Here goes. First blog. Top ten. Yeah. Yeah! Alright, I got this. I passed my English classes. Yeah! Been writing this passively for myself, but thanks to Solar Pony Django (whose username is great) for organizing this whole community list-making and spurring me into finishing my list!
Just for some perspective, I'm eighteen years old, so I didn't get to really totally experience NES or even N64 a whole lot. Though I've gone back and searched for specific games from those eras. So there's a lot of new stuff on my list, but that's okay. It's my list. You got a problem with that? Also, I'm going to be kind of sarcastic and confrontational in this post. It's just for laughs. I don't mean it. I promise. Sort of.
So here goes, starting with number one, leading to number ten...
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
I say Subsistence, you say Snake Eater. The only difference being that I'm correct. This is the ultimate Metal Gear game. The biggest boss of all the Big Bosses. Speaking of bosses, sweet shit does this have some of the best of all time. For real, if not for their designs alone. Fighting The Pain in the flooded cavern, or The Fury in the dilapidated tunnels. The creme of the crop though, the ultimate exercises in style and substance, are The End and The Boss. Engaging in epic cat-and-mouse in the jungle with a sniper rifle (or, if you're like me, sneaking up on an old man and sedating him) has never been so fucking incredible. The lush jungle only helps immerse you, giving you First Blood-esque flashes of PTSD it's so damn awesome. And The Boss boss was super cool. So dramatic and poignant from a narrative standpoint, but the mechanics of that fight are superb. It's really a wide open field, but your stealthy sneaking makes it so much more complicated and intense. This game don't need nanomachines to melt your face.
Nostalgia time. The Halo series may have peaked in quality with Halo 3, but my loyalties lie with 2. Why? Fucking, Lockout. That's why. Not just Lockout, but nearly every damn map made available in H2 online. The first real console FPS online phenomenon. And it was glorious. Not only were the mechanics of the game fine-tuned to the point of competitive lunacy, but the community for Halo 2 online was something I hadn't really experienced before. Sure you'd have buddies over to play Super Smash Bros or shoot each other in the face in some FPS, but connecting to fellow gamers whom you could barely understand due to their Mountain Dew-rotted teeth? And then shooting them and getting shot by them until two or three in the morning? It was great. Plus, Halo 2's unnecessarily-controversial campaign ("Sir, finishing this fight."; how BADASS is that?) featured some really great urban environments, a great Marty O'Donnell score, and the Battle Rifle. Also, Arby.
If plucking adorable little vegetable-aliens from the ground and viciously siccing them on other indigenous creatures doesn't sound amazing you can go fist yourself. Like Halo 2 (and I guess most of my favorite games) Pikmin plucks at my nostalgia strings with its cute, leafy head-finger. This was my first GameCube game, which was my first real console investment. My dad (who is also a huge fan of the game, despite not being a big gamer) and I would stay up late bombarding the shit out of monsters with our army of cute slave warriors. A highlight was our first encounter with those giant mushrooms that spew fart gas and make your pikmin betray you. We absolutely lost our shit.
Shadow of the Colossus
One of the first and few games to really make me care about its story and characters, Shadow of the Colossus gave me breathtaking visuals and a beautiful (if a bit barren) world to traverse. Deciphering the story and its secrets kept my little mind at work. Also, it's just plain-old epic. I can't think of a single colossi fight I don't really like; they're all so incredibly well-made. The "swordsman" on the top of the elevated-arena; the massive, "tooth-crowned" leviathan with freaking electricity-spewing horns; the first airborne colossus. The list goes on. After running around in awe for five minutes taking in the colossus' design I would take the next twenty minutes cracking its code, and taking it down. Incredibly satisfying, yet when all's said and done, you kind of feel like a dick for poking those colossi and spilling their ink.
Resident Evil 4
Here's a game that upsets hardcore survival-horror fans, and pleases the shit out of the rest of us. Perfection, really. Nonstop, amazing setpieces. Memorable enemies (Garrador STABBING YOU IN THE FACE; or those freaky Iron Maidens) and bosses, as well as incentives for replaying. Upgrades and unlocks galore--a big thing in the games I love. So incredibly fun. A highlight was playing this at my grandmother's house on the PS2 I hooked up there, and constantly pausing the game when she or my grandfather came through, so as to shield their innocent eyes from Leon being decapitated by Dr Salvador.
It should be noted that I'm a movie-guy before a video game-guy. Film is my thing. But when a game comes along that reminds me of a favorite film? And it's amazing? Well, let's just say I've introduced Hotline Miami as Drive: The Video Game to friends. Head-stomping, pulsing '80s synth-pop, more violence, and sweet neon visuals combine in an incredibly fun package. The variety of masks and the sheer fun of the gameplay make it a game in constantly revisiting, and loving. The sequel needs to get here ASAP.
A game whose environment becomes its chief selling-point. Rapture is this beautiful, TOTALLY fucked up paradise, and I still want to explore it. Filled with twisted and intriguing character, including the iconic and badass Big Daddies, BioShock was another game where I was so engrossed by the story. And when the gameplay was as fun as it was, you know you have a winner. Hey pal, wrench to the face. What's that? Still alive? BEES to the face. It's that simple, and that amazing.
Max Payne 3
I'd always loved the Max Payne games. John Woo meets film noir--this is awesome! But it was only with the latest entry that Rockstar stepped in and perfected the game. Though its style shifted from the black night of New York to the blinding sun of São Paulo, the gameplay we all know and love was positively perfected. Max moved with weight, and yet if you mastered the combat he was a graceful angel of death. Within the first month or so of this game's release I played it through about five times, learning the enemy and pain pill locations, perfecting my New York Minute Hardcore run. Incredible game, and I'd say underrated, considering the pant-shitting acclaim Rockstar (deservedly) gets for their other games.
Here it is: the fan favorite. Most "real" gamers love the Souls games, and for good reason. I won't recite why this game is amazing, but rather an anecdote. Maybe an over-used one at that, but screw you. Ornstein and Smough. I spent days trying to fuck these fuckers. DAYS. I'd killed Ornstein and gotten Smough down to his last chips of health, but he had to go and corner me and sit on me with his golden rolls. So, I'm struggling. And at this point I'm still relatively new to Dark Souls, and I hadn't mastered the online system. "Oh! I'll summon these guys to help!" Boom. Done. Ornstein got FUCKED up and Smough clutched his hammer with sweaty hands as two armor-clad warriors and a swanky mage advanced towards his sorry ass. So yeah. The power of friendship conquers all.
When this came out I could've sworn the box art featured the fist (the main character's fist) actually going through the face of the bad guy? Is that true and they edited later boxes? Or am I trippin'? Anyway, that made me want the game. Years later, for some reason, I finally got it. And holy shit, this wasn't a novelty purchase "Oh yeah I wanted to play that. eBay has it, and--WHOALY SHIT." Comparable to Max Payne 3 in the sense that this is a game that is about the gameplay. Endlessly customizable attacks, all of which are fun to unleash on strange, oddly-sexual enemies. Incredibly fun to play hilarious to watch.
And that's that. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings. Hope I proofread well!
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