In 2020 I reached a benchmark I had long wanted to reach. I beat my 500th game in my lifetime, and with that, I decided it was time to organize and make a list of my favorites. To commemorate and really feel satisfied with this idea I wanted to share my list with the world. So on my social platform of Kitsu, I decided to make a post one at a time about each and every game on my list. These are those posts migrated over here for you all to read. Once I make the Top Ten though, all of those posts will be wholly unique and curated for here.  I plan to update this list every year, but for now, until I reach the end of my countdown, please enjoy my current Top 100 Favorite Games of All Time! Any questions or concerns, let me know in the comments below, but as always thank you for reading my little gaming wanderers! Here’s to video games and my lifelong passion for them, shared with you all!

80: Mortal Kombat Armageddon

Played on: PS2
Year Released: 2006

While compiling this list, I knew at least one MK game would make it somewhere. It could have been MK9 for being a wonderful reboot of the franchise with its crisp fluid battle, and overall fun story mode. It could have been Ultimate MK3 for being the most classic experience of MK arcade mode you can experience. Yet, I think I gotta go with Armageddon. For it has the biggest lasting memory to me in my youth. And with its absolutely stacked roster of choices, it never grew dull to play. MK Armageddon is my favorite in the MK franchise.

Now, to be fair it isn’t the best though. It bolsters a staggering cast but many of them are very similar to one another, lacking individual traits outside specials. The story mode is just horrendously designed and worse of all, flat-out boring through most of its run. Blaze is a lame final boss character that lacks any depth or intrigue. And also we can not forget how few fatalities showed in this game. Despite all of that, I played this game for dozens upon dozens of hours.

Even though Blaze was lame sauce, I could use former boss characters like Quan Chi, Shang Tsun, Shao Kahn, and Motaro to show him absolute actual power. The endings of the characters were at least fun to achieve despite the lack of an interesting boss character to obtain them through. Mostly though the game elevates for two major reasons. Firstly, that opening movie is one of the sickest things I’ve ever seen in any game. It’s corny, exciting, and really well choreographed. An instant pull for a young teenage me who always wanted to see epic battles in full swing. Secondly, the amount of time I spent playing co-op in this game. My friend Zach and me played this one v. one like crazy. We found our favorites and dueled it out constantly. The amount of times hearing him scream nooooooo, yet laughing his off while I nailed him with a bicycle kick from Liu Kang is one of the gaming memories that never fails to bring a smile to my face.

This game may be a bit of jank and go for quantity over quality, but my experience was both. I had a great time with how much it gave me overall. MK Armageddon is one of my most memorable fighting game experiences for all the things it threw at me, including good times with one of my best friends. Also, before I go, despite it being Ghetto Mario Kart, the MK Karting was also delightfully dumb and fun to partake in as well. Getting to use classic character movies in a Mario Kart fashion but with the brutality of MK is just a grand time. It isn’t the best MK but it is my favorite MK through and through.

 

79: Last of Us Part II

Played on: PS4
Year Released: 2020

Whether it has been about the troubled development of the project or just the nature of the controversial choices the narrative decided to go with, the game has been quite difficult to talk about publicly without a strong volatile reaction. I find the largest issue at hand is just the general way discussion online sometimes inhibits the least receptive ears. People don’t want to share and understand one another, they want others to understand them. Instead of trying to learn why someone doesn’t want to play this game because they are anti-crunch or find the overall concept out of their liking, fans aggressive tell them to play it. Instead of understanding genuine praise for the game from people with good and articulate points, fans who played(or didn’t) the game who did not like it go out of their way to “prove” them wrong. Instead of allowing genuine criticism of the game from people who played it, gave it a fair chance, and still just didn’t like it for their own reasons, people just to prove them wrong as well. It’s an endless cycle of bullshit where human beings just can’t find a way to talk to each other without resorting to derogatory behavior. That being said, if you didn’t like this game, I get it, I respect your views, and this is my point to shortly describe why overall I really enjoyed this game. Feel free to tell me below what didn’t work for you overall, and I’d love to discuss it openly if you are willing.

