The Top 202 Generation 6 Games Ever According to SnS - Part 3
by Sliders n' Socks




#75 Capcom vs. SNK 2
Chosen by: Voodoo Groove, Zeloz

Voodoo Groove - The two biggest names in 2D fighting games go head to head in what, in retrospect, kind of looks like a MUGEN fighter. CvS2 feels a little slapped together, but the fast, customizable gameplay and creative groove system gives it a lot of style. They really need to do another one of these (go ahead and assume this last line applies to every other fighting game I write about on this list).

Zeloz - My main takeaway from this game was that you could play Capcom characters with an SNK control scheme, and vice versa. Which I think is a pretty neat idea! It's a nice way for people used to Capcom-style fighting games to get comfortable with the more technical SNK-style, at least in theory. In reality, I still suck at both styles, so maybe I'm just writing out of my ass. Still, fun game though?




#74 Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, Vanor Orion

Pixel Crusher - My very first Ys game. Nowadays, it has kind of aged thanks to Oath in Felghana's existence, but otherwise, it still manages to be an entertaining hack n' slash with some cool locations and an amazing soundtrack per Falcom's standards.

Vanor Orion - There IS merit for playing this version of the game, outside of the so-bad-it's-awesome English dub. As far as I'm aware, the PC version does not have the Trials of Alma, a series of side quest obstacle courses that you can do to get some slight additional story stuff, experience and gold, and some nice healing and stat-boosting items. Also the eye candy that is Alma is SORELY missed in the Steam version of the game. (likewise, the PSP version of the game has it's own platform-unique stuff)

That aside, the game is fun as hell and doesn't overstay it's welcome. I love, love, LOVE the art style for the characters in the game, and greatly miss it in Ys VII. The game is action-packed, and while linear, does offer a fair amount of secrets and hidden items to discover. Finally, for those who hate the English dub, and the even more ghastly CG opening, you can use a cheat room to play the game in glorious Nippon and have your ears exploded by the AWESOME fucking original intro and music. Oh yeah, and the soundtrack kicks massive amounts of ass, but that should go without saying since it's Falcom.




#73 Mega Man: Network Transmission
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, Rhete

Pixel Crusher - Seeing as I dislike the Battle Network series in general, Network Transmission came off as a huge surprise. It plays just like the original Mega Man games but with the Battle Chip mechanics from the titular GBA series. In the end, I honestly think that this is the direction that the series should have went with from the get go.

Rhete - Everyone seems to hate this game but I really liked it, even completing it twice. The Network universe always seemed interesting me, but fuck playing those games right? Network transmission let me experience that universe with more traditional Mega Man gameplay, and was a nice change of pace from the stagnant formula of the classic and X series at that point.




#72 Breakdown
Chosen by: Bpwner, Dr. No

Bpwner - If you want a game that's like Mirror's Edge, except it's about punching shit instead of parkour, where you get to drink a Coke (you will do this often and it's fully animated every time), and you go on periodic acid trips in the desert where you get to see your skeleton, and the villain is Dante except he's naked and covered with black lacquer from the waist down, well, Breakdown's the game for you.

Dr. No - Breakdown was fairly unique at the time, it was an FPS that was more focused on your ability to fight your enemies with your fists and you were constantly in first person the entire time of the game. It's like Half-Life, but instead of playing around with physics and shit, you get to punch shit in the face instead!




#71 Super Mario Sunshine
Chosen by: Pauncho Smith, Voodoo Groove

Pauncho Smith - Given how groundbreaking and beloved Super Mario 64 was, Sunshine was always going to have to pull out all the stops to even be considered in the same league as its predecessor. And as history has show, things didn't quite turn out that way. I could give or take F.L.U.D.D.'s role in the game; those mechanics often veered between providing strokes of brilliance and unneeded frustration. The bigger disappointment came in the form of the mission objectives; the red coin hunts were already played out by this point, and the Shadow Mario fights were some of the most tedious boss encounters to be found in any Mario title.

That being said, the game is still visually stunning (seriously, check out Sirena Beach or Noki Bay) , Isle Delfino provides a refreshing change of scenery for the series (although the Piantas wanted me to strangle them with how brain-dead they ended up being), and the F.L.U.D.D.-less secret levels provide that old-school platforming challenge that is part and parcel of the series. As a whole, the game still has a great deal to offer players, it just didn't stick the landing for this adventure.

Voodoo Groove - I never fully understood the hate that this game gets. Sure, blue coins suck, but I thought the water pack was a pretty neat idea. There are a lot of little tricks you can do with it that made the world a fun playground, and some of the shine sprite missions were pretty clever. And of course, the levels that take away your F.L.U.D.D. are some really impressive platforming challenges.




