sparky_buzzsaw

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Every Game I've Played, Ranked... for Reasons!

My opinions on games are subjective and tend to shift depending on mood, current trends, and advances in technology and design, but that isn't going to stop me from trying to rank every single goddamn one of them I've played. Prepare thy adult diapers, ladies and gentlemen. It's about to get messy.

Also note that at any given time this list is NOT final and I'll be adding a bunch of random stuff to it. Don't assume that just because a game is #14 at the moment that it's going to stay there forever. It might just be because I'm thinking about Willy Beamish or something.

List items

  • The big mamma jamma of RPGs is still a favorite, ugly bug warts and all. I replayed it recently and you'd think with the 72 re-releases they would have fixed things like the housing bugs, but nope! Shiny graphics, same ol' problems. Still love you, Skyrim. Some might say you're the best around and they're never going to keep you down.

  • Maybe this ranks so high because of Yennefer. Maybe it ranks so high because the writing's so damn good and the music kicks ass and oh my God I love that scene of Geralt walking into the dwarvish home and thinking Siri or Cereal or whatever her name was is dead. Whatever the case, this game's pretty great!

  • The game I've probably sunk the most time into across all platforms. Also probably deserving of the award of "game I've bought the most times," which I think is now sitting at five. Sure. It has unskippable cutscenes and an intro level that makes me grind my teeth having to replay it, but it's still so damn good. And fuck you, Handsome Jack was a great villain. Once. He didn't need to be in every goddamn game afterward.

  • One of the absolute pinnacles of PC gaming. Even just writing this makes me want to go back and play it again. It is pure 4x perfection. My only complaint is the small text size.

  • My favorite adventure game and that's saying something, considering I am a human waste receptacle for the pointin' and a clickin'. Well-fleshed out characters, one of the better silly romance stories in games between Rhys and Sasha, the best opening cards to games, period, and a surprisingly moving sacrifice make this a terrific game to revisit and a modern classic.

  • In a very real way, this game helped define who I would become. My taste for fantasy literature stemmed from this game. A lot of my core knowledge of sentence structure came from wanting to learn how to play this when my dad bought our Tandy 1000. This would have stuck at the top of my list for nearly two decades. I love this game. I hold it in very high regard. But with Elder Scrolls, especially Oblivion and Skyrim, it's sadly been left behind. It'll forever be one of the most important games to me as a whole, right there with Final Fantasy VII and Fallout 2.

  • As flawless as games get. Super Mario World has a kickass score, controls absolutely perfectly, and the whole thing is iconic.

  • It's astonishing how many of Nintendo's first-party titles from the SNES days stand as some of the very best in their particular lineage. Super Mario World, Super Metroid, and Link to the Past are all absolutely superb efforts and easy 10 out of 10s. Link to the Past hits the sweet spot between difficult and fun, tells a great story with a minimal amount of effort, and has some of the best world design in games, period. It's a phenomenal game even in 2021, and a true gem.

  • What Remains isn't just an emotionally powerful story about family and generational love, but a wildly inventive way to rethink adventure games and how we approach them. Half the game sees you walk around a bizarre house full of love and tragedy. The memories you experience are played out not through mini-games or QTEs, but through inventive experiences, like flying a kite in the middle of a storm or turning into an owl to hunt prey. It's usually hyperbole to say that a game reinvents sthe genre but What Remains does exactly that and it's one of my very favorite games as a result.

  • Again, so very close to flawless. With what little story there is to the game, they managed to gut punch me as a young teen. Another well-deserved all-time icon.

  • I go back and forth with this one, IX, and X as being the best Final Fantasy, and I guarantee you the positions of all of them will change on this about a dozen times before this list is "final." I think this one ekes it out simply because it was such a central pillar to me as a teen. Watching that introduction to Midgar, the bananas story, and most of all, the memories of alternating playthroughs with my brother, those were all pretty damn special.

    And also Tifa. Tifa Tifa Tifa. I am a simple man.