I suppose I should start off with my own criticisms of TLOU 2. This game isn’t without some major faults. Starting off, the game is longer than it needs to be. Trailing close to 30 hours long for me, as a narrative experience with mostly linearity that is a long long time. Now a lot of the content here is intentionally needed for it all, but some stuff drags on too long for its own good. Add on that the last section of the game feels a patched on rather than seamlessly part of the narrative and that leads to the other problem. The narrative itself while I found it quite good at its best, also has some noticeably weak parts as well. It makes the ebb and flow of the story feel a lot more inconsistent, and although I find it usually gets back on track to stick the landing, the poor balance itself can’t be ignored. Also, this game isn’t always fun to play. I don’t indulge in the misery porn discussion, but the game, in general, is quite sad and filled with heavy-hearted themes that bear down on the player, so as you encroach on more than two dozen hours sometimes your enthusiasm can be properly drained. I think this is to add to the overall theming of the game, but it can be said the game is sometimes needing a little more levity, which the mostly ignored side cast don’t bring like they did in the original. Outside of Lev and Dina, the majority of the side cast for being in such an expansively long game is mostly absent for the bulk of the experience making their impact lessened as a result.

That being said, Dina, Lev, Abby, and Ellie really are good in their own rights for all their respective support and main roles aspects. Spending so much time listening to both sides of the argument I noticed most people who didn’t enjoy this game found the game’s major themes to be centered on revenge, the cycle of violence, and the consequences of those actions. While I find those are most definitely present, the main ideas that stood out to me were duality, perspective, and empathy. So, I think depending on what thematic resolution you got out of this title will highly affect your overall experience as a whole. I found that the two story arcs of the two characters were equally important to this story. A story of two halves that dealt with similar themes on different roadmaps because of where they were at in their lives at the time of it all. Getting the perspective of both of them was meant to wholly make the player empathize with both sides. Rather than villainizing either character or side, the true “villain” if you want to assign that role to anything is the lack of perspective and empathy people tend to give one another when on opposing viewpoints. Much like the discourse over this title, this game tackles the idea of challenging your viewpoint but unlike real life where you can walk away, if you want to see this game through to the end you have to take time to consider it. So, this of course angered a lot of people who either did not want this type of experience or refused to try. I’m not saying anyone is wrong for feeling as such, but I do understand why this narrative and the themes it tries to use to engage players can be highly divisive.

The one thing I feel that isn’t talked about enough though is the gameplay. Remember this is a 30-hour game, and while ND likes a nice cutscene they always enjoy seamless storytelling while you play. Compared to the first game, The Last of Us Part II is better in every way in terms of the gameplay loop. Gunplay is smoother and quicker, combat arenas are far more diverse and require lateral and horizontal thought, and you are given tons of options to tackle foes offensively or defensively. The added nature of the bow being constant, the ability to set traps, and having a limited silence all allow the player to use the environments strategically to take on their enemies. Added with the fact that the A.I. is much improved and far smarter this requires tactic thoughts on how you want to approach the large scale areas without allowing yourself to be overwhelmed. Abby lacks a few of the defensive options Ellie incorporates, but her arsenal is far deadlier allowing you true offensive domination. You will find the duality of the two’s similar yet very different playstyles adds a lot to their respective halves. Adding on far scarier infected with the clickers being much more dangerous, shamblers being absolutely horrifying, and stalkers being the things of nightmares, and the horror aspect is also amplified greatly as well. Part of this is to the excellent sound design and presentation bump of being one of the last PS4 games, and the rest is just a great use of the pre-existing format to expand what was there.

Out of the posts I’ve made thus far, this is the one I imagine I will have some folks who genuinely disagree with me on it. And you know, I’m okay with that. Playing through the game, and really chewing on it for half a year, and trying to listen to every aspect I could from wildly different perspectives has allowed me to try to understand each side the best I can. This game for me has higher highs than the first one, but far lower lows for the story. The highly consistent nature of the narrative of the original is hard to beat. It was a story aimed to be grave in nature but pleasing in delivery. This game is a lot more ambitious and takes a lot of risks. Some of them really pay off and others fall flat on their face. I think overall the clear mechanical improvement to the gameplay mechanics, for now, give this game the very very slight edge in my heart over the first. It’s the game I’ve thought about the most in terms of how it is viewed over the past 6 months, and I keep thinking about it because of that. If those risks overall ruined your experience for it, I am sorry that is what happened to you, but for me, there is far greater here than not, and I was quite pleased with the overall package. While it is highly dreary, and hard to recommend to fans of the first, I do feel this game created a story with a purpose and it mostly achieved what it set out to do. Either way, with more things being so hateful in the world, let us try to be civil and respect both sides of the coin here. In the end, whatever your feelings are on this game, they are justified in their own right and I respect that above all else. Have a good day friends!

