First-person platforming isn’t attempted often. A Story About My Uncle keeps it basic with grappling, anti-gravity jumping, and various puzzles. The story is fairly simple and doesn’t really mean anything until the very end. A boy is trying to find his uncle Fred. He finds his uncle’s lab where he straps on a weird jumpsuit and takes off to some unknown land. He eventually comes across a species of frog people and a little girl from this village befriends the protagonist.
The jumping is actually quite exhilarating. You jump really high and your character’s hands swing around which makes you feel vertigo. The sheer speed and height this game creates is something not really seen in most games. As you make your way across bottomless chasms and dark caves you begin to wonder what all this means. What’s the point? The jumping puzzles get progressively harder to the point of downright frustration. The grapple has three shots. Once these run out you either need to land or you’re falling into the abyss. Later on, you get rocket boots that allow a quick boost if you miss your shot or your next grapple point is too far away. One of the hardest obstacles is the windmills. I actually had to manipulate the physics by landing on one for a split second so my equipment recharges. The game gets so tricky towards the end that casual players may not make it. Sure the game is only a couple of hours long, but the complicated jumps are just minded bobbling.
With that aside the music is great and the game looks beautiful. While it uses the dated Unreal Engine 3 the art style is superb. I honestly felt like this was Journey to the Center of the Earth meets Mirror’s Edge. There’s nothing else out there like it and the ending is extremely touching, well worth the play through to get a few heart-strings pulled.
I just wish there was more to the game. Sure jumping around gets fun, but sometimes I feel areas dragged on forever with too much nothing in between. It’s a step in the right direction for this type of game. With more stories being pushed out and some variety in gameplay, this game could have been something even more incredible.
Dark Meadow was a pretty decent Infinity Blade clone on the iPhone back in the day, back when the game wasn’t freemium. Honestly, that alone kills this game. Instead of charging $7 for the game, we get it for free…sure thanks, but not really. The game uses gold and sun coins as currency, but the sun coins are acquired so rarely that you are forced to pay ridiculous amounts of real-world cash for them. Getting a killstreak before you die rewards you with maybe 2-3 coins. The best weapons in the game (the last 1/4 of the weapons) can only be bought with sun coins. The most powerful one costs 3,750 coins. You either need to grind for hours upon boring hours or pay about $40 for that sword. This is sad and just plain wrong.
Of course, people are stupid enough to pay for it. Finding the gold is easy enough, but you have to save and save and go through the same rooms clicking on the same cupboards and drawers over and over again until you go insane. You wake up in a run-down asylum where a man says you need to kill a witch. This is the best part of the game, the story. He talks over the intercom every time you enter a room and you end up really getting attached to this insane character, but the level grinding just makes you want to quit the game. There are only three levels in the whole game, but the witch is bumped up in skill way too much. She goes from being able to be beaten at level 8 or 9 then on the second level she does 250 damage and kills you in one hit. The only way to beat her is to grind to level 25 and rack up gold to buy better equipment. Honestly, just charge me a fee upfront and give me the whole game. I’m not paying $50+ for a $7 game.
The combat is decent but the same enemies repeat and become predictable. You can shoot enemies when they pop up with your crossbow to do damage before they get to you. Sometimes they spit acid at you and you need to block or dodge. The controls are just like Infinity Blade, but there’s no shield, you just block with your weapon. The enemy designs are pretty neat, but there’s just a handful of them. The graphics themselves are incredible and really take advantage of the Tegra 3 chipset. The textures look great, and the lighting is awesome, but I wanted to see more than just a hospital. As it is, this game isn’t really worth your time.
Overall, Dark Meadow is a great game, but once again, the freemium structure ruins the whole experience. You can grind until your thumbs bleed, but you will never get the best weapons without forking out a ton of cash. Even the most patient gamers will give up early on. As I see it, the game is broken with the freemium structure, this needs to seriously stop.
