Here we are: my Top 20 Video Games of All-Time. This list was a lot of fun to do, but I have been picking at the Top 20 for months, tweaking it here, and adding/subtracting a game there, so I could finally get you guys my Top 100...and now here we are.
If you have missed any of the previous "tens" check them out here:
OK then, here are numbers 20-11:
20) Star Wars Rebellion
Star Wars Rebellion is a completely underrated, and often forgotten 4X strategy game for PC which was set in the Star Wars galaxy wherein you took control of one of the two sides, and with the help of 30 characters from the original trilogy of films (6 major, with voice clips, 24 minor without) tried to take over the galaxy. You not only had to maintain strong fleets, but also manage construction, ensure that you have characters in the right positions (to provide bonuses), and use espionage to try and outwork the other side.
I played Rebellion every 4-6 months until I no longer had a computer that would comfortably run it (due to it's age--as the game was released in 1998), and always loved every minute of it. The bits and pieces of dialogue were fun, but it was the asymmetrical feel to the two sides (Rebels and Empire), and having to not only take the other's base over (which was way easier as the Rebellion, as you just had to go to Courscant, as opposed to the Empire having to FIND the Rebel base on...well I usually played the biggest map possible, which meant 200 planets), but also capture two key characters from the other side. The game even boasted that it was possible to do "3d real-time battles" but those were clunky at best, so it was really just better to let the sides roll out based on statistics and planning.
I played this game solo, I played multiplayer, I played the hell out of Rebellion, and to this day I miss being able to throw the disc into my PC and play it for a week, telling C-3PO to shut up, even though he can't hear me. Before the "Rebellion" board game, this was as close to "Star Wars in a game" that we had, and it was awesome.
19) Bubble Bobble
I love Bubby and Bobby.
That's right, those are the names of the two "bubble dragons" from the arcade classic Bubble Bobble. The game is super simple: you play as one of the the dragons, and you blow bubbles in order got get past obstacles, defeat enemies, earn powerups, and eventually save their girlfriends from the Cave of Monsters. The game spanned 100 levels, and had multiple endings depending on how you did throughout the game (and how many secrets you found).
If the arcade I used to work at were still around, I would go and check it to see if I still held the top 5 scores on the machine...I played this arcade game whenever I could, and then also would play it again and again when it would appear on other consoles. Bubble Bobble is an integral part of my gaming life, and always will be (I hope).
18) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves took everything that made Uncharted: Drake's Fortune fun, and made it bigger, better and more bombastic, while eliminating the few things that didn't quite work. Among Thieves is really the game that cemented Naughty Dog as the crown jewel of Sony's First-Party Studios, and it's a game that is...well it's essentially the best action-adventure anything that has come out in years (sorry Sahara).
This is a third-person action game where pulp adventure here Nathan Drake is off to find Shangri-La in a race against Serbian mercenaries. It's fun, it has huge, amazing set-pieces, it's wonderfully written, brilliantly acted...it's just a great experience through and through...and I bet you, if I replayed it before the next edition of this list, it might even move it's way up a few places...the PS3 had a few masterpieces on it, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is definitely one of them.
Considering Bloodborne was my GOTY last year, it should come as little surprise to long time readers of theguysfrom.com that it has placed so high on this list. Again I stand by everything that I said previously when I was gushing about it back in January.
I think the thing about Bloodborne is that most people who are into these difficult, dark, obtuse RPG's are playing the Souls series (mostly because they are available on multiple platforms, while Bloodborne is a PS4 exclusive), and have gotten used to that world, and that feeling, but that fell away for me completely thanks to this game. The slightly sped-up combat, while still maintaining everything else makes a huge difference to me in feeling more comfortable, and suits how I want to play a third-person action game like this. I love this game...and even after I wrote that article, I continued to play Bloodborne for hours upon hours, getting better and better at the combat until I felt great at it.
And then died horribly, for it is Bloodborne and you are punished for confidence and pride.
Honestly, I know that this is not a game for everyone, nor do I suggest that it is, but if a 'super hard, action-rpg set in a Lovecraftian world where you have no idea what is going on and you have to figure it out yourself' sounds cool to you, then you really must play it.
I literally started the trailer I posted above, heard one line of dialogue from the game, and got all shiver-y and thinking about playing it again...
16) Diablo III
I had never really played a Diablo game until Diablo III came to PS4; I had heard great things about them, and had a lot of friends tell me that I would love it, but for whatever reason I never sat down and got into one. Then I was looking for something loot-grind-y, and saw that the complete edition of Diablo III was available, so thought "oh sure", tried it...and was immediately thrilled.
It is not often that a PC-centric game feels good on console, but the button-mapping and setup of Diablo III was just perfect. I really liked the story, and that it was slightly different depending on which character class you chose to play (if only via cinematics), the art style was fun, and it was exactly what I was looking for: a game where I am crawling through dungeons and other areas, trying to stop an evil force, and constantly upgrading my characters' equipment. I then started another character in 'Hardcore' mode and played that, then played with friends (several different friends, with a few different characters). In the end, I think my first, solo run character (my Witch Doctor) was my favourite, but I never stopped having fun in Diablo III.
15) Sim City (4)
I have always really enjoyed the Sim City franchise (...ignoring the latest, awkward version that was always online and didn't let me actually build...cities...), playing it as far back as the origina PC games, and even on SNES, but I think the one that I spent the most time with (because I loved it so much) was Sim City 4.
Sim City 4 allowed you to build huge metropolitan centers on gigantic maps, while still giving you all of the crunchy city-sim minutia that makes these games great; I know I say this all the time, but I cannot even begin to guess how many hours I poured into building cities in 4 over the years, especially once I discovered that you could name streets and things...because I am the sort that likes doing that, and I would....I would actually sit there and name block by block, all of the major streets, and was giddy about it.
That doesn't even mention the ability to do little driving missions, and moving around your cities....
I hope that the Sim City franchise doesn't die with the mistakes of the last one, because I would sure love to see another (good) mainline game someday.
14) Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Dragon Quest VIII was a JRPG recommended to me by a friend who worked at an EB Games who thought that I would really enjoy it (based on my JRPG fondness)...and he was very, very right. The game uses cel-shading and 3d textures, which allowed for moving through the world to feel great, and look beautiful, features random, turn-based combat, and is very grind heavy (for those unfamiliar: fighting lower-level monsters over and over again to accrue experience points to level your characters up, because you cannot progress the story without dying at the level you are at). I loved it: the plot, revolving around an unnamed guard trying to save the kingdom from a jester with a magic scepter, even though it is not purely innovative, was a blast, thanks in large part to three wonderful playable companions.
I say three, because the main character "The Hero" is a silent, balanced protagonist, so there's not a lot of personality there, as he's really just an avatar for the player.
Dragon Quest VIII remains one of my favourite RPG's of all-time, and I wish that PlayStation would get more of the main-line games (that way I could actually play them)...as the series has trended heavily toward Nintendo of late--case in point, it appears VIII is heading to DS, which is awesome for those people (it's a game that should be played by all JRPG fans)...but man...PS2 was a long time ago...
13) TIE Fighter
TIE Fighter is a 'flight' combat simulator game from 1994 where you flew several different TIE Fighters for the Empire in between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. You worked primarily as a pilot, completing objectives, but there was also a sub-story led by one of the Emperor's Inner Circle that gave you secret & secondary objectives that you tried to complete in order to advance and become more powerful within the Empire.
The game was a sequel to X-Wing and felt a lot better, particularly on the flight-stick style joystick that I picked up expressly for the purpose of playing (and replaying this game), and the story, while linear, was very entertaining and had several challenging missions throughout, that always somehow felt a little bit different every time you played.
Sadly, TIE Fighter died for me years ago, as Lucasarts never patched the game for newer versions of Windows or drivers (or anything, really), so once the computer that ran it was gone, I either had to set up a mirror, older OS, or (what actually happened), I had to put the game away, sadly, with only my wonderful memories to keep the game alive.
12) Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Bethesda's massive action-RPG The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was the first game that I played on my shiny, new PS3 and it did not disappoint. The game centers around your created character, and the main storyline involved your character (in my case, a Nord named Njoll--I did not have to look that up) attempting to stop a cult called the "Mythic Dawn" from opening gates to the demonic realm of "Oblivion" (GET IT? WHEE!), and over the course of a massive, sprawling saga, Njoll was forced to upgrade a multitude of character 'stats', find and occasionally forge useful new equipment and armour, and go flower picking in order to make the potions he needed to survive. All of this within a "living" world where you could have conversations with piles of characters, and side quests (or side sagas) abounded.
Now Njoll was not my only character, but he was the one who finished the main quest, however the beautiful thing about Oblivion was that there are so very many other things you can do: once you're through the opening 'tutorial' level, and have picked the character you are going to be, you are let loose in the world to do as you please: you could go join a different guild and play through their storylines, you could just wander around, existing, you could be a hunter, it was up to you, and that was just awesome. I easily put 500+ hours into Oblivion (and that's probably short), across multiple characters, over the entire lifespan of the PS3 (or at least until Skyrim road in), but I'll always have a soft spot for Oblivion.
...and, perhaps my favourite side character of all, Elshad, my dark elf vampire assassin (seriously).
11) The Bard's Tale
Just missing out on my Top 10 is the PS2 game The Bard's Tale, which is...sort of an action-adventure game told from an RPG perspective (you only have one playable character, and there's no real inventory management or character classes, but it looks a bit like a Diablo style dungeon crawler).
This game is medieval fantasy with a delightfully funny twist; The Bard (voiced by Cary Elwes) is not your typical hero, but rather he is just more interested in doing things the easy way, and getting his drink on along the way. The narrator is dry, sarcastic, and cannot stand the main character, and the story had so many twists, turns, and hilarious little one-offs that I always think about when I think about my favourite video games of all time, and the three choices at the end (the three endings) all made perfect sense (for The Bard), and were a delight to get to each time (or saving and trying everything out to see what happens).
I love that the dialog options were "Nice" or "Snarky", and there are so many little moments that make this game a wonderful satire of the 'sword and sorcery' genre that this was actually one of the first games on my shortlist.
Well now, it seems like we have finally gotten to the end; tomorrow, I will be putting up my Top 10 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition).
Have a good one, and see you tomorrow,