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My Favorite Games of All Time Part 5 (100-81)

Distorted_Illumination_StudiosJul 1, 2018, 5:50:03 AM

100) Bayonnetta 1 + 2 (Wii U)

This game carries itself largely on style. I'm not just talking the visual direction, though that's definitely part of it, it's very much a game all about being flashy and over the top. Your hair makes up your clothes, the heals of those stilettos are guns, and the lead character does not give a fuck about how anyone thinks any of this looks.

Combat is fast and fun, even if I've never been a fan of games that give you scores like this on each individual level. Combos feel satisfying, and you have a lot of fun special kill movies that involve putting the angels you fight in bizarre bondage like situations.

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The story itself is a bit weak, but the characters are all likable and great, so that makes up for a lot of it. Definitely worth checking out.

99) Nioh (PS4)

Nioh was originally labeled as a Dark Souls clone when it first was announced, though having played it I do find it a pretty unfair claim. The inspiration was definitely there, with a similar combat system, difficulty, and some other aspects. But the game did more than enough to set itself apart.

The story, for example, was a lot more straightforward then Dark Souls, plus the upgrade and spell systems were very different. Combat gave you multiple stances with each weapon, and despite definitely being in the same genre still feels like an original game.

The more Japanese Mythos focus the game had was great, and the whole thing had a wonderful atmosphere to it. I spent quite a bit of time playing around with the weapons, learning what ones I liked and what spells I wanted to build to use.

The game does have issues with a cumbersome inventory, a few spells that nearly broke the game (I am unsure if patches fixed it, but the one that slowed bosses made so many boss fights trivial), and while the lore is interesting the story is another that is largely forgettable.

So not perfect, but certainly a lot of fun regardless.

98) Super Smash Brothers

Lumping all games together, it's like a fighting game that was made to appeal to people like me. Yes, there is a tournament scene for it, but Super Smash Brothers is not a game that was made to be played competitively at all. The things that did make it competitive in Melee were actually removed in later versions because they weren't even intentional design choices, it was an unintended physics exploit called Wavedashing.

Smash Bros main priority was giving you an excuse to fight your friends in some crazy, over the top four-man combat with all kinds of crazy random item drops. There were some fun modes outside the fighting game aspect, such as destroying targets in a set amount of time, the Subspace Emissary from Melee, and various other modes, but watching Link stab Donkey Kong in the butt with a sword and send him flying face first into a live Ba-Bomb is basically the main draw here.

97) Mother (NES)

This is going to the highest rated NES game on my list. It's not something I played when it first came out, so I don't really have a nostalgic attachment to it, but somewhere near the beginning of the PS3 era of gaming, I discovered that a ROM with on official translation existed online, and I managed to track it down and give it a go.

Unlike other NES RPG's, something about this game made it hold up really well despite the issues it had. Controls could be a bit frustrating with having to go into menus to select everything to use or even to talk to people, but the game had a lot to make up for it.

By the standards of gaming of the time, and even now, so much about the game is strange. You are playing as a psychic child fighting possessed zoo animals, ghosts, and all kinds of oddball enemies.

Combat is turned based, and pretty standard all things considered. But that strange and colorful world full of all kinds of bizarre enemies and goofy dialogue and jokes gives this game an unmistakable charm.

96) Secret of Mana + Secret of Evermore (SNES)

Secret of Mana is a game that has, since replaying it this year on the SNES Mini. There were just to many issues I started taking to really say it lives up to its status as an all-time classic. The badly designed boss fights that are all easily won by spamming one spell, a lacking story, some odd hit detection, and one-dimensional characters.

On the other hand, the game still plays well once you adapt to the games hit detection, and the environments are all fantastic to look at. There is a lot of fun to be had playing around with the different weapons, and it's awesome that the two characters you have that use magic each have unique spells despite coming from the same source of mana.

Secret of Mana did a lot to really move the genre of Action RPG forward, and despite the flaws is still a good game. But the flaws have hampered the game from aging well.

Much of this would apply to Evermore as well to a degree, but I have not played that in ages. I mean I loved your dog changing from world to world, and I had a lot more fun with the Alchemy based spells of Evermore then I did the spells of Mana, and gathering ingredients to prepare spells was a fun an unique mechanic.

I would rate it higher, but I would want to play it again first to see how the hit detection fairs next to Mana, that well could end up being a blind spot for me having not played the game in so long.