Have you ever wanted to play an MC Escher sketch? Echochrome may come to mind, but Antichamber feels like a mix of Portal, using cubes instead of portals, and Echochrome’s art style. There isn’t really a story here, you just wake up in a hub with four surrounding walls. One wall has your game options which you just interact with, one wall has the various clues you find throughout the game, and the third wall has your map where you can jump to levels you have discovered. All you really know is that you are chasing down a gray mysterious block and trying to escape.
These types of games are never touched by big publishers so it is up to indie developers to make them. Antichamber has a great block gun puzzle mechanic that really gets your gears turning. You eventually upgrade to a yellow and red gun, but the basic is blue. Once you learn how the antichamber works and how optical illusions can change the world around you, you get the gun. You walk around linear hallways trying to discover new areas. You may see a staircase leading up but it disappears and a straight hallway opens up. There may be an eye on a wall and if you stare at it long enough it will open up. Another illusion puzzle has you going up and down a shaft three different times, each time is different. These illusions are really unique and make Antichamber stand out from other first-person puzzle games like Portal.
The block puzzles consist of shapes on walls and you have to fill in these shapes in certain ways. Sometimes there is glass blocking certain areas so you need to drag them around instead. Lasers are a major part of the puzzles, some need to be blocked, and some need to be activated. Figuring these puzzles out is hard because you also have to generate new blocks if there aren’t enough. Drag them around in the puzzle grid in a square shape to fill in the middle. The puzzles get harder and harder as you move along.
If you mess up you just press Esc to go back to the map room and start that room over again. I just wish the game had some more platforming rooms thrown in and wasn’t so puzzle-heavy, even Portal made you jump around some. Antichamber uses doors as another puzzle element. You have to insert cubes into holes to open doors, but sometimes there aren’t enough cubes. Use one to hold the door open, go through it, grab the cube, and just piggyback a few cubes to gather what you need for the final puzzle. Antichamber really had me stuck most of the way because of how unique and different the puzzles were, there’s nothing else like it.
There also isn’t anything else like the visuals of this game. All white and bright primary colors. You feel like you are in one of MC Escher’s sketches. Nothing fancy here at all which is what made Echochrome so great as well. Due to this art style and the illusions the whole chamber can be very confusing to navigate. Pathways open up to nowhere, a pit may drop you into another part of the chamber which can be confusing. I even found the ending pointless, but the whole idea is to solve puzzles. If you don’t like puzzle-solving stay away from this game.
Overall, Antichamber has a wonderful art style and puzzle-solving elements that are like nothing else out there. This game is making a huge splash in the indie scene for a reason. If you love quirky puzzle games this is just for you.
There are hundreds of thousands of games out there, but only a few hundred are considered masterpieces or classics. These are my personal top ten. I know it’s to everyone’s taste, but you can’t deny that these games are great. I have played hundreds in my 20 years of gaming, I have played through three generations of consoles, so at least I can speak on experience. I will try to be non-biased and even address some flaws in the games I pick because I have no problem with that. Flaws are flaws, and not a single game is perfect. There are more that are my favorite, but I would have to make a top 50 list.
This was one of the first games I had ever played at 2 years old. It helped introduce me to the gaming world and I just fell in love with the fast speed and intense gameplay. StH2 had some of the best level designs out of any game in the series and one of the best soundtracks to date. I remember never being able to actually beat the game because it was too long and too hard. I could never get past the factory level with all the grey orbs floating around Robotnik. I had to beat it many years later using an emulator and quick saves, but I still enjoyed it every time I played the game. I think I actually ruined my cartridge from taking it in and out of the Genesis so many times.
In fact, I even remember my first Genesis for Christmas of 1992. The copy of StH2 it came with kept freezing up in the system, so my mom took it back to Circuit City to exchange it. I remember throwing a tantrum because no matter how many times I blew the cartridge it kept freezing after pressing Start. The series has fallen off the deep end in the past ten years, but nothing can ruin the memories of this classic gem.
