Sunday, 21 October 2012

Top 25 Video Games I Like The Most (5 - 1)

5. Worms Open Warfare 2 (DS)

Now we come to the final 5 choices. Again, this is another one of those games that you wouldn't really expect to see so high on anyone's list. The Worms series is perhaps one of the worst series when it comes to progression because it abides the same formula for all the years that Team 17 has been creating the game. Very little in changed in each release, yet there is an audience for this game. While I enjoy the games (so much that I would place one of them as an entry to this list), I can not deny that they need to take the game to a new direction, whether it be a racer, a FPS or a more elaborate platformer. Regardless, this game still has brought me hours upon hours of entertainment with the crazy cartoonish maggots. I'll admit that one of key reasons that this game has managed to be so fun is that it's a very simple addictive game that can be taken wherever your heart desires (provided electricity is nearby for recharging). The game focuses on a simple turn-based strategy where you move a worm from your team to a position that will best help you execute your next move to defeat the enemy teams. It could be anything from an attack, to a further way to progress the terrain to even something for your own protection. The attacks also vary from close-ranged to projectile to remote-controlled. While there is the standard weapons such as dynamite, grenades and rocket launchers, there's also more absurd attacks such as the Banana Bomb, the Holy Handgrenade and the Concrete Donkey. Usually in a game, the more powerful weapons are of a smaller and rarer inventory so that you have to rely more on using skill rather than acting with the more OP arsenal.

That gameplay is very simple to understand and it takes a great deal of time until you can properly defeat more difficult challenges, as it requires you to rely more on your ability. The game also has a good deal of customization as you can name your team and each individual worm on your team, give the whole team a different color, accent, fort and even a different grave. When in-game, the worms dialogue can have a certain charm to it that makes it fun to listen to over and over. Granted it's not something I'd take with me to hear it constantly, but it doesn't become grating when you hear them say one of their automated lines. You can also design your own flag for the team using the stylus...which can be hit or miss depending on how good of an artist you are with the stylus. The stylus being used for customization also comes up when you can create your own war fields, which works very well. In fact, the stylus integration makes the game work really efficiently, as you can pick your next tool very quickly. There's really not much else to explain on why I enjoy this game so much, all that I've said, as basic as it may be, is what manages to hook me into playing the game over and over again.

4. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Out of all the Mario platformers that there are out there, Super Mario Galaxy was by far the best. It was one of the games that managed to integrate so well the Wii's controls into its gameplay and it had a great sense of creativity and ingenuity behind it. The ability to traverse a planet in all it's odd angles and use zero-gravity to help you move about the complex worlds was handled very well. The new powerups managed to give an interesting change-up in how the game would progress, and it added to the sort of light-hearted atmosphere that is so commonly associated with Mario. This made all the platforming much more enjoyable as it would warp how you could properly go about the terrain. While the difficulty was hardly raised, the game still managed to deliver with loads and loads of fun packed into every single level, whether it be through the extra challenges it offered or simply returning to a favorite stage to see the world more closely. And the music...good god, this game has one of the best soundtracks imaginable. The orchestration in the soundtrack is sublime with how it transforms so well with the theme of the level. There was just a presence in this game that everyone who was involved in making this enjoyed every single minute of it.

With that said though, I believe that the sequel managed to do much better than the original in keep with the feel of the first whilst building up to it. The stages still had a sense of creativity and it seemed that those involved in the design did their best to construct a world that would have it's own charm (even if some of them seem to borrow a lot from other Mario games), the platforming was still interesting as ever and the difficulty still treaded on incredibly easy to somewhat challenging. What it managed to enhance on was not only bringing in some new powerups but also allowing Yoshi to be a part, giving you some wonderful platforming experiences. The soundtrack managed to be even better than the first game with a greater selection of tracks being more catchy and impacting, especially the ones where the mood was more solemn and gave a vibe that it was creating challenge and tension. The amount of variety in the gameplay is simply staggering as you do everything from collect coins, defy gravity, create platforms, fly about the sky, roll by terrain, drill through the planet among many other different aspects that I can't even recall. This is the kind of game where my mind simply gets lost trying to recollect what makes it so great for me. There's too much that I found clinged to my mind that it becomes hard to point out which ones specifically stood out to me the most.