  • Between this or IX, it comes down to story because the gameplay of both is stellar. IX has X beat in terms of sidequests. X, to me, has the more interesting world and combat systems. But X, particularly with its gutwrenching ending, wins it out by a hair because of the story. Tidus is an annoying little dork, but goddamn, that goodbye.

  • One of the all-time greats. If it was longer and the biker combat sequence either gone completely or less of a pain, this would have been number one for adventure games on my list. As it stands, Ben is always and forever one of my favorite protagonists.

  • I think this one might rank higher or lower if it were available in other formats other than the PS1. By now, it's mostly rose-colored lenses for me with this one, but I do know for a fact that I love the story of two friends driven to become political rivals due to circumstances well out of their control. It's a terrific story, and I wish more RPGs dealt head on with emotionally complex characters and plots that don't revolve around goddamn crystals.

  • I love XCOM 2 with one very big caveat. I don't like the forced overworld timer event that sees you rushing to beat the aliens. It inherently goes against the grain of a turn-based combat game to have artificial time limits imposed on a player and introduces a layer of stress the game definitely doesn't need. There has to be a better overworld experience than that. I believe there were options added to the game with DLC or upgrades you can get that render the timer all but pointless, but it's an irritating gameplay problem in an otherwise stellar squad-based combat game. I love practically everything else about it, though I wouldn't mind seeing squad interactions in the middle of a battle.

  • Mechanically Fallout 4 is probably the best of the new Fallout games. There's not much doubt there. But in terms of keeping to the vision of the original two Fallout games while creating its own fiction within the universe, Fallout New Vegas is unparalleled. The characters and factions are far and away better than 3 and 4. The world is more evocative of the vision of the original games. And while the systems are half-baked and irritatingly broken, there's an unfulfilled promise to this game that still makes me wish Obsidian had another crack at the series. And who knows? Maybe they will.

  • The pinnacle of creativity when it comes to games and my personal digital Zen of choice. Again, like with FF7, much of my enjoyment of the game relates to the experiences I've had around it, particularly playing with my brother and my friend Robin. I still keep a Realm going to cool down when I need to think about a scene I'm writing or just relax and not worry about things for a while.

  • Here's an interesting one for you. I know Quest for Glory IV's faults. I've played and replayed this game maybe eight or nine times throughout the years. I've hit just about every glitch you can hit. I've screwed up character builds badly enough that I couldn't progress. I've seen and heard the unfortunate characterization of its Romani people. I've played with the watered-down combat and magic systems.

    And still, I really love this game.

    I didn't really love Quest for Glory II or III. I think those games have their high points and I still hold them in regard as being the predecessors of games years down the line like Morrowind. But for me, it's the original and IV. IV's characterization of the Romani people might be gross, but it nails the setting and feel of a classic vampire tale. I love the environments here. I love the cartoonish dread. I love the feeling of corruption to it all. It's not a game I'd really recommend to people, but my God, do I love it.

  • If it wasn't for some of Grim Fandango's more annoying puzzles (looking at you, visually inaccessible lock tumbler puzzle), this would probably be my favorite adventure game of all time. As it stands, it's a hugely creative venture, with a terrific cast of characters, one of the better plots in games, and a memorable setting that's never really been equaled.

  • One of the best controlling games of all time. No joke. It feels superb to play, be it on the PS4, the PC, or the Switch. Every time I die, it's (largely) my fault. I've yet to actually beat it, but the fact that I keep coming back for more is a testament to how much I love this game.

  • Forget the story. It's garbage. It always is in these games. There's a certain charm to that, but you're not playing Disgaea for the story. You're playing it for the best SRPG mechanical systems out there. I joke a lot about my love for this series but the truth is there really isn't a more refined, robust system in place if you're looking for meat to your SRPG bones. There is just so much here to play with and you can never go completely wrong with any of it. There's always a way to easily rebuild if you screw up any of your characters, and it even rewards you for respeccing. It's a phenomenal series and you are generally okay playing the latest one for the most user-friendly version of the game.

