Nuu’s Top 100 Greatest Games of All-Time
90| Star Fox 64
Released: June 30th, 1997
Definitive Version: 3DS; Also on: N64, Wii & Wii U eShop
The original Star Fox was ground breaking. At the time, a console being able to put out polygonal graphics, let alone without one having to shell out a few hundreds of dollars for an attachment, was unheard of at the time. For a comparison, it would be like if someone released a full VR game for consoles that came packaged in with a VR helmet for the average price of a video game. Now most people are well aware just how Argonaut Games achieved this with the lowly Super Nintendo hardware. They used something called the Super FX chip, which was a chip they developed themselves that was inserted into the game cartridge to give the Super Nintendo an extra oomph of power. This undoubtedly gave Star Fox a significant amount of attention.
However, by the time Star Fox 64 rolled around, 3D was hardly a novelty. The console it released on was based solely around the concept of playing three dimensional games, so merely being polygonal was no longer enough for a game stand out. What’s more is that 3D was being pushed further both design wise with games like Super Mario 64 and presentation wise with games such as Resident Evil. This meant that the formula left by Star Fox wasn’t just no longer cutting edge, but also outdated. As usual however, Nintendo EAD worked their magic and created a game that stood apart from others both due to ground breaking innovations and tried and true gameplay. One immediate notable thing was that Star Fox 64 was the first game to ever use rumble. Sure today this seems standard, but at the time rumble was a unique feature that really helped the immersion of a game. Another thing to note is how well the game’s presentation was done. The short but sweet debriefings and hearing your copilots interact with you and each other really added to the experience of the game. But what really made the game stand out was the gameplay. While it did add new features such as l ground vehicles and “free range mode” segments, by and large the main game remains unchanged. It stays true to the classic on-rail shooting gameplay that we all know and love. To sum it up this game is fun, accessible, and highly replayable.
It is a bit of a shame that since Star Fox 64, the series has never gone back to its roots. It keeps trying to be something it is not in order to “keep up with the times” as adventure elements and on foot segments keep creeping into each iteration. Here’s hoping that one day the series will return to the design that made it so popular and beloved in the first place.
89| Portal 2
Released: April 19th, 2011
Definitive Version: PC (All major OSes); Also on: PS3 and Xbox 360
In 2007 Valve released The Orange Box. Widely considered the best deal in gaming history at the time, users were treated with a bundle of five titles (or three depending on how you look at it) that were high quality and mostly new. However, the game that really stood out in the package was a little game called Portal. As the the title suggests the game involves the use of portals. The player is equipped with a portal gun as they set out to do various puzzles and trials put forth to them as they jump into and then through walls, manipulate the environment, and break the laws of physics as we know them. The game was short as it only took a few hours to complete, but it was brilliantly paced and had tons of charm which results in it being criminal to not go through at least another playthrough. The game managed to gain a huge following due to the love of its innovative mechanics, humor, and general appeal. Due to the game’s success Valve released a sequel in 2011.
Launching on nearly everything it could at the time, Portal 2 delivered the same strengths found in the first game and dialed them up to eleven. No longer was the game a short and sweet experience that the player completed in one sitting, it was now a full fledged game that required multiple sittings to beat. Despite the increase length Valve managed to have the game every bit as well paced and polish as the first. The game even introduces as many new concepts as the first game. The portal gun could now be used to create walkways, wall barriers, speed rails, and trampolines. This alone would have made the game live up to its predecessor, yet this doesn’t even take into account of how the presentation got turned up the ante as well. The game now has a focused “story” as, in Valve fashion, the environment and background gives the player many clues to what it going on. The game contains many more lines of dialogue as well as far more musical pieces, which both complement the game perfectly. It is rare for me to actually legitimately laugh at a video game or get chills down my spine due to a soundtrack, but Portal 2 manages to do both. On top of all of this the game also has online multiplayer which involves two players cooperating with one another as they complete the puzzles and trials the game puts forth for them.
