Sunday, 27 April 2014

Dave Lamb's top 25 games of all time.

In light of some of the IGN editors recently sharing their top games, I thought I'd lay down some of the best experiences I've had with gaming. Games are a relatively new medium but there's so much potential in what can be achieved though interactive storytelling. We're still in the early days but many studios are proving why the format can be so powerful. Here's my top 25 favourite games of all time. Enjoy!

25. Skate 2
For a long time, the Tony Hawks series was the king of the extreme sports games and many others copied its formula. Then along came Skate, which completely reinvented the wheel. No longer were you grinding the loops of a rollercoaster. Instead, Skate brought things down to a much more realistic level. Its biggest change was using the right analog stick to perform ollies and flip tricks, by pulling the stick back and flipping it in any direction. After you become accustomed to this, you were left with one of the most realistic and organic action sports games ever created. Added to this is a generously large open world to explore. You can happily skate around at your leisure searching for nice spots to pull off tricks. It’s the finest example a game that captures the feelings associated with the real sport itself. 

24. Devil May Cry                                     
Devil May Cry puts you in the shoes of a half devil anti-hero named Dante, who is rebelling against the Dark Lord himself. This game has some of the most incredible heart stopping action you’ll ever encounter. It creates fluid and exciting combat by effectively combining sword and gunplay. Its revolutionary combat system created its own genre and it was adopted by modern action titans such as Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden. It has a very stylish atmosphere akin to the Resident Evil series but more gothic and decadent. If you can forgive the slightly wonky camera this game is a real gem. I also thoroughly enjoyed the recent reboot of this series. It was quite underrated and is more than worth a look if you didn’t catch it.

23. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
Whatever happened to Crash Bandicoot? Once a world phenomenon but now I wonder if children today would even recognise him. While I won’t get into the mistake Sony made in selling Crash to Activison, the original games made by Naughty Dog are still superb today. At the time, it created a familiar, yet unique formula of platform gameplay that was very enjoyable. The third entry in the series was a particular favourite of mine. At least we can say Naughty Dog went on to bigger and better things. I’m not sure I’d trade The Last of Us for decades of Crash sequels.

At E3 last year Sony showed a live action trailer in which the sign on the left was shown. It's been suggested that the picture is Crash Bandicoot with an arrow pointing towards the Sony logo as show on the right.  Could this possibly mean Crash Bandicoot is returning to the property of Sony? Could we eventually see another high quality first party Crash game from Sony? I for one,  certainly hope so.

22. Halo 
This was the game that gave birth to the modern console first person shooter. It led to the genre becoming the forefront of the industry in the Western world with the likes of Call of Duty. While it didn’t invent the first person shooter it did nail the mechanics on a console for the first time. It effectively used the dual stick layout of the original Xbox to deliver a fluid experience. I enjoyed this game so much that first person shooters became my genre of choice for a quite a few years. Sadly, the current genre behemoth that is Call of Duty has done few favours for the industry by producing the same uninspiring game every year for the sake of profit. If like me you feel disillusioned with COD go back to Halo and remind yourself of the potential of the genre.

21. Metal Gear Solid
One of the first games I played that offered a cinematic experience combined with excellent action/stealth gameplay. It set a new precedent of what was achievable in games. I’d never seen a game offer such a compelling blend of cinematics and gameplay. It was a sign of a shift towards producing grand thematic titles, that games would eventually offer legitimately cinematic aspects as well as an immersive experience.

20. Super Monkey Ball Deluxe
Some great games are also simple. Super Monkey Ball involves navigating a ball around obstacles towards a goal. The player maneuvers the board underneath the ball, causing it to roll. That’s it, no power ups or special moves, just simple gameplay that leads to a challenging and addictive game. It’s most memorable aspect is its turn based multiplayer where players compete to see who can complete the most boards. I had hours of fun playing this with friends and would recommend it to anyone looking for some excellent offline multiplayer fun.

19. SSX3
While I chose Skate (25) because of its realism, SSX3 I chose because it committed itself to the eccentric. This incredibly fun game lets you pull off physically impossible tricks and gets everything right while doing it. Whether its sound, course design or gameplay SSX3 exceeds at all of them. I’d played a few snowboarding games before this series came along but I never realised just how good they could be before SSX3. It’s still unmatched today due to its mechanics and wonderful presentation which makes the game a spectacle to behold. SSX3 is my favourite in the series and I feel it is the best snowboarding game ever, even if it does make the purists furious. 

18. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic was the reason I started playing video games. I must have only been around 5 years old when I saw and played Sonic at my cousin’s house. It was probably the first time I’d touched a video game and the memory stays with me to this day. While I recognise it technically may not be one of the best games ever made, it holds a special place in my heart for starting my interest in gaming. That said, it’s still a more than worthy platform game that anyone interested the classics should check out and arguably the best all round game in the series!

