All-time Favorite Video Games
1. Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry is cheesy and goofy, and is something the series has never tried to hide. Indeed, while the story in these games often leave a bit to be desired, you can’t deny the series has a lot of heart, as it is sincere in it’s effort to make you feel like a badass anime character — something that I feel it achieved effortlessly. Devil May Cry is as hammy as it is entertaining and stylistic. The very simple act of emphasizing on the “action” in action game, has allowed Devil May Cry to become one of my favorite video game series; as I never had as much pure fun from games quite like Devil May Cry.
2. Final Fantasy
Admittedly the quality of Final Fantasy games have been questionable post-X. However there is no doubt the older titles are all mostly instant classics. There are a lot of great titles and from the ones I played; from IV to VIII and IX are ones I would call my favorites. However, a special noteworthy mention to Final Fantasy VII in particular — the game features a dark, gloomy but an extremely gripping storyline and the flexible setup of the Materia system allows for very diversifying tactics. Though to be frank, it is probably because Final Fantasy VII was the very first game in the series I played, and my fondness of the game is essentially due to nostalgia. In my opinion all Final Fantasy titles are all great games in their own rights, and if you argue Final Fantasy [insert number] is the best, I will have nothing against it as well.
Persona is known to be a series featuring high school settings with supernatural elements. What has been the best thing about them has always been their characters — fun, quirky but just as relatable as real people. Persona has always been a life simulator just as much as it is a RPG dungeon-crawler, and aside from fighting Shadows, learning about the people you met is another highlight of the series. Combined that with a great gameplay and incredible story, it’s easy to see why Persona is often so critically-acclaimed. Oh, a godly set of soundtracks by Shoji Meguro certainly helps too.
4. Guilty Gear/Blazblue
I admit that I’m not really a fighting game guy. However that does not stop me from liking games like Guilty Gear and Blazblue, to the point that I think they even deserve a spot in this list! Both series, developed by Arc System Works, are incredibly excellent titles — smooth and fast-paced combat, complex premise, wacky casts of characters and last but not least, very fascinating hard rock soundtracks.
5. Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid is in my opinion, the richest video game series ever, with a myriad of ideas, concepts and themes. As innovative as it’s storytelling, Metal Gear Solid also has really good stealth gameplay, to the point that even Metal Gear Solid 1 can hold up to modern standards. Intricate plots, thematic exploration, rich characters, polished stealth gameplay and great boss battle designs — the series has all the makings of a good game, and you would be hard-pressed to even find a single thing to complain about. Looking back, Metal Gear Solid was truly something special.
6. Graphic Adventure Games
Over the years I have come across various graphic adventure games which are all top contenders for my favorite game lists, especially those on the portable consoles. I made a separate list for this, so please check it out if you are interested.
Suikoden is a RPG series which is a reference to the 108 Stars of Destiny of Chinese classics literature. The games are set in a time of medieval wars, where conflict between people stemmed from the very powerful True Runes. Suikoden has always been quite underrated for me, as the series is responsible for instant classics such as Suikoden II and V. With an unique recruiting system and good war stories, Suikoden is a series I would definitely recommend.
8. Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenoblade is a game where I feel like no matter how succinctly I word my praise, it just won’t do it any justice — because the game is that damn good. Xenoblade is truly one of the most beautiful game I ever experienced, which is amazing considering this was actually from the Wii-era, at a time where super high-definition graphics were still not quite the norm. The open-world environment also means your adventures will take you through every nook and cranny of it’s majestic world. On top of that, Xenoblade also has a great story and a glorious set of soundtracks. Perfection may be difficult to achieve but if you are looking for a “Perfect RPG”, I personally feel Xenoblade is the closest possible thing.
9. The Legend of Heroes
Modern RPGs have underwent quite some innovation over the years. The Legend of Heroes however still focuses on what makes traditional JRPGs shine, effortlessly creating a charming world that really feels alive thanks to their endearing casts. Combine that with polished gameplay, excellent soundtracks and character developments, the series, especially the Trails in the Sky trilogy is really approaching into one of the greatest thing I have ever played.
10. Project Diva
Initially just trying out the series as I needed some minor games as a break, Project Diva ended becoming one of my favorite video game series. And perhaps it’s because the series just exceeded so well in what it’s doing — providing hours and hours of mindless fun. Project Diva is a series of rhythm games that feature Vocaloid songs and their mascot characters, most prominently Miku, but also others like Luka, Kaito, Meiko, Rin and Len. With it’s great gameplay and vast selection of fun and distinctive Vocaloid songs, the Project Diva series played a pivotal role in turning me into a Vocaloid fan, something that I had been neutral to for the most part.
Yoko Taro has always been unconventional in his approach in making video games. The genre-blending, the multi-layering music, the subversive narratives, the meta interactions; his games are refreshing due to certain distinctive traits unique to only him. And of all of his games, the Nier series may be his very best work yet. A story that gracefully strikes a perfect balance between chaos and logical, cruel and bittersweet. With a creative way to make use of the medium, and godly audiovisual to boot — Nier is a series that truly stretched the boundary of video game storytelling.
Shenmue is best described as a mix between RPG and Virtua Fighter, with a gripping tale of a young man on a mission to find his father’s murderer. As one of the very first open-world games, Shenmue is a series that has aged fairly well, and it all contributed to the super ambitious development. It introduced a lot of groundbreaking elements that still weren’t as common at the time — dynamic weather system, full voice-acting and most notably the extremely interactive environments. They truly spared no expense at making the game, as the attention to detail is truly astounding. While the fighting is fun, the main highlight of the game is exploring the realistic virtual world of Japan’s rural areas and later on Hong Kong. Newer open-world games obviously have maps that overshadow Shenmue’s in size, but few have been able to replicate the same charm that Shenmue’s world exudes.
13. Skies of Arcadia
“The age of exploration has dawned upon the world of Arcadia.” So says the game’s prologue — and exploration indeed, as there’s been rarely other games that managed to evoke such genuine, powerful feelings of adventure. With a world that is exotic and bursting with life, Skies of Arcadia is a game that is worth playing just for the premise alone; and that is without even taking it’s already great soundtracks and gameplay into account. Last but not least, it has epic airship battles that will see you fighting against gigantic monsters with your cannons and torpedoes.
14. Chrono Trigger/Cross
RPG is my favorite video game genre, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Chrono Trigger is the staple of JRPG. The game possesses all the elements that make most JRPGs shine — charming cast of characters, fabulous atmosphere and a grand, epic tale to wrap it all up. Chrono Cross on the other hand is a little different — less light-hearted, and has a stronger thematic direction; also with incredible graphics and music that just wasn’t possible to replicate on the SNES hardware. But regardless, both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross are just different in their approaches, and I like them both for different reasons.
15. The Legend of Zelda
There are few video game series that can match the longevity of Legend of Zelda, and since it’s very first inception on 1986, it’s still going strong even today. With it’s music and well thought-out dungeons, Zelda has churned out masterpieces among masterpieces the likes of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Link to the Past, Wind Waker, Breath of the Wild and the list goes on. For decades, the series has successfully given it’s fans that sense of wonder and excitement as they traverse the numerous immersive worlds; and with it’s simple yet iconic music — it’s no surprise why Legend of Zelda has enthralled people far and wide.