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Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 40-31

{GAMING}

Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 40-31

Shaun Cordingley

Hello again! Welcome back to my Top 100 Video Games of All-Time. Today we are going to be tackling 40-31, which...again, I feel like I'm running out of ways to describe these games, and they just keep getting better as we go (which means harder for me to talk about). 

If you've missed any of the lists so far, you can check them out here: 

100-91
90-81
80-71
70-61
60-51
50-41

Now, without further ado, let's talk games:



40) Borderlands

Borderlands blew me out of the water when I first tried it as a part of PlayStation Plus. I had paid a little bit of attention to it when it came out, as it seemed kind of neat, but it was really selling itself as a "great co-op fps/rpg", which sounds cool, but I generally don't have a lot of co-op gaming time. Then it popped up, and I thought "oh what the hell" tried it, and was committed to playing it to completion (with all the DLC) pretty much instantly. 

I love Mad Max, and Borderlands is just a wonderfully crazy science fiction/Mad Max mashup done in a crazy, cool comic book style. The shooting feels great, the story is crazy and fun, the soundtrack is fantastic, and there's just something about the loot-grind in Borderlands that I love (watching a bad guy, or a chest explode out with loot is so, so satisfying). Yes, the Co-Op play is a great time, but at the end of the day, Borderlands also happens to be a very fun FPS/RPG that you can totally conquer solo, and I should know, I probably put...150 hours into it...

39) Civilization V

There are not a lot of 4X games on my Top 100, as I did slip away from PC gaming into the warm embrace of PlayStation (and the lack of having to constantly check specs, and upgrade bits), however the Civilization series will forever remain near and dear to my heart, and be one of the games that I will always continue to play (even though my computer -bought for work- does not have a graphics card that can run Civilization VI...which hurts my heart). 

Civilization V is a game I have sunk hundreds of hours into, and I liked the changes that V made to the series, specifically that cities were able to defend themselves, and that the tiles were changed to hexagons from the previous squares. I really liked the AI in this game, as well as the various little tweaks that made everything feel a little bit more streamlined, and a bit more playable day-to-day. At the end of the day, Civilization V is a great entry into a long running series that allowed me to be the Malian Space-Faring empire, and that made me super happy....even though my old computer (which I played it the most on) really got chugging on more than one occasion in the later game...

38) Fatal Frame

Fatal Frame is my favourite survival horror series of all-time, and I have been so sad that we have not had a mainline game released on PlayStation in a long, long time (Fatal Frame III: The Tormented in November of 2005 for PS2--subsequent games have been buried on Nintendo platforms...). While I also have a great deal of fondness for Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, the first game in the series is really what captured my heart, and kept me coming back to the series. 

Set in 1980s Japan, the game is centered around Miku Hinasaki searching for her missing brother in the haunted Himuro Mansion, armed only with a "camera obscura"; a literal camera which can be used to pacify and capture ghosts, and a flashlight to help you get around. I adore Japanese horror, and Fatal Frame is that genre in a box--it's creepy as hell, occasionally "need to stop playing and calm down" scary, and the gameplay, while it occasionally got repetitive, was driven forward (for me) by the fantastic story: I wanted to figure out what was going on in the mansion, hear all of the tape recordings, not get attacked again by that TERRIFYING CRAWLING GHOST.....

I can see why Nintendo grabbed this series, and with the Switch coming, I also could see the series continuing there, but I hope against hope that I will see a Fatal Frame on PlayStation again.

37) The Movies

The Movies was a business simulation game that was practically built for someone like me: it is essentially a business simulation game where you manage a movie studio from the early days of silent films, through to the modern age, including managing and building up stars, as well as literally making short, watchable movies. Oh man, I cannot tell you how many times I have built a movie studio, or the fun I have had in putting weird little movies together...I'm a bit too sentimental, as I'm never really able to cut my stars loose when they are past their usefulness (most of them get super demanding and/or drunk if you're not careful), but I love the game all the same. 

The soundtrack is amazing, as it runs everything through a "radio" that changes along with the times to play period specific music, the movies, costumes, images and everything need to be constantly maintained and upgraded, and you always need to keep an eye on making sure your sets don't get used too much, because people get bored of seeing the same old comedy stage. 
I think one of my favourite memories of The Movies was sitting down with a former roommate and making a massive opus film about a gorilla trying to make it's way in the world of business. It was terrible, and hilarious, and we loved every minute of it....even though it drove everyone working on it to drink...

If you've never had a chance to play The Movies, and you are anything like a film fan, or like sim games, you really need to try it...it's a little old, and the graphics are a bit dated, but for me, this is pound for pound one of the best simulation games ever made. 

35) Little Big Planet 2

LittleBigPlanet 2 was/is absolutely everything I've ever wanted in a puzzle-platformer, marketed as a "platform for games", wherein you got to take your little Sackboy (a little, adorable avatar made out of cloth) through beautifully crafted levels, set to a surprisingly addictive soundtrack, all in the pursuit of collecting cool stickers, bubbles, sounds, adorable costumes, and pieces so you could make your own levels. 

Now I never really got into the creation side of LittleBigPlanet, but the beautiful thing about 2 was that they moved practically all 3 million user created levels from the first game over, making them playable, and then the builder community moved in as well (with the slightly better toolkit, and way more stuff to work with). I would sometimes spend whole days (off) just playing random levels, finding a community builder that I like and then playing absolutely everything they had ever made...it was just endless fun built completely around a simple, platforming premise. 

