Well…here we are.
Just in time for my 21st birthday, we’ve reached the end of the road, and all that’s left is to cover the best of the best. The games that matter the most to me and that have given me the most enjoyment over the years.
If you need to catch up on the series so far, then you can do that here. So, if you’re all caught up, let’s see this through to the end and discuss my 10 favourite games of all time.
10 – Sonic Mania
Release Date: 15th August 2017
Developer: PagodaWest Games, Headcannon
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows
Metacritic Average: 86%
It’s a game where you gotta- What do you mean I’ve already used that joke?
I’ve professed my love for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise already several times throughout this series, but this is the pinnacle of what the blue blur has to offer.
Ironically not made by Sonic Team, Sonic Mania was a game made by Sonic fans who truly understood what made Sonic such a phenomenon to big with. Sonic Mania isn’t just a game that’s ‘inspired by’ the three classic Sonic games, it IS a classic Sonic game. It took the core of the momentum-based platforming formula and expanded it into the modern platform. The music, the visuals, the gameplay, everything feels so very close to those fantastic classic titles that it may as well have sat amongst them as Sonic 4 and no-one would’ve batted an eye.
Sonic Mania doesn’t just sit around and copy what the classic games did though, it learns from their mistakes and even brings in some elements that worked in the modern titles. Firstly, we got a 2D Sonic game that actually made use of HD screenspace (looking at YOU Sonic 4), so now it was a lot easier to see obstacles coming your way, even when you were blasting through at top speed. Also, while the game did take many classic level designs, it remixed them, in ways that inarguably improved them. Even a level as simple as Green Hill Zone was expanded in such a way that made it a much more exciting level to blaze through. Not to mention that the terrain is designed in such a way that doesn’t hamper your momentum as much as in Sonic 1.
Where I believe the game shines brightest though, is in the 4 wholely original zones that the team developed for the game. It’s the clearest proof we’ve ever had that Sonic’s classic formula wasn’t a product of its time and it can absolutely still work in a game today. Those fans who played these games as kids are now the creative geniuses and masterful programmers behind Sonic Mania and they get Sonic. Zones like Press Garden and Titanic Monarch hold up as some of the best in the entire franchise. They combine speed, and platforming challenges in such a smooth way that I don’t believe can be topped by any other game on the planet.
When people look at all the horrible stuff the Sonic franchise has churned out over the past couple of decades and say “How can you like this franchise?” this game is my answer. It perfectly distils all the reasons why Sonic became such a popular franchise to begin with, and why fans still love it to this day.
9 – XCOM 2
Release Date: 5th February 2016
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac, Linux
Metacritic Average: 88%
It’s a game about almost losing everything every single turn.
This is turn-based strategy at its peak. It took me some time to appreciate XCOM for what it was. I played Enemy Unknown when I was 13 and back then, I didn’t really have the patience for it. I couldn’t be bothered to sit around and carefully plan my actions, to me it was slow, and slow was boring. Over the years though, my appreciation for turn-based strategy as a genre grew, as I discovered my love for games like Civilization, Worms and even regular card-games. So a couple of years ago, I came back to XCOM, I’ve since played through the entirety XCOM 2 on three separate occasions, and I love it.
What blows me away is that none of those three playthroughs looked even remotely similar. There’s such an extraordinary range of strategic potential with your troops in XCOM that I almost couldn’t believe how deep it went when I first came back to it. From the moment you land in an environment in XCOM, your mind has to be on the ball and ready to calculate countless possible outcomes at a moment’s notice. I talk a lot to myself while playing games anyway, but when I’m playing XCOM, I just can’t shut up. I can’t even pinpoint what it is that makes it so fun, but when I’m surveying the field and slowly narrowing down my options, I feel absolutely incredible.
The tense atmosphere and excitement doesn’t end at the thinking phase, though. There’s just as much to be had when you’ve made your decision and execute your action. I think the late TotalBiscuit put it best when he said that everyone comes away from XCOM with “war stories”. The tale of how your squad was in extreme mortal peril, but your sniper nailed three 20% shots in a row and saved you from disaster, or how you lost your best soldier because they managed to miss a 95% shot.
XCOM’s formula has just the right amount of randomness to it to keep you on your toes and make sure you can never rest on your laurels. However, simultaneously, it doesn’t lean on it so heavily that it feels like the game is entirely luck-based. I think that’s what makes the XCOM formula so satisfying. It’s because, even though there is that touch of randomness that can occasionally topple your best-laid plans, if you are a skilled tactician, you will still always come out victorious.
