I’m posting this from another place… as I’m currently on vacation in Vancouver. But I didn’t want to leave you guys completely hanging with nothing to read, so I got this all set up for you!
The Shadow’s Sixty has crossed eras, genres, and styles. It’s featured the largest and smallest gaming has to offer… we’ve witnessed the birth of a genre and the refinement of another. We’ve crossed time itself, defeated Gods, and created unfathomable treasures. And that was just the first quarter… imagine what the rest has in store for us?
This entry gives us the opportunity to explore an ancient city, blow our friends up, race across a rainbow road, and even use the power of dragons! Without further ado… let’s explore Ranks 42 to 37 of the Shadow’s Sixty.
42. Uncharted 2 (PS3)
It was during the course of Uncharted 2 that I realized how incredible Naughty Dog’s writing team was. The Uncharted series is the best attempt gaming has ever made at capturing that ‘action movie’ feeling, and Uncharted 2 is where everything fell into place and it all made sense.
They’d built Nathan Drake into a an action star with a defined personality that fit in among the greats of the genre among all platforms. They’d provided good counterpoints in the side characters, they’d built a great overarching plotline to tie it all together, and they’d created amazing action sequences to help keep this plot moving. But what is most impressive to me is that they did all of this without sacrificing any of the gameplay mechanics… the shooting was responsive, satisfying, and fun.
41. Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void (PC)
StarCraft 2 is a hard game to quantify, especially with the recent Legacy of the Void expansion. You see, they’ve essentially created 4 different games under this umbrella, given how different each of the experiences is from the others. The game’s competitive component is almost uncontestably the best of its kind ever made. While that is probably what is most well known, my favourite features are the game’s single player story and co-op feature.
The story lies kind of somewhere in the crossroads of space cowboy and western opera… and it’s fantastic. Featuring compelling characters, a great progression, and three stories that stand alone yet are still together greater than the sum of their parts, it manages to create an experience that is made all the better by its flaws. The co-op, on the other hand, is a brilliant idea that has been long in coming. Pitting two players against AI in campaign style missions, this fills the ‘cooperative campaign’ gap that so many have been commenting on. It’s a great diversion, and a fun game mode to play with a friend… and it has the potential to become the series’ best game mode.
40. Legend of Dragoon (PS1/PS3)
Legend of Dragoon is a JRPG that doesn’t often get the credit it deserves, but has become a cult classic over the years. While its story is solid, and it has a very well-rounded cast, what stands out the most to me is its combat system. The battle system itself is very unique, making timing an essential component to your success.
The game features a combo system that allows you to perform elaborate attacks if your timing is good enough. It ensured combat never felt slow, even in the game’s longer fights. And, when I say longer fights, I mean that some bosses could take upwards of an hour if you were underleveled. I recall my first time beating the game I spent literally 2 and a half hours in an epic clash against the final boss, fighting tooth and nail to beat him over time.
The game allows for fights like this by allowing you to recover hp by blocking: a brilliant tactic that makes one of the game’s more controversial features – the highly limited inventory space – completely logical. Items are reserved for where they’ll make the most impact since you can guard to heal… it’s a unique system that feels inherently strategic.
39. Super Mario Kart (Super Nintendo)
Mario Kart was not a game that anyone expected to see back when it came out, but it turned into just the game we wanted. It’s hard to really quantify what was so special about this game, it was just a ton of fun. And it spawned countless attempts by other companies and developers to replicate its success, but nobody was able to quite capture the joys other than Nintendo themselves.
There was something so special about getting to play as characters from one of gaming’s most notable and prominent series compete in such a silly race, it was unexpected and amazing. Matches tore friends and family apart… but victory brought glory that was oh so worth it.
38. Super Bomberman (Super Nintendo)
While we’re talking party games… in my eyes the king of party games was Super Bomberman. Back in the day, consoles only had the ability to hold two controllers. Until Super Bomberman came out, and with it a multi-controller adapter called the ‘multi-tap’ which allowed the Super Nintendo to hold four controllers. This was revolutionary for us kids – it blew our minds (okay, perhaps we were more easily amused in those days). Allowing us to go into a competitive arena and blow our friends to smithereens was just fantastic. Utterly and completely fantastic. The chaos of explosions created an experience that was second to none.
But it also featured a 2-player co-op campaign that was a ton of fun. The game’s powerups let you feel amazingly powerful, and there was nothing quite as hilarious as the feel when you got too powerful for your own good and blew yourself – or better yet, your brother – to pieces.
37. Chrono Cross (PS1)
Chrono Cross is a controversial RPG. After years of waiting for the promised sequel to Chrono Trigger, ravenous fans eagerly jumped to Chrono Cross… and were promptly disappointed by the change in focus. You see, while Chrono Trigger explored time, Chrono Cross explored two parallel universes in which one pivotal event didn’t happen. For fans who had been waiting so long, this felt like betrayal. But for people like me, people who had never played Chrono Trigger when Chrono Cross came out, there were no preconceptions.
All I saw was an amazing RPG with a fascinating skill and combat system that was strategic and rewarded you for thinking about what you did rather than just clicking attack every turn. Conserving your abilities was important, and even using non-ideal abilities could sometimes have a ripple effect that made them amazing. It also had one of the most eclectic casts of characters… you could get all sorts of strange and wonderful party members around, but the path you chose determined which party you got – and, as a result, which storylines you got to see. That being said, probably what I remember the most were the game’s beautiful cinematics. This game stood out visually. It was gorgeous. And not just ‘for its time’. Going back and watching some of those again, they still strike me.