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Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 30-21

{GAMING}

Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 30-21

Shaun Cordingley

I can't believe we are already getting into my Top 25 Games of All-Time here on the Top 100; this has been so fun to talk about, that the time just sort of floats by... 

Here are all of the previous lists, in case you may have missed one: 

100-91
90-81
80-71
70-61
60-51
50-41
40-31

Well, let's get this ten started with what is (as of right now) PlayStaton's biggest series: 



30) Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is an awesome game, from the game developer who, as far as I am concerned is the best game developer in the business (Naughty Dog) which was the final adventure of Nathan Drake on the PS3. If you haven't played an Uncharted game (which as they are PlayStation Exclusives, isn't too crazy...), they are third-person action adventure games that are told in a series of chapters that all build into one helluva ride. Uncharted 3 is a wonderful addition to the series, as being the third game, it allowed ND to explore a bit more of the major characters we've grown to love, as well as keep hitting us with amazing set-pieces, moments, and explosions. 

At the end of the day, Uncharted 3 was an excellent addition to the series that added more options in traversal, better melee combat, and a slighty better shooting system (if we are being fair, I don't play the Uncharted games for their shooting), all while giving me the best Indiana Jones experience in gaming. I'm actually a little surprised that Uncharted 3 is so far down my list, but that's just a testament to how much I love other games...and as of writing this, I have not played Uncharted 4, because my backlog is massive

29) Dragon Age: Inquisition

I love RPGs, and Dragon Age: Inquisition from EA and Bioware remains one of my favourites that I have played recently, and that I played on the PS4. I actually spoke about it back in my GOTY 2015 article, and I still stand by all of what I said there.

Briefly, Inquisition is the third game in the Dragon Age series, and really rekindled my fondness for it after the problems (many, many problems) I had with the second game; this re-centered the RPG around character creation, and the feeling of fluidity in the narrative pushing you toward the final confrontation. I still fondly think about my character, the deftness required for the romance I wanted for him, and that section in the second third of the game that suddenly became about court politics--I loved that change of pace, and it kept me locked into that game for well over 110 hours. 

28) Super Punch Out! 

I know that most fans of the Punch Out series of boxing games prefer the NES version, but I have always preferred Super Punch Out! on the SNES (and later, on my Wii Virtual Console). I like the style of this one better, with the 16-bit cartoon graphics, I found these patterns more fun to work out (as these games are all about over the shoulder boxing, and figuring out the patterns you need to fight in to win in under 3 minutes), and I really like the music. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have replayed Super Punch Out! because I honestly don't know; my 'Little Mac' has become the WVBA Champion many, many times, and hopefully I will continue to play this game for years to come. 

27) Mario Kart Wii

It seems like everyone who has ever liked Nintendo has a favourite version of Mario Kart; an entry into the franchise that they played more than any other, and really got sucked into. For me, that was Mario Kart Wii, with the "Wii Wheel" and everything. I loved this game, and played it for years (off and on). Heck, I still occasionally pull the Wii out from it's dusty home and play a few cups, because there's something that is just fun about Mario Kart

I never really played Kart for the battle mode, I was always about the racing, and took a few different profiles through to full gold-star completion at every possible speed, and every character "weight class". I liked balancing between motorcycles and karts, I actually used the wheel (and liked it), and was actually a little bit active in the Mario Kart Wii community in aggressively setting ghost times for people to use as a stepping stone toward the world leaderboards. 

If you ever raced against a really good Funky Kong, or Baby Daisy from Canada in either ghost, or online racing, there's a pretty darn good chance that for, about 2 years, that was me. Now, I mostly just pull it out to play locally with friends (and very, very rarely), but I still love it, warts and all. 

26) Final Fantasy IV

...there were no trailers for the original Final Fantasy IV that I could find...and...you...needed to see this commercial for it. Now this is, to North Americans (at the time) known as Final Fantasy II to maintain the continuity (as two previous games had not been localized), but since all of the games have eventually come over to the West, we now essentially all know it as Final Fantasy IV (but if you're a big fan of II, maybe check to see if this is that game). 

Anyway, Final Fantasy IV is a landmark for the series, as this was the first game to introduce the 'active-time battle' system that Final Fantasy games would used for their next five games, as well as introducing the concept of characters having locked-in classes. The story of IV is lead by Cecil, a dark knight, who with the help of (if I remember right) 11 other characters is on a quest to prevent the evil sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and destroying Blue Planet (the world).

Nobuo Uematsu, the series' long-time composer (again) does excellent work, and "Theme of Love" from IV has even been taught in some schools as part of the music curriculum (because Final Fantasy used to mean that much). IV casually redefined what was expected out of fantasy role-playing games, as the plot, the intricate way in which it is told, and the thoughtfully plotted characters all make this one of the greatest games of all time. 



25) Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)

The remake of Sid Meier's 1987 game of the same name, Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004) is a beautifully realized action/adventure/strategy game where you take on the the role of a young Pirate Captain in the Caribbean who takes over a small ship (and crew) and heads out for adventure. The game has many different elements in it, some of which rely on mini-games, though a great deal of your time is spent sailing the seas, taking ships and loot. 

