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Link, the Hero of Dreams’ Top 100 Favorite Video Games! (2020 edition)    


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Link, the Hero of Dreams’ Top 100 Favorite Video Games! (2020 edition)    
 
I’ve beaten some games, some great, some horrible, but here are the top 100 games that stuck to me the most. Now, granted, some of these are not what some consider to be really good, and I haven’t finished through a certain amount. 
 
Also, I placed these on the list due to certain variable factors, not just on a few things such as fame and story alone. I put these games based on the quantity and quality of what each game brought. I don’t have huge memories of some of these games, so sorry if some explanations are vaguer than others. Since as of 2020, I’ve added a few “qualifiers” to justify some of these games’ placements.   
 
 I’m also not a huge fan of certain genres and series, so sorry for any omissions in this list. Because of a lack of a story mode or the like, Overwatch will not be considered a “beatable” game, but I will give it a high recommendation. And similar goes to Super Mario Maker 2. 
 
As for those “gacha games” for mobile gaming, I’ll recommend Fire Emblem Heroes and Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. They’re not on this list, but have great content, including many various heroes and villains from their series and original ones. Just be wary of the pseudo-gambling aspect of those games. 
 
I made a similar list in the last three years (by under a different account named “XLW”, so if you want to see what has changed, go on ahead. Instead of just simply updating that thread and bumping it, I think just posting my list annually won’t harm anyone.       
 
100. Mario And Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story for DS
 

Spoiler

I have an odd vendetta against this game. For one, even though this is the first game players got to play as Bowser… that was technically a lie. Super Mario RPG, even though I have yet to go deep into it, did it first. Sure, this is the first game that did it entirely, but I still have memories playing Bowser in a Super Mario Bros. style in Paper Mario: TTYD. You can’t erase that.  
 
Two: everyone gives this game so much more praise than what came before it: Partners In Time. I felt like the two siblings working with their younger selves was much more engaging and fun than working with Bowser. Sure, Fawful was fun to listen to and fun to fight against, and Midbus was… fun too I guess, but I barely remember the other enemies.  I don’t remember much about what happened much in the game, except for the beginning and ending. And, I think it was unfairly hard at times.  
 
Last, it was basically in the same Mushroom Kingdom expanded universe. Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Castle as usual. Booooooooore. Still, everything else is great. I feel like this is the only overrated game I’ve ever played. 
 
With so many good games on my list, I thought about taking this off my list if the remake doesn’t do it for me as well. And… I have yet to beat it because of I-H-I mentality, and think this is the most meddling video game that’s on my list only because of possibly fan backlash.  


   
99. Hyrule Warriors Legends for 3DS!!!  
 

Spoiler

I really love this game! In this game, a new villain named Cia tries to take over Hyrule with her minions. Link, Zelda, and Impa try to stop Cia from doing so. Some old heroes and villains, like Fi, Darunia, Ghirahim, and Ganondorf return to fight for their sides as well. This is an all-star game for The Legend of Zelda, even if it’s a spin-off! The music has some new tunes and orchestral version of old classics. Say all you want for the graphics on this port, but it’s still fun to play from beginning to end! It’s basically a hack-and-slash game with deep, but contradictorily simple controls. There’s a lot of content and DLC, and that’s why it’s really high on this list.   
 
I’ll never get the Fire Emblem one because I think it’s not as good.  
 
(I HAVE YET TO DEFEAT THE SWITCH VERSION! … And, from the tone of my voice there, maybe my interest in it has died down a lot. Darn Age of Calamity is out too.) 


 
98. Tekken 3 for PS  

 

Spoiler

Personal note: This is the only game when I was a kid my parents put away in their closet until I was about eighteen. I think I was eight at the time, so it was a good choice. Besides, I got over playing that game and eventually moved on. I got back into the series when 6 came out, and remembered the fond memories of this game. I even had Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for a while (which is still a good game, even if it’s fan-service) and my brother rebought this game from the PS3 store, I think. 
 
The story follows Jin Kazama, son of legendary fighter Kazuya Mishima and grandson to Heihachi Mishima, on his revenge quest to beat an ancient alien warrior who killed his mother. Sure, there were other characters who joined the tournament for notoriety, power, and saving the world, but Jin’s revenge story was the most important. I never played the first two games, but the story didn’t draw too much from those games to begin with. The new characters brought in enough of their personal motives that it seemed like I didn’t miss anything at all.  
 