XCOM tests not only your strategic planning but also your strategic reactions. Yes, it’s a horrible feeling when your soldier misses an easy shot and becomes surrounded by an insurmountable horde of aliens because of it. However, when you knuckle down and calculate a strategy to get them out of that scenario alive, it’s the best feeling in the world.
8 – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Release Date: 26th July 2019
Developer: Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Metacritic Average: 89%
It’s a game about teaching a bunch of kids in their late teens how to fight in a war.
So you know everything I just said about XCOM? Well, change the combat style to melee (a much cooler style) and add in a bunch of wonderful characters, all with their own complex backstories and ideals that you get to grow relationships with. That’s why Fire Emblem: Three Houses is on this list.
The Monastery that acts as your hub world during FE:3H isn’t the biggest area ever, I’d imagine many high schools are bigger, but the whole place is so densely packed with intrigue. Visually, it’s so vibrant and full of character, usually ‘monastery’ is a word I associate with a somewhat muted colour palette. However, FE:3H throws bright greens & blues at you all over the place, always drawing your eye to all the interesting things.
The biggest and best of these things is the people around the Monastery. The emotional connection I forged with many of the students & allies in the world is what kept it in my mind for so long. It’s what made me desire to play through the game 4 full times in a row; because I was desperate to spend time and form a bond with every single one of them. Even now, many months out from the last time I booted it up, I could name every single student & faculty member at the Monastery and give you a rough description to boot.
Everything all of these characters do is dripping with charm and personality. It’s true that many of them only have one or two major traits, but when there’s so many of them, and they’re all playing off each other, it doesn’t matter. The support scenes are a stroke of genius designs, as it allows you to see an understand these characters from all kinds of lenses. I don’t just interact with them directly, I get to see them interact with others, which gives me an incredibly deep understanding of who they really are.
Aside from all that, the core gameplay is absolutely fantastic. The turn-based combat gives me all the wonderful feelings that I just talked about with XCOM, only with the focus shifted onto melee combat, which is what makes the two games feel so different in my mind. However, it extends outside of the battlefield as well, as, unlike XCOM, you have total control over what becomes of your units. You actually sit down and have lessons with them to grow their skills, giving me an even deeper level of investment in their growth than I’d already gained from their personalities. You really are these kids’ teacher, and I genuinely care a great deal about them…even the ones I don’t really like.
The simplest way to put it is that Fire Emblem: Three Houses takes a gameplay formula that would already have made the top 10 and gives me a deep sense of emotional connection to every aspect of the world.
7 – FTL: Faster Than Light
Release Date: 14th September 2012
Developer: Subset Games
Publisher: Subset Games
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS
Metacritic Average: 88%
It’s a game about commanding a starship that is just desperate to explode at every available opportunity.
FTL is, without a doubt, the best roguelike/roguelite I’ve ever played. Everything about its premise and presentation is so simple. Even the tutorial is pretty brief, and you’ll probably get the hang of it pretty quickly when you start playing. It’s only once you’ve spent some real time with it that you realize just how stupidly deep of a game it really is. It’s not like Binding of Isaac where you’ll still be discovering secret areas and bosses after years of playing it, but there’s more than enough to keep you going for a very long time.
For one thing, I like the longer campaign length. Sure, a 10-15 minute is nice when you just have some time to kill, but when I’m sitting down with the specific intention of playing the game for a good while, an hour upwards is fantastic. It’s long enough so that I can grow an attachment to my ship & crew, and allows me to spend a significant amount of time planning how I’m going to focus my ship.
While there are a whole host of different ships in FTL, each of which lends towards specific playstyles, you can definitely play the game however you want. You can focus on buffing your shields and augmenting your hull so that you barely take any damage. You can focus on arming yourself with uber-powerful missile weapons that will drain the enemies’ health as fast as it will your pockets, or focus on stealth, firing off a barrage of shots and disappearing before the enemy has a chance to retaliate.
The element of randomness in FTL is just right too. Each map you spawn into feels different because there really is no rhyme or reason to the layout of the nodes. You just have to head vaguely towards the exit. Each node has a massive variety of events. Granted, a lot of them are just battles, but each battle goes so very different depending on your opponent. I don’t just mean their weapons to shield levels either, you have to really consider your strategy based on what type of ship it is & what race is on board. Are they Mantis that will attempt to board you? Are they Engi that annoy the fuck out of you with drones? Are they Lanius that…well…you just have to cross your fingers and pray, really.
