VGChartz Staff Picks: The Top 100 Games, Part III - ArticleEvan Norris , posted on 22 January 2018 / 4,661 Views
Part III: Games 60-41
Rare's GoldenEye 007 proved the viability of first-person shooting on home consoles. It demonstrated that single player and multiplayer shooters could work and even thrive away from the PC environment, and set the stage for games like Medal of Honor, Red Faction, Halo, and, eventually, Call of Duty. Beyond its legacy, it's just a terrific game, with objective-based missions, addictive deathmatch options, and, thanks to several difficulty settings, significant replay value.
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X is the first of six Final Fantasy games on this list, but for many it's the greatest moment of the series. Featuring a revised battle and summons system, robust character development tools, and amazing production values, it's one of the best-playing and best-looking games in one of the industry's finest franchises.
Michel Ancel is a genius; let's just get that out of the way. His work on Rayman, particularly Rayman Origins and its sequel Legends, is some of his best. In Origins, Ancel and his team at Ubisoft Montpellier turn in a platformer for the ages, with colorful and varied stages, a quirky sense of humor, and a level of creativity matched only by the platform masters at Nintendo.
Developer Gearbox upped the ante with Borderlands 2, with an improved story and updated gameplay systems. It's an incredibly rewarding game, not just in relation to story and character progression, but also in terms of loot, co-op combat, exploration, and questing.
Ico is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Born from the fertile imagination of Fumito Ueda, who would go on to gift the world Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian, Ico is a minimalistic action-adventure title with clever puzzles, gratifying climbing and exploration, and, at its center, an emotionally powerful partner mechanic where the young outcast Ico must work with the captive Yorda to escape a vast castle.
Bungie was at the top of its game with Halo 3, turning in a title with an outrageous amount of content and polish. On the single player side of things, Halo 3 concluded (or so we thought) the story of Master Chief and Cortana in satisfying fashion. On the multiplayer side, the game delivered a veritable smorgasbord of modes, customization options, map editor features, vehicles, weapons, and items. It remains a masterclass in online multiplayer gaming.
Final Fantasy IV
Known as Final Fantasy II when it launched in North America in 1991, Final Fantasy IV set the tone for the series moving forward. Its colorful cast of characters, active-time battle system, and dramatic storytelling affected not only the evergreen role-playing series but RPGs in general. Looking back, it was a monumental game.
FTL lets you be the captain, but it's not all glory and adventure. The random chance of destruction and asphyxiation in deep space is always present in this tough-as-nails but ultimately-rewarding rogue-like space sim. Its simple presentation hides a game of considerable depth and strategy.
If you didn't get your fill of death in FTL, perhaps Demon's Souls will scratch that itch. Here is an action RPG where every mortal wound is a lesson, and every failure an instruction manual. Only by losing again and again, and by paying attention to the clues left by the game's creative asymmetrical multiplayer mode, can you hope to make it to the end of Demon's Souls.
Batman: Arkham City
Where Arkham Asylum (#84) was a take on a Metroidvania, its successor Arkham City went full open world, opening much of the playground that is Gotham City to players. The game world is teeming with hostiles, secrets, and optional side-quests, and Batman himself is a joy to play, with a wide range of navigational and gadget-based moves.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
The third Sonic game is debatably the best, with spectacular 2D sprite work, a killer soundtrack, and vast levels begging to be explored and re-explored. In fact, the game's large, non-linear stages, filled with secrets, are perhaps its greatest attribute.
Gears of War 3
While it's not the most innovative game in the franchise, Gears of War 3 overwhelms with the strength and substance of its single player, co-op, and multiplayer options — including Horde 2.0 and Beast mode. It's more evolutionary than revolutionary, but that's just fine with a series as stalwart as Gears of War.
Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time
A Crack in Time does almost everything right. Its colorful visuals pop off the screen. Its story hits all the right beats, including funny jokes and even some surprising revelations. Its gameplay, a smart mixture of puzzle-solving, platforming, and third-person shooting, is polished and perfect.
Journey is as much an audiovisual explosion of art as it is a game. With stunning graphics, a soundtrack that ranks among the best of all time, and a specialized cooperative mechanic that allows strangers to share the same powerful quest, Journey is one of those rare games that will stay will you all your life.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Boasting 11 characters new to the series and a ridiculously fun two-characters-per-kart setup, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! sent Nintendo's best-selling racing series to new heights. The two-character dynamic allows a good deal of mixing and matching, and makes the choice of characters — each of whom owns his or her own special item — all the more strategic.
Fallout returned in a big way with Fallout 3, which said goodbye to the isometric view and turn-based action of earlier games and embraced 3D graphics and a V.A.T.S. combat framework that combines real-time and turn-based fighting. With huge exploration opportunities, open-ended gameplay, and adjustable character progression, it's one of the most flexible and deepest RPGs available.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V, besides breaking all kinds of sales records, represents a tremendous step forward for open-world design and storytelling. It's a game epic in size and scope, filled with memorable characters; challenging missions; absorbing exploration, shooting, and driving; and a gigantic, organic world overflowing with weird and wild things to do.
Beyond Good & Evil
Michel Ancel earns a second spot on this list with Beyond Good & Evil, a special Zelda-like game with a sinister storyline and some tricky stealth gameplay. There's a lot to love about this game, including an eclectic soundtrack, a bizarre (but lovable) group of supporting characters, and plenty of chances to explore Hillys and capture its fauna on camera.
With its revolutionary "eight-way run" control scheme, high replay value, and sumptuous visuals, SoulCalibur is one of the most impactful fighting games ever made, and a rare example of a console port that outdoes the arcade original. Combat is strategic and intense, the characters are varied, and the action is silky smooth and beautiful to watch.
Prepare to die. Like its spiritual predecessor Demon's Souls (#52), Dark Souls is a punishing action-RPG where death comes early and often. Unlike Demon's Souls, however, the game offers a sprawling, inter-connected environment that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Gone are discrete levels, replaced with a huge domain that feels layered and complex, where a platform or parapet spotted far away could be your next destination.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for games 40-21 in Part IV.
Included among them is a title that's sold 144 million copies, a game that brought a beloved series into three dimensions for the first time, and a deceptively-simple RPG that taught a generation of kids to "catch 'em all."