The presentation and gameplay are also to be noted, as they were some of the best for the PS. The secret characters were also a fun bonus too, and there were other fun modes too. To be honest, this was the first game I ever completed, and because of that I’ll say... Tekken 3 still holds up pretty well. 
 
(If you’re wondering where any of the Street Fighter games are… I’ve never been a TRUE fan of the series. Sorry. I do like Ultra Street Fighter IV though, which I think is the best. I just like Tekken more. ARMS was actually really close to getting on here, and same for the Mortal Kombat Reboot, MKXL, and Mortal Kombat 11… And Killer Instinct 2013… And King of Fighters ’96, ’98 UM FE, and XIV… And Fatal Fury: King of Fighters… And Soul Caliber II… And Fatal Fury: Special… And Garou: Mark of the Wolves… And Skullgirls: Second Encore.)    

 

     

 97. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch
 

Spoiler

The latest Mario Kart game beautifully expanded on what 7 what to offer with the underwater mechanic and gliding mechanics, and put in anti-gravity to boot. And, Nintendo gave players newer and great tracks always, like Sunshine Airport, Water Park, Mount Wario, and Sweet Sweet Canyon. Plus, the “cameos” from Animal Crossing, F-Zero, and The Legend of Zelda were a nice touch as well! The Battle Mode is a lot better this time around (sorry for those who had to play the base game), the roster has been expanded, and the double item box from Double Dash is back. I would’ve wanted more tracks with it being the DELUXE version, but I guess we’ll get that later with 9.     

 

96. Octopath Traveler for Nintendo Switch  
 

Spoiler

Recently, it's really hard to tell the quality of Square Enix games. Final Fantasy XIV and XV were really good, but... then there's ALL THE BRAVEST and the V and VI ports for the mobile devices. I even got this game as a birthday present because I didn't know what to make of it. I never saw any of the trailers, but I knew it existed and it was by the obvious RPG guys. After playing Final Fantasy I-VI (except II, because I heard it's REALLY BAD) and Tactics, I was wondering if Octopath Traveler was going to stand out for me in some way or just be a similar Final Fantasy RPG. I was sort of right with it being similar to Final Fantasy, buuuut... that never stopped me from playing it.  
 
The draw of the game is playing eight different characters: a warrior, a merchant, an apothecary, a cleric, a hunter, a thief, a scholar, and a dancer. (If you're wondering, the merchant and dancer do not play out like those from Fire Emblem, and the warrior here is more of like a knight from FF.) Every one of them have unique individual stories, and besides from brief moments between two characters, none of them have an overarching storyline. (I WON'T spoil what each character goes through and their backstories, because I WON'T ruin the magical moments of emotions that each of them go through and the raw genuine feelings I had for each.) A character does not need to be a part of another character's story so that it accomplishes a part of their story; some just merely tag along so that the rest might help them out in their story beats later on. Although, some of the story beats and boss moments fall flat on their butts, like when the lone-wolf thief doesn't trust anyone or when the merchant goes alone to help her village. It's as if the rest stay in the shadows until everyone is gone or when the boss fight happens. But, the character interactions are some of the most interesting parts of the game, because every character grows understand each other more and the interactions are filled with even awkward and hilarious moments. There's a point where the merchant has to buy a really expensive item, and I currently have the thief in the party. The thief is more than okay to help out and steal the item, but the merchant says she'll buy it out of the principle of the matter.  
 
The visual design is really odd, because even though most of world is sprite-work, the backgrounds and settings look photorealistic. I'm not sure if the clash works in the game's favor or is just a negative. But, the locations are distinct from another (such as a desert and a port), and character animations and reactions remind me a bit of Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy V and VI, which is not a bad thing. The music is incredible, and fits the battles, locations and characters. 
 
