I’m a pretty big gamer. Ever since I got my 360 two years ago, gaming has become a big part of what I do. And despite the fact that I’ve only seriously played video games since around 2009, I have a pretty big catalog of games, but a few have stood out above the rest. I try to only buy games that I think will be enjoyable, but occasionally I do get a dud. But, every so often I get a game that is a true gem. And these are five of those games.
5. Star Wars Republic Commando
I am a huge Star Wars fan, but was never really into any of the video games (Excluding the Lego ones) until I bought Force Unleashed in 2008, and, subsequently, the Star Wars: Best of PC collection, which consisted of Empire at War, Battlefront, Knights of the Old Republic, Jedi Knight 2, and this. Many people will agree that the best of those five is either Battlefront or KotOR. And those are good, but Republic Commando, in my opinion is better. For one, I’m really into squad based shooters, as having a group of others at your disposal adds a distinct strategy element to the game. And I love that strategic element. Republic Commando also incorporates an awesome story and, with that story, amazing characters that the game gives you a real emotional connection too over the excellent, albeit short, campaign mode. And then there’s the gameplay, which, in my opinion, is pretty awesome. Weapons are balanced, controls make sense, and the overall gameplay is a massive success, much like all of the other aspects of Republic Commando.
4. Portal 2
No matter how amazing the first Portal was, Portal 2 beats it out of the running in pretty much every way. Portal 2 adds new physics tools to the mix, making pretty much every room in the game seem fresh. Valve’s Source engine also works flawlessly in this game, crafting an amazing in game world, and making the physics tools work to an extent which I have never seen before in a game. Portal 2 also has something that I feel that most puzzle games lack: a story. And Portal 2 delivers in that department. Unlike many Valve games (with the exception of the Half Life series), and, in fact, many games in general (Yes CoD, I’m looking at you) Portal 2 creates an excellent story that gives the player a distinct attachment to both the game world and the characters. Finally, this is one of those relatively rare games with an unessential multiplayer mode where that mode actually adds to the experience. The co-op mode in Portal 2 is awesome. And the fact that it crafts a completely new story and new characters only serves to add to the fun of it.
This is another game like Republic Commando, where I jumped on the bandwagon a little late. But that’s the thing about Bioshock. It doesn’t matter if you bought it on release day or three years after it’s release. You’ll love it either way. None of the gameplay mechanics felt dated during my first playthrough. I may be a little biased in the favor of Bioshock’s story as I am a huge fan of dystopian worlds, but seriously, Bioshock has what is easily one of the best stories in any video game ever. The game world is another awesome aspect of the game. Rapture creates an epic game environment that never feels repetitive, and actually adds a lot to how the game is played. And many of the gameplay mechanics are really, really awesome. Take, for example, the plasmids. To be completely honest, the plasmids could have been one of the biggest failures of the gaming industry. But they weren’t, because the game incorporates them into the story and also allows you to effectively incorporate them into gameplay in any way you may see fit. And this, like every single other aspect of Bioshock, is downright amazing.
2. Halo 3
Halo 3 is, undeniably, one of the best games of our generation. There isn’t a single aspect of the game that I felt failed. The story is interesting and, overall, just plain amazing. And so too are the characters. Despite the fact that Master Chief has so few lines, I couldn’t help but care about his character. The same goes for the Arbiter. And Cortana as well, though she does talk a lot. But it isn’t only the characters that make the story work. It’s the amazingly well done in game world that just blew me away when I first saw it. Be it the expansive deserts of the Ark or the industrial area of Voi, the game’s environments never cease to amaze me. Never. Add to the mix excellent gameplay and a multiplayer mode that offers nonstop fun, Halo 3 is easily my favorite first person shooter. Easily.
1. Batman: Arkham City
Arkham City is a true classic. It’s one of those games that excels in every single area, almost to the extent of perfection. Arkham City adds a completely new chapter to the Batman epic, that will be remembered for years. From the stunning beginning, and all the way to the breathtaking end, the writers create a world that is unpredictable just hands down epic. What it does really well (Especially with the addition of Harley Quinn’s revenge) is explore the mind of Batman, and just how much the Batman can take, as he is pushed to his limits by a massive cast of villains that are juggled extremely well, with none getting too much time (except for the Joker, of course), or too little. And the gameplay is mind blowing. The stealth portions of the gaming, in my opinion, are easily the best, but every other aspect, be it gliding or brawling, is awesome. With this game, Rocksteady has crafted a masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come.