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XLord007 Dec 20, 2009

As 2009 draws to a close, I thought it might be fun to look back and see what games brought me the most joy over the last ten years.  There were so many great games that didn't make this list that I feel a little guilty leaving some of them off, but I gotta draw the line somewhere.

Note: No rereleases, ports, or remakes were considered and all games must have been released in the U.S. from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009.

10. Okami (Capcom/Clover Studio, PS2, 2006) … re=related

Why it made the list: Everything about this game is beautiful from the art to the story to the music.

09. Chibi Robo (Nintendo/Skip, NGC, 2006)

Why it made the list: I love adventuring, and there are wonders around every turn in Cheebo's little world.

08. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo/EAD, Wii/NGC, 2006)

Why it made the list: The enormous world and interesting wolf mechanic made for yet another great Zelda title.

07. Rez (Sega/United Game Artists, PS2, 2002)

Why it made the list: I love it when a game is completely and totally consistent within its own world.  Mizuguchi set out to make the most chill game ever, and he succeeded masterfully.

06. Threads of Fate (SquareSoft, PSX, 2000)

Why it made the list: Mint is one of the most fun and different heroines ever seen in a video game.  Loved her right from the start.  She also fights with hoops.  Hoops!

05. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille Zur Macht (Namco/Monolith, PS2, 2003)

Why it made the list: Masterful (if nonsensical) story-telling, interesting characters, lots of intrigue, and a turn-based battle system that is actually fun kept me playing this one for almost 80 hours.

04. Metroid Prime (Nintendo/Retro, NGC, 2002)

Why it made the list: Of the three major Nintendo properties to make the transition from 2D to 3D, only Metroid retained the same feel as its 2D predecessors.  Everyone thought it would be impossible to do Super Metroid in 3D, but this is it, and it's fantastic.

03. Jet Set Radio Future (Sega/Smilebit, XB, 2002) … re=related

Why it made the list: Skating around Tokyo, tagging buildings, avoiding the man, and jamming to great music.  What more could you ask for?

02. Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo/Nintendo Tokyo, Wii, 2007)

Why it made the list: Pure, unadulterated fun.  All about the sheer joy of manipulating your character and exploring the vibrant worlds to see what's possible, Super Mario Galaxy is wondrous.

01. Resident Evil 4 (Capcom/Production Studio 4, NGC, 2005)

Why it made the list: Very few games bring out the perfectionist in me.  Very few games make me want to master every little detail.  RE4 is so well designed that I kept playing, and playing, and playing.  For me, RE4 is GoldenEye 2, that's how good it is.

That's my list.  What's yours?

Angela Dec 20, 2009

XLord007 wrote:

That's my list.  What's yours?

A decade's worth of gaming is certainly a huge span of time consider.  With ten years and only ten to choose, this poll's probably going to be as difficult to answer as this one. (Which I still haven't replied to proper.)  Give me a bit more time for these.

GoldfishX Dec 20, 2009

Sure, I can bite on this one. Not too many great mysteries.

1. Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core
2. Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
3. Valkyrie Profile
4. Rock Band 2
5. Suikoden 5
6. Klonoa 2
7. Street Fighter 4
8. Ace Combat 4
9. La Pucelle Tactics
10. Guitar Hero 2

