I’ve spent a large portion of my life on this Earth playing video games, and with this Fall’s excellent release calendar coming closer and closer I thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect on my personal favourite games ever before any new games this year invade that list (looking at you, Fallout 4). Below are my personal favourite games of all time. Note that these games are my favourites, and by no means are these games supposed to represents the best games ever made or the most fun games by public opinion. This list simply reflects the 15 most important games to me, and I will attempt to explain why below each game. I picked 15, because that is roughly how long I have been gaming for, since I started around 6 years old and I am 21 now. Hopefully, this will inspire you to look back and find out what games are important to you and why.
Frontlines is the game that Call of Duty: Black Ops is too scared to be, and the game that Homefront (made by Kaos, the same studio) should have been more like. This game features hi-tech gadgets and large-scale combat with vehicles, set in a time line not too far from our own. The premise of the game is a world that is fighting for the last remaining oil deposits on Earth. The story isn’t anything to jump at, and to be honest it is quite comical (ex., they call Europe a country), but the rest of the game is solid. Gameplay is simple, yet provides the opportunity to explore unique features such as using drones to scout and kill enemies. The multiplayer allows massive 16vs16 combat (32vs32 on PC) and features an awesome mode that is all about map control on these massive maps that can get up to 4 square kilometres large. In my opinion, one of the most underrated shooters of last-gen.
#14. Dawn of War: Dark Crusade – Released October 9th, 2006 on PC
Dawn of War is my all-time favourite real time strategy game. Relic studios managed to perfectly blend the universe of Warhammer 40k into a game that puts the player in control of massive armies, similar to the table-top. Having been a player of the table-top for years, this game holds a special place in my heart. I seriously recommend this game, and the rest of the franchise, to anyone. Huge battles, ridiculously deep lore, and tons of gore. What more could you ask for?
#13. Alan Wake – Released May 14, 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PC
Alan Wake remains to me one of the greatest stories told in video games. As deep and enticing as the best novel you can find, Alan Wake puts the player in control of a writer who is caught inside his own fiction, a dream turned into a nightmare. I cannot remember a dull-moment of its story
throughout its roughly 15 hour long play-through, and it keeps you coming back for more. Alan Wake is one of those games where you start it at 6pm one night and play until 10am the next day finishing it – you cant put it down. It grabs you. Few games do that.
#12. Pokemon Silver – Released November 21st, 1999 on Gameboy Colour
One of my childhood favourites, Pokemon Silver is my favourite Pokemon game if only for the reason that it let me explore the entirety of the first game after beating the main story. It completely surprised me, and kept me playing for far too many hours trying to collect them all. Yes, I was one of those kids with a nearly complete pokedex with only Mew missing.
#11. Red Dead Redemption – Released May 18th, 2010 on Xbox 360 and PS3
Wild west Grand Theft Auto? Sign me up! And I did sign up, and it was wonderful. Near the top of many lists of “best video games” around the Internet, and definitely not going to miss mine. Not much could top a group of friends raiding a fort and then holding it like it was the Alamo from
invaders for hours.
#10. Dawn of War 2 – Released February 19th, 2009 on PC
|Small armies, but plenty of customisation for each unit!|
The re-imagining of the original Dawn of War series took me by surprise. It took the table-top, focused it on small, squad based action, and it became more of a game similar to Company of Heroes (as it should be, it was made by the same studio). A squad-based strategy-rpg game, Dawn of War 2 re-ignited my passion for the Warhammer 40k universe, and to this day I still play this game and its excellent expansions in Chaos Rising and Retribution. You become invested in each of your heroes and squads, as they become more powerful with time and kills. You want to keep your units alive, unlike the original Dawn of War where you could always just make another 100 Ork’s in a few minutes.
#9. Halo Wars – Released March 3rd, 2009 on Xbox 360
|Huge battles in the Halo universe!|
Ensemble Studio’s swan song; Halo Wars is easily my favourite strategy game of all-time due to its accessibility, surprising amount of depth, and lore. Combining an excellent strategy formula with the Halo universe was a dream come true for myself, and kind of a neat concept as Halo: Combat Evolved was originally supposed to be a strategy game for the Mac. 3vs3 battles with 5 of my friends in this game hold some of my best memories, and I cannot wait for the recently announced sequel!
Final Fantasy X was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played, and as such it holds a special place in my heart. Not only that, the story was extremely emotional and the rpg elements were incredibly deep. The characters were lovable (Wakka FTW!) and to this day Blitzball is one of my favourite sport games.
