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Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 100-91


Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 100-91

Shaun Cordingley

I kept saying that I was going to do this, and lovely {PODCAST} listeners keep asking us to talk about video games...which with Dave, is not really possible, and to do video game lists, so I thought that now is a perfect time to talk about my Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (as of December of 2016--because let's face it, with the way video games are, this list is going to change...which means I may end up doing this more than once...). 

My gaming life has largely been split between three different areas: I started off with Nintendo, I moved into PC Gaming, and now have mostly settled into PlayStation (though with some forays into both of my previous gaming worlds). I mostly tell you this now so that you do not end up asking me where the XBox Exclusives are, or how your favourite SEGA Master System game didn't make the list...

Anyway, without further ado, here are the first ten games to make my Top 100: 

100 - Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Starting this list off is the wonderful Level-5 produced JRPG Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch which released on PS3 in North America in 2013. The game tells the story of Oliver, a young boy who sets out on a journey in an effort to save his mother (who dies at the very beginning of the game), in another world where, if he saves a "white witch" from a dark sorcerer, may be able to bring his mom back.

It's exactly as sad and sweet as it sounds, helped on by the fact that the entire game is done by Studio Ghibli Animation, which means it's essentially like playing a gigantic, amazing hand-drawn feeling anime film, scored absolutely beautifully by Joe Hisaishi. The game play is largely that of your standard JRPG: third-person, quest-based story wherein you travel around trying to solve said quests, but are attacked by various baddies (monsters etc.) and drawn into a battle system. The battle system is time-based, which is nice, but allows you to freely move around the space, while you are commanding creatures (known as "familiars") to fight for you. It's sort of like a more advanced, thoughtful (and I'll just say it, better) Pokemon game at points, but is tied together by one of the best stories in any JRPG I've ever played. 

Oh, and if you have not played it, and are thinking about it, I suggest playing it subbed; the dubbing is fine, but there's just something about the original Japanese cast that just elevates this game to the next level.

A sequel was announced at PSX in 2015, which I am beyond excited for, but Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a game that I am more than happy to start my list off with. 

99 -  Stuntman: Ignition

Stuntman: Ignition is the sequel to the brutally hard Stuntman, a really great, but insanely difficult precision driving game on PS2, that was released for XBox 360, PS3, PS2 and there's even a mobile iteration. Essentially what you do is you are a stunt driver who works on 6 different films, and you execute a string of super fun, ridiculous Hollywood style driving stunts, working with an often sarcastic and/or crazy director (who will chastise you over the radio when you fail--and you will fail. Lots.) and a stunt co-ordinater who tells you what stunt you have to execute. Stunts range from easy things like 180 e-brakes, to insane corkscrew jumps over ICBM missiles, and then at the end, the game would cut the in-game footage of you doing to the stunts into CG movie trailers.

What was awesome about Ignition was that the game added a lot of character to the directors, making each film feel way different, as well as introducing a strike/star system, that allowed you to make a few more mistakes, but rewarded you greatly for putting together "stunt strings"--doing the entire run you were expected to do, stringing stunts together with drifts, near misses, destruction, and just general fun. Occasionally Ignition could get frustrating, as it is about fine movements, and precision, but it never got frustrating to the point of quitting (the way the original did).

I probably finished this game...five times, because every once in a while, I would just get an itch to play it for a little bit, and then I would be 100% hooked all the way through, from the weird Dante's Peak style film "Aftershock" all the way through the not-Batman film Night Avenger. It saddens me to no end that I will probably never get another Stuntman game, as the publisher, THQ, no longer exists...

98 - Resistance 2

Resistance 2 is a post-apocalyptic, science-fiction first person shooter that was a PS3 exclusive, and a direct sequel to the (also super fun) PS3 launch game Resistance: Fall of Man

Anyone who knows me, or who has been reading, or listens to our {PODCAST} probably only needs to see that first line there to understand why I loved it. Set in a wonderfully realized alternate history where there is no World War 2 thanks to an alien invasion, Resistance 2 picks up where the aliens (known as the Chimera) have launched their invasion of the United States in 1953, however the Chimera do not attack themselves, but rather infect the populace and transform them into various, horrifying...well monsters for lack of a better term, who fight the war for them. 