The game really only has two faults. The first is that it isn’t quite as replayable as the first one. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t find myself wanting to play the game more than twice. The second is that the multiplayer just isn’t as good as it should be. On paper it sounds great but playing online just makes me wish I could play some new maps in the main game as those felt like much more care was put into them compared to the online maps. Still these flaws are merely scuffs on a well crafted title.
88| Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Released: November 21st, 2014
Definitive Version: Wii U; Also on:3DS (sort of)
I have a very…complicated relationship with Super Smash Bros. The thing is that, for the most part, I find the games pretty boring. I don’t care playing the latest game on-line. There are at least a dozen other fighting games I would rather play. However, due to the fact that everyone and their mother asking me if they could play the game when my Wii U is around, that has led to a lot of great memories. Now I’ll just say it right off the bat. Playing Super Smash Bros. local multiplayer is obviously where the fun is at. I actually legitimately enjoy playing the game in this mode as it can become very frantic with more than two players and there is a lot of satisfaction seeing your friends face after you have pummeled them. The key to the series success is its accessibility. There are no inputs, combos, or six buttons to memorize. The entire game is primarily played by an analog stick and one button, with a trigger as a block and occasionally one other button for strong attacks. What’s more is that for the longest time there were up to four players in the game so due to the lack of focus on every player and the chaos going on in the screen everyone can get their lick in on an opponent compared to other fighting games where a new comer wouldn’t even be able to get a hit in. And with this iteration of the series, there are now up to eight players.
To point out the elephant in the room, the series is mostly known for the ability of having all of the most popular Nintendo franchise character duke it out in a fighting arena. And due to the game’s popularity many third party characters have been added in the latest releases including Sonic, Megaman, Pacman, Ryu, Cloud, and Solid Snake (RIP). Slowly the game is going from a Nintendo Battle Royal title to a Video Games in General Battle Royal title. This alone would make the game absurdly popular, but add in the fact that the game is so accessible and presented a unique take on fighting games and the series became a mega hit.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the game very much. I love the fact that it is different than other fighting games. I really like being able to play with more than one player at a time. It is very cool being able to play a game as some of my favorite video game characters. Bashing my opponents sky high and out of the ring gives me a lot of satisfaction. The problems I have with this game are essentially what makes them so appealing to most in the first place. For starters is the accessibility. It is great and all that there are hardly any inputs to memorize. That said this seriously limits the amount of attack each characters have. On top of that there is very little execution in actually performing these moves. Games like Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Skullgirls are extremely fun to play to see just how much you can exploit the character’s movement and moveset to do over the top combos and attacks. With Smash everything is done with a simple push of a button, so there isn’t much to play around with. The other problem is the fact that everyone who plays can get a lick in on an opponent. Sure getting constantly overkilled in fighting games is not fun. However, that is what makes the genre so magical. You have to actually work to get good at the genre. There is a huge satisfaction training and practicing for dozens of hours until you go up against a player who would previously spank you but due to all of your hard work you actually managed to get out a win out of them. Smash is not like that at all and is in fact designed not to be like that. Hence why for competitive play the community has to alter the game significantly to even make it such as only playing on two stages or omega stages, only playing as a handful of characters, as well as turning items off. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a great game that I enjoy playing. It just frustrates me that I feel like a lot of my positive experiences came by being practically forced to play the game as nobody wants to take the time to learn how to play more traditional fighters.
87| Metro 2033
Released: March 16th, 2010
Definitive Version: PC (All major OSes); Also on: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
It is very common in the industry to make clones of highly influential and successful games. After the release of the highly successful World of Warcraft there were a huge slew of “WoW clones” trying to cash in on the game’s popularity. Due to the success of Goldeneye there were plenty of split screen multiplayer shooters for years. However, there are some successful and influential games which don’t get enough imitators. One of the most infamous examples is The Legend of Zelda series. Despite being a staple of the gaming industry for decades games using its formula come few and far in between (Beyond Oasis, Alundra, DarkSiders). Resident Evil 4 is another good example. Besides the Dead Space franchise and the budget title Cold Fear you’d be hard pressed to find a game that focuses on the game’s formula. But one type formula that stands out to me is Half-Life 2’s. The way the game mixes interactive story telling with first person shooter and puzzle based gameplay is ingenious. Unfortunately few developers have dared to try and copy its formula. Fortunately A4 Games took the risk in adapting the popular online novel Metro series into a game that uses Half-Life 2’s formula. And the result is a game that, while not as good as Half-Life 2, is still great and easily manages to stand on its own.