Then there’s the final boss. It’s an interesting case with how FTL balanced itself here. As long as you have a decent idea of what you’re doing, you’ll probably be able to get to the final sector on your very first run, reaching the final boss. Then, you’ll actually do battle, and your ship will explode so fast you won’t even have time to comprehend the chaos that is occurring on your ship. It’s something that could be criticized for being way too sharp of a difficulty spike, but I like it. You know why? Because you now have a very tangible goal. In something like Binding of Issac, I never really knew what it was I was working towards because I’d never seen the final boss, I didn’t understand what it was I was fighting against. In FTL, I was IN from the moment I saw that thing, I knew that someday I would vaporize it, and that day would be glorious.
It then took me about 5 years of playing it on and off to actually do it, and it was genuinely one of those “I’m never going to forget this” moments in games.
What’s great, though, is that even though I’ve now won the game, I still LOVE going back and doing a bunch of runs in it every couple of months. There’s just enough randomness that, even when you’ve gotten quite good at the game, you could still get totally screwed over in sector 1 and die. Not to mention what I was talking about with all the different types of ships & playstyles.
I don’t think FTL is a game that I’ll ever feel ‘done’ with. No matter how much I play it, I still feel that urge to go back to it every now and then to try some new stuff. It’s a style of fast-thinking strategy that always leaves me wanting more.
6 – Pokemon Platinum
Release Date: 13th September 2008
Publisher: The Pokemon Company, Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Metacritic Average: 84%
It’s a game about growing to love the creatures that do battle for you.
I’m not sure if it’s possible to describe precisely what Pokemon means to me, or even why it means so much to me. Although there are 5 other individual games on this list that I would say I love more, Pokemon as a franchise is the one that means the most to me in modern media.
Pokemon Platinum was the first time I ever connected with a game emotionally. Games were a thing I had always enjoyed up until that point, but they were something I saw more as tools for entertainment (I think the word for that is ‘toys’, but what I said sounds more insightful), they didn’t mean a great deal to me. Pokemon changed that. While I played games where I controlled characters, they were always just the vessel for me to explore and view the world. They had little personality or charm. At least, that was how I saw it as an 8-year-old.
Pokemon was different though. I still had my character, and as it’s a JRPG, they didn’t have any personality at all, but you know what did? Piplup. This weird blue penguin was something outside of myself in the game but acted on my behalf. When I picked it, the game gave me a description of what it was like, straight away, it had a personality, I felt like I understood it. Then we did battle together, we gained new team members, and I came to understand what they were like too. Before I knew it, I had a whole team of these creatures that I genuinely cared a great deal for. They mattered to me. I had an emotional bond with them. I’d never had that with a game before.
This is probably a good time to mention that I’ve never owned a pet in my life. For one reason or another, it’s always been impractical in our household, so I’ve never owned or looked after an animal. So all of these feelings of bonding with something that wasn’t another person was new to me. Once I’d played Pokemon, I felt like I got gaming. I was still young, so I didn’t fully understand the scope of it, but I felt like I finally had a firm grasp on why people cared so deeply about their video games. Sure enough, over the next 12-13 years, I grew into the nerd you see today that won’t stop bombarding you with his opinions on these things.
Why Pokemon Platinum specifically? Well, for one thing, it has all of the nostalgia I can possibly muster. It was my first, after all. However, even looking back at it now, I still think it’s the most consistently enjoyable Pokemon experience. The Pokemon I encounter along the way are among my favourites, from the starters to the routes, to the box-legendary. The music is incredible, the pace holds strong for the most part, the post-game is excellent (with the best version of the Battle Frontier, don’t @ me Emerald fans) and it’s simply a game that gives me warm and happy feelings.
I don’t know if I’d be the person I am today without Pokemon. It set me along the path of games going from something I play to something I connect with. To the point where I’m here with you, running down 100 of the blasted things. Who knows? I might even be able to go as far as saying that Pokemon Platinum is the reason this list even exists.
5 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Release Date: 11th November 2011
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Windows, and…wait really? That’s it? …I could’ve sworn there was about 500 more…
Metacritic Average: 96%
It’s a game about shouting at things until they fall over.
To say that Skyrim shaped the way I think and feel about games would be an understatement, because it went even further than that. It broadened my horizons beyond just the scope of the game, into the wider world and global communities for games that exist on the internet.
