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The following blog is relatively simple in concept and also in execution. It is a blog meant to provide a nostalgic glance back at ten of the best games that Game Informer has ever played, rated, and reviewed- with a small blurb commemorating each individual game on the list. From new to old, old to new, and big to small- these games span over a decade's worth of time, and showcase developers and publishers who hit the nail on the mark at least once with a perfect score and near-perfect gaming experience. This is as close to Heaven as you may get the chance to get, even if some of the games are frustratingly hard as hell to play. Let's take a trip down memory lane then, shall we?
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Metal Gears Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will always be my all-time favorite MGS game, right beside the original itself, unless V can really sway me I suppose. All thoughts of favoritism aside however, MGS2 is really where the series took off. With a new focus, new mission/continued mission, and a new tactical approach- the game was and is a pinnacle of achievement and a hallmark for the series as well.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
GTA: San Andreas will be making a resurgence of sorts with the release of GTA V this summer/fall. The reason being? The city that takes center stage in the fifth major GTA game is a bigger, badder version of San Andreas' hubworld- with many of the same attractions and likened characters as well. It might not be the same game, nor bear the same name, but it's gonna be just as fun to tear up as this playground was...
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is the sole reason that the Resident Evil series is even as marginally successful as it is today, after several movie busts and two major series installments not being heralded as up to snuff by the majority of fans. While 5 and 6 are still wonderful games, they have everything to think of 4 because it's the game that gave the series its action/survival focus, kept the horror without even needing true zombies, and kept the story going through the continued misadventures of the ever-more-exciting-than-Chris, Leon Kennedy. Leon's always been the favorite anyway.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Three of the past five or so Zelda games that have been released have hit the mark of perfection, and all three have been major console releases- with their ever-enticing handheld brothers being only slightly lower rated than them in most aspects. Those three games have been Wind Waker, Skyward Sword, and...The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. TP is a grittier and darker game than the rest of the series, and also one of the most realistic ones, a spiritual successor to both Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time/Majora's Mask, and a great stepping stone for the epic Skyward Sword as well. Without making it this far through TP though, the Wii, Nintendo, and many gamers wouldn't be where they find themselves today...
You guys are no doubt enjoying Bioshock Infinite currently, which has also received a perfect score a la Game Informer, but have you ever stopped to think of the yearning you once felt for the brackish depths of the Atlantic and Rapture's once illustrious beck and call? Without Bioshock, where would Booker of Elizabeth be today? They simply would not exist, as Bioshock wouldn't have if not for System Shock II being Irrational's last tie to that series, and the want/need for a spiritual successor for the game to emerge later. With its revolutionary story, physics, and excellent GOTY edition- Bioshock showcases why many video games ARE art, and why we love to enjoy them.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Sure, its been awhile since Nate Drake's last adventure in Uncharted 3, and Uncharted 4 isn't going to be on the way anytime soon- but have you ever went back and played through Drake's second adventure again? Uncharted 2: Among Thieves fixed all of the issues that gamers had with the somewhat flawed first game in the series, made bigger and better set pieces and explosive moments, and drug gamers through the game's linear plot at speeds that even Call of Duty has trouble matching- and all with not a single ounce of blood being dropped. Shooter games don't need to be all blood and gore like gears of War and Call of Duty, and they don't need to simply revolve around guns, guns, guns. Uncharted proved that they could incorporate adventure, platforming, puzzles, and much more- and Uncharted 2 cemented Nathan Drake as the badass, male version of Lara Croft- with an as of yet untarnished reputation, which is more than Lara's gaming past can say, reboot not included...
God of War III
Step aside Ares, you're not needed here. Kratos takes center stage in the War God category nowadays, thanks to six games released in the past eight years or so. God of War 3 was the end of an era, and the pinnacle of Kratos' blood-soaked revenge story and romp through Olympus, and for good reason. The already titanic battles got even bigger, from riding on Chronos' back to defeating the Earth Mother Gaea herself. The puzzles, few though they were, got even deadlier. And the bloody action got even better, making it the best in the series to date, even though Ascension really did try its hardest to please with the gory visuals and talents showcased by Kratos, even in his prequel and before his rise to prominence. God of War 3 will always be the best in the series, there's no doubt about that.
Star Craft II: Wings of Liberty
StarCraft was an excellent game, and another excellent title from Blizzard that could have easily been played and enjoyed for years such as Diablo 2 was and still is today. It is therefore, equally logical that its long anticipated sequel should follow that same path- and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty sure did please. With an even better narrative driving force, excellent downloadable expansion content, and plenty of player interaction and online guides, the game is probably the crowning jewel in Blizzards crown that already includes epics such as World of Warcraft and Diablo among other successes. Even Diablo 3, good although flawed as it was, cannot take anything away from Blizzard's success with StarCraft II here.
Batman: Arkham City
Act I: Arkham Asylum was just a warmup trip. Gamers soon realized this when its quite expansive and ambitious followup released nearly two years ago. Batman: Arkham City included all of the things we gamers loved from the first game- villains, open world, Batman, etc. and also added a whole host of new and different ideas to the mix as well- Riddler puzzles spanning the length of the island prison, actually meeting with many canonical and hinted at enemies, and much more. Arkham City makes it hard for the upcoming prequel, Origins to live up to, but under this dark shroud and dark knight's cloak, anything is possible... The world's greatest detective trumps all other imitations in the undeniably best Batman game ever created, thanks here especially to Rocksteady Studios.
Mass Effect 3
You'd better not complain at all about Mass Effect 3's ending. Merely being a part of the excellent series should be more than enough to qualify this game for a spot on this list, which isn't ranked from 1-10 for best of the best, but instead for newness of games rated. In a series where blowing up worlds, Reapers, and Collector ships is commonplace- Mass Effect 3 rises to the occasion with the most explosive moments in the series, even if it is barely not my favorite when sat down by ME2. My personal beliefs aside, no one can deny Shepard his just desserts and his ascent to the throne of badass destiny at the endgame moments of Mass Effect 3. I don't care which outcome you inevitably chose, what choices you made along the way, or how you shaped your Shepard (male or female) to fit you, because that is all your experience- which will be marginally or completely different from my own. What I do care about is that you recognize the awesome and almighty talent that BioWare has always possessed, since Jade Empire and KotOR, coming to final fruition in this epic conclusion of a saga. Whereas Dragon age Origins and its less than stellar followup were flawed, but we hope their third title proves to be better, the entirety of the Mass Effect series has been a one-upping contest with previous games- with Mass Effect 3 lording above all of the rest, and for good reason.
I thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and would also like to thank you for any comments and feedback you may wish to leave me here- for good or ill, positively or negatively, and for agreements or disagreements we might have in differing or synonymous opinions. Thanks again folks, and remember to read, rate, and comment on all of the awesome blogs out there in our gamer community! Until the next time.