Before I say anything, I cannot recommend playing this game on “Ranger Mode” enough. Seriously, I played the game for two hours and hated it as enemies took far too long to kill and things became really boring. But playing the game in “Ranger Mode” reduces the hit points for both the enemies and the player leading to more quick and risky enemy interactions. So, play the game in “Ranger Mode”. Also make sure the voice acting language is changed to “Russian”. It makes the game feel a lot more authentic and brings the world to life.
With that out of the way, now to describe the actual game. Metro 2033 is based of the popular Russian online books series about a dystopian future where humanity is forced to live underground in the subway system due to nuclear winter. What is even more unfortunate is that due to the radiation of the nuclear material, strange creatures called “The Dark Ones” have popped up that target humans. Thus a “war” between humans and The Dark Ones is underway. The only way humans can survive under such conditions is to live inside heavily guarded camps. The way the game presents this world is top notch. There are extremely few games that I have played that have such an engrossing atmosphere. Playing the games makes the player truly feel that they are living in a post apocalyptic Russian underground world. The environments are extremely well detailed as everything looks dirty and worn. The characters all look gloom and demonstrate that they are struggling to survive as they beg for food or partake in risky activities. And just like Half-Life 2, the game’s standout scenes are presented in a first person view point as the character can interact with much of the cinematics. But where the game really shines is when there is nothing to see at all. Much of the game takes place where the player is outside the comforts of the camps and into the dangerous wilderness of the tunnels filled with dark ones, paramilitary groups, ghosts, and anything else imaginable. Like Metroid, the game does a wonderful job in making you feel that you are cut off from civilization. For hours you will be exploring dark tunnels, caverns, and ruins only often only greeted by the sound of ambiance. When something does pop up, it is usually unfriendly and a threat.
Truth be told a lot of the reason why the game succeeds is due to the fact of the feeling of vulnerability. While most first person shooters are obsessed with stocking the player with as much ammunition as humanely possible, Metro 2033 gives the player the bare minimum to be able to survive. Every shot counts and there is a lot of stress knowingly walking into an area filled with a group of enemies or a nest of monsters with less than half a dozen bullets to your name. Because of this Metro 2033 feels more like a first person survival horror game than a first person shooter. Truth be told the player will be sneaking more than shooting in order to conserve their resources.
While the game has many strengths, it has many weaknesses as well. For starters while the graphics are incredible, the animation is definitely not. Characters move stiff and at times lifeless. There are games on the original Playstation with better animation. Another problem is the difficulty. The game seems to use the save anywhere system it incorporates as a crutch as instead of properly tuning the difficulty, it relies on the player reloading their previous save multiple times until they are able to take out enemies without taking too much damage. Admittedly it works well enough sometimes, but other times it is nearly impossible to get passed a certain area and it just makes things frustrating. There is also a cool alternate ending for the game that has requirements that are so obtuse for the player to meet, that it makes one wonder why they even put it in the game. Nevertheless, the positives easily over-ride the negatives and Metro 2033 is one of the previous generations best single player experiences. If you are looking for a highly immersive single player experience then the choice of whether or not to pick this one up is a no brainer.
86| Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Released: August 22nd, 1993
Definitive Version: Sega Mega Drive; Also on: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii Virtual Console, PS2, 3DS eShop, PSP, iOS
During the 1980s and the early 1990s, Nintendo had a death grip on the video game market in North America. Competitors came and went as they continuingly got stomped by the Godzilla sized monster known as Nintendo. It wasn’t until juggernaut arcade manufacturer Sega took them on with the Sega Genesis (known as Mega Drive everywhere else) that Nintendo’s grip began to loosen. One of the main reasons why Sega was successful while noone else was revolved around the fact that the company perfectly predicted the market. The toddlers and tykes who began playing games with the NES due to a jumpy plumber with magical abilities were now tweens and teens, thus demanded something more edgy and mature. Sega recognized this and brillantly decided to release a more mature looking console that stood for realistic sports games and flashy action games rather than cutesy platformers. This worked so well to the point that the Sega Genesis actually old sold the successor of the NES, the Super Nintendo, in North America. This is something nobody would have predicted a few years earlier.
If one were to give a game as an example that would define this whole strategy, at least in terms of gearing up Sega’s existing Japanese products to market toward Westerners, I would say Shinobi III would be the best example. Despite being Japanese up the ass with a Japanese style soundtrack, mechs, and even Godzilla, the game was very successful in the United States. This is because rather than being marketed like some ’90s anime, it was marketed as a “cool violent ninja game”. While the game technically fulfills those requirements as it is certainly cool, is violent enough to have blood (at times), and stars a ninja, it is much more than that. The game is arguably the greatest action sidescrolling game of its era. The reason for this is really nothing special as the game isn’t particularly innovative or even unique for its time. It often holds this title due to its quality. For starters, the game feels great. Controlling the main character feels like actually controlling a ninja as they are equipped with shurikens, a long sword, and dive kicks. It may sounds simple, and it is, but it perfectly gets the job done. The beauty of this game is in its level design. From the enemy placements to the location of platforms, everything feels like it was meticulously placed to enhance your enjoyment. Add in multiple stages that add diversity such as a horse riding stage and a surf/hoverboard stage, and you have yourself a game that is paced well and is infinitely replayable. Shinobi III is pretty much the quietessential “Sega action game that you replay every week or so for the hell of it”, and that’s a title it deserves.
It’s a little sad that the series went to the way side after this game’s release. A Sega Saturn entry was made but had shitty digitized graphics and poor gameplay thus was panned. A Playstation 2 reboot of the series was released and actually managed to sell reasonably well and have a large following. Unforunately a direct sequel was released that didn’t even have “Shinobi” in the title and bombed. The franchise was dormant for years until a 3DS entry was released which was met with slightly positive reviews. It’s unfortuante that Sega hasn’t been able to capitalize on the Shinobi franchise since the early ’90s, but that is understandable as the series success was a product of its time. The Sega “cool” factor of the early ’90s was a transition period for the gaming market rather than the end result.
85| Blade Symphony
Released: May 7th, 2014
Avaliable on: PC
It’s always interesting to see a genre develop on two different platforms and see how they compare with one another. A prominent example of this is the role playing genre as console role playing games were quite different from the computer counterparts in both tone, design, and player interaction. This at times makes one wonder how other genres would have been different if they found their way on different platforms. For example, the fighting game genre was born and bred in the arcades. It focused on one on one, face to face interactions with players as they duke it out with one another on the tried and true arcade setup. So what would happen if you move the fighting game genre from the local arcade scene and into the interconnected global PC scene and traded in the arcade stick for a mouse and keyboard? The end result is Blade Symphony.
Having its roots from a Jed Knights II mod, Blade Symphony is a fighting game that pins players together with nothing but a sword and an endless supply of shuriken. Rather than character movement being controlled by rigged inputs and having attacks register during certain button presses, the game has fluid movement and an interesting implementation of performing different attacks. To elaborate, the left mouse button has the player perform a sword attack, while the right mouse button has the player block. To change the character’s type of attacks, the player can press the “1”, “2”, or “3” keys for different stances. “1” has the player perform a weak attack, “2” has the player perform an average attack, and “3” results in a heavy attack. As one could guess the weaker the attack the less damage while the stronger attacks perform higher damage. There is also the fact that if one player uses a stronger attack than the other and both players blades meet, the player with the stronger attack will push the other player back leaving them open. However, weaker attacks have the advantage of being fast and thus more likely to hit their opponent on time compared to one using stronger attacks. There is much more to the game’s combat system, but that is a quick rundown of it.
