For so long now I have been working on this list. I have around 100 games, which I know isn’t as many as some people here but it’s still a lot to wade through and pick out your favourites. I’ve worked hard at this and I’m satisfied that the final results are accurate. So without further ado, here are my ten greatest games of all time:
10. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Bioware, 2003 (Xbox)
I’ve been a Star Wars fan since the rerelease of the original trilogy back in '97. This game does a better job than even the prequel films in bringing to life the vivid Star Wars galaxy. Life in KOTOR is exactly as you’d imagine it’d really be on Taris, or Kashyyk etc. The enigmatic theme tune and sounds are used beautifully to capture the atmosphere and this, as well as the best twist EVAR, make this a solid number 10.
9. Saints Row - Volition, 2006 (Xbox 360)
The task is simple. You’ve been canonised, and it’s time to take back the city for the Saints. This is not just a GTA clone, this game goes above and beyond GTA4 (not played the others) with a stronger set of supporting characters, a better sense of humour and reams of better gameplay. Contrary to the almost slapstick overtones, the plot goes deeper, and the ending is nothing short of superb.
8. Tomb Raider - Core Design, 1996 (Saturn)
The original Tomb Raider managed to capture a sense of realism and isolation that no game in the series has equalled since. This is down to the cavernous open spaces, complicated level design and the lack of sound. The Lost Valley is a brilliant example of what makes this game so great; It’s all dark and desperate and once the T-Rex shows up, rather hopeless. Try completing this level without killing the beast - it’s good fun.
7. Shenmue - AM2, 2000 (Dreamcast)
With Shenmue, you take a step in to someone elses life. Okay, so it’s not a particularly normal life, but it was fleshed out amazingly well for it’s day, and still stands up to current games. The area of Japan we get to see is just like a real, living town. People go about their daily business, you can play games etc. The plot starts off slowly but the intrigue that follows later is what really drives my interest in this game.
6. Halo: Combat Evolved - Bungie Studios, 2002 (Xbox)
What is there to say about Halo that hasn’t already been said about Halo? Like Tomb Raider, the atmospherics play a huge part in making this game what it is. The abandoned alien structures reek of history that may lay just beneath the surface, and toward the end of the game you are all alone as a one man army. It falters in the later games, but the plot is top notch in the original, introducing the deeper universe.
5. Halo 2 - Bungie Studios, 2004 (Xbox)
This is all about the multiplayer. Though Halo CE has a better single player (not to say H2’s is too far behind…), what makes Halo 2 so special to me is the multiplayer aspect. I still play this game, and have accumulated almost 7500 games. I’ve met and lost friends on here, I’ve had good times and bad. This is my World of Warcraft. My experiences go deeper than this, but, it’s not higher up the list because there are just better games story wise.
4. Shining Force III, Scenario I - Camelot Software, 1998 (Saturn)
I’ve read the scripts for the second two scenarios, so I know that this would probably be number 1 on my list had they been released on these shores. As it is though, the brightest lights of scenario 1 are the plot and the gameplay. This game has one of the most complex plots I’ve experienced, with so many characters and twists. The battle system works brilliantly, allowing you to be as tactical as you like.
3. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Bethesda Softworks, 2002 (Xbox)
The most epic game on this list, Morrowind spans a whole island of interesting and varied terrain and characters. Who can forget Vivec, Crassius Curio or Divayth Fyr? The moral ambiguity during the main quest line is one of the things that makes this game so great. As is uniting the entire island behind you; travelling from one place to another mostly by foot. And the number of sidequest is overwhelming.
2. Shenmue II - AM2, 2001 (Dreamcast)
Shenmue II really kicks the series in to a higher a gear. From the offset there’s hardly any time to catch your breath. The story is thick full of quests and a lot longer than the original. A whole new set of characters, locations and challenges, including hunting relentless for Zhu Yuanda, running around high rise apartment blocks, and finally talking a stroll through the Chinese countryside. This game has everything.
1. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Team Andromeda, 1998 (Saturn)
After reading the rest of thisl ist, you knew this was coming. PDS just has something no other game I’ve played has. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I played it again recently and I haven’t been so hooked and enticed by a game for maybe two years. It is just the perfect video game (aside from it’s length). Everything fits and works together perfectly, leaving you with an overall experience of satisfaction. We all know the pluses of this game. The characters are so well done; they have strong presences and each one is full of importance and even mystery. The environments are lushly populated with debris, monsters, etc. And the storyline is easily way up there with any thousand page novel or three hour film. This game is the sum of it’s lovingly crafted parts, and no effort has been spared to polish everything up to the highest standard.
I’m not particularly surprised by the number 1. But reducing my haul of games by 90% was a pretty hard thing to do, so I think there has to be some honourable mentions listed:
- Sonic 2
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles
- Mass Effect
- Halo 3
- Sega Rally
- Gears of War
- Ghost Recon
- Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
So, that’s it from me. Now it’s time for you kids to post your top 10’s.