"Demon's Souls is a game unlike any other. With an aesthetic and gameplay system similar to modern WRPGs, but developed in the land of the rising sun, Demon's Souls quickly claims its uniqueness, but being the one red fish in an ocean of blue is not what makes the game great. What truly makes Demon's Souls one of the greatest games ever made is its superb ability to create tension through its palpable atmosphere. The unforgiving levels combined with the incredibly precise gameplay makes for an initially difficult game, but this was done for a reason: to make the player feel consequences. Dark labyrinthine dungeons force players to question every move they make, and requires them to plan 5 moves ahead in an unpredictable world that does not care about you, but will kill you for barging in and desecrating its locales. What truly makes Demon's Souls stand out is that when the sum of its parts come together, including the lore-controlled online elements and co-op, it creates the setting that allows the players to experience the gambit of emotions few other games can truly compare to. Entering a new dungeon is always met with curiosity, and a hint of fear. Venturing deeper the fear comes to the surface as traps and enemies try to end the players run. Fights are always and adrenaline fueled affair, and bosses are always as fun as they are grotesque, or in some wonderful exceptions, beautiful. Finally, the game crowns its players by letting them earn victory through hard work and learning from mistakes, thus giving them a palpable sense of victory and accomplishment that even the best of games only manage to do after the final boss, Demon's Souls gives you this feeling after every level, boss, or hard-fought and well-planned victory." -- Written by Meijimasha13
"Ocarina of Time (OoT) managed to capture all the elements that made Zelda great on the NES and SNES. Once again the kingdom of Hyrule is under threat from Ganondorf and it’s up to the hero to rescue Zelda, free the Sages and liberate the land. The story spans two time frames and casts you as both young and adult Link as you travel back and forth between them to solve puzzles. It’s excellent level design, shifting moods, varied weapons and innovative targeting system have cemented OoT into video game history.
OoT manages to be epic and moving in turns, for every intense encounter there is a touching moment to make the world and people of Hyrule personal. You may be trust out of the forest village into the dangerous Hyrulian fields but only after your childhood friend gives you a memento to remember her by. Sure you have to retrieve a special medallion from the heart of a volcano but you really venture into the inferno to save the mountain Gorons who have affectionately named you a brother of their people. You infiltrate a desert stronghold but only with the horse you befriended thanks to the help of a grateful farm girl. All these moments add up so that when you finally ascend into Ganondorf’s castle you go in not just to save a land from an ominous evil but to rescue friends who have helped you every step of the way.
OoT is a game that gives you a world with nooks and crannies to explore, majestic ruins and hidden towns to discover and secrets to find at every turn but it also has a soul that is well worth remembering." -- Written by Simply_simple (originally nominated by dotpatrick)
"It was always about the graphics. Yet as controversially endearing as The Wind Waker’s cel-shaded look is, the real strength of the aesthetic is its astonishing clarity. Minimalistic, iconic texturing never leaves you wondering which wall can be demolished with explosives, and which is merely artfully decrepit. The key wind control feature would hardly be workable without illustrative wisps and rustling vegetation. And with the direction of his exaggerated gaze pointing out objects of interest, the protagonist himself becomes the series’ strongest Link between player and gameworld.
But there is so much more to this game. Especially at a time when other RPG series in Japan were sliding into a design of hypocrisy, contradicting themes of liberation with increasingly linear and deterministic structures, TWW’s old-fashioned exploration came as a breath of fresh air. The sense of wonder in Link’s wind-powered voyages across the seas is unparalleled: from gust-based miniature golf courses to seagull falconry, the teeming gameplay stories to discover individually predict Super Mario Galaxy, while being bound together in a compelling web of intersecting quests that recalls Baldur’s Gate 2.
The dungeons, too, are remarkable. Sludgy 3D backtracking and awkward textual hints were abandoned for more involved and naturalistic singular puzzles, with a stronger sense of development across the level. The cooperative dungeons shine brighter than anything else in the series, with Medli’s partnership in particular adding a new dimension to light reflection sequences.
