The Top 50 Games of All Time (40-31)

The Top 50 Games of All Time (40-31)

How exactly does one go about determining what makes a game great, much less what makes one better than another?  It’s a tough question.  We do, however, have some basic criteria that we can use.  Graphical fidelity, sound design, art style, gameplay; the list is endless.  Some games stand apart, though.  How a game stands the test of time is always a good basis, and how their influence is felt through the generations is always fascinating to watch.  After going through roughly thirty-one drafts, ten arguments and at least one major complete shake-up, here are the Top 50 Games of All Time, part 2.  You can see part 1 in its entirety here, but here’s a recap.

50. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

49.  Gears of War 2

48.  Twisted Metal 2

47.  Castle Crashers

46.  Gran Turismo 2

45.  Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

44.  Resident Evil 2

43.  StarCraft II

42.  Grand Theft Auto IV

41.  Mario Kart

40.  God of War 3:  God of War was an important game for the PS2.  Building onto the house that Dante built, God of War took Devil May Cry’s intense third-person action, and added in some environmental puzzle solving, visceral combat and a whole heap of bloody Greek mythology.  At the center of it all is Kratos, a character who became a much-needed mascot for Sony, and one of the most memorable protagonists of the 21st century.  God of War 2 pushed the PS2 as far as it could probably go, but it was with the series next-gen debut that Kratos delivered his best performance.  The scale of God of War 3 is simply jaw-dropping, and it features some of the best set-pieces to ever grace a video game, bar none.  The final fight against Zeus, particularly the way it ends, will stay with me until the day I die.  Sony Santa Monica’s hard work has paid off with incredible sales, proving that perhaps there is a link between quality and the financial bottom line.  With the upcoming release of God of War: Ascension, the brand looks to be in good shape moving forward.

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39.  Arkham City:  Who says superhero games can’t be elite?  While Batman has certainly had his ups and downs  in video game land, Rocksteady Studios showed us how to do a Batman game right with their 2009 hit Arkham Asylum.  Apparently not happy with that, they took it a step further and created one of the best games of all time with the follow-up smash hit Arkham City.  Featuring excellent voice acting, a world heavily laden with secrets and some of the best combat mechanics around, Arkham City stands as one of the best, if not the pinnacle, of licensed video games.  For those of you who milked the campaign for every last bit of content (of which there is a staggering amount of), an addictive arcade-like challenge mode puts the stellar combat front-and-center.  It almost makes you sad for the Man of Steel, and you have to wonder when he will get a Rocksteady facelift as well.

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38.  Red Dead Redemption:  There have been some attempts at creating a good Western game, but past tries haven’t been super successful.  Something about the Wild West speaks to the American soul, and when Red Dead Redemption released, it made every other entry in the genre look like a spaghetti show.  Deftly blending the rugged frontier setting with a mature narrative and engaging mechanics, Red Dead was an epic on scale with a Clint Eastwood movie, and featured a protagonist who is just as deep and conflicted.    While the journey Red Dead takes you on is an intense and memorable one, it’s the ending that will perhaps stand as the game’s greatest achievement, as it is one that players won’t soon forget.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but it defies stereotypical tropes, and tugs on an emotional string made all the more real by the game’s interactive nature.  Zombies were added to the world in the popular DLC Undead Nightmare, finally giving us an accurate portrayal of the Wild West.

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37.   Ms. Pac-Man:  There was a time, not too long ago, when things like story and graphics, elements we take for granted in game development today, simply didn’t matter so much in video games.  Arcade cabinets ruled the roost, and the goal was to have fun, test your reflexes and, most importantly, chase that all-important high score.  There was an entire generation of games devoted to this idea, but one stands apart from the rest.  Pac-Man proved irresistible to people everywhere, but it was the unauthorized sequel that truly shined.   Adding new mazes, moving fruit and better ghost algorithms, Ms. Pac-Man was truly the better half of the relationship.  The story behind the creation of the game is fascinating as well.  It couldn’t have been easy for Ms. Pac-Man though.   I imagine living with Pac-Man would be akin to bunking with a Roseanne-era John Goodman.  Frightening.

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36.  Braid:  It seems like, as games continue to grow as a medium, they become more and more shaped by the demands of the consumer.  The Mass Effect 3 ending controversy, and the subsequent decision to release the Extended Cut DLC, is a testament to that.  Mostly gone are the days when the vision of a game is shaped by one person, or at least a small core of people.  While today’s games may bring about some incredible experiences, I love when the artistic vision of a truly great gamemaker gets to really shine through.  Braid may be the best example you can find of that.  Braid’s devious puzzles are the initial draw, but the story of Tim and his quest for the princess is the only argument I need for art in video games.  Who is the princess?  Is she Tim’s lost love?  A personification of Tim’s regret?  The atomic bomb?  Finding the hidden stars and unlocking the hidden ending makes you feel like a real genius, and that speaks to the power of Jonathan Blow puzzle creation skills.  A hauntingly beautiful art style and spot-on music set the tone for one of the deepest and most powerful story experiences available in gaming.