 As for the gameplay, it's a combination of Final Fantasy I, IV, V. Each class can wield a variety of weapons, and some can use magic. Scholar's similar to the black mage, while warrior is similar to the knight. A twist to the formula is that enemies have a different number of "shields", and the shields can be broken by not only elemental attacks, but also physical attacks. A STAFF can break a shield, even if it’s not the most powerful! When the enemy is hit by the weaknesses enough times, they are stunned, and are not able to attack for one to two turns. But, some enemies can have a total amount of five or more, and won't go down so easily. To take care of that problem, BP, or battle points will refill by one every turn, unless the character has a status effect, is knocked out, or the character has used BP to attack. Using more BPs allows a character to hit with their weapon up to four times, or allow the character to perform a better skill. 
 
 Each character has an overworld and battle skill, like the thief being able to steal from townspeople and from enemies, and clerics being able to heal people. However, the overworld skills are limited to each character, so if one wants to steal from the townsfolk, they'll have to bring the thief Therion along. One can switch any of the three party members except the leader when they go to the tavern. After a while, the eight can also get secondary jobs, like the cleric can use the weapons and battle skills from the scholar and so on. However, the secondary jobs can only be used for one character, but there is the option to switch secondary jobs if one wants the cleric to use the alchemist weapons and skills. 
 
 Now, even though I like a lot of this stuff... I sometimes hate enemies for having way too much HP, way too much attack power and range, and way too much shields. And that goes especially for bosses... and their lackeys at times. And it doesn't help that some of these enemies have wide attacks that include status effects. During the second out of fourth acts for each character, I would get constantly annoyed that enemies would do too much. And sometimes, it feels like the order of the party and the enemies in battles is inconsistent. Unlike Final Fantasy... most of them... the order of who goes is seen in battle. (Except for FFX, which I finally beat!) This is good and bad, because maybe killing enemies before they do a horrible move is good. However, after the enemies are stunned... if they are not killed, they go first the next turn and their shields are back. Stunning all of enemies in one turn is not really ideal, because if they don't die, they ALL go first and have a chance to make the battle a nightmare. Not to mention, when they are un-stunned, most of the enemies do some kind of big move. That has happened to me on more than one occasion. Sure, one can make a character defend so that they can get less damage and have the option to go earlier than the enemies, but if an enemy is done being stunned, the enemy goes first regardless. Last, when I revive my party members, most never go first the next turn. 
 
 Now, if one says I need to level up, I do. But, the leveling up is only for being able to reach the next story point, and there is never any stat growth. Or if there is, it's minimal at best. The only real way to improve characters are weapons and armor. But, it might not be wise to buy them, because they cost a lot of money and one needs to get items to replenish health, get rid of status effects and more. And I swear getting money in battles is counterintuitive at times, because one might have to pay the same money they did when they to go to the store to the buy items they used. At least warping to towns is an option, as well as fleeing battles. Fleeing battles sometimes sucks, because if it doesn't work, everyone acts like they tripped and they waste their action. And that means there's more opportunities to enemies to send the characters to their graves. And if one does not have the right party configuration (aka ME), expect the battles to take a serious long time. 
 
With a little fine tuning, I would have loved this battle system more.  I feel like some of the battles drag too long... even though, with bosses it's a lot more victorious. Some of the bosses have done horrible things, so to see them go down feels amazing. But, that does not excuse…  
 
THE LAST BOSS. SPOILERS FROM SUPERSTAR SAGA, FIRE EMBLEM AWAKENING TOO.
 
Oh, Galdera. Galdera, GalDERA, GALDERA. Now, in the past, there have been bosses that I have had a long-time resentment towards: Cackletta Soul from the OG Superstar Saga, Fawful from Bowser’s Inside Story (out of pure SPITE because of his association with the OG Superstar Saga), and Awakening’s Xenologue Anna. Why? Cheap boss tactics. Until I found the right strategies that would end those nightmares for good, I would eventually stop playing the games associating with them. Galdera… takes third place, surprisingly. I came back to Octopath Traveler after a few months, I came back to the Xenologue or whatever maybe after two to four years for Awakening, and I came back to Cackletta Soul… when the remake came out more than ten years later. Thankfully, Anna and Galdera are optional bosses, so my hatred towards them isn’t as whole as mine for Cackletta Soul. However, unlike Anna, Galdera also is behind the events of Octopath Traveler, even though defeating it only gives a player a huge stack of money, an accessory, AND NO CREDITS. Anna is the ultimate test of the game she’s in, and her reward is 50% useful. To also rub salt in the wound, planning for taking down Anna and Cackletta probably takes less time than it does for Galdera. Sure, it takes waves upon waves to get to Anna and a stingy amount of requirements to reach her, but there’s not as much randomness than what Galdera throws at a player. I made my eight characters go up to level 90, and I think I just realized the amount of EXP needed for levelling up in Octopath Traveler is insane compared to Awakening and Superstar Saga. Anna might be the fairest of the three since her level requires mastery of Awakening and she’s just an optional boss, Cackletta Soul might be the best to beat because she’s the final boss of her game EVEN THOUGH the Mario Bros. start off with 1 HP at first, and Galdera might be the worst because it’s just unfair and random at times and its pseudo-final boss treatment doesn’t help the fact that the reward is garbage. Galdera one of the worst RPG creations ever, and I hope Square Enix learns from this train-wreck of a boss. If one is wondering, I did beat Galdera, but the satisfaction of beating it is just as empty as preparing for it. That’s why this game is lower on this list. 
 