3. Pheonix Wright: Trials And Tribulations (DS)

The Pheonix Wright games are the kind of games that allow whoever is playing the game to enjoy having to use their mind to solve the problem ahead. The reason that it can achieve this is that the world around you plays out like a crime drama show with characters that engage you into wanting to uncover the grander mystery. You begin to search around everywhere with your stylus to find clues, and when you find you, you try to keep it stored into your mind for further use. Every next line you say, you ponder carefully so that you can get closer to uncovering the mystery that is set in front of you. You pay attention to what witnesses say and you check your inventory to see if anything sticks out like a sore thumb. It keeps getting you to think, and you're okay with that because you've managed to engross yourself in the game's environment. I could have chosen any of the Pheonix Wright games to be honest, but I decided to choose the third one not only because it was the first one I played (kind of odd, eh?), but it's also my favorite one.

Mostly it's due to the characters and the first two cases that occur in the game. The cast from these games have always managed to have a sense of depth and charm to them, but this one in particular emphasized this. For example, one of your rival lawyers is a man named Godot, a smooth talking, coffee drinking prosecutor that always wears a cocky grin and a red visor on his eyes. This character seemed to have a relatively calm demeanor about him and enjoyed mocking you out of spite, even going so far to throw his coffee right at your face. Then there's also Luke Atmey, a Sherlock Holmes wannabee who probably shares more with the Penguin that he does with the personality he's trying to become. This character's design is what enhances the oddity of his presence. He's a self-proclaimed master detective which only seems to be that way because he analyzes everything so cartoonishly and expresses himself in such a forced eloquence simply to get others to notice his bizarre nature. And then there's Dahlia Hawthorne. She's by far one of the most engaging characters even if it's only because it takes such an overdone concept to a level that makes her more engaging. I can't really tell you how she manages to do this, but you have to play the game to understand. Trust me, it's worth it.

Each of the cases gets you wanting to go on because there's enough buildup and suspense that gets you wanting to find out the answer. It hooks you from start to end and it makes you look very carefully at what others say rather than simply pass it by. Games that engage you at a level such as that must be doing something right, because it not only allows you to enjoy the experience further, but it gets your brain working.

2. Team Fortress 2 (PC)

TF2 is a game that I hold a very strong love-hate relationship with. On the one hand, it's cool that you have the selection of 9 classes that can change up the gameplay depending on how you feel you must approach an obstacle. Each of the characters has a nice quirk to them and spouts a multitude of hilarious lines that make the game's atmosphere more fun. The constant addition of new weaponry, maps and other content keeps the game feeling fresh. There is an unbelievable amount of community with the game that Valve had managed to properly integrate into the game. It continues to go strong after 6 years, and has a humongous group of people playing thanks to the game going F2P. On the other hand, the game introduced us to the curse that would be hats. This started to get people to obsess over simple virtual clothing to make their character look more classy in game. The trading market began and different hats would value at different prices simply because of the color of the items name. Then came rare items which would be valued at outrageous prices, some people even going so far to pay cash upfront to someone else, which would most likely result in people getting scammed. Even if you don't care all too much for hats, new items keep coming up, cluttering your inventory. If you're a beginner to this game who just happened to download this free game, you still have to cough up a great deal of money to be an adequate level of being on par with others. And if you don't feel like doing that, then prepare to lose a lot.

