Games

Here is a list of my favorite video games.

Bioshock & Bioshock 2

Hands down, my favorite game series. It has the smartest premise ever, amazing gameplay, an awesomely detailed art-deco environment and the most surprising plot twist I’ve seen in a game. They are FPS games, and as the main playable character, you are a visitor to the city of Rapture, an underwater dystopian society where there is no god, capitalism & commerce are given complete free reign and science & art are king. By the time you get to/wake up in the city, things have gone very. very wrong and the wonderful art direction of the city reveals how it went so wrong, through the physical signs of deterioration and through small visual cues of ads, signage and graffiti. Everything in these games are so well planned out; from the elegant and creepy music selection from the ’20s to the pacing of the narrative and the design of the denizens (splicers, big daddies & little sisters) of the city. The first 30 mins of playing through the first game is perfectly tense and it does an amazing job of pulling you into the environment and story. At the end of the games I was sad to leave Rapture, and although I am looking forward to Bioshock Infinite and the flying city of Columbia, I am a bit heartbroken that I will not be returning to this city that I fell in love with.

Bioshock

Resident Evil 4

The fourth in this series of zombie games was a revelation… the pacing was faster, the zombies came faster and in droves, the camera was changed to a third-person, over the shoulder view, and quick time events were added to the gameplay. Leon Kennedy, from Resident Evil 2, is sent to a small village in Eastern Europe to retrieve the President’s daughter, but not is all as it seems in this village. The villagers are not quite zombies, but they’re close; they’ve been infected with the Plagas virus that makes them act zombielike. The virus brings a woman from Leon’s past, Ada Wong, to the narrative who is working with Albert Wesker from Umbrella to get a sample of the virus. I didn’t play this game until it was released on the Wii (a full 2 years after it was first released on the GameCube) and I felt that the Wiis unique controllers added to the gameplay. Even though some fans felt like this game was too far from what made the series great up to this point, I felt that the series was moving forward in the right direction. Though Resident Evil 1, 2 and 5 were good, this one is the game that stands out to me as the series crowning achievement.

Resident Evil

Uncharted & Uncharted 2

I picked up the first Uncharted on a lark, just because there weren’t that many quality games available during the early post-launch days of the PS3. But I was quickly blown away by the amazing platforming and third-person shooter gameplay, the awesome environments and the great characters/story. Nathan Drake, is a modern-day update to the Indiana Jones character, and he is one of the more realistic video game protagonists ever created; he’s fallible, gets hurt and he’s got a sarcastic sense of humor. If you’ve seen any of the Indiana Jones films, then you have a pretty good idea of how the story plays out in these games, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy the ride. Nathan is a treasure hunter looking for lost cities (El Dorado in the first game and Shambala in the second), but other people are after the same treasure, and it is up to Nathan to outwit the armies sent after him, some back-stabbing pseudo-friends, as well as some of the mystical creatures he runs into to save the girl, get the treasure and survive in one-piece. Some of the action is unbelievable, but also unbelievably fun. Can’t wait for Uncharted 3.

Uncharted

God Of War 1-3

This is one of the best and most violent third-person action game series ever created. Based loosely on Greek mythology, it features the always angry Kratos, who ends up becoming a tragic hero by maiming, ripping and brutally killing every creature, god, demi-god and Titan you can remember from your grade school Greek mythology lessons. Unwittingly forced by the gods to kill his own family, Kratos goes on an epic mission of revenge to punish Zeus and well, pretty much anything else in his general way. This series basically invented the quick time event and the first time I came across it fighting the Hydra, I was very impressed with how cool it was. This mechanism is also used to comedic effect in mini-sex games that can be found in each of the games.

God Of War

Metal Gear Solid 1-4

For those who remember playing games in the ’90s, Metal Gear Solid is a classic. Anyone who played that game will remember pulling their controller out of Port 1 and plugging into Port 2 when fighting Psycho Mantis, so that he couldn’t read Solid Snake’s and as the player, your mind. This series features one of the most complicated storylines ever in a game, and I couldn’t explain it to you here to save my life; by the fourth game, Guns of the Patriots, I had no idea what was happening. There are some overall themes of how politicians need and perpetuate never ending war, soldiers can never know peace and a nuclear threat from a mechanized missile-delivery system is always around the corner. But the story is not why you play a Metal Gear game, you play for the tense stealth gameplay and for the amazingly creative boss battles, of which all four games deliver in spades. I’m excited to see where Hideo Kojima will take the series next with Metal Gear Solid Rising, with the side-character Raiden.