You literally do not see the Chimera in any of the three Resistance games, and that is part of what makes them so great, but really it is all about the bleak, tense atmosphere, coupled with some really clean feeling (at the time) shooting mechanics, bolstered by some strange WW2 but with alien mods weaponry that just worked for me on every level. I don't know that I have ever felt the same tension I have felt as when a swarm of Grims (think humanoid's who work like fast-zombies but have terrifying, deep-sea fish mouths) start coming at me.

97 - Vanquish

Vanquish was a 2010 release from Platinum Games for both the XBox 360 and PS3 which I (and many others) feel ushered in a twitchy-shooter revolution, pushing shooting games into a much faster future. I tried this game on a whim (I believe I got it as a free PlayStation Plus game) and was instantly hooked. The tremendous pace at which the action happens is frantic, but it never feels out of control, and the 'knee slide to boost' mechanic was brilliant, as it turned into a crazy, bullet-hell feeling, even thought there was a fairly hearty amount of cover-based combat to be had. 

I made sure to grab a trailer that had gameplay in it for you, because I felt that no matter how I describe it, there's just no way my words can do Vanquish's speed justice; this is a game where Dave came over to hang out for a bit, and I was playing it while waiting for him, and he remarked that he had no idea how I was playing it, and then he watched my hands--this is a game where it is necessary to contort your hands to make things happen with a precision that...really only comes by playing something like this (and I have not found anything like Vanquish since).

Considering how much I loved the gameplay, it does just crack this list because of it's problems in voice acting (which is...poor at best), it's somewhat silly story, and it's short campaign length, but I will always remember some of those Vanquish firefights, and boss battles fondly.

96 - Super Bomberman

...I played an insane amount of Hudson Soft's Super Bomberman my first year of university. The first Bomberman game to be released on the SNES, The trailer above basically shows you the entire game: a non-scrolling screen of squares would be put in front of you, and you would have to clear it of enemies (using bombs...surprise, surprise) to advance on to the next screen, eventually culminating in a boss battle. There were six worlds, each with eight stages and their own boss...and yeah...I cannot tell you how often I played it, just because while it is simple, every game felt that little bit different as it all came down to timing...

...and the game had 4-player multiplayer...Super Bomberman's multiplayer was just the best; sitting around, trying to out bomb the other guys, trying not to get caught in blasts, grabbing special items, and being the last one standing? 

Yeah, there is no way that Super Bomberman couldn't make this list for me. 

95 - Papers, Please

Papers, Please is a brilliant little indie puzzle game that was only available on PC wherein you play an Immigration Officer in a fictional Eastern-Bloc country (Arstoszka) who processes people's papers as they are trying to enter the country, following an ever-changing protocol, and being paid a salary (to feed your family) based on the number of people you process through your checkpoint. Over the course of the game, while you are dealing with the insane bureaucracy, a thoughtful, occasionally funny, and often quite tragic game unfolds around you.

The gameplay itself is both monotonous and intricate (I mean, at the end of the day, you have to remember visas, stamps, processes etc, and you're just looking at passports and people), but at no point does it become boring--the little stories that play out, the multiple possibilities for endings (20 in all) that are affected by the players' choices, and midway through, it becomes a game that makes you think about the choices you are making completely differently, as everything you do, in your small little corner of this Eastern-Bloc country, begins to take on a tremendous weight. 

If you haven't tried this yet, you definitely need to give it a go, there's just something in Papers, Please that despite it's surface simplicity, makes it a real joy (...) to play.

94 - Patapon

The PSP was a great little handheld device (and not just for emulated NES games); Patapon, a rhythm/god game by Pyramid and Japan Studios was beyond addictive. The basic concept was that you as the player used different drum rhythms to issue orders to your adorably fierce little tribesmen on their quest to return to their homeland, and free it from its invaders. 

What made this game special was that it took a reliably awesome handheld mechanic/gameplay style (rhythm), and put an interesting, light RPG style to it, where you were collecting weapons and items, creating new classes of tribesmen, and executing missions that were animated beautifully in a shadowed, 2D style. 

