Behold- the greatest games of all time… Well, the greatest games of all time according to our crew anyway.
Top Game lists and Game of the Year rankings are some of the toughest and, at the same time, most fun to put together. As a writer, there’s really two distinct ways you can go with something like what we’re looking at here in this week’s Feature Friday.
You can tackle the list as a ‘best of the best’ ranking and coldly mark off the greatest of all time (which would be Muhammed Ali). In that way, your list becomes a melding of the thoughts and feelings of the entire staff. One list to rule them all, as it were.
What we’ve done here though, and we hope you enjoy reading through, is to assemble individual listings for each team member who wasn’t otherwise occupied and wanted to participate in this fun (not-so-) little Feature. So what does that mean? Well, it means that you’re in for a heaping helping of personal opinion as our review crew picks their top ten or top five (their choice) games of all time. And, just so you’re prepared ahead of time, a lot of games that you may or may not agree with ranking as some of the best of all time are on these rankings.
As to that, feel free to pick these bad boys apart and opine on your own in the comments below as to why we’re perfectly right… or perfectly nuts. Oh, and feel free to list you toppers in those comments as well, we’d love to read ’em and get a discuss going on.
Alright boys and girls, grab a hot/cold beverage and a snack, because this is one big, bad list of awesome- enjoy!
Jake’s Top Ten (or as I like to call it, the dark horse list -ed)
- 10. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Multi) – Starting off my list is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, I played this game when I was much younger, and in fact, this is one of the first games I ever played. Because of THPS I took a big interest in skating, and even went the extra mile so that I would know a lot of skateboarding terminology, sadly however, being a complete boss at Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater does not, in fact, make you a better skater.
- 9. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (Multi) – Okay, a lot of people think this is a bad game, and yes, I may just be donning the nostalgia glasses here. I love this game, I used to play it all the time when I was younger and I will still, even now go back and replay it. Why? Because once you get past the fact that it’s no longer a Sony exclusive title like the original Crash Bandicoot games (which I also love dearly, mind you), it’s a lovely, stylized adventure that keeps me coming back from time to time.
- 8. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Multi) – Fighting is one of my favorite game genres. I love most of them from Street Fighter to Mortal Kombat, to Dead or Alive, but the one that absolutely takes the cake is Tekken. From its ridiculously over the top characters, to it’s equally as over the top combo list, Tekken is a fantastic series. However, the best out of all of them: Tekken Tag Tournament Two; you’d be hard-pressed to find a fighting game as good as this anywhere else, so if you ever even think you want a fighting game: buy TTTT.
- 7. Minecraft (PC) – Do we really need to discuss why this game is fantastic? It’s a giant Lego set, for Heaven’s sake!! What makes the game truly amazing however (at least in my opinion), is the great set of mods, texture packs, and variety of multiplayer servers that the game currently has. Minecraft is a fantastic game, and if you have ever had doubts about the game, erase them.
- 6. Devil May Cry 3 (Multi) – Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a white haired, demon slaying machine of death, and the son of an angel and a demon? I did, and then I played Devil May Cry (not talking about DMC). In my opinion, the entire Devil May Cry series (yes, including 2, and DMC) are all great games, with a story just engaging enough to keep us playing, and just crazy enough to keep us from getting bored. Devil May Cry 3, however, is the one that blew them all out of the water.
- 5. Metal Gear Solid 3 (PS2) – Let me try to contain myself here, when I say…I LOVE THE METAL GEAR SOLID SERIES!!!!…(so much for containing myself). MGS3 is my favorite game out of the Metal Gear Solid series, tight controls, great gameplay, great music, great characters, and most importantly: great storyline. I love this game, from it’s kooky boss fights to it’s cool (albeit silly) radio system that it uses in game.
- 4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64) – Before people ask, nostalgia has nothing to do with this one. I hadn’t played a Zelda game until about two years ago, and because I had been hearing that MM was the best out of the series, I decided I would give it a chance. Armed with just my wits, I went into the game expecting it to be easy, and promptly decided that I would need a walkthrough before even the first day had passed.
