Tony’s Top Ten of All Time
My list of top ten games of all time! Without further ado…
10. Shadow of Colossus (2005)
Not many games gave me greater sadness than this one; the entire mechanic involves slaying giant beasts that otherwise were minding their own business and going about their lives. I sympathized with these creatures, for really no other reason than the fact that I wouldn’t want anyone coming to kill me for doing nothing. They were such a beautiful representation of power and nature, it was difficult to shove a sword into their gullets.
9. Assassin’s Creed 2 (2009)
The series is hit or miss for most gamers, however, the sequel stands out to this day as the best in the bunch. Featuring Ezio Auditore and Italian cities of Firenze, Venezia, Forli, and Roma, players could visit all of the historical landmarks in each city. Ubisoft did an amazing job of recreating Renaissance Italy and for a history buff like myself (especially since I am Italian), that was amazing. Relearning Brunelleschi’s architecture was a treat.
8. Tomb Raider (2013)
Every single iteration of this archaeologist’s journey was great. However, my favorite was its reboot by Crystal Dynamics. Graphical quality (obviously) was amazing, and the voice narration by Camilla Ludington was perfect. Crystal gave Lara an actual relatable voice, deepening her character and that is why the reboot makes my list. I am sad PlayStation 4 won’t see the sequel till 2016.
7. Jak and Daxter trilogy (2001-2013)
Anything done by Naughty Dog basically wins my vote. I am probably biased these days, but the Jak titles, as with all other Naughty Dog games are just simply amazing. Great characters, great mechanics, great settings, and great narrative. It was one of those games that I could just play over and over again. Further than that, the Jak series has played a role in my passion for game journalism and narrative attention.
6. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (2011)
The entire Elder Scrolls games are amazing, there is no doubt. However, since I only owned Sony platforms, I was unable to play anything before Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. That being said, the last title in this series was my first major love of open-world RPGs. I had never played anything like it. It was so immersive and huge, and so beautiful. What do you mean I can travel to any place I see?! I owe my addiction to exploration and open-worlds to this title. Hours upon hours (I clocked 180 total hours) exploring every single location (300 total, I believe) makes a great, forever-game.
5. Bioshock trilogy (2008)
Here’s a series where the narrative and setting makes the game. While the gameplay was innovative with its dual-wielding of weaponry and plasmids, the twisting narrative and steampunk setting sucked me in and kept me intrigued for all three titles. Who doesn’t love an underwater city and mechanical killing machines?
4. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2003)
The original PS2 trilogy created by Jordan Meschner is fourth, but Sands of Time was the first game that set my passion for gaming narrative in motion. It was the most intricate time-traveling experience in gaming at the time. The mechanics were perfect and the narrative…the way it came full circle, it was wonderful. It dealt with the intricacies of time travel in a meaningful way and miraculously, did not screw it up. The score was also especially amazing; I still listen to it often. I must have played the game at least 60 times.
3. Uncharted saga (2007-present)
Most people would say this series isn’t anything special compared to the likes of Fallout or Metal Gear Solid. However, Uncharted reached me on narrative levels. While not the most intricate plots, the series contains some of the most memorable characters and solidified my love for game writing. They are still some of the most beautiful games on the last generation. And Nathan Drake is one of those characters I would just love to have as a friend. Think of the adventures!
2. The Witcher: Wild Hunt (2015)
This game was a very close second simply because of the ambiance. I felt the effects of the realms’ constant warring; I felt the effects of my choices, and most of all, I felt the sorrow from the villagers and townspeople. There are narratives in the smallest of details. Even the beasts Geralt is tasked to slay have their own, sorrowful story. It is also one of the most beautifully-rendered and largest games I’ve played and remains one of the largest narrative inspirations for me.
1. Last of Us (2013)
The Last of Us is my all-time favorite game for many reasons. First and foremost because the emotional upheaval I experienced while playing. I experienced what Joel, Ellie, and Tess experienced, especially at the close. I really felt “we” were the last of us. Fighting along with Joel to reconcile his past and overcome his loss. Enduring the new, devastated world with Ellie…just unparalleled. I felt for every character introduced; they each had their own history and that is—to me—part of what makes an amazing game. Last of Us continues to be an inspiration to me for where I want to be in my gaming and writing passions and it is steadfast as my number one game of all time.
Honorable mentions: Kings Quest, Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Oblivion, Dragon Age,