I myself wanted to see where these stories go, and earning that rush of joy was worth it. If this game ever gets a sequel, I hope my main problem with the gameplay balancing becomes fixed by then. I love most of this game, and there's a lot of potential here. Sure, some of the character tropes might feel... similar to those from Final Fantasy and other RPGs, but I don't care. When there's an emotional moment, I feel it. Because the HD rumble is on, and the rumble even makes breaking shields more intense.         
 
(I deem this the most potential of the 2010s! Boink!)


 
95. Kingdom Hearts for PS4 

 

Spoiler

I've played some of the classic Final Fantasy games, and I've actually had the big Kingdom Hearts Final Mixes for the PS4 for at least a year before I ever played the games. And, my Switch was being repaired at the time; so in preparation for Kingdom Hearts III, I decided to play one of the strangest combinations of all time: the gameplay of Final Fantasy, the worlds and lore of Disney, with a bit of exploration. I didn't get into the series when the first game came out because of that. Not to mention, my PS2 was barely accessible in my childhood, and I played other games on my GameCube and my GBA. I also heard that the story of this series became really confusing when the other games came out. Now that I've matured a bit with the helping of nostalgia, I thought it was a good idea to finally get into the series... 
 
The game starts out in a dream sequence, but the protagonist named Sora finally wakes in his world DESTINY ISLANDS. He and his two friends, Riku and Kairi, want to escape their world because they want so much more than their provincial liiiiiiives. *coughs* One faithful night, a storm breaks out, and dark creatures, known as the Heartless, appear. Their world is destroyed, and Riku, Kairi, and Sora become separated. Meanwhile, Donald and Goofy have received word that their king, MICKEY OF ALL PEOPLE, is on a mission to destroy the darkness. They are tasked to find the one who holds the Keyblade, Sora, and to stop the other worlds from being engulfed into darkness. The three meet in Traverse Town, a world that homes those who lost their worlds in the ensuing chaos, and from there go to different worlds based on a few iconic Disney franchises. It's kind of refreshing to know that the story isn't really complicated as far as this game goes. Plus, most of the villains the gang meets are those from Disney, but no spoilers there and the rest of the story. There are some unquestioned answers that the sequels address, and there are some face-palming moments made by usually smart characters, but as far as a real story goes, it's really interesting. 
 
 Most of the locations and music take a lot of inspiration from the movies that each world is incorporated in. The first world, Wonderland, has the place where Alice turns small and big, has the court of the Red Queen, and the furniture and dinnerware from the Mad Hatter and March Hare unbirthday scene. And to fit the bill, the over-world and battle music is whimsical. Although I think there could have been a better representation of the Disney worlds, for a beginning game it works fine, and I can't wait to see how much they improved since then. I think some of the models look odd or just plain dated as of today, but the style of each world still works.  
 
