Peaches' Top 25 Games of All Time
by Peaches

25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |

#25 - Half-Life 2

This game is nowhere near the first in terms of quality and originality, and doesn't even deserve to be called a sequel. But it is fun. And I played it many times. The squad system seems tacked on and unnecessary,the "Sandtraps" level could not have been more obnoxious, and the battle against two gunships was as painful as childbirth - but without the sense of accomplishment at the end.

That is why this game is #25. Why is it on the list at all?

Nothing satisfies my craving for zombie-killing quite like the Ravenholm level. Burning bodies, flying circular sawblades, a mad monk, and a town that has, as literally as possible, gone to hell.

Giant flesh-eating insects with poisonous fangs and mindless soldiers with high-tech rifles become mere targets for your road rage when you hop in a go-cart.

And taking out a sleezy blabbermouth on top of an alien skyscraper with nothing but a glorified grabber arm?

If you can't find a reason for at least giving this game a try, you're no gamer.

You are probably wondering how high this game's predecessor got on my list. Well, that would be redundant, wouldn't it?

#24 - Blades of Steel

This is a gem. A game that helped define its genre so early in the industry is a real treat to play. Sure, it's simple: punch, block, whatev. But man oh man, wasn't it a blast to beat the crap outta your opponent?

What's that? There was HOCKEY in this game? Wonder how I forgot about that part...

#23 - Morrowind

I really only played this game because there were no other RPGs for the Xbox at the time. And yes, it had it's share of fail. But it also did a lot of things that other games bragged that they could do, without actually delivering (I'm looking at you, Fable).

For example, NPCs stood around all day and night, regardless of the time. Yeah, it takes away some realism, but what am I gonna do when I need my two-handed ebony sword fixed at 2 AM? I'd much rather have the characters react to what I am wearing. Yes, my armor is pretty bitchin', thanks for noticing!

Also, the story is interesting, a must for any RPG. You don't get much more epic than killing Gods, do you? And though the fighting system was imperfect, it did a decent job of trying to meld the number-crunching system of turn-based combat with the run-and-swing system of adventure games.

And coming from someone who spent his fair share of time around the D&D table, I appreciate that they at least tried to make this game as free-form as possible, allowing players to craft their own magic items, bribe people, haggle, and murder random folk. It didn't fit together seamlessly, but it was a damn good try.

#22 - Settlers of Catan

This is a board game. And it could kick Monopoly's ass.

It begins with players claiming various parts of an island, each area producing its own resources at a different rate. The trick is, there's no way in hell you're going to produce everything you need on your own, so you'll have to trade with your opponents. Of course, you need the better of the deal, which isn't easy, because each resource has it's own useful purpose. You'll need wood and brick to build roads and towns, wheat and ore to upgrade those towns to cities and to buy development cards for bonus points and other special abilities. Oh yeah, there's also sheep. Baa.

The PC version lets you play an AI that ranges from dumb to genius (or you can play with your friends, if you have any), and the presentation is very intuitive and friendly. Trading with the other players, which you might expect to be a huge pain, is quite easy. In seconds, you can show exactly what you want, what you're willing to give up, and your opponents can do likewise with you.

Once the developers got that part down, it would be hard to screw things up. But they also added some appropriate Ren-faire type music, cool sound effects (each turn is announced with a dramatic musical flair), and decent graphics.

As far as PC versions of board games go, this one works. If you're gonna play with humans though, get used to jokes about "wood for sheep". Baa.

#21 - Halo

I'd say this game is different enough from most FPS games that it deserves a spot on my list, despite its arguably overrated nature. Whereas most games feel like climbing a hierarchy of bigger guns, bigger baddies, bigger whatever, Halo actually had a system of strengths and weaknesses to its weapons and enemies that I wish I could see in more games of all types.

The assault rifle was great at chewing through Grunts and the spore Flood, but not much else. The shotgun was a must for zombie Flood and not bad against Elites, but had almost no range. Even the lowly plasma pistol had an edge when used correctly. And though it was possible to beat a pair of Hunters without a human pistol by your side, it was a satisfying (huge) challenge.

Everything else was pretty spiffy about the game, but I'll say it once more: this game had an element of balance and strategy that just felt so natural, it's a shame other games don't have the same feel (e.g. Halo 2).

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