9. Gran Turismo
This game changed everything for me when it came to cars. My very first racing simulator actually made me think about every turn and what car I had to choose. I always played arcade racers before because consoles didn’t really have the power yet for realistic physics and graphics. I actually learned some things from this game like how to recognize cars on the street, and basic ways on how cars operate. I was sitting in front of my TV at 8 years old tuning my car and adjusting things like camber angle, toe angle, stabilizers, sway bars and gear ratios like a champ. I then followed the series all the way to Gran Turismo 5 today and have witnessed one of the greatest evolutions in gaming history.
I remember the skepticism from PC gamers because of the greatness and expectations from System Shock 2. I didn’t have a PC capable of playing any major games throughout my early gaming years. My computer didn’t even run Flash very well, so I solely relied on consoles. BioShock’s narrative and atmosphere made a huge impact on me and the gaming industry as a whole. The first time seeing a Big Daddy and Little Sister was just shocking. You felt trapped in this underwater utopia, but you were also memorized by how it could have been accomplished in such an early time period. The game just worked so well and felt different from the standard military shooters at the time. BioShock 2 was too similar to the first game and just didn’t make the same impact.
The second game was so much better than the first because it created a whole new world and a much more likable character Ezio is one of gaming’s most familiar faces and the game itself was revolutionary for its time. A huge open world in a historically accurate Rome, Italy was just unheard of. There was so much attention to detail that you had to sit back and just take it all in. The characters were likable, and the story was memorable with a deep and tangled political plot. The game was also violent with a fighting system never before seen in an action/adventure game. This game was almost perfect in so many ways that the rest of the games have yet to capture.
6. Syphon Filter
Syphon Filter was criticized a lot for ripping off Metal Gear Solid plot-wise. The game had unique characters, a memorable plot, and some of the best-level designs ever seen for its time. The stealth was perfectly executed and had some memorable moments. I have played this game numerous times and was actually my first-ever third-person shooter. I remember how confusing the game was because I didn’t understand how shooters worked. I was so used to platformers, adventure games, and puzzle games. After playing this game I felt like I was part of the grown-up crowd. The other two games on the PS1 were just as good but not as memorable as the first game. This has grown to be one of my favorite games of all time just due to the wonderful memories I have had.
I used to beat the game once a week using the one-shot-kill code then again without it. I memorized every enemy, and how to get every kill without being seen in stealth missions. I even went as far as replaying certain dialog scenes because they were just that cool. Syphon Filter is a mostly underappreciated game because of the lack of releases the series has seen. The last game came out three years ago on the PSP, but thankfully Syphon Filter 4 was announced for PS3.
5. God of War
God of War changed my way of thinking about action/adventure games. I remember driving to K-Mart to buy my copy after reading reviews and hearing the game blow up on forums. I didn’t really expect much other than Greek mythology-themed Devil May Cry. I was dead wrong. The game had one of the most thrilling and epic combat systems ever created. I never really even knew what quick time events were until God of War made them cool and did them right. It added a whole new layer of depth and connection to the combat that has never really been done before. The huge boss fights, gorgeous (at the time) visuals, and unabashed nudity and sexuality that few games dare tread. God of War still impresses to this day and with each iteration in the now 5 game series. Kratos is also one of the most memorable and recognizable characters to date. Make sure to pick up God of War Collection and God of War Origins Collection if you missed out on those four awesome games while waiting for God of War: Ascension.
Gears of War changed my mind on shooters the way God of War did for action games. The gameplay was just so different from your standard shooter. It was heavy-hitting, atmospheric, and featured some of the most memorable characters and stories to date. For a futuristic military shooter that’s a huge achievement. The weapons were memorable, it was perfectly balanced, and everything had a dark crunchy hit to it. The game was nearly perfect, and the graphics were out of this world at the time. I remember this being the first next-generation game I ever played when I got my first Xbox 360 for Christmas of 2006. Each of the three games in the series is amazing, but nothing compares to when I first played the first game. It wowed me like no other, and Gears of War is one of the few games I have played multiple times.
