Game of the Lists List

Inspired by @mento's reworking of his GOTY lists with games he's played since then, this list is going to be an amalgation of all the games listed within my GOTY lists, and then reordered from best to worst. As history has changed my opinions on some of these games, their rankings in comparison to my GOTY lists might change.

This one might take me a while, so consider it a work in progress. After taking a look at some of my earliest GOTY lists, I'm also going to open this up to "games played thoroughly" lists I've created through the years. For some reason, some of the top games from those years were absent from my GOTY lists, probably because I didn't put games that came out that year on the list.

List items

  • 2012 - #1

    I think by now there's little doubt in my mind Borderlands 2 is my most-played game ever. I think I've probably sunk at least 300 hours into it across the Xbox 360, PS4, and PC. It's so damn close to being my perfect game - if there had been more weapon variety released as downloadable DLC and/or general updates, and if individual body parts could be swapped out like the heads, it would be. And that's it - that's all I want from Borderlands is just more. More guns I want to actually use (give me a reason to use rocket launchers, Gearbox!). More characters with more skill trees. More places to explore than Pandora. The Pre-Sequel was a nice aside, but let's see waht Gearbox can really do.

  • 2015

  • 2015

  • 2013 - #1

    It breaks my heart to put this anywhere but #1 on this list, because Ni no Kuni just oozes with love, both for the genre and for its characters. Drippy and the mom... just... maaaan.

    The grind got to a lot of players, but I kinda liked it. Then again, this was a world I found myself wanting to get lost in. I can't wait for Ni no Kuni 2, and I hope this one sees a re-release on modern consoles someday.

  • 2015

  • 2012 - #2

    Still one of the best stories told in interactive fiction, I think it was slightly outdone by Tales from the Bordlerlands, but that's really splitting hairs. The lackluster seasons following it have dampened my enthusiasm for the series as a whole, but the first season is a must-play.

  • 2016

  • 2016

  • 2015

  • 2015

  • 2015

  • 2016

  • 2016

  • 2015 -

    The best one-and-done game by Wadjet Eye so far (see also Blackwell Epiphany, practically scratching this one's back below), Technobabylon mixes a cool Blade Runner-noir story with the usual likable Wadjet characters and voice actors. One of the puzzles and locations in the game is a bit of a chore, so have a guide on hand to speed that section up. Also, if asked whether you should play the Blackwell series or Technobabylon, I would probably wind up with an exploding brain. Both are equally great in their own right - one as a collective series, the other as its own thing.

  • 2016

  • 2015

  • 2013 - #11 (series)

    2014 - #4 (Epiphany)

    I'm lumping this series together, because they really do feel like parts of a whole. Wadjet Eye's crowning jewel and one of my absolute favorite point-and-clickers when taken as a whole, Blackwell has so much damn heart and charm. It's one of those works that actually inspired me to write about ghosts myself. I adore this series. If the individual parts were a little more even, I think it'd be even higher on this list.

  • 2013 - #3

    Xillia is as close to Tales perfection as it gets. I know, I know, there's some Vesperia fan out there raising his hand and harrumphing, but shush, you. Xillia's focus on two main characters gives a great reason for the players to go back through the game a second time with all the cheats and stuff unlocked that they've earned. And the side characters in Xillia, though ultimately wasted in this and its sequel - have the makings of intriguing stories. If the arcs had been better managed by the writers, this would have been one of my all-time RPG favorites. As it stands, it's still very, very good.

  • 2016

  • 2016

  • 2015

  • 2014 - #11

    Number... eleven? I remember having a lot of slowdown on my laptop, but come on, this game deserved way better than #11. This game - and now Dead Cells - are my kind of crack, blending cool action platforming with a "you always get better" attitude towards progression that I LOVE. This game is a treasure and deserved better.

  • 2016

  • 2015

  • 2016

  • 2015

  • 2014 - #8

    Has it really been three years since the last proper Borderlands game? That seems insane. I still regularly play and love Borderlands 2, but unfortunately, the Pre-Sequel doesn't get as much love from me. Part of that is problematic boss fights, which practically ensure you need to group up with randoms, and bad map design (at times), with awkwardly labrynthine interiors and long stretches of exteriors without much of note to look at. That said, it's a very funny game, with a lot of great new characters to play as - excepting CLaptrap. Ugh.

  • 2014

    Ranked #1 in 2014, DA:I faces a severe drop here not due to the quality of the game (which I think was good-to-occasionally great), but due to everything that came after it in regards to my top 10s. DA:I is my personal favorite among the DA games, with an interesting selection of party members and some terrific bits of exploration. It could have used another year to cook, but hey, what we got was pretty special.

  • 2014 - #2

    Shadow of Mordor stands out to me mostly for its great gameplay and the Nemesis system, but as years have gone by, I've soured more and more on the story. Tolkien deserves better than games like this, and it's a shame that the sequel looks to "Hollywoodize" the franchise even more.

  • 2014 - #3

    Far Cry 3, 4, and Primal were all consistently fun, hitting pleasure centers of my brain of open-worldliness that left me really enjoying all of them, despite being so relatively close in nature. 4 took some risks with the story, which I appreciate, and came away better for it.