Hitting the most significant point first, Skyrim is the reason I watch YouTube as regularly as I do. I know for most people it was a certain other 2011 game that we’ll be talking about in just a moment, but for me, it was Skyrim. Let’s Plays, cinematic content, super cringy original stories, and deep-dives into lore. I watched it all. It set in motion a chain of events that would eventually expand to the point where YouTube has been the primary place where I go to watch things for years now. More than TV and films.
On top of that, it gave me the gift of PC gaming. Now, don’t worry, I’m not one of those people that believes that PC is above all else. However, it has been my primary platform for playing games for many years and likely will remain as such for many more. I originally played Skyrim on the Xbox 360, but when I was watching the aforementioned YouTube videos on the game, I saw all these crazy things people were doing. They were manipulating the game world and doing crazy stuff like becoming invincible or spawning in 50 Lydias. Not to mention all the cool-looking weapons and quests that I couldn’t find anywhere the game. Yes, that’s right, I asked my parents to buy me the game on PC just so I could use console commands and install mods. It stuck though, as I’m still gaming on PC all these years later.
Looking more towards the game itself, it’s easily the non-sandbox game that I’ve put the most time into. By modern standards, the open world isn’t that big, but it’s so very dense with everything that’s packed into it. The enormous stretches of hills and plains may seem empty at first, but you’ll barely be able to walk two steps without an undiscovered location appearing on your compass, or a random NPC coming up and starting an encounter. I know there’s a lot of conversation and heated debate around this topic, but I think it’s the best world that Bethesda’s ever created.
At least once a year (often more) I get that urge to go back and start Skyrim all over again. Even though I invariably end up playing one of three different playstyles, and I have almost every noteworthy quest memorized, I still have so much fun playing through them all. I just love existing in that world and battling my way through every cave and crevasse I come across. A couple of years ago, I embarked on a playthrough where I installed a mod that disabled the compass and map and made my way around the world just using my own knowledge, and I genuinely did a bloody good job with it. I actually have a large chunk of Skyrim’s world memories in my brain and can get to most places without assistance. There’s not a single other open-world game in existence that I could do that with.
Skyrim is the RPG that contains everything I love about RPGs. I love that it keeps getting re-released under ever console that exists, it just gives me more excuses to play it again…and again…and again…and again…an-well, you get the point.
4 – Minecraft
Release Date: 18th November 2011
Developer: Mojang Studios
Publisher: Mojang Studios, Microsoft Studios
Platforms: Anything released after 2009…except the Ouya
Metacritic Average: 93%
It’s a game about…pretty much anything you want it to be about.
What can you even say? It’s the best selling game ever made, it’s got a cultural reach beyond anything anyone had ever imagined a video game could. You could even argue that it changed the world in several ways, but that’s for people more intelligent than me to debate. How do you even describe what’s so remarkable about a game that means so many things to literally hundreds of millions of people? I guess I can just explain what it means to me.
Minecraft was the first time I really understood how a ‘gaming community’ could thrive on the internet. Through things like the hundreds of Minecraft channels on YouTube or the vast amount of forums where Minecraft was the primary focus, I came to appreciate how exactly gaming brings people together. Not only did I see all the creators I love, interact and collaborate together in a way that I hadn’t seen before, but I found communities where I participated and made friends too. Thanks to Minecraft, the internet became a much larger place to me, full of real people, who I could actually talk to and be friends with. I’d never used the internet like that before Minecraft came along.
Outside of that, the game plays incredibly. It is far-and-away the game I’ve sunk the most time into across my whole life. Unfortunately, I don’t have the exact numbers for it, but given that I’ve been playing it regularly ever since I was 12, I’d say it’s easily been several thousand hours. I’ve created so many different worlds, many on my own, many with friends and they’ve all created a unique experience. Be it because of location, or creativity, or wherever I was getting my inspiration at the time, I’ve never built two worlds that look the same.
Not to mention, it’s one of the best games to play socially too because just about everyone owns it. During the past 6 months especially, playing Minecraft with the people I care about is more or less the only time I’ve been able to socialize. It’s such an easy game for everyone to grasp and everyone to do well in. It can be competitive if you want it to be, but it can be just as – if not more – fun when played collaboratively. It’s just such an easy game to play, it doesn’t really require much mental effort if you don’t want it to.