I fear that TF2 will soon become an island-like game where those who play it, play it a lot and those who want to get into it will need to learn a lot of customs. Yet, I still love it. Mostly because I got onto TF2 before it would become catastrophic and confusing to get on. I managed to improve my skills with certain classes, and I've enjoyed this game enough to throw a few extra dollars Valve's way. You can also venture into unofficial maps and see what other people have managed to create. Some have gone to create their own game modes within the game, while there are other servers out there where you simply goof around. The game can be taken seriously, or it can be just a fun little experience. Relying on your team becomes more and more important as you play as you'll find yourself switching to another class mid-game because you think someone needs a little aid to defeat a roadblock in the team's path. The different events the game has allow you to encounter bosses or see people be more generous to each other around the holiday. As hectic as it would be to get into TF2, once you're fully engrosses in the community, you'll find that there is a lot that you're going to enjoy equally as much as you're not. And you know what? The bits that you will like, you'll love enough to disregard its faults when you enter deep into the game.

1. L.A Noire (PS3)

So we come down to the final selection on this list of mine. Some of you who are reading this blog will find that this will be of no surprise to you. Hell, I made a whole blog basically gushing about the film noir experience. I'm okay with that though, because I truly do think this is one of the best games out there. Maybe it's not as perfect aesthetically, maybe one of its gimmicks isn't exactly played out so well, but there's so much about this game that works. From beginning to end, I found myself constantly listening and staring at the screen amazed by the amount of work that was put into the cutscenes. Each character has a sufficient amount of depth behind them, and the way you explore the inner motives of each one of them is done so wonderfully with a dab maudlin noir oozing through. The story is packed to the brim with troubling secrets, twisted men, dark pasts and cynical overtones that keep you engaged with the plight of the other characters. The gameplay serves its purpose by letting you do what is necessary to solve the next case, either it be through collecting clues, questioning suspects or gunning down criminals. Each aspect is handled well, with the collecting clues portion being controlled by whether you hear music or not, the questioning suspects part being controlled by truth, doubt or lie and whether you have the evidence to prove your claim (or can sense they're lying by their expression) and the gunning down criminals aspect giving you the ability to do the more action packed of the game only when it's necessary for the narrative.

What really makes this game shine is the music. This has got to be the most fitting and well-crafted film noir soundtrack to anything I have ever heard at all. Each instrument plays their part in setting the mood of corruption and mystery hiding underneath the city that you venture into. It ranges from quiet and tragic, to uncovering the bigger picture to an intensity that fits perfectly to the time period of the game to something that simply thematic in the way it sounds. It simply amazes me how much time and effort Andrew and Simon Hale put into creating such a magnificent soundtrack. Even though the rest of the game wasn't brought to a greater level, it managed to deliver enough so that you could become part of an interactive adventure. That's what L.A Noire, it's you being able to control a movie protagonist throughout the game, in a story that is parallel to a great Hollywood epic of the 40s and 50s. To me, a game that makes that leap from a game to an experience is what makes it all the more interesting and engaging, and it's evident with what I have said right here that L.A Noire delivers in that field every step of the way through.

Well that's the end of my list. I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Top 25 Video Games I Like The Most (10 - 6)

10. Rayman 2: The Great Escape

So now we're at the final ten, the ones that really impacted me as a gamer. It may be sort of odd to note that the choice I start off with is this one, as it isn't one of those games that most lists of this caliber would have, let alone on the Top 10. It still is recognized as a great game by most if you mention it, especially if you were talking about the Playstation ports. I started off experiencing this game in the N64 port, as I can still vividly remember blowing into that green cartridge and pressing it onto the console so that I could finally immerse myself in it's world. The first time I played this game, it was afternoon heading into night-time. It was probably the best time to simply look over the opening scene as the atmosphere was incredibly complimented by the aura. I'd spent my time simply looking over the bright and enchanting detail of the forest levels and eventually I would get to working on the task at hand. It also felt like a really good platform, much better than Super Mario 64 on aspects. Not only did the atmosphere feel better and was implemented more fluidly but the camera didn't interfere much as it would with Super Mario 64. That's not to say it never interfered, but this was back in the day when 3D platforms were merely sucking on the industry's teet.