Sure this series along with Rock Band single-handedly killed the band instrument rhythm genre, but nothing compares to the first Guitar Hero. This game is the reason why I currently own and play the guitar today. Pulling off complicated riffs, solos, and chords with the then high-tech guitar controller was like magic. I spent dozen upon dozens of hours replaying songs and getting high scores. Sure it cost a lot, but it was well worth it to me. While the songs weren’t originals they were masterfully re-created and the guitar controller responded perfectly. The games later in the series lost sight of the value of mastering songs and just start pumping them out uncontrollably after GH3. This game redefined the rhythm genre and took the entire world by storm. Most people nowadays never played the first game, and they were missing out on a lot.
This was the first game I spent over 100 hours on. The world was so rich and fantastic that I felt like I was playing in one of my favorite fantasy novels. The lore, characters, quests, and loot were just so addictive and engrossing I couldn’t put it down. I remember one play session going on for 12 hours when no other game has kept me in front of the TV for that long. The expansion pack was even more amazing, and the graphics blew me away. Of course, there were a lot of technical problems, and the PC version was better, but I sure had a ton of fun with this game. Skyrimis just as good, but it didn’t wow me like Oblivion did because this was my first Elder Scrolls game. To be honest I picked this up for $60 expecting not to like it much and I was dead wrong. Anyone who has just played Skyrim needs to go back and play this. It revolutionized the action RPG genre in my eyes and a lot of games have tried to copy it to this day.
Yes, I am talking about the 1992 Sega Genesis/Arcade classic. This is my favorite video game series of all time and this is because it was the first video game I ever played. I remember my cousin babysitting me and seeing him control these characters on-screen at 2 years old. I remember seeing him pull off Scorpion’s mask and burn a character. It was something I saw before, and soon enough I was mastering the controls and beating him at 2 years old. I never knew how to pull off a fatality until years later when the internet became more mainstream, but I loved beating this game constantly. To date, I own almost every game in the series on several different platforms and have pre-ordered every recent game since 2004’s Deception. I don’t think I have played a game more than Mortal Kombat, but I still enjoy Japanese fighters. I find Mortal Kombat more accessible with more interesting characters and a story because they aren’t cliché and generic like most Japanese fighters tend to feel. There’s a whole giant story behind each and every character and they are all unique.
Arkham City is the successor to the critically acclaimed Arkham Asylum, which is considered the best superhero video game ever made. That’s a true fact because it made you feel like you were Batman both in character and in the atmosphere. ArkhamCity captures this atmosphere but adds a ton of new features to make this game even better.
The story continues off from the last game where Joker is infected with the Titan virus but also infects Batman. He is rushing to get a cure, but if Joker dies then so does Batman. The story has a satisfying ending and plays out like a great comic book would. As you go through the main story you run into new faces in this series such as Penguin, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, and Dr. Hugo Strange. All the characters in the game are excellent portrayals of their comic book form, and every character is masterfully voiced. Mark Hamel does an amazing job as The Joker (he has since said that this was his last role as the Clown Prince). You truly feel like you are in a comic book, and this is probably the best comic game made so far.
Exploration is upgraded tenfold here with a large open area to explore. As the name implies, you are in a city where hundreds of criminals, kingpins, and thugs were thrown into to kill each other off. It just so happens Batman’s cure is in here along with Joker. The game may seem smaller than Asylum, but there are fewer interior areas and more outdoor areas, but this does become an issue. There seems to be less to do with the main story because there are fewer epic set pieces, and a lot of the game is filled with getting from point A to B. Sure it’s fun using your grapple hook to swing around the city like Spider-Man (I know, wrong universe). You can use your cape to glide around town and do some pretty tricky maneuvers like jumping off walls, dive-bombing, and then pulling up and weaving around corners. Hell, they even give you some physical challenges based on this enhanced and well-put-together exploration system.