I'm still sad that LittleBigPlanet 3 was outsourced to a different company, and didn't really do anything...and am moderately worried about Media Molecule's next game Dreams...as I'm a huge fan, and even I'm not to sure about it...however, they will always be the studio that made LittleBigPlanet 2



35) Primal

I have unabashedly discussed my love of Primal on more than one occasion on the {PODCAST}, and I even use Scree (the gargoyle in the still from the trailer above) as my PSN avatar, and if it's up to me, always will (especially now that I can have the xenomorph as my profile picture as well). 

Primal was a PlayStation 2 exclusive action-adventure game (in the Tomb Raider mold) where you play as Jen Tate, who discovers that she has fun, demon-y powers, and, with Scree's help, sets off to another realm in order to save her boyfriend Lewis from the terrible monsters that have been seeping into his life via his nightmares. Over the course of the game, Tate discovers that she has the ability to harness four different types of demonic powers (loosely tying into the four-elements) and she must use them to traverse these worlds to save Lewis. 

Tate and Scree are one of my favourite tandems of all time, I love the way they both work to help you through the game, and I really enjoyed the power variety. I know this game did not do super well critically when it came out, but I've always loved it, and was also very glad to see it come back (in classic form) on the PSN for PS4, allowing more people to check it out. 

34) Tales from the Borderlands

Even though I do acknowledge the fact that by the time Tales from the Borderlands came out, the TellTale engine was showing it's age (and still has those same old little problems that...I don't want to say are part of the charm of their games, but really...it would feel weird without them), I love Tales. It is my favourite TellTale game (spoilers I guess), and I just...it was one of those games that once I started it, I was playing an episode a night, without question, because I could not wait to keep going with the story. 

Tales takes place after the events of Borderlands 2 (...a game *spoilers* we are going to talk about later) and centers around a new cast of characters out on Pandora (and up on Helios space station) as they are explaining to their captor how they came to this point (where they are about to be traded to a bandit leader). I don't want to talk too much about the narrative because that is essentially the whole game; Tales is another 'choose your own adventure' style game that relies on brilliant writing, excellent humour, fantastic voice acting (my God, the voice acting in this game is some of the best in anything, ever), the "as good as always with Borderlands" soundtrack, and the strangely heartfelt story--I legit cried at one point in this game...and not just a little bit, I mean sobbing to the point of needing to pause. 

Tales from the Borderlands cemented the Borderlands series as one of my favourite things--as in, out of anything...I love Borderlands enough now that I'm even trying to find fun Tiny Tina or Mr. Torgue shirts...but again...we'll talk more about that later I am sure...

33) ActRaiser

SNES had an amazing catalog of games, and one of the strangest (and as far as I am concerned, best) is ActRaiser, a combination of a side-scrolling platform/action game and a city-building sim. Essentially you are playing as "The Master", a god who is capable of clearing out areas to allow his followers to settle by possessing a statue, and then with the help of your friendly, angel companion, set-up and run a small town that works together to help you close down evil monster lairs in order to let your people flourish. .

I know it sounds weird, and it is strange that that platformer/city sim combination worked at all, but it totally works and ActRaiser is one of the best games I've ever played(as you can see by where it is on this list), not to mention one of the best SNES games of all-time. There is just something so addictive to city sims, but you can easily get tired of the grind, so inserting those sections where you have to fight off monsters, or clear out a boss in order to 'level up' was just awesome. I have played ActRaiser every which way I could, and now that I have talked a little bit about it, am wishing I could play it again, right now...

32) Okami

Okami was one of the last games that I played on PS2, and it remains one of the most interesting (and fun) games I've played. Set sometime in Japanese history, Okami combines several elements of Japenese myth, folklore and legends to tell the story of how the land was saved from darkness by the Shinto Sun-Goddess Amaterasu (who has come to Earth in the form of a great white wolf). The sumi-e/cell-shaded art was absolutely gorgeous (and if you don't believe me based on the PS2 trailer, check out the HD Remake as well), the gameplay was essentially a (somewhat) open world, action adventure game, but the twist (other than the fact that you were a wolf) was that you had a "celestial brush": you commanded a paintbrush that allowed you to paint symbols (using the analog sticks) that gave Amaterasu the ability to perform "miracles". 

The music was perfect, all inspired by classical Japanese works, and the use of actual actors' voices, but garbling them up was interesting, as it allowed for emotion to soak through gibberish while you were reading what was being said. Okami is a game that it seems a lot of people missed on it's first run, but thanks to it's HD Remake, and it's release on the Wii (which was always hurting for great games), I'm happy to see that more and more people are experiencing this wonderful game. 

31) Far Cry 3

The third Far Cry game to make my Top 100, Far Cry 3 was the game that first got me into the series; I really had no idea of what I was getting myself into, but I kept hearing great things about it from reviewers I trust, so I picked it up on a Boxing Day Sale...and then was obsessed with filling all of my gaming time with Far Cry 3

This was the game that introduced me to the Far Cry system of FPS with RPG elements, and had that wonderful thing that open-world Ubisoft games seem to have: a swarm of fun things to do: I loved the hunting/crafting system, I wanted to take down all the outposts, I actually wanted to do all of the side-missions, and the little challenges, and then when that got to be a bit repetitive, I would go back to the main story and just get sucked in all over again, as I was trying to help free these islands from amazingly well portrayed (modern) pirates. 

Honestly, if you have not played a Far Cry game, you really should...I've even gotten the casual gamer that is Dave (from the {PODCAST}) hooked on them. 



Every ten of these I do just make me happier and happier, and I get more and more memories of playing these games flooding back; I have to say that I'm probably even enjoying doing this more than I enjoyed working on the "Top 100 Simpsons Episodes of All Time" (available in our TV section), just because I had even forgotten about some of these moments, and I'm just about to hit my Top 25 games of all time. 

-S (@Shauncord)