Gear and Marvel have racked up countless hours of both practice and competitive matches (despite one being beautiful and fine-tuned and the other broken as all hell, but still fun in spite of itself) and while I don't enjoy SF4 quite as much, it is very worthy of the competitive scene that is building up around it and something I do want to get better at (I'm excited for Adon in Super). Profile and Klonoa 2 are long-standing favorites that I haven't held any praise back for on these (or any) boards. Suikoden V was good for over 150 hours across two playthroughs, around the time I mostly lost interest in RPG's (and I still haven't stuck with one quite as long since). Rock Band 2 was MUCH improved over it's predecessor (tracklist, chartting and re-adding hyper speed) and still gets a lot of playtime (DLC has been spotty since that Iron Maiden pack though), while I still feel Guitar Hero 2 deserves a place in the top 10 (something about the note-charting keeps me coming back to this one...RB's doesn't quite keep me as much on my feet and it crushes the mostly-awful Neversoft ones, including the Smash Hits remakes). La Pucelle and Ace round out my list nicely. A couple odds and ends I can make cases for (Tetris DS, Ys Ark of Napishtim, the First GBA Fire Emblem, FFX, Dynasty Warriors 4, Smash Brothers Melee, MAYBE Capcom vs SNK 2 -I was into this game for awhile, until roll canceling kind of took over competitive play-).

Jodo Kast Dec 20, 2009

I turned 25 in 2001 and I had started to lose interest in gaming. I can't make a top 10 of the past decade. In full, I only played 3 games over the past decade:

1. Resident Evil 4
2. Silent Hill 2
3. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance

I feel confident that I actually missed very little, as RE4 was so satisfying.

Raziel Dec 20, 2009

Had to compile the same list on another messageboard.

1. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
3. Shadow of Destiny
4. Okami
5. Silent Hill 2
6. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
7. Suikoden III
8. Deus Ex
9. Ridge Racers (PSP)
10. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2

Honorable mentions: Ace Combat IV, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army

I'm a big Megaten junkie, so the first two are no-brainers. I don't really want to put one above the other, since they both excel at different aspects, and are very different beasts altogether. Shadow of Destiny amazed me at the first minutes of the game, and I was immediately drawn into the world. Okami is without a doubt the most beautiful game I've ever played. Silent Hill 2 has fallen from my personal TOP3 over the years, but I still hold it dear for its tragic story. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has a really unique atmosphere (gothic punk), Suikoden III is a flawed game, but it had some interesting ideas that connected with me more than Suikoden II. Deus Ex, similar to Bloodlines, had a really cool gameworld, interesting gameplay mechanics, and mixed choices & consequences nicely with shooting elements. Ridge Racers is easily the best racer I've ever played thanks to the perfect handling of cars and the overall flow. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 isn't as good as the first Soul Reaver (which is THE best game), but it introduces the more complex plotline that carries over to the sequels, compared to the the first game's rather simple vengeance tale (taking the original ending into consideration).

But I haven't played many classics and big names (Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy XII, GTA IV etc.), so take my list with a grain of salt.

the_miker Dec 20, 2009

I'm gonna pull an Angie here and request a little more time to form a well thought-out response.  Though right off the top of my head I'll say Silent Hill 2, Vagrant Story, Resident Evil 4, and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty will most definitely be up there.  That only leaves six more spots!  Ugh, this won't be an easy task.

longhairmike Dec 20, 2009

i cant come up with 10, as I mostly play pre-2000 games or ports/remakes.

1) Silent hill 2
2) Katamari Damacy (either 1 or 2)
3) any rabbids game.
4) Threads of fate (Last new RPG i finished, but didnt realize it was this decade until it was mentioned)

we're flying to new york next week for the big ball drop... hard to believe I've been putting off the undecended testicle surgery for 35 years now. (ba-dum-bum)

Zane Dec 20, 2009

I'd like to go on record and state that I think this is the most ridiculous, bullshit question ever, but will answer it in the true, joyous spirit of Christmas. Ho, ho, ho! OK, so maybe these are just the top ten games that first came to mind when Miker told me about this thread, so that must mean something. (I'm sure I'll justify them once I type them out.)