Now this unique system alone would make this game standout from other fighting games. However, there is something else that makes the game not only very unique, but also has it get in touch with its PC gaming roots. There are three game modes to play online. 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, and Free for All. 1 vs. 1 is the typical one on one fighting game mode. 2 vs. 2 is team based fighting where two players on each side go up against each other. But where the game really shines is in Free for All mode. This mode revolves around up to dozens of players entering a lobby as they run around a map filled with potentially dozens of other players. Here they can talk, spectate and fight other players. There are around a handful maps not counting the usual user created ones that often scream “internet culture”. It is very fun just running around the area watching other people fight, talking with others, and forming bonds and rivalries. It’s also interesting as the community has managed to make certain rules and customs when in cyberspace. A quick example is that, like almost any online game, the game features a gesture system. It is considered disrespectful to some users if each player doesn’t bow before the start of each match. Sure it’s something small, but it really adds to the experience.
Unfortunately, while the game is certainly unique and innovative, Street Fighter this is not. For starters you can only pick between four characters to fight as. Sure each one of these four have completely different play styles, but that doesn’t save the game from having such a limited roster. Even worse is that the game just isn’t designed for high level play. The game is hardly balanced as some characters are significantly more at an advantage than others. On top of that, it is far too easy to win by spamming certain attacks. Thus this isn’t the type of game you will find at EVO. Finally, as of this entry, the online for the game isn’t that active. Games can be found but only in a lobby or two. It’s clear that the game is likely on its last legs. Regardless, the concept of the game is as cool as it sounds, and that is more than enough to take the $10 plunge to try it out.
84| Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Released: August 21st, 2001
Avaliable on: PC
If Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura was person I wouldn’t know whether I should punch them or have sex with them. On one hand it is a buggy, broken, nonsensical, terribly paced, unbalanced, terribly designed, and above all else frustrating game. On the other it contains arguably the most deepest and most complex role playing ever to grace the industry. “Fluid” and “open-ended” don’t even begin to describe the amount of possibilities the game offers. Not only can the player choose to be good, bad, or neutral during main story plotlines, but they can managed to talk their way out of anything no matter how relevant or irrelevant the situation. In fact the entire game can be completed just by talking, the player doesn’t even need to click on the attack button. Depending on the character’s traits such as looks, intelligence, race, gender, and what not different options, quests, and playstyles will be open to the player. You can manage to get yourself out of a sticky situation by being a smooth talker, or by being a mentally handicapped being and having people feel sympathy for you and thus do your bidding. There also other options as well such as being able to pick pocket them, finish an alternative quest to earn their respect, or performing a good old fashion beat down on those giving you a hard time. The choices are numerous and the player has these opportunities at nearly every crossroad no matter how small.
Now that I got the good out of the way, I’ll get on to the bad. Everything else about this game is bad. Everything. For starters the theme of the game is suppose to be something akin to the Industrial Revolution but with humans living alongside of orcs, elves, gnomes, mages and what have you. This is awesome for the most part as the music and character designs are great, the problem is with inconsistency. While there are many times in the game the player feels like they are walking through a Victorian City, other times the scenery looks just like any other Medieval themed RPG. It’s as if the developers were making a traditionally Medieval themed game from the get-go and changed course half-way through and were too lazy to redo the backgrounds, characters, and other assets.
The combat is atrocious. The game offers the option to use real time or turn based combat. The real time combat does not function at all what so ever. When an enemy gets clothes enough the NPCs and enemies will all just flock around and perform all of their attacks randomly and the “battle” is over within seconds. There is also no strategy at all to this. After an enemy encounter you will either be left standing or die, simple as that. In turn based it’s much more manageable, but is very basic and has little strategy to none at all. The balance is also broken. If you play as a warrior class you will find yourself consistently out matched. However, if you play as a mage you basically cannot lose to enemies as your attacks are laughably overpowered. It’s as if you entered a cheat code for God mode.
