VGChartz Staff Picks: The Top 100 Games, Part IV - ArticleEvan Norris , posted on 27 January 2018 / 5,174 Views
We're down to the final two parts! Check out the earlier lists in Part I, Part II, and Part III. Up ahead are a lot of classic, beloved titles that have stood the test of time, and a few modern releases that took the gaming world by storm.
Part IV: Games 40-21
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Criticized at launch for its cartoonish appearance, The Wind Waker, in the years that followed, earned a legion of fans for its beautiful score, its expressive graphics, and its huge waterlogged world. Sailing across the Great Sea is a joyful experience, as is stumbling across pirate nests, sunken treasure chests, and eccentric locals. Be sure to stay to the end for a truly shocking ending.
After selling 144 million copies, it's safe to say Minecraft isn't going anywhere. Mojang's sandbox crafting game exploded in popularity when it arrived on the gaming scene, inspiring dozens of clones, spin-offs, and fan-made tributes. The creative freedom the game affords players is extraordinary, and the opportunities for emergent gameplay virtually limitless.
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Four years after the original Diablo, the colossal Diablo II would release, quickly captivating gamers with its dark fantasy charm and relentless role-playing progression. Spicing up character classes, creating more diverse and sophisticated randomly-generated loot, adding customizable weaponry and armor, and granting new features that further enhanced the gameplay, Diablo II would become one of the most popular PC games of all time. [Damián Cruz Latorre]
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty as a series delivered intense first-person shooting action for several years before Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but it was only with the jump to present-day military conflicts that the franchise achieved true greatness. The game's campaign told a story worthy of a Tom Clancy novel, all the while delivering intense firefights and incredible mission diversity. Its multiplayer options were similarly great, rivaling contemporary Halo 3 (#55) as the best in the business.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Like so many games on this list, Oblivion is superior on all fronts. Its score, by award-winner composer Jeremy Soule, is magnificent. Its graphics, physics, and AI systems are (or were at the time) state-of-the-art. Its expansive game world is rich in content, secrets, and meaningful interactions with non-player characters. Ultimately, Oblivion pushed the series forward, technically, narratively, and aesthetically.
Gears of War
Pulling together ideas from Resident Evil 4, Kill Switch, and Bionic Commando, Gears of War became the first killer app for Microsoft's Xbox 360. On launch day it unseated Halo 2 as the most popular game on Xbox Live, and sold one million copies in its first two weeks on the market. Its violent gameplay, co-op mechanics, and stunning visuals made it an instant hit, and started a franchise that continues to this day.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The only kart racer better than Mario Kart 8 is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which married the spatial freedom, orchestral score, and absurd amount of content from the original with a suite of new battle options. With 42 characters, 48 tracks, and five different battle modes, it's an amazing value proposition.
Few games are as legendary as Super Metroid, a title that perfected the non-linear exploration of the series and helped inspire the portmanteau "Metroidvania." Dripping in atmosphere, buoyed by a mysterious story, and filled with secrets, power-ups, and thrilling enemy encounters, Super Metroid earns its illustrious, timeless status.
Left 4 Dead 2
Improving on the first in every conceivable way, Left 4 Dead 2 introduces new characters, weapons, special infected monsters, and modes that grant it huge replay value. One of the game's most noteworthy successes is the diversity of its five campaigns. Where many of the campaigns in the premier Left 4 Dead felt like variations on a theme, those in the sequels feel entirely unique, with different goals and gameplay wrinkles.
Final Fantasy IX
As something of a fond farewell to the games that came before it, Final Fantasy IX is essentially a monument to the history of the entire series up to that point. The countless callbacks and references are still just the surface of a game filled with charm and wit, great characters, a wonderful story, and, once again, an excellent soundtrack from Nobuo Uematsu. [Taneli Palola]
Pokémon Red and Blue
Pokémon Red and Blue is as much a cultural phenomenon as it is a set of video games. With Pokémon, Nintendo and Game Freak tapped into something elemental and primordial — a need to collect, trade, and connect. With adorable monster mascots, and an addictive gameplay loop, Red and Blue changed the landscape of handheld gaming and assisted in securing Nintendo's dominance in the portable space.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
It might share a bunch of similarities with its predecessor A Link to the Past, but A Link Between Worlds is an original experience — make no mistake. Backed by fresh ideas, brilliantly-designed dungeons and boss battles, and lots of side-quests and secrets, this sequel is one of the finest Zelda games in years.
Metroid Prime had no business being good when it launched in 2002. Built by a new team under the supervision of Nintendo, the game attempted to catapult the Metroid franchise from a 2D side-scroller to a 3D first-person shooter. It was madness; the reaction from fans at E3 2001 said as much. Yet, new-kid-on-the-block Retro scored big right out of the gate, turning in a veritable masterpiece of level design and environmental storytelling.
Resident Evil 2
Directed by Hideki Kamiya and produced by Shinji Mikami, two legends in the field, Resident Evil 2 is perhaps the best "old-school" Resident Evil game. It built upon the foundation of the original game, adding more detailed environments, sharper graphics, and tighter controls. Its greatest attribute, however, is improved replay value, thanks to mini-games and four different story scenarios.
Final Fantasy VI
With so many outstanding Final Fantasy experiences available, it's difficult to identify the best of the bunch. Many fans point to Final Fantasy VI, with its amazing music and art direction, involving storyline, large cast of sympathetic characters, unique events, memorable villain, and deep role-playing gameplay.
Final Fantasy VIII
While it's one of the more divisive entries in the long running series, Final Fantasy VIII has managed to develop a strong following regardless thanks to its excellent soundtrack, interesting story, (mostly) well-developed characters and the highly customizable junction system. The game certainly has its flaws and weaknesses, but they are constantly overshadowed by the its strengths. [Taneli Palola]
Developed by Square's "Dream Team," Chrono Trigger charms instantly with colorful characters, a brilliant storyline, and unprecedented gameplay mechanics for a JRPG. Time travelling has never been this fun and this well-executed, as Crono and his friends do all they can to stop Lavos from destroying the earth in AD 1999. The campaign is relatively short by role-playing standards, but multiple endings give it a lot of staying power. [TruckOSaurus]
Resident Evil 4
For Resident Evil 4, Capcom ditched the cumbersome control schemes and fixed camera angles of previous installments and, in the process, transformed the survival-horror series into something akin to a third-person shooter. The positive and negative aspects of its legacy are debatable, but the game itself is undeniably great.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Canadian developer BioWare has come under scrutiny as of late, but back in 2003, with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the studio was in its prime. BioWare crafted an incredibly-detailed and alive Star Wars universe, occupied by memorable characters, shocking revelations, meaningful moral choices, and tons of content.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
The Uncharted series has seen quite a few high points since its inception, but no game in the franchise matches the intensity and playability of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. It's the ideal blend of arcade action and cinematic presentation, with some of the finest shoot-outs and set pieces of the entire seventh generation of video games.
That's the end of Part IV! Coming up in Part V is a cult classic that's getting a remake next month; a killer app on Microsoft's first foray into the console market; and an interstellar adventure for gaming's most popular mascot.