5. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2) (2005)
I can assure you, that is NOT the biggest dude in the game.
Of all the games I've played for almost two decades of video gaming, not one game deserved the description of being a truly epic game. Sure, you may disagree with me. One can name tons of game they felt deserving of the title, such as the God of War series, or the Zelda series and perhaps to a certain extent, the Mario games. Even the Metal Gear series has some of that epic flavor to it.
To me, Shadow of the Colossus is the definition of epic itself. You play as Wander, a warrior who sought after the great power of the colossi to revive his love. But before that, he must undergo a trial that involves slaying huge beasts that vary from rhino sized creature to a titanic 10 storey high colossus that is both daunting and awesome to behold.
Shadow of the Colossus is unique to me because there are no small minions to fight through before a gigantic boss battle. The game itself is string of epic bosses, and you navigate through these huge lands with your trusty steed, Agro to find these sacred monsters in their hides. As you fight these monsters, the game's rousing score will make you feel even more heroic, as it dynamically changes according to your situation.
So yeah, the HD remake of the game is a no brainer purchase for me.
4. Crysis (PC) (2007)
It's almost 3 years now, but I still hold my breath when I reach this part.
It pains to see that many people giving Crysis a bad rep completely, just because it looked so good, too good for most people, when most cannot see how dynamic the gameplay can be, if the player allows it. I remembered watching Yahtzee of the Zero Punctuation fame dismissing Crysis as a mere "tech demo". I never watch the show anymore ever since.
You see, Crysis is basically like an action figure of a soldier. Sure, you can play it safe by imagining him in a typical military setting, but why not go the extra mile and imagine a space marine setting? Or an alternate dimension of aliens? With lesbian killer bunnies? Armed with chocolate Vanilla bazookas!!?? Right?
All right take it this way. If you play it just like a normal linear FPS, it certainly will be boring since the game is not ridden with scripted events like most FPSes. If you do experiment with it, you will certainly find depth in how the game reacts to you. Want to know more? Just try the demo first. :)
3. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PC) (2003)
Shootdodging. It never gets old.
Max Payne 2 has affected in many ways I never thought possible. Most of the stuff that I write during my degree days in TESL (Teaching English as Second Language, yes I'm a teacher) are influenced by Sam Lake's Max Payne series, and the second game had some of the most memorable lines and narration in videogaming. No I'm serious. Here are some examples of my favorites.
"When entertainment turns into a surreal reflection of your life, you're a lucky man if you can laugh at the joke. Luck and I weren't on speaking terms."
"The trouble with wanting something is the fear of losing it, or never getting it. The thought makes you weak."
"With no way to deal with the past, I kept my eyes on the road, off the rear view mirror and the roadkill behind me. I chased lesser mysteries, other people's crimes."
Max Payne 2 is also one of the first few games that used that ragdoll and Havok Physics engine effectively to enhance the chaotic action in the game. Particles fly around the screen as you slow down the time to aim at your enemies. The ragdoll bodies look a little silly as they wackily drop to the ground unlike those swift blend of animations seen in Call of Duty 4 or Killzone 2, but the lightness of these bodies helped make explosions much more stellar as they spin in the air in slow motion, amidst the plethora of boxes and dustbins. Sexy.
2. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2) (2008)
I wish my high school days were as rad as this.
This, in my opinion is the finest RPG I have ever played. Now let me get this out first. I have never played an SMT game. Well, I did play Persona 2 on the PSX, but I never did finish it and I sold it to a friend.
And then Gamespot and many other sites gave fantastic reviews to Persona 3 and its definitive version, FES. My interest was piqued, but it never did persuade me to go and get the game, though friends were recommending it.
Persona 4 came and reviews were as enthusiastic as its predecessor. I had to get the game the moment I saw the impressive scores. I did, and for one whole month, my PS3 was collecting dust, making way for Persona 4.
While most would say that God of War 2 was the swan song of the PS2, I would disagree and say that Persona 4 should be the one taking that title. This is an RPG that has an engrossing story, wonderful pacing, a battle system that is simple, but deep enough that the game will force you to vary your tactics to wear out the stronger opponents.
The social link system is just plain genius. You get access to stronger fusions of Personas if you develop your relationships with people of different issues and morality. And this highlights what I like most about Persona 4. Characters. The characters are cute, realistic and very personal. A guy who's confused about his sexuality. A girl who wants to get out of town, so that she would be rid of the insurmountable expectations. A scandalous nurse working graveyard shifts at a local hospital. These are just a few of the many richly developed characters in Persona 4. If only they're real.
1. Metal Gear Solid (PSX) ( 1998 )
"Whose footprints are these??" Strangely, his boots leave none.
I know, most of you are not surprised, especially those who knows about my username, given the fact that it is inspired by one of the game's more enigmatic characters, Revolver Ocelot.
Metal Gear Solid is an experience like no other. Switching to controller port 2 so that Psycho Mantis won't read your mind? ****c. Looking at the back of the CD case for Meryl's codec frequency? Hilarious. Using a ketchup to feign death in a cell in real time to bait the guards? AWESOME!!
I actually cried when I first saw this scene. When was the last time you felt sad after you killed a boss character?
As crazy as all of these sound to you, they actually served to make the overall journey through Shadow Moses Island an intensely memorable one, even if these moments are downright silly at times. At the time games were mostly concerned with the fact that games has to be fun, instead of the obsession towards being realistic and gritty, taking the word "FUN" out of most games. No, I don't have a problem with realism; it's just that implementing it tends to make the developer neglect the fact that games are meant to be enjoyed. Metal Gear Solid a little bit of that realism by incorporating real life issues like cloning, PMCs and nuclear deterrence, but adds a little bit of fantasy by including bizarre elements like Psycho Mantis' powers, Cyborg Ninja's over the top agility.
Why the original? Why not the convoluted but still entertaining Sons of Liberty? Why not the tragic Snake Eater? Why not the epic and well refined Guns of the Patriots? To say that Metal Gear Solid is better than its sequels is an overstatement. I loved them all equally, yet none of the sequels stood in my mind as strong as the original does.
Metal Gear Solid bears the character which to me is the epitome of a great hero. Snake is strong willed and confident, yet vulnerable. Tough, but he still bleeds. And then, there is the perfect set of villains. Ocelot as the scheming rat, Raven the mystical brute, the hyperactive (kinda) Ninja, Sniper Wolf and Psycho Mantis both as scarred adversaries, and of course, the bitter and seemingly invincible Liquid Snake. None of the bosses in the sequels can match the complexity that is present Metal Gear Solid's boss characters, with some exceptions such as Vamp in Sons of Liberty and The Boss in Snake Eater.
The dudes of Foxhound.
I will always remember how I came out satisfied with the game's ending. I realized that a game, like movies could make me learn something about life. And until today I remembered the words that Naomi and Snake uttered about living one's life. That's quite a feat for characters with only a small number of polygons on them.
So what do you guys think of the list? :)