95) Hotline Miami 1+2

There are a lot of things that this game does right, from the surreal atmosphere about the game to the crushingly difficult and satisfying combat. The brutality on display as you advance through levels and kill off the enemies is visceral and satisfying. Though what makes the game for me is something I don't know if I had seen often in other games.

It's the walk back through the level you just cleared out back to the car. Now, most of the time something like this seems pointless and time wasting, but in Hotline Miami it was different. The rush of the game is gone at this point, and you are more relaxed, and seeing all the bodies strung about the level as you left them becomes a very unsettling sight.

The game does get in your head a bit about how horrible what your doing actually is, and it's an experience I have never quite got in another game. Had the genre of Hotline Miami been more my thing, I'd probably have rated it higher.

94) Xenoblade Chronicles 2

I am a bit back and forth on whether or not I should have dropped this game to a lower spot on my list. In a lot of ways it let me down coming off the original Xenoblade Chronicles, and never really lived up to the first game. That said, judging the game on its own merits it's still a solid experience.

The cast is a bit hit and miss, with Moraq and Briggette being the star players for me. There are a lot of great elements going on in the plot with in regards to character backstories for the villains, giving you ample reasons to understand why they do what they do. The game does suffer though with some rather bizarre aspects of the world, such as Blades (Powerful objects that turn into humanoid AI's to fight with you, though that's a really basic analysis, more to it than that) losing all memories between masters, yet this cycle slowly turns them into the Titans everyone lives on, and then they somehow will clear out the 'toxins' of the world, or whatever you call the Sea of Clouds. It makes sense, it just seems silly. That kind of sums up many of the games plot points.

Combat is solid, giving you a lot of ways to customize your characters by having them switch between different blades. Though there comes a problem with how you obtain blades. It is entirely random, though you have a selection of stats that effects it, and the odds of getting unique blades, which are really the only ones that matter in the long run, are abysmally low regardless of the quality of the orbs used to summon them. It's especially frustrating cause one of them was obviously KOS-MOS, which you don't need a guide to figure out as you can view silhouettes of all blades in the game, and despite the countless orbs I went through, was never able to get her. The system was downright awful.

Despite that, though many of Monolith Softs talents as a Dev team are all on display with their eye-catching visuals, unique and grand stories, and everything else I love these guys for. While I may be a bit shaky putting this game so high on the list, I don't think I'm going to regret it down the line.

93) Hyper Light Drifter (PC)

Despite my issues with how vaguely told the story is, to the point seemingly unrelated theories about what the game was actually about can all be reasonably argued, this game has a way of pulling you into its world and gameplay.

The visuals are fantastic and paint a dark atmosphere, and the gameplay backs that up with some pretty brutal challenge. Despite the retro graphics style it goes with the game does a great job with its use of blood, showing once again the importance of Art Design over Graphical power.

Despite personal issues with the way the story is told, something that isn't going to be an issue for everyone, it's not a game that really has all that many problems to go into. A fantastic indie game worth checking out. Honestly, I can't quite put my finger on why it is I don't rate the game higher than this.

92) Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (PSX)

Oh, my god, this game is cheesy. It wasn't until a play through years after it came out I really realized how unabashedly lame the entirety of this game's story and characters are. The thing is though the game just doesn't seem to care about that, and goes so in on it you kind of get wrapped up in it all. Every character boils down to a stereotype, there are no interesting twists in the plot you don't see coming a mile away, and several other things that would normally kill the plot of a game, but it just kind of works here.

Combat is also interesting with a unique system for the time where you can move around the map on your turn, though the combat is still turn-based. It's not really like an SRPG though. Positioning becomes important for much of the game, though admittedly later on many bosses kind of render the mechanic moot. Still, a lot of fun while it's in play though.

Lunar largely goes to show that so long as you are willing to commit, even something this incredibly lame can be enjoyed.

91) Twisted Metal III (PSX)

I never understood why Twisted Metal II was usually touted as the best, but that's a bit of a tangent. Twisted Metal III was a game where you play as all manner of crazy people driving around Army Humvees, Motorcycles, Ice Cream Trucks, and other vehicles armed to the teeth with missiles, machine guns, and other crazy pickups and the whole point is to destroy each other.

