Hello everyone, and welcome to part two of My Favourite Games Ever! Last time, I took five of my favourite games and game series, telling everyone what was so awesome about them. Today is no different, as I’m going to take five more, and lay ‘em out for you. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
My Favourite Games EVER Part 2
Part 2 of my listing of my favourite games featuring Arkham, Gears of War, and Donkey Kong.
Gears of War
The Destroyed Beauty of Chainsaws
First up is one of the most successful gaming trilogies in history, Gears of War. I’m mostly going to talk about Gears 1-3, no offence to Judgement, I liked it, just not as much as the other three.
In 2006, the Xbox 360 was suffering after a disastrous launch period. With only a handful of big titles, Halo 3 being delayed for over a year, and a plethora of technical issues, Microsoft’s new system was in desperate need of a win. That win came in the form of Epic Games’ Gears of War. The third person shooter utilized the cover system first innovated by the game Killswitch, and took place in the “Destroyed Beauty” of Serra, a planet much like our own. Following the story of soldiers known as “Gears”, we are taken into a desperate fight for survival in a world that had grown sick of war.
Gears of War was my second game for my 360, and an immediate favourite. Though the story was a little lacking for depth, the characters were likeable (except for Lieutenant Minh... jerk. Why they keep bringing him back for multiplayer is beyond me), the action fast paced, and the enemies challenging enough to get you to really hate them. About everything else, the CHAINSAW BAYONET was the most unique thing to come into gaming in some time. There is still something oddly satisfying about chainsawing a Locust in half no matter how many times you do it. The first Gears was a massive success, and was even re-released a few years later on the PC with extra levels built in (the 360 version used a different engine so they couldn’t release DLC for it). Microsoft has even announced that a remastered edition is coming out for the Xbox One, featuring the full game, updated graphics, and more. As good as Gears of War was though, the best was yet to come for the series.
With the success of Gears of War, Epic immediately set to work on making a bigger, better, and more complete game for Gears of War 2. Released in 2008, it was an instant success. Horde mode became extremely popular with fans, but it was the main story that grabbed a lot of the attention. While Gears of War felt very much like a black ops secret mission, Gears of War 2 felt like a full scale war, with Delta Squad feeling like a small part of a bigger world. To this day, Gears of War 2 to this day has to be one of the most epic stories I’ve ever seen in gaming. More than that, the story was extremely personal. The characters were taken to the brink of what they could take and more, with new and old friends returning for the ride. However, the thing I liked the most was that the Locust, humanity’s nemesis, were set in stone as evil in this game by their horrific actions. A lot of games (or other mediums) try to make the villains of “Part 1” more human and understandable in “Part 2”. Gears of War 2 threw that idea out the window, forgetting about shades of grey and making the Locust pure black. Not that the Gears were saints, but faced with evil like they were, they were clearly in the right for their war. With all that, Gears of War 2 set a freakin’ high bar, and remains one of the most revered 360 games ever.
The success of Gears of War 2 led Epic to release the final installment in the trilogy, Gears of War 3. I, along with many fans, didn’t think Epic could outdo what they had accomplished with Gears of War 2, and to Epic’s credit, they didn’t try to, making Gears 3 a unique experience on its own. In addition to updating Horde Mode (still the best survival mode I’ve ever run across), Gears of War 3 featured all the things that made the series great. Fast paced, exciting game play, epic visuals, fun and relatable characters, and an engrossing story on top brought me back to Serra in the best way. Gears 3 felt bigger, more personal, and far more desperate than its predecessors, adding to the experience. By now, humanity was on the brink of extinction, and the games story and environments relayed that. The campaign was heart-wrenching, as one tragedy after another hit our heroes as they marched towards what could be their final battle. In the end, Gears 3 was a work of art, easily becoming one of the biggest hits of 2011, which given how good that year was for gaming really is saying something.
I will mention Gears of War: Judgement to complete the series, but like I said at the start, I don’t consider it in the same league as the other three. Still a good game with a fun campaign, and great new weapons, they took a lot of things out of the game (the curb stomp execution being my biggest disappointment), and it just didn’t feel as big or as epic as the other three. Still fun, and still recommended, but when compared to the trilogy, it falls short.