- 3. Guild Wars (PC) – I started playing Guild Wars about six years ago, and since then (the last time that I checked), I have played for somewhere around two thousand hours. This game only started getting boring after everyone that I had played the game with moved on to Guild Wars 2 (which is awful by the way). Guild Wars and all of it’s expansions are terrific, and in my opinion this game could stand up to World of Warcraft.
- 2. Max Payne 3 (Multi) – Have you ever had a bad day, where everything seemed to go wrong, and everything collapsed around you? Well, Max Payne feels like that every day of his life. His wife and newborn daughter were murdered by drugged up junkies, he was wanted by the cops for murder, he’s been shot more times than anyone could possibly count, and things just never go his way. That’s what makes Max Payne 3 so amazing, and the absolute pinnacle of storytelling. The whole game is played watching Max screw up again and again, and finally the game gives him the ending (which I won’t spoil, by the way) that he deserves.
- 1. Saints Row 2 (Multi) – This sounds weird, I know, but just listen for a moment. I have put countless hours into this game. This game is flawless, I love the graphics style (yes, at first the graphics don’t seem that good, I know), the gameplay is absolute perfection. I can not stress it to anyone enough that they MUST play this game. Saints Row 3 and 4 are huge disappointments to me, and while I could say they aren’t true Saints Row games, and that the series died after 2, it’s not true. SR3 and SR4 are still great Saints Row games, just disappointments. Play this game, it’s not expensive, it’s pretty old, just take all of the money that you have, and go buy this game…heck, buy the entire series, even the disappointing ones. Just go play Saints Row 2, right now.
Chris S’ Top Ten
When I was asked by Brutal Gamer to participate in their top ten games feature I realised that this would take some serious mulling, consideration, reflection and internal deliberation. This isn’t an easy question for a compulsive obsessive geek such as myself. Video games have helped to shape the person I am, being not only an integral part of my childhood, but my adult life also. The list of video games that I eventually settled upon is exhaustive, but as to their individual positions within said list, well, this could change on any given day of the week depending on my mood or general disposition.
Furthermore, I must make some notable mentions to games that I also cherish, but for some reason or another did not make the final draft. Gears Of War (Xbox 360) never made the cut as although I adored that game the series has suffered considerably from the law of diminishing returns. Moreover, Golden Axe and Sonic 2 (both Megadrive/Genesis) were both close to making it on the final document, but instead I felt that the games that made it furthered the development of their individual genres whereas these two did not. Lastly, Soul Calibur (Dreamcast) and Tekken 2 (PlayStation) were additions that nearly made the grade. In the end though, I felt that the fighting game genre was well served in the eventual list by a certain chosen title that was a literal and figurative game changer (pardon the pun!).
Now, without further ado, onto the list…
- 10. Street Fighter II (Arcade/SNES) – This game singlehandedly created the one-on-one fighting game genre that we all know today. Although it was launched in 1991, Street Fighter II has never been bettered or evolved in any meaningful way. For it’s pace, character balancing, choice of fighters and general playability SFII continues to endure to this day!
- 9. Animal Crossing Wild World (Nintendo DS) – Though not the first addition to the series, Wild World took an amazing idea and honed it to perfection. Perfectly suited to the touch screen capabilities of the Nintendo DS and its portable nature, it is a title that is effectively about very little. Moreover, since it is fundamentally about ‘simulating’ life in an idyllic village it continues indefinitely and cannot be completed, as such. Simply put, it’s just a wonderful game in the most languid and relaxing way possible.
- 8. Uncharted 2 (PlayStation 3) – When Naughty Dog decided to make a sequel to their highly successful release Uncharted no one expected this classic. Uncharted was a game with great action, brilliant voice acting and finely tuned game mechanics. The studio took these ingredients, but added truly jaw dropping set pieces, such as climbing through a derailed train that happened to be hanging precariously of a cliff edge! Every facet and factor of the game is turned up to 11 creating one of the finest and most exciting gaming experiences of all time.