Other aspects that benefitted Rayman 2 was having a greater cast of main characters. There would be your silly friend Globox, the helpful but annoying Murfy, the mysterious and friendly Ly, the wacky Teensies, the maniacal Razorbeard and the omnipresent Polokus. Each of them get the sufficient amount of screentime they deserve, and allow you to get to know these characters a little more and attach to them, as a good game does. What really makes Rayman 2 shine though is the versatile gameplay. While the main aspect of the game is focusing on jumping from place to place and shooting enemies with energy balls, you also have a substantial amount of climbing, floating, swinging, swimming and riding that mixes up the feel of the game. Each level presents itself with something new, either in it's terrain or the tasks that you must complete, which continues to allow you to become more well-versed with the future challenges that face you in the game. One of the parts that I really enjoyed was riding the rockets. Sure, it was tough and I did have to redo it a lot, but the way those courses where constructed and the sense of speed made it really entertaining for me and kept me on my toes.

Even as I revisit the game now, thanks to the PSN, the amount of enjoyment I got from this game still manages to be present. It still feels creative, it still has a sense of variety and it still manages to get me playing for just a little while longer. There are still the glaring camera problems though, but other than that, it feels to me that this game has managed to age well.

9. Bosconian

Bosconian is simply a simple game. All you do in this game is shoot as much as possible and progress. What gets you ahead in the game is destroying enemy stations. There's not much else to it, it's like Tetris. And like Tetris, I'm really addicted to it. There are other games that follow the similar idea of "shoot things in space", and it's fair to say that these games are around the same level as Bosconian in terms of addictiveness and quality. But if they're all the same soda with different labels, then I guess I just really like Bosconian's design. The space stations are what really makes the game look cool, as they're not only stylized but provide a sense of choice of either wiping them out easily and finishing the game as fast as possible, or taking your time and fighting off more of the enemies, as an endurance test. It's a game that also requires you to play it a lot, because if you don't, you can get out of the loop quite a lot. Once you do get back into it though, it can lead to hours and hours of fun.

8. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

There is doubt in my mind that out of all the Kirby games out there, Kirby 64 is by far the best one of the bunch. That may be if only because of the double abilities, but it's still a great concept. Part of the fun in the game was just seeing what each combination would eventually lead to. Some of the best ones being the bomb shuriken, the fridge, the dynamite, the drill, the electric rock of justice, the ice skates and the snowman bomb. There's a lot more out there to choose from, and it would have been really cool to see that concept carry over to some other Kirby games, especially with the amount of zany powers Superstar Saga had. Nonetheless, this game not only shares an interesting game mechanic that manages to mix up the gameplay a bit, it also has some great scenery. While it mostly plays off as 2D game, the 3D look manages to help with the look of some of the set pieces and the planets. It's also really nice to see that levels surround themselves more around a theme based on the planet. From ice based, to water based, to nature based to rock based, there's a certain idea of what the levels will be based around if you know the planet. The boss battles are also great, ranging from fighting a shark, to a giant mech, to octahedral crystals to even having to fight characters that eventually end up helping you (that happens at the start of the game though).

The music is also fantastic as it usually keeps the feel of a Kirby game, but it can also fit to the theme of the levels and can also get to the proper momentum needed when you encounter a boss fight. Some of my favorite music from the game centers around Shiver Star and the boss battles not only by how fitting they sound but also by how catchy they can be. While the game can be relatively short, you do have to be able to collect all the Crystal Shards to face the true final boss who may not be completely difficult, but the concept art and the music surrounding the character is just a tad more haunting than usual. In fact, the true final boss is one of only characters in the Kirby game that "bleeds" so to speak. Also, the multiplayer games, while a little tacked on, can be pretty fun if you get some friends together to play it. I just seemed to find myself playing the game constantly just to see what kind of combinations I could make, and how I could finally get another one of the Crystal Shards that I perhaps missed. I do hope to see another game like this in the future, especially with a greater library of abilities.