All in all though, Gears of War is one of videos best series of the modern era, and I for one cannot wait for Gears of War 4 to hit stores. That chainsaw is getting rusty.
y on top brought me back to Serra in the best way. Gears 3 felt bigger, more personal, and far more desperate than its predecessors, adding to the experience. By now, humanity was on the brink of extinction, and the games story and environments relayed that. The campaign was heart-wrenching, as one tragedy after another hit our heroes as they marched towards what could be their final battle. In the end, Gears 3 was a work of art, easily becoming one of the biggest hits of 2011, which given how good that year was for gaming really is saying something.
Reboot that Works
Usually, it takes me a while to count a game as a favourite, and to be honest I was a little reluctant to include Tomb Raider. But, after some thought, I truly came to realize how much I really loved this game, especially considering that I wasn’t too keen on trying it out in the first place. However, when it crossed my dashboard a few months back for free as part of Games for Gold, I downloaded and gave it a shot. Since then, I have replayed the campaign a half dozen times, each time having more fun than the last.
Tomb Raider has been classic series amongst gamers since the 90s, but recently, it had fallen on some hard times. Its last few installments best described as “disappointing”, many fans were lamenting the downfall of one of gaming most popular heroes. Thankfully, Square Enix took over the franchise, and announced the next game would a reboot to start fresh with a new direction.
That new direction did cause some backlash from long time fans, Lara being depicted as something other than the confident badass we were used to. However, once the game was released, those critics were silenced as they realized that what the developers were doing was taking Lara back to the beginning. A young archeologist on her first adventure, this new Lara Croft was not the hardened survivor we were used to, instead a naive, and somewhat unconfident young woman who was trying to find her place in the world.
When things go wrong (they always seem to for archeologists don’t they?), Lara must fight for her very survival, step by step becoming who she was destined to become, often times through brutal actions born of necessity. From the opening moments, as intense a first “level” as you’ll ever play, to her first time hunting for food, lighting a fire, and especially her first face to face kill, and beyond, Lara slowly changes into the Tomb Raider, despite her stated hatred for such places (that line really pissed some fans off... whiners).
What I loved, truly loved, about this approach was that they allowed Lara to have flaws, and to learn how to be strong without actually trying to be. Her journey through the story is the best character development in a game I have ever seen, and that statement isn’t just true for her either. The supporting cast, many of whom don’t survive the journey, each have their own story, their own motivations, and their own story unto themselves. This of course leads to conflict with Lara as she reluctantly tries to lead them out the mess she dragged them into.
Graphically, it is one of the most gorgeous games for the 360, and I will be almost immediately grabbing the definitive edition when I get my Xbox One. The game play was stellar, the Island rich and full of history, and even the upgrade system was unique and fun to play through on its own. The multiplayer was so-so, but it didn’t take away from the experience at all. Easily one of the best games of generation, I am waiting with everyone else for the Sequel, Rise of the Romb Raider, coming out soon.
Donkey Kong Country
Monkeys, Apes and BANANAS!
Going real old school on this next one, but anyone my age will have many fond memories of our favourite talking apes (sorry Planet of the Apes guys). Donkey Kong Country, originally released on the Super Nintendo (re-released several times thereafter as well), was a huge hit. Donkey (originally the villain from the very first Mario game), and his pal Diddy Kong, took as on a thrilling adventure on a tropical island to stop mad scientist King K. Krool (yes, those are his initials... think about it). Diddy and Donkey were quickly adopted by fans as one of video games greatest pairings, and the game itself became IMMENSELY popular, becoming the 2nd highest selling SNES game in history. The sales were well-warranted, the quirky, fun, lengthy title being revolutionary for its generation, and inspiring countless games to follow.
Personally, I didn’t get to play this game as much as I would have liked, often at friend’s house or on borrowed systems. But whenever I did get a chance, I could barely put the controller down, running through level after level of fun, challenging game play and the best graphics of anything from that time. I could never play enough Donkey Kong when I could get my hands on it.
If I could go back and play one game more, it would be Donkey Kong Country, and who knows? With it back on the Wii U, maybe one day I will, especially since the sequel, Donkey Kong Country Returns was released on the Wii, along with Tropical Breeze on the Wii U! Hopefully, they can both live up to the legend.
