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MKnight82's Top 50 Video Games of All Time - Full List Up


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I've recently been playing several HD updates of older video games I loved and it got me thinking about what are some of my favorite games of all time.  So I've decided to make a list, which started out as 20 games and ended up being 50.  This list is based on my own personal opinion, so that means I will have had to have played these games.  I've primarily been an Xbox, PC, and back in the day Nintendo gamer so the list is going to be pretty light from the Playstation side. I did own a PS2 for awhile and there are some of those on here, but primarily the games will be coming from the Xbox, PC, Nintendo tree.  I tried to consider how innovative the games were at the time, how much I've replayed them, how they held up during replaying, and just generally overall quality of the game. 

Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and critiques.  I'm going to post them in reverse order and try to post up several of them per day.  

 

50. Vampyr - Xbox One

49. Lords of Magic - PC

48. Bioshock - Xbox 360

47. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 - Playstation 2

46. Halo Reach - Xbox 360

45. Jade Empire - Xbox

44. Sim City 2000 - PC

43. They Are Billions - Xbox One

42. Goldeneye - N64

41. Illusion of Gaia - SNES

40. World of Warcraft - PC

39. Fable II - Xbox 360

38. Master of Orion 2 - PC

37. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - N64

36. Katamari Damacy - Playstation 2, Switch

35. State of Decay - Xbox 360, Xbox One

34. LA Noire - Xbox 360, Xbox One

33. Diablo 3 - PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One

32. Call of Duty Black Ops - Xbox 360

31. Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link - NES

30. Fallout: New Vegas - Xbox 360

29. Gran Turismo 3 - Playstation 2

28. The Walking Dead Season 1 - Xbox 360

27. Wii Sports - Wii

26. The Long Dark - Xbox One

25. Dead Rising 2 - Xbox 360, Xbox One

24. NBA 2k Series - Xbox 360, Xbox One

23. Rome: Total War - PC

22. Stardew Valley - Xbox One

21. Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines - PC

20. Madden Series - Gamecube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One

19. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Xbox, PC

18. Fallout 3 - Xbox 360

17. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - SNES

16. NCAA Football 14 - Xbox 360

15. Final Fantasy X - Playstation 2, Xbox One

14. Super Mario Kart - SNES

13. Batman: Arkham City - Xbox 360, Xbox One

12. Super Mario 64 - N64

11. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Xbox One

10. XCOM 2 - Xbox One

9. Baldur's Gate 2 - Shadows of Amn - PC, Xbox One 

8. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Xbox

7. Starcraft - PC

6. Mass Effect 2 - Xbox 360, Xbox One

5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Xbox 360, Xbox One

4. Final Fantasy VII - Playstation, Xbox One

3. Civilization V - PC

2. Diablo 2 - PC

1. Resident Evil 4 - Gamecube, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Switch

 

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#50 - Vampyr 

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Played on: Xbox One

 

This is one of the newest games on the list but is just a fantastic game.  One of the best world's in a video game I've played, excellent voice acting and the time period and setting are just perfect. I've played this game fully through 2 times since owning it and enjoyed it so much I'm thinking about a 3rd. There are some serious game mechanics going on with the decisions you make in game (basically you can kill people and absorb their power, which makes combat easier but causes serious repercussions in the story and interactions with the characters, or you can save everyone and combat is way harder but the world interacts with you like a savior). The combat is simple but not too repetitive, and it has some memorable boss fights.  Excellent storytelling and top notch world building.  It just hasn't been around long enough to be higher on the list.  If you haven't played it I would highly recommend.  

You play as Dr. Jonathan Reid, a doctor who specializes as one of the world's first experts in blood analysis and treatment, who gets bitten by a vampire when returning to his home town of London in 1918 (the height of the Spanish Flu epidemic). You become a Vampire and the story goes on from there. 

 

 

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#49 - Lords of Magic

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Played On: PC

 

There's definitely some nostalgia involved with this one, but I've loved this game since I was a teenager.  This game came out in 1997 so its probably too old for some of the younger gamers, but its available on Steam and I still play it now. I've always loved strategy games and love Tolkien world type stuff and this game merges both.  There is real depth and diversity in all of the unit design, and although the starting location of the factions remains the same the rest is randomly generated at the start. This makes for infinite replay value, as you take your units and try to level them up while trying to take on harder and harder foes. Lose your Champion and the game is over though.  

Its a turn based strategy game. You can choose one of 8 factions (Water, Fire, Wind, Life, Death, Chaos, Order, Earth), and each faction has its own set of units and buildings that are themed from that element. Your cities produce all of the resources you need (you can get upgrades to increase your output) which lets you just concentrate on the fun stuff like killing that mage tower down the road.  