In the order that I thought of them, my top ten games of the decade are:

1. Resident Evil 4
2. Silent Hill 2
3. No More Heroes
4. Final Fantasy IX
5. Lumines
6. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
7. Final Fantasy X
8. Ratchet and Clank
9. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney
10. Eternal Darkness

RE4, SH2 and ED are three very different, but completely amazing survival horror(ish) games that did not start my love for the genre, but completely refined it. R&C, Sly and NMH are three very different, but completely amazing action games that did not start my love for the genre, but completely refined it. FFIX is still a bunch of fun (played it in early 2009, rocked it, loved it) but FFX was much better when I first played it; luckily, the memories live on through their respective soundtracks. Finally, Lumines and PWAA are  my two favorite handheld games from this decade, not only for their overall fun-factor, but for their genuine uniqueness. At the time I had never played anything like either of them, and they still resonate with me fondly, despite not caring for any of their sequels nearly as much as the originals.

OK, cool. See you guys in 2020.

seanne Dec 20, 2009 (edited Dec 20, 2009)

Single Player Games

1. Half-Life 2

Do I need to justify this? I think not ;)

2. Shenmue II

<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3. Now without the shoddy dub which plagued the first game.

3. Grand Theft Auto III

It's hard to imagine a person not being blown away when playing this for the first time back in '01. While the freedom enjoyed in the first couple of games had been pretty fun (in a Carmageddon kind of way) this, of course, was on a whole different level. A whole different level entirely.

4. Portal

Quite hard to rank this game because of its length and relatively repetitive gameplay, but less is more and it shows here. The gameplay is as simple as it is ingenious and while the developers were perhaps a little bit too inspired by 'THX 1138' and '2001: A Space Odyssey' I see it more as an homage than anything. It's possibly already the best puzzle-game (though it really transcends that label) ever, and the possibilities for continuation are great, to say the least.

5. ICO

No comments necessary here, if you've played it you know how special it is.

5. Resident Evil: Code Veronica

The last of the traditional RE games and while not quite as good as RE2 it's still pretty damn good.

6. Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon

While not on par with its fantastic predecessors it was amazing just to see how well they managed to make the leap to 3D while still retaining much of the classic point-and-click gameplay and atmosphere.

7. Skies of Arcadia

The best JRPG I played this decade, and the last really, really good one I've played. Not that I play a lot of them but it seems to me they don't make 'em like this anymore.

8. Far Cry 2

Ah, my love-hate relationship with this game :(( The premise was great, an FPS with GTA style sandbox gameplay?! Too bad the game suffers from incredibly repetitive and boring missions. Everything else is top-notch though :(

9. Advance Wars: Dual Strike

Pretty much the epitome of Advance Wars gameplay here, simple turn-based strategy doesn't get much better than this.

10. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

I only played this about 6 months ago and I never expected it to live up the hype. But it did, and then some - can't wait to play the rest of the games.

HM: Doom 3 (very good FPS, the creepy atmosphere and the torchlight mechanism made it scary as hell.), Ace Combat 5: Unsung War (arcade simulation at it's finest, damn entertaining game.), Front Mission 4 (The FM series rocks and this it the best one I've played. Gotta play FM5 now that the patch is out though!), Gradius V (Best Gradius game ever, doesn't that say it all.), Resident Evil 4 (I was pissed at Capcom for messing up the RE series, but it's hard to dislike as good an action game as this one.), Ikaruga (This game will get your adrenaline rushing, so.damn.good.), Rez (Mostly a very cool and different kind of shooter), Jet Set Radio (Great execution of an interesting concept led to this fun fun game.), Call of Duty: World at War (Very intense, without feeling like a dumb Hollywood movie (like COD4). Also, Nazi Zombies.)

Online Multi Player Games

1. Trackmania Nations/United Forever

The best racing game ever. Also has a fantastic community - look for this game to grow and grow.

2. Warcraft III

While the game, and its expansion, both have great campaigns this is mainly a multiplayer game after all. And while online play suffers from too great an emphasis of the hero characters as well as annoying item luck, this is still great, great fun. Just not as great as SC ;)

Offline Multi Player Games/Party Games

1. Pro Evolution Soccer Series

God only knows how many hours we've spent with this.

