It was a fun time compiling the list of games for the The Ultimate Video Game List Show and ranking them as a group into a top order. After we had complied the games together I made my own list of how I thought the order would/should go, it was interesting to see how that actually fared against the actual show’s ranking. After finishing the show we decided to do personal rankings for the site, so I went back and changed the order of the list into my personal ranking. The below list is based completely on my personal ranking of the games, without the “Gamefied” version i had for the show previously.
20. Mega Man 2
I really enjoy the bosses, sprite work, and music from this game, and I guess the overall Mega Man series as a whole. While I am also impressed at some of the workarounds they found to make some of the bosses and sections possible on NES. As I mentioned on the List Show I think for most this game/series is hard to go back to in a modern context without a previous love of the series.
19. Sonic 2
Similar to the post above I am a big fan of the music and sprite work in this game and the rest of the games in the genesis series. But Sonic is something that has never really connected with me personally, even after several attempts throughout my life with both the 2D and 3D incarnations.
18. Symphony of the Night
This game is one half of the term Metroidvania and really helped put that type of game on the map. I think the art in this game is beautiful and I love the twist with the mirror castle, adding another half to the game. This game and the genre as a whole has never really grabbed me as much as some others.
17. Tetris Effect
While I have never been a huge fan of Tetris, this idderation does seem like it is one of the best ever made. The visuals and music are a stand out from other games. While I don’t think I’ll spend a lot of time with this game, it is appreciated in my book.
16. 007: Nightfire
I am a big James Bond fan. I’m also a huge fan of the James Bond Games from this era, especially having grown up with them. But personally I loved and grew up playing Goldeneye, The World is Not Enough, and Everything or Nothing, missing Nightfire entirely. I do remember this game from the time, I really want to do a full playthrough and see what I think of this game. Maybe we can even get a multiplayer round together with the List crew.
The biggest thing Earthbound has going for it is it’s setting making it stand out from many of the other amazing RPG’s in SNES era. I really do love the weird art design of this game, including the abnormal enemies like cultists, cups of coffee, and cranky old ladies. While I am definitely familiar with this game through the resounding love for it, I haven’t gotten this one off my back log yet, most likely keeping it from being further on this list.
14. Final Fantasy 6
This is one of said RPG’s Earthbound was differentiating itself from in the SNES era, one of the best RPG’s of all time, certainly one that laid the groundwork for future games in the genre. Beautiful sprites and music draw me to this game, just as much as the interesting story. I have never played this one all the way through, but it is definitely on the list.
13. Knights of the Old Republic
Rounding out my block of RPG’s I haven’t finished/played is KOTOR. I ranked this one the highest out of the group, this is the one I am by far the most interested in playing. While I think they are all great games and I don’t think KOTOR has aged the best. The setting, story, and Bioware writing have me on board.
12. Pokemon Soulsilver DS
While I haven’t played the DS remake specifically, the original was certainly an amazing follow up to Red/Blue, even including Kanto as a second region in the game! I loved Pokemon as a kid, I also enjoyed this game a lot. From everything Cam says the DS version only improves on things and brings this game into a modern context in a great way. This one has my support.
11. Super Mario Galaxy 2
This one is tough, we discussed how Mario is such a diverse series spanning so long with so many great entries, everyone has their favorite and it’s hard to pick the best one overall. I do enjoy this game along with the original, but for me personally, they are largely forgotten in favor of other entries in the series. Maybe this one is worth a revisit.
10. Portal 2
This is one of the funniest games out there, the humor still holds up after years unlike most games you see. I’m not the biggest fan of puzzle games, but the creativity seen here is fun and It’s humor drives me forward for more. This is also one of the best Co-op experiences out there, highly recommended.
I was honestly surprised at how much I loved this game. I played it a little while after it was released, picking it up after hearing such great things about it. The story and mechanics are amazing, something not seen in any other game before. The combat is also ridiculously fun, I really loved playing this game. Not to take away from the narrative here, but given Ninja Theory’s past/pedigree, it is safe to say this sword play here is on point.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Another huge Nintendo franchise that is so storied, It’s impossible to narrow down to a single choice I fought for this one to be the choice as it is honestly my favorite in the franchise. In this case I went with the HD remake on Wii U, I it has some overall improvements while maintaining the beautiful graphics in HD. I love so many games in this series and honestly think I prefer it over Mario as a whole. But the beautiful art style and sense of adventure you get here has yet to be topped for me. But it is like they say, you never forget your first.
7. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
The Grand Theft Auto series is a highlight of the PS2 generation, to me Vice City is the best out of this time, possibly the best made in the entire series. The setting of the neon filled 80’s Vice (Miami) City is so memorable I can still remember how to navigate the city and which radio stations have my favorite tunes. This is the GTA from that era I spent the most time with by far, I’m dying for Rockstar to revisit this location/time.
6. The Last of Us
The Last of Us is a great game, a great way to send off the PS3, and another great game for Naughty Dog, sending them into a new tier of developer. This is Logan’s (and many others) favorite game of all time, while I enjoyed it, I don’t think it connected as hard for me personally. There is amazing set pieces and moments I love, things I didn’t expect at all even. But it feels like it just didn’t connect as hard for me as others. Logan mentioned his second playthrough being where he fell in love with it, so maybe I need to revisit it after all these years
5. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
It is probably odd for most how high this game is on this list, but this is my personal ranking and I have to be honest with how its ranked. I played these games my entire childhood all the way up until the series took a turn into where we are today with Ride, Shred, and THPS5. While other games in the series improve on the formula, this is a highlight, especially in the generation picked for this list. I will also mention that this games mechanics and soundtrack hold up today, replaying my PS1 copy after nominating this for our List Show.
I’ve been in love with this game ever since I took my first dive into rapture. The gameplay, story, and world are some of the best in a game. Hunting around dark decrepit hallways clutching a camera to sneak some photos of a splicer or big daddy. Quickly abandoning that to pull out your shotgun once you’re spotted, never gets old. The weapon upgrades found throughout Rapture are also a highlight for me, they keep the sense of power and progression going, while also increasing the fun of the gameplay. This is doubled when talking about the Plasmids, basically super power abilities like electricity and fire. It also has one of the best twists in a game, still yet to be topped by another game. Bioshock still has me just as in love and engaged on all my subsequent playthroughs.
3. God of War
There is really no way other to say it than Masterpiece, I really feel that way about God of War. The entire game is in one continuous shot, which they take full advantage of for some really incredible cinematics and set pieces. This game has some of the best storytelling in a game to date, the relationship between Kratos and Atreus really connected with me, I really feel for their struggles and can identify with each side they represent. This game also has some of the best boss fights, especially starting right out of the gate with “The Stranger” fight. This is the best game on PS4, that is hard to say with such a great library, but I really do recommend everyone who has the system play this game.
2. Mass Effect 2
Another one of my top games of all time, Mass Effect 2 truly is something special. You will never feel more like a commander of a spaceship/ragtag crew than in this game. To me this has the best stand alone story in Mass Effect, while also doing a decent job continuing to move the world forward. This game is all about assembling a crew for a suicide mission everyone agrees they probably won’t come back from. I love this hook in the game, getting a new dossier and recruiting new crew members is exciting every time. But you truly get to know these crew members through missions, including specific loyalty missions built for each character, earning their trust by the end. The RPG mechanics and sense of progression/upgrades also really had me hooked the first time through and again on subsequent playthroughs. For me this really is a perfect game, I wouldn’t really change much of even if I could, even love the theme that plays while mining minerals.
1. Persona 4 Golden
This is honestly my favorite game of all time. I feel like I played this at a very pivotal time, the characters in this game and the growth they have/share really connected with me. This game has some of my favorite characters in any game, I not only remember who they all are, but what personal struggles they overcome to grow into who they become. This is all set in the backdrop of the story of a kid transferred from the big city to the small town of Inaba Japan, around this time mysterious murders begin to occur. The game then becomes about assembling a growing “Detective Team” to find the serial killer. I certainly don’t want to get into spoilers, but the way this all wraps up in the Good/Golden Ending is really amazing, truly unexpected my first time through. I really never get tired of this world, characters, and gameplay, I also still love and listen to the games soundtrack. I might be overdue for a revisit as I have been wanting to go back for a while.