I’ve been putting off writing this particular post for a very long time, mostly because I know people won’t agree with my choices. But you know what? I decided to just man up and put this list together. After all, everyone is going to have different “favourite” games; it’s just the nature of the beast when there are literally thousands of different games to choose from. And, of course, everyone has different tastes as well
So, this is going to be my personal list of my favourite games. Thus, I am not saying that these are the be all and end all of gaming. Nor am I saying that every other game is worse than these and you shouldn’t play them. These 7 are just my personal favourites, in no particular order because I’m terrible at choosing one of the other…
Now, with that “disclaimer” type thing out of the way, shall we get started?
Final Fantasy VIII
And so the rotten tomatoes start flying at my face immediately… Yes, I am choosing a Final Fantasy game that isn’t FF7. And no, I’m not sorry. Why? Because even though it wasn’t my first Final Fantasy game (which is usually what ends up as most people’s favourite), it was the first one I was completely and utterly engrossed in. In fact, you can read my review of FF8 here! I adored the realistic character style and the setting itself. The backstory of the world was incredibly intriguing, and I actually enjoyed the Junction system.
The romance between Squall and Rinoa never felt forced or too sudden, instead building up along the way. In fact, each character had such a strong personality that they all felt far more real than other FF games, bar the other one that will appear on this list. Overall, the game was (in my opinion) a masterpiece of science-fantasy storytelling. This is especially true if you’re a believer of the “Squall Is Dead” theory! (You can read the theory here, but it contains massive spoilers.)
Resident Evil 2
Out of all of the Resident Evil games, my all time number one is definitely the second! A large part of that comes from the effect it had on me the first time I played it. You see, Resident Evil 1 took place in a secluded and isolated mansion, so it was very condensed. However, the second you start up Resident Evil 2 you realise that everything has changed. You’re now in a city – an entire city. The scope of the game just exploded in front of you as you realise what all the possibilities are.
Then came the added fear as you slowly understand that, rather than a house full of zombies, the entire population of a city is trying to eat you. Oh, and the storyline was just amped up tenfold from the first game, with two entirely different plots depending on which of the two characters you played first. I mean, how cool is that!?
This one was always going to be in the list… I mean, just check out my review and you’ll know how much I absolutely love Koudelka! The gothic style of the game, mixed with the fact that it’s a Survival Horror RPG was always going to win me over. But more so than that was the amount of depth the game had, from its tactical battle system to the customisation of characters. The storyline was dark and twisted, dealing with some really horrific subject matter, as well.
If ever there was a PSX game that deserved more awareness and sales than it got, it was Koudelka. And yes, there were some amazing sequels in the Shadow Hearts series, they never quite managed to be as good as the original game.
Final Fantasy Tactics
Well, I did say that there would be another Final Fantasy game in this list, didn’t I? And Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSX is the only one that I would rate higher than FF8… Which, I guess, makes it my favourite Final Fantasy game to date. I’m actually very selective when it comes to tactical RPGs, because I find that most try too hard to make it appear like you need to strategise when you really don’t. FF Tactics, on the other hand, definitely needed you to strategise!
The character customisation alone was insane! The job system let you switch character classes all the time, meaning that you had to plan out each of the characters in your party and what roles they would play. The storyline covered what would happen in a fantasy world if a cult ended up becoming so big that it ended up the largest religion on the planet, which is some pretty heavy stuff. Not only that, but the emotional trauma the characters go through really hits you hard!
Icewind Dale II
When it comes to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons games (especially the Forgotten Realms setting), there’s absolutely loads of them. The most famous of them is probably Baldur’s Gate, but personally, I always preferred the Icewind Dale games. And out of the those, the second was definitely my top pick. It was challenging, without being Dark Souls levels of hard. On top of that, as with FF Tactics, the level of customisation you had for your characters was awesome.
The plot, itself, was rather short but never felt like it wasn’t an utter epic. If you’re in the mood for a really strong PC RPG, this is definitely one you should be on the look out for!
Silent Hill 2
Considering I’m trying to collect all of the Survival Horror games on PS2 (see my checklist here), it should be pretty obvious that it is one of my favourite genres of games. Silent Hill 2, in my opinion, is the reigning king of that genre, as well as one of the best games released on the PS2 (out of over a thousand). It took the creepiness and fear levels of the first game to a whole other level, and introduced the world to Pyramid Head!
With characters both memorable and downright disturbing, as well as possibly the best plot twist in the Survival Horror genre to date, Silent Hill 2 is a hallmark of the genre and of gaming! Even the soundtrack is beautiful and I listen to it regularly on Spotify. Whilst Team Silent, the development team behind the game, were disbanded, we can safely assume they won’t be making another Silent Hill anymore (if there ever really is another one). However, Silent Hill 2 will live on as a testament to their creativity and superb game development skills. If there were Oscars for games, then this would be the game that takes them all home!
Whilst the sequel, Galerians: Ash, might not have been a particularly wonderful game, the original is outstanding! Another Survival Horror game (see a trend in my preferences yet?), Galerians put you in the shoes of a young boy with psychic powers who escapes from a testing facility to try and remember who he really is. Along the way, you have to defeat guards, soldiers and more whilst trying to stay alive. You also have to manage your psychic stability by injecting specific drugs into your neck; if you didn’t, you’d got “berserk” and not actually be able to control the character very well.
The “just around the corner” sci-fi setting also made the game feel a lot more realistic, as if it could actually happen in the near future! This, too, added to the sense of fear and worry that the game induced whilst you were trying to survive.
And That’s All Folks
Those are my top 7 games of all time. Ranging from Survival Horror to historical fantasy tactical RPGs, there’s quite a bit of range there.
What are your favourite games of all time? Are any on this list? Let me know in the comments below!