Yeah it isn't a very original blog idea but I felt like it, ok?
Welp, it was pretty hard to decide my top 10 titles. There are a lot of games out there that I love and didn’t make into this list. Heck, even in this list there are a lot of games that could easily swap places and I would still be happy with the list! So I tried to focus on the titles for that I felt the strongest emotional connection to, the ones that really touched my lil’ fried churro heart.
So here is my dumb, futile attempt of objectively classifying something very, very subjective:
#10 - Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles - Echoes of Time
A very, very fun lighthearted softcore action RPG, with lovely art direction, shitty 3d platforming, a title with 2 dumb nested subtitles and also a great soundtrack.
What I like about this game is how easy it is to pick up and play, how cute the art is, how fun it can be with one (or more) buddies, and the variety of places you get to visit.The plot was not that great nor innovative, but I can’t give half a damn about story in my co-op ARPGS.
I have very fond memories of this one. Me and my girlfriend played it a lot, and this is probably one of her favorite titles too. She isn't a “gamer” herself, but she does love a good co-op game!
I wasn’t very sure about putting this one on the list, and I almost put Fantasy Life here instead. While I do think it is a better game, I had a little bit more fun with Echoes of Time, so that is why it is my #10.
#9 - LBA 2: Twinsen’s Odyssey
The name says it all: it is an adventure that happens in a set of small maps, but it feels HUGE. This one is kind of old and the controls probably haven’t aged that well, but boy oh boy do I find myself thinking about this game from time to time.
It is an action adventure game set in a colorful, charming world with colorful characters, crappy combat and a bit of light puzzle solving. It really feels like you are going on a grand adventure, and by the end of the game you feel like you took part in something truly epic. Like, really epic, not internet-age-slang epic. And the OST is wonderful, too.
Also there is a bunch of neat little details. Like, there is a school in the first town where you can beat the crap out of the young students, and when you leave the building their big, beefy respective brothers will be waiting in line, read to smash your sorry face. And there’s an item called Superb Nitro Mecha Penguin.
#8 - Tony Hawk’s Underground
When my mom bought us a PS2, we also got three games: this one, Need For Speed Underground and Soul Calibur 2. These all are are incredible, super fun games that hold special places in my mind, but the one I still love the most is THUG.
Back then I had previously played THPS2 on my cousin’s N64 and emulated the PSone version of the third game at a depressing framerate, so for me playing Underground for the first time was simply amazing: the levels felt enormous and very fun to explore (specially New Jersey, so much fun comboing from one end of the level to the other), gameplay felt great, and the soundtrack was pure joy and pretty varied genre-wise, which introduced me to a lot of really cool artists.
And what a campaign it had: instead of choosing a professional skater you had to create your own anonymous, unnoteworthy skater and fight to become a worldwide famous professional ny going after sponsors, trying to film great footage and improving your stats by completing achievement-like challenges specifics for each skill. And the character creator was really deep and robust (for its time), and if there is a thing your boy Churros love it's a good character creator.
Oh, by the way, this game had one of the best videogame villains ever. Yes, a freaking skate game. Yes I’m being completely serious.
#7- Steamworld Heist
I have a very complicated relationship with strategy games: I love them, but they don’t love me back - I suck terribly at the genre. Good thing Steamworld Heist has 4 or 5 different difficulty settings.
This game is a turn based sidescroller strategy game set in a post-post-apocalyptic steampunk world… in space! With hats! And guns. You control a party of 2-to-4 space pirates/rebels/heroes through a good amount of space raids. There is a healthy dose of mission variety, including even the occasional solo-infiltration mission.
One of the main attractions of Heist is how action-ish the combat feels: part of it is because the game ignores the turn of enemy units in unopened rooms, which speeds up their turns. And another cool thing is that you have to manually aim the angle of each shot you fire: it is a lot less frustrating when you miss an enemy because you suck at aiming instead of those times when you missed because you were having bad RNG luck.
And something I really like about how XP works is that the game tries to reinforce that you are a bunch of space pirates after that precious, precious loot. So killing enemies don’t earn you any experience points; instead, the more loot bags you grab, the more your characters will level up. It's really cool how this reflects in the gameplay: you will often find yourself in a hurry to grab all the loot while running away from the enemies, getting yourself surrounded and loosing hope, just to flee from the ship by the emergency pod at the very last moment. It feels really exhilarating!
And I beat this game twice, one time right after the other. I rarely ever beat a game more than once.
#6 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
If you asked me “hey, Sr. Churros, which game do you think is the most well-designed action game ever made?”, this would probably be the answer. This series packs a really meaty and deep combat system, so much so that on the first contact with the series it can take quite a while before things start “clicking” to you.
My real love for the series started with MH3, but to me 4 Ultimate is easily the best one: great monster designs, varied locations, dynamic vertical combat and also a new weapon type called the Insect Glaive. Have I told you that I was a big bug nerd back in elementary school? This weapon was made for me, and it is so much fun to use!
