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Letters from the Front

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I love videogames, always have. There’s no feeling quite like opening a brand new game, pressing start, and immersing yourself in a brand new world.

But which games are the best of all time? Which games were ahead of their time that they stand apart from the rest of the pack? I decided to make my own list of the Top 10 Greatest Games of All Time with the honorable mentions list at the very bottom.

Games are a product of the era that they were released in, games like BioShock or Halo 3 broke new ground for the time they were in. Let’s hop right into it with number 10.

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#10: Mass Effect 2

I’ve never played a game like Mass Effect 2 in all the years I played videogames, even now I haven’t played a game like it since. Mass Effect set the stage for something that would go beyond what it originally set out to do and in some ways, the original Mass Effect also set the stage for a futuristic Milky Way and in Mass Effect 2 let you explore more of the galaxy. I traveled the Milky Way in search of the best team I could find and also experienced one of the best stories in all of gaming but it’s up to you if you end the sequel in good faith or in tears.

As you head out on your trip to recruit the best of the best for a suicide mission, you’ll meet the best-written characters that feel not only original but also have the power to bring out true emotions. Mass Effect 2 is a complete gem of a game.

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#9: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim was a pivotal turning point in what defines an RPG game.  Skyrim flipped the term around, it was the moment that worlds became big, immersive, and became detailed. Everything about Skyrim changed not only RPG games but also gaming as a whole and also it was a vast improvement over Oblivion. Skyrim and the homeland of the Nords wasn’t as interesting as their neighbors in Cyrodiil or Morrowind, but it was interesting.

The fact remains that Bethesda and Todd Howard cared so much about the game and took time to make the world detailed, world-building, exploration, and immersion, paid attention to every tombs, quest, and even down to the little things like books is enough to cement Skyrim into one of the greatest games I’ve ever played.

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#8: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

The year 2007 was memorable for many reasons including one of the greatest games in modern gaming history that I will delve in a little bit later, but it was the first time in the history of Call of Duty that Infinity Ward for the first time ever departured from WWII into the conflicts of the modern day.

All Ghilled Up is one of the missions I remember the most outside of the ones that featured the  American Marines, but this one mission is the one I keep recalling back to when I think of Modern Warfare. Two camouflaged snipers making their way through a place that is stuck in time, a place that still recalls memories of the Soviet era. This particular mission and the entire game ( definitely.) was watching, breath held, as an entire armored patrol went by, and it’s a moment that hasn’t really been matched since.

The set-pieces and superb pacing is something I never saw before in a videogame and that campaign is one of the most memorable campaigns in history, and it’s superb multiplayer that would change multiplayer shooters forever made this game standout from the rest in 2007.

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#7: Battlefield 1

The First World War was the first global war that the world had ever seen. The world went from 1870 to 1940 in the span of four years, new weaponry  like the machinegun and self-loading rifles  alongside new inventions like the tank and the airplane would lay the groundwork for and what would define modern warfare a century later.

2016’s Battlefield 1 is something refreshing and something that I haven’t seen before, it’s a game that’s filled with history, around every corner you will see historical facts that you didn’t even know about. Battlefield 1 is a game that stands out of the pack, while everyone else goes further into the future and the modern day, DICE went to the far past and brought the First World War to me and to the mainstream. The robust multiplayer experience and the historical facts at every turn makes Battlefield 1 one of the greatest games I’ve ever played.

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#6: Battlefield 1942

Battlefield 1942 is the very first Battlefield game, this game would lay the groundwork for a franchise that would become bigger with each installment. Battlefield 1942 would also be the game that would introduce me to this landmark series and also lay the groundwork for how I would be spending my time every afternoon after coming home from school. Battlefield 1942 wasn’t just co-operative, teamwork oriented shooter of it’s time, this game was in a class all by itself.

Maps like Anzio and Market Garden were huge, open landscapes, where you can change the tide of war with one well placed shot from a bomber or a Sherman was exciting. There was simply nothing like it at the time, and it’s legacy has gotten bigger since it released all those years ago.

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#5: GTA V

GTA V launched four years ago and it continues to be the best-selling game of each year just short of Call of Duty. When I first picked up GTA V, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and by the end, I was enraptured by the world Rockstar created. I marveled at the world, was in disbelief how the cast was just not only well-acted but also outstanding, was in relief on how the driving was much more improved over that of GTA IV, and how deep the game was.

GTA V is the sort of game that never leaves you, it leaves a strong impression that only Rockstar can leave you with well after you beat the game. It’s the sort of game that only comes once under a blue moon.