There’s so much more I could say about this game, but – much like the cultural impact of the game itself – we would be here indefinitely if I talked about everything I loved about Minecraft. I think the simplest way to explain it is that it’s a game that measurably makes my life better in so many ways, regardless of how old I was, or what state I was in.
3 – TowerFall Ascension
Release Date: 25th June 2013
Developer: Matt Makes Games
Publisher: Matt Makes Games
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Linux, Android, Ouya…no, really
Metacritic Average: 89%
It’s a game about fast-paced, arena-based archery.
It’s worth mentioning here that all of these top 3 games were in the number 1 spot at some point during the process of putting this list together. I love them all that much.
TowerFall Ascension is the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game. It’s as simple as that.
The multiplayer battling mode is pure perfection. I know it doesn’t have online, but it doesn’t need online, because the whole point of a game like this is playing it against people sitting next to you on a sofa, which you can shout at through your laughter as they kill you in a mad way you didn’t see coming.
The combat runs at an incredibly fast pace, but it’s still a pretty accessible game. When I’ve played this with people (and I’ve played this with many, MANY people) it usually only takes them a few rounds or so to get up to scratch. The controls are very simple so that you can grasp them easily, but there is a layer of skill there for veteran players. Just shooting and jumping would be fun enough, but the inclusion of the dodge/catch mechanic takes things to a whole new level. In a game where attacking is generally the best & only option, you still have a hint of defensive measures, making the combat feel a lot more fluid and give you just enough to think about so that you never truly get bored of it. Not to mention, how satisfying the sounds and animations are, it’s no wonder that the developers’ next game, Celeste, would make that mechanic the primary focus.
Every arena & every match has such a great of variety to it that you can never really rely on the same tactics. Even though each round only lasts 10-60 seconds, a narrative still tends to form. Usually, you’ll start off with no real plan, improvising based on your opponent’s movements and the treasure spawns, but very quickly you’ll start to form an idea of where and how you’re going to approach. Then a massive battle ensues as you come so very close to killing each other about 5 times in 3 seconds before one of you finally makes a mistake. That’s not even mentioning the variants you can add to the gameplay to change the playing field entirely.
While the multiplayer mode is the main focus, I also get a tremendous amount of enjoyment and satisfaction from the singleplayer mode. The design of it is relatively simple – you have to defeat waves of enemies with a set number of lives – but the massive amount of variation in the enemy’s designs and patterns means that you’ve got a hell of a lot to think about. It’s quite a challenging game, in essence, but you can feel yourself improving with every failure. You gradually learn every enemies’ patterns and what the best method to attack them is. It’s great because the game doesn’t point any of this out to you, none of the enemies have glowing weak spots, it’s just a natural consequence of the gaps in their abilities and movements.
Every time I’m playing games with a group of friends, this will always be among my first recommendations because it’s a pure distillation of the fun multiplayer games can bring. I can recall so many joyous memories of times that I’ve been playing this game with people. TowerFall Ascension is a game that I very strongly associate with happy memories, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.
2 – NieR: Automata
Release Date: 23rd February 2017
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows
Metacritic Average: 90%
It’s a game about what it means to be human.
(From my Favourite Old Games I Played For The First Time In 2019 article)
I didn’t know what to expect going into NieR: Automata. I played it looking for a fun hack and slash, which I definitely got, but I got a hell of a lot more than that too. Not only would I rank it among my top two favourite games of all time, but I also regard it as the single greatest work of fiction ever written.
That’s a big statement, I know, I played the game back in February. I’ve spent all year thinking about that statement, I’ve rewatched almost all of my favourite shows and movies, replayed some of my favourite games. I compared NieR: Automata to each and every single one of them, and I genuinely believe that statement to be true, and it’s hard to articulate exactly why.
I think the most basic element of why I love it so much is that nothing had ever stuck with me as long as NieR: Automata has. For a solid week after I reached ending E and saw the credits roll for the final time, I was still thinking about it almost constantly. The game has crafted such an incredible story and raised so many profound philosophical arguments in my mind that I just couldn’t put it away. It’s been like that all year, I keep going back to it, to the questions it asks, to the answers it attempts to give and breaking that down and trying to work out exactly what it says to me specifically.
Outside of those deep thoughts and questions, there is a fantastically paced thriller-action story that kept me enthralled for every single second I played it (and later, read it) every character had weight, purpose and felt real. Every action had a consequence, and everything mattered which is just the right word, I’ve played hundreds of games, and I love so many of them, but none of them matter to me as much as NieR: Automata does.