And it goes on: a soundtrack of outstanding composition that also makes exceptional use of interactive music; towns bustling with larger-than-life characters, following their own schedules and motivations; the use of the wind motif even within dialogue as a cipher for freedom. We called The Wind Waker a work of art, but it was never about the graphics." -- Written by CaptainSyrup (originally nominated by ChronoShot)
"My personal favorite, Gunpei Yokoi's Magnun Opus, and the only non-RPG from the 16-bit era to make the cut. It's so good, that fellow NGG GP's who played it for the first time in 2010 gave it 9's and 10's, 16 years after release. It helped pioneer sequence breaking and speedrunning, and is still being competitively challenged to this day (current record is 32 minutes). Other reasons? Soaked in atmosphere. Excellent music that fits the design and mood. The only SNES title to receive Player's Choice status purely off critical reception, as it had not hit the requirement of 1 million at the time it was repackaged. Intelligent Systems was involved. And most importantly? Some of the most outstanding, versatile controls in an action platformer. Quite simply, it's one of the most timeless titles from the 2D era. Honestly the only strike I can give Super Metroid is it's simply too well received. It just doesn't generate that crazy fanboy / troll argument like a certain other game we all know and love / hate, and if more people debated the quality of the game, more would play it and fall in love." -- Written by pedro
Fight Club. Citizen Kane. Super Mario Galaxy 2. What do these beloved works of art have in common? Depth. More specifically, depth of story. When playing Super Mario Galaxy 2, the first thing one will notice is the attention to detail Nintendo put into the story, as is the case with all of their games. Sure, the graphics are colorful and shiny enough to attract a flock of birds and you jump from one Ratchet & Clank inspired mini-planet to the next throughout the entire game, but it's the top-notch writing and unparalleled character development that truly makes this game deserving of its critical praise. The moment you learn that Bowser is actually the antagonist and plans to kidnap Princess Peach is one of the most shocking reveals in literary history. Even better, the growth of Mario as a character as he overcomes thought-provoking trials and tribulations that parallel real-world situations of today while attempting to rescue his captured maiden really rings true with the player; you will inevitably find yourself emotionally attached to him as a character and each gut wrenching, life-changing decision he makes will have the player further questioning the true meaning of morals, love, and life in general. In summary, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is nothing short of an epic modern masterpiece in regards to storytelling and dialogue. It's not a game – it's an experience." -- Written by RawketLawnchair (originally nominated by pa22word)
"Mario and Zelda had embraced the third dimension to the praise of both fans and critics but Metroid suffered an eight year absence. So in 2002 when Metroid Prime was released it was a delight to see Samus so gracefully enter not only 3D but also the First-Person perspective.
Touted as a ‘First Person Adventure’ (not a ‘shooter’) the game took place in a world littered with the memory of a great nation telling the story of their demise through unobtrusive and optional log book entries. The environments adding to the sense of ruin this nation had been through. Metroid Prime succeed in creating an awe inspiring world but through careful attention to detail it also created a rich, believable playground that was a pleasure to explore.
It was the small things that set Metroid Prime apart. The Morph Ball’s transition from first to third person was seamless and never pulled you out of the experience. In a fight with a giant (sometimes invisible) space pirate the missile explosions cause Samus to raise her hand to protect herself, the blast revealing for a second the reflection of her face. When navigating the tunnels of a long forgotten civilization a sudden burst of steam creates condensation on your helmet obscuring your vision. While blasting the hostile insect population their blood and juices stain your visor. These small touches are so easily overlooked yet add to the game’s sense of adventure.
It’s this loving layer of polish that allow the planet of Tallon IV to feel alive. It’s the majestic landscapes that take your breath away when you play it. It’s the thrill of an old classic rejuvenated into the modem era that keeps you coming back." -- Written by Simply_simple
""Oh, parting is such sweet sorrow." Some people might be saying this after beating an RPG. Because they think that once they've beaten it, its over and done. Right? Not so with Knights of the Old Republic.
While the game itself goes with the flow of what most traditional RPGs are like, it takes things to a new level. Many people that are reading this probably already know reasons why its considered one of the best games of all time. Of course, it lived up to the expectation of delivering not just a great story for an RPG, but a great story for the Star Wars expanded universe. After the release of the official Episode 1 game and other Star Wars games to follow, some were enough to leave a bad taste in gamer's mouths. KOTOR completely turned the trend around while not over extending the bounds of the story which could've led to newer fans being confused.
Some may also pose the question "Where's the beef?". Some of the best qualities of this game revolve around dialogue, and not just the dialogue itself, but replayability with you and your character. You can be whatever you want to be. Want to turn to the dark side? Go for it! No ones stopping you. Feel like that NPC is annoying you? Give him a piece of his mind! Feel like flipping that big bad boss the bird? Well, you can't do that exactly, but you can flip a few thermal detonators at him and laugh at the TV!
All in all there are many reasons this is one of the best games ever. Far too many to list.
My recommendation: Get this game if you don't already own it in your collection. You'll be glad you did." -- Written by thelovebat (originally nominated by Morpheus102686)
"When you're playing Shadow of the Colossus, just remember that it's not like other games. The game is incredibly artistic, almost to the point where you have to be paying complete attention to it to even remotely understand it. I remember fighting a colossus (though I can't remember what it was), where I thought it was absolute bollocks during the playing. Then, I closed my eyes for a second, and all of a sudden the game had an entirely new meaning. It was insane the way Shadow of the Colossus could just become something so different when you take a look into the story.
