Video games are my favorite form of entertainment, beating out movies, music, and reading. This is going to be a top five video games that I’ve personally played, and beaten. Video games for me are better when there’s a good story arc, an immersive world, character and plot development, boss battles, good graphics, game play value, and overall enjoy-ability.
5: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda franchise follows Link (in green) assissted by Navi (the fairy) in order to save Princess Zelda from Ganandorf.
This is my first, and only Legend of Zelda game that I’ve played, and I love it. Ocarina of Time’s story is very reminiscent of the entire franchise, where Link saves Zelda from the evil Ganondorf, but this game takes a twists into the plot. In Ocarina of Time the Gerudo race has one male every 100 years, which becomes their king. Ganondorf is the one male, and attempts to take over the world with the power of the Tri-Force. With multiple myths, and optional background stories that you can go through, such as getting Epona (the horse) from Lon Lon Ranch makes Ocarina of Time have an immersive world to play in. You can get lost doing minor activities like fetching chickens, or fishing, and can meet so many small characters that have a great personality, like Malon, which doesn’t play a major role within the game but adds a nice touch to the world. The boss battles in Ocarina of Time are amazingly fun. Especially the final battle with Ganondorf when he turns into Ganon.
The battle with Ganondorf, who then turns into Ganon is great. The battle starts of easy, and doesn’t seem too hard, and then he turns into Ganon, which changes the difficulty of the battle. For me I didn’t know what to do to get to his weak point, and so for the first few minutes I was running around trying to avoid this giant boar’s swords striking down.
Link progresses throughout the entire game, but with him not saying any dialogue there doesn’t feel like there’s much character progression. Ocarina of Time’s boss fights were great, but they followed a very simple formula. You find an object in the temple your in, and then use said item to defeat the boss. This happened with the Volvagia in the fire temple, where you got a giant hammer. Then when facing Volvagia you wait until he pops up out of the ground and then hit him with the hammer.
Ocarina of Time is good, but it still has it’s faults, which is why it’s in fifth place. However, the next entry is a bit more action packed.
Bioshock follows Jack, who after discovering the utopia Rapture finds out the dark consequences that this marvel created.
I was conflicted on whether I should put Bioshock or Bioshock Infinite (the third game) on this list, but Bioshock was definitely the better choice.
Bioshock follows Jack as after he crashes a plane in the middle of nowhere, but their was a lighthouse. This lighthouse descended down into the underwater utopia of Rapture. Rapture was the “land of the working man”, and was created by Andrew Ryan. Andrew Ryan also owns the company Andrew Ryan Industries, which created plasmids. These plasmids are injections that give people supernatural powers, such as summoning swarms of bees, and shooting electricity out of your hand.
Here’s a video on every plasmid within Bioshock, along with their great mini trailer. Bioshock is set in the 1960’s and this shows throughout the game with the basic era of technology. There’s audio logs, and phonographs, and even the weapons are dated, like the tommy gun for example. The enemies make the creepy utopia turn distopian world even creepier as you’ll hear them talk to themselves, or do crazy things like drive a empty baby stroller around. The world is great, and the story is magnificent especially with the twist ending that Andrew Ryan isn’t the bad guy, and that you’ve had your mind completely taken over.
Warning the video below contains graphic violence, watch with discretion
This twist completely took me off guard, and I love it. The graphic style is different from most games, and doesn’t try to go for the realistic look, but the graphics add to the 1960’s look and feel of the game. The character doesn’t have major interactions, but with audio logs everywhere other character quickly develop.
The major component of this game that was poorly done, was the final boss battle, which even on the hardest difficulty is pathetically easy. Also the main character has minimal dialogue, which limits his growth, and refrains the player from getting a real connection with Jack. Due to this, the game missed the mark for the third spot. Speaking about the third spot let’s talk about adventure.
3: Tomb Raider (2013)
Tomb Raider (2013) is the series reboot that gives the introduction story to Lara Croft that the original games never gave.
