I thought as a first entry it would be fun to make a list of my top 10 games of all time. This way you guys can see where my interests lie, and if you have similar taste. Now I don’t plan on putting these games in any specific order, with the exception of my #1 spot due to the fact that I have had this conversation by myself and with friends multiple times and its the only game that consistently stays in that top spot. So lets get into it, shall we.
#10. Metal Gear Solid
This is a game that will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was the first game I ever beat from start to finish. Not to shabby for a 12 year old sneaking playthroughs on his dads PS one. Honestly, it wasn’t until I replayed it in high-school that I truly appreciated what a marvel it was. The genius of the boss intro that is Psyco-Mantis just blew me away. I’m not a huge fan of the series, as I have only played MGS1 and 5, but this game is just special. Not only to me, to the gaming industry as a whole.
#9. Final Fantasy XII
Okay internet, don’t hate me for what I’m about to say. FFXII is the BEST Final Fantasy in my opinion. I know that most people think that is blasphemy, but it just hit all the right notes for me when I played through it in high-school, and after playing through the Zodiac Age re-release that happened in 2017, it only reassured me that this game is a masterpiece of storytelling, and gameplay alike. The gambit system was so far ahead of its time that even today, not many games have been able to replicate that kind of passive party control. I really wanted FFXV to be my favorite, but all of the things that I wanted that games story to focus on got left behind (the politics of the war), where FFXII focuses on the things I wanted it to and delivers in every single cut scene.
Journey was the first game I played that showed me you don’t need a crazy budget and a AAA studio to make something truly incredible. It was a game that was constantly being thrown in my face and I rejected it for a long time, right up until it one a slew of awards at the Video Game Awards in 2012. I was a freshmen in college at the time so I waited for the game to go on sale and I jumped right in and after only a few hours I was teary eyed as I watched the credits roll. Its still to this day the only game that has made me cry, and I don’t mean a little cry, I’m talking audible bawling. The magic in that game is after the credits are finished and (SPOILERS) It reveals to you all the people that were playing as your companions throughout the game. I had thought the whole time it was just a clever A.I.. I had no idea, and I think that the whole mechanic of that was just so smart.
Goodness do I want this game on PS4 so bad. There was a remastered version released on PC in 2017 so I’m just gonna lie to myself and say there is still hope. This is probably the first game on this list you maybe haven’t heard of, and that’s okay. It was a 3rd person action shooter released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2010 and while it saw lots of critical acclaim (at the time of writing this, it has an 84% on Metacritic) and sold fairly well, it just isn’t a game I often find people talking about very often. This game has some of the best action in a game ever, period. My absolute favorite part of this game is how there is a dedicated button for making the main character pull out a single cigarette, take a single drag, and throw that cigarette over his shoulder. How bad ass is that? It’s super bad ass, if you were wondering.
#6. Pokemon Gold/Silver
Now there have been a lot of Pokemon games, and by a lot I mean 22 only counting the main entries, excluding the 6 re-makes, and you could argue that those should count. This game was the one that took Pokemon to the Phenomenon level. Red and Blue version had already crushed it, and Gold/Silver improved on that simple yet elegant formula in every single way. It added a day/night cycle, berries, breeding, 2 new Pokemon types, 86 new moves, and even gave you the entire region from the first game to explore and conquer, something that no other game in the series has allowed us to do, even all this time later. These are the things that make this entry in the series, in my opinion, the best one. (even though my favorite Pokemon are almost all Gen 3)
#5. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
I have been playing Monster Hunter games since the release of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on PSP back in 2008, and I have been obsessed ever since. Now it was tough to pick a definitive entry in this series as my favorite one due to the fact that at the time of writing this, Monster Hunter World is only a couple weeks away from most likely replacing this. I decided to go with MH4U as my pick here due to the fact that it added the Insect Glaive, mounting, and brought a TON of verticality to the series and I love all of those things. It also, in my opinion, had the best storyline out of any of the entries. The main thing that has always hooked me with Monster Hunter is how there isn’t a leveling system. You can’t get your ass handed to you and go “well I’ll just go grind until I’m stronger, then come back and return the favor”. You are only as good as your gear, and the only way to get better gear, is to fight the harder monsters. It gives a sense of accomplishment and teamwork that no game I have ever played has been able to replicate.
