Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Top 15 Games as of 2013

So, I've been writing about games for three years on this blog, and I just realized that I haven't made a list of my Top 10 games since my very first post. So, here's my current Top 15 games list; I'm doing 15 because there are just too many to list, so I wanted to expand the list a bit more. The numbering of the list is a bit hazy, though the games are all in the general area of where they should be.


Honorable Mention: Final Fantasy VII; I really should have put FFVII on the list somewhere, but couldn't find a spot. Still, this gem really deserves mention.

15) SoulCalibur V
The latest SoulCalibur game has always become my favorite of the series, and SCV is no different. Sure, I wish the roster was bigger and the loss of Guard Impact was a poor decision, but the game brings so much more to the series than it loses, and the end result is a beautiful fighting game experience.

14) Dragon Quest VIII
DQVIII is a masterpiece experience of the old-school RPG, all fully realized in beautiful 3D graphics. The gameplay is customizable and solid, but its the story where DQVIII shines the most, as it is as heartfelt and sweet as it is bitter and depressing; it's a great adventure across a huge world, and its that sense of adventure and accomplishment that DQVIII creates with its world and story that I will never forget.

13) Metroid Prime
What can you say about Metroid Prime? It's one of the most perfect games ever made. The graphics, the music, the gameplay, the world design, everything just comes together so perfectly. The process of telling the story through scanning the world was also a great design choice. An amazing game, though the experience factor was a bit lacking, hence why it is only 13 on my list.

12) Final Fantasy XIII
We've all heard my rantings on FFXIII and why I feel its under-rated before, so I won't go into that. Quite simply, I find FFXIII to be an incredible experience that combines all the elements of an RPG with an action game pace, and the end result is an engrossing adventure with a great story and amazing characters. I also thought the battle system was a big step in the right direction for modern RPGs to take.

11) Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
Klonoa 2 is one of the most under-appreciated games of all time. The graphics, gameplay, and music all still impress today. But what is perhaps Klonoa 2's strongest trait is its story and charming way of presenting it. I won't go into details, but Klonoa 2 has a superb story that is light-hearted on the surface but eventually goes into deep themes uncommon for children's tales. The end result is a game that is truly an experience to be had, not just for the story, but for the gameplay, graphics, music, and overall charm.

10) Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Perhaps the best aspect of Paper Mario 2 is just how much there is to enjoy about the game. There are many locations you go to, partners to meet, characters to interact with, and stories to experience. It's all very robust, and yet easily playable by anyone. It's just a truly charming adventure that is hard to deny.

9) Viewtiful Joe
VJ still remains a one-of-a-kind game. No other action game plays like it, and as a result, it holds up very well to this day. The graphics are great, the gameplay is original and amazing, and its all presented in a high-energy and charming fashion. A great and challenging action game experience from the legendary Hideki Kamiya.

8) Bayonetta
I may have a fair amount of problems with Bayonetta, but I only criticize Bayonetta because I care about it so much. It's a game that I find so much satisfaction in not just playing, but seeing and hearing it as well. There was a time when Bayonetta when Bayonetta was number one on my Top 10 Games list, and its not hard to see why. It's simply that Bayonetta is a game of layers, and as you peel away those layers you tend to find more flaws, especially if you've played the game for around 60 hours like I have, heh.

7) Grimgrimoire
Grimgrimoire is one of those games that you can tell had a limited budget (like most Nippon Ichi produced titles), but unlike most other games like it, Grimgrimoire provides quality in all of the right places. The game has beautifully designed characters, settings, and creatures; and all of it is wrapped around one of the best stories I've ever experienced in not just videogames but all artistic mediums. And while the gameplay of Grimgrimoire is good enough to stand with the best the RTS genre has to offer, its the story and characters that I will always remember.

6) Final Fantasy IX
Like I've said before, FFIX is the traditional RPG perfected. Everything about this game is superb, but what makes it a real treasure to me is its huge scale and sense of adventure. The story of FFIX takes you to so many places, has you meet so many people, and fight so many creatures. It's mesmerizing how much this game engrossed me into its story, world, and characters. I'll never forget it.

5) Odin Sphere
Being engrossed into a game experience has become a common thing going up from Grimgrimoire, and that's not going to change. Being one of the first games to show me how engrossing a videogame can be, Odin Sphere blew me away with its incredible 2D graphics, amazing soundtrack, original and interesting gameplay mechanics, and superb story. I still consider Odin Sphere's story to be the best videogames have to offer. As its a story that takes on many themes and plays it all very seriously, and the end result is a Shakespearean tale that feels as though it should be written into a play for all to read. An incredible experience that feels almost foreign to videogames when first played; I loved every second of it.

4) Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger has become a legend in gaming, and its not hard to see why when you play it. Right from the start, its engrossing, fun, and charming. The gameplay was revolutionary for its time, and holds up very well today; the music is among the best in gaming, and the story and characters are still as interesting and charming as they were nearly 20 years ago. Overall, what makes CT so great in my eyes is just how original it feels. Like many games populating this list, there just doesn't feel like there are any other games like it.

3) Metroid: Other M

You've all heard why I love this game before, so here's the short version: complexity out of simplicity provides the gameplay of MOM to be extremely satisfying and unique, and yet it never feels monotonous thanks to diverse enemy types and combat not being the focus of the experience, rather the experience comes from nearly every facet of game design; from the graphics to the sound to the story, everything about MOM feels as though it was designed as one cohesive whole, and as a result, MOM is an increidble gaming experience that is unrivaled in what it does.

2) Okami

You may have noticed a lack of Zelda games on this list, well that's because Okami shows me just how limited the Zelda series has become (after all, it says a lot when the most robust Zelda experience is A Link to the Past for SNES). But enough about Zelda, Okami is something more than Zelda, as it takes the foundation of Zelda and builds upon it in nearly every way while also being its own original beast. The graphics in Okami make it one of those games that will always be beautiful, no matter how advanced graphic engines get. The gameplay is a superb mix of action elements taken from Kamiya's previous games with the item-focused combat found in Zelda games like A Link to the Past. The music is charming and beautiful, and still stands as my second favorite videogame OST. And the story is a robust and satisfying story that expands well past a simple tale into a full-blown fantasy epic. Okami is a game that may stay close to gaming tradition in its design, but it performs exceptionally across the board, and thus becomes an undeniable masterpiece.

1) The World Ends With You

If there's one thing I can say about every game on this list prior to this one, it would be that there is a sense of familiarity to them. I've scrolled through menus to choose my attacks in RPGs before, I've pressed a button to do a light attack and another to do a heavy attack in action games before, I've searched corners for hidden items before, I've experienced stories in fantasy settings before, and I've taken down the evil warlord before. You know what I haven't done before? Screamed into a microphone to stun my opponents, listened to hip-hop music while taking down a boss, go to the clothing store to buy a short in the most trendy fashion line at the moment, refilled my health by going to the closest Udon shop, communicated with my partners through the use of cell phones, helping out a three girls patch up their friendship broken my misunderstandings. This is The World Ends With You, and it is easily the most original game I've ever played. The graphics, the music, the battle system, the way it makes use of the DS' two screens, and the superb story and setting that vividly creates a thriving Shibuya in your hand all come together to make what is quite simply the greatest videogame experience I've ever had.