 

78: Fire Emblem Echoes

Played on: 3DS
Year Released: 2017

My goodness, do I love Fire Emblem. One of the games series that populates this list the most is the incredible tactical RPG series of FE. Depending on when you play FE in the chronology you can expect a somewhat different experience. Medieval fantasy, possibly the end of the world, and tactics-based combat are always present, but the way they do it can always differ ever so slightly as the series has evolved. Echoes is a remake of FE: Gaiden, the second game in the franchise. While it takes place in the same universe as the first game, the whole of its cast outside of a few recruits are brand new. And this remake refreshes a 25-year-old game in some spectacular ways. Most notable being the incredible updates to the narrative, character designs, and many quality of life additions.

If had to put my finger on what I love most about Fire Emblem as a franchise it would be the characters. They are always so fun, and there are so many to meet and gain into your army. While I love the challenge of strategy RPGs, and am personally a big fan of the stress of permadeath, growing heavily attached to the characters is what defines most of my FE experiences. Ever since the Awakening joined the franchise this has been by and far the biggest focus and expansion as well. Stories are still quite good and focused, but the amount of extra dialogue, supports, and story content supported by those actions are substantially larger than games in the past. Some of my personal favorites of this game are Celica, Alm, Lukas, Mae, Valbar, and Saber amongst a slew of fantastic others. Echoes has one of my favorite ensembles in the entire series, and the focus on building them up through so many micro-moments really pays dividends. The plot itself while fairly predictable is really well told and executed fantastically as well. And I mean the majority of FE stories aren’t really surprising rather than just filling my need for great fantasy worlds to enjoy.

Gameplay wise this game is a lot simpler than most of the modern FE games. This mostly boils down to the fact they wanted to sort of stay authentic to the original in some way. So there is no weapon triangle, and most combat maps tend to lack variety in terms of how you can go about tackling them. Characters also tend to have mostly set equipment aside from one equipable accessory. This makes the game simpler, and more challenging to approach at times because of your lack of options. Thankfully because most of your army is split between two storylines you get to use almost everyone constantly and you gain team experience to fill in those who didn’t fight as much. I would say this game was pretty addictive with how many small scale battles and mini-dungeons you could explore, but the strategy aspect I love is mostly absent outside of basic unit placement. Also, gonna shout out how broken mages and archers are in this game. Being able to shoot from like 5 spaces away is absolute madness, or being able to teleport at will whenever you want to zap my units is just insane to deal with. If the game was more challenging this would have broken me, but they allow you to use the same abilities, a wind back feature that is brought back later in Three Houses, and the overall challenge of the game itself is pretty low. It mostly makes the game a pretty easy time with small caveats, but I can deal with that.

Echoes is a game I could not put down when I played it. Celica and Alm’s stories really engrossed me, and despite the simpler design of battle, I still was thoroughly engaged the entire time I was playing. If you want a starter FE that shows you the basics of how the series works somewhat, this might be a good choice, just know the series highly expands most of the mechanics, later on, so you will have much more to deal with. But if you want a fantastic fantasy story filled with gorgeous art and lovable characters, you can’t really go wrong with this one.

77: Shantae & the Pirate’s Curse

Played on: Wii U
Year Released: 2014

Few things beat out the experience of having expectations literally bazooka’ed out of the water. When you see a product, know little, but expect little because of this, you get rewarded in large when it delivers in spades. My pre-knowledge of Shantae was the design was cute, and it looks like a side-scrolling platformer with action elements. Maybe like old Castlevania or something along those lines. I figured a short game with little substance but some cute pop might be a good way to spend some time. BOY HOWDY, this game has so much to offer!

So, yes first off, this game is oozing with charm and cuteness. Shantae is adorable, the animations are simply squee-worthy, and this game technically is a side-scrolling action game to some degree. However, it is so much more! Pirate’s Curse is basically a small-scale Metroidvania in a way. You progress through the story bits to find bosses and key items and discover many hidden paths along the way that are either blocked or inaccessible with your current abilities. As you explore further and get towards the end of the game all sorts of upgrades are given to your mobility to further search and scope out all the secrets of the world. Your attacks, health, and skill all expand alongside your movement options in a way that I would say makes you feel empowered. You go from a simple jump and whip attack to being about to demolish foes and zip around the game world like a breeze.

I do enjoy the small story we get here too. It’s full of zany and colorful characters that are filled with expression. I was really taken with the art style, presentation, and overall feel of this world and game. Shantae plays like a dream too. It’s an awesome feeling to have a shorter experience clocking in around 6 hours or so that feels so substantial in gameplay and fun story. It’s basically like if a game like the older Metroids added a cute story to go with it. Or in that case, I guess it would be a smaller drama, but you get the point. Having all that jam-packed gameplay time mixed with short and sweet story snacktime is just a delightful pickup and play type of experience. Shantae isn’t going to change the gaming world with what it introduces, but what it does, it does very very well. It’s using classic genre ideas, cultivating a unique identity out of it, and just doing well. I can’t ask for much more than that. I’ll have to follow along with Haku’s adventures on the new one to see if it is more like this one of Half Genie Hero which is far more arcade like in playstyle. Either way, I’m always down for some more Shantae.

 

76: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Played on: Wii U
Year Released: 2014

While I really do love Mario and his core series, I can’t ignore the splendor of platformy goodness given to me by the ole DK. I love DK games. The weight, speed, and design of their levels are always so precise and some of the best in the genre. I got my big DK start with the Gameboy version of Country 1, and then during the Wii lifespan played Returns, and then went back and played Country 2. So, I had been bouncing back and forth between old and new once again when Tropical Freeze launched. This is one of those rare day 1 purchases for me, and I played the damn thing nonstop. Maybe it is because I love the genre so much, or maybe DK is just that good, either way it was truly a bongo slapping kinda time.

Many of the concepts in Returns carried over such as the general game feel, and the many many secrets to unlock in levels. This mostly is in puzzle pieces rather than the old school single DK coin. You are collecting a variety of smaller hard to find collectibles throughout an entire level rather than hunting a singular one. A few new additions to come to Tropical Freeze though. We have far longer levels this time, so rather than a lot of smaller but well-designed levels, we have exceptionally layered multitiered levels that almost tell mini environmental stories throughout them. It isn’t just DK and Diddy this time either! Dixie Kong and Cranky join the fold as well, and if you play on the switch you also have Funky too! DK and Diddy are the same as before with Donkey being strong and balanced, and Diddy being smaller and quicker but with a jetpack as well. Dixie brings back her classic helicopter spin from DKC 2 and 3, and Cranky Kong is essentially Scrooge McDuck from the NES Ducktales. The game allows you to play whoever you want at any given level, so if you like certain characters more, go for it! Classic composer David Wise comes back as well to bring some really fantastic tunes. As much as I love Returns(More on that later in the list!), the music can’t compare to the range and talent Wise brings to the series. The only other major comeback is water levels. Due to whatever reason, they were absent from Returns so the classic staple has well returned!

And they are also one of my only major complaints too. So in the original DKC trilogy, you had the occasion water level to spice things up. They tended to either be lengthy and maze-like with really awesome atmosphere, or hectic and quick but with snappy gameplay obstacles to make it fun. How do you ruin this for me? Well, by adding a breath meter. I adore the older water levels because unlike most platformers I could take my time and the challenge was about precision and clever dead ends rather than making me hurry to not die. In the new game you pretty much always have to rush or make sure you are aware of a nearby place to surface. This makes normal play not too bad, but if you are someone who wants to do the challenge runs or the puzzle piece hunting it adds so much stress and takes away most of the fun. I really wasn’t a fan of this change. With how the original games showed that it could be done fine without the meter, I see no reason to have that in my DK game just because it is modern. It is the same reason I prefer most older underwater sections in Mario as well versus let’s say the panic games like Sonic induce in you. At least in Sonic though being fast is the name of the game rather than DK where the titles have always been a bit more weighty.

Outside of that complaint though, wow, just wow. Retro nailed the series proper with Returns and came back with a knockout. Similar to how the modern Rayman games have two excellent ones, and the sequel doesn’t deviate too much while doing its own unique things, DKC Tropical Freeze forges an identity all its own with the involved levels and epic boss fights. This game has amazing art design and the usage of it in tandem with the platforming really sells itself so well as you progress from world to world. It’s hard to properly describe what separates the amazing platformers from the average ones outside of just talking about game feel. You feel like the input precision is dead on, and you feel the levels have all sorts of fun challenges to overcome without monotony or too much frustration. This genre can still be hard as nails, but I feel when they do it right, you can tell. Retro is one of those studios that get how to modernize and reinvent classics without losing the root of what made them so special, to begin with. They did it with Metroid, and they did it DK, so honestly, I want to thank them for making so many great titles for us all to enjoy. DK and Samus don’t have the standing like they used to because of how infrequent their games can be, so it really matters when a studio makes games that help keep them relevant by showcasing their qualities that define their historic meaning to games as a whole. Here’s to more DK someday, and here’s to hoping that the same level of design is brought to us in Metroid Prime 4 as well.

75: The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap

Played on: GBA
Year Released: 2004

If I had to name one gaming franchise as my favorite it would be Zelda. Everything from the 2D puzzle-focused classics, to the 3D more adventure-filled exploration. I love me some Zelda. Minish Cap is a weird game for me because of the time I played it. The Minish Cap is the first game I played and beat after the passing of my father. I had gone to lunch to talk with my friend about how I was feeling and to basically vent out some stuff, and when I got home I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I started the Minish Cap and played it basically nonstop for the next 3-4 days in a state of distraction. It was the perfect thing to give me some brief rest from all the sadness around me. So, that is one reason it makes this list. The other is well because it is a damn good game!

I am one of those guys who is in love with good sprite work, and the fact that this game basically makes a sprite-based Wind Waker in style is feeding into my bias really hard. Many characters from Wind Waker in style show up in this game, and the overall charm is just as strong as it, but with a fantastic GBA pixel style instead of 3D. It’s really incredible to see what that handheld was capable of. It’s like a SNES on steroids and I love that about it. Alongside the very colorful and expressive spritework though, we have some classic 2D Zelda game design as well.

You have a top-down view. Check. You can swing your sword around in any of the core directions like a madman. Check. You have brilliantly designed dungeons that make you really examine every room carefully. Check. It hits all the beats, but if you ask me does it as well as the best in the series. Two of the saddest omissions on this Top list for me are Ocarina and Link to the Past. They are wonderful games even by today’s standards, and really showcase some of the best the series has to offer in their respective styles. I find Minish Cap beats out ALTTP by a smidge for me because of how much I love the look and feel of the game. This one is more on the size of something like the Oracle Games or Link’s Awakening, but I find whoops their dungeons in terms of clever design. I found myself just absolutely pleased with almost every aspect of this game. Honestly, if it was even longer I would have been down for it. The size mechanic really creates some eventful and interesting overworld and dungeon perspective. I suppose I could knock the one collection/trading with Kinstones, or the random factor for the full completionist, but they really are just small factors that barely hinder the overall experience. I find this game incredible for what it does, and easily one of my favorite Zelda experiences. If the story was a little bit better and the game had even a little more length I guarantee it would have jumped up over half this list. But as where it stands, I wholly recommend this game to anyone who loves classic Zelda. If you love the classic combat, overworld style, and puzzle solving this game is bound to scratch every single one of those itches.

 

74: Tales of Monkey Island

Played on: PS3
Year Released: 2010

Despite the hardships of overcoming the genre’s particularities, I really do enjoy a solid point-and-click adventure game. The fine mixture of creative puzzles, and whatever story I’m working through tend to constantly reward you with the satisfaction of solving a tough or clever obstacle before you. And just like most of my favorite games in the genre, Tales of Monkey Island is absolutely hilarious. Most of the former writers from the series and Lucasarts came back to do this Telltale game. I mean to be fair, a chunk of early Telltale was mostly just old Lucasarts developers, so it all connects in a way.

You play the “mighty” pirate Guybrush Threepwood! As always he is looking for some excellent grog and plunders to behold. Well, and trying to stop his arch-nemesis the Ghost Pirate Lechuck who has one again come back to terrify the seas. A kidnapped wife, and a mystery to solve and you’ve got a classic Monkey Island experience! Unlike previous titles, this game has the Telltale structure of episodic parts that were released. In their form you 5 separate entries that tie directly into one another. It makes for a nice one-episode-a-night play session if you are me. Each episode clocks in between 2-5 hours depending on how fast you solve the puzzles in your way. So normally you should take around 4 hours or unless you are on the ball and don’t get stumped ever. It makes the whole experience clock in a little over 20 hours long, and by far makes the longest and more comprehensive point and click I’ve played in terms of length. Most of the genre is between 4-8 hours long so double the amount of time makes for a sizeable game to tackle.

Thankfully each episode never wears out the welcome, and due to giving each episode plenty of time to shine, just about every character and puzzle is showcased with a lot of care. In my entire run, only 2 puzzles really had me stumped for over 20-30 mins. Most of them I would be stuck for a few minutes trying and experimenting with things, and then I figured out what I needed to do. And of course a few times I just knew what to do right away, but would do it wrong on purpose because this game has unique dialogue for literally every choice you can make. Part of the fun of the game is not immediately solving things or choosing the right conversation prompts so you can see all the funny stuff they crammed into the game. If I had to make a list of 10 funniest games I’ve personally played this would most definitely be on there. I was laughing at some many of the fantastic one-liners delivered by the voice crew, and specifically Guybrush himself. The greatest pirate in the history of gaming.

73: To The Moon

Played on: PC
Year Released: 2011

Cues piano theme
Grabs tissues, and prepares self emotionally.

Story games are maybe one of my favorite things in all of gaming. While the gameplay side of things is usually massively reduced or simplified, the act of the story and how it plays out can make up for it in so many ways that are unforgettable. The interactive aspect of games can create a sort of connection that is impossible in just visual mediums like books or movies, and it bridges the gap because of this. Not to say it is better, but that is one of the fantastic ways games can forge such important bonds to players. Games like The Beginners Guide make you do so many simple tasks, but the emotional narration, and build-up to the ending make it such a memorable time to sit through. A few more games like that will make this list, and the first one to be on here is, To the Moon.

I was first recommended this game by my good friend Vanhook. A guy who loves stories in games, but is also one of the biggest critics I know. He generally finds some way to be angry at games that don’t scratch his preference properly. It makes for tons of fun discussion and compromises on our different viewpoints, yet despite the general lack of investing gameplay, To the Moon was a game he recommended. He said, it’s short, sweet, and made me cry like a fucking baby. So, certainly, my curiosity was obviously massively piqued. I was going to play this short narrative game and see why he praised it so highly.

Now, I’m only going to talk about the premise for games like this one because I feel, going into details ruins what the game offers for newcomers. You play two members of a company that makes artificial memories. They can implant these into someone’s brain to try and overwrite their pre-existing ones. This of course isn’t considered legal or moral in most contexts. However, in the case of someone on their death bed it can be used as a form of wish fulfillment in their last hours. They come to visit a man who has a simple yet impossible dream in his condition. He wants to be taken to the Moon. What we get is a 4 hour or so exploration of his past. From his childhood days to his marriage, to everything else in between, and it culminates in a beautiful conclusion. Mostly aided by one of my favorite main themes in any video game. A simple yet gorgeous track accompanied by the piano that sells every emotion so profoundly raw.

And yes, I did cry too. Happy, sad, and poignant tears of pure gaming bliss.

72: The Last Story

Played on: Wii
Year Released: 2012

I really like the old-school approach to game design Hironobu Sakaguchi seems to bring to projects he works on. A lot less fluff content, not a lot of grind, and a focused story that gets to the point. The Last Story is famous for one thing only though sadly. Being the second most popular of the three games in the project known as Operation Rainfall. For those who don’t know, these were 3 quality Japanese games that other countries weren’t expected to get, especially the West because they didn’t thing the time to translate it would compensate the meager expected sales. Thankfully Xenoblade made enough of a splash to prove that was wrong, and both the Last Story and Pandora’s Tower got their chance to step up to the plate as well.