2. Mario Kart: Double Dash‼

I wasn't a big fan of the Wii game so this is still the go-to kart game as far as I'm concerned.

SonicPanda Dec 20, 2009

XLord007 wrote:

Note: No rereleases, ports, or remakes were considered

Yeah, that won't work in my case, considering my very favorite game of the last ten years was a remake and two others were updates. Anyway!

10. No More Heroes (2008, Wii) - With apologies to Mario Galaxy and RE4: Wii Edition, this is the game that completely validated the Wii concept for me - as funny as it is, as awesome as the soundtrack is, it needs this control scheme (I don't have much hope for the PS360 port). Shaking the Wiimote in the jerkoff motion while a fully-tattooed Aussie with a flaming cleaver is cloning himself is the kind of experience no other game can offer, and that's just how this one starts.

9. Ape Escape 3 (2006, PS2) - I'm almost certain I've said this before, but I consider the Ape Escape series the best 3D platforming series out there, Mario or otherwise. There's as much fun in the basic mechanics as most other games have in their spotlight moments. There are some things I prefer about AE2, but Monkey Blue and the ninja suit are two of the most fun things of the decade (the only real blemish is that Mesal Gear wasn't what it should've been).

8. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2005, DS) - I've said elsewhere that I think Justice For All is the peak of the series' storytelling, and I stand by that. But the first game has no irritating circus case, and there's a lot to say for that. It's kind of weird that Rise From the Ashes does more DS-style than Apollo Justice ever does, but hey (on a side note, I'll probably support the Wiimakes, but I won't play any of them until Rise From the Ashes becomes available; the first game feels incomplete without it). Here's to the best graphic-adventure series made.

7. Shadow of the Colossus (2005, PS2) - Much as I love Wind Waker, this is the best Zelda game of the last ten years.

6. Viewtiful Joe (2003, Gamecube/2004, PS2) - Let's be honest, the more characters they added to this series, the more diluted the feel became. But it's hard to argue with how it began - an unabashed movie geek living the power fantasy of his life, in the best beat-em-up since 1992. P.S. Is Capcom's here not the very best company logo sequence in the history of gaming?:

5. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition (2006, PS2) - I came very late to this series, and wound up inhaling the first three within months of each other. When I say that the third game makes the first two feel like discarded betas, I'm dead serious. The sheer amount of flexibilty offered by the gameplay is enough to respect it, but the ridiculous, ridiculous cutscenes put it over the top (and rocket-surfing befits Dante so much more than Snake in Twin Snakes). Why more games don't design their credit sequences the same way, I'll never know. Itagaki and Kamiya can make self-serving dismissals of this one all they want, it's still my favorite of the genre, even with its terrible soundtrack.

4. Paper Mario (2001, N64) - My favorite RPG alongside FF7. It does so many things right, it winds up showing what nearly every other entry in the genre does wrong. Witty, deceptively deep, and never ever boring.

3. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (2003, GC) - Fie upon they who would hate. This is the best Mario Kart bar-none and the multiplayer game of the decade. There has never been a DD session where I didn't enjoy myself, and we quickly returned to it after MK Wii plopped like a wet fart.

2. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (2006, PS2) - That rare game that only gets better as it goes along. Other games in the series had introduced some indelible characters and set-pieces and MGS3 made all of them seem like the B-Team. I've plated it through five times now, and it still feels like a fresh gift. (I'm picking Subsistence because of the ability to face my favorite boss, The Fury, at my leisure...also, those videos!) A perfect lesson on how to balance new elements and fan-service while sacrificing nothing.

1. Megaman Powered Up (2006, PSP) - Yeah, you saw this coming. I can't be any more effusive about my love for this game. When Inafune upgraded the chances for Powered Up 2 to 'likely' in an interview this week, I felt the excitement and euphoria that was missing from the MM10 announcement. I want to see how MM expands, not languishes in arrested development. Powered Up 2, Legends 3, and ZX3 would be all the evidence I need that there is a just force at work in the world.