As for the game-play, there are some basic adventure actions, like running, jumping, and talking. All of the environments are in 3D, but because it borrows some elements from Final Fantasy, I had a few problems. One: the camera was a pain in the neck sometimes when I just wanted to see straight. Two: jumping from platform to platform is a little wonky because of floaty controls. And three: hitting things and enemies is sometimes hard to work with, even with the lock-on feature. The lock-on feature sometimes doesn't even focus on the target I want to focus on. It's similar to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but I think Ocarina did combat and movement in a 3D space better. I do love fighting using the Keyblade and magic, but sometimes enemies would be really hard to hit, and other times the damage output from enemies would be extremely unfair, EVEN FOR BEGINNER MODE. If these points weren't discussed for the remix, then someone or some people thought it was okay to keep archaic controls. But, I got to give props for some unique boss battles, even though I think some are horrible and the final boss battle goes on for TOO LONG, even for a beginner. There's even some Final Fantasy characters (who I won't name) that I loved beating the crud out of. 
 
Kingdom Hearts has some really great moments and some really awful choices that I hope the sequels do improve on. It can be really fun or very frustrating at times, but I'm glad the series took off from a basic game. I wish I played it as a kid, because adulthood… kind of made my experience suck a little more.    
 
... Making and piloting Gummi ships are just okay. It gets boring after a while. 
 
(I thought Re:Chain of Memories was decent and a bit repetitive, with the only really good thing about it was the combat.) 
 
Besides, there are better crossovers and whatever out there, such as…  


 
94. Pokémon Snap for Wii! 
 
 

Spoiler

Want to combine photography with Pokémon? Make Pokémon Snap! Todd is capturing pictures of wild Pokémon, while he stumbles upon Mew flying around. He tries to take pictures of it, but Professor Oak says that Mew’s… not there. He asks Todd to take pictures of Pokémon inhabiting undisclosed island. The many places to visit work well with each Pokémon, such as a tunnel, river, and beach. The soundtrack is one of the best in the N64 history. Every Pokémon roam around the place with purpose and react properly. The gameplay is fun. Taking pictures is a must, but throwing apples and Pester Balls, and playing the Pokéflute make Pokémon react differently. They also allow for many secrets to appear. The game is easy, and although it only has a couple of Gen 1 Pokémon, getting this game is a simple buy.   
 
(THEY’VE ANNOUNCED A NEW GAME! YES!)


 
93. Rock Band: The Beatles for PS3! 
  

Spoiler

What’s a good combination of one of the best bands of all time and a mainstream rhythm game? Rock Band: The Beatles. Take a trip down to memory lane, as you play as all of The Beatles in their prime, with legendary songs like Twist And Shout, Help!, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, A Hard Day’s Night, and Get Back. Their Liverpool concert, USA concert, TV appearance, studio, and rooftop shows are included as venues. For the first time, harmonies were included, and they would later return in the next games. The game also had some DLC, but it’s no longer available. Although the game followed the story, the difficulty fluctuated strangely because of “where” each song was. But, once the story was over, one could play them in any over. If you’re a gamer, a guy who plays rhythm games, and is a Beatles fan, this is a must have.  

     
 
92. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for Nintendo Switch
 

Spoiler

Like a sign from the heavens, Generations came in 2015. It celebrated everything the Monster Hunter series was known for. It had a lot of monsters, locations, and stuff to do. The only problem was that there were no G Rank missions. So… a few years went by, and I played Monster Hunter World, which made a lot more things simpler for newcomers to the series. I love the game, even if there were a few things it did wrong (monster variety for one thing). When Generations Ultimate was finally announced for the Switch, I was a little skeptical. Was there going to be a way to transfer my data between the games (X was on 3DS, while XX was on Switch), and would I enjoy GU, knowing that it came before World originally in Japan, and thus have to go back to some old conventions that annoyed me? Well… here goes nothing.  
 
The story… thinks… Now that I think about it, I started playing this game a few years ago, and never really remember much about it. You land in a new village, called Bherna. The townspeople as usual want the MONSTER HUNTER… to HUNT MONSTERS. Simple, simple, simple. But, here’s the thing… I never beat the story. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a story as simple as this, but let’s be real: Monster Hunter was NEVER about the single-player experience. It’s like the Call of Duty series, where the focus is on something else grander. 
 
 I love the music, and that’s been the case since I first jumped ship. Wonderfully orchestrated, or whatever. The town and boss music are my jams. The visuals might not be as polished as World as of now, but I love every detail of the people and monsters I meet, and the lands I travel to. Some of the monsters and lands are borrowed from the last four games. That is really cool, since I never saw them because I never played some of the games before or too much. 
 