#7. Halo 3: ODST – Released September 22nd, 2009 on Xbox 360
Halo 3: ODST was a small story told in a big way – a group of ODSTs stranded in the city of New Mombasa after the Covenant destroyed the city in Halo 2. There are so many things right with this game. The soundtrack by Martin O’Donnell remains my favourite video game score of all time. The moody, jazzy music encompasses what the game is about perfectly, reflecting a story of a broken city and the search for your squad and more importantly, answers. The city is lit up beautifully with neon lights and fires, and in areas where it is too dark the night-vision feature that was added to the game works very well, mainly highlighting features of an area rather than blinding your screen. As an ODST, you are no longer the invincible Spartan – you have limited shields and health that will not regenerate, as well as a smaller profile making enemies look much larger than from the point of view of the Master Chief. Easily my second favourite Halo game…Also, firefight is one of my favourite Horde modes in gaming. Please bring it back, 343. Please.
#6. Kingdom Hearts II – Released March 28th, 2006 on PS2
|Final Fantasy injected with Disney!|
The Kingdom Hearts series has always been a special one for me – the odd combination of Disney and Final Fantasy works very well. The original game was great, but Kingdom Hearts II is where they really stepped up the RPG elements and made it a full-fleshed rpg like the Final Fantasy games. Outfitting Sora with various outfits from different Disney worlds and Final Fantasy worlds, as well as equipping some deadly looking keyblades, all while fighting alongside Donald and Goofy with their own gear is a ton of fun. Anyone who says otherwise has not played this game enough; it is a deep, mature RPG with a lot of heart and a ton to offer to any player of any age. I cannot wait for Kingdom Hearts III!
|My favourite RPG of all-time.|
|Hilarious game that is surprisingly rich with content.|
#3. Super Mario Sunshine – Released August 26th, 2002 on Nintendo GameCube
Super Mario Sunshine is often looked down upon – people call it not a real Mario game all the time. I argue that this game possesses some of Nintendo’s best experiments, level design, and challenge of all their games. The Isle of Delfino is designed beautifully with a real island atmosphere, and the goal of the game is to return sunshine to the island after it has been clouded in darkness. Instead of retrieving stars, you retrieve shine sprites. With each sprite a little more sunshine is restored to the island and more areas and levels are unlocked. Sunshine remains to me the best platformer I have ever played, and I doubt that Mario will ever make it back to a game where so many risks were taken. Mario’s greatest game by far, clouded by the Galaxy’s and 64’s of the world.
|Best platformer I have ever played.|
#2. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – Released October 27th, 2002 on PS2, later released on Xbox and PC in 2003
Grand Theft Auto has always been a stellar franchise, but one game in particular will never be topped to me in the series. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City possesses the best in-game radio of any game, ever. Aside from that, the game itself is great. The atmosphere of the game is perfect in every way – you feel every bit in the 80s as you would in real life. The gameplay was similar to GTA III, and San Andreas was certainly bigger, but Vice City was easily the most believable. A cult hit, and certainly my favourite Grand Theft Auto game.
And my favourite game of all-time is Halo 3. Now, before you go telling me I am an Xbox fan boy and that no matter what I think all Halo games are great – listen to my arguments. First of all, Halo 3 has flaws. Many, actually. First of all its graphical leap from 2 was good, but not what was expected. Second, the level called “Cortana” was absolutely atrocious; its design was bad, and it was basically a long, disgusting drawn out way to find Cortana that could have been completed in a much more effective way. Lastly Halo 3 was an easy game, especially compared to Halo 2. That isn’t much of a flaw, but even on Legendary I did not have too much trouble. Halo 3 has a lot more going for it than against it, and to this day remains the multiplayer game I have spent the most time on. Starting there, its multiplayer is a perfection of Halo 2s ambitious start. Mechanics and map design are at its best, and servers were flawless at launch. The game came with a steady stream of new maps, and the newly added Forge mode made for some fantastic fun new game modes like Jenga and Duck Hunt. Campaign Co-Op was an absolute blast, and aside from the aforementioned mission, the rest of the game stands on its head. It feels like a perfect conclusion to a trilogy, and satisfies the cliffhanger ending of Halo 2. It’s score is only beaten in my opinion by Halo 3: ODSTs, and I love the addition of equipment like the bubble shield. This is often reflected in the community as well, as in Halo: The Master Chief Collection anytime a Halo 3 map comes up as an option compared to other games, most of the time Halo 3 is picked. Multiplayer perfected, mechanics at its finest, and a satisfying end to a trilogy.
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