#70 Maximo vs. Army of Zin
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, Freezing Inferno

Pixel Crusher - Ghosts 'n Goblins gone 3D! Compared to its prequel, Army of Zin felt much tighter, responsive and accessible, providing a great combination of platforming and combat as per Capcom's standards.

Freezing Inferno - The Ghosts n Goblins series is near and dear to my heart, mostly because beating some of these fuckers probably gave me palpatations. The Maximo games are more loose spinoffs than anything else, but they count. The first one was fun enough, but flawed in a lot of ways; the camera control (or lack of) especially. Army Of Zin improves on that and it's less insufferable to save your game so it has that going for it, though. You also get to combo the shit out of big steampunk robots for some reason. Mmmmm. Fun.




#69 Mega Man X8
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, jetstorm4

Pixel Crusher - The last entry in the X sub-series and out with a bang it went. If you played a Mega Man X game before, then you know what you're in for. This one easily stands next to X1 and X4 as one of the best.

jetstorm4 - Talk about a game that exceeded my expectations. After the disapointment of Mega Man X7, I couldn't care less until I found this for 20 bucks new one day a few years later. I'm glad I picked it up as it turned out to be one of my favorite Mega Man X games. Keeping the character switching mechanic of X7, it crafts a better designed game, a more somber story, and a better time all around.




#68 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Chosen by: Pauncho Smith, Pixel Crusher

Pauncho Smith - This one took a while for me to get into. I initially bought it on the cheap and forgot about it until a tropical storm gave me a few nights off of work, and provided me a chance to play it. What stands out most to me is how well they captured that feeling of agility; the way you run up and down walls, fly through the air, and effortlessly vault over enemies. There are even some sections where you solve puzzles while swinging about with nothing but the bottomless abyss beneath you. The Prince is a bit of a whiny brat, but he's got just enough snark to be endearing. Combat was ho-hum and the final (only?) boss was pretty lame, but a pretty solid package overall.

Pixel Crusher - Ubisoft's masterful reboot of a beloved franchise of old with some of the best 3D platform mechanics in a game and the introduction of a rewind function for alleviating frustration. Simply unforgettable.




#67 Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
Chosen by: Vanor Orion, Dr. No

Vanor Orion - "WHY ARE PEOPLE SO STUPID?!" --Captain Nagase

This line has literally become a running joke between me and one of my friends for YEARS ever since we played this game, and is the product of game developers going too far on the anti-war rhetoric to the point that it becomes laughable. But corny writing not withstanding, this game is fucking great. It takes what 4 did and improves upon it in almost every way (except for the writing in some spots). The flying is better, more aircraft to choose from, more awesome weapons to use for each mission. The story itself does unfold with a bit of a mystery around who is responsible for what, and probably the strongest part of it is the camaraderie between the Sand Island Squadron (although someone needs to duct tape Nagase's mouth shut). There's a lot of awesome variety in the missions and what you do, and thematically the game kicks ass as you basically "die" as demons, only to come back as avenging heroes to destroy the real villains and save the world.

Dr. No - Ace Combat has always been one of my favorite series, and this one is pretty exceptional because it expands on AC4's design to make some pretty fun missions compared to 4. I also enjoyed that you were able to have your wingmen use different aircraft along with some of their personalities. But for me personally, the highlight of AC5 was its missions because they were full of variety in them.




#66 SoulCalibur III
Chosen by: Carmichael Micaalus, Vanor Orion

Carmichael Micaalus - Mostly what I remember about this one is it had a robust character creator, and there was some enemy in the storyline mode thing that you could farm by losing 'cause you would still get insane amount of money from him since he was such a high level. Excellent praise, I know, but I didn't play too much of this.

Vanor Orion - This is probably both the best fighting game I've ever played, and most definitely the best of the Soul Calibur games me and my friends have ever played. Part of this is because of how relatively straightforward the game is as a fighting game, partly because of the character creator that lets you make your own person modeled after the fighting style of the stock Soul Calibur characters, but mainly because of Tales of Souls mode. This is basically a story mode for the game, and is not only the best part of the game, but might be the best story mode of any fighting game I've played. The game incorporates large maps with multiple matches (with conditions like knock off the ring or slip and slide ) and even some simple siege warfare stratergizing mixed in with RPG leveling mechanics and money you can earn to unlock more stuff for create-a-character....which you can totally use for this mode.

My friends would literally spend weekends with our friend Heath who had a huge plasma screen TV and we would be using a laser pointer to formulate our strategies and take turns fighting within the game. A few of us would actually play the vs and arcade mode, but we would ALWAYS come back to Tales of Souls mode because of how fun it was. There's a lot more to love about this game, but sadly Tales of Souls is unique to this game, and never made it to the following installments....which is just a damned shame. However, that doesn't take away from how fucking awesome Soul Calibur III is, and this is coming from someone who is pretty meh on fighting games in general.