But, let’s be real: the game-play is the most integral part of this series. Making armor and weapons and showing them off against a big bad monster feels impactful when one finally gets the collectible to make such. Collecting wildlife and mining for stuff is necessary, whether it’s for making armor and weapons, or for making bombs and potions. Eating a meal gives bonuses, like a longer health and stamina bar at the beginning of a quest. And sending your cute little cats to missions is great, because… you can fight as one now! Not only are there the new hunter arts and styles, but for the first time, you can fight as one of the things that usually pestered you during quests, or you could bring along with you during missions… which I rarely did, because I’m not really good when it comes to single-player experience. I love working with online buddies, and there is a great amount of multiplayer quests, even the G Rank ones that have finally shown up! But, it can be a double-edged sword when it comes to playing with other people, because you can either get the best people who can help you take down a monster within a few minutes, or you can get the worst who… well, you know. But, YOU can be the variable as well! You can get the best weapons and equipment you want, but after a few unlucky hits from a Tigrex or a Congalaga, you might be screwed. So… be prepared for ANYTHING. Some monsters, especially the G-Rank guys, do a huge amount of damage. The second big thing Monster Hunter is known for is the amount of grinding. Some materials are RARE to get. One will have to try a certain mission again and again to get the thing they need. But, like I said, it feels good when the armor set is complete, or the weapon is at its highest capacity. It’s like Mega Ma--- wait a minute! looks at some things That’s an interesting connection! Like I said, I never beat the single-player experience, but I played and defeated the last multiplayer urgent… which is not really difficult, if you have the right pals. Beating it allows one to do MORE QUESTS to get MORE AWESOME STUFF! I love the content, even the DLC stuff, including those exclusive to this game, like the Breath Of The Wild stuff, which I proudly have equipped. It’s challenging at times, but with the right… “conditions”, one… YOU CAN BE A MONSTER EXPERT! I clocked in about 88 hours, and I never regret the experience I had with this game!    
 
(I know I once put this with Monster Hunter World once, but World is now featuring amazing stuff, while GU doesn’t have the same impact with new content. But, I’m a sucker for the series in general.)   


 
91. Final Fantasy X HD Remaster for Nintendo Switch! 
 

Spoiler

 

After I played Final Fantasy IX, which I really loved, I was unsure if I was going to play and beat Final Fantasy X. I heard the good and the bad. I thought X was one of the most hated games of the series, but other people have proven me wrong on a lot of things. So, I got it. And I can't believe I defeated it. I have really conflicting emotions with this game. There's stuff I genuinely despised, but there are other things that work with this game. Should Final Fantasy X be a bit more forgiven due to the stuff it brought, or does its negatives really sour the experience?  

 

The game begins in a lively city named Zanarkand, with a huge crown waiting for the upcoming match of the big water sport... blitzball. One of the star players named Tidus is getting ready. He has a lot to live up to, since his father, Jecht, is considered the greatest player of them all. Tidus doesn't only hate Jecht because he's jealous, but because his father left the city ten years ago and hasn't been seen since. During the game, the stadium is attacked by monsters, and Tidus eventually runs into Auron, a family friend. The two try to escape, but are sucked away by the enormous power of Sin, a huge whale-kind of monster. Tidus finds himself alone in a dark dungeon. When he's attacked by monsters, I group of people enter to stop the monsters. Tidus tries to say thanks, but the people in question are shocked that Tidus was there and speak in a different language. They capture him, and later force him to help fix an underwater machine. Later, when Tidus tells the female of the crew who can speak his language, Rikku, that he's from Zanarkand, Rikku reveals a shocking truth: Zanarkand has been in ruins since a thousand years ago. Tidus can't believe it at all, and comes to the conclusion he might have time traveled. Rikku warns Tidus to be careful of talking about Zanarkand, since it is a rather holy place. Tidus is once again taken away to another place thanks to Sin, and wakes up at the shore of a new place. A group of blitzball players, including the team captain Wakka, are surprised at Tidus' skills when he does an impressive trick. Wakka takes Tidus to the nearest city, but begs him to join their team, the Besaid Aurochs, because they've been a long losing streak for a decade. Tidus agrees, and Wakka later takes him to the town's temple. Wakka is an upcoming guardian to the newest summoner Yuna. The summoners are a great deal to the world of Spira, since they're the ones to temporarily stop the wrath of Sin, and each must take a pilgrimage to the ruins of... Zanarkand. With no other choice, Tidus also helps Yuna get to her destination, so that he can see the truth of his home for himself. He's also joined by Lulu, a gorgeous black mage, and Kimari, a feline-warrior of the Ronko race who is the nearest thing to a dragoon and blue mage of the group. The story seems simple at first, but the whole game is overwhelmed with the implications of a religion-based government ruling the masses who scorn heretics and those who don't abide by the laws of their teachings. Because Sin came around then a lot of machines and so on were used, the people of Spira outright condemn any machine and any person who uses machines, including the Al-Bhed. And Rikku is an Al-Bhed, so when she joins after Wakka does, there's a good amount of tension between the two. And, Auron joins the party as well, since he was one of the guardians who protected Yuna's father and promised her father to protect her too. Yuna's father was also accompanied by Jecht, which Tidus cannot believe. There's also a lot of great plot twists and foreshadowing to these twists that happen in the game, and I really appreciate them too. They might not be as hard hitting as VII's huge one, but they're just as impactful. With that said, I didn't like the whiny and bratty teenager Tidus and the overzealous Wakka. Maybe it was their voice acting, but maybe it was just more than that. 

