For centuries, mankind has found it difficult as I to organize a top 5 list of their favorite videogames. Over the years I have spent countless hours inside the sanctuary of my home, secluded in a dark room with nothing but a console and controller and whatever game I happen to be playing at the time. I have usually always had a good idea about what games I liked the most but sometimes found that I would put a game in my top 5 just after beating it for the first time. I soon learned that after a few replays of a game you thought you instantly loved, you soon begin to find every flaw it has to offer, and whether you can overlook it’s flaws for the overall experience of the game is the true test that it may qualify to be one of your very own “greatest hits”. Over the last few weeks in this cubicle space nightmare I call a job, I have had the opportunity to make, what I think, is my absolute Top 5 list to date. Moreover, I have actually managed to put them in order. One of the issues I came across was selecting a favorite game over another, while liking the overall series of the former much more. For instance, the DMC( or Devil May Cry) series is my favorite series of all time and also my favorite genre of game, but I like MGS3: Snake Eater more than each of the individual DMC games which is where I become torn. So, I bring to you, in a kind of particular order, my most recent and up to date top 5. These are games that I absolutely enjoyed and can still play for hours on end with the same satisfaction as when I first played them, back in the day. In the words of Mike Goldberg: HERE WE GO!
Coming in at a rootin’-tootin’ #5 is….RED DEAD REDEMPTION. My favorite, and by far the best, Old West game I have ever played. If John Marston was in Cowboys & Aliens, the movie might have been something like the aliens attacking, they take Jack, John dead eyes all the aliens including the townspeople, robs a bank, and turns E.T. over for a bounty…roll credits. I’d pay to see that and you would too, because if you like cowboys and the feel of being a gunslinger in the Old West, then there is no way in hell you could go wrong with a game like RDR. One of my favorite parts about the game is just getting on a horse and riding around doing various side quests or catching bounties dead or alive. Lassoing random people and dragging them while I’m on horseback became a regular hobby of mine and shooting the various wildlife and skinning them for supplies was funner than I thought it could be. Except for that Hunter outfit requirement where you have to blow up a cougar with a stick of dynamite…FUCK THAT, the cougars maul you in one hit, not to mention the only place I could find them was on the mountainside with no way to escape once I did find one, but nonetheless it was still fun to dead eye anything and everything that had the poor luck of crossing my path. Yes I was an a-hole in the game, but if you know anything about me you would know that I don’t play nice in any game that gives me such freedoms.
“How dare you roost in my line of sight!?”
Aside from the fantastic gameplay, other elements of the game stood out as well. The story was well made and kept me wanting to go on and deprive myself of sleep whether I had work the next day or not. You can tell that they didn’t just make a game and slapped some stereotypical lackluster western story behind it, and enjoyed the many different characters encountered along the way. The loveable, clumsy, drunkard Irish was a favorite of mine and Bill Williamson’s illiteracy was something worth giggling about. The graphics are just amazing. The landscape is that of rough barren terrain reminiscent of what you would see when you pop in an old Clint Eastwood western, the lighting is beautiful, the transition from days to nights is perfect, the towns have their individuality to them, the character models are detailed and smooth..And not just for the main characters either. Those sunsets are worth waiting for so you can look up at the stars under nightfall and wish you lived back in those simplistic days of smokin’, gunslingin’, and sasparilla’n.
Coming in a voluptuous 4th place is…. BAYONETTA. This game broke the record of how fast a game could get to my top five list and join the rarity of games that I choose to never trade in, sharing that privilege with Red Dead Redemption and Uncharted 2 for next gen titles. Bayonetta was a supremely underrated game when it first came out and remains just the same. When it came out, only the true fans of Hideki Kamiya knew that this was gonna be a game with it’s own individual style and focus, while the other side of the fence just saw it as a hypersexualized, fan-service, rip-off of Dante and DMC gameplay that they would have no interest in. I have to admit that when I first played it I made the mistake of comparing every aspect of it to its Devil May Cry counterpart. I soon came to realize that I actually felt like it was a great change of pace from DMC in that the story isn’t nearly as dramatic but feels as over-the-top as you would expect from any other Hideki Kamiya title you would pick up. Bayonetta’s character is great. Half Umbran Witch and half Lumen Sage she is one of the most powerful and intimidating foes in the eyes of the minions of Inferno and angels of Paradiso, alike. The gameplay is essentially similar to DMC but so much more, seeing as Cereza can wield most weapons in her hands AND feet make for remarkable potential to string combos together and keep your style meter up until you reach the point where you can perform a climax(lol), which involves various demons alchemized from Cereza’s hair to rip the angels apart in various ways but ultimately having them sent to hell to pay off a debt she owes to the demons of Inferno. Finding the weapons by collecting LP’s is pretty clever and not annoying at all. During my first playthrough I was tearing it up with shotguns in my hands and pistols on my feet but before I knew it I had my first melee weapon, Shuraba, the demon of war imbued katana that satisfies my every combo need and desire..and that’s when the game really took off.