And that's that.

GoldfishX Dec 20, 2009

Wow, that was honestly one of the stupidest and most pointlessly negative articles I've ever read. But it does contain a bit of ironic truth to it, at least in regards to mine:

"Listen to me you f---ing imbeciles: When you place a game at the number one spot of your f---ing retarded, worthless list, you are quite explicitly claiming that the genre that game belongs to is the BEST GENRE EVER, and moreover that the genre the number two game belongs to is the SECOND BEST GENRE EVER, etc. etc. Even if the list is not ranked -- and practically all of them are -- (i.e. if games are listed alphabetically or in chronological order or whatever, but NOT in order of quality), you are still very much ranking genres, because a few seconds' worth of counting would give us the absolute genre ranking implicit in your list (how many FPSes does it contain? how many RTSes? etc.)"

Hmm, yes, 2D fighters are my favorite genre. And um...yeah. Guess you figured me out. Pour yourself some Jack Daniels and celebrate., welcome to the boards. We highly encourage you to think for yourself and express your own opinions in these matters, as opposed, whatever that rant you linked to was about.

Bonus excerpt:

"By the way, wanna know the reason why all those ING/LameSpot/Euroretard/etc. lists are always full of shitty Zelda/Mario/Sonic games? Why is it that the top 5 spots of all these lists are always taken up by kids' games? Have you ever seen any games up there at the top that required ACTUAL INTELLIGENCE? Any Galactic Civilizations? Any Total Annihilations? Any Universal Military Simulators? No. It's always the same old f---ing kids' games -- and moreover it's always ACTION GAMES. Because of course action games have always been and will always remain superior to strategy games: everyone knows this, so why waste time explaining it? Besides, explaining stuff takes time and effort, and above all BRAINPOWER, whereas the upshot of several decades of everyone playing Zelda/Mario/Sonic games every day is that no one has got any of that left."

Wow, this guy could have written for late-era Electronic Gaming Monthly.

Jay Dec 20, 2009

Here's my best of the decade list. When I put this list together, I realised that almost all of my top picks were real experience games. Immersion games where I could pretty much live there. Real escapism. I have a terrible memory so it's possibly I'm forgetting some real greats so these really represent those experiences that stayed with me and beat my poor memory.

Silent Hill 2 - Possibly my favourite game experience. Stayed with me for weeks after playing.

Outcast - Out in EU in 2000. As there is life beyond the US, I'm breaking your US rule for this one. A wonderful alien world adventure. I felt like I lived this game.

Mario Galaxy - Just beautiful.

Metroid Prime - Going back and forth across the same places was never so much fun.

GTA Vice City - Bright lights, great music. The feel transcended any gameplay failings.

Shenmue - Same here, though the lights weren't so bright.

ICO - A game that actively wanted me to beat it. Beautiful.

Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future - Like living as a whole other being. Great soundtrack too.

Gears of War - Totally sold me on the 360.

Dead Rising - This too. So many zombies. So many.

Cedille Dec 20, 2009 (edited Dec 20, 2009)

During the attempt of making my own list, I realize I have played only 20, at best, 30 games in this decade, and not sure if it's still meaningful to pick up the upper 10 games when they're not necessarily ten of the finest games in the past 10 years...

Anyways, SotC, King's Field IV (King's Field: The Ancient City in Western), Resident Evil 4 and as much as I hate to mention, FFXI are my top 5.

EDIT: wow, I even couldn't mention just 5, apparently!

XLord007 Dec 20, 2009

XLord007 wrote:

Note: No rereleases, ports, or remakes were considered and all games must have been released in the U.S. from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009.

Let me clarify that the above are the rules I used for my own list.  You all can do whatever you want for your lists, just say what your own rules are so we know what we're looking at.

Ramza Dec 20, 2009

GoldfishX wrote:

"Listen to me you f---ing imbeciles: When you place a game at the number one spot of your f---ing retarded, worthless list, you are quite explicitly claiming that the genre that game belongs to is the BEST GENRE EVER, and moreover that the genre the number two game belongs to is the SECOND BEST GENRE EVER, etc. etc. Even if the list is not ranked -- and practically all of them are -- (i.e. if games are listed alphabetically or in chronological order or whatever, but NOT in order of quality), you are still very much ranking genres, because a few seconds' worth of counting would give us the absolute genre ranking implicit in your list (how many FPSes does it contain? how many RTSes? etc.)"

This is very easily avoided by just ranking games within genre. "Best platformer of the decade." "Best 2D fighter of the decade." "Best puzzle game of the decade."

So, while he is right, this is one way to avoid the problem. The other is to acknowledge that some genres are universally more enjoyable and accessible than others. That's why platformers and "action games" often get the award.

So anyway, I'm not going to properly contribute to this forum by making a formal top 10. But here are some awesome games from the last decade.

Final Fantasy X
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete
Kingdom Hearts II
Xenosaga Ep. III
Shadow of the Colossus
Halo 2 (no, seriously)
Ys: The Oath in Felghana

There you go. That's right off the top of my head.

Amazingu Dec 20, 2009 (edited Dec 20, 2009)

That is one of the most retarded videogame-related rants I've seen in a long time, and I live on the INTERNET.

How the Hell does putting a game at number 1 equal to saying that that genre is the best genre there is?
There is a serious flaw in logic there, but the guy seems to be so preoccupied with being a cocky, arrogant RTS/SIM-lover that reason does not actually need to apply to anything he says.

I would probably put Silent Hill 2 at the top of my list. Does that mean that Survival Horror is the best genre ever? Hell no. It just means that ONE company managed to make one REALLY good game in that genre (something they have never managed to do twice), and that's it.
Seriously, equating one product to an entire genre is grossly generalizing.

Also this quote shows his kindergarten attitude towards matters:

"My best friend pretty much only plays Civilization-type games. He is a brilliant guy, began teaching University-level Computer Systems Engineering at 24 and now works as a designer of speech recognition/synthesis software -- he's one of the smartest people I've so far met in person. Who the f--- will dare go up to him and tell him that Banjo Kazooie or f---ing Chrono Trigger or whatever the f--- other retarded childish bullshit game is supposed to be "better" than Civilization?"

So yeah, people, now you know, if you ever run into a guy who's good at engineering, listen to everything he says, because his opinion on f---ing videogames is obviously much more valid than yours.

Who is this jackass, anyway?

Daniel K Dec 22, 2009

Here are the games from this decade that made the greatest impression on me. Since they're all unique, I'm not going to do a numbered list, they all have different strengths and charms, so it would just be too forced. Here they are in the order I came to think of them just now:

Silent Hill 2 (PS2, 2001)
Silent Hill: Homecoming (PS3, 2008)
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PS1, 2000)
Persona 3 (PS2, 2006)
Persona 4 (PS2, 2008)
Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2 (PS2, 2002)
Mother 3 (GBA, 2006)
Shadow Hearts (PS2, 2001)
Shadow Hearts 2 (PS2, 2004)
American McGee's Alice (PC, 2000)
Threads of Fate (PS1, 2000)

And while I agree that lists like this should not include remakes of older games, I just have to give a mad shout-out to the awesome remakes of these two classics:

Dracula X Chronicles (PSP, 2007)
Persona (PSP, 2009)

There you go, that's my "Top 13" of the 2000s. All in all, as much as I positively despise Sony as a corporation, I'll readily admit that the PS2 was the console of the decade.

Idolores Dec 22, 2009

Daniel K wrote:

Silent Hill: Homecoming (PS3, 2008) 
Persona 3 (PS2, 2006)
Shadow Hearts (PS2, 2001)
Shadow Hearts 2 (PS2, 2004)

I played Homecoming, but didn't really think it was special. What did you like about it, Daniel K? Also, I was always under the impression that you didn't like P3 before . . . Maybe I just read you wrong.