 

Although some of the models look rough in an HD setting, I cannot get over how much more natural the characters, the NPCs, and the enemies look. The game brought in races with somewhat humanoid features or just a different language. The game also looks a lot more fantastic than the previous games with its various locations. One place is a road with lightning strikes, the other is a cold mountain path. Speaking of the world, I think Spira has perhaps the most complex lore of the series ever, not only because of its rich tropical backstory, but also because of the religion that applies to most of it. A lot of things happened in the world because of the people's recurring battles with Sin throughout the years. And, the many races of Spira have dealt with the teachings in some way, whether it's apathy and distrust or devotion to the cause. Each party member discuss about the religion differently, whether it's Wakka's prayers or Yuna's eventual questioning of it. The cutscenes, even the HD ones or whatever, are fantastic. The original jump from the PlayStation to PS2 made these moments all the more emotional. The music is also phenomenal. It might not be my favorite of the series, but Zanarkand is perhaps the biggest highlight of the game. Too bad Nobuo Uematsu did less in this game, and would touch the series' style less and less following it. But, Nobuo is still one of the best video game composers ever.  

 

... Oh, yeah, the voice acting. Some of the acting is really horrible. I never really liked Wakka's and Tidus', since they sounded like bratty teenagers. I know the person who voiced Wakka also voiced Jake from Adventure... (Wait, I never really got into that show, so maybe I don't like the voice actor after all.) The rest of the main cast is fine. Even though Seymour is a terrible villain, there is something so delightfully campy in his voice. Auron and Jecht are my favorites. But, because of those two, I muted the voice acting, and only listed to the amazing soundtrack. That did make me miss out on the character banters in battle, however. 

 

The combat gets rid of the ATB system, and goes back to turn-based with a twist. Entering battles are a lot more instant. The camera has more dynamic takes on the characters and their actions. Characters from both sides can go in any order based on their agility, but now there's a chart or so of when each character will go next. I thought Octopath Traveler introduced this, but it was Final Fantasy X. Or maybe something else before that, but FFX was the first to come to mind. Slowing the enemy and hasting the playable characters means more moves for the team. Instead of Limit Breaks, Overdrives can happen with different actions and can be used at any time. Regular actions can happen before the Overdrives are used. And, the Overdrive bar can come back full in the next battle. The bar never depletes. Characters can switch out and in at any time during battles. Eidolons can be summoned, and act as solo temporary party members. They too have their own set of moves and overdrives. Once an eidolon is defeated in battle, it can't come back in the same battle. Skills and Special moves can happen when a character unlocks their sphere in the... Sphere Grid. Unlike most conventional methods of leveling up, characters get sphere levels which allows them to move on the Sphere Grid. A character must use a type of sphere to unlock a specific ability, stat, or magic. Yes, magic is tied to the Sphere Grid. Getting Curaga in the game takes a longer time than it does in the other games. Character progression is tