Matt’s Top 25 All Time Favorite Video Games 25-21
As you may have noticed, I happen to be a big time gamer (as with the rest of us here on Metal State). I started out on an Atari 2600 back in the beginnings of the 1980s and haven’t looked back since. I can not think of a time in my life when I haven’t been completely in love with my digital darlings. Not to brag, but I will, I have played and finished hundreds of games, and not like 100 something games. Roughly counting, I’d say that number is up around the 500 mark. Yet somehow in my ~30 solid years of gaming I have not sat down and tried to make list of the best games I have ever played. So given we are slightly obsessed with lists around these parts, I figured it’s time to do so (my cohorts will be joining in with their lists as well in the coming days). Every single game on this list I consider a must play and highly suggest you check all of them out.
For my own set rules I made the cut-off anything released before 2013 as I still need to let the new releases sink in a bit more and some games get an entry as a series and some games in the series get their own number. If a specific game in a series affected me more than the rest, that game gets top billing and a series gets the number if I feel that the whole series works together to make a cognitive whole. I hope you all enjoy this little list and find some games to either revisit or discover for the first time. And as always, I’d love to hear your favorite games. Even though I have played a lot of games, chances are I may have overlooked a hidden gem and point in its direction is always welcome. Peace Love and Metal!!!!!!
#25: The Blackwell Series
Possibly the best unexpected surprise I have ever gotten in those indie game bundles I buy by the gross load. Comprised of 4 games with a 5th currently in the works, The Blackwell Series is a point and click adventure game where you play as novelist/journalist Rosangela Blackwell and her phantasm sided kick, the 1930s, dapper and wise cracking Joey Mallone. Without giving to much of the origin story away, Rosa and Joey basically play as investigative journalists and detectives as they work together to send other ghosts who haven’t accepted their fate onto the afterlife.
The writing in these game is top-notch with characters that you will quickly begin to love and care for and a delightful balance in somber drama and laugh out loud humor. The narratives in each game are also phenomenal with the detective style stories twisting and turning as you solve ‘cases’ to start uncovering the big overarching plot. There is also a well utilized pixel art graphic look that brings me back to the days of those wonderful Lucas Arts adventure games and some stellar voice acting is used to help bring each character to life. The puzzles are also well implemented into the narrative and never become convoluted or punishing.
I can not suggest this series enough and it is also nice to have a game with a strong female lead character that doesn’t need to flaunt her tits and ass all over the place. Rosa’s character arc is a joy to witness unfold as you are with her as she struggles with confidence and social anxiety issues and works to become stronger of spirit (no pun intended). I could only wish that she joins the likes of Jade from Beyond Good and Evil as one of the best and most respectful female leads out there.
#24: Diablo 2
Ya, that’s about all you do in Diablo 2, click something and it dies in spectacular fashion and then you click on the loot it dropped and then click to equip or use the loot and then click some more to run to the next spot to click till your heart’s content. But all this mindless clicking wouldn’t be so engaging if the game didn’t have a satisfying conclusion to each click.
When you click on that demon and then watch him explode into a bloody mess you will walk onto the next demon slaughter feeling like a god. When you click on that piece of loot you will always be giddy hoping it’s a new piece of sick gear to beef your character up with to become a more efficient killing machine. And when you click your way through the randomly generated levels you will be sucked into the haunting, violent, and beautiful world design. I can’t even begin to fathom how many hours me and my friends poured into repeatedly tearing through Diablo 2 trying to fell the spawn of hell on nightmare difficulty and permadeath on. No, we never pulled it off unfortunately. 13 years after its release it’s still a blast to play and no clicky click RPG has yet come close to topping the king.
#23: Dark Souls
Never has punishing difficulty been so fun. Dark Souls is so masterfully crafted that each time you die, and die you will do a lot of, you are raring to dive right back into the games brutal world, tweak your attack strategy, and show that game that you’re not its bitch but the game is your bitch. And while the game is unrelentingly difficult, it is never unfair. It sticks to its rules at all times and each time you die there is always something to learn about the game that will help you reach the end of a very long journey.