Tomb Raider (2013) follows Lara Croft, an English historic explorer, that is searching for the lost ruins of Yamatai. This changes when she is trapped on the island with no means to escape, and a cult ready to kill her sister as a sacrifice to the gods. Lara has to develop her materials, weapons, survival skills, and everything else in order to survive this island. Here’s the trailer that gives a hint at game play, and the story aspect to Tomb Raider.
The story in Tomb Raider is unique, and develops in a way that further strengthens Lara, and makes all odds oppose her at the same time. Throughout the game the player can explore tombs, and caverns to search for treasure, which can upgrade weapons, and is supposed to set the foundation for the sequel. Tomb Raider’s story takes the player’s emotions, and intertwines them with Lara, and makes the player feel a deep connection with Lara. The world is beautiful, and cruel at the same points, both graphically, and metaphorically.
This is a picture of the Temple of Yamatai, and is one of the many breathtaking sights that the player can expect to see throughout the game.
The problems with this game in my opinion is the supernatural aspect that they threw in. The Tomb Raider franchise has been known for supernatural components, but this game focused on the epiphany of reality, and the supernatural component felt lacklustre compared to the rest of the game. Also Tomb Raider suffered from being linear, and trying to be an open world at the same time, because the component of fast travel, and adventuring were there, but it holds no significance, and isn’t needed to progress through the game. This all hails in comparison to the ultimate sci-fi game in number two.
2: Mass Effect 2
Imagine playing 50-70 hours through a game, then starting up it’s sequel, and either porting your Commander Shepard from Mass Effect 1, or creating a new Shepard, and then seeing him die within the first cut scene.
Now after watching that remember that was the first ten minutes of the game. The introduction instantly starts the game off right by making your heart strings throb for The Normandy (the ship), the crew (especially Ashley), and Commander Shepard. The story continues from the rogue company Cerberus trying to save the universe from the Reapers, and after reviving Commander Shepard prepare to face the Collectors. The Collectors are kidnapping entire colonies of people, which takes Commander Shepard to find a new crew (of completely new characters), and save the universe once again. Mass Effect also had a really cool mechanic, which was that people of your crew would die if you didn’t do their loyalty missions, and upgrade the Normandy. For example, if you didn’t upgrade the hull, then the Collector ship (giant laser shooting thing in the video above) shoots through the Normandy, and kills Jack (a biotic superhuman that also escaped a maximum security prison by killing all the guards). Mass Effect also quite possibly has the greatest ending ever:
This ending (final scene) where it shows all the Reapers was a perfect cliffhanger ending. After the 100-150 hours you’ll play through the first two games you’ve only destroyed two reapers, ONLY TWO! Then an armada of thousands/millions show up, and you know that the next game you’ll have to face them all. The graphics in Mass Effect were almost pseudo-realism, and this gave a cool look to the world, and really shaped the universe in a totally new perspective. The character and plot development all depend on the choices that you make as Commander Shepard. Like in one case in the ending where you decide whether you keep the Collector ship, but kill the Collectors, or you can destroy the entire ship. This will set the advancement in technology of the Cerberus group, and whether they will alliance with you in Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 2 was an amazing game, close to perfect in my mind, but the main problem would have to be the fact that there are certain points in the game where you don’t want to do the main mission, but you do needless side missions, that don’t really help or impact the story in any way. These side missions though are optional, so if you prefer to stay with the action then that is completely possible. What could possibly be better than this, well you’ll have to see number one to find out, but first a recap.
5: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
3: Tomb Raider (2013)
2: Mass Effect 2
Now for number one:
Skyrim, where everything is up to you, you control everything in the world; wars, guilds, cities, the entire era is shaped by you.
In Skyrim, everything is the players choice to make. Don’t want to go on some stupid side mission, you can reject it. Want to tip the balance of the civil war by joining either the Stormcloaks, or the Imperials, have fun. How about becoming the leader of an ancient league of assassins, done. Skyrim is so well plotted out, so well made that after playing through it once you know the lore, and the province of Skyrim becomes clear to you. The story is pretty much the player is the Dragonborn, an epic warrior that only appeared in legends. You’re adept in “the voice”, or as the dragons say the Thu’um, which is a powerful weapon that can do amazing things. From tearing armies apart with the classic “Fus Ro Da”, to the ultimate dragon slaying weapon the “dragonrend”.
Here’s all the shouts in the original game (no DLC or mod). Skyrim’s enjoyment comes from the character and plot development that the player establishes making the outcomes of world near endless. Also with the amount of things to do in Skyrim you don’t even have to do the main story missions, and could for example just go through the Companion missions, or the Thieves’ Guild missions, or the Dark Brotherhood missions, the things to do are endless. Also the people in Skyrim are also close to endless, here’s a list of named characters that offer you missions, or are a major part of a mission :
Balgruuf the Greater – Involved in “Before the Storm,” “Bleak Falls Barrow,” “Dragon Rising,” “The Way of the Voice,” “Season Unending,” and “The Fallen.”
Ralof – Involved in “Unbound” and “Before the Storm” if followed.
Hadvar – Involved in “Unbound” and “Before the Storm” if followed.
Odahviing – Involved in “The Fallen,” “The World-Eater’s Eyrie,” and “Epilogue.”
Hakon One-Eye – Involved in “Alduin’s Bane,” “Sovngarde,” and “Dragonslayer.”
Felldir the Old – Involved in “Alduin’s Bane,” “Sovngarde,” and “Dragonslayer.”
Gormlaith Golden-Hilt – Involved in “Alduin’s Bane,” “Sovngarde,” and Dragonslayer.”
Irileth – Involved in “Before the Storm,” “Bleak Falls Barrow,” “Dragon Rising,” and “The Fallen.”
Farengar Secret-Fire – Involved in “Bleak Falls Barrow,” “Dragon Rising,” and “The Fallen.”
Iddra – Involved in “A Blade in the Dark.”
Malborn – Involved in “Diplomatic Immunity.”
Guests at Thalmor Embassy – “Involved in Diplomatic Immunity.”
Tsun – Involved in “Sovngarde” and “Dragonslayer.”
Ysgramor – Involved in “Sovngarde.”
Gerdur – Involved in “Before the Storm” if Ralof is followed.
Alvor – Involved in “Before the Storm” if Hadvar is followed.
Brynjolf – Involved in “A Cornered Rat.”
Dirge – Involved in “A Cornered Rat.”
Orgnar – May be involved in “The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller.”
Septimus Signus – Involved in “Elder Knowledge.”
Urag gro-Shub – May be involved in “Elder Knowledge.”
Faralda – May be involved in “Elder Knowledge.”
Alduin – Primary Antagonist.
Elenwen – Major Antagonist.
Mirmulnir – Minor Antagonist.
Sahloknir – Minor Antagonist.
Imperial Captain – Minor Antagonist if Ralof is followed.
Rulindil – Minor Antagonist in the Thalmor Embassy.
Gissur – Minor Antagonist in the Thalmor Embassy.
Drahff – Minor Antagonist in the Ratways if the Ratway was not entered prior to “A Cornered Rat.”
Hewnon Black-Skeever – Minor Antagonist in the Ratways if the Ratway was not entered prior to “A Cornered Rat.”
Gian the Fist – Minor Antagonist in the Ratways if the Ratway was not entered prior to “A Cornered Rat.”
Sulla Trebatius – If not killed before “Elder Knowledge.”
Umana – If not killed before “Elder Knowledge.”
J’darr – If not killed before “Elder Knowledge.”
Nahkriin – Minor Antagonist. Found in Skuldafn.
On top of all the things to do in Skyrim the world itself is so pretty. The graphics in Skyrim add to the gritty medieval nature of the game, but at certain points add a great beautiful landscape that make the game look amazing.
This is a picture of the Throat of the World, which is the highest point within Skyrim.
Skyrim’s only flaw in my opinion is the lack of rewards for exploration, which can get really aggravating. One moment you can decide to go through a newly found cave, but this cave has the possibility of only giving you a chunk of iron. Anyway’s Skyrim is incredibly fun, and addicting. For anyone looking for a cheap game to play, that will last for a long time, play Skyrim, it’s worth it.
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