7. Max Payne

I remember downloading this out of curiosity. I had some PSN Points and figured that I should try out this Max Payne game. While I waited for it to download, I looked it up (spoiler-free), and found it was about a hard-boiled PI who has been wronged by someone and seeks revenge. Being that I enjoy film noir in all of it's cliched goodness, I assumed that I would have a ton of fun with this game. And I did...but I also got really frustrated and somewhat startled by what I was going to encounter. First off, let me address that when I completed this game for the first time, I cluttered my Twitter with constant talk about my experience so far with the game. For a game to get me talking about it to others on something like that shows that it's doing something right. That or it just shows that I'm incredibly obnoxious. The gameplay's solid. It can be a little hard to actually land a hit with the somewhat stiff controls, but a good portion of the time if you ended up dying, it was your fault. That doesn't necessarily mean there weren't a good amount of cheap moments in the game, but the game still has a good sense of genuine challenge. Being that I've grown up in a world where FPSes rely on you ducking in a corner to get your health back up, it's good to see one where you need to get something that boosts your HP every once in a while and that you have to moderate it. There's a greater sense of challenge and you really have to train yourself to become more skillful at the game.

The story's really gripping. The characters are dark as all hell, but that's what gives it an edge. It had enough balls to show a woman and her baby getting killed, and even though it's in it's low-res gore, the sounds and atmosphere make up for what it can't deliver. I admire something that takes a risk such as that, and managed to also handle it pretty well too. Max Payne is the epitome of the "nothing-to-lose, I-aint-breaking-my-gritty-monotone" quasi-dirty cop, and it's awesome hearing some of his lines. It's interesting that Max Payne was simply dragged into this catastrophe not completely by his job. Sure, he deals with having to convict criminals, but according to the main villian, somehow his wife got in the way of the master plan. It also really drives the point home of a character that has absolutely nothing else to lose, and is simply trying to get to the bottom of why he ended up in this whole mess. There still is that sort of edge that there may be parts of Max's past that he's covering up, and that he's not as clean as you'd think. Payne's got a little more of complexity to him, which makes revolving the game mostly around him that more interesting. Other characters in the game range from being absurd and insane, to typical and cliched to "I've said too much" sort of helpful to just plain cold-hearted.

The graphics can really distract a while though, and sometimes the game gets the kind of hard that's not challenging, but rather cheap because they try to do as much as they can to fuck you up. I'm sure that if this game got a remake with better graphics (and perhaps better controls), while sticking to the same plotline (and maybe extending it a little more with some extra missions or perhaps adding some form of a multiplayer mode), it could end up becoming a good hit. But with what Max Payne already delivered, it's still an absolute marvel. It's just impressive seeing a game that goes to that sort of lengths in terms of story as well as one that while incredibly difficult at certain points, can still drag you in with it's engaging gameplay.

6. Red Steel 2

I think this probably one of the few games in the Wii's library that managed to implement the motion controls into the game almost to a point of pure perfection. That's not to say that there aren't games that use the motion controls well, but Red Steel 2 combined shooting and slicing people up with it's interesting combination of cowboys and samurais coated with a semi-urban feel. On the shooting side, there's the choices of a revolver, a shotgun, a Tommy gun and a lever-action rifle. While these sound standard, the look of the guns are incredibly stylized and the sounds that are emitted when you fire from these beauties are absolutely marvelous. Not only are they fitting and sound incredibly powerful but they have a sense of uniqueness to them. As if you could you tell that someone was playing this game simply by hearing the gunshots. From the sword aspect, you can do the standard moves such as a simple slice and blocking attacks from others, but you can also unlock combo moves as well as special moves that allow you to not only rake in more combos and money but also defeat the tougher enemies that you encounter further in the game. Being able to combine these two can help if you want to finish off enemies in clever ways or if you're thinking of a good strategy that allows you to progress further in the game.