One of my main worries before playing this entry was the increased focus on story. Monster Hunter is a series where gameplay speaks for itself and a story isn’t really needed, and may even get in the way of gameplay. But you know what? I loved how MH4U handled it! I mean, the plot is dumb (surprisingly it always involve hunting monsters), but the characters are likeable and their dialogue is fun to read, and going from village to village with your caravan felt like a grand adventure through the world.
That said, there are only 4 things I miss from 3U: Duramboros, Nargacuga, Chacha and Kayamba. Those last two were great, and I would take them over those cute (but generic) cats any day of the week.
#5 - Wario Ware Inc.: Mega Microgame$
The first time I got to play Mega Microgame$ I was already looking towards it for a while. And even then I wasn’t at all prepared for what was waiting for me: I quickly got a game over in the very first set of microgames.
This was like nothing else I had ever played before: a collection of hundreds of fast paced 5 seconds microgames. The visual style varies a lot, raging from great to half-assed, while still maintaining a Raygun-like stylistic unity, being pretty charming overall. It has simple controls and great music, all tied together by a completely bonkers plot involving the weird, weird bunch of Wario’s friends, usually in bizarre situations (and they all were designed by the amazing Ko Takeuchi).
A very dumb, funny, rude, crazy, random and genius game. I like Smooth Moves and Touched too, but the first one was the best in my opinion.
#4 - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Funny thing about this series: it is well known for its lengthy cutscenes. It uses and abuses of cinematic language to make the plot of these games go forward. Then suddenly - BAM! - it starts using videogame language in a crazy way that almost no one has thought about before, and it is in moments like these that you get stuff like Psycho Mantis pre-battle dialog or The End… uh... “ending” of old age.
So as everyone already knows, this game is the complete package: great visuals, great soundtrack, great and smart gameplay (surprise, surprise: Sr. Churros also sucks a lot at stealth games), smart/insane political plot that mixes itself with real world events, some of the best boss fights of all time: The End and The Boss, and a heartbreaking and very emotional ending.
While I do like the first Solid game a lot too, this one is my favorite one of the franchise. I still have to play MGS4, Portable Ops, Peace Walker or The Phantom Pain, but so far this is the one I have enjoyed the most.
#3 - Chrono Trigger
Ok, I’m not really sure if I should put a game I just finished playing so high on this list, but holy heck this game left me with a strong impression. A JRPG that is short, has an interesting plot that always keeps going forward, charming characters, no grinding at all, a very fluid combat system with double and triple techniques. Everyone is a mage to some degree (AKA the best class ever), time travel is used in an interesting way that allows you to visit multiple different fantasy settings, a good soundtrack and great character designs by no one other than Akira Toriyama.
I know I’m not the most well-versed person in JRPGs, but I have a hard time imagining something from this genre getting better than that!
#2 - Pokémon SoulSilver
Yes, I know, I said I think Chrono Trigger is the best JRPG I’ve ever played. So why SoulSilver is one position higher than it? It’s simple: it may not be as good as Chrono Trigger, but I like it a little bit more, which may or may not have something to do with me being a huge Pokémon fan since grade school.
I got addicted in Pokémon after reluctantly watching the anime for the first time. I avoided it at first, thinking it was a dumb show for babies. To my surprise, turns out that I indeed was (and still am) a big, fartsy baby! My love for Pokémon was wild and knew no boundaries. After pestering my mom, she got me a Game Boy Color - which I had to share with my brothers - and Pokémon Silver - which luckily I didn’t, as they got their own Pokémon games. And after a few years of joyfulness, the third generation games were released, and I neither had a GBA nor a PC strong enough to emulate it, so I ended up falling out of Pokémon for a long while, only coming back to my original huge manbaby-fanboy form about 5 years ago.
Recently I finally got to play one game from every single generation from start to finish… er, or almost-finish for Gens 4 and 7 (because remember: I suck at finishing games), and I found out 2 things that surprised me the most: that I really enjoyed every single game and that I liked the Silver remake even more than the original game.
Pokémon SoulSilver is the same game, but better in every aspect: more detailed and colorful graphics, insane Pokémon variety, more minigames, improved combat mechanics, the amazing Pokéwalker (I managed to lose mine), you could set any of the almost 500 Pokémon to follow your character, etc. The only aspect that is considerably worse than the original was the criminal, evil, unfair lack of room decorations! Other than that, it was an amazing game with very fun combat system and capture mechanics, and to me the best of its kind.
Honorable mentions: Ace Combat 5, Ace Combat Zero, Deus Ex, Fantasy Life, Fez, GTA San: Andreas, Metroid Prime, Need for Speed Underground, No More Heroes, Phantasy Star 4, Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, Shadow of the Colossus, Sonic 2, Spore, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda a Link Between Worlds, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, Thunder Force 3, We Love Katamari
And that’s it for now! Soon I will write a very special blog about my all time favorite game ever. See you later!
[Edit: I would like to thank Kerrik52 for being the biggest and most irritating grammar nazi I ever knew a really patient guy and listing the COLOSSAL ammount of typos and errors present in my text and pointing out how to fix them. Thanks a lot for helping me!]