#65 Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, jetstorm4

Pixel Crusher - This was, at the time, one of the darkest JRPGs I had played in a long run. Torture scenes actually felt painful, Albel Nox was scary, the world where the game took place was mostly crapsack when compared to its predecessors, you felt that everything and everyone was at stake, death screams from both NPCs and playable characters sounded like somebody had gotten killed off for real in the sound booth where the game voices were recorded... it could be really depressing at times. And yet, all this represented some of the best 60 hours of my life.

jetstorm4 - Star Ocean is that series that I love unconditionally. While Star Ocean 3 has some weird plot twists (that almost under mind the entire series), it has the game play and stat mechanics that I love about the series. One of the darker games in the series too.




#64 Suikoden III
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, Dr. No

Pixel Crusher - Of all the three PS2 Suikoden games, Suikoden III ranks as my favorite simply for having that feeling of a 1st generation PS2 game that I've grown to love since the console launched. That aside, I can vouch for its quality, just don't go expecting something as epic as Suikoden II or you'll end up in disappointment.

Dr. No - I have a slight hate and love relationship with this Suikoden out of the others due to the way that some parts of the combat was handled, but it was my first Suikoden game and I genuinely felt that the story was enjoyable enough even as a first time Suikoden player, plus I enjoyed that there was three main characters that you get to explore their stories and their circumstances.




#63 Psychonauts
Chosen by: Pauncho Smith, Rhete

Pauncho Smith - Upon the realization that the point and click adventure game was a dying art form, Tim Schafer and Double Fine shifted gears and dove headfirst into the wonderful world of 3-D platformers (a genre that was somewhat less dead at that point). Psychonauts retains much of what made prior efforts like Grim Fandango so memorable, mainly the snappy writing and whacked-out characters. The game also shines in terms of the stages you're thrown into, from the monster flick pastiche of Lungfishopolis, to the twisted suburban nightmare of The Milkman Conspiracy, to the florescent Spanish back alleys of Black Velvetopia.

The only real drawback to Psychonauts is that setting and story aside, you've already played this game before. There's little in the way of new ideas in terms of actual platforming,the psychic abilities aren't much to write home about, and navigating certain areas (i.e. Meat Circus) feels more cumbersome than it really ought to be. The game also falls into the collect-a-thon trap that is so prevalent in the genre, but it does lead to opportunities to dig into the backstory of a number of characters.

Rhete - A super weird mashup of 3D platformer and adventure game. Nearly every level is truly wondrously inventive, especially in the back half when you start getting levels like The Milkman Conspiracy, Black Velvetopia and Waterloo World. Also fuck the haters, Meat Circus is GREAT, and a perfect way to cap off the game thematically.




#62 The Red Star
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, Polly

Pixel Crusher - Streets of Rage and Ikaruga had a baby based on Christian Gossett's comic book with the same name. It makes for some delightful co-op couch sessions.

Polly - The Red Star is an underrated little gem. Part top-down Contra-like shooter, part brawler, part bullet-hell, The Red Star wears many hats, and wears them all pretty damn well.




#61 Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, Vanor Orion

Pixel Crusher - Out of all Onimusha games, this one always felt like the most polished of the bunch and with some of the most interesting characters.

Vanor Orion - Onimusha was a great game. It was basically a survival horror hack and slash game in Samurai-era Japan. Obviously liberties were taken with history as I don't recall learning about how Nobunaga Oda came back from the dead to try and conquer Japan and the world in history class.

The second game pretty much expanded upon what the first game did, and also added a lot of neat things that gave it more replay value. The combat was improved a lot, and was more responsive, which is especially great if you want to try and critical kill the absolute FUCK out of everything you come across. You play OG Jubei Yagyu who swears to avenge his murdered clansman slain by Oda. You journey to a mining village and spend the first half of the game meeting various colorful warriors such as Magoichi Saiga, Ekei, or Oichi. You'll find various gifts and items you can purchase and give to each of them, which raises their affinity, which then greatly impacts events in the second half of the game as you can sometimes control each of these people to help Jubei out and can drastically alter the outcome of the game. It's so in depth that there's an event flowchart that shows you where things can branch off at after you finish the game. The combat is great, the gifting system that alters the latter half of the game lends to a lot of longevity and replay value, and on top of that the game is pretty as hell, and Jubei is a badass. If it hadn't been for Dawn of Souls, this would have easily been the best of the series.