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35.  Diablo 2:  I don’t know what it is, but playing Diablo II just brings out some primal loot gathering instinct that I thought we had evolved out of.  The loop of gathering weapons and armor, killing hundreds of monsters, and then using the loot dropped from them to power up and kill hundreds of even stronger monsters just feels right.  Adding a buddy to the experience takes it to another level altogether.  Blizzard knows how to foster addiction if nothing else, and their legendary polish is in full force in Diablo II, evidenced by the fact that z  , despite being over ten years old a spawning another supersequel, its player count is still ridiculous.  Excellent balancing, fun and unique character classes and that exceptional looting are all terms that are synonymous with Diablo, and set it apart from the many pretenders to its throne.  Amazon FTW!

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34.  Uncharted 2:  Initially dubbed “Dude Raider” by the press after his initial showing, Nathan Drake has improved upon his first impression considerably.  The first Uncharted was a solid showing for the IP, but the sequel nailed it in the most epic of fashions.  Starting off with a bang, literally, Uncharted 2 presented one of the most breathtakingly cinematic experiences ever to grace a video game.  It all started with the presentation, which was second to none:  Strong writing, terrific voice acting (Nolan North!) and a graphical style that was haunting, spectacular and highly detailed all at the same time..  One of the best supporting casts of this generation joins Mr. Drake on his journey, and the Uncharted franchise shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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33.  Rock Band 3:  We’ve all wanted to do it.  Before Guitar Hero and Rock Band changed the way we looked at music games, we’ve all spent countless hours playing air guitar and steering-wheel drumming, wishing we could somehow, I don’t know, play our favorite songs without the pesky hassle of actually learning how to play an instrument.  Guitar Hero came out and introduced everybody to fake guitar, but Rock Band let us live out the full band fantasy, complete with vocals, harmonies and a drummer that keeps missing the fill.  The Rock Band network is filled with an absurd number of songs, ranging from GLaDOS’s haunting rendition of “Still Alive” to an entire song book of Beatles hits.  If that wasn’t enough, Rock Band 3’s Pro Mode let us take the step from gamer guitarist to real guitarist.

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32. Portal:  Speaking of GLaDOS, she had a passing fun game herself.  Portal totally came out of nowhere to become a smash hit, while creating a record number of Internet memes.  While the question of whether or not the cake is a lie may still be up in the air, the question of whether or not Portal deserves a spot on this list is not.  The crazy cool portal mechanics certainly didn’t hurt, but we all know that it was antagonist GLaDOS who really stole the show.  The hit follow-up added an excellent co-op campaign, and a couple of hilarious characters, but the original Portal remains of the few must-play titles for anybody who wants to associate themselves in any way with video games.  Portal may be responsible for more gamer converts than anything since Super Mario Bros.

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31.  Mario 64:  The jump from the SNES to the N64 was quite big in retrospect, and brought about some large changes.  Graphics were becoming much more interesting, allowing creators more freedom in creating a world than ever before.  We could easily play with three other people at the same time, a trend that continues to this day.  Largest among them, however, was probably the jump from 2D landscapes to a largely 3D world.  Mario 64 was an early attempt at the 3D platformer, and, as Mario tends to do, it was a resounding success.  You have to hand it to Nintendo; they created a masterpiece with no real basis for comparison. There were no other 3D platformers to emulate, and wandering around the Mushroom Kingdom (or wherever those paintings took you) in three dimensions was an incredible experience.  Mario 64 would become the blueprint for innumerable games in the following years, and it remains one of the best launch titles ever.

Alright, almost halfway there.  What’s coming next?  What games will inevitably get snubbed?  Is Superman 64 creeping somewhere ahead on the list?  No.  No, its not.

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A frequent Top 10 list writer and uber SNES fan, Blake can still to this day be found playing Final Fantasy VI on occasion, even though it is probably bad for his health at this point (we’re not sure he knows there are actually other games out there). When not writing, editing or gaming, Blake enjoys bothering people with his guitar, drinking more than is safe and talking about this totally crazy weather. Blake is also very involved in the Game Informer community, has a sick Minecraft world he would love to show you.
1 comments
Ste
Ste