We have a simple story you’ve probably heard before. A medieval setting where a young man wants to be a famous knight. A big event surrounding a princess is coming up. An invading force looms near to ruin the solidarity and peace of the kingdom. Our main heroes not only meet the princess but join forces to stop the big bad, a romance ensues between the main lead and her, and lots of classic banter galore fill the time in between. Now I’m really undercutting this story with that, but it’s all to say this. This game got knocked for being cliche, and I think that is one of the poorest critiques you can use. Cliche seems as a detriment because new has to be the way to go always. Whatever happened to, if it works, and it isn’t broke, don’t fix it? You use a tried formula, and do it well, and it does the job damn fine I say. We have a very varied and lovable cast, a sweeping tale of chivalry and heroics, and just a solid all-together RPG game here.

Another factor that helps this game elevate over being just another one of the heap of RPGS out there is the lack of fodder enemies. Almost every encounter in this game has a unique dialogue and set up because they are all treated as essential to moving the story and characters forward. Zael and crew all get their own time to shine too. With a weird but very fun hybrid battle system. One part auto action, one part active time strategy. Every member of your party has unique skills that can aid the flow of battle and Zael’s main skill is to activate theirs. You are basically a catalyst who deals damage and brings the best out of your fellow members. With the way the story plays out too, the game often swaps which party dynamic you have showing you the clear ways each member strongly benefits the overall party. Whether that is with killer magic, group healing, or some sort of evasive skill, they all bring something no one else can.

To me, this game is largely overshadowed by Xenoblade, and I find that a shame. Not to bash Xenoblade, because I prefer it as well, but I feel this game is just as deserving of a legacy, a switch port, and more players to see and experience the wonderful story we have here. A nice packed 20 hours of tricky boss battles, fantastic cast members, and fun customization allows for an around good time. This isn’t a genre-defining game, but one that stands on its own two feet forging its own path just as well. I find the Last Story to be one of the most underappreciated games on the Wii system alongside other classics like Muramasa the Demon Blade and Madworld. We need to spend more time giving these solid titles their own time in the limelight too, so they may be ported for generations to come in the gaming future. Ah well, either way, I love this game, and look forward to playing it again someday soon.

71: Metal Gear Rising

Played on: PS3
Year Released: 2013

Nanomachines Son!

If we ignore the awful throw-away story, and the complete disregard for what makes Raiden captivating in MGS 2/4 with his relationships, and just look at the gameplay only, we have a pretty solid game here! So, I’m a huge MGS fan, one of those series I love to praise for storytelling and general good stealth mechanics. However, the action kings of the gaming industry Platinum Games wanted to test the waters with this well-established series and give a little spin-off treatment. So rather than traditional action espionage, we get a balls to the wall over the top fast paced action game. The idea is because by MGS 4, Raiden is a cyborg ninja, that he was perfect for this type of game, and well they aren’t wrong that is for sure!

MGS Rising goes for true style over substance world-building. You have the speed of a cybernetic man and the destructive force of one too. You chop up people, robots, god damn buildings, and anything else in your way in this game. If you ever wanted to feel empowered like a force of absolute chaos, this will fit the bill nicely. When you are running up a building chopping up missiles, falling debris, and come face to face with a massive mecha creature just to slice that fool in 100 slices of bitcheroni, man does it feel hype as hell. It obviously helps tremendously that this game controls like a dream. Similar to their other games like Bayonetta, or Madworld, you feel like the enemies are yours to take down when you finish getting warmed up. It’s a fun concept to make you feel like no matter what they through at you, the enemy is the one who should fear you.

Toss on incredible rock/metal focused music and the whole vibe of this game is intensity and it owns it completely. This is especially evident in this couple of boss fights the game tosses in. They are all brilliant showings of the speed and skill required to be Raiden, and the music elevates each and every boss encounter to instant classic status in my memory. There are 5 just absolute bangers in this game for the boss fights, and they really make the short run time of the overall game feel epic. I’ve always liked that about Platinum. While their games tend to be normally less than 10 hours long, they jam-pack them with fun things to do and superb battle systems that are rich and rewarding to master. I swear the no-hit challenges on the bosses are equally difficult and addicting. I can toss away the story in a moment’s notice, but some fun characters mixed with one of the most just genuinely entertaining action games I’ve ever played makes up for it. I think of this game a little separate from the rest of the franchise, but when I think of action games to recommend to people, it’s one I can’t help but fall back on.

 

Any other gaming related posts you would like to see! Let me know in the comments below! I just might make the post just for you if you really inspire me to do so! I want to post content for you folks here, so let us work at that future together!  Until next time, stay same my little wanderers!