The Last Remnant
Great game, bad acting
Another hidden gem that many people won’t have heard of, The Last Remnant is one of those games that I can’t believe I liked so much. Renting it one night on a lark, I was immediately drawn into a vast, exciting world that featured massive battles, close friendships, and some of the worse voice acting since Perfect Dark (seriously, WTF was wrong with these people?).
Bad acting aside, The Last Remnant, another Square Enix creation, was a unique RPG that featured the player fighting with large armies instead of single characters. While the 360 version was plagued with an inconsistent bit rate, and a limited number of fighters in your party, the PC version outstripped it by miles, easily becoming one of the best of its kind.
The story, following a young protagonist who is more than he seems (old tropes are the best tropes), turned out better than I thought it would, setting the stakes slowly but surely, revealing a cast of villains that were as imposing as they were hateable. That, and the number of side-quests, fun characters, and massive boss battles made The Last Remnant on instant classic in my eyes. If given a choice, get the PC version. It runs better, and has way more in it, making it a phenomenal game that people should give a chance to.
Batman: Arkham Origins
In the beginning...
This pick is going to make some Arkham fans go “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!” Since I don’t care about their opinions, I’m just going to move on.
Batman: Arkham Asylum was a welcome surprise fan many bat-fans who had been clamouring for a Batman game for what seems like decades. Though Rocksteady had done a phenomenal job with Asylum, as well as its sequel, Arkham City, they passed the reigns over to WB games for the prequel, focusing instead on the recently released Arkham Knight. While some fans have some legit (and not so legit) complaints, I’m going to lay it out there that I fucking loved this game!
Going back to the start of his career, Batman is forced to confront a prison break orchestrated by Black Mask on Christmas Eve, only to find out that the gangster has hired 8 assassins to kill him by the end of the night. What follows is an incredible series of events where Batman must face each of these assassins, plus a host of other villains including a hostile GCPD, as he searches for the truth behind Black Masks actions.
The game play was all amazing, the fighting system and predator hunts beyond fun. However, it was the story that really made me love this game. Unlike many games that just breakneck through, Origins took its time, letting us get to know Batman, Alfred, their allies and enemies better than most movies can accomplish these days. One by one, Batman faces off with his foes, and one by one, he dispatches them. Not to say it wasn’t easy (the last fight with Bane still pisses me off), but in the end, Batman proved himself to be everything he was trying to be.
Highlights include a bridge fight with Firefly, who for the first time looked like a real challenge (at least in my mind), three brutal face offs with Bane, the single most amazing one on one fight in gaming history with Deathstroke, and the ridiculously awesome Copperhead, someone that I hope returns for Knight. Though the villains were all awesome, it was Joker that stole the show. Voiced by Troy Baker, replacing for Mark Hamill, Joker lead the charge as he started his complicated relationship with the Dark Knight. In fact, the game pretty well defined what that relationship is with a single line, “WE BOTH EXIST, BECAUSE OF THEM!”
In fact, the voice cast as a whole was phenomenal, Barbara Gordon and Alfred being the standouts. (She hacked into Batman’s com and then acted like it was nothing... only Babs could do that!) Even the DLC featuring Mr. Freeze, Cold, Cold Heart, was awesome, and the challenge mode added hours of experience to an already stellar presentation.
Sure, there were some failings. It could get a little buggy at times, including a few game-breakers. And I was disappointed that we only got to play as Deathstroke and Batman in challenge mode (Bruce Wayne if you paid for the Origins DLC), as one of my favourite features in Arkham City was playing as NIghtwing and Robin. Arkham Knight certainly makes up for that from what I understand, but I would love to see a Batman game with the ENTIRE Batfamily as playable characters (still no Cass Cain or Steph Brown). At the end of the day however, Arkham Origins blew me away, even more so than Arkham City, and believe me when I say that that took some doing. Can’t wait for Arkham Knight.
|Batman: Arkham Origins - Xbox 360||Batman: Arkham Asylum [Game of the Ye...||Batman: Arkham City (Game of the Year...|
|Batman: Arkham Knight - Xbox One||500GB PlayStation 4 Batman Arkham Kni...||The Art of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkha...|
Well, there you have it! Five more games for your perusals, games that I can honestly say are WORTH picking up. Until next time, happy gaming!