|By Shamus||Oct 22, 2014||10 comments|
Reminder: Try not to stress out too much about the order of the items on this list, what games made it and which ones didn’t. This list is just PC games, limited to the ones I’ve played and I thought were worth discussing. If you rage out because I left out your favorite game then you’re just making a fool of yourself. Also remember the rule: A particular franchise can only appear in the list once, so if Resident Evil 4 makes the list then Resident Evil 2 can’t.
Just use this as an excuse to talk about / praise / eviscerate games we might not get to discuss very often. Read the intro to learn why we’re doing this.
56. Assassin’s Creed
I hate what Assassins Creed has become: A shallow dose of action schlock, built around a premise the writers don’t know what to do with and with a story that never goes anywhere. The present-day meta-story is a dumb waste of time, the overarching battle between assassins and Templars is a sophomoric mix of ideas with no theme or message, and the entries themselves became patronizingly Euro-centricI think fans would have welcomed more stories in the middle east or Asia, but Ubisoft is allergic to anything resembling risk.. The story of Ezio is the worst case of Marty Sue I’ve seen in a AAA game. If you have the nerve to put a spoiled rich selfish simpleton as the central character of your game, and then have the audacity to have him out-smart Leonardo da Vinci, then I am angry at you and we must fight.
So why is this on the list?
The core mechanics are solid, and I’ll always appreciate the seeds planted by the first game. And the series has a few good ideas sprinkled around out there, such as Black Flag’s naval combat. The series isn’t irredeemable, it’s just far short of what it could have been.
55. The Walking Dead
I’ve already said everything I could possibly say about the game, but in case you missed it: Telltale Games The Walking Dead is a powerful experience that proves you don’t need “Photorealistic graphics” to have “more emotions”, and in fact the reverse might be true. Lee, Kenny, Clementine, and the rest of the cast were able to enact scenes with subtle facial expressions and things left unsaid, while staying far away from the tar pit of photorealism.
54. City of Heroes
The best superhero MMO. One of the best MMO games, period. The genre has been in free-fall since then. Champions Online was stupid and filled with self-defeating gameplay design, DC Universe Online was shallow and dull and the interface wasn’t just dumbed down, it was lobotomized. Marvel Heroes is something else entirely, and has nothing to do with making your own hero and punching bad guys for fun.
I don’t have much to add beyond what I said in the video, except that I wish someone was using this technology to make something sprawling and Bethesda-ish.
52. Planescape: Torment
This game is held up as one of the classics of the RPG genre, and used as an example of just how far we’ve fallen and how shallow games have gotten. The game supposedly has more than a novel worth of text in it, every single dialog is brimming with options that put the Mass Effect dialog wheel to shame, and the game wonderfully realizes a strange and exotic world very unlike the usual swords & dragons RPG fare.
But the sad fact is that the game has a lot of ugly flaws. I thought the combat was a slog and a time-sink. The story is actually quite linearPerversely, the game does the opposite of what most RPGs do: The first act is free and open, and then later you're funneled into a linear sequence of environments. and far too many puzzles and challenges have only one solution.
It’s a good game, but it also demands a lot of you. It comes from a brief moment in history when storage was big enough to cram tons of text into a game but before computers became fast enough to depend on cutscenes. I’d love to see an alternate history where Moore’s Law ran a little slower and so developers had spent more years depending on text to tell their stories rather than making the jump to movie-style storytelling. As much as people praise Planescape: Torment, I’d love to see what developers would give us after a few iterations on the idea.
Another odd look into a history that might have been. Outcast used voxel renderingStop calling Minecraft a "voxel game". While technically the data is indeed a grid of points, the world is drawn using plain old triangles, just like the ones in the latest Call of Shoot Guy. to realize its world. This means it didn’t use graphics acceleration.
Is it a shooter? An adventure game? An RPG? It defies modern categorizations. It’s a talk-heavy game on a fantastic alien world. There’s crafting and inventory managements. There’s shooting. Lots of shooting. It has quests and sidequests. There’s tons of worldbuilding, including an invented language with over a hundred vocabulary words. The main character is named Cutter Slade, an ex-military guy with some kind of haunted past, who shoots hundreds of guys during the course of the game.
I have no idea. You figure out what genre this is.
50. No One Lives Forever 2
No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.’s way is playful and fun. It came from the golden age of PC shooters between 1998 and 2005, when graphics were just good enough to be stylish and awesomeAlthough some games have visually aged better than others. but still primitive enough that we could afford non-linear environments and a more cartoon approach to violence and bodycounts.
In a lot of ways it was ahead of its time: Lots of action set pieces. Animated, voice-acted cutscenes. In-game cutscenes instead of BINK video. Stylized visuals influenced by cinema.
This is something that would feel right at home on the shelf next to the latest Uncharted game. Why hasn’t this franchise been revived?
49. The Sims 2
I’m not the biggest fan of The Sims. The sims themselves are too abstract for me to feel a lot of personal investment in them, the “socializing and hoarding” gameplay runs pretty counter to my personality, and the needs-balancing gameplay never rose above dumb busywork for meI have enough time before work to either go to the bathroom or eat, but not both. And apparently there are no toilets or food at work, where I'm a powerful and important executive.. The underlying engine has always been offensively slow, requiring many times the horsepower it should and with loading times that transcend merely “annoying” and venture into “abusive”. The personalities are shallow nonsenseWe're using the signs of the Zodiac, really? and the AI was so bad MOVE, I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM! NO, YOU MOVE, I WANT TO GO TO SLEEP! NO, LETS JUST STAND HERE AND EMOTE AT EACH OTHER FOR AN ENTIRE EVENING UNTIL I PISS MYSELF AND YOU PASS OUT. YES. THIS IS AN AMAZING SIMULATION OF HUMAN INTERACTION. the sims often crossed the line from “avatar” to “adversary”.
Having said all that: This game is certainly… uh. Popular? For some reason?
Okay, it’s not just “popular”. It’s one of the best-selling games of all time. Still, I could never get over the notion that the only reason it sells well is because nobody is trying to compete with it. This formula could be done much better. I can see how having a little suburban ant farm of simulated consumers can make for a fun game, but this is an idea in desperate need of refinement.
And no EA, that doesn’t mean “even more DLC”. Jackasses.