#60 Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Chosen by: Voodoo Groove, Zeloz

Voodoo Groove - As a teenager raised on anime and Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea was a dream come true. It felt like a game that wanted you to break it, even if the actual combat wasn't very tactical. It's seen a lot of improvements through its sequels throughout the years, but there's an unmatched charm to the original game, barebones as it is.

Zeloz - There is a near-perfection to certain games, like Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, and Contra: Hard Corps, that, unfortunately, have a tendency of souring people's opinions on other games within their respective genres. This is by no real fault of the games or their fans, it's just hard to go back to the rest when you've tasted the de facto "best."

Disgaea is not the the best SRPG ever. It's not even the greatest 3D isometric SRPG ever. It's a grindy game that often nudges you away from the its linear storyline to toil away in its optional item dungeons. But it's also a really accessible game with easy-to-understand controls, humorous and genuinely likeable characters, and a battle system that often encourages brute force over intricate positioning. That last bit is often a put-off for actual strategy fans, but I still find the game to be a nice romp that, honestly, makes it hard to go back to things like Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, and Vandal Hearts. It's just really good, "dumb" fun.




#59 Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Chosen by: Pauncho Smith, Freezing Inferno

Pauncho Smith - Double Dash is the one Mario Kart game that I bothered to play to completion (i.e. finish every cup on every difficulty, and unlock every kart and character). Admittedly, the game seemed gimmicky at first, with the big new feature being the ability to switch off between two characters on the same kart. Miraculously, I ended up enjoying this feature a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. I felt that it added a certain layer of strategy to a straight-up racing game (although I mostly used this feature to hoard weapons so I could wreck shit at just the right time).

The game has been criticized for being "uninspired" compared to its predecessors, and yes, certain tracks feel like retreads or old ideas, and the battle arenas do little to impress (fighting on a giant Gamecube sounds cool before you realize you're just driving around on a flat square). Still, I got a decent amount of mileage (HA) out of it, and some of my favorite courses in the series are in Double Dash (DK Mountain and Wario Colosseum standing out in particular).

Freezing Inferno - Mario Kart. On Gamecube. It's fucking fun as shit. Need I say more?




#58 Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Chosen by: Carmichael Micaalus, Rhete

Carmichael Micaalus - Refined a few things from the first Metroid Prime, and started adding more story elements, which... can be taken either way. Some of the bosses were in dire need of rebalancing, but overall a good game.

Rhete - I didn't like this game quite as much as the original but it still has some great moments like the Space Jump, Dark Samus, Quadraxis, and the final escape sequence. I thought the dark world stuff was handled really well as well, despite bring pretty cliche.




#57 Crazy Taxi
Chosen by: Bpwner, Rhete

Bpwner - I've got to confess, I only played this a few times in the arcade, both on the regular machine and that weird stand-up cabinet, and I was awful at it. When I got Crazy Taxi years later in the Dreamcast pack on Steam, I was hooked. Despite some issues with the port and your feelings on the replacement soundtrack, this is still a go-to for me to blow off some steam (haw haw) for a few minutes. Now if I could just pass that stupid bowling level in Crazy Box mode...

Rhete - HEY HEY COME ON OVER HAVE SOME FUN WITH KAR-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY TAXI!

This game is stupid dumb fun.




#56 Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Dr. No

jetstorm4 - Screw Awakening, THIS is the Fire Emblem I need. A challenging campaign with a really good story to match, Fire Emblem for the Gamecube is still a fantastic ride. This was my first Fire Emblem, and will always be my personal favorite. Mia is best girl.

Dr. No - I'm a big fan of this Fire Emblem in particular because it's a more...epic adventure than the other Fire Emblems on the GBA as I thought the story was pretty well done, as Ike is more of a mercenary than a noble and that there was more to the story than just a mercenary helps a princess take back her kingdom from the evil empire.




#55 Shenmue
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Rhete

jetstorm4 - When I finally bought a Dreamcast of my own, I picked up Shenmue on a whim. I didn't know what this would be, only that it looked cool and it had 3 discs. I did not expect a wonderful adventure game with a really cool idea- to live in 1985 Japan at the same time. The distractions from the main story are the best parts of Shenmue: Collecting capsule toys, getting a winning can, playing SPACE HARRIER, and being scolded for not being home by 11:30 PM. Fighting was cool too, actually got me interested in playing Virtua Fighter.

Rhete - Very few games bring you into a living, breathing world like Shenmue does.




#54 Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, jetstorm4

Pixel Crusher - For a series best known for its innuendo and filled with all sorts of anime cliches and tropes, the second entry in the Ar tonelico series attempted to inject a darker and edgier plot with satisfactory results. The game, being a JRPG with visual novel elements, helped in fleshing out an intriguing universe that seems to have more than there is to it.

jetstorm4 - My Favorite of the Gust RPGs on PS2, Ar Tonelico 2 combines a strange world, anime girls, dating mechanics, and an action command-centered battle system to make a fun ride overall.




