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Hello, bloggers and gamers of Game Informer! While I am working on another huge blog post, I've decided to post this one beforehand. Will more posts come before the big one? Maybe, not sure yet. What I can tell you is that I am one-thirds done with that particular blog post, and it is getting checked by four trustworthy people at the moment. Anyway, to this post.
Before I get into the list, I want to make one thing clear. This post relies very heavily on my opinion. Most of my lists have been fully comprised of games that I have played. If one very good contender didn't make it on the list, it was likely either my forgetfulness or the fact that I've never played the game before. Now, considering that I have my own criteria for what makes a game a masterpiece, it's impossible for me to put a game on this list that I've never played to some extent. For example, I know that Half-Life 2 is one of the greatest shooters of all time, but I've never played it. Therefore, it cannot be on this list.
There may be games on here that you don't agree are masterpieces or games that you think should be on the list, but I've taken just about every game into consideration. I haven't played about half of the games that I thought of, so they are not on the list. All of this is to drive the point that while I do respect an opinion, I do not respect hatred because of mine. Or hatred to anyone else because of theirs. There's bound to be at least one game on this list that you don't agree with, and that's okay.
Alright, now to my definition of a masterpiece in gaming. One basic part of the criteria is that the game is a 10. If it isn't near to perfect, then it isn't a masterpiece. My second criteria is that the game has to have fantastic gameplay. If the gameplay is not as near to perfect as it can be, then it isn't a masterpiece. My third criteria is not a definite one, just really important to whether I classify the game as a masterpiece or not (You'll see an example of this in the list.). I love a good storyline in a video game and good characters, but it doesn't fully decide whether the game is a masterpiece or not. It's just important. My fourth criteria is simple. The game must appeal to me in a unique way. This is vague, I know, but I'll explain how this is a factor in the list.
Note about the first criteria: Mr Turkey, if you are reading this, you know that we had a huge debate
over what a good review was. I simply told you that there's no way a
game can be reviewed completely objectively even though it should be.
I'm not going through that debate again, so if you mention it, I swear,
you'll be dinner next Thanksgiving :).
Get the idea?
Okay, so that's about everything. Sorry for the huge explanation, but here's the list.
5. Bioshock Infinite
This was a close one between Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. Both games have the first three criteria filled. I chose Infinite simply because it appealed to me in a unique way. I loved the aspect of a religion in Columbia, which is one of the many things that really distinguish it from Rapture in the other games. Elizabeth is easily one of my favorite characters in gaming, mostly because of the trouble inside of her own mind. There's not much more to explain here. You'd understand the first three criteria from playing yourself. Either way, get it if you haven't yet. It's simply an amazing game.
4. God of War
Most of the criteria is filled because of Kratos himself. In my opinion, he's one of the best, most subtle, and most unique characters in gaming history. I won't explain why (It's a long explanation.), but aside from that, the excellent story is excellent mostly because of him. If you've played God of War, then you'll likely understand every bit of the 10 I'd give it and the great gameplay. The unique appeal comes from Kratos, too, and the unique story based loosely off of Greek mythology.
3. Dark Souls
If you've ever read my review on Dark Souls, then you know that I actually didn't give the game a 10. This is one of those moments where one of the definite elements of my criteria isn't met, but it still makes the cut. Honestly, though, a 9.5 is close enough to perfect. The story, however, is still fantastic because it uses other elements from the game to create different feelings in the player.
For examaple, you've fought through all the challenges of Dark Souls just to get to the final boss. Through little conversations you've had with NPC's, you know what your objective is. You know that you will be killed at first by this enemy, but you've come this far. Might as well stick to it to the end. See, you know that since Dark Souls is one of the most difficult games of this generation, the last boss is going to be brutal. You also know that since the bosses in Dark Souls are varied and awesome to fight, you're going to have some fun. This creates anticipation, fear, and, later, desperation and anger as you face the last challenge of the game. This is part of the unique appeal that Dark Souls had on me.
Dark Souls is also one of the few games today to fully use exploration and manipulate your own curiosity and, sometimes, use it against you. I've faced and beaten every challenge in Dark Souls. Some of these were available because they were parts of that beaten path I had put together on my travels. Other challenges were there because I saw a door or a passageway and just had to see what it led to and what monstrosity or treasure was there. That was an awesome element in the game to me.
The gameplay is also great partly because of the difficulty. Dark Souls is also one of the few games today that forces you to get better yourself. This created an astounding feeling of achievement after beating a boss, getting through an area, etc. It's one of the many things that appealed to me.
This is the oddball of the list. Why? Well, it's mostly because there's no story in the game. Also, the game is one of the simplest games to have come out in recent years. Why do I consider it a masterpiece? Because it's the only game that has limitless possibilities.
I could write another blog post just to describe the unbelievable variety in the simplicity of Minecraft. It defines the genre, "sandbox". You basically load a world and get to work. Easy, right? I simply love the concept that there really is no concept to Minecraft. Do what you want. Build a castle. Capture a zombie. Pour lava on a cow. Create a working calculator. Make a computer game. Shall I go on?
Another fact about Minecraft is that it can turn the most boring person into a creative genius. See, I'm not very creative when it comes to drawing or building things. I write. That's what I'm good at. Yet I'm so skilled on Minecraft that I'm currently building a mansion. I've built two towns (one of them being a small-scale Rapture), two castles, and many, many other things. Of course, I'm nowhere near the builders you see on YouTube, but the things I'm building now are a heck of a lot better than my first build (a small dirt house).
Another factor in Minecraft is that it really doesn't get old. There's always a new idea lying around the corner. There will always be another creation to build, another mine to dig, and another Creeper to scream and run away from. It's one of the few games that will likely still be played ten years from now.
1. Metal Gear Solid 4
I'm not going to lie to myself here. You're probably tired of seeing Metal Gear Solid from me, especially if you normally read my posts. Anyway, I had to put it as number 1 because it fits every criteria perfectly. I'm not going to go into explaining how. I'll just explain why the game appeals uniquely to me so much.
It's simple really. The game forces you to feel the nostalgia, with tons of elements that point to earlier games. Characters from earlier games come back. You're actually witnessing the end of Solid Snake's story, and you remember everything he's been through over the years. You're enemy is once again Liquid Ocelot and the hatred from other games comes back. There's just so many emotions throughout the game, many of which the player is feeling. Just that was enough for me to put it at number 1.
There were more games that were good contenders and that would've made it on a top 10 list, but I wanted this list to be a top 5 list, so they don't make it. Again, if you don't agree with some of the things on this list, feel free to state your opinion. No hatred towards me or others, though.
Please comment on my work or anything else you would like to comment on. I like reading them. And as always, thanks for reading.