#4. Horizon Zero Dawn
This game. Just wow. I’m tempted to just leave it there and move on to the next one, but for consistency’s sake, I won’t. The fact that this game didn’t win a single award on the big stage at the VGA’s in 2017 was a real bummer. This game had the action, the world, the writing, it had it all. The world that Guerilla Games has created with this game is probably my favorite game world of all time. It has the mystery, the politics, and the monsters (human and non-human) to make up an incredible game. The ecosystem is so unpredictable and the habits of the creature like robots you hunt are life like and mesmerizing. I believe in this world, it might as well be a real place.
#3. The Last of Us
I really struggled deciding if i was going to go with this game or Uncharted 4, but in the end, I decided that The Last of Us is a game that stands on it’s own, while Uncharted 4 is ultimately lifted to masterpiece due to the fact that it is the definitive end to a larger narrative (and a perfect ending at that). While Journey may have been the first game to make me cry, the opening to this game made me feel something that I had never felt before. I felt loss. This game is the game I use when arguing that video games are the best entertainment medium out there today. By the end of this game you know its characters. You may not agree with all of their choices, but you understand them. I know Joel better than actual people I have met in my real life and that, in my opinion, is fucking incredible.
This was actually a game I wasn’t going to play. A friend of mine had bought it day one, played it for a few hours, and gave up on it. He then lent it to me because I was currently in a gaming drought and was willing to try anything to help pass the time. Now, this being my first entry into the “souls” series, I wasn’t prepared for what lied ahead of me. I spent the first 4 hours in the opening area, wandering around and dying over and over again. After dying for the umpteenth time, something clicked inside of me and I just “got it”. I started to remember where every enemy was, what attacks they would use, and the best way to beat them. I was hooked. At the time of writing this, I have beaten this game 11 times, and plan to beat it many more times. This game got me so excited for Dark Souls 3 and I went all in, beat that game and after the credits rolled all I wanted to do was play Bloodborne. No game has ever made me feel like an absolute angel of death they way Bloodborne does. But what makes that feeling special is that I worked for that, I earned the ability do just eviscerate any enemy that steps up to me in Yharnam, and that makes me feel so good.
This list, like for most gamers, was incredibly hard to put together, and there were some games that just didn’t make the cut. Honestly on any given day, any one of these games listed below could have taken a spot on this list.
Dead Space 2, Uncharted 4: A Thieves End, Pokemon Black/White, Final Fantasy XV, Persona 5, Mass Effect 2, Titanfall 2, Dark Cloud, Kingdom Hearts II, Assassin’s Creed II and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
#1. Shadow of the Colossus
Like I said before, This list is in no particular order, except for this game. This game is and probably will always be my favorite game of all time. At the time of writing this list, a PS4 remake is due to release in a couple of months and if you haven’t played this game, I can’t recommend it enough. The thing that I find so special about this game is that you don’t play as some killer assassin, or a powerful hero. You are just barely a man, who can barely lift his sword, and are tasked with taking down a slew of giant dangerous beasts. The other amazing thing about this game is that when you do plunge your sword into a Colossus for the final killing blow, watching them go down… It’s sad. You feel for them, as this once incredible towering creature comes tumbling to the ground with confusion in its face and a somber tone in the background. In the end it’s a story about love, and what a simple person can accomplish to help the person he loves even if it isn’t necessarily the right thing. Call me a romantic, but I’ll stand by this game and buy it as many times as they release it. I love this game, and it’s probably a huge reason I am the person I am today.