Fighting hoards of angelic beings with various combos was the most satisfying hack and slash I had felt in a game since DMC3: Dante’s Awakening. Switching seamlessly between two sets of weapons that you can customize yourself only added to the fun. Having the Odette skates(feet) and the Shuraba(hands) I could dish out all sorts of melee and take down the biggest of foes, but when cornered by a bunch of flying angels or just trying to hold back the sheer numbers, I switched seamlessly to my Weapon set B which had the shotguns equipped(hands) for stopping power and pistols(feet) to steadily wear the rest down and finish them altogether with a powerful hair attack while she tells them to “Fuck off!” or the patented-ironic, “Go to hell!”.
The graphics are outstanding and the eastern, Romanesque architecture is a treat to look at, and be surrounded by in the midst of utter chaos. The boss battles are the definition of epic and makes for a very satisfying feeling of accomplishment when you manage to bring one of the mighty followers of Jubileus down while Cereza continues insulting them with one-liners adding insult to injury to an already morally and physically defeated being. The cinematics are well done, especially the ones where she is running away, jumping from rock to rock debris in “witch time” while it displays her flying through the air with a nerdy/uncomfortable smile reminiscent to that of Liz Lemon. This game is great and what does it for me is that I can pick it up and still play it for hours on end without wanting to throw it out the window despite it’s somewhat impossible Alfheim portal challenges. But that’s what makes the game worth playing over and over. Masters of the combo chains and newbies alike will find it enjoyable in their own way whether it’s your need to slay hoards of angels with over-the-top combos and finishers or if you just wanna look at dat ass while listening to a wonderful rendition of “Fly Me To The Moon,” you’ll be sure to enjoy the view this game has to offer.
Taking the paranormalic place of #3 comes…dun dun DUN!!!…HALF-LIFE. Yeah…that’s right..you remember Half-Life don’t ya? Of course you do! When I first played this game as a teenage headcrab, I didn’t know if I was more frightened or impressed. The game struck awe to my bones, for at the time, I didn’t know video games could have stories that in-depth, much less with badass gameplay to support it. Before then I was used to popping in a game and tearing it apart. I never heard of there being a game where I would have to use tactics and brainpower. When I first started this game up on my parents old HP I was caught off guard to see a game with intro credits, like it was a movie or some shit. After the long wait in the train car, after my first “WTF?” moment when seeing G-Man, I arrived at work in the Black Mesa Facilities and finally got a chance to move around freely. Gordon felt like I was handling a crack addict with my head moving as fast as I moved the mouse and him powerwalking everywhere faster than the train car. I got my HEV suit on and then it was time to boogie.After this long intro and no action collaborating with my short attention span, I found that I wasn’t getting bored because I was so intrigued with what was happening….then the experiment. After I pushed that shopping cart into the electric box I had no idea what I was in for…little did I know that my world would soon be rocked. Flashes of aliens closing in, then I blacked out….not in real life, that would be silly. When I awoke in the aftermath, I still had no idea what the hell was going on so I just started walking and soon enough I encountered an alien amongst my dying scientist colleagues…I had no weapon, didn’t know what to do… not the faintest clue. “Then what happened?” I hear you ask. I found that “red delicious,” crowbar as I proceeded to wail on the alien like an angry nerd would to a bully who just stole his calculator watch. The rest was history, traversing through the levels, finding different weapons to wield as I felt like the only human left having to fight batch after batch of alien brutes while swatting headcrabs off my face. Then the fucking marines came…I hear the radio chatter and then I remember thinking “I’m effed”. How do I take on marines? But I stuck it out using tactics and familiarity of the environment to my advantage. Can you imagine a scientist wielding a shotgun and crowbar going apeshit on you and your friends.
Billy Dee says: “Crowbar…it works every time.”
Well that’s what happened. When I found I had enough ammo to waste, which was rare, I would go Kratos all over their asses with shotgun shells, grenades and that badass accelerator gun that straight up disintegrates people and aliens alike. The puzzles in the game weren’t annoying to my surprise, sometimes it’s the only time when you can just chill and convince yourself that maybe an underground mine isn’t such a bad place to live, especially considering the a-holes above ground all have death wishes for you, preparing their own brand of cover-up/alien justice. Suffice it to say, even through the most annoyingly hard parts I never grew tired of this game. It’s so spooky and creepy, and all the while, giving you the satisfaction that you keep overcoming the hardest of obstacles time and time again until your overall triumph over the Giant-Baby-Thing in Xen. The graphics were great at that time and like Prometheus says, “It broke so many barriers in videogames at the time.” The dark areas with the flickering lights and the insanely creepy air vents just added to the creepiness of making you think it’s nothing, only to be sideswiped by a wandering head crab or another batch of alien badasses coming to tear you apart. The marines aren’t even scary, it’s just the fact that they are so intimidating and organized, especially when you can hear their radio chatter stating they just spotted you in the building you just happen to be in at that time, making you say….”GOD DAAAAAAMNIIIIIIIIT!”. I’ve gone back to play various checkpoints many times and played through the entire game 2-3 times and it never disappoints. If you’ve played it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, and you have some free time, you should definitely get it off of STEAM for a modest 10 bucks. Start it up and get the shit scared out of you, and run around with glocks in yo’ hands. *psst,G-Man is watching you sleep*
Sneaking to the #2 spot comes….METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SNAKE EATER….Tactical espionage action is exactly what this game was, but to say that would still be completely underselling it. This game had the perfect mix of action and cinematics making you feel like you were playing through your own emotional journey set in the bitter 1960s era of the Cold War. This was also the first game where an unplayable character became one my favorites of all time, in this instance it was “The Boss.” The Boss was badass, when she breaks your arm and throws you off a rope bridge down a cliff just because you asked her a question, you know why they call her The Boss. Andy Samberg’s got nothing on deez nuts…er whatever, you get the point.
