- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Top Ten Video Games List Part 1
This list is purely of my own likes and dislikes but I welcome any opinions in the comments below. Coming up with this list was pretty hard for me but I feel completely justified with my decisions. Without further ado let's start with the first game in the list.
#10 Saints Row the Third
Now this was a last minute edition to my list and may seem a bit odd to have on a top 10 games list. When I was young, the Grand Theft Auto games were some of the best games I had ever played. The freedom of running around and pretty much doing what you wanted to was a fairly new concept for games when Grand Theft Auto 3 came out. I then adored Vice City despite being a parody of Scar Face but then my love for the GTA series declined significantly the more serious the games became. Then, years later, comes in Saints Row the Third. This game rekindled my interests in the genre. From its open nature with plenty of customization to the over the top storyline, this is what Grand Theft Auto should have been.
Saints Row, despite its outrageous nature, somehow has a more enjoyable storyline than the more serious GTA 4 and then the game play becomes more advanced from the wacky weapons and vehicles you can obtain. Of course, don't forget Mr. Ganky either. I would not have even bought this game either if it wasn't for the play through of it I watched by Jesse Cox and WoW Crendor either so I feel credit is due. Take a look at the video below that initially drew me in.
Cox n' Crendog
#9 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
With a total of 337 hours played of Skyrim, I think I would be remiss to not add this game to the list. I've had a long history with the Elder Scrolls games and I even started way back with the second game, Daggerfall. Morrowind had its up and downs, with a great environment but a terrible combat system. Oblivion certainly improved on the model and was the first highly accessible game but, to me at least, it became incredibly repetitive with the oblivion gates and the dungeons in general lacking variety. Then came Skyrim.
With one of the most beautiful worlds to date for an Elder Scrolls game and practically every dungeon having a unique twist to it, you will find yourself simply wandering for hours. Hell, even after my 337 hours played, I haven't ever completed the main storyline. How you ask? Well...The game distracts me into dungeon after dungeon, that by the time I get around to the main story I'll get an inkling to start a new character.
Another factor that I appreciate from the Elder Scrolls games in general is the lore. They stray far from the normal dungeons and dragons fantasy trappings and truly created their own world that usually comes down to the politics between the various races. I find myself occasionally reading up on lore for hours on the Elder Scrolls Wiki and have really engrossed myself into it. Mods also increasingly increase the life span of this game, I think I would have been done with it a long time ago if it weren't for my couple hundred mods I use. Finally, Fus Ro Dah!
#8 Front Mission 4
Although I have heard nothing but good things about Front Mission 3, I personally have never played it, so my mech strategy game of choice is Front Mission 4. The story itself is quite good, with switching between two different teams that eventually come together in the end, it not only gives you a large cast of characters to come to like, it also gives you more variety by having two radically different builds for your mechs, or wanzers as they are called.
What I love about this game really comes down to the mechanics. Each wanzer has 4 different HP values corresponding to either arm, the legs and the body. You could specifically target arms to disable weapons or the legs to cripple mobility. The body itself was what needed to be destroyed to actually defeat the wanzer but it was not always the ideal choice to go for. This almost meant that items such as machine guns and shotguns would have a spray effect that would generally spread the damage out evenly while Rifles would only hit one body part. There were also various skills for defensive or offensive purposes which would add a lot more flare to the combat. The array of weapon choices with AP values that went with them, made for a lot of variety as well as a “link point” system that could chain multiple units together to do some crazy combinations. I liked this system so much I actually adapted it into my own table top game that I played with a few friends for a time.
Unfortunately this was the last Front Mission strategy game that was made and the series has now spun off into an Armored Core Clone. However, Front Mission 4 has really passed the test of time and is still enjoyable to play today.
#7 Final Fantasy Tactics
I love tactics games and the original Final Fantasy tactics for the Playstation is the epitome of what a turned-based strategy should be. The game had an amazing class system which kept you driving forward, leveling one class to get to the next and the completionist in me made me go all the way to unlock the some of the crazy classes like Mimic. This also came out in an era when turned based strategies were at their highest, with other games like Vandal Hearts and Ogre Battle, but Final Fantasy tactics mastered the system.
The storyline was pretty good as well, to the point that the world created for tactics was adopted into Final Fantasy XII years later. Although I'd say Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 1 and 2 evolved the class system and kept the great combat, they gave up on story telling, with each installment being about an incredibly young kid ending up in a foreign world...but the kid in both cases is just annoying and it is quite a shame. What we really need is more turn-based tactics games for the PC. Currently the market for such games has lend itself somewhat to consoles but mainly hand-helds and it is a sad state of affairs.
#6 Rome Total War
It was hard for me to pick just one Total War game. The grand scale of huge armies battling on the field or besieging a city has been great no matter what era the Total War games have covered. From the roman conquests, to the medieval ages and even the age of samurais in Japan, each game has something new to add and improve upon. For many Rome Total War was the absolute greatest in the series and I tend to agree.
The unit variety was astounding with the plethora of civilizations you could play as and fight. Heck, they even have a unit of pigs that you set on fire to scare elephants as this was a practiced that was really used. And although the game is not historically accurate, they sure try to make it as realistic as possible. One great example from Rome is that the Romans themselves were incredibly powerful and had some of the best units for fighting the people they historically conquered. However, once they reach Parthia, things change. Parthia is one of the only nations Rome lost to and this is reflected in the game itself with Parthia having a focus on bow calvary against Rome's focus on the foot soldier. The history buff in me loves this.
The game isn't all battles though, you have to manage a budget, keep the populace happy otherwise uprisings can occur, make trading connections, sending emissaries, and more. At the end of the day, not much is quite as satisfying as successfully conquering all of the known world after a long hard fought campaign.