#53 Dark Cloud
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Carmichael Micaalus

jetstorm4 - One of the first games I owned for the PS2, Dark Cloud is reminiscent of two of my favorite games ever- Soul Blazer and ActRaiser. Traversing randomly generated dungeons for pieces of cities torn apart by misuse of dark power? Exactly like a Quintet game- only this is Level 5. I always enjoyed the progression each area has with town building- seeing your dungeon accomplishments build to something as the game progressed.

Carmichael Micaalus - Oh no, the world was blown up! Time to put it back together! There was a nice mix of city building, combat, and some QTE-esque events combined with a pretty neat story. There were some problems of course - you could really get by with just two people (Toan and Ruby were my favorites), meaning the others were pretty useless... and annoying to use when the game literally forced you to use 'em. The city building, while neat, really only had one layout to use if you were trying to get the items and/or abilities. But still, a good game none the less.




#52 Devil May Cry
Chosen by: Vanor Orion, Dr. No

Vanor Orion - It was on the same day during the same session that me and some of my friends got to experience both Silent Hill 2, and Devil May Cry. Needless to say, Devil May Cry was like having someone hit you in the face with a fire hose at full blast. GOD what a hell of a first impression to the PS2. What I think people may forget is just how fucking SCARY this game was. You look at 3 was, and that game definitely embraced the camp very harshly, while this game definitely embraced the horror of its gothic setting very well. Its frenetic action was the exclamation point to calm stretches of atmospheric gothic horror setpieces and dread as the night wore on and the onslaught of Mundus' influence further wrecked the island and its architecture.

And god DAMN was it stylish as fuck! Something not even 3 managed to fully remedy from the lackluster second game. The menus, whenever you selected the shotgun and that FMV plays of the shotgun blowing its load shortly before you blew your own, that was badly missing from Dante's Awakening and needed to be added back in. And of course in just one installment, Dante had established himself as one of the biggest video game badasses with his horrible one-liners and amazing fashion sense backed up by a "Honey Badger doesn't give a fuck" attitude with awesome super powers augmenting his oh-so-satisfying moveset. Probably the best thing about this game that none of the following games fully replicated was the supremely awesome boss fights. You had recurring bosses, and you really enjoyed fighting them, and they just helped amp up the entertainment level of the game to an absurd degree.

Dr. No - DMC was the game that basically gave me a reason to get a PS2 in the first place. What it did very well, was that it was unlike most other games at the time in that it pretty much oozed style all over the place. It's so high on my list because the style and the confidence it showed off was a great example of a game that brought about a new standard in action gaming as far as I'm concerned.




#51 Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
Chosen by: Pauncho Smith, Rhete

Pauncho Smith - If you've played the first game, then you more or less know how Max Payne 2 is going to handle. You still have a smorgasbord of weapons at your disposal, you can still perform all those fancy John Woo and Matrix-inspired "Bullet Time" ballet moves, and you're still watching graphic novel-style cut scenes, loaded to the brim with all the gritty New York City noir cop drama you can handle (guided by the narration of one of the most gravel-throated voice actors who ever lived, James McCaffrey).

There are some new twists present, although they don't end up adding much in the long run. The main narrative shifts from the revenge tale of the first game to the "love story" of the second, as Mona Sax is given a more prominent role opposite of Payne (she's even playable in a handful of stages with zero gameplay changes). There are also a few "escort" missions, one where you handle sniper duties as Mona to keep Max alive, and a second where you tail Vinnie Gognitti while he's in a Captain BaseballBatBoy costume (it doesn't end well for him, but the result is hilariously dark). Worth a look for fans of the original Max Payne.

Rhete - I've never played the original, but picked up the sequel on a whim when I saw it for cheap. I ended up playing through several times, beating the game on the harder difficulties without save stating. The story is pretty great as well.




#50 Viewtiful Joe
Chosen by: Freezing Inferno, Rhete

Freezing Inferno - Henshin-a-FUCKING-GOGO, MOTHERFUCKER. Sweet JESUS if this game doesn't metaphorically blow your genitals off with how goddamn rad it is. It's the Power Rangers game I needed in 1994 when I was a silly kid, but all I had was a dinky Game Boy. CAN'T PLAY THIS ON GAME BOY! PUNCHING DUDES! SLOWING TIME! IT'S HARD AS SHIT BUT IN THE GOOD WAY WHERE IT KICKS YOUR ASS AND YOU WANT TO KICK IT RIGHT BACK! GOD DAMN! SO GOOD!