Another thing you should note about Shadow of the Colossus is that it's easy to get a headache playing it. Not because it's a bad game, but because of how many ideas the game is riddled with and how complex they are. Soon enough your head will fill to the brim and the game will just seem like noise to you. Just turn it off and give it a play the next day.
If you don't like the gameplay, you'll definitely at least enjoy reading through the story, and picking apart the game itself and all of the artistic values that go into making it the complexity that it is." -- Written by Wrldindstries30 (originally nominated by dotpatrick)
"Deus Ex is one of the deepest, most rewarding first person shooters out there. The game gives the player choice in virtually every meaningful facet of the game, from how to approach specific situations to deciding what allegiances to trust. The depth of the game evolves and grows according precisely to the player’s own interests; what weapons do I like most? What’s my preferred method of mobility in sticky situations? What can I use to abbreviate conflict, or even avoid it altogether? Deus Ex never feels like it’s punishing the player for not being stealthy, or for siding with a certain character over someone else. The game simply delivers the goods on all fronts. It's a certain kind of depth usually only found in class-based strategy RPGs where the player is customizing dozens of units, but Deus Ex offers a gratuitous amount of depth that’s fun to experiment and play around with, and it does so strikingly well in real time with only a single player avatar. Deus Ex is not only an incredibly potent pioneer for so many of today’s western RPGs, but its most admirable strengths still have to yet be bested even a decade later." -- Written by StrangerSirKai (originally nominated by pa22word)
"We all know how Resident Evil 4 is an excellent game, that in the midst of a year with generation defining games like: Shadow of The Colossus, God of War, Ninja Gaiden Black, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and many others, still crowned itself as the undisputed game of the year, arguably of the generation. But let's talk about Resident Evil 4's influence and legacy after it's initial release. This is a game that sold close to 2 Million copies on the Wii after two years of it's release on the Gamecube and Ps2. Most brand new games don't reach sales remotely close to those, many a publisher would kill for half of those sales. This is a game that made an excellent sequel like Resident Evil 5 (Hater's gonna hate) seem like a "major disappointment", most claiming that it lacked the variety, charm and replayabilty of it's predecessor. Five years after it's release we still have games like Dead Space and it's sequel aping the core gameplay of Resident Evil 4, it laid the foundation for most of the third person shooters we enjoy today. It doesn't matter If you think that Resident Evil 4 is the best thing since sliced bread or if you think it killed what made a franchise a fan-favorite in the first place, what can't be argued is the absolute sheer amount of inspiration the industry owes to this game and the team that produced it. My hat's off to Mikami and co." -- Written by DominicanGlory (originally nominated by ChronoShot)
Method: First, the board was solicited for a list of nominees. Each user was allowed to submit up to ten games for the nominations list. The purpose of the nominations list was two-fold: first of all, to give users a chance to nominate games they would like to write for if they won (nominators were given 'first dibs' on write-ups), and secondly, to have a public list of potential games. The second is to guard against a voter suggesting a game late that many previous voters would've voted for had they thought of it.
Then, the games (261 total) were entered in a large week-long poll. Users were allowed to vote for up to four games. Then, the top vote-getters from that round (35 total) were entered into a final poll, where users were allowed to vote for up to three games. The vote tallies of the two rounds were added and the initial round votes served as the tie-breaker.
With that, the Top 12 games were announced and write-ups were solicited. Nominators had first refusal to write-ups; then, any user on the board could claim one game they wanted to write for. Write-ups were collected, added to the list and posted.
Full Results: 35 total games made the final voting round. The rest are, in finishing order:
Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy 10, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Final Fantasy Tactics, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Final Fantasy 7, Team Fortress 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past, Shenmue, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Suikoden 2, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Warcraft 3, Bioshock, Fallout 3
DDJ's Brief Analysis: In the closing of Life, the Universe and EVerything's list, I mentioned that there was one game that finally repeated as a winner, but it wouldn't be the game you thought. That was incorrect: when I went back and recounted, I realized I inadvertently counted an extra vote for Deus Ex, and removing that vote dropped Deus Ex back to second behind Resident Evil 4. Due to that, there still has not been a repeat winner: none of the remaining three lists (the Couch, the Forum, or WOT) repeat winners from earlier lists. Outside the top spot, Nonstop Gaming leans on the recent side with its list: seven of the top twelve are from this decade. Like many lists, The Legend of Zelda takes two spots, but Wind Waker is an interesting break from the prevalence of Majora's Mask and Link to the Past. A couple rarely-seen games (among these lists) also make appearances: Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Demon's Souls.
List by DDJ (01/24/2011)
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