Over the past few months, we’ve covered the bottom half of my top 60 games of all time. Having completed the first half last week with awesome recent titles like Disgaea 5 and Uncharted 3 as well as much-revered classic Final Fantasy 9… what could we possibly have left?
We’re here today to take our first steps into the top half of this list. We’re going to investigate enigmatic and mysterious threats, explore one of the most well-known classics of all time, and save the last of humanity! Let’s visit games 30 to 25 on my Shadow’s Sixty list!
30. Parasite Eve
Parasite Eve is a cult classic. It’s a game the likes of which we’ve never since seen… a unique mystery with a strange hybrid of turn based RPG and shooter. The visuals were among the best of the PS1 era, the soundtrack is arguably the best of the era, and the incredibly fun gameplay was never able to be reproduced, even by later entries in the series. This third person shooter with very traditional RPG elements created a unique layer of strategy that I have enjoyed every single time I’ve revisited the game.
But the characters and story were the biggest draw for me. Aya Brea was such a great character, and the overall story between Aya and Eve was so well-developed. This subtle yet intricate story gradually develops to turn this unique and fun game into something truly memorable and timeless.
29. Super Mario World
We move from a cult classic to something that can only be called a classic. Super Mario World is one of the most well-known games of all time, having set Nintendo up to be the gaming superpower they once were, and Mario up to become unquestionably the most recognizable and famous video game character of all time. I can still remember so many hours spent trying with this game just having a blast exploring.
Mario World set the bar for what a platformer, and a video game, should be. It was fun, it was colourful, it had a huge variety of effects to take account for, and it had a ton of hidden content to encourage experimentation and exploration. It is this variety of hidden content that has led to it having such a popular alternate speedrun, attempting to unlock all 96 exits in the shortest possible time. Overall, it’s easy to see why this game is so popular, even to this day.
28. Ys: Memories of Celceta
Arguably the second best Vita game in its entire lifespan, Ys: Memories of Celceta is a lovely hybrid of action JRPG and Zelda-esque dungeon adventure. I hadn’t heard much about the series when I decided to grab this game, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It may have been the first in the series I played, but it certainly won’t be the last. They managed to create an amnesiac hero who didn’t feel like a walking trope, they managed to create meaningful NPCs, and they managed to create an incredibly varied soundtrack that plays on the emotions in just the right way.
Obviously, in any action RPG, the key is always the combat… and Ys: Memories of Celceta’s combat is equally worthy of praise. The various combat styles of the different characters offer deep choices about how you wish to play, and the various specialized abilities often play into both combat and exploration. These abilities are also not the typical Zelda staples… you might be surprised at the tools that they give you to solve game’s puzzles and mysteries. They do a great job of encouraging you to explore and reward you in many ways for your time spent within the game.
27. Tales of Xillia 2
I’ve written about this game several times in the past, including a rather glowing review back when the game came out. This game seems somewhat controversial, as I’ve heard a lot of people talk about hating this game. But I loved it. Let’s take a second to really hammer on why this game is this high in standings for me. It really comes down to a few things that this game did so well that even its few flaws couldn’t really hold it back. The first really big aspect was the game’s combat. The original Xillia had fantastic combat, but a few minor flaws. Xillia 2 corrected every one of them and turned a fun, yet limited system into one that was just immensely satisfying.
To me, the most important part of this games success was its cast – especially the real protagonist of the game: Elle. Most of the time, I hate child characters. I’ve put games down entirely because I got so annoyed at their younger cast… but Elle is fantastic. She really brought out my protective instincts and made me feel so strongly for her. She had none of the problems child characters usually suffer from, and since the game didn’t force her into combat, you never had to wonder ‘how is this 10-year-old doing this?’ But it’s more than just Elle… Xillia 2 managed to make me care about a debt collector.
Resogun is, in my eyes, the greatest of its genre. It is functionally a member of the ship-based shooters lovingly known as ‘bullet hell’… but it removes the almost insane burden of memorization required for mastery and simply makes it about pure and simple skill. You have to learn how the various enemy types work…. but beyond that it’s just about how well you can master your ship and how well you can react. And it even lets you ease yourself in with a few easier difficulties.
What makes this game so special to me is how incredibly and amazingly pretty it is. Housemarque’s use of voxels to create fantastic explosions created one of the greatest visual spectacles I’ve ever seen. Yes, the game’s graphics are fairly minimalistic with pretty simple models for a lot of the elements… but the way everything shatters and breaks down as you blow everything up is a feast for the eyes.
25. Megaman 3
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Megaman. As a kid, the Megaman games were some of the biggest draws for me to make me really fall in love with gaming in general… and my favourite game from the original numbered series was Megaman 3. I don’t remember terribly many things from my childhood (it was a long time ago after all), but I remember being maybe 6 or 7 years old and finding the thought of a robot dog to help you do all sorts of awesome stuff to be the greatest thing ever. But there’s a lot more to this game than just that.
There’s just something special about the formula the Megaman series presented. The gradual increase in diversity of weaponry as you defeat the bosses, the puzzle to figure out which tool is right for which boss, and just the overall challenge of these games… it works together to create an almost addictive pattern of trial and error. Megaman 3, in particular, used the addition of Rush – our loveable robot dog – in combination with some of the core series’ best level design to create one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. Oh… and Megaman 3 introduced us all to Protoman’s epic whistled theme.