  • A loving tribute that wound up being better than the games it was emulating. Stardew Valley is magic, pure magic. I played it close to its release, liked it but didn't get into it, and then returned to it in 2020. Between being chased out of my previous apartment by addicts (no joke) and quarantine, I needed the relaxation something like Stardew offered. It, along with Minecraft, really helped calm my soul. It's just such a sweet, affable game, if games can be said to be affable. I'm desperately hoping we see a sequel sometime.

  • A love letter to a generation and style of games we may never the likes of again. I don't think the story or characters hold up under scrutiny, but my God, this game sure is fun.

  • I have a lot of love for run-based games that let me improve stats so I can eventually brute force my way past difficult sections, and there are few that give me as many options and ways of doing so as Rogue Legacy. While I think Dead Cells is the better controlling game and an amazing spiritual successor, Rogue allows me to upgrade actual stats rather than rely on good RNG drops to win. By the end of this game I felt like a powerhouse, and that's pretty awesome. The music's great, the gameplays rock solid, and it's just a fantastic game through and through.

  • Charming as hell. I wish some of the character options weren't quite so gimmicky (looking at you, Claptrap) and some of the story's boss battles really needed tweaking for solo play, but overall, one of the better Borderlands experiences out there.

  • It kills me to put this behind Disgaea 5. Mechanically, Tactics is one of my favorite games of all time. But the further I get from the game, the more I'm able to look its glaring problems with difficulty jumps in the eye. And they are hugely problematic, particularly when you can easily back yourself into unwinnable corners with the wrong party or wrong jobs. The story is also largely incomprehensible, though there are bright spots in its character work. There's no other series I'd love to see make a grand comeback, not even Suikoden, but it has to come with modern sensibilities about gameplay. A2 satisfied that itch but went way too far in teh opposite direction while also still keeping some of the frustrating "blink and you'll miss it" characters hidden behind obscure clues and sidequests.

  • Iconic characters, gameplay, and visuals. This was the game I probably rented most. Didn't ever own a copy until it was re-released on future consoles. Still plays well enough and Ithink it's the strongest roster to date.

  • Not all that long ago, Saints Row would have been much much higher on my list. I think it's a great game but a recent revisit reminded me how many gamebreaking bugs there are with this one in particular. That said, the character interactions are still outstanding, the mission design is generally fun (when it works), and the basic backbone here is damn good.

  • It's strange to think this game is seventeen years old as of 2021, because this game was released seventeen years after the original Pirates! That makes me feel old as hell. Swashbuckling's never been better than this game, though admittedly the minigames don't hold up. I still love the trading and naval superiority backbone, and the idea of living out your life with changing fortunes is still massively appealing.

  • With any luck, we see Sakuna become a series of games. I love this bizarre oddity. There are two halves to this game. One is a basic grindy fast-paced platformer that sees you performing small tasks in a nice handful of levels that never last more than a few minutes. You collect materials, kill bosses, and explore deeper when you have new skills, as with Metroid or Castlevania.

    The other half, and bear with me on this, is a rice-farming simulator. With the help of friends in a tiny community, you grow rice over spring, summer, fall, and winter, and it is surprisingly detailed. Keeping track of fertilizer saturation, water temperatures and levels, and then learning the best ways to cultivate your rice sounds daunting, but Sakuna makes it easy and fun, which is a bizarre statement but no less true. It's a really cool game I wish more people would play because it's something special.

  • Sharply designed levels and action balance out a weak story infatuated with Kara's father instead of Lara herself. Despite being her best games, Lara is unable to get her own adventure in three Tomb Raiders and that sucks.

  • Time has not been kind to Ocarina of Time in my mind. On paper, it's a classic, and don't get me wrong, I love it. The music is iconic, the world well realized, the whole thing is just a beam of sunshine straight to my soul. But gameplay wise, there's a lot left to be desired. That's partly the fault of the era of N64 gameplay. The camera's pretty bad and the controls are fiddly. But also there are just some really awful game design decisions here, especially in some of the harder-to-navigate water areas. It's a game definitely worth visiting on your own to determine how much you love it.