Rhete - Stylish as hell 2D beat em up kind of thing with crazy bosses and time manipulation. I remember picking this up because it was "The next big GameCube game" even though I didn't know what it was, and even after playing it I'm still not sure, I've still played nothing like it.




#49 Katamari Damacy
Chosen by: Bpwner, Crono Maniac

Bpwner - In my Jet Set Radio blurb, I talk about games' ability to transport you to a space that's alien from your normal experience. Well, Katamari Damacy is like that, except a few years later, on newer hardware, and COMPLETELY unlike anything else I had seen. I'm sure most folks are at least passingly familiar with the concept by now: use bulldozer controls to roll a ball over things smaller than it to have them accumulate so you can roll up progressively bigger things. It's one of those abstract concepts that sounds like it would have been conceived in the Atari 2600 era but would have to wait until technology caught up to be properly executed. One of the other reasons I'm so fond of Katamari Damacy is the amount of detail that went into crafting these unique, goofy, blocky objects that serve as fodder for your all-encompassing ball, from the sheer variety of them, to the description text, to the unique sound effects they make (I can still hear the Japanese punk freaking out when I roll him up).

Crono Maniac - What a joyous videogame. It feels like it sprung into existence fully-formed, there isn't a single piece of it that's out of place.




#48 Phantasy Star Online:
Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution

Chosen by: Polly, Rhete

Polly - I don't even like card games, but gussy it up with some Phantasy Star and gorgeous graphics, fantastic music, and a story that's actually pretty decent, and you've officially sold me.

Rhete - When the next major expansion to PSO was announced as a card battling game, it was pretty much the most disappointing thing ever (this was before Phantasy Star Universe existed). But in the end the game was pretty good, with a fantastic soundtrack and two playable factions that were very different from each other.




#47 Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, jetstorm4

Pixel Crusher - It's basically everything you loved from the first Klonoa game but with much better graphics. The only complaint I have is the snowboarding/waterskiing sections, but even then, they don't stop it from being one of the most charming platformers ever.

jetstorm4 - A great 2.5D platformer, and of course sequel to Klonoa on PS1. Klonoa 2 uses 3D models instead of the sprites of the first game, and for an earlier PS2 game it looks fantastic. While not the hardest, it's still a fun game all around. The voice acting is "incredible".




#46 Tales of Legendia
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Zeloz

jetstorm4 - Ohhhh boy, I'm going to get it for this one, picking Tales of Legendia over The Abyss. Personally, I enjoy Legendia's characters the most. Each one has definite flaws, struggles, and dreams they must tackle through the game's story. While the second half of the game's chapters detail each of the character's struggles, I'll admit it's not the best part of the game, the first half is. One of my favorite RPG soundtracks of all time.

Zeloz - While the story, in many spots, feels like a conglomeration of tired anime tropes, the way it's all presented is unique and interesting. As with most Tales games I've played, the well-defined and generally likable characters make up a large part of why I like the game, which is a strength ToL really plays on with it's second half, where the narrative splinters into separate character arcs. The music, courtesy of Go Shiina, is also absolutely fantastic, and sets itself apart from the typical Sakuraba fare of other Tales games. Really, for a Tales game not actually worked on by the usual Tales Studio, its far better than it has any right to be.




#45 Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Polly

jetstorm4 - Xenosaga is the beginning of a super long epic expanding multiple games and media. Meant to be a reboot with some connections to one of my favorite RPGs, Xenogears, it tells a story with parallels to Juedo Christian writings and doctrine. A treat for someone who's studied a lot of religion like myself when I was younger. While I feel the game play takes a backseat sometimes to its story, Xenosaga is still quite a difficult game if you underestimate it. I still need to play Episode 3...

Polly - There's probably more cutscenes in this game than there is actual gameplay, but the seeds of intrigue and mystery that this game sews and its amazing production values make it simply remarkable.




#44 Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War
Chosen by: Vanor Orion, Dr. No

Vanor Orion - Once more, we have another prequel on this list. Specifically, it's a prequel to the fifth game, and lays the foundation for the events that would lead to the things that happened in The Unsung War. Zero really came out of nowhere with no fanfare, but is undeniably my favorite in the series. In a way, this game's story follows a similar structure as 5, in that you are seeing events from the eyes of a journalist. What's really cool about this game, is that the story is about YOU, Galm One, and your exploits during the Belkan War, and your actions influence the things that the journalist learns about you as the game unfolds.