The dungeon “design” is the worst I have played in any game. I put “design” in quotes because there is practically no design at all. Dungeons are seemingly endless corridors with practically endless amount of enemies. They are more of a patience test than anything and are horrendous if you don’t play as a mage.The game is also a bit cryptic as well. I love games that don’t hold your hand, but there were a few too many times that I had to use a walkthrough in order to figure things out. But the cherry on top of all of this is how buggy the game is. I came across at least two progression breaking bugs that I had to work around, and that is after I installed the fan patch that really cleaned up the game. All of these caused me many hours of great frustration.
So after those paragraphs of problems, why does this game make the list? Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is essentially a video game version of the classic cliche of an underdog hero who underperforms in every aspect. However, it turns out that in a twist this is solely due to the fact that the hero has focused all of their training on one specific super-ability that when used is insurmountable. With Arcanum that super-ability is role playing, and that is where it excels above all.
83| Metro: Last Light
Released: May 14th, 2013
Definitive Version: PC (All major OSes); Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360
Metro: Last Light is a sequel that is superior to its predecessor in every way. While I admit that the game isn’t superior to a significant degree, it is at least to a notable degree. The story is more interesting, the in-game cinematics have more care put into them, the animations are slightly better, and the game has more ambitious set pieces. What’s more is that everything from the previous game has been expanded. The player sees more sides of the Metro as towns are much more lively, the different political factions are much more fleshed out, and the encompassing plot is explained in greater detail. It’s the classic “more of what you love” sequel.
Truth be told, there isn’t much to say about this entry that I haven’t said with its predecessor. The game is essentially Half-Life 2 but with more of a survivor horror touch. Once again players will be traveling the Metro as they scavenger bullets, medical packs, and anything else they can find as they sneak past enemies as in order to get to the next destination. Much of the game has the player isolated from civilization which results in a very creepy and oppressive atmosphere. Often the player will be greeted with in-game cinematics which are very well done and do a fantastic job in immersing the player into Metro’s tragic world, specifically during the rare parts of the game where the player is actually in habited town. The graphics are beautiful and could be argued to be the first game released with current generation graphical standards. Unlike the stereotype with most of these technically impressive European PC games, the art style complements these graphics wonderfully, as the game can look like a painting at times.
Unfortunately due to being a sequel that plays it so close to the chest, the game also has the same flaws as the previous title. The difficulty relying on the save anywhere system to fix its faults is still present. The character animations, while improved, are still terrible.There is a way to get a “true ending of the game that is much more satisfactory than the common ending, but it is very cryptic and near impossible to get.
All in all, Metro: Last Light is a great game. It isn’t perfect, but it provides more than enough enjoyment for a satisfactory play through. If you enjoyed the first game be sure to pick up this marginally superior sequel.
82| The King of Fighters 2002
Released: October 10th, 2002
Definitive Version: Arcade; Also On: Neo Geo, PC, PSN for PS3, XBLA for Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, DC
The King of Fighters series is arguably the gold standard in fighting games. Developed and published by legendary arcade manufacturer SNK, the series was, for the longest time, a yearly release of all of SNKs most infamous fighting game characters duking it out with one another. Part of the reason why this worked so well was because SNK released a lot of fighting games. So many in fact that I’ve been looking online for a comprehensive list and I still can’t find one that lists all, or even most, of the fighting games they’ve published. To explain to the layman, SNK was to fighting games as Squaresoft was to RPGs. It was more or less all that they worked on besides a few outliers such as Metal Slug. SNK was THE fighting game company.