  • All the heart and charm in this game belongs almost entirely to one character - Drippy - and he's so good he carries the otherwise forgettable plot. I really love the ideas behind this game, though an odd monster raising element and harsh difficulty spikes at the end make it an uneven experience.

  • One of the all-time genre-definers. Kick-ass music, great (if basic by modern standards) gameplay, and an intense personality that has never really been equaled. Some of the gameplay elements are a little dated, but the core game is still excellent.

  • Of any game on this list, this one's probably the most difficult to rank. Gameplay wise, it's superb. Easily among the best of its class. The guns feel good, the classes are interesting, and the end-game content is outstanding.

    But oh boy, to go from the superb story and characters in Tales from the Borderlands to this puerile dreck is fucking astonishing. The new characters are horrible, with Ava being one of my most disliked video game characters of all time. Seriously, she's up there with the cat girl from Star Ocean: The Last Hope and pretty much everyone from Blue Dragon for most awful. Then to relegate Rhys, arguably one of the series' best protagonists, into a guy worried about his mustache for the entirety of his time on the screen is appalling. Factor that in with a complete lack of Fiona, Sasha, and a couple of cheap, unearned character deaths, and this feels like a story written by a room of teenagers. Given that it's Randy Pitchford's baby, that's not very fucking surprising.

    If this only had a good story, it would rank near the very top. As it stands, I can't. I just can't. So much wasted potential here.

  • The original Borderlands holds up very well, though it has generally been surpassed by its successors. One high point - the characters are a bit more grounded, though the game is front-loaded with its best characters save for some of the DLC. The pacing though, especially in its earliest hours and throughout some of the DLC, is slow as molasses, and a problem the series has never really rectified. There needs to be a "jump forward" option if you've played through the introductory missions. I don't need to follow Claptrap around for the umpteenth time to start the game.

  • Shadow is a bit of a mess. On the one hand, the plot - Lara's obsessiveness over Trinity and artifacts sees her become the catalyst for the potential end of the world - is a really fascinating take on the traditional Indiana Jones formula. It had the potential to be really good, and at points, it is. The Aztec themes are really neat, and in general, I like the overall plot, especially when it comes to Unuratu, queen of the people Lara is trying to befriend. She's a terrific character wasted on this game.

    For one, there's no moment of joy in the exploration or the world. I get that given the tone of the plot that having this game be light would be a mistake, but there needed to be some sense of wonder at the very least, and perhaps some moments of humanizing Lara that didn't come from - again - her history involving her father. Fuck, but this reboot series wastes a lot of its potential in Lara by having her obsess over her dad. It reduces the character to a backseat driver to her own story, and that's a goddamn shame considering how strong the characterization is of her in this reboot.

    Anyways, the gameplay's mostly fine. There are a lot of underwater sequences - sigh - but the puzzles and environments are generally really neat. It's a good game. It's just a highly disappointing one and there's not a lot of joy to be had with it.

  • Chimera Squad does some interesting things with the XCOM formula by injecting personality into its squaddies. With more variety between characters and the option to customize them further, this could be a really stellar offshoot of the series. The visuals need some work too, with breaching being particularly egregious. As it stands, there's a good backbone here.

  • While there's a lot of F2P bullshit with this one, the core gameplay, especially when you join a clan, is remarkably good. It takes a huge time investment, but you can definitely build competitive decks without buying into its money-grabby schemes.

  • Puzzle Quest is so very close to greatness, but falls short due to a frustrating feeling that the AI is far more lucky than the player. This was remedied with future PQ games but unfortunately also led to the devs turning it into a F2P series. I personally think PQ: Magic is a better game overall, but original PQ isn't as scummy when it comes to microtransactions.