Basically a 3rd person Action RPG filled with dark fantasy fair, the world of Dark Souls never feels dull or cliché’. Monsters are impressively varied and all require different tactics for taking down in the most efficient manner. The items and gear you collect give you an insane amount of playing styles to approach the many dangers and mixed with the neat magic system you will always have more than enough potentially successful options available for combat and exploration. Oh, and the bosses! If you love a good boss battle that has you sitting on the edge of your chair with your teeth grit style intensity, look no further. They are plenty in here and each one will kick your ass with my favorite battle being when I had to fell a giant sword wielding wolf that had agility out the ass.
If things get to out of hand you can use special items to call in a random player to give you a hand during tough parts and other players can leave messages behind to warn (or trick) you of forthcoming traps or danger. But, your game can also be invaded by ‘evil’ players who will hunt you down and most likely attack when there are already 3 demon gargoyles whomping on you so they can get a nice XP boost. But nothing is more satisfying than killing an invading player, well, maybe the boss battles are.
During a time when I was feeling that games are becoming too easy or there are none that cater to us who don’t like military themed games, Dark Souls was a breath of fresh air that reinvigorated my faith in the current landscape of gaming and it success made me feel like I wasn’t the only one out there that wished to see old-school sensibilities brought up to the modern age.
#22: L.A. Noire
Dear game developers and game publishers, we need more detective games. Really, what medium other than games is so perfect to express the sleuth genre. In a game you can have the player search the crime scene for clues, interview suspects and witnesses, deduce who-dun-it and at the same time tell your crime noir story in a way that will have the player engaged with the story unlike any other medium that has tackled the detective genre. DO IT DAMMIT! I want more detective games!
One could argue that there are many games that let you play detective, but none of them really give you the gumshoe feeling that L.A. Noire does (Well, there is one, but you will have to wait a couple of weeks to find out what it is). What separates this game from the rest is the fact that you really do need to scour crime scenes for evidence and rely on your own intuition instead of the game hinting you in the ‘correct’ direction. You need to grill suspects and question witnesses paying attention to how the shape their words and what kind of body language they use. And you also get to drive around 1930s L.A. and shoot shit too!
Pair the adventure game style with open world Grand Theft Auto gameplay and you have yourself one fun game that tickles nearly all of my favorite gaming happy parts. And then there’s the story which doesn’t shy away from being adult and mature, but never shoves the fact that it’s ‘adult’ in your face. It treats the player with intelligence and respect and by the time you reach the games conclusion I guarantee you will have that slack-jawed ‘wow’ look on your face. If you fancy yourself of adventure games, true crime novels, puzzle solving, yelling at old ladies, and calling people out on their bullshit, you can not afford to miss this one. It’s also worth stating the graphics are gorgeous and the recreation of the time period is mind-blowing.
Ok, stick with me on this one. You play as a hyper-sexualized, tiny lollipop sucking, snarky, angel hunting witch named Bayonetta who has pistols strapped to her hands and feet who can also turn her hair into a plethora of weapons of destruction, like a dragon, chainsaw, or giant high heel boot. There’s some kind of war going on between heaven and hell complete with a convoluted conspiracy and you need to kill God or something like that and there’s something about a kid you need to protect. There is not a single thing about this game that is anything less than absolutely ludicrous. Bayonetta goes full on plaid.
But all the off the wall ideas and imagery wouldn’t be shit if it weren’t for how solid the gameplay is. Bayonetta plays similar to Devil May Cay as you dial in various combos to dispatch your foes with a heavy emphasis put on dodging. When you successfully dodge an enemy you enter a bullet time mode for a few seconds allowing you to zip around and jack your combo counter to insane height as well as not get killed. The fluidity of the dodge and attack mechanics are so well realized and with some of the tightest controls ever the only disadvantage you may have is only your gaming skills and reaction times, which Bayonetta demands a lot from.
With various difficulty settings, tons of different weapons that yield different combos and attack strategies, and breaks in combo-centric gameplay for parts where you ride and shoot from speeding motorcycles or on a missile, Bayonetta has had me return to its WTF world time and time again to slaughter baddies that could have only been dreamed up in Japan.
Posted on June 24, 2013, in Matt's Top 25 Video Games, Videogames and tagged Action Games, Adventure Games, Bayonetta, Dark Souls, Diablo 2, Favorites, gaming, L.A. Noire, List, RPG Games, The Blackwell Series, Video Games. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.