 

 

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#48 - Bioshock

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Played On: Xbox 360

 

I really debated between this one and Bioshock Infinite, but ultimately went with the original.  This game is older than I remembered (it came out in 2007). Also I will note that I have not played the remastered version of this game which might have made it better (but the fact that I really haven't been driven to get the remastered version is one of the reasons its low on the list). Another reason it isn't higher is that I beat it once but never really went back to replay it. Fantastic story with a shocking ending. The world building was excellent here too as the setting is just as important to this game as any character. I'm not big on first person shooters but this game had so much character that it doesn't play like any run of the mill FPS.  

The setting is an alternate reality 1960s, and you crash at the underwater city of Rapture which is inhabited by some rough creatures, including the Big Daddies (see picture above). You play as Jack and are trying to escape to the surface. Along the way a mysterious man named Atlas helps you along your quest. 

 

 

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#47 - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

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Played On: Playstation 2

 

If you were a teenager in the 90s and watched the X Games explode into a cultural phenomena, there's a 99% you owned this game.  This was a gaming series but I think 3 is the best. This is one of those games we played when I was a Freshman in college, and I'd sit around with my roommates drinking beers and passing the control around (there is not enough in person shared gaming anymore IMO). I remember the cruise ship being one of the coolest levels in the series, and the soundtrack was always top notch. I haven't played this game in years but the sheer volume of hours I put into this game back when it came out has to be respected. 

 

 

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#46 - Halo Reach

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Played On: Xbox 360

 

I wanted to put a Halo game on the list and I went with this one. I've probably played every Halo game at least once but other than multiplayer I never found a lot of replay value in these games which brings it down the list. I know Halo multiplayer was big back in the day but I never got that into it.  Funny enough, Reach is IMO the best of the series because the story isn't hampered by Master Chief, who is IMO a boring main character. The real fun part of this game was co-op campaign mode, with "skull" modifiers. Was that last level too easy?  Put on another skull modifier like "dropped weapons give you less ammo", or "radar is turned off" and try your luck now. These modifiers made it super fun to co op with a buddy and see how far you guys could survive. 

Like I said this game doesn't revolve around Master Chief, rather a squad of guys called the Noble Six. You're on a human planet called Reach which gets attacked by the Covenant and you must stop them.  

 

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#45 - Jade Empire

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Played On: Xbox

 

This is an amazing RPG.  For some reason it doesn't get brought up a lot when mentioning Bioware's amazing gaming catalog but its one of their best games IMO. Beautiful setting, interesting characters, fun gameplay with a great story.  I probably played this game to completion 3 times or more. Unfortunately I don't think there is an HD remaster which is why I haven't played this game in probably a decade, but the memories are still strong for this one. The combat is fantastic for an old school RPG. Really that's what stands out most about the game.  In the early 2000s there were a lot of great RPGs but a lot of boring turn based stat based combat at the time. Jade Empire's combat is real time with beautifully rendered animations making it really stand out amongst its RPG peers. 

You play as a "spirit monk" set out from a small village where you've trained your whole childhood to save the empire. Along the way you recruit companions as you are hunted by Death's Hand and the Lotus Assassins. 

 

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#44 - Sim City 2000

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Played On: PC

 

Another old school PC game.  Most of my PC gaming was earlier in life as I've shifted to mostly playing on console (its just too expensive and time consuming to maintain a quality gaming PC imo).  I'm sure everyone has heard of this game but if you're younger you may never have played it. Sim City is a series but this one was the best IMO.  There's just something really fun about building a grid of roads, slapping some zoning down and watching your city grow from the ground up.  Then turn on disaster mode and watch a tornado wipe you buildings to the ground. Really innovative game that has had a lot of imitators, but the OG is the best. 

 

 

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#43 - They Are Billions

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Played On: Xbox One

 

This game came out in December 2017 so its one of the newest games on this list. They Are Billions is a fantastic strategy game on the console (its on PC too but I play it on console). Most strategy games on console have terrible controls but they really got it right with this one. I have spent a lot of hours trying to figure out the nuances of this game, but man its a tough one. The fact that its so hard gives it the draw. There's sandbox mode and a story mode, I haven't really gotten into the story mode much.  Sandbox mode is where this game shines.  Build up your base, explore to find more resources, then brace for when the waves of zombies come. The final wave of zombies in this game is one of the most frantic experiences in gaming you will ever have.  Literally thousands of zombies descending on your base at the same time. There are other base defense games out there but this one is top of the class imo.  The steampunk vibe and setting is fun too. If you haven't played this game I would highly recommend it. 