Don’t worry too much about being bored because there is a lot of variety in the story, and the indoor areas differ. The majority of the game is actually the Riddler stuff which there are over 400+. There are trophies to find, solutions to puzzles, cameras to destroy, Tyger computers, and this also includes having specific ones for Catwoman. There is enough here to keep you entrained for 30+ hours easily, but people who aren’t completionists may actually be bored quick.
My favorite part about Arkham City is the new gadgets and the updated free-form combat system which is the best one ever created since God of War. The combat is silky smooth with Batman leaping and bounding on enemies with the push of the analog stick in a direction and the attack button. As long as you are in the combat area Batman will jump to an enemy no matter how far away to keep your combo up. You can counter when an enemy has a symbol flash above their head, but you can also break through shields, and knives, and even use gadgets in combat. The system is so fluid with smooth animations that it looks and feels like a perfectly choreographed fight scene from a movie. Some of the new gadgets are a remote-controlled Batarang, Freeze Blast bombs, and a weapon disruptor.
In Arkham City, you can play as Catwoman as well, but she only has a few segments in single player, but she’s just as fun. Her combat is just as fluid, but she’s faster and more nimble. She only has a couple of gadgets, but you won’t play here long enough to get disappointed. She has the ability to crawl on grates on ceilings and use her whip to move around buildings. I found this to be slower than Batman because you can whip something far away, but have to climb the building with the press of A, so it takes twice as long to move the same distance.
The visuals are also stunning even in DirectX 9. High-resolution textures, awesome lighting effects, and a dark moody atmosphere that makes you feel like you are in the Batman universe. If you have the monster rig (at least an ATI 6xxx series card is needed for high FPS) you can run the game in DirectX 11, but it is extremely tessellation heavy, and probably the most advanced use of the technology since Crysis 2. Even my rig had FPS drops in the single digits sometimes.
Overall, Batman: Arkham City is a huge game with excellent production values. This is how a comic book game should be made, and all other developers need to take note. With a silky-smooth free-flow combat system, tons of hidden secrets, and a very engaging story with state-of-the-art graphics, you will not be disappointed. With added challenge maps to hone your skills, DLC costumes, and even new characters, this is one meaty package. I just wish the game had more epic set pieces and didn’t rely on the open world so much as to use it for filler.
I still remember Gears of War when I got my Xbox 360 on Christmas of 2006. It changed the way I thought about games forever and is why it is the only game I ever gave a 10. The game was perfect at the time and I couldn’t really find anything wrong with it. I also remember the game being almost a complete failure early in development and seeing glimpses of shoddy gameplay footage on TV during E3 2004. The classic hit comes to PC with some enhancements that are great for newcomers and enough for fans to come back for another run (or 3).
I’ll review this all over again for people who are unfamiliar (PC-only gamers). You play as Marcus Fenix in Delta Squad who are sent on a mission to deliver a light mass bomb deep under the planet Sera to destroy the Locust horde that is trying to kill all of humanity. This sounds like a typical sci-fi B grade, but this is one of my favorite gaming stories of all time because of the characters, sheer terror, and hopelessness humans go through to rid of this vicious species. Gears of War may seem like a manly shooter on the outside, but inside there is a deep and complex story (just pick up the four books and you will truly see) that tests and trains every human to fight for survival.
Despite the excellent story and memorable characters, there is a great underlying gameplay system here. Slamming against cover, shooting awesome weapons, and killing interesting enemies that were never seen before is quite awesome. Locust isn’t just bugs or aliens, but they feel like entities that you should run away from and have nightmares about. It takes half a clip to take these guys down and they shoot back with good AI (excellent at the time, good for today’s standards). During the time the AI was unrivaled because the Locust would flank you and act smart instead of just standing there getting a shot at you.
