With more Spelunky and Tony Hawk around the corner, it got me thinking of perfect games. Not necessarily favorite games, best games, or ground-breaking cinematic achievements, but ones that go for something and execute it to perfection. There are a number of games that fall into that group for me, what some long-lost streamer might call a "masterpiece."
My criteria's simple: There's no part of the game that frustrates me, and I'm always glad to be playing it (at release and today). This eliminates a lot of recent games, because when something's 30 hours long there's a chance that parts of it drags. I love stuff like Bloodborne, Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid, but those games don't land everything (for those in order, it can be frame rate/pacing, controls, snapping necks needs to be weirdly precise without setting off alarms). The games below have no such problems.
- Spelunky - Endlessly fun, extraordinarily deep, each run feels fresh, with flawless 2D platforming controls.
- Tony Hawk 3 - It's pure joy, really, with outstanding level design and a pitch perfect combo system.
- Super Mario World - The most creative Mario world ever created, with a ton of great challenges and secrets that was never really topped for me.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - The best balance of classic and open-ended Castlevania, where every aspect and system is perfectly tuned.
- Ultimate Doom - The core gameplay of Doom is fantastic any time I play it, no matter what stage I start.
- Sonic 2 - The tightest levels of any Sonic game, with one of the best soundtracks of all time.
- Tekken 5 - Tekken 3 and Tekken Tag were fantastic, but I feel like Tekken 5 is where they perfected the combat without overcomplicating it.
- Guitar Hero III - It had a damn good set list, but it also had the only guitar controller that let me play with a pick and literally taught me how to shred on real guitar. The gameplay perfected what the first two were going for.
- Crash Bandicoot 2 - My favorite 3D platformer controls, with linear level design that puts emphasis on hand-crafted challenges. I routinely 100% this game every few years. (The PS1 version, as the remake changed the feel).
- Streets of Rage 2 - We used to beat this game daily as kids, and I can still sit down any day of the week and enjoy everything about it.
- Halo: Reach - My favorite Halo campaign, with some of the best combat and multiplayer an FPS can offer. And the MCC version makes it feel even better.
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild - I was gonna include this in my "these games have flaws" examples above, but I couldn't think of any. I love the exploration, the combat, the breaking weapons, the vibe, the music, and even the limited backstory. It's masterful.
That's it! I wanna hear yours.
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