I could sit here and talk about how the combat mechanics made it one of the most fun and satisfying hack and slashes I’ve ever played. I could talk about the world was beautifully designed with such a large amount of variety that I wanted to explore every corner, but that’s not what’s really important to me about this game. That’s not why, as I sit here writing this entry, I find myself almost at a loss for words to describe how deeply this game and its story fundamentally affected me.
Over the past few years, the state of the world we live in has genuinely worn me down a lot. I’m not going to sit here and make some grandiose comment about society, but there have been several points during this year in particular where I look at the state of some aspects of our world and just feel this sense of deep despair. Then I look to a story like NieR: Automata, that is set in a world quite literally in ruins, and yet, it feels so weirdly hopeful in its tone. It was a game that left me with such a weird cocktail of emotions that I don’t think I’ve ever felt anywhere else, it was so melancholic and downbeat, almost tragic, yet there was an undeniable sense of optimism towards the future.
Those words don’t do that feeling justice, but it’s the best I can do with the words I have.
As a game, it’s damn-near flawless, and as a narrative piece of fiction, I genuinely feel that it is the single most incredible story ever told and one that I will never be able to forget.
It’s been an extra 8 months since I wrote this, and I think if anything, my feelings for NieR: Automata have only gotten stronger since. No story has ever stuck with me like this one. All this time later, I’m still thinking about what it has to say, about how it changed the way I see the world and the way I see narratives in games.
I honestly wish I had more words for NieR: Automata, but I find it so hard to express so many elements about it, so all I can say is that I genuinely believe it when I say that this is the greatest fictional story ever told.
1 – Octopath Traveler
Release Date: 13th July 2018
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Windows, Google Stadia
Metacritic Average: 83
It’s a game about the journey of eight wonderful people.
So…I’ve talked a lot about Octopath Traveler…like…A LOT. So much so, that I almost thought it’d be too predictable to put this in 1st place. I went back and forth over it a lot during the year I spent putting this list together, but in the end, I decided there was nothing else that could possibly take the top spot.
The characters of Octopath Traveler are the most joyous personalities I’ve ever had the pleasure of connecting with in a video game. Giving them all their separate stories was a brilliant way to write it because they all got a chance to show who they are, as much of the time as possible. No-one was pushed to the back or got less development than the rest because they all get the same. The interactions that are scattered in there do wonders too. After establishing their extremely varied personalities, we get to see them interact, to incredibly endearing results.
The writing is so very dedicated to bringing me into the world of these characters and telling me everything I could want to know about them, to the point where I feel like I know even more about them than is in the games. I understand who these people are, and more importantly, WHY they are, which is a fact that so many games forget to establish.
The plots are all interesting too. Writing eight separate stories can’t have been an easy task, especially when they’re all meant to be experience intermixed with each other. Having all of these stories be interesting and memorable, as well as having variety, must’ve been an extremely difficult task. However, because the writers knew the characters inside and out, every plot played to the strengths of that specific character. They weren’t just written into challenging conflicts, they were written into conflicts that were very explicitly challenging FOR THEM, because of who they are.
All of this is backed up by an alive feeling world. The visual style is simultaneously utterly unique and totally beautiful, and it gives every location and intense sense of character & charm. Then, there’s the soundtrack, MY GOD, the soundtrack. There is no question, it is my favourite video game soundtrack. Every track, for every location, every encounter and every character speaks to me on such a deep level. It’s masterfully crafted in such a way that I can attribute so much meaning to every note.
Then, there’s the actual gameplay, which is the pure essence of turn-based JRPGs distilled into a battle. None of the systems are particularly revolutionary, but they give you just enough to balance that very few conflicts are easily resolved. The variety in the roles & abilities of each character makes sure that you can easily make a spot for anyone if you want to. More importantly, it’s not too difficult to grasp what role each character is supposed to play either, which makes team building isn’t as agonizing as it can be in a game as vast as Pokemon. You just have to decide what you want each character to do, and then build them around those ideas; playing into their strengths as much as possible.
The whole thing is a world that just wraps it’s arms around me and pulls me into a world that I love to the very core. I keep going back to it time and time again because it makes me so very happy; and honestly, making me happy is all I want a game to do.
And that is the end of that! Those were my 100 Favourite Games of All Time! Thank you very much for following this series, please, let me know what games you love the most, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo.