Time to fire up this list again, now that I’m back in action and everything. For those of you who are only checking out the list because I’m linking to it, I’ve been cranking out a few other posts lately. Check them out if you’d like. Anyhow, time to get down to 51 so there are only 50 games left. As usual you can find the older posts by checking out this tag.
60: No One Lives Forever (PC) – Cate Archer is the agent that, to me, is a classy mix between James Bond, Austin Powers and whatever female action hero you want to throw at the screen. In fact, Archer’s boss seems to be ripped right out of Austin Powers, copying the boss from those movies. But it all ends up being a very nice mix of action, bright colors, fun gadgets, hilarious dialogue and just an overall sense of humor that’s spot on.
59: Metroid Prime (GameCube) – I never actually completed this game, because I took a break pretty far into it and then when I got back to playing it I had forgotten the layout of all the places and I was supposed to find a bunch of hidden glyphs or something. That’s one of my biggest gaming regrets, but in the end… it doesn’t really matter. But I digress. Metroid Prime was for a very long time the GameCube game with the most powerful ambience. At first I was very skeptical about how the developers would transfer the Metroid feel into the first person perspective, but they pulled it off. The music also needs to be mentioned because even if it’s distinctly different from the other Metroid games, it’s still pure perfection for this particular game. Some of the platforming gets a bit old at times, but the action is tense and generally the play sessions end up being really long because you can’t stop playing.
58: Rainbow Six (PC) – I bought this game before I bought the book, but the game was goddamn awesome back in the day. It was like nothing else that had been released back then. Everything was just run and shoot monsters and suddenly, here came a tactical shooter where you shot terrorists and a single bullet could kill. You could also plan the missions in detail, but I wasn’t very good at that. I usually let my guys stand back so I could sneak through the level myself, but there were a few missions that forced me to plan an assault that came through two or three entry points simultaneously and that was just beautiful. The game’s story is a bit gimped compared to the novel, but for the time it was released, it was pretty good. I just wished I read the book before I played the game.
57: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360) – I should begin saying that I never got hooked on the online multiplayer in this game. We played a bunch of split screen deathmatch, but my most lasting impression of this game is the single player part. The sequel was waaaay too all over the place, whereas this one was very focused and the narrative moving between characters and present/past worked perfectly. It wasn’t over-used or anything. The sneak-and-snipe mission in flashback Russia is one of the most memorable gaming moments ever. The game is extremely tense throughout the entire experience and it’s a must-play if you have an Xbox 360. There’s just one thing that got to me with this game and that’s the fact that I got it into my head that I should max out the achievements, resulting in me grinding my way through the story on veteran mode, which in turn resulted in me dying about … hell, I don’t know. 2500 times? I really have no clue. I just know that I died. A lot. And I didn’t even max out the game. I gave up on the next-to-last mission. Still an awesome game, though.
56: Bioshock (Xbox 360) – A lot of people love this game and praise it because of the freedom in how you choose your skill progression and whatnot. Same with the storyline and the way the characters and the story are presented. These people have obviously not played System Shock 2. I have and that’s why Bioshock ends up in spot 56 and not higher up. Seriously though, it is a very special game and it has mood and ambience coming out the wazoo. Rapture, the underwater city the game takes place in, is a character in itself because of its presentation. I also love that this game takes an enormous dump on the so-called “philosophy” of the hypocritical and intellectually dishonest bitch/so-called author Ayn Rand. Objectivism deserves every bit of shit thrown at it and this game illustrates beautifully how fucked up it is.
55: Advance Wars DS (Nintendo DS) – When I got my DS, I got a handful of games and this was one of them. I didn’t really get around to playing it all that quickly because I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I hadn’t played the Advance Wars games that had been released for the Gameboy Advance, so I wasn’t really hyped about the DS game. Then I started playing it and I just couldn’t put it down. It is a perfect game for the DS as a platform and while the characters and story are EXTREMELY corny, they actually work and they actually engage me as a player to keep going until the end. The single player story part is also perfectly balanced in terms of difficulty progression.
54: Day of the Tentacle (PC) – This could very well be the funniest game I’ve ever played all the way through. It has some of the most hilarious writing ever and it’s perfectly complemented by the animation, art style and voice acting. Hoagie is my favorite character, but they’re all golden. The puzzles are really ingenious, especially since you have to send stuff back and forth between different time periods.
53: Thief: The Dark Project (PC) – Garrett, the protagonist of the Thief series, is one of my all-time anti-heroes. He does the right thing when he has to, but he also does the morally wrong thing when he wants to. He’s also been the inspiration to a character I started writing a novel about. I played the second game before I played this one, so it was like taking a step back in some respects, but not enough to make it a worse experience overall. There are several scary levels in the game, but the Bonehoard almost made me shit my pants. The zombies were extremely scary because, as Garrett, you’re not very powerful. The regular guards were also scary, of course, but the unstoppable zombies were one step beyond annoying. Tense doesn’t even begin to describe the Thief series. It is a beautiful experience.
52: Flashback (SNES) – How a game could have such a strong and movie-like narrative on such a relatively weak console as the SNES is astounding. I would almost go so far as to call it pixel perfection, if it weren’t for the somewhat confusing beginning of the game. Every movement by every character in the game seems so lifelike, which was very impressive at that time. Motion capture wasn’t really common then. The whole job system is also interesting.
51: Neverwinter Nights (PC) – I never actually really played this game on my own. I spent a week or so at a friend’s house and we co-oped our way through NWN. Another friend jumped in here and there too. I was playing as a rogue/mage while my friend was a tank wielding dual weapons. I pelted the enemies with arrows and sometimes laid traps. Later on I started throwing magic missiles and fireballs wherever I could and I also found that buff spells were really useful. Normally I don’t use buff spells in RPGs. Anyway, NWN’s story is nothing I remember right now, but I do remember the atmosphere. That game’s atmosphere made the entire experience. The co-op element was also extremely entertaining and easy to control.
There, down to the fifties, down to the nitty gritty.