  • Kickass soundtrack and a really unique take on the Breakout formula. I think it's a little difficult at times, but overall, it's a great indie game, one I'd love to see a spiritual sequel to someday.

  • Probably the best Sonic game from a purely technical level. It gets the classic formula's magic and improves upon it in smart, modern ways.

  • Iconic, gorgeous for its day, and fun, but overall simplistic. It was a perfectly decent way tospend a buck at the bowling alley.

  • Have you seen... this?! If you're new to it, go watch the GB coverage of this game. I played it and got a kick out of it.

  • Sometime after Red Dead and Max Payne 3, Rockstar forgot games are fun, not work. Grand Theft Auto V was a chore to play. Great characters, great story, but a boring as piss world to explore and play in. At least the controls made sense, unlike RDR2.

  • As far as reboots go, this is (mostly) how you do it. As with Rise and Shadow, I think Tomb Raider is too obsessed with telling a story about anyone but Lara. It's a shame that games like these couldn't have focused on telling an interesting story about her without being bogged down by a huge concentration on her family. That said, this Tomb Raider had some killer level design and well-thought out combat scenarios that didn't feel like the later gleeful murder fests. It lacked interesting tombs to raid, a bizarre decision given the name and history of the series, but overall, it's still a memorable start to a very solid new trilogy.

  • There's a lot here I genuinely love. The music is genuinely underrated, the art style is top notch for the era, and the scope of the game was pretty incredible for an adventure game. This really felt like a cool universe to explore, and a pretty funny one to boot. However, like with the other Space Quest games, the humor is definitely very inside-joke heavy, and some of the mini-games are frustrating. It's a tough game to recommend in 2021, but one I enjoy going back to through people playing it online.

  • This one's kind of a heartbreaker. Marvel Puzzle Quest has a huge array of characters, a definite plus when I'm so burned out on all the Marvel staples, but it's also tacked to so much F2P bullshit that it's hard to recommend.

  • Quest for Glory II defines obtuse game design choices for the sake of padding out gameplay, and it's really horrendous as a result. There are a lot of elements that still work here - the classic adventuring from the first game was still solid, and some of the characters are memorable. But the labyrinthine world design made this one a real stinker by comparison.

  • Sometimes I forget this was a game, redownload it, and then remember why I quit it. There's a lot of tiny problems with this one that seem like they could have been fixed post-release but just never were. The poor quest tracking is still egregiously bad and probably the worst of its faults. There were a lot of neat ideas at work here and it's something I hope gets a spiritual sequel, but obviously resources were not put into hammering this one out.

  • Okay. Hm. Quest for Glory III is impossible to talk about without some harsh (and rightful) criticism leveled at it for its depiction of "monkey people." As the game is set in a fantastical version of Africa, you can see how blatantly problematic this is, no matter the Coles' intent.

    It doesn't help that Quest for Glory III is probably the least interesting and most wasteful of its potential. The game appears, on a surface level, to be huge, and some of the environments are really terrific. I love some of its ideas, and had it been less problematic in its sterotypical depictions, the lore could have been fascinating. But it doesn't excuse the game's bugs, of which I ran into more than I ever did IV (and I ran into a lot in IV), or its steadfast refusal to acknowledge advances in adventure gaming at the time. It's a bizarre game. It's not terrible but hugely problematic in a lot of ways that merit a lot of thought.

  • A remarkable improvement on the original and one of the very first adventure games I ever played. It's hard not to rank this one higher based purely on nostalgia alone. In truth, it's not all that bad of an adventure game, but it's been dated pretty hard and there are just better games in the series.

  • The vehicle-based shoot-em-up is a genre that's gone MIA in the last ten or so years, and that's a shame. Games like Soviet Strike are a hell of a lot of fun, with a very basic military black ops premise and gameplay that basically just sees you blowing stuff up but good. Bonus points for some pretty cool FMV work back in the day.