This is the best pirate game ever made (sorry Assassin's Creed Black Flag--your shanties were not enough to hold through a tired Assassin story), and I love the fact that there were so many different minute-to-minute things to do: there was the aforementioned sailing, but you could also romance a Governor's daughter (occasionally needing to do some ballroom dancing), you may get into a tavern brawl which required you to master a simple sword-fighting game, you could conquer a town, trading it over to a different faction in a simplified Total War bit of ground combat, or you could just try and find treasure maps and go a-looting. 

Pirates! is a game that I have both on PC and PSP, and I have played it many, many times over the past 12 years, and never get tired of it. It is re-playable to a T, considering all of the different events, or ships you could come across, and I for one hope that now that Civilization VI is out...we might get a sniff of a sequel (it won't happen, I know, but....a man can dream). 

24) Heavy Rain

I really enjoy interactive dramas as a change of pace from the regular shooters, action-adventures, and RPGs I play, and David Cage's Quantic Dream Studio has long been a favourite of mine, and (so far) his best game was the PS3 (and now PS4) exclusive Heavy Rain

The game is a noir-thriller where you plays as four very different protagonists who are trying to solve the case of the Origami Killer; a serial killer who uses "heavy rains" to drown victims. The gameplay is largely focused around making contextual decisions (which can/will dramatically alter the course of the story), with a few quick-time-events peppered in throughout for a change of pace. 

I don't want to say much else in case you haven't played it, and this sounds interesting to you, because it is very much worth your time and effort in playing it. I love the fact that the decisions you made felt like they had dramatic consequences, and the fact that there are tonnes of different possible endings, so what you experience may be completely different than what I got. 

23) Until Dawn

...David Cage, however, no longer holds the title of having made my favourite interactive drama game. That has moved over to Supermassive Games with their amazing teen horror PS4 game Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a teen horror movie in a game, where you do have something of a linear plot (and a few weird camera angles), but you get a creepy, and fun horror story where dependent on what you do with each of the eight playable characters, you can have a completely different experience (a different movie, if you will) than the next person. The game is sold as, and delivers on, having an amazing array of decisions and consequences that 'butterfly-effect' out throughout the game, and you can have every character survive, or they all could be dead by the end--it is up to you, and the decisions you make.

The story involves a bunch of college kids in a creepy cabin on a fictional mountain in Western Canada who have come together to try and move on after the death of a couple of their friends (or in once case, his sisters) who died a year ago at this same place....The gameplay design is fluid, the story is fun, a bit gory, and a bit scary (even if the premise is a fairly standard horror trope), the voice acting is top notch, the music is great, the pacing is great, and it is a game that I can see myself playing once a year (perhaps around Halloween, perhaps when I just want to) to try different things and participate in one of my favourite horror "movies" of the year. 

22) Super Mario Bros. 

I would not be into video games if it was not for Super Mario Bros., which was originally released in 1985, and had a hand in revitalizing the American video games market after the crash in the early 1980s. I still remember first getting to play this when my parents decided to pick up an NES, and it was...awesome. It's a side-scrolling platformer that was super fun, that was insanely re-playable considering how simple it is (go faster? no warps? all the coins?), and brought Mario away from Donkey Kong (oh Jumpman) and established itself as one of (if not the) most important gaming franchises of all-time. 

It's Super Mario Bros. 
Enough said. 

21) Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

First of all, you may need to understand how big of a Lord of the Rings fan I was/have been/may still be, but need some time away from the Hobbit movies (plus, I was always more of a Star Wars guy, and that universe is surging again, but I digress)...I have read every book, some of them more than once, there was a time when I was able to have conversations with people about characters that only show up briefly, if at all....

Thus, when Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a third-person action game with a snazzy "nemesis" system (more on that in a bit), it was easy for me to get supremely excited. I also, truth be told, never got into the Arkham series of games (played Asylum, got bored of the repetition), so this "group-melee" combat trend in games still felt exciting to me in Mordor. Plus, it was one of the few Lord of the Rings games to take a chance and not attempt to deliver on the story everyone knows (or a "parallel story"), and instead give me something that I could really sink my teeth into...specifically being a terrorist in Mordor, wreaking havoc, and uncovering interesting tidbits of a story I came to really enjoy. 

I think what everyone talks about, when they are talking Mordor is the Nemesis System. The Nemesis Systemis an adaptive part of the game where the Uruks have their own hierarchy, and you as the player were able to kill your way up it, in order to attack Uruk leaders, however you could also put sympathetic Uruks' in positions to give you influence, or...even worse...if one of the Uruks killed you, they got stronger (more abilities, immunities, hit points, etc.) so that way the next time you faced them, they, having already beaten you, would be harder.

I actually had one Uruk who kept popping up and picking me off in larger fights so that he eventually became impossible to kill except by getting him mauled by a warg (which was not easy).

All of this together made this one of the best games I have played on PS4 still, despite it's fall 2014 release, and comfortably gets itself onto my list at number 21. If you haven't played Mordor, and you are anything of a LOTR fan: do it. It's fantastic. 



I actually cannot believe that I am moving into my Top 20 Games of All-Time tomorrow...

See you then! 

-S (@Shauncord)