  • 2014 - #5

    Banished is a neat little accomplishment in its origins as a one-person developed game, but even if it had been made by a small team, this would have been equally impressive and fun to play. It's a tough little city-builder with a lot of neat ideas and heart. I keep meaning to revisit it to see the changes made throughout patches and mods. Maybe I'll make that a priority soon.

  • 2014 - #6

    Still stylish, still problematic. The beginning and end are astoundingly good, but the problematic middle third of the game is still kind of dull. This is another one I mean to revisit.

  • 2013 - #6

    Look, I really like parts of the Persona games, but there reaches a point about 2/3s of the way through when I just stop caring. It's not that these are bad games, but unlike with the Disgaea games where I can see noticeable improvements with every bit of grinding I do, in Persona, I can spend hours wondering just what the hell it is I'm actually doing slowly increasing my stats or my companion links. These games need to give the player more options to increase their stats in the early going, too. The hand-holdy bullshit in both 4 and 5 was overwhelmingly boring and doesn't reflect positively on the games' standing on this list.

  • 2014 - #7

    Like most things South Park, this game gets shit on by a whole lot of people now who enjoyed the hell out of it back in the day. I still really enjoy South Park (which will probably bring out some pitchforks and torches), and this game still holds up perfectly well. The uncomplicated combat is actually more of a strength now that I've had time to think about it, and I like the varied costumes and abilities. I'm looking forward to the sequel. Throw your tomatoes.

  • 2015

  • 2013 - #5

    Tomb Raider was a great action-adventure game with some smart upgrade systems and a healthy sense of exploration. Had it some more puzzles in its actual tomb raiding, it might have been higher on this list. I need to play the sequel at some point.

  • 2013 - #7

    Dust was and is one of the better Metroidvanias out there, and yes, I'm saying the dreaded word "Metroidvania" because it's a great way to describe this game. Sometimes being brief and to the point is better than wordy. It's a thoughtful, excellently paced game, one I plan on returning to soon, and it holds up well.

  • 2015

  • 2013 - #4

    Awakening is a great SRPG that unfortunately has done little to motivate me to return to it. I like the marriage and child mechanics, but the largely forgettable plot and characters didn't do much for me.

  • 2014 - #9

    I was harsh on this game's "meh"-ness back in the day, and to an extent, that hasn't changed. I think it's a fine exploratory action-RPG that just doesn't hold a candle to the heart and spirit of the best in the series. It feels like a very loving tribute that unfortunately never aspires to much itself.

  • 2013 - #9

    Saints Row IV gets crapped on for being more of the same, but I kinda loved it, as I do with a lot of three-legged gaming dogs. I'm not going to try and excuse it, but I've replayed it recently and I think the silliness still works for me, even if the repetitive mini-game type elements don't.

  • 2015

  • 2015

  • 2015

  • 2013 - #8

    As shiny and well-designed as Grand Theft Auto V is, the fact of the matter is, it's not what I want. I don't want to torture people in a game. I don't want to play as a disturbed psychopath. I like my open-world games to be a bit dopey and silly. As a technical achievement, I'm willing to give GTAV all the praise it deserves, but from a personal standpoint, I have zero desire to ever return to it.

  • 2015

  • 2015

  • 2012 - #3

    A case of the sequel making the original largely irrelevant, XCOM holds a special place for me in helping revive the turn-based squad combat game. I still adore it, but XCOM 2 is just a better game in every regard.

  • 2015

  • 2016

  • 2015

  • 2015

  • 2013 - #14

    Okay, look.

    Riptide, compared to Dead Island or Dying Light, is not a great game. It's somewhat of a cash-in, but the story it tells - the survivors of the original Dead Island are slowly transforming into... something - is more serviceable than those two, and some of the new settings are a lot of fun.

    It's not a game I'd recommend to anyone but die-hard shoot and looters, but if you were as big of a fan of the original Dead Island as I was, give this one a look.

  • 2015

  • 2013 - #2

    Far Cry 3 was a great improvement in the series, but like with Watch Dogs elsewhere on this list, despite the fun I had with 3, it was outdone by its newer kindred and would be hard to go back to.

  • 2015 - Unsorted

  • 2013 - #10

    Again, a game that's simply been outdone, this time by whatever one starred Evie, the best AC protagonist outside of Ezio. Black Flag is still a great game, just not quite as good as... whatever that one was.

  • 2015

  • 2014 - #10

    I liked this game much more than the rest of the Internet, apparently. I still think the base takeovers were a lot of fun, and though it wasn't true to the source, I liked exploring the fictional Chicago. That said, Watch Dogs 2 completely ate its lunch, leaving me with little reason to ever want to revisit the original. As a product of its time, it was a blast, but much like Grand Theft Auto, each iteration leaves me with little reason to go back.

  • 2012 - #4

  • 2012 - #5

  • 2012 - #6

  • 2012 - #7

  • 2012 - #8

  • 2012 - #9

  • 2012 - #10