  • The original Space Quest games don't really hold up. A lot of the humor is very much of an era and only appreciable to a small slice of geekdom from... Jesus... thirty-five years ago. That said, there are far worse adventure games out there and for what these games would later go on to become, they're worth a look from an adventure game historian POV. Also, I still love the theme music. What are you going to do?

  • One of the most disappointing games of my childhood. I tried so hard to like this game because it was Quest for Glory, but it wasn't meant to be. I think parts of the score are outstanding, particularly the city night music. Apart from that, it's drab, lifeless, and a cheap cash-in on a series that deserved a better end. Thankfully, we eventually got Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, three games that very much carry the Quest for Glory torch in ways that all surpass the original games, especially this stinking turd.

  • A forgotten Sierra adventure game, this is charming at first blush, but Black Cauldron has some of their usual problems. It's easy to back yourself into a corner without the right object at the right time. Those problems are amplified by awkward design choices of the era - the game is overly difficult at times, particularly when you're trying to navigate past NPCs that can kill you, I hope someone someday looks at these books and realizes a better adventure game can be made of them.

  • This game was neat back in the day. It's a blatant Blade Runner knockoff, and some of its sterotyping is pretty godawful, but Dynamix had some cool ideas about first-person adventuring that really kinda worked, at least from a gameplay perspective. Not a game I'd easily recommend but definitely worth a look on Youtube or something.

  • An extremely weird adventure game. Dynamix had a few of those in its stable. This one focuses on a boy and his adventures with his frog. The cartoonish graphics at the time were really cool, but the plot is all over the place and like a lot of adventure games of the era, it's easy to miss something simple and then be boned later for an irritating game over. It's also kinda crazy racist at parts, so expect it to wind up waaaay lower on this list.

  • When this came out, I was just happy to have a wrestling game on my Xbox. I was willing to forgive a lot of its problems. But eventually even as starved as I was for a wrasslin' game, even I had to admit the godawful camera and mediocre wrestling were too much to really deal with. Combined with a lackluster number of modes and creative features, this one was a dud.

  • A complete misfire. Galactrix ignores the complainst about the previous game's difficulty and tacks on a difficult new grid system. There's no real joy to this one or any compelling reason to play it over any of its siblings.

  • This was a game I was determined to like, even if it controlled like ass. I still think there's something to its collectathon gameplay. It was weirdly loaded with little odd things to do and find, with almost every screen hiding away at least a secret or two. But the severe difficulty was compounded by bad controls. It's a curious game, not entirely awful in its design, but held back by bad philosophies of the day.

  • The title should tell you everything you need to know about this forgotten adventure game. This and its sequel were curious things. I was convinced they were better than what they actually were, because the humor seemed so beyond me. As it turns out, they were just bad games and badly written. A poor man's Leisure Suit Larry, but lacking the charm of those games. I don't hate the graphics, which is about the most I can say for it, but even that's a mixed bag. The Amiga version looks good but loads slowly. The other versions, namely the one I had on my Tandy, ran a little faster but looked far uglier.

  • Again, kind of a garbage-tier Leisure Suit Larry. This one gets dinged harder because of the godawful MIDI music. If you have to check these games out, do it with the volume off.

  • This came packaged with our computer back in the 90s, and honestly, that's about the right price for it. It's worth looking up on YouTube solely for the FMV stuff in between races but it was too hard and too generic a racer to recommend to anyone.

  • Record of Agarest War seems to think "more" makes up for "boring as piss." It's functional, I'll give it that. Beyond that, it's one of the more drab RPGs I've ever played, and a regular contender in my mind for one of the worst overall games too. There's not a single minute of heart or spirit to this whole game, the mechanics are dull, and there's not a drop of entertainment to be had.

  • This technically isn't the worst game I have ever played, but I'm not going through the trouble of adding I Want Toilet to the wiki. This was a bargain bin game almost immediately and it showed. In three minutes, I clipped through the ground and then the environment. Audio hitched. A gun looked like it was being held for me in some bizarre body disassociation bug. It was beyond terrible.