This is hy Halo should be in the top 5 if not top 10. Lets see Here, The Halo Franchise has an: 1. Epic soundtrack (Like no other) 2. Epic Universe to tell a deep story in. Background story is pretty freaking awesome swell. 3. First and best THEATER Mode (Save and Watch your Games) 4. FORGE (Best Map Editer for an FPS) 5. Gameplay Awesome 6. Best vehicular Controls in an FPS 7. Best FPS Game for an epic Vehicular moments. 2 Warthog Runs at End of Halo CE and Halo 3 (especially with the epic music in the background) 8. One of the best multiplayer games out there with True Skill Ranking in Halo 2 and 3. 9. FIREFIGHT - Challenging yet exhilarating in ODST. Fun with friends in Reach. Horde in Gears of War is a tiny bit better though for a wave of enemies mode. 10. Characters brilliant - Chief & Cortana, Chief & Arbiter, Buck and Veronica, Chief & Sgt Johnson. 11. HUMOUR and Inspirational Speeches is pretty good on the side - Sgt Johnson " Oh I know what the ladies like" Sgt. Johnson's Motivational Speeches in Halo CE and Halo 2 (every difficulty) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGM9t5VMyYA Best Halo Lines, Speeches, Quotes and Scenes Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed3B09z9WYs&feature=related 12. GRAPHICS and GAMEPLAY was defiantly in the top 3 IF not numbro uno for its TIME (I REPEAT FOR ITS TIME). 13. Bigest online multiplayer matchmaking (Halo 2) even bigger than goldeneye(which was good). 14. Reguires a lot of skill to play compared to other games. What do MLG PLAYERS ALL HAVE IN COMMON?? SKILL......What game is played the most for 8 years running in mlg Halo. Can anybody see that connection. 15.Very, very few levels are bland yes I'm saying that (you see at least i admit some things) But give Halo credit it was made in 1999 and used the same engine for 2&3 and ODST. 16. Best game for making MACHINIMA, MONTAGES etc because of its inside media. 17. FILESHARE - First game to have sharing files (Full games, Game clips, Screenshots, Public and developer created maps, Game modes) as a big part of the game. 18. Was the best game for your stats and every thing Halo related to in game mechanics....that is until MW3's Elite came out. 19. Media spawned by Halo Franchise - Red vs Blue/Achievement Hunter/Roostertheeth, Macinima became bigger using halo3 inside mechanics to do some of their shows, Arby 7 the Chief, Many novels that you could only wish that the games were that detailed. 20. The gameplay is awesome. Epic Sandbox battles. You can literally play with any strategy you like. For example 1. Go in all guns blazing 2. Drive a Warthog, mongoose, Scorpion Tank, Ghost straight in with a co-op buddy or AI marines, If available (usually are) 3. Be the passenger of these vehicles and let the AI or co-op partner drive 4. Fly a Banshee or a Hornet. 5. Stay back and snipe 6. You and your partner use different strategies. 6. Do all of these, your not limited to one. 21. The skulls you collect will change the way you play to make it more challenging or more fun. For example IWBYD (I Wanna Be Your Daddy) Skull. This opens up extra dialogue when you play and are pretty HILARIOUS and RANDOM. Take a look at this: 22. Not just 2 player split screen or online but one of the first games to allow you to play campaign with 4 players. 23. Custom Games. Holy crap I nearly forgot to mention Custom Games. This is another mode in which you can invite friends or recent players and change many different things within the game. For example: Change the starting weapons, the spawned weopons. Which vehicle to spawn if any. Change the Speed and Gravity. It's limitations is the community not the developer. Jenga MLG PRO MAPS Zombies Fat Kid Lase Ball 1v1 General games of multiplayer but on developed maps or community developed maps and change a lot of different things to suite the game type. The music oh my god the music. Nearly every halo song is epic here are just a few examples 1. Never Forget 2. Halo Theme 3. Mjolnir Mix 4. Behold A Pale Horse 5. One Final Effort 6. Halo 3 Warthog Run aka Greatest Journey 7. Truth and Reconciliation Suite 8. Delta Halo Suite 9. Halo 3: ODST- Neon Night 10. Halo 3:ODST - Rain Halo 3 Never Forget Theme http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7w76B7fO_4 Halo 3 - One Final Effort - Soundtrack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTi7LrXxbOI&feature=fvwrel Halo 3 OST - [The Ark] Behold a Pale Horse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDSQbCYrXu0&feature=related Halo Soundtrack Truth and Reconciliation Suite http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VQPFpIjz18 The Halo 3 Warthog Run: The Complete Extended Version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_pAa9252Uo&feature=related Halo 2 Mjolnir Mix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O9K7E3lDRU Halo 1, Halo 2, and Halo 3 Theme Songs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGptqrKa_ak&feature=related This is in my own words so bare with me if i make a mistake. This is just a very brief overview. And I din't event need to go into the epic story of the last spartan John 117 fighting not just for Earth but the Galaxy and every sentient being. A deep religious race known as the covenant believes that activating the Halo's is the righteous thing to do. The elite lead by The Arbiter seen the error of their ways and joint up with the UNSC and the Chief to stop the Covenant from activating the Halo rings, Developed by an ancient race known as the Forerunners who also left behind 343 Quilty Spark to protect the Rings and activate them if necessary. They can only be activated by a human. Thats just the beginning Before the Events of Halo, there was many Spartans who have been fighting the Covenent for many years until they all died and one remains John 117 aka Master Chief. Along side master chief are marins and ODST's )Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) If you read some of the Halo novels you should also know that Spartans and ODST don't get along very much. ODST see Spartans as the favorite children. ODST are not bio mechanically enhanced, they are veteran soldiers who drop from orbit onto a ship, planet or space station etc. The prophets are seen as the popes of the covenant. They will do anything to get to the an Ark to activate the Halo Rings. Thank you for taking the time to read this.