My love of Sonic also led to this rather extravagant purchase. 

17. Burnout 3: Takedown
I don’t mind realistic racers but Burnout’s insanely fast arcade action is what created my favourite racing game of all time. The game’s extremely fast pace is balanced by not punishing you too much for mistakes and a clever crash system. I’ve never had more fun playing a racing game than I did with Burnout 3. The game also incorporates an excellent crash mode where you try to cause as much damage as possible to the surrounding area. I haven’t liked the series transition into an open world game recently. I just don’t think speed mixes well with tight corners and staring at a mini map. The thrill of belting it down a race track against traffic was the whole reason this game existed.

16. Goldeneye
Goldeneye was the one of the first first-person shooters I had ever played and I was blown away at the time. Although the control scheme may not stand the test of time, it is without doubt the best video game adaptation of a film, an area in which few studios have ever pulled off so well. The game forces you to think before you destroy everything in sight by adding spy based objectives into the mix. This deep gameplay is combined with excellent presentation though skilfully recreated set pieces from the film. I’ll always have fond memories of the 4 player split screen multiplayer as well. This game also receives a bonus point for having the best pause screen ever and we all know why pause screens are important!

15. Grand theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA5) is the most impressive technical achievement I’ve seen to date. Not only did Rockstar manage to create a huge open world, they managed to make it incredibly detailed as well. It’s received much criticism for essentially being a crime simulator but there’s no denying its popularity. It’s so huge but also includes so much detail. It’s GTA5’s beyond-obsessive attention to detail that truly sets the game apart from others. Take a street performer in the game, in most other games they would just recite the same action over and over again, till you perhaps run them over and the rag doll physics kick in. Not in GTA5. If you take a picture of them and don’t tip they will become annoyed. If you watch them long enough they may eventually get a phone call and break character. It’s this insane level of detail in parts of the game that many people won’t even encounter that makes GTA5 so special.

14. Skyrim 
Skyrim is one of the finest single player fantasy role playing games going. It takes place in a huge beautifully crafted world, which includes a staggering amount of creatively designed content, and the game gives you an enormous amount of freedom to choose how you play. Don’t fancy the main quest? You can get lost in hours and hours of side quests and exploring. Don’t like hand to hand combat? Then make use of magic and the shouts gained from defeating the huge dragons that roam the lands. Skyrim allows you a wealth of choice when it comes to play styles and narratives, both of which are missing from the GTA universe generally. You can often choose how quests conclude and there’s more freedom to be good or evil without being forced to restart a quest if you kill an NPC you don’t like. The variety here is endless and the whole world is thrilling to explore.

13. Super Smash brothers Melee
This is my favourite multiplayer game of all time. An excellent fighting game where choose one of 25 iconic Nintendo characters to do battle with up to 4 players. While the game may seem simple at first, the depth here comes from the decision making and learning how every action plays out. It’s no button masher and novice players stand little chance against skilled players. It may be a little difficult to attract new players to a clique of experienced players but the enjoyment I’ve had from this fast and frantic game is second to none. It’s still gets broken out every time I’m with my friends I started playing this beauty with over 10 years ago.

12. Psychonauts
I love games with character and Psychonauts has bucket loads of it. A free roaming adventure platformer, where Tim Schafer's comedic stylings make it one of the few games I find genuinely funny. The game has excellent artistic design which is beyond many others. When I first played this game there was a moment that clicked for me when I realised how important variety can be in video games. Psychonauts has diversity between levels, both in aesthetics and gameplay which keeps it feeling fresh throughout the adventure. This is unfortunately something which Activison and EA have made it their mission to ignore. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I played this game and would recommend it to anyone who missed out.

11. Conker's Bad Fur Day
In this game you play as a squirrel who gets so drunk he doesn’t know where he is in the morning and your first task is to cure his hangover. This sets the tone for this twisted adventure which is one of the most hilarious games I’ve ever played. At the time the industry was flooded by cutesy titles like Banjo-Kazooie, the developers were inspired by South Park to make a more adult themed title. The game features a well-written, lewd script that uses witty parodies of the likes of Alien and Saving Private Ryan as themes for the various chapters. This game is a blast from start to finish and there’s never a dull moment. For instance you battle the gargantuan and operatically inclined “Great Mighty Poo” or you meet a talking cog on the wall who demands you recover his counter parts or “fuck off”. It may sound puerile on paper, but Rare's sense of humour really shines through. It’s a shame Rare aren’t still producing games like this rather than terrible Kinect games but that’s another story.

Carry on top my top 10 on page 2

Follow Dave Lamb on..
Twitter - @DaveLambs
Instagram - dave_lambs
Xbox One - DaveLambs
Contact on LinkedIn -

No comments:

Post a Comment

Enjoy the post? Got opinions? You mad? Let's hear from you!