VGChartz Staff Picks: The Top 100 Games, Part V - ArticleEvan Norris , posted on 31 January 2018 / 4,021 Views
Before we move on, I'd like to thank Craig Snow, Adam Cartwright, Taneli Palola, Brandon Wysocki, Daniel Carreras, Damián Cruz Latorre, William D'Angelo, and TruckOSaurus. Without their hard work and insight, none of this would have been possible.
Enjoy the top 20!
Part V: Games 20-1
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Masahiro Sakurai strikes again with another extraordinary brawler, this time with non-Nintendo guest characters. Joining regular combatants like Mario, Link, and Samus are Konami's Solid Snake and Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog. Apart from incredibly-deep and accessible multiplayer options, Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a surprisingly-long and varied adventure mode called "The Subspace Emissary."
Shadow of the Colossus
With a PS4 remake already collecting stellar scores, Shadow of the Colossus may be on its way toward capturing the hearts of another generation of game enthusiasts, just as the PS2 original did back in 2005. Like Ico (#56), Shadow of the Colossus is a minimalist masterpiece with rich atmosphere and emotional, non-verbal storytelling. Its collection of boss fights is among the very best in any video game.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
For the longest time the consensus pick for greatest of all time, Ocarina of Time has stumbled somewhat in recent years, with games like Super Mario Galaxy and Ocarina's own heir apparent Breath of the Wild leap-frogging it. Still, it's a masterful game, with amazing sound design, music, dungeon layouts, and time-travelling gameplay.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Nintendo had pushed video game design forward on the NES with Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and others, but it only achieved near perfection with Super Mario Bros. 3, a platformer without equal in the 8-bit era. Intensely challenging, overwhelmingly addictive, and packed with content, it's a game for the ages.
Super Mario World
Super Mario World vs. Super Mario Bros. 3 will probably remain a source of heated debate for years to come, but most will agree both games are works of art. World introduced new environments, new levels, and unprecedented non-linearity into the series, and topped it all off with some bright graphics and a timeless soundtrack.
StarCraft: Brood War
StarCraft: Brood War isn't the most revolutionary RTS game, but it may just be the best for its time. With a compelling campaign replete with unforgettable characters and story moments, deep tactical gameplay, and three distinct, perfectly-balanced factions, it became the high bar against which future strategy games would be judged. A superb multiplayer offering, including player-made custom maps, which would go on to birth one of modern gaming's most successful genres, gave it a lifespan measuring not just years but decades.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
For some, Galaxy 2 will always be "Galaxy 1.5," but for all its similarities to its predecessor, Galaxy 2 embraces a lot of new, creative, and challenging ideas. It doesn't modify the formula much, because, well, why would you? Instead it builds on a strong mechanical foundation, introducing new gameplay wrinkles and audacious levels along the way.
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy combines the freedom of 3D exploration with a specialized spherical-based platform engine that opens up new horizons and dimensions to players. It's a platforming pièce de résistance, made even more memorable by a sweetly-nostalgic story.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
It's difficult to describe a game like A Link to the Past because it's so boringly perfect. Its visuals are crisp and clean; its soundtrack bewitching; its overworld packed with secrets, dangerous monsters, and quirky characters; its dungeon and boss design world-class; and its side content vast and surprising. It's the quintessential Zelda game for a reason.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Built around a trifecta of survival, stealth, and combat, Snake Eater stands today as arguably the best of the Metal Gear series. It inherited the superior stealth gameplay of the first two Metal Gear Solid games and matched it with new elements like camouflage, hunting, and healing. Moreover, its impressive cast of bosses remains one of the best in the genre.
Despite its short length, Portal represents one of the most creative, quirky, and darkly humorous games ever made. Based around a portal gun that connects two points in three-dimensional space, Portal manufactures wildly-imaginative and brain-teasing puzzles for its test subj—err, players.
Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid broke a lot of rules and conventions on consoles when it launched in 1998, and helped push the video game medium into new, uncomfortable places. It merged the narrative and visual stylings of cinema with the mechanical necessities of games, and articulated a sober story that reflected on the world's man-made horrors — a far cry from the cartoonish fables and legends spun before it elsewhere in the industry.
The Last of Us
Speaking of merging cinematic storytelling and action game design, perhaps no game does it better than The Last of Us, a dystopian road trip through hell on Earth. The game's characters are real and substantial, and act immorally and selfishly as needed. On the mechanical side of things, this stealth shooter works fantastically, thanks to a nifty on-the-fly crafting system and an intuitive cover system.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo changed the landscape of console first-person shooters, and made Xbox a household name. So many themes and gameplay elements popularized in Halo influenced the genre: limited weapon set, rechargeable shields (rechargeable health would have to wait for Halo 2), drivable vehicles, militarism, etc. Its most noteworthy achievement is its commitment to improvised tactical firefights, a feature that would lose its primacy as the series moved forward.
A spiritual successor to the System Shock games, BioShock merges multiple genres into an amazing virtual experience. It manages to satisfy as a shooter, a role-playing game, an adventure, and a horror game. Most spectacular is its setting, an objectivist enclave hidden beneath the waves.
Half-Life 2 was a technical marvel in 2004, and it's still darn impressive in 2018. The game's animations, graphics, and especially physics were cutting-edge at the time, and its environmental storytelling remains some of the best around. The one-of-a-kind adventure inside Half-Life 2 is the real star, with varied episodes that range from straight action to problem-solving to horror.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
By looking backward in time to the original Zelda game, the development team under Eiji Aonuma made a modern masterpiece in Breath of the Wild. The team crafted a huge, living world where once again it's dangerous to go alone. Explore, fight, hunt, fish, craft, cook, talk, quest, and experiment — for as long as you want, in as many ways as you want — in Breath of the Wild.
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII had an enormous impact on the games industry, but it had an even larger impact on the public perception of role-playing games. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to claim the game was the first mainstream RPG. It sold 10 million copies (the most of any Final Fantasy title), boosting the sales of Sony's PlayStation in the process, and is often regarded as the seminal RPG of the 90s.
Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 gave the platform genre unprecedented freedom of movement, transitioning into three dimensions with authority. It also introduced a revolutionary camera system that allowed players to manipulate viewing angles in the game. Super Mario 64 left a lasting impression on 3D platformers and 3D action games in general, inspiring titles like GoldenEye 007 and Grand Theft Auto III.
Like so many great sequels, Portal 2 takes a strong foundation and layers on new features and improved gameplay. The title is a significant upgrade over an already excellent game, packed with more puzzles, more interesting and varied level design, and some of the funniest writing and voice acting of any video game ever, thanks to Ellen McLain, Stephen Merchant, and J.K. Simmons. It's also the third game from Valve in the top 10 - a monumental feat.
Thank you for reading!