Tied to the "style" system in the game, are Ace pilots, parts of the game where you fight super aggressive, super dangerous enemy aces that are just as deadly and determined to kill you and your woefully-named wingman as you are going after them. Depending upon how measured, aggressive, or merciful you are in combat, the aces you encounter changes, and the INTERVIEWS that take place in the game with those you shot down also change, which is really fucking cool. Probably the best thing about this game is the story itself. It does suffer from a little of the "war is bad" preachiness from AC5, however it isn't NEARLY as bad and is ultimately done in a way to paint your final confrontation with your former wingman in a much more sympathetic light. Which I might also add is the most badass, adrenaline-fueled fucking final showdown in any game I've ever played, and "Zero" which is the song playing in the background makes you forget entirely that the fate of the world is at stake and has you thinking only about the dance of death you are having in the skies with your former buddy. If you haven't played this game, fucking correct your error and do so.

Dr. No - Zero compared to 5 was a bit more grim in terms of its scope. It's a prologue to 5, but I feel that Zero does a good enough job to stand on in its own right. It has an alignment system which I thought was pretty interesting, and Zero was also host to the best wingman in the AC series. I also felt that the grimmer story present in Zero made things a lot more interesting than with 5.




#43 Half-Life 2
Chosen by: Rhete, Crono Maniac

Rhete - The best feeling first person shooter I've ever played. I love how most of the game is one big journey with seamless level transitions, vehicle sections, and tons of variety in gameplay.

Crono Maniac - The most influential aspect of the Half-Life games will always be their presentation. The games told a story in a way that was totally unlike other releases at the time, and that narrative flow is what makes the games stick in our minds even today. You can see their influence in all kinds of work, from big-budget titles to single-person jam projects. You'll likely continue seeing that influence for many, many years to come.




#42 SoulCalibur
Chosen by: Bpwner, Rhete

Bpwner - When I first saw Soul Calibur running on the newly released Dreamcast, I thought "Wow, the in-game graphics finally look as good as the FMV cutscenes!" I was a stupid child. Still a fun fighter to pop in solo or with a friend, and for a while my Christmas tradition was to run through the game again with every character. I'm getting the urge to play it again as I type this...

Rhete - This being a Dreamcast launch game was amazing, it felt like graphics in games couldn't get better. I've never been much of a Tekken fan so Soul Calibur appealed to me more with it's emphasis on weapons. Also this game has super cute girls (before the character designs got completely stupid in later installments).




#41 Guilty Gear X2/XX
Chosen by: Voodoo Groove, Zeloz

Voodoo Groove - Guilty Gear X2, in all its forms, is fucking tight. It's characters have real variance, and some matchups are just incredibly fun to play. A few of the high level techniques are hard to grasp, but the gameplay is so fast and freeform that you can still feel like you're learning through improvisation. Its style proved highly imitable, and I don't think any series in the same vein has ever matched it.

Zeloz - More than 10 years later, I still have no clue what the hell a Roman Cancel is. Or how to play this game, really. But it's really nice to look and listen to, with fluid, fast-paced gameplay even a button-mashing scrub like myself can appreciate.




#40 SoulCalibur II
Chosen by: Pauncho Smith, Voodoo Groove, Freezing Inferno

Pauncho Smith - Is this a proper "fighting" game? They let you use swords and stuff, so I don't know what counts anymore. This was one of the few fighters that I stood an actual chance in, provided I could spam the right combo and time my throw move at the right moment to score the easy ring out (I played the Gamecube version, take a wild guess as to which character I used). Cheap, I know, but it was the only way I ever completed Weapon Master Mode (cage fights were misery for me), and holy hell there was a lot to do there.

It's a bit mind-boggling how many swords, daggers, and other tools you had at your disposal (provided you had the money to burn for everything). And with a healthy character roster, there are endless ways you can go about dishing out the pain. Some of these characters made me a little uncomfortable though. Ivy's assets shouldn't even allow her to stand upright, never mind fly all over the area. And the less said about the resident S&M Mummy Voldo, the better.

Voodoo Groove - Soul Calibur 2 is surprisingly fast and brutal. This was the game that really sold me on 3D fighters. There's some wonky balancing (guard impacts are easy to do and even work on grabs), but this is a perfect party night fighter. Plus, Link.

Freezing Inferno - Oof. I would have given it to the original on Dreamcast, just to have some Dreamcast rep on my list, but I can't lie. I played this one a hell of a lot more with friends than I played the original on my roommate's Dreamcast 10 years ago. Good thing we had the Gamecube version to play with, because Link is the coolest of the three version exclusives. I don't care about Spawn and if I wanted to fight people as Heihachi I'd throw in a Tekken game. Cervantes was also hella great. Good times all around.




#39 Contra: Shattered Soldier
Chosen by: Bpwner, Polly

Bpwner - The Contra franchise's way of saying "we're sorry about the PlayStation era." Bringing back the midboss-rushiness of Contra III and Hard Corps on a polished engine with tight controls was just the kick in the pants we needed at the time.