Something that will constantly stick to me about this game though is the look of it. The combination of the Western with the Eastern along with the olden days with the more refined touch of the modern times works great to distinguish this game from the others. It's especially present when you look at the architecture of the game. Some of the buildings look more like one style than the other, while others manage to get that perfect blend that allows both to have equal influnece on it. The choices in colors while basic continue to accentuate such a creative style that the game has surrounding it. This is especially present in the look of the main protagonist as it not only combines the walking justice demeanor that a cowboy usually has but also the mysterious and threatening aura that comes off from a samurai. The music also shows this same stylistic choice, especially when you consider the main theme combines the koto/shamisen with the guitar and whistling. The story may share the same sort of combination of both worlds, but it generally didn't catch my attention that much. The gameplay, music and graphics though were the most impacting for me, and this was by far one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had with a third party Wii game.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Top 25 Video Games I Like The Most (15 - 11)

15. River City Ransom (NES)

While I can find fighters to be fun but generally suck at them, beat 'em ups are more of the ones that I can not only find fun but also at least show some sense of skill. They're also low in my collection, so that further explains the reason why I bring up fighters and beat 'em ups. Not only that, but the difference is simply that in a fighter, you're going up against one guy and trying to knock them down. In a beat 'em up, you're usually trying to fend off multiple enemies while also progressing throughout the level. I was trying to figure out which beat 'em up to put on the list as I would when it would come to these sorts of selections on the list. No matter what, my mind seemed to continue shifting towards River City Ransom for some reason. It was not only the most memorable beat 'em up I ever played, but it was the first one that I willingly had an idea of what the genre was. I'm sure that I may have played a beat 'em up before getting my Wii and searching through the Virtual Console, but from what I remembered, those games were usually mediocre. It wasn't until I had this game that I chose more wisely which beat 'em ups to obtain and had a better idea of what one of them was.

It's a relatively simple concept. You're some hip dude out on the streets, your girl gets kidnapped by some bad motherfucker, you gotta kick that guy's shit in by fending off countless goons for different gangs out on the streets. You use whatever at your disposal (fists, items that you have gotten from shops or weapons laying about) to make that tough guy utter some nonsense before turning into a shiny little coin. It basically holds a lot of what the sidescrolling beat 'em up is now. Most of the same concepts still linger in the more recent beat 'em ups with additions being special moves and upgradeable attacks. Technically speaking in RCR you could do that, but it isn't as flashy as it is now. What made RCR really enjoyable for me was the whole look of it. The character designs and the streets integrated really well and it was nice to see a suburban setting displayed in 8-bit form. Some of the chiptune songs were really good, especially the ones going into the shops or the boss battles. The controls were also fairly well, as was the gameplay. Although I found myself in some instances getting hit by an object that has stopped moving, especially in cases of the knockback. That and there are instances where I get ambushed, but that's more on my fault since the idea of a fighter is that you avoid that happening.

14. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

This is certainly one of my more rose-colored choices on the list. There's only 1/3 of the game that's actually what Sonic does best in this game. Another 1/3 of the game is incredibly tedious and boring. It began the greater incline of pointless Sonic characters. The music ranges from fitting to absurd rap songs that only a game like SA2B could bring. And the story is's just very silly. It wouldn't be so bad, but it kind of took itself a little too seriously (which became another fault with future Sonic games). As much as I acknowledge the substancial amount of faults with the game, I still find myself coming back to this game and having fun with it. Mainly because I look at it as the joke it is. You take this game too seriously and you're not going to have that much fun with it. There's a lot that is outlandish about the story and the choices in music. The levels on the other hand are well designed and the games at least play well. While everyone doesn't exactly enjoy the treasure hunts (I won't deny it's the worst part of the game), I still found it enjoyable to glide about the levels. The parts that actually are based in what Sonic is about flow very well and I feel tons of speed. Everything felt so sudden and you had to think fast to maintain the speed. It was very well done in my opinion. That and as somewhat unfitting some of the music, it's still kind of catchy and funny if you imagine that someone had to go through the thought process of writing lyrics for a Sonic-related rap.

