Before I started this list, I had to create a shortlist of all the games I would consider making the cut. As far as shortlists go, it wasn’t very short, but eventually I narrowed it down to 10 entries. When I started writing, I planned on making it a two-part blog with the games in no particular order. The first part was nice and easy and the games seemingly picked themselves from the shortlist. The second part proved more troublesome, not because they weren’t as good the first five, but because it pained me having so many left that I couldn’t fit in.
As this is part 3 of my 2-part list, things obviously didn’t quite go as planned. Mainly because in writing the entries for the second blog, it was quite obvious to me that I had a favorite game as one entry was about 3 times the length of the rest. So I had to split things up a little.
But before revealing what is my favorite game of all time and undoubtedly the greatest game in the history of human existence, I would like to make some honorable mentions. Just a few games that I couldn’t fit into my top 10:
Crazy Taxi (Arcade/Dreamcast 1999)
A game allowing you to drive a taxi sounds fun right? Well this taxi is crazy, you drive like a lunatic, get paid extra for driving dangerously and you rock out to the sound of Offspring and Bad Religion. Sure there may have only been 7 songs that looped frequently, but they were rocking and encouraged even madder driving as you drift around the city. And unlike a GTA game, it was impossible to run down a pedestrian… No matter how hard you tried.
WWF No Mercy (N64 2000)
There was a day when wrestling games had proper story modes, and this game really started it. In other games, if you lost, you had to replay the match. In No Mercy the storyline branched depending on the outcome of a match, meaning in order to get 100% completion, you had to lose matches on purpose. It was also the first WWF game to venture into the highly interactive backstage area and the first game that allowed you to slam your opponent through the announcer’s table. Despite having a release copy of the game with an in-built fault that caused my saved content to regularly get erased, I still loved this game.
Portal (multi platform 2007)
You are a test subject trying to escape a facility controlled by a psychotic artificial intelligence obsessed with cake. What’s not to like? The inclusion of mind bending puzzles and the portal mechanic that may just be one of the most revolutionary gaming devices ever conceived can’t hurt its appeal.
Fallout 3 (multi platform 2008)
In the second part of my blog I mentioned that few games capture an atmosphere as perfectly as Vice City. Well Fallout 3 is another of those rare games, but instead of 80’s Miami, you get 2277 post apocalyptic Washington DC. The moment your character steps out of the vault into the nuclear capital wasteland is a real breath taker as you see the ruins of DC on the horizon. Fallout 3 is an enormous game with countless ways to play through thanks to the open world nature and endless side quests and places to explore.
But finally, it is time to reveal the greatest gaming creation in the history of mankind (in my opinion).
Final Fantasy X
PS2 – 2001
Listen to my story. This… may be our last chance
Not FFVII you cry? There is only room for one Final Fantasy entry on my list and when it came down to it, this was the easiest decision I have had to make. FFVII was a very good game and has a massive following, but I will not hesitate to say that FFX is the greatest game I have ever played.
It is difficult to know where to start with this one. This title was my introduction to JRPGs and my first Final Fantasy game in my collection. After my first play-through lasted more than 80 hours and was still not fully complete, it is safe to say this game has a lot to offer. Slightly better value than the 8-hour games of today.
The main character is Tidus, a star Blitzball player for the Zanarkand Abes or at least you were until a leviathan like monster called Sin flattens the city sending you a 1000 years through time into the future to a world now called Spira. From here out I would need to write a dissertation to attempt to begin conveying the story of the game.
The world of Spira is a staggeringly beautiful place but is a land tormented by Sin, the monster that leaves death and suffering in its wake. It goes without saying; you have to stop this monster, but the story twists and turns relentlessly and unexpectedly until the time the credits roll. You can’t help but fall in love with the main characters in the game and feel their pains and triumphs as you play. FFX’s story touches you on an emotional level that no other has ever come close to achieving, and if you can play through without being moved, almost to tears at times, you have no soul. And I have no issue admitting that several moments in the game cause me to choke up. The story telling is sublime.
Graphically the game was ahead of its time and the CG sequences still hold up today. Sure this is one of those RPGs where you have to suffer random battles that mostly come from nowhere, but the turn-based battles and the Sphere Grid experience system was a joy and allowed for strategic fights and highly customizable character development. No Final Fantasy game would be complete without a sizeable minigame, luckily Blitzball is available throughout the main story and on its own provided enough depth to spend hours relentlessly leveling up your team.
I should also mention that FFX has one of the most beautiful and dynamic soundtracks ever created. So good is the music created by Nobuo Uematsu, I had to get hold of not only the game soundtrack, but the orchestral and piano based versions of the soundtrack too.
The huge success and critical response to the game even resulted in a first for the Final Fantasy series, a sequel. As a stand-alone game, FFX-2 is a thoroughly enjoyable game and one I’d recommend, but as a sequel, it suffers the difficult second album problem. The plot was too disconnected from original game and doesn’t really progress the story how fans desperately wanted.
After the release of Final Fantasy Advent Children, the CG sequel-of-sorts to FFVII, I was really hoping that FFX would receive the same treatment. I don’t even necessarily want a sequel. It is a story that I want to be able to relive again and again, but I don’t really have 40+ hours every time I want to experience it again.
Final Fantasy X has a compelling story that will move you more than a tidal wave, a wonderful array of characters, engrossing gameplay, minigames and a musical score that will make you tingle. What more could you want from a game?
Final Fantasy X and X-2 are being remastered in high definition due to be released for the PS3 and Vita some time in 2013.