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#4: Red Dead Redemption

I’ve always been enamored with the American Frontier, even since I was a boy I fell in love with the concept of that far-away land: The cowboys who’s always good and heroic, the outlaws, the sheriffs who try to do good and stop the outlaws, the migration to the West after the Civil War, and lastly the struggles of the Native Americans. The Final Frontier or the American West as I like to call it is filled to the brim with historical facts and folklore legends like Wyatt Earp, Davy Crockett, and others. No other country has built up the image of someone so recognizable like America has, the image of the cowboy can be recognized far and wide.

When I first played Red Dead Redemption, much like GTA V, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I knew that it was a game set in the last days of the American West, in the year 1911 but I had no idea that I would quickly fall in love. It was the kind of game you couldn’t wait to go home to play, I would get completely lost into this world to the point where one day I forgot to actually go to school because it was so great. I wish I could play it for the first time again.

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#3: Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault holds a very special place in my heart, a special place of reverence among those who played it. While Battlefield 1942 was a close second, Allied Assault for me personally that was the number one game for campaign and multiplayer.

What made it so fun and so memorable? I guess it felt right, the multiplayer was exquisite something like you would see out of Goldeneye where you would pick your character, choose your loadout, and duel it out in the small maps. It was very Arena-like although not being that type of style, this was in the era where multiplayer gaming wasn’t like how it is today, the style of multiplayer gaming only came after Call of Duty 4 released. Multiplayer was pretty bare-bones and simplified, there wasn’t XP or customizing your loadout, what you get is what you got until you died.

The single-player however is something like I never seen before and haven’t since, there’s some sort of simplicity that games from the 2000’s have that we don’t see today. The single-player didn’t tell it’s story through cutscenes or drama, it told it’s story through gameplay and it took a backseat. The D-Day level is something that I haven’t seen since; the audio of that level was superb and it made you feel like you there, the bullets going past you, hitting the dirt and into your teammates, the 88 shells landing into the sand. It felt like a movie although it wasn’t, Allied Assault never forgot that it was a movie and I guess that’s why it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.

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#2: BioShock

In a time where military shooters were going to the modern day with the arrival of Modern Warfare, in a time where things were changing for the gaming industry, BioShock introduced me to something new. It was Rapture. Rapture was a world unlike I had ever seen before, be alone a videogame. Technically, it was a successor to System Shock 2, but unlike that game, BioShock was something else; no two playthroughs would be the same and it set itself apart from System Shock 2. Rapture and the game as a whole that make it one of the most memorable and one of the greatest games of all time.

BioShock was an ambitious vision, filled with post-World War II era tunes  with an original score, Art Deco inspired backdrops, and excellent performances of a well-written script that came together with a well-written cast like Andrew Ryan and Atlas and also the themes pulled out of an Ayn Rand book that made the game what it is. BioShock was a game that came only once under a blue moon.

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#1: The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 was the first game in a while that accomplished and went further beyond those accomplishments that Fallout 3 set forward all the way back in 2008. It raised the stakes for storytelling in RPG’s, also it raised the bar for character development, the characters in The Witcher 3 are filled with depth and are incredibly well-written, it’s world is brimming with things to do.

It’s open world was host to million of things to do, ranging from side quests and meaningful choices and also it was an ambitious game. Seeing your choices go through the land was a highlight of The Witcher 3, the writing added shades of grey to everything you did. The Witcher 3 over-exceeded the promises that CDPR set forth and it raised the bar for what an RPG can do. I hope we see another game like The Witcher 3.

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#0: Half-Life 2

More than a decade after it’s release, Half-Life 2 much like BioShock is still ahead of many other games in it’s genre. Half-Life 2 isn’t just about violence, it’s also about utility and thought. The game relies heavily on physics, environment, and improvisation makes Half-Life 2 the greatest game of all time.

The beloved gravity gun remains it’s most interesting weapon, allowing you to not just throw things at enemies but also turning any object into a piece to solve a puzzle. The cast was highly memorable led to an amazing sci-fi story that is ahead of most other games. The two expansions led to an outstanding   epic cliffhanger that even now, leads me to wonder if Valve will ever continue the adventures of Alex and Dr. Freeman.

*Honorable Mentions

  • Fallout 3
  • Halo 3
  • Halo 2
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3
  • Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1
  • Batman Arkham Asylum
  • Batman Arkham City
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • Team Fortress 2
  • KOTOR

What are your top 10 games of all time? Sound off in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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