- 7. Killer 7 (Nintendo GameCube) – Unpredictable and uncompromising game-creating maverick Suda 51 has never since hit the heady heights he reached with this masterpiece. It is an on rails shooter with more depth and complexity that some of the most well regarded RPG’s! Furthermore, Killer 7 is a beautifully brutal and deliciously violent tale of retribution, betrayal & deviancy.
- 6. Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire (Nintendo Gameboy Advanced) – Ruby and Sapphire were the first Pokémon games to properly evolve and better their predecessors. Gone were the chunky, and frankly ugly, sprites from series’ Red, Blue (Green in Japan), Yellow, Gold, Silver and Crystal. Instead came picturesque landscapes, colourful trainers and newly created Pokémon designs all using the relative power of the GBA.
- 5. Resident Evil 4 (Nintendo GameCube) – When developing Resident Evil 4 Capcom took their premier survival horror series and did the unthinkable; they messed with a formula that worked! However, instead of breaking the highly admired Resident Evil they actually greatly improved it with, among other things, their new third person camera perspective and increased emphasis on action. Unfortunately it was all downhill from here and the Resident Evil titles have never been nearly as good since.
- 4. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Xbox 360) – Always being a fan of the Assassin’s Creed games, even the much-maligned original, it was a difficult task to pick a favourite. In my opinion Brotherhood, however, was the perfect balance of free roaming and storyline. The game allowed the player to explore freely without ever feeling a slave to the plot, and stayed challenging while never becoming frustrating.
- 3. Super Mario Bros 3 (NES) – Mario’s 1988 adventure (in Japan, at least) was a massive evolutionary step not only for the series, but for the genre as a whole. Even though Mario games have changed over the years, be it into the realm of 3D or interplanetary exploration, they are only ever riffing on the central core mechanics set down in this, arguably its purest, iteration. Platforming perfection!
- 2. Shadow Of The Colossus (PlayStation 2) – Shadow Of The Colossus’ (and Ico’s) Lead game designer Fumito Ueda is a master at creating a true emotional connection between the player and his characters. This title features a character called Wander who is systematically killing massive, awe-inspiring beasts named Colossi in order, he thinks, to save his partner Mono from death. The more you slaughter these brilliant creatures, the more guilty you feel for this transgression and you know it is also affecting the character of Wander also. Just like your ‘protagonist’ you do not want to do it, but instead are compelled to. The game, part storybook, part fable, and part art project, swallows up the player and doesn’t release it’s hold until the tragic, unfortunate end.
- 1. Ico (PlayStation 2) – As much as I adore Shadow Of The Colossus, I am of the opinion that Ueda’s true masterwork is Ico. It follows a small boy named Ico as he tries to escape a whimsical, yet extremely dangerous, castle populated by shadowy demons. The real twist to the gameplay comes in the form of Yorda, his companion, as you must also shepherd her to safety sometimes at the expense of yourself. The longer you spend in this fantastical stronghold not only do you become more attached to both Ico and Yorda, but you believe in their burgeoning relationship as it blossoms in the dangerous landscape. Moreover, as your affection grows so does your desire to see them free of this confining fortification. In a word; breathtaking.
Jeremiah’s Top Ten
- 10. Duke Nukem 3D – DN3D was the first PC game I ever bought, and I played this game hours on end some times.
- 9. Tales of the Abyss – The first JRPG I ever played beginning to end. Great characters, a good story, and excellent gameplay mechanics.
- 8. Shadow of the colossus – Solid game mechanics, and a new take on how to present a game. Give this game a try.
- 7. System Shock 2 – A great first person shooter with RPG elements. The game’s a great horror/survival tale.
- 6. Star wars Knights of The Old Republic – A must play for any Star Wars fan, A great story, solid game mechanics, and some very memorable characters.
- 5. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – Another of Bethesda’s masterworks is The Elder Scrolls series, and Skyrim took the series to new heights building upon its predecessors.
- 4. Fallout 3 – Bethesda’s new take on the Fallout series was, at first, a stretch for fans of the original games however the bold move paid off, and gave us one awesome game to remember.
- 3. BioShock – Just the right amount of fear, and action to make this game a must play for years to come. A spiritual successor to the System Shock series. This installment uses the steampunk look instead of a sci-fi one.