That and I loved raising the Chao in the garden. Speaking of which I think they're probably all dead now because I haven't tended to them in quite a long time. 'Scuse me.

13. Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door

Whilst I enjoyed playing Super Paper Mario and would even dare to say that it beats the original, there is without a shadow of a doubt that it's predecessor is the farther superior installment of the series. For one, it continued the RPG element of the original and stuck to it as you could select the badges and partners you want to use as well as get in contact with whatever miscellaneous artifacts you encounter on your journey. What it managed to do better than the original though was based heavily around the story and characters. The first game was a simple "Bowser did an evil act, you must defeat him, bla bla bla". This one on the other hand has a prophecy that is about to unfold and you must collect 7 crystals to open a door to eventually stop the prophecy, bla bla bla. That and there's more subplots focusing around the villains, the sub-villains and the main characters. You could argue that there was sufficient sub-plots in the original Paper Mario, but these one were more plentiful and interesting. There's also the new special abilities such as becoming a boat or becoming a paper airplane that can allow you to enter hidden areas or simply progress further in the game. But last and certainly not least, you can play as Bowser in a Super Mario Bros. esque "minigame" that is very amusing.

Now while I argued that Super Paper Mario had the better story and characters, I'd have to say that Paper Mario TTYD had the better scenarios and gameplay. My favorite chapters are mostly the ones near the middle, with Chapter 3 being my absolute favorite for the wrestling environment and Chapter 4 coming a close second for having a humorous moment and also one of my favorite partners. It was kind of weird knowing the truth about said partner, but Japan is weird in that way. I enjoyed the turn-based strategy that was to be implemented. It allowed me to careful construct what my next move would be. Sometimes in Super Paper Mario, I may panic and use something that I wasn't supposed to. TTYD on the other hand allows me to take my time. That's what made the game fun alongside from the surrounding, quirky humor and the Mario association. I humbly wait to see what Sticker Star holds in store because the only use I find for my 3DS is as a paperweight.

12. Half Life 2

I don't feel the need to explain why Half Life 2 should be on my list. It's one of Valve's greatest games, and knowing that Valve has consistently made wonderful games, this makes it all the better. It may not be my most enjoyed game, but I still love the beauty of it. The sheer mystery of the Gman, the duality of the macabre to be humorous or dramatic, the grotesque alien life-form and the ass on Alyx. The list extends to great lengths, ranging from the Source engine's abilities to the engaging story centering around this dystopian world. I can't find another special way to explain why the form of telling the story works magnificently in HL2, or why the Gravity Gun can incorporate a great selection of aid or hilarity. Although the other games that are on this list have had their fair share of praise and accolades devoted to their magnificence, Half Life 2 has received so much of it that it's hard to write this down without paraphrasing someone else on the matter. The same could be said about the other entry on my list. It's still a game that leaves the player enjoying a lot and asking for more. And while the episodes have done their part to help, we still await further word on what  Gordon Freeman's latest adventure will be.

11. Portal

Again, as before, there have been more than enough people that have commented on this accidental magnum opus that it's hard to see what else I can add to it unless I talk about the sequel. While the sequel managed to implement more humor and puzzle elements to the portal-to-portal challenges that you would face, it didn't have that same of grainy feel to it that the last game had. There was a lot to be in awe over, but there wasn't a lot that made you worried about the situation you encountered. Portal worked so well in it's dark comedy because it was a silent victim facing a deranged AI that wishes to eradicate her. There's little known about where she came from, but judging from her surroundings, it doesn't seem like it's an inviting place. Various writings on walls emphasize the impending doom that you're about to face and GLaDOS is constantly tricking you and acting erratic as the game progresses. It's also worth to note that both the hero and villain in the game are female and treated with a great sense of dignity. As much Portal 2 developed the Aperture Science world and is still a fairly great game, but Portal took itself more seriously, even if the fanbase didn't. There's nothing wrong with a game that can make you laugh, but making the humor more subtle and caustic  is more fitting. It's short, but everything is crafted to perfection.