The weapons are memorable such as the infamous Lancer with the chainsaw bayonet. Slicing through an enemy and watching blood splatter on the screen is just awesome and never gets old (even if you played the last two Gears). The Longshot is a powerful bolt-action sniper rifle, the Hammerburst is the Locust assault rifle, the Boomshot, Snub pistol, Boltok revolver, and Gnasher shotgun are some of the greatest weapons ever made and they are infamous for a reason. The enemies vary greatly and some can’t even be taken down with guns. The Hammer of Dawn is used to take down the Berserkers who run at you and must be dodged during three different scenes in the game. The Corpsers are huge spider-like enemies that can only be taken down in the same manner and jam communications. The list goes on, but each enemy has to be taken on in completely different ways and most shooters can’t do that.
The campaign is well-paced with lots of different scenarios such as avoiding the deadly Kryll at night while shooting tanks to stay in the light. There are turret sections, but sadly no helicopter sections which this game is dying for. There are epic boss fights, but overall the campaign is perfectly paced with varied environments from outdoors to indoors. All of this combined equals one sweet package that 90% of shooters can’t accomplish in one game.
The multiplayer is fun if this is your thing. Gears of War multiplayer is a lot different from most because it’s tactical and close quarters. 6-on-6 is tough and you will die quickly against vets because the game requires a lot of rolling, dodging, and quick trigger fingers, but the modes are fun like Execution and Wingman. Sadly, not many people play Gears 1 online anymore so you will rarely find people playing. There is even a co-op mode for the campaign which is a blast, but good luck getting anyone to play online.
For the PC we get updated visuals with DirectX 10 lighting, some higher resolution textures, and the best part, 5 all-new chapters that were cut from the Xbox 360 version. If you did play that version remember after leaving the Fenix mansion a Brumak comes after you and you jump into an APC and escape? Stuff happened after that and between arriving at the train station. Delta Squad gets stuck at a lifted bridge and needs to find a way to power it so they can head to the train platform. This is also where you take on that Brumak that followed you and is probably the best 5 chapters in the whole game. I’m sad Xbox 360 owners had to miss out on this epic piece of Gears, but PC gamers will be pleased. There are also three additional COG tags so watch out if you want those achievements!
Gears of War is worth a re-purchase for vets or for newcomers because this is a piece of video game history that can’t be missed by any shooter fan. Why do I not give this a 10 then? The game has shown its age like the dated graphics. Sure they still look great, but the lower resolution textures, weaker lighting effects, and slightly sloppy animations show compared to the new Gears games. Most people will overlook this, but the game also does feel repetitive after a while no matter how you slice it. You’re just running around shooting Grubs right? I feel it needed some more vehicle sections, and well…it was all fixed in Gears 2 and 3, but that’s beside the point.
I played this about 3 years ago and even then it wasn’t all impressive. This game has nothing to do with the underappreciated Area 51 that came out years ago despite being made by the same studio. In fact, the game has nothing to really do with Area 51 at all except you fight through Rachel, NV and there are aliens. The game is a day worth of mediocre entertainment at best. The story is paper-thin with something about a government experiment where they are trying to create the perfect soldier using prisoners and homeless people. The experiment breaks out and you are fighting off a weird para-military plus Xeno aliens. The characters aren’t interesting and this is by far just a B-grade experience.
The worst part about the game is the lack of content. Only a few weapons (like less than 6) and a handful of enemy types make for just a typical shooter experience. There are a couple of large boss fights that were epic at the time, but now they feel too scripted and stale. The graphics are pretty bad since this uses the Unreal Engine 3 from years ago so there are badly scripted explosions, crappy AI, and a useless squad command and moral system. You can send your two buddies somewhere, but it makes no difference because they won’t shoot anything most of the time. If you get shot a lot your morale will go down, but I actually didn’t notice this do anything because the AI is so dumb anyway. There are a few vehicle sequences (which suck), and all the weapons feel the same except a couple of alien weapons.
The multiplayer is non-existent because the servers have been long gone, but you can grab the game for less than $1 on Amazon. The game lacks the greatness of its predecessor with a lack of interesting stories, characters, and scripted cinematic events. You can go around collecting Dossiers, but other than that this is bare-bones at best. The game had a lot of potentials but was executed poorly with lazy design and shortcuts. Why should you bother playing it? Mainly for fans of the first game or who just want an FPS fix for a few hours.