 

 

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#42 - Goldeneye

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Played On: N64

 

This is a beloved game that I'm sure some people will have higher on their own personal list.  My issue is that I haven't played this game in probably 20 years at this point, so its hard to put it higher when it hasn't stood the test of time (seriously try using a N64 controller now, its like impossible). If you haven't played this game or are somehow unaware of it, this game basically created multi-player video gaming. There were some multi-player games on SNES but nothing like this.  We would have whole sleepovers where we'd just play Goldeneye nonstop in multi-player.  On top of that, this is one FPS where the single player mode is fantastic. They made a hd remake, I think it was on Xbox 360, but they took some liberties with it that they shouldn't have and it just wasn't the same game.  The original was incredible and basically created the FPS multi-player mode that Halo took over, then Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc. A pioneering game that I spent a lot of my teenage years playing. 

 

 

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Oooh props for the Jade Empire pick. I love the Mass Effect series and good for them on hitting on Dragon Age as well, but those two franchises becoming popular basically buried the Jade Empire franchise into the ground lol. Now Bioware is all kinds of messed up and we'll never get a Jade Empire 2 :(

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#41 - Illusion of Gaia

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Played On: SNES

 

Really cool old school RPG on the SNES.  I actually whipped out my SNES recently and replayed this game and it still holds up. I'm not aware if there has been a continuation of this franchise in any capacity which is a shame because it was a great story imo. So you play as a young boy from a small village out to save the world (a million RPGs were based on this concept in the 90s), but the cool dynamic in this game is you stumble on some ancient power that lets you transform into two difference characters: a Knight named Freedan and an elemental being called Shadow.  You would have to solve puzzles in different dungeons utilizing the skills from the different forms you could take. The story is solid, and its a beautiful SNES game with a solid soundtrack to. Its a fantasy world but has some earth history elements in it, like the Nazca lines, Egyptian pyramids, the ancient city of Ur, the Tower of Babylon and more. One of my most favorite SNES games. 

 

 

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#40 - World of Warcraft

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Played On: PC

 

It seems like popularity of this game has waned lately, but it was a juggernaut a decade ago. I lost 6 months of my life to this game as its quite addicting. I played in the Wrath of the Lich King era so I haven't played many of the new DLCs. This game really promotes its "community" as a strength but I enjoyed leveling and playing quests solo more than any of the dungeons. The game has a serious problem with 13 year old kids acting like huge dbags because you aren't as geared up as them lol. The scale of this game is so massive that its daunting. Grinding to level and gear up, making it to the next area.  Its one of the most addicting games I've ever played. But ultimately its not higher because I just really didn't enjoy the multi-player aspect of it. You shouldn't have to schedule a raid on your calendar to play a video game. 

 

 

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#39 - Fable II

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Played On: Xbox 360

 

So I really liked the story of the original Fable but the rest of the game mechanics were a little too simple. Fable 3 was the opposite, too complicated with a boring story. Fable 2 was just right in the middle. Good story, decent combat, but what makes this game is all of the little side stuff you can do. The game has some interesting mini games, and the jobs system to make money was fun, but what really got me hooked was buying up all the real estate in the game. Now that may sound boring to some but I found it addicting. I was obsessed with buying up everything in the game raking in all of that sweet sweet income. Does this game hold up now? I haven't played it in awhile, but I did download the HD remaster of Fable 1 and quickly became bored with it. I feel like the more complex game mechanics of this game would translate better to keep interest now but I have to be honest I haven't played this game in years. Still, I have very fond memories of this game which is why it ranks higher than some others on this list. 

If you haven't played a Fable game you play as a warrior in the fictional world of Albion. The setting of this game has a colonial time setting feel, which is 500 years in the future from Fable 1 which had a more medieval feel. 

 

 

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#38 - Master of Orion 2

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Played On: PC

 

This game is freaking amazing. Another old school PC game, this game was originally released in 1996. I believe it is the first 4x strategy game I ever played, and it manages to balance complexity without overburdening you with micromanaging everything.  I played this game relentlessly when I was a teenager, and it still holds up as I recently downloaded it off of Steam and played it. Still a great game and really fun to play even now. 

MO2 is a turned based 4x strategy game that lets the player choose to start from a number of alien races (or custom make your own) and begin colonizing planets in a randomly generated map. There is always the threat that Antares (beings from another dimension) will attack your burgeoning empire, but the real threat are the other races in the galaxy fighting for the same resources as you. Fully customizable ships, a lengthy research tree to upgrade every part of your empire, and intergalactic diplomacy await you in this game. 

 

 

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