Metal Gear Solid

Devil May Cry

Dante is one of the coolest video game heroes ever to grace a console. He’s a half-demon who always has a great one-liner ready and dispatches full-on demons with acrobatic flair while his red coat and white hair swing around him in highly stylized combat. The gameplay was fluid and bloody difficult, especially on the harder difficulty settings. Unfortunately, none of the sequels in this franchise were able to match the brilliance of the first game. They weren’t bad, they just weren’t as good. And the introduction of new characters like Nero did more harm than good. I gotta say though that I like the new youngDante look in the upcoming prequel/reboot, DMC, and I hope it can bring back the glory that this series once had.

Devil May Cry

Kingdom Hearts & Kingdom Hearts 2

I’m traditionally not into RPG’s and I think the biggest turnoff for me is the turn-based battle system found in most of them. But these games kept the interesting parts of RPG’s and added real-time strategic fights. The other great thing in these games is that it allows you explore Disney movie-themed levels. Though some of the levels felt small and claustrophobic, they were still fun and nostalgic adventures. It has been about 5 years since the last proper Kingdom Hearts game (I’m not counting the side games released for handhelds), and I think it’s about time that Square Enix got its act together to build out a proper next-gen Kingdom Hearts III.

Kingdom Hearts

Batman: Arkham Asylum

After making fans suffer through a slew of bad Batman movies and video games in the ’90s and early 2000’s, the tide quickly turned with the wonderful Christopher Nolan films and this video game. In the game, Batman is locked into the asylum with some of Gotham City’s craziest and infamous villains. The Joker is there, of course, as the mastermind behind it all. This game works because for the first time, the player gets to truly feel like Batman; a powerful, strategic fighter and a detective that can glide around like a bat and use all of the fun toys that you’ve seen Batman use in the comics and movies. Everything in this game is well executed, and not surprisingly, the sequel Arkham City is scheduled to come out later this year.

Batman Arkham Asylum

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare & Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

These games have become the FPS standard that all other FPS games are held up against, but cannot match. I believe that mankind could have cured cancer by now if billions upon billions of collective hours had not been sucked up by the multiplayer modes in these games. Besides the multiplayer modes, the single-player campaigns in these games are amazingly crafted action sequences that stick you deep into the action of missions. The Modern Warfare series took the games out of the past and put players into semi-realistic missions that you could imagine are happening today or could potentially happen in the near future, and that made the franchise relevant again. With MW3 announced, we should all get ready to put aside the important things in life to get back into the fold with Captain Price and Sergeant MacTavish.

Call Of Duty Modern Warfare

Epic Mickey

This was a hard one to put on this list… yes the concept and locations are amazing, but the camera is so abysmal, that it almost ruined this game. However, if you have a soft spot for Disney characters or Disneyland rides, trudging through the bad camera work will allow you to experience a really unique game. The Haunted Mansion level with the stretched paintings, or the side-scrolling platforming levels based on old Mickey Mouse cartoons are great examples of how the game uses familiar settings to create an emotional connection between the player and the game. I can’t imagine there being a sequel to this game, but if they decide to develop one, I would hope that they fix the camera issues for the next one.

Epic Mickey

Rock Band 1-3

Having played in bands when I was younger, I know first hand what it feels like to musically perform with a group of people and the exhilaration that can be felt when a band is grooving well together. This series of games gives everyone the chance to experience that. With fun-to-play plastic instruments and great gameplay, it copied the elements of what made Guitar Hero great and took them to the next level with the addition of drums and vocals. With almost 3,000 songs and the almost weekly release of DLC songs, there’s definitely something for every music fan and with frequent purchases, the game has the potential to never go stale. This is a great party game, probably better than Wii Sports, and it goes very well with friends, beers and shots.

Rock Band

The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

First off, I am not an avid Zelda fan. I finished the first game in the series but never continued into the 2nd Quest that was unlocked afterwards. (A little bit of trivia: Zelda was the first game that allowed a player to save their place in a game.) I usually don’t have the time nor patience for RPG games that require 20+ hours to complete, so I didn’t pick up anymore Zelda games—until Twilight Princess that is. This game showed how far the series had come from it’s top-down beginnings, incorporated the Wii controls in a way that made sense and was completely engrossing. So though I am still not an avid Zelda fan, I can safely say that I am really looking forward to playing Skyward Sword.

The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

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