OK, this is a self indulgent topic but I’d been thinking about the games that still have weight in my memory from the DC, PS2, XBOX and GC console generation. For the most part they haven’t changed from how I felt at the time.
JetSetRadioFuture… yeah, if anything after the chance to play it ‘new’ on 360 I’m even more sure it gets my top spot. I still have to wonder how much difference it could have made with the reception the game got if everyone who played it had first understood that it’s a platformer with more in common with Mario 64 or Sonic Adventure than Tony Hawks. The relentless attention to visual details and always evolving and engaging level design still blows me away. Taken with the art style and the music it’s an unparalleled assault of the senses, execepting maybe it’s older sibling.
Burnout 2… and I’m never big on racing games as a rule, but the unadulterated ‘gameness’ of it rules. Perfect controls that don’t compromise fun for some arbitrary measure of “realism” and stunning visuals combined with the fantasy of driving like a complete maniac (or moron) with no consequences other than the chance to see an absurdly spectacular crash that always looks different.
Sky Odyssey… I despair of ever seeing anything the likes of this game again. Even being PS2 first-gen and looking almost previous gen in many ways it doesn’t matter, a rock solid 60-fps and good draw distance with huge spooling landscapes was more than enough for my own suspension of disbelief. Obviously most people only enjoy flying in a game as a secondary experience to killing things, but getting good enough to master every challenge was as thrilling an acomplishment as I’ve ever found in a videogame.
Phantasy Star Online… a tough choice but I have to be fair, the four months I did spend with this game showed me what the fuss is about with comunity RPG’s. Kind of an unfinished experience ultimately, and attempts to finish it only broke it but still… mad props.
Halo… another tough choice oddly enough, it’s not a very personal game for me but it’s just so freaking good. I can understand people being disappointed if they played it after the hype built up, and even worse if they had the story spoiled, but as a launch game I mean… god damn!
I seem to be very partial to ‘pure’ videogames anymore, I may just be too old-school but, I also think videogames have lost their identity the last several years. For example, Panzer Dragoon Saga is one of the most progressive games ever made judged by the contemporary criteria as an interactive action movie as much as a game. But it still holds to a sense of the priorities of being a game first, which is becoming rarer all the time IME (in my estimation).
So, anyone else?