Polly - YOU WANT A CONTRA GAME? HERE'S YOUR FUCKING CONTRA GAME! This game literally brought a series back to life after the disastrous outings it had on the original PlayStation. The creators let loose with every ridiculously over the top idea they had and experimented a bit with the formula to create a game that stands shoulder to shoulder with the best in the series.




#38 Beyond Good & Evil
Chosen by: Pauncho Smith, Pixel Crusher, Rhete

Pauncho Smith - How overlooked can a game really be if virtually everyone agrees on how overlooked it is? It's a bit of a "If a tree falls in the forest" situation, isn't it? It's the same sad story we've heard countless times before; unique title with promise fails to make an impact because corporate overlords had no idea what to even do with it. A shame too, since the game has a great deal too offer. The world is lush and atmospheric, the constant changes in gameplay styles keep you engaged, and the plot is appropriately winding.

The characters make this game for me. Jade and Pey'J provide the heart and soul of this story, and the Alpha Sections leader is blustery, scummy, and sanctimonious to the point where it feels AMAZING when you take down the propaganda machine and convince the populace to fight the powers that be. Then you end up in space and shit gets weird (Not unlike something you'd find in an Alex Jones fever dream). Perhaps the sequel will help make a bit more sense of it all.........whenever THAT comes out.

Pixel Crusher - Michel Ancel's (Rayman's creator) take on The Legend of Zelda. Motorboat racing, exploring all sorts of places, uncovering a massive conspiracy and photographing animals were a package so delightful that even to this day people beg for a sequel.

Rhete - A pretty good Zelda-ish game with a very unique setting and some great characters.




#37 Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra
Chosen by: Pixel Crusher, Polly

Pixel Crusher - This masterpiece, ladies and gentlemen, is the game that killed JRPGs for me. Being the last major game in the sub-genre I've played in a long time, Xenosaga III not only concluded the troubled series with a bang, but it also raised the bar too high for other JRPGs to reach in terms of narrative, lore, characters and gameplay. To this day, I have yet to see, let alone play, a game that manages to surpass its greatness as the one JRPG to end them all. To quote from a GameFAQs review: "If God didn't hurl lightning, he'd sure be playing this right now".

Polly - The conclusion to the Xenosaga series is also the best damn RPG on the Playstation 2. While its production values took quite a hit due to the budget being cut and series cut in half (this was originally to be a six-part epic), there's so much passion and heart in this game. Everything gets refined to a sharp and focused point for the series finale, and even with all the politics that surround the series' premature conclusion, Xenosaga Episode III still has a lot to say and so much to offer RPG fans.




#36 Final Fantasy X
Chosen by: Carmichael Micaalus, Vanor Orion, Polly

Carmichael Micaalus - Not having a PS1, this was the first Final Fantasy I played after 6. While the story had some... rough patches, shall we say, I still found it to be a solid game. The combat system is probably one of the best turn-based systems I've played (with the turn order reacting to the abilities you hover over, making it insanely useful), and stealing was useful. No, not just useful, but useable. Like, it would actually work. And sometimes? You could steal from the same enemy multiple times HOLY SHIT. I remember when I learned that, EVERYONE picked up Mug off the sphere grid. (Oh! And I'm also the one person in the whole world that actually liked the sphere grid for leveling.)

Vanor Orion - "HA HA HA!" Okay, we get that out of our system? Alright, this game has problems, mainly with whatever crackhead that Squaresoft hired off the street to cast the voice talent in this game. If you can get past that....this game is pretty cool. The problem is that I think they focus too much on a few of your party members and not enough on the others. Kimahri doesn't get much screen time and doesn't talk much. I'd like to have gotten more out of him....same for Massive Titty Lady-I mean Lulu, and Auron. Instead, we have to suffer the drudgery of Blitzball....which is really bad if you, like me, don't much care for sports. The game is fucking pretty though, and the Sphere Grid is pretty neat. However, FFX probably has the BEST combat system in the series. Being able to swap people out on the fly to meet the unique needs of the party at the moment, or to better tackle a threat that the present line up isn't very good at handling, is fucking brilliant yet also super simple yet oh-so-satisfying. The soundtrack, surprisingly, is probably the best thing about the game, with the various iterations of the Hymn of Fayth, and the awesome battle themes, including the boss theme and Yunalesca. And yes, this game also has a MUCH better love story than fucking Final Fantasy VIII did.

Polly - Final Fantasy X was the first Final Fantasy game that felt "special" since Final Fantasy VII's release. We can all look back and laugh at the silliness of the characters, their designs, and its cringey moments, but Final Fantasy X is still a solid RPG and one of the best on the PlayStation 2.











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