Let me just preface this and say that by no means am I limiting myself to one game per year or per platform or anything of the sort. I got the idea for this particular blog post just by glancing back at some of the titles I’ve completed to the base 1000 or 100%ed across several consoles and whatnot. So now I’m going to go from roughly the start of the last console generation all the way through present day and take a moment to jot down a few words and sentences per game and maybe even go so far as to explain why they mean what they mean to me. Obviously, this is a lengthy topic and as such it will be split into three or more blogs. As always, please feel inclined to agree or disagree and to otherwise sound off in the comments if you feel I’ve made competent choices or have similar tastes to your own.
2005: Resident Evil 4, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Spider-Man 2, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, Doom 3, LEGO Star Wars, Shadow of the Colossus, Star Wars Battlefront II.
Resident Evil 4 is often referred to as a “turning point” for the series and in many ways rightfully so. There were some fundamental changes to everything from combat to locomotion, the introduction of a dynamic difficulty mode, and a new graphical update of sorts. It was everything that Resident Evil 5 and 6 and many of the offshoots beat into the ground, but it was the original real deal.
Mercenaries 1 is probably my favorite of the two games in the series in terms of quality and originality, despite the second release holding up better by today’s standards almost ten years later. Let’s just take a moment to collectively marvel that 2007 was a decade ago and that last year was not 2011. It’s pretty zanny, just like a game where you’re free to destroy virtually any and everything in the environment. So think of it as some sort of Just Cause fueled rampage.
KotOR as it has come to be known was an amazing role-playing game. The sequel may actually be my favorite however, and I still play it on my original Xbox to this day- although to be fair that may also be because the original game glitches out way more often and is more frustrating to play nowadays than the sequel. There is some obviously unfinished stuff in the game that hints at potential expansions that never came, and yet it’s such an amazing adventure that it was continued in the Del Rey Star Wars universe by the original writer of Mass Effect in a title that finishes Darth Revan’s story for good.
Spider-Man 2 stands as one of the greatest comic book games to date and long before I recognized that, it was one of the most fun games in my collection. It is by far the best of the films and naturally the best of the games, implementing many things that Spider-Man 3 later would with the exception that they worked better in the Spidey 2. The story was original and interesting, the boss fights challenging, and swinging around New York City while slowly collecting upgrades is the most fun I’ve ever had in a semi-open world area.
Also known as TimeSplitters 3, the third and darkest illustration of the series dropped the toonery of the former titles and added some amazing multiplayer and local cooperative content on the GameCube. I can still recall having a blast blowing my friends up with some sort of injector gun that would slowly puff their characters up before they exploded into a fine red mist. Oh, and you could play as a miniature dinosaur that essentially looks like a dude running around in one of those dino suits- long before that was a thing. It’s ridiculous and it’s fun.
Doom 3 was also a change of pace for the series and while I loved 2016’s return to form, I must say Doom 3 offers an interesting survival-horror aside. Resurrection of Evil didn’t add much to the equation but the combined title and expansion do offer the best bang for your buck and also a more complete package overall. I’ll never forget having to choose between carrying my rifle or being able to illuminate dark corridors with my flashlight. Such a simple choice led to plentiful jump scares and close encounters.
LEGO Star Wars was the first to kick off what has since become an amazingly successful series and you can’t fault it for what it does. Even though it is definitely marketed towards families and younger children, the experience in LEGO form was something that wowed me and apparently many others. I played the game to 100% completion and unlocked everything I possibly could just to see the epilogue chapter containing Darth Vader that hinted at a potential followup with the best and rest of the episodes- the original trilogy.
Shadow of the Colossus is a cult classic by now and while undoubtedly it has its own flaws, you cannot possibly hate it for what it does. Hell, they even made a movie about two guys bonding over the game, as if Adam Sandler and a post-9/11 America couldn’t go any better with the destruction of several colossal beasts. Well, that last part may be a touch ironic, but the point stands- this game is truly a masterpiece and definitely something that you should play if ever given the chance.
Star Wars Battlefront II is the best Star Wars Battlefront game ever created. I still play it to this day and have invested thousands of hours into the formerly online shooter. First of all, it has an amazing single-player campaign- and if you think those shots are being fired at DICE then you’re most certainly correct. As a forever fan of Star Wars and its extended universe, Battlefront II built upon the first title in nearly every sense and offers the most complete Star Wars experience outside of the role-playing adventure titles.
2006: Driver: Parallel Lines, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Tomb Raider Legend, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Resistance: Fall of Man, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Driver 4 as it would be, is probably my favorite of the series- although the most recent one (San Fransisco) was not bad for the mechanics and originality in story that it implemented and had. Parallel Lines was definitely a guilty pleasure and looking back at it, not that great but not that terrible of a game even by today’s standards. In many ways it falls somewhere in between Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto in terms of absurdity and morbid fascination with death and destruction in a mostly open world.
Bethesda has a way with innovation and at the time Oblivion was definitely the most innovative game on this list. Skyrim has since come and passed and we now wait for the inevitable return to Tamriel outside of the MMO format the series has since adopted. But Oblivion may trump even Dragonborn and dragon slaying in that it offered an entire realm within a realm for players to explore and battle demonic foes across. The story starts as most Elder Scrolls games do, however it does not retread many familiar moments. I’ll never forget closing my first Oblivion gate, just like I’ll never forget the first shout uttered by a dragon in Skyrim. TES has always and will always be about moments and memories.
Tomb Raider Legend is perhaps the last of the great “old” Tomb Raider games. Underworld was okay and Anniversary was simply a graphically updated version of the original title. But since Underworld we’ve rebooted the series and it has taken a phenomenal turn into survival-horror and action-adventure territory. Legend blended the perfect mix of supernatural and action at the time and has a truly intriguing story. I still hate the lengthy and painful London level with a passion, but the rest of the story offers some of the best levels I’ve played in a game.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is perhaps the best ad most complete fighting game featuring a superhero roster- outside of legitimate fighting games within the genre. It put superhero brawlers on the market and undoubtedly inspired titles such as the Batman Arkham series that would later come and wow us as well. The story was genuinely enjoyable and the action just as frenetic as one would hope. Thankfully we’ve been blessed by the MCU in the absence of this series over the past few years.
Resistance 1 is perhaps my favorite of the series in terms of story, despite the second title being the overall best of the series in terms of the complete package. Fall of Man was something of a pleasant surprise for me when I initially played it and it ranks up there with Killzone 1 as a PS game I am glad existed if only because it spawned an infinitely better slew of games afterwards. Killzone 2 and 3 are amazing and dwarf the first title but could not have been made without it. Likewise, Resistance 2 and even the less stellar 3 dwarf the ambitions of the gem that started it all.
Twilight Princess has some of the lengthiest dungeons in the series and that’s not the only intriguing aspect the title offered upon its debut. It has been heralded as one of the darkest entries, despite toon Link plunging his sword through Ganon’s skull in Wind Waker and all that jazz which is always forgotten somehow. It introduced amazing new mechanics on a previously ridiculed console. Finally, there was a reason to buy a Wii it seemed, even if my GameCube skin featuring TP is infinitely cooler than any Wii ever will be.