The series being designed by the man who created Street Fighter, the original Street Fighter, they are traditional 2D fighting games that rely on a four button layout that give the player a few moves choose from, but still manages to offer numerous options. While things vary entry to entry, on average players will have the ability to perform grabs, rolls, counters, special attacks, ex specials, desperation moves, super attacks, parries, cancels, hops, hyper hops, etc.It’s really surprising just how much the developers managed to cram into a four button layout. This isn’t surprising however, as just like King of Fighters incorporates characters from SNKs various fighting game series, it also incorporates various aspects of their fighting systems. The result is an extremely versatile and well rounded fighting system.
There is a reason why this write-up seems to be less about The King of Fighters 2002 and more about The King of Fighters in general. The reality is that it is difficult to pick just which games in the series that I enjoyed the most. One of the reasons is because the best games in the series are of similar quality to one another. XIII is the most modern version and has jaw dropping gorgeous graphics. XI feels the most unique as it is a cross between The King of Fighters and Street Fighter. 2002 “feels” the best out of all of them. 98 is…well 98. Unfortunately, another reason to why it is so hard to choose is because I just haven’t spent as much time with this series as I have with other fighting games. While I can appreciate the series and definitely see the quality of the games, they just aren’t that very fun to play compared to other mainstays in the genre. The characters feel too stiff and the game plays a too slow for my taste. There was also an awkward period in the 2000s when the series felt like it was in limbo as the production values were just very low. Possibly it is due to me growing up with A.D.D like fighting games such as Guilty Gear, but while I have tried to get into the series multiple times it just isn’t for me.
That said, if I had to choose one game in the series, it would be 2002. Yes, I realize it falls into the “awkward period” I just described, but to me this game was the best “feeling” King of Fighters game and was the most fun to play. It clearly isn’t a bad choice as the game is still regularly played today and even got an update called “Unlimited Match” for the Playstation 2 and Xbox Live Arcade in 2009, and for the PC last year. There are still couple dozen people playing online on the PC version everyday, and that doesn’t take into account the other versions of the game.The fact that the game had had fourteen years of staying power is nothing to overlook, and speaks volumes of its quality.
81| Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter
Released: December 21st, 1989
Definitive Version: PC; Also on: PCECD, DS, PSP, iOS, Android
There is a very good reason why I am listing Ys II and not Ys I, despite the games always being packed together. Ys I isn’t a good game. To be fair most of the faults in the game lie in the ridiculously long incomprehensible “end” dungeon that takes up literally half the game. I could go into more detail, but this entry is about it’s far superior continuation, Ys II. The best way to describe the game is that it is like Zelda but more focus on combat, story, and RPG elements. The game uses the same bump combat as Ys I, which involves the player just merely running at an enemy to damage them. This may sound too simplistic at first but depending on the timing and what angle the player hits the enemy, the amount of damage the player inflicts on the enemy and vice versa changes. It’s actually really cool once one gets the hang of things.
Being honest, there isn’t much to say about this game other than it really illuminates the classic “16-bit” adventure feel from games of that era. The game will give you “nostalgia chills” that you received from playing more well known 16-bit games from back in the day such as A Link to the Past and Beyond Oasis. The world is varied with a lot of charm and attention to detail put into it. While the story isn’t the most lore heavy, it’s engaging just enough to have your mind fill in the blanks. The game is also well paced as it seems whenever the player completes an objective, there is something else that interests them to keep them going.
Another shoutout that is well deserved is the quality of the remaster. Ys Chronicles I and II + for the Playstation Portable, Nintendo DS, and PC is wonderful. Falcom did a perfect job in updating the game for the modern era with redone sprite work, a choice of music between versions, and a retranslation. The game could seriously pass as being developed from the ground up rather than a reworking of an existing product. Truly the definitive version of the game.
Falcom is one of the best developers in the industry, and Ys II standing the test of time so well proves why. Since its inception, the company has always focused on charming characters and tight game design first and foremost. The company doesn’t always follow the flavor of the month trends many other companies do and it truly shows. If you want to play a game that is a testament to Falcom’s game design, Ys II isn’t a bad choice.