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The Dirty Thirty
Hi, everyone! Thanks to all of you who are sticking with this weirdo list that I'm doing! For a recap to see if your favorites already made the list:
When most people think of side scrolling shoot 'em ups, with two player cooperative gameplay and a gaggle of crazy weapons, they think of Contra, or even Metal Slug, but they were all of them deceived... The TRUE king of those types of games is Gunstar Heroes. With action and gameplay that I can only ASSUME wouldn't be possible without BLAST PROCESSING (lol) Gunstar Heroes gives players the opportunity to customize their characters according to their playstyle before throwing them into a surprisingly engaging storyline of betrayal and redemption where you can customize your weapons based on the powerups you collect. Factoid: This game actually shares a universe with another game, Guardian Heroes for the Saturn which appeared earlier on my countdown!
So, I am putting GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 in the same franchise as Perfect Dark, and honestly, Perfect Dark wins out hands down. While the futuristic setting and theme may not appeal to people as much as the espionage-rific world of James Bond, Perfect Dark improved the gameplay in just about every possible way, complete with adding a second player to campaign mode and adding customizable bots to the multiplayer suite which allowed for four friends to play a completely cooperatively against swarms of enemies for the first time, predating most "horde" modes in multiplayer shooters.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors does not get enough credit. It was an isometric adventure/horror game where up to two players would navigate labyrinthine levels, rescuing, well, your neighbors, from the likes of classic horror movie monsters, like zombies, evil dolls, mummies, and even a dreaded 50 foot tall baby using the only weaponry available to them: squirt guns, shaken up soda cans, and the occasional bazooka. I have NEVER beaten this game, because it is SO difficult, but every time I've played it, I've had a great time.
While the original Borderlands set a precedent for essentially being the first ever "Diablo with Guns", Borderlands 2 improved on the formula in, really, the only area that was lagging in the first: story. The first game's story was presented more as an Easter Egg that you had to hunt down and piece together yourself, filling in the gaps with journal entries and your own personal narrative, and READING the story is nowhere near as fun as watching it, just ask Destiny. Borderlands 2 skips all of that and gives us characters to get behind, an overarching story, and finally some real closure to the events and cast of the first game. All of this while maintaining the fantastic gameplay, art style, and general experience that made the first game so great.
Boy howdy, did this game have it's work cut out for it. When the original Mortal Kombat launched in 1992, it was a cultural phenomenon. Maybe it wasn't the BEST fighting game out there, but the addition of realistic looking characters and most importantly BLOOD completely changed the horizon of video games, leading to the creation of the ESRB! But by the early 2000's, Mortal Kombat had begun to fall on hard times. The series' jump to 3D had not gone well, and a variety of random modes, including KART RACING, made longtime fans feel like Mortal Kombat had lost its soul. Then in 2011 Mortal Kombat rebooted itself, with a canonical retelling of the original trilogy (think 2009's Star Trek). The single player story mode was FANTASTIC, the gameplay was BRUTAL as ever, and it added Tag Mode, which allowed 4 players to play at once. Simply amazing.
This looks like a game for little kids and girlfriends/boyfriends who don't really game. Well, it's all of that, but SO MUCH MORE! When the first LittleBigPlanet hit, it gave us the cutest mascot since Sonic, and provided the Sony brand with more than a platform game. To paraphrase the advertising for the game, it gave us a platform for games! LittleBigPlanet was essentially a coding tutorial disguised as a platform game, and LittleBigPlanet 2 gave us more of the same but also more options for designing our own games, including the ability to create shooters, racing, and fighting games. It was an amazing little(big) title that stands up to the test of time as one of Sony's best of all time. LBP 3 is good, but the jump to the PS4 came with bugs, so LBP 2 takes the prize.
Wander, you fool! This game is so good, that it makes the player have an existential crisis! Are we slaying monsters, or are we the monsters because of the slaying?!? SPOILER ALERT: It's the second one. The semi-sequel to Ico, Shadow of the Colossus takes the 3D platforming genre and flips it on its head. Instead of traversing intricate levels in order to defeat a boss and rescue the princess, the bosses ARE the levels, and that princess is already DEAD. If you haven't played this game, go do it. It has been released for every Playstation since PS2, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting a hold of it. Now, if we could just get a true sequel...
I am a HUGE Star Wars fan, and let's be honest, most of the video games SUCK. But Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic dared to do something different. Instead of sticking you behind the lightsaber of Luke or (ugh) Anakin, you got to create a whole new character, independent of the film series, and create your own legend in the galaxy! A great story with a MIND BLOWING twist, great turn based tactical gameplay, and memorable characters including the ever popular HK-47, the original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is not only the best of the Old Republic series, but it is easily the best Star Wars video game of all time.
Okay, so I was really late to the game on this one. I didn't play this game until it was released on the PS Store and I bought it for my PS3, but OH MY GOODNESS is it amazing. I had long been a fan of the Castlevania series, especially Castlevania 3, Super Castlevania, and Castlevania: Bloodlines, but this game blew them all away! This game blew away a lot of games for the PS3! The first of the series to use the "Metroidvania" style of gameplay the series is now synonymous with, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night rebooted a franchise that wasn't necessarily in need of one, and gave birth to one of the most popular genres of all time.
Me: Point and click adventure games are a thing of the past.
Telltale Games: Hold my beer.
When Telltale Games launched their Jurassic Park series, it didn't go well. When it launched its Back to the Future series, it was FINE, but when they launched The Walking Dead, it became a gaming EVENT. The adventures of Lee and his surrogate daughter Clementine captured the hearts and imaginations of everyone who played it. Sure, the mystique of the game started to tarnish when players realized there was a formula to how their choices played out when they played a second time, but that didn't make it any less awesome the first time around.
Well, that's it for today, y'all! These lists are getting harder and harder, but that just means the games are getting better and better! Make sure you check back soon as we continue our countdown!