These last eight years have been some of the most formative for not only video games as a medium, but for myself as a gamer. So naturally, it feels right to list 8 titles from the last 8 years that have stuck out to me as some of my favorite games of all time.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
One of the three games I bought a PSP for. It’s amazing how Square Enix made an entire game and story around a character who barely appeared in Final Fantasy VII. It’s even more amazing that the game is so fantastic. You forget that the game’s ending will be inevitably grim, because you’re absorbed into the ever-expanding world of Midgar. Seeing Shinra, Sephiroth, and the world of Final Fantasy VII before the original game happens was a fantastic experience I won’t soon forget.
I’m a single-player kind of guy, so it’s very rare for a multiplayer-based game, especially an FPS, to grab me. While Team Fortress 2 did more than five years ago, it had been the only one up until now. Overwatch’s fascinating world and characters, combined with the unique abilities of each character, made it one of the very rare multiplayer-based experiences that I really love to consistently play. I look forward to seeing what Blizzard does in the future with the game, and you can bet I’ll be there to find out.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
I spent a good couple of days deciding between Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 4, but in the end, I had to go with A Thief’s End. While Among Thieves is the game that made me truly love Uncharted, a theme that has continued to this day, A Thief’s End became one of my favorite games of all time. I deeply cared about the characters, and had a blast with the gameplay. How would Nate’s story end? How would he and Elena maintain their relationship? Who really was Sam? Not only was every question answered in a satisfying manner, but I received the best ending to the franchise I could hope for.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
I’m not sure I’ve ever played any game with friends more than Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. My brother and I would play for days on end, constantly adapting to one another’s strategies, and practicing with characters to gain an upper-hand on one another. It got to the point where we could nearly tell the outcome of a match from the first few combos, leading to the fiercest, and friendliest, competition I’ve had in my video gaming career. The amount of beloved Marvel and Capcom characters included is a dream come true, even if Mega Man got slighted.
The Walking Dead: Season 1
The only game to hit me on such an emotional level that it made me tear up, Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1 was a much-needed revival for the adventure genre. The difficult choices, complex characters, and eerie atmosphere all contribute to the stunning narrative perfectly. When I went into the game, I had barely taken in any Walking Dead media, which is a testament to how the amazing characters and atmosphere can carry the game for anyone, whether they’re fans of the franchise or not. (Always remember, for Clementine.)
Assassin’s Creed II
Probably the best example I can think of for how a sequel should be made. Every problem the original Assassin’s Creed had was fixed in II, while a bounty of new features were added to make assassinating some of history’s meaner figures remarkably invigorating. You truly feel like Ezio as you take on his quest for revenge, as you watch him grow from a literal newborn, to the man you play as. Ezio stands out to me as one of the best modern video game characters. Also, what other game can you say ends with a fist-fight with the evil magical pope?
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
One of the other games I bought a PSP for. Birth By Sleep is my favorite Kingdom Hearts game, and it doesn’t even feature the main characters from the rest of the series. While the gameplay had some great improvements over Kingdom Hearts II, the darker plot was what really grabbed me. These new characters managed to answer a number of questions within the franchise, while giving us the most emotional story in the history of the series. There’s a reason Kingdom Hearts fans can’t wait for Aqua, Terra, and Ven to appear again, and this fantastic game is why.
Red Dead Redemption
The most recent game I’ve played on the list. I grew up watching old Westerns with my Poppa and my Dad, so Red Dead Redemption is something of a dream game for me. Having only really gotten into Red Dead in the last year or so, I was shocked at how much I loved the game. There wasn’t a single instance in Red Dead where I was bored, as the environments of the game made wandering around the Old West feel like an otherworldly experience. Random strangers asking me for help, playing cards, and duels on the street all made Red Dead Redemption the Western game I’ve always wanted. I consider the plot to be a benchmark in modern game story-telling, and I cannot wait for Red Dead 2.
And those are my 8 games. Feel free to comment with your thoughts, or your own favorites!