There were a lot of questions throughout the Gears of War trilogy, and only the hardcore fans asked them. The books helped answer all of these and tie up the plot holes that the games couldn’t fill. The final book of the Gears series fills the holes between Gears 2 and 3 and leads right up to the beginning of 3. The book focuses on mainly Bernie Mataki, Colonel Hoffman, and Dizzy. The book explains the fall of the Coalition that you see at the beginning of the third game and why everyone was living on the ship Sovereign. Even little things like why Anya cut her hair short are answered in this book.
Like Jacinto’s Remnant (book 2) you get flashbacks during the Hammer of Dawn strike that wiped out most of Sera, and we get to find out how Baird and Cole met (which is the question about why they knew each other in Gears 1), but it focuses on Bernie, Cole, and Dizzy just before, during, and just after the Hammer strike. The book is riveting and sad and really heartbreaking during some moments. Just seeing humanity crumble and every last hope fall apart is heart-wrenching. Traviss does a great job of keeping the character’s personalities in the book so they feel just like they did in the game. Of course, this is mostly about the stalk and polyp infestation on the island Vectes which is humanity’s last refuge. Hell, you even find out why Prescott left the COG and where Hoffman wound up.
The book has the perfect pacing and I don’t think the book series could have had a better ending. With such deep and lovable characters, a tragic setting, and a great lead-up to the final game you can’t really go wrong here. There isn’t much action here because the book really digs deep into the minds of the characters and more into the tragedy they are facing than actual battles. There are some battles here, but there aren’t any with Locusts because of the polyp crisis they face. This book is really only for hardcore fans, but if you want every single question answered up to this point then pick this book up.
There is no such thing as a perfect game. There never will be and that’s just the cruel hard truth. Very few games come close and that’s why I have only ever given one 10 (Gears of War). If I could go back and give games a 10 what would they be? Some almost felt perfect, but there was something there that didn’t quite make it that high. Games that get 9.5’s are usually amazing and probably the best games out, but sometimes games will sit as perfect to you whether they are technically or not. This is part 1 of 2 because there are just too many to list in one sitting. These are the game I have reviewed and sit as 10’s in my heart (in no particular order of course!)
This game pretty much changed narratives from here on out because BioShock really blew me away. Not only was the pacing perfect, but the story was dark and terrible and something imagined in nightmares. It wasn’t monsters popping up out of the closet, zombies shambling towards you, but it took humanity’s imperfections and let them loose. The gameplay had an array of amazing weapons to use, the EVE powers were great to use, and who can forget seeing a Big Daddy and Little Sister for the first time? That demo really blew me away and it was one of the few games that I could play over and over and never get bored. At the time the graphics were fantastic and helped you feel claustrophobic in that underwater utopia. With BioShock Infinite coming along I hope it hits me the same way.
Who can deny the fact that this was the true return of Mortal Kombat? The game was everything fans wanted with the best characters, excellent graphics, a simpler fight system, and the inclusion of great content for single-player users. The X-Ray moves were shocking, plus the return of superb and original Fatalities that have been lacking since MK: Deception. The game was silky smooth in the controls department, plus the addition of four DLC characters and a slew of classic costumes. I truly felt like a kid again and was basking in the feeling that MK was back and felt just like it did 20 years ago.
A puzzle game usually doesn’t get as much recognition as Portal has gotten. It has become a household name thanks to one thing that the game is named after. Portal 2 completely turns the game into a full-fledged adventure through different areas complete with scripted cinematic events. What makes Portal 2 as great as it is the voice acting and characters. Never have characters been so memorable, and being game staples is hard to become. The pacing was perfect, there was just enough content not to overwhelm you, but to make you feel like it was new and fresh. The puzzles were laid out perfectly and gave you that “AHA!” moment when you finally solved it. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed playing through the entire game and laughing through the entire thing. Portal 2 will always sit with me as one of the best games ever made.
Red Dead Redemption
Not only is Rockstar the best at making worlds you can totally get lost in, but RDR also made you believe it was real. When I played through RDR I felt like the game came to life with such accurate landscape, wonderfully played out characters, and some great missions that make you feel like they were different every time. The atmosphere was rich and bursting at the seams with depth. I never played a game where I felt like a real cowboy and felt like I was doing cowboy things that made a difference. RDR will always sit as a game that many should be based on especially open-world games because this one was perfect to me.
God of War III
God of War is the father of a lot of things. Cinematic action/adventures, quick-time events, and huge giant bosses in said action/adventures, but nothing could prepare me for GoW3. The graphics were way ahead of their time (even in this generation) and the pacing and story were just perfect. The combat was so smooth and just ran like butter across the screen. The powers you held, the weapons you got, and the puzzles were so fun that you actually savored each moment in the game. Sure, the first game made me think differently about how games should be made, but GoW3 set the standard and still is today. GoW was the first game series I could play over and over again and never get bored, and GoW3 is probably on top of all of them.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
If I had to pick my favorite game of all time this would be it. I had never spent so many hours on a game as I did in Oblivion. It set a whole new standard for RPGs. The interaction with characters, the looting, the lore, the dungeons were all just fascinating and mesmerizing. Over 100 of just minute detail that I had never seen in any game. All the books could be read, random quests from people who actually mattered because the effects would impact you later on. Being able to pick plants, the number of swords, magic, spells, tomes, shields, armor, and riding horses? It was truly a fantasy book come to life and it had never been done before in that much detail. I actually would get lost for over a dozen hours without putting the controller down and no other game could make me do that. Oblivion sits in my heart as something more than just a game, but a world I could escape in and forget about all my problems.
Assassin’s Creed II
AC2 really hit home with me because of the grand scale of the characters, story, and the just sheer amount of content in the game. I really got sucked into this world that beautifully recreated, and for once I felt like I was playing a piece of history. No other game has been capable of that, but what got me more than anything was how free I felt. Running from rooftop to rooftop and seeing and hearing shingles shift under my feet, climbing grand buildings, unfolding a deep mysterious plot, and using awesome kill moves is something of most kids’ dreams (if you’re a psycho kid like I was). The graphics were unbeatable at the time, and it still holds up as the pinnacle for free world action/adventures to this day.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum set the standard for superhero games and is declared as the best one ever made. Not only was the combat silky smooth, and the fact that you were Batman, you actually did everything you could in the comics! It was unbelievable using the detective mode, swinging around with your bat claw, and scaring the daylights out of enemies by tossing a Batarang at them. How cool is that?! The excellent voice acting and all the characters from the comic helped make it the greatest superhero game ever made. EVER.
When I found out Bethesda was making Fallout 3 I knew I would be sucked into another amazing world for over a hundred hours, and I was right. Fallout 3 sucked me in just like Oblivion with tons of memorable characters, a great overarching story, but the setting and environment was the main character and drew me in. I actually felt lonely and scared walking The Capital Wasteland, and no other game made me feel that way before. I looted every corner with caution because the game felt so close to home, and you could wonder about this giant apocalypse. I really felt a sigh of relief when I found a new town and almost dreaded going back out in the wasteland alone. What kind of game can you think of that made you feel that way? Probably none.
Shooters tend to be the most criticized category because they are usually all the same and don’t do anything new for the industry. This year some awesome shooters and not all made it on the list. This year saw some shooters that pushed the graphics cards on PCs, showed some astounding multiplayer, but most lacked in good stories. That’s usually what is looked for in the shooter category is mainly a good single-player campaign.
This was a tough one but Gears 3 topped them all mainly due to a good single-player campaign and an amazing finale to an already wonderful story. The multiplayer may not be as groundbreaking, but it’s the overall cohesive and well-balanced campaign that put it at the top. With great characters to follow and some truly awesome weapons to shoot you just can’t put the game down, and that’s what you want in a good shooter.