Simple, yet deep. Fun to play, and addictive as hell; I still occasionally pull my PSP out to play this, and was so happy to see that it's getting a PS4 remaster soon

93 - Ghostbusters The Video Game

Look: I'm a huge fan of the original Ghostbusters (and it will probably make an appearance on my Top 100 Movies list when we finally get around to doing that), so when I was told that, while I was never really going to get a third movie, but the original cast was reuniting in order to voice Ghostbusters The Video Game, a game set where they are looking to expand and franchise out the idea, but need you, the newest Ghostbuster's help around New York. I was in. I don't preorder games often, but this was one of them (which even scored me a pretty great shirt).

In the end, I got a very fun, third-person shooter (well...third-person proton pack blastin') game which balanced my nostalgia for the original movies (hello Vigo the Carpathian) but also gave me a few new things to do. Occasionally the game was creepy, occasionally it was funny, they had the soundtrack, it let me be a Ghostbuster without being one of the ghostbusters (which is always a little weird when it comes into tie-ins) and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was in it, so I basically got everything I could've hoped for when it came to Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and it is as close to a third movie as I am ever going to get...and I'm actually fine with that. 

While I played it on PS3 (more than once...) it was also available on XBox 360, the Wii, DS, PSP and even PS2, so if you're a Ghostbusters fan, you really have no excuse when it comes to playing this one: it is well worth your time. 

92 - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is a third-person action game for PS3/XBox 360/PC (later coming to PS4 and X1) of the Grand Theft Auto mold, wherein you play a Chinese-American police officer in modern day Hong Kong attempting to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triads. This is one of those games that snuck up on my completely that I gave a shot to as I was waiting for a big release, and ended up sinking a giant chunk of hours into. While some of the graphics and camera moves were a little dated, this game shines through it's story. In a Departed style balance, you have to spend your time committing crimes to convince the Triads that you are one of them, but never want to go too far (as you are still an undercover police officer), and this makes every scene in the story ripple with a tension that no GTA has ever come close to. 

I loved the "environmental kill" system, where you were actually able to use your surroundings to assist you in hand to hand combat. The driving was clever (and this was the first game where I saw the "waypoint arrows" superimposed on your turns, making traversing a vibrant Hong Kong a breeze), and everything blended into an extremely entertaining package...

...and then I discovered the karaoke mini-game, complete with licensed music, and all bets were off. I still remember the day I unlocked "Take One Me" by A-Ha; I actually texted Dave, and we then had to play it (along with several other songs) for a couple hours the next time we were hanging out and "writing". I played more of that mini-game than I probably should have, but I regret nothing. 

91 - L.A. Noire

L.A. Noire was a game unlike any other; it's a detective/action-adventure game made by Team Bondi and Rockstar that was set in 1947, and followed a vet-turned-policeman as you solved crimes through five different divisions of the LAPD. It was essentially a bunch of the best parts of the film noir genre all put together in a game that, while it did have some action sequences, and the trademark solid driving of an open-world Rockstar Game, a lot of the game relied on you examining crime scenes for clues, and interrogating suspects. The facial scanning technology (for the time) was second to none, and the use of actors was perfect, as it meant that you actually got into attempting to read facial tics, and intention during a conversation, and if you failed, well you were in trouble when it came to solving said crime. 

I loved it: I love the fact that you could switch the game into black and white (which I totally did, because film noir), Los Angeles of 1947 was so awesome to drive around in (in heavy and hard to handle, perfectly on point for the period, cars), and while the main protagonist, played by Aaron Staton (Mad Men) did wander into un-likeable territory, and the story was a slow burn to start, the game wound it's way into a mature, and interesting feeling not-unlike a great cable TV Series. 

This is a game that I hope gets a sequel, even though there are some studio issues, maybe Take Two or Rockstar can take this IP and run with it again, because I honestly need more great detective games.

Thanks for checking out the start of my Top 100 Video Games of All-Time list, let me know what you think so far (comments, twitter, wherever you like), and I will see you again tomorrow with the next 10. 

-S (@Shauncord