- 2. Dragon Age: Origins – Dragon Age builds upon the tried and true squad based combat system from games like IceWind Dale, and Baldur’s Gate while delivering it in a more visceral way. A great story, excellent characters, and an awesome soundtrack.
- 1. Mass Effect 2 – The Mass Effect series is by far my favorite game series ever, and Mass Effect 2 is the pinnacle of the series’ story. An all around fun game with an interesting story, and great characters.
Ted’s Top Five
- 5. Crysis (PC) – For some Crysis will be remembered as the game that allowed them to fulfill their Predator fantasies, hiding out in the jungle as soldiers walk by. Never knowing they are three steps away from a high tech cloaked foe. For me it was an inspired comedy moment that makes it one to remember and that’s being able to run to an enemy encampment by the water early on in the game and pickup a live chicken. You can’t do much with it but just having the option to do something so amusing as run around holding a chicken as a hostage/shield is a perfect example of twisted humour and won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Followed closely by using mines and machine gun fire to try and blow up the toilet in the original Goldeneye on N64. (Which thanks to being pre-destruction engines could never be done)
- 4. Left4Dead (PC) – Four player online co-op action running from a start point to a finishing location which doubles as the start of the next chapter. A little cold but accurate description, then add in that it’s first person action against zombies, lots of zombies and things get more interesting. Left4Dead may not be unique in how many people it has online but just being able to feel like you’re in a zombie survival movie, making every last bullet count with dwindling supplies and a dash to the finish, we can only hope there will be a third game in this super addictive franchise.
- 3. Halo (Xbox [Original]) – It was a tough choice to decide between this and Super Mario Bros but Halo had to win out eventually. Both are games that provide an enjoyable single player story/campaign with infinite replay value but what puts Halo over the top was the split screen first person action. Shooting on a ship, on the ground then under it with someone else in the room is the best gaming experience to be had. Listening to a random person swear at you over Xbox Live in the modern age doesn’t quite have the same appeal as playing with family.
- 2. Battlefield 2 (PC) – Battlefield 1942 was a game-changer making it so you could move from being an infantry grunt to the driver of a tank without the need for a loading screen. Battlefield 2 made it better by providing a set of multiplayer maps that were so well designed in their layout and so popular that even the current Battlefield titles are still releasing updated versions of the same ones for new players to enjoy. The first game that made being a crawling medic in a warzone an appealing prospect for gameplay.
- 1. Age of Empires 2 (PC) – While others may choose the Command & Conquer for it’s occasionally great cutscenes Age of Empires won me over way back during it’s original release period by offering something you can’t get in most games then or now – walls. There was nothing more satisfying that going into a skirmish map and building a stone walled fortress and defending it against a siege in a game where flying units didn’t exist and an unbreached wall defined an empire. Just imagine how different Starcraft 2’s online experience would be without void ray attacks.
Jason’s Top Ten
There are a pile of games I’ve had to leave off this list. Seriously, I rewrote this about a dozen times striking some off and plugging new ones in. I feel bad cutting stuff like Maniac Mansion, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Duke Nukem 3D, Mario Kart (SO CLOSE) and Tekken, but if I included everything that came to mind, we’d be here even longer and this article is already taking on Oscar-calibre lengths.
So, with that in mind, here we go:
- 10. Warcraft II (PC) – The single game that got me into RTS’. I had thought that a strategy game meant boring gameplay and uninteresting characters, but oh how I was wrong. Blizzard’s strategy gem and sequel to the original (which I hadn’t played at the time) was Tolkienesque, Dungeons & Dragons-like fantasy glory through and through. Add on the level editor and you had a player for years who made more maps than he knew what to do with.
- 9. Super Street Fighter II (SNES) – The original fighting game supreme perfected, Super Street Fighter II was pure gold from the moment I fired up my SNES. I wasn’t even the biggest fighting game fan in the world and SSFII kept me sitting in place for hours. And the tourneys! Good lord the sheer entertainment value that this game gave to my friends and I as we built complex brackets and played down to the last man standing was worth the price of admission all by itself.
- 8. Diablo II (PC) – Much like Warcraft II, I was a nwebie to the world of Blizzard’s Diablo when I bought into Diablo II. I quickly learned the joy of a fully powered-up Necromancer and his monstrous army as I laid waste to the demonic forces throughout the campaign. Point, click, hack’n slash.
- 7. Batman: Arkham City (Multi) – If you’re as big a Batman fan as I am, there are few games that you probably treasure as Arkham City. Although a case could probably be made for Arkham Asylum as well, Arkham City was the first game to get pretty much everything about the character ‘right’- including the ability to soar above the skyline. I have a feeling though, that the just Arkham Knight might knock this one off my list…
- 6.Max Payne (PC) – I love film noire and detective stuff, so it doesn’t get much better than the original Max Payne for me. This one from Remedy had it all; great gunplay, a hard-nosed hero, a shattered life dangling by a thread and one horrible set of circumstances. All of ’em are great games, but the original still does it for me more than the pair of sequels, if just barely.
- 5. WWE No Mercy (N64) – Other than it’s predecessor (Wrestlemania 2000), there’s no other wrestling game that even comes close to capturing a little bit of what makes the ‘sport’ so much fun than No Mercy. This one, which came from AKI and not current WWE game developer Yukes (dear god, please go back to AKI!!) had so many awesome little touches and a true air of ‘anything can happen’ that it made for wrestling game heaven. And don’t get me started on the create-a-wrestler, which still isn’t matched in gaming today.
- 4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) – The number one champ of Zelda games for me, this is far and away the Hyrulian adventure that I’ve spent the most time playing over the years. Even now, way after it was released, I can still come back to Link’s adventure and feel like it’s an exciting experience. That has to say something about how purely great this action/RPG is.
- 3. Halo (Xbox) – From the sheer moment of awe after the Chief crash lands on the first Halo ring to the last desperate moments spent fighting off the Covenant and the Flood, Halo did everything right. The game that ;launched Microsoft’s foray into the game space also redefined what an FPS could be on a gaming console and introduced the world to a universe that would explode in the years to come. I love all the Halo games (much like some of the other titles on my list here), but the original was such a shot in the arm for the genre and setup such a rich and deep story, that it clearly belongs on here above the rest. 343i could release one of there a year and it’d be just fine by me.
- 2. Super Mario World (SNES) – I pretty much love ‘Mario’ anything. Nintendo’s number one character had a cartoon show that I watched religiously and a series of games that could do no wrong (right up till today!). I think my favorite of the bunch though, would have to be Super Mario World. Nintendo did an abnormally huge number of things right with this one and as a marquee title for the Super NES, it didn’t disappoint in any way. Great graphics, those trademark tunes and sound effects, and the most rock-solid platforming you’re likely to find anywhere, Super Mario World came within a hairs breadth of claiming my numero uno spot on this list. But that went to a somewhat darker game…
- 1. Doom (PC/Atari Jaguar/PSOne) – I was, and am still to a degree, obsessed with iD Software’s ultimate creation. Doom is widely credited with refining the Wolfenstein formula and truly ushering in the era of the FPS for a reason- it’s just that good. I first played Doom on a PC set up at a Manhattan Electronics Boutique (really!) in something like 1990 and it was love at first circle-strafe. The only problem was that I didn’t have a PC at the time and it wasn’t to be in the cards. Enter the Arati Jaguar, a game console that had a super-limited library of surprisingly decent games. Doom was one of the titles I got with my Jag and man, did I play the hell out of it (no pun intended). Now years later I can say that the PSOne edition of Doom is actually my favorite, but then again, I can play Doom on any of the dozen or so platforms the game has appeared on and be perfectly happy doing so. If a single game can truly never get old, it’s this one. Note- the modding and level editing that was possible with the PC version does make that the definitive one, if you’re keeping score.
And that’s just about that. If you’ve managed to make it this far, we at BG want to thank you for reading our musings on the games that made out gaming ‘careers’ so great over the years. And again, if you have some that are true standouts to you (or maybe even your own top five/ten list), please do mention it below.