off putting...

@flasaltine: baldurs gate 2 still rules! However I'm currently replaying planescape torment and have to say that while the world and the writing is still amazing, as a game it's kinda boring... it's sort of an amazing "choose your own adventure storybook" but everything I'm liking about planescape is unrelated to it existing as a videogame....

My own two would be Freelancer and Windjammers. Windjammers because I can introduce it to a friend now and it will take 5min before we are shouting at each other. It's got a wonderful sense of style that beautifully encompasses the era it's from.

Freelancer because it's a space sim that pulls a lot from Diablo, being more arcade:y and loot driven rather than being concerned with physics and being complicated. Also the musics great, the game still looks real good, the core loop is super satisfying and it has a real atmosphere.

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#40 Posted by Lv4Monk (494 posts) -

REmake, damn near perfect game. Looks fantastic even now.

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#41 Posted by deactivated-5a00c029ab7c1 (1777 posts) -

F.E.A..R. it's 12 years old 2005 and it still has the best AI I ever seen in a game also in my opinion there is no game that comes close in terms of satisfy gunfights. The combination of the slowmo and particles effect and and the debris flying really make you feel like your in a John Wick movie.

Crysis 2007 graphically it's still impressive even without mods.

Resident evil 4 2005 targeting limbs and deflecting throwing weapons from enemies with bullets.

Max Payne 2 the way your bullets react to AI and objects the physics.

GTASA PS2 2004 how they where able create that huge open world on that console.

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#42 Posted by ripelivejam (13161 posts) -

Crysis is still graphically impressive.

but no one knows since no one is able to run it yet.

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#43 Posted by flagranterror (70 posts) -

Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Sonic 2, Mega Man X, REmake. Lot of love in here for RE4 which is good to see. Yoshi's Island. Super Mario Sunshine? It was unique. The 1st party Nintendo games are mostly classics just because they control so well and set the standard for what a lot of those games should be.

It's definitely aged but I'll throw Call of Duty 2 in here.

I played through Perfect Dark on Rare Replay and was surprised at how well it held up, but the N64 version had a really rough framerate. I'd say hardly any N64 games stand the test of time. Some of the PSone stuff is still playable.

I know there is a lot of nostalgia for the SNES/Genesis era, but I have obtained all of those games through 100% legitimate channels and a lot of 'em were pretty awful. It still boggles my mind that a game existed about the trials and tribulations of the 7-Up logo.

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#44 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4312 posts) -

@ripelivejam: I have high hopes we will see Crysis in all it's glory before we start a colony on Mars.

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#45 Edited by MocBucket62 (2487 posts) -

F Zero GX is impressive to this day mainly for the sense of speed. Its brutal in difficulty (particularly the story mode), but man I can't think of another racing game that provides the pure, speedy joy that GX provides.

I'm also with the guy who said Age of Empires II, its a great RTS and revolutionized the genre.

Plus, while future Total War games have improved on the current 3D battle engine, its still impressive with what both Rome and Medieval II were able to do by providing full scale 3D battles even for their time. Rome TW's tech was so impressive its gameplay footage was used to depict ancient battles in the show Decisive Battles and its the only Total War game to have that distinction. Heck it might be the only video game to have the title of using its gameplay footage to reenact historical battles unless I'm forgetting about some other game that was incorporated into a TV show.

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#46 Posted by SloppyDetective (1599 posts) -

I just hooked up my PS3 and my Wii (which has the gamecube bc) so this post is great for me to find some gems I missed.

I'm currently playing through Mario Sunshine (never beat it when I was a tween) and while I will say it isn't as great as other entries in the series it's a neat little game. It's novel to me (even today) to be playing a level and seeing another level off in the distance. Mario has never really had a world that felt so connected and whole before. The \ inverted camera controls and camera in general suck though.

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#47 Posted by GundamGuru (786 posts) -

A lot of what kills me on older games these days is quality of life stuff. Things like better checkpoints, save points, inventory management (I'd have killed for a sort function in '05), maps, etc. I play a ton of RPGs, and it's really hard to pour dozens of hours into older ones without all that stuff.

That said the faithfulness that old D&D based RPGs implemented the tabletop systems still impresses me to this day. One of the first PC RPGs I really got engrossed in was the original Neverwinter Nights. It's almost a direct implementation of the 3.0 ruleset with the smallest changes possible in order to enable a realtime combat system and also be completeable with a two-character party. In the modern era of streamlining and mass appeal the fact that those games made it to market that pure and still found success really impresses me. Starfleet Command is another one of those (it implemented the Starfleet Battles tabletop game), though Activision eventually dumbed it down for the third game. Someday I hope Games Workshop will just make Warhammer 40k the game, the video game.

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#48 Posted by jdizzlefoshizzle (151 posts) -

The Metroid Prime games are super great still. I played them for the first time a couple years ago through the Wii collection and they've aged marvelously.

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#49 Posted by dudeglove (13735 posts) -

I don't know if I'd call them impressive, but I've played Front Mission 3 and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the first time in the past few years and was surprised by how modern and playable they were.

There are parts of FM3 that I would really really like to have been adopted by other games. The between-mission meta game of fooling around on their fake internet, the tactical disabling of enemy wanzer limbs, the abuse of the VR mode to buff skills and stacking "Missiles: salvo" on a pilot's computer... Hell, that game even had destructible environments and accounted for things like bullet spread.

I replayed it a few years back and it's kinda too slow at times.

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#50 Edited by Zevvion (5965 posts) -
  1. Mirror's Edge
  2. Burnout Paradise
  3. Ninja Gaiden II
  4. Ninja Gaiden Black
  5. Devil May Cry 4
  6. Devil May Cry 3
  7. Portal
  8. Halo 3
  9. The Witcher
  10. BioShock
  11. Viva Pinata
  12. Future Cop L.A.P.D.
  13. Metroid Prime
  14. Mass Effect

Not in order of any kind.