The Boss is not amused
The perverse and sodomizing Colonel Volgin was a treat to watch and played his part very well. All the characters as a whole had their own stories, personalities and distinct calling cards which made the game that much more immersive. Starting the game off in the Virtuous Mission you find out that you are not Solid Snake but in fact Naked Snake a.k.a. Big Boss, however at this time Naked Snake has not earned the title of Big Boss yet, but as a guy who played through the previous games it was crazy being able to take the controls behind the man himself, the perfect soldier, that was so invaluable to the Patriots that they cloned him so they could have him forever. So with all that taken into account you get to see what made him so great and how he came to get the title of Big Boss. The Virtuous Mission was a great intro providing the spark that leads up to the games main Snake Eater mission. Snake must rescue Russian scientist, Sokolov and take him back to the U.S. with his family so that the Russians don’t take advantage of his research breakthrough consisting of engineering a mobile nuclear warhead machine that can launch from any terrain to any spot on Earth. This machine was called the Shagohod, essentially the very first Metal Gear. Also a first to be seen in a Metal Gear game was the survival aspect as the majority of Snake Eater is located in the jungles and swamplands of Russia. This openness was awesome as I could crawl in the high grass to take enemies by surprise, but still, at times it takes a lot of patience if you want to get through the game undetected. But it is ultimately rewarding as the length of the boss fight with the Sorrow shortens depending on how many enemies you spare instead of kill…..I killed everyone….but that’s just me. Now for the best squad in a videogame to date: The Boss’s Cobra Unit consisting of 6 members, each with a codename signifying the different emotions in warfare: The Pain, The Fear, The End, The Fury, The Sorrow, and The Joy(the Boss). Each battle is just as unique as the last. They all have their themes and they all have completely different ways on how to defeat them, not one of them being alike. The Pain controls hornets to inflict as much pain as possible, The Fear pierces you with crossbow bolts coated in deadly venom that paralyzes you to strike fear as you die slowly, The End is the grandfather of modern sniping and never misses a shot, The Fury unleashes a mans fury upon you symbolized in the form of the flamethrower he wields to ignite your flesh, The Sorrow takes you on a reflective journey and shows you the visions of all the people you have killed up to this point then ultimately strips you of your life, and The Joy is a complicated, secretive, mother figure of Snake that taught him everything he knows and convinces Snake if he needs to move on he must take her life. The Boss is by far the most important person to Snake and even more skillful and intimidating to anyone who crosses her path.
The Cobra Unit
Pretty early in the game you come across a young Ocelot, commander of the GRU unit. Ocelot is just a treat to watch, whether he’s making smart ass remarks to Snake or deflecting bullets off the terrain to hit his targets from behind cover, Ocelot is such a pimp and plays a mixed relationship with Snake. He is Snakes enemy and does what he can to stop him, but admires Snake above all else. The graphics of the game are facking terrific, it still looks good playing it right now and it hasn’t lost it’s touch. The jungle terrain, the swamps, the caves, the wildlife is all so detailed and gives you a real sense you are in the middle of nowhere trying to find your way through a dense jungle. The fact that you can equip different camo BDU’s and facepaint is a cool perk too that allows you to achieve a higher percentage of stealth. I know I’ve been babbling for a while but it just shows how much I love the game and it’s actually surprised me that I remembered this much just off the top of my head. I’ve beaten it so many times(no homo) that it still ceases to cause me boredom. There are so many Easter eggs that you can see that gives you a relief from being hunted for a bit. Hideo Kojima shows in Snake Eater that a great game can play like the most serious, dramatic movie while having comical and over-the-top characters that still manages to jerk a tear from you and feel for the characters involved. This game is such a masterpiece that it should be in every gamers library to pick up and get your sneak on. “Snake? Why are you calling me from underneath a cardboard box?”
That’s my top 4 so far and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. But don’t change that channel, the following program will continue with my #1 favorite game in it’s very own super, regular to medium length blog coming soon.
*thanks for reading, reader*