Shadow Hearts is where we high five, though! big_smile

Amazingu Dec 22, 2009 (edited Dec 22, 2009)

Idolores wrote:

Shadow Hearts is where we high five, though! big_smile

I've always held the view that if Shadow Hearts 2 has ONE flaw (and it really doesn't), it would be that you have to play Shadow Hearts 1 to make full sense of it.
Not that the first game didn't have some truly wonderful moments, but it became really frustrating towards the end.

Now SH2 I will admit, is one of the best games I've ever played.
Come to think of it, that makes TWO SH2's in my list...

Aww heck, might as well make that list now.
In no particular order, because I hate ranking:

1. Silent Hill 2: Because it is, to this day, the best, most mature, most intelligent and most emotionally engaging story I have ever witnessed in any videogame ever, and indeed blows even most movies I've seen and books I've read out of the water. Jay said this game made him think for weeks, I say it has never actually left my mind to this day, it's always there, just lingering and making its presence felt whenever I hear people speaking of loved ones struggling with an illness.

In fact on the topic of SH2 AND Shadow of the Colossus, let me quote Penny-Arcade's Tycho, because he puts it much more eloquently than I can:

Tycho wrote:

I have been emotionally ravaged by a total of two games: the first is Silent Hill 2. I've been to enough conventions and talked to enough people about it that I know I am not alone in this. There are many ways to interface psychologically with the game, but if you are a sentimental husband with a young, beautiful wife, the game is precisely calibrated to annihilate you.

The second game is Shadow of the Colossus.

The dread starts at the very beginning, simmering in your gut, and it never gets better ever - hour upon hour. You know immediately that you are engaged in something like evil, if not evil itself, but our appetites as players demand that we seek objectives and conquer them - and the game scourges us for this dereliction of conscience. The technology at work often obscured the game itself, but the emotional wavelength has resounded years after the fact. At this late hour, I can recall no camera foibles or performance valleys. All I can recall now is the black bargain, and concentric waves of anguish.

2. Shadow of the Colossus, because of the above.

3. Shadow Hearts 2: because it is the third (and pretty much final) entry in the list of games that have had a heavy emotional impact on me. This is one of the most heart-rending love stories I know, mainly because the object of the protagonist's affection is dead from the very start. (Come to think of it, all 3 games I've mentioned so far have that in common, although SotC is kinda iffy)
The pure unrelenting and maddening frustration of having lost the one person you've ever loved makes Yuri one of the most emotionally engaging protagonists in a videogame ever, and the lengths to which he will go to get her back at all costs lead to some very tense and disturbing scenes in the game.

But what is perhaps the most brilliant thing about this game is that, despite the emotional heaviness of the story, there is an all-pervasive sense of self-parody and absurd humor. You need some balls to create such a wry story and then try to balance it by planting your tongue firmly in your cheek, but this game pulls it off magnificently.
That the game itself has a solid battle system and is actually fun to play is only icing on the cake.

4. Final Fantasy X: because I feel it is the Final Fantasy that manages to get the most things right.
The story is weird and not totally sensical (to put it nicely), but I have a thing for bitter-sweet endings (I hate the bog-standard boy-gets-girl happy endings), and this game does not disappoint.
It also has one of my favorite casts in the entire series.
I can't speak for the English version, but the Japanese voice cast was pretty much spot-on, with the exception of Kimahri, but he didn't talk much anyway.

Tidus is a bit of a whiner, but he is also one of the most understandable and relatable protagonists in the series (to me at least). His love-hate relationship with Jecht is probably the best and most emotionally complex father-son relationships I've ever seen in a videogame (not that that is saying much, mind you), and the supporting cast is great too, Wakka being probably my all-time favorite.

What's more though is that the gameplay itself was just so good.
Out of all FFs, this game does by far the best job of balancing the party, of giving each character a specific skill set that is ACTUALLY required to deal with certain situations.
Not to mention that almost every boss fight has some kind of cool gimmick that makes you think and fight strategically instead of just hacking away like at a normal enemy, only longer.

It is a tie-in for overall best FF package with 7, but gameplay-wise, this one probably wins.

5. Resident Evil 4: I could write a long rant here, but I'd be preaching to the choir, wouldn't I?
I will let our joined community playthrough speak for itself.

6. Super Mario Galaxy: I hold Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World as some of the best games ever created, which fortunately, a lot of people seem to agree on. Where I start to disagree though, is the success of Mario in 3D. Mario 64 failed to truly capture me like the 2D games did, and the less said about Sunshine the better.
Galaxy though, manages to capture that true essence of fun and challenge that the old games had, in a 3D environment. In fact, it does so much better than the New Super Mario Bros series do in 2D so far.
Some people were disappointed that the next 3D Mario is going to be a sequel to Galaxy, I say it is the only logical thing to do.
Bring it on!

7. Valkyrie Profile: A 2D platform game as an RPG!? Surely games like Zelda 2 and Castlevania 2 have shown that this is not a good idea? (shocker: I don't like the 8-bit Zelda games very much).
Well, Valkyrie Profile is here to say you're WRONG.
Although battles still take place in turn-based fashion in a walled-off arena, they are fast paced and fun, requiring quick thinking and timing to make the most of the situation.
Not only that, but the dungeons are clever and challenging.
What has always struck me as the most brilliant thing about this game is how they offer you 3 difficulty levels, and the course of the game is actually DIFFERENT per level. Each difficulty mode has unique characters and dungeons, making at least 3 playthroughs necessary if you want to see everything, and it's a total blast every single time.

The only complaints I have are that you cannot skip any of the cutscenes (although you could opt to just not recruit any other members, but that would not be wise), and that the path to the true ending is really too obscure.
Still, the game itself is a fantastic experience, which is something the sequel never managed to repeat.

8. The Orange Box: Okay, this might be cheating a little, since this isn't [i]one[/b] game. Feel free to read this as Half-Life 2 then, but it is still one single DVD, and it's one of the best deals EVER.
Portal was brilliant, but still slightly overrated, but Half-Life 2 and its 2 expanding episodes are fantastic.
If you can manage to pull in someone who has never had much interest in FPS's and totally have him hooked from beginning to end, you are obviously doing something right.
It's still visually stunning to this day, and the gravity gun makes sure that the action never actually gets old. This is probably the best FPS ever made, period.

9. Shenmue II: As much as I will readily admit I play videogames for escapist reasons, I do have  a thing for games that try to be realistic. Like Half-Life 2, the graphic style and environmental design of Shenmue II is incredibly realistic, despite outdated graphic engines, and in the case of Shenmue II the gameplay is down to earth as well. Some may consider this boring, I think it's a great way of identifying with your character. The first game nailed the feeling and atmosphere of suburban Japan, and the second one (I can only assume) does a great job at depicting a believable Hong Kong (ignoring the fact that everyone speaks fluent Japanese/English there).
Also, this is where the story starts picking up and showing promise, which makes it all the more vexing that the sequel seems to be pretty much dead in the water.

And I'm going to stop here, because I'm not too sure of a 10th one.

I'll throw some random titles out there: Kingdom Hearts 2, Bioshock, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Dissidia, Metal Gear Solid 3. Just saying.

guizhang Dec 22, 2009

01 shenmue/shenmue 2 (yeaaa, shenmue 1 came out dec 1999 in japan technically)
02 shin megami tensei III: nocturne
03 monster hunter; freedom unite
04 rez
05 jet set radio
06 shin megami tensei: persona 4
07 final fantasy xii
08 killer7
09 eternal sonata - trusty bell
10 resident evil 4

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