You have a fun story mode where, upon winning, your driver gets a wish of their choosing only to have it corrupted in some hilarious way. My favorite being a guy who wishes to forever hang with his homies, and Calypso turns them all into key chains to hang from someones rear view mirror.

There were so many levels with all kinds of hidden secrets and tricks to discover, and every level you had to approach differently. Countless hours were had blowing up people with Warthogs Judgment Missiles.

90) Project X Zone (3DS)

This is a game that really only had two aspects to carry it, the first being a lot of fan service and awesome moments. Not the kind of fan service that involves some TnA, though that exists too, but more the way the game has characters from all over the world of gaming. Capcom, Namco, Sega, so many companies gave their licensing rights to make this game happen. You have Frank West of Dead Rising and Heisen-Ko, the Zombie Detective, of Dark Stalkers form a team. It's fantastic.

The other is the way that, despite the story carrying itself on awesome moment after awesome moment, the writers show a lot of respect for the sources they draw from. The single best moment is how Dante of Devil May Cry recognizes Author of Ghosts and Goblins as the original Demon Hunter, and treats him with the utmost respect.

Moments like this happen throughout the game, so despite the repetitive nature of the combat by the halfway point, it's great to see these characters being treated as something more than just something here for fan service.

89) Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild (Switch)

I was not as sold on this one as most people seemed to be, I was disappointed in the lack of interesting dungeons and having so many of the shrines have simple and boring puzzles. Two big things I loved about Zelda just weren't that good here.

That said, it's still a Zelda game. Despite how frustrating it was your weapons broke down so fast, it was a Zelda game with a bit of variety thrown into the combat, and it did a great job at giving you a lot of things to explore and discover. It was a great step at taking the original Zelda game and put it into a highly detailed environment in 3D.

Even as a sub-par Zelda game, it's still a Zelda game and worth a play.

88) Blue Reflection

Blue Reflection is a game where the absolutely fantastic art direction of the game makes up for a lot of issues. The Game play, while good in theory, becomes a mindless chore due to there being not time limit for how much you can build your social connections in the game to increase your overall strength.This does change near the end, when the difficulty spikes and the gameplay becomes fantastic. Throw in a lot of individual stories surrounding the various characters, many of which are great. 

But the art direction was nothing short of masterful. You had the charming and simple school life portrayed just as that. But then the combat of the game takes place in this fantastical world where you are running around as magical girls, and you really do get a feeling like this is something special when compared to the real world, but the game has a third aspect. The bosses of the game, the Sephirot, come into the world as these almost Lovecraftian Horrors. Despite how vastly different these aspects of the game are, they are all done so well the blend perfectly together, and because of this the Sephirot really do feel like the otherworldly monsters they are portrayed to be.

I really wish the games combat and side stories were better because the game had potential to be a lot higher than this.

87) Super Mario World (SNES)

This really is the game that set the bar for what a Side Scroller should be. The controls were tight, there were a variety of things to discover in the world, and the levels were many and varied. There really isn't anything I can say about this game that most people haven't already heard or experienced themselves. It really is close to being perfect in execution.

Despite that, it's still only at 89 on my list. While it has practically no flaws, and everything about it plays well, I can't sit here and say it truly excelled at anything. Other games came along with more fun things to discover, more unique enemy and boss fights, and equally good controls. Still a fantastic game though, but I guess to add a bit I'll share a little fun fact about me and this game.

This is my earliest memory not only as a gamer but as a person. I do not know what my life was like prior to getting this game and a Super Nintendo. So despite its placement here, it really is a defining game for me.

86) Makai Kingdom (PS2)

“Disperse my loyal Battle Monkies! Do by bidding and bust a cap!”

This is a real line of dialogue from this game. The game also opens with our lead character destroying the book that acts as the core of his world, thus destroying his own netherworld, because the book called him stupid. This is a very, very silly game.

And it came from the people who made Disgaea, but I much prefer this games battle system. It drops the weird tile system, which I never liked as it felt like many battles were more of a puzzle game than an actual Strategy RPG, and I loved that they dropped

85) Pokey and Rocky (SNES)

This is one of the reasons I still miss Couch Co-op games to this day. While I enjoy whenever one comes out that I can sit down and play with a friend, it was a dying breed for some time outside of Nintendo. Few more these days though, which is nice. For those who don’t' know, it's basically a Bullet Hell/Shoot em up style game, only the screen progresses as you move instead of automatically, and attacks can be aimed in any direction.

The story was pretty simple, just chase down the bad guy who is making all the creatures of the kingdom go crazy, pretty common for most non-RPG games of the SNES. Collect one of two power-up trees, one that makes your basic attack fireballs, and another that makes your basic attack fire in a spread pattern. Little obnoxious that if you accidentally grab one of the power-ups, your attack reverts to the first stage of that one. Usually, with this game, me and whoever I was playing with would grab a different power up then the other.

Simple controls in this game, just movement, attack, slide, block, and a screen-clearing bomb you have a limited number of. But despite the simple controls, it was actually one of the harder games on the SNES. Never feeling unfair, the later levels of the game and that final boss can absolutely wreck you. It is so satisfying to finally clear this one out. If you ever get the chance to sit down with a friend and play, it's worth it.

84) Dynasty Warriors

Dynasty Warriors was never a series I loved for a deep combat system, but for it's more simplistic approach of murdering swarms of nameless soldiers and some more intense fights with the generals. Throw in the strategy involved with capturing various points on a large map to hinder your opponents progress, and an occasional unique aspect to a map battle, such as having to destroy the rituals the religious Yellow Army sets up, and you have enough to keep various maps interesting to play as.

And for me, it peaked at Dynasty Warriors 5, but I actually really liked a lot of the stories and character interactions. The breaking up of the Three Brothers was tragic, and the battle of minds between Sima Yi and Zhuge Liang were intense.

The series never had a whole lot of depth I felt, and later games that added more oddly enough took away from the fun for me, I really just wanted to see the huge kill count number rise. That said it's a series that is a lot of fun.

83) Ace Attorney

I have only played the original three released on DS, so this doesn't include any of the Appolo games or the last two Ace Attorney games released. But I was hesitant to get into these games at first, I just didn't understand how a game you played a defense attorney could be interesting.

And it turns you to do it you just have to fill it with nothing but wildly over the top characters, ridiculous character designs, and a sexy lady with a whip. Seriously, there is a character in the third game that constantly makes deep philosophical statements in relation to his coffee, the Judge is borderline incompetent, and it feels like the murders came from the writers of Scooby Doo half the time, only they are actually really well crafted.

How well put together many of these murders and crime scenes are took me off guard, I didn't expect a game so ridiculous in nature to go into that much detail and intrigue with its actual crimes. There is actually a guy who tries to get himself convicted of one crime by admitting guilt, though he was innocent, just so he could use that as an alibi as too why he couldn't have committed an entirely different crime. Some serious thought went into these plots.

Though the thing that makes it work so well is Phoenix Write himself isn't nearly as ridiculous as the rest of the games cast. He has his quirks, but he works as the straight man to react to the insanity of the world around him, and it really helps to keep the laughs and jokes working. Some of the obvious 'localization' changes to later games make me not want to pick them up (Short version was the localizers inserted their own personal politics into another game, which I am very much against), those initial three games are an absolute blast to play.

82) 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)

3D Dot Game Heroes is a very, very silly game. You can build your hero, literally, pixel by pixel (Though you don't affect the hitbox), you can create the animations of how it moves, and you go through a world that is obviously made out of pixels. It plays like an old Zelda game (SNES/NES), and the overall gameplay is definitely reminiscent of them.

It comes with its own unique twists about the gameplay with the variety of weapons, among other things, though what sells the game is the use of the pixel art style the game went with. The world is entirely in 3D, yet obviously built out of little blocks, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. The visuals are absolutely striking, and there are no other games out there that look anything like it.

81) Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana (PS2)

The PS2 era had a lot of great RPG's, but outside of Shin Megami Tensei they were a bit short on your more traditional turn-based JRPG style game, and that's where Atelier Iris came in. This felt, in terms of mechanics, a lot more like older games I'd played during the PS1 and PS2 era with it's own unique spin on things.

Though the big thing that caught my eye was the games crafting system, and no other game at the time had a crafting system as in-depth as Atelier Iris. While it's not the best the Atelier Series would get as time moved forward, there really was a lot of fun to be had in crafting items and discovering ways to create better versions of the same items by altering the components used in them.

It didn't rank higher by virtue of the fact that while the story and characters are all pretty good, as well as the battle system, none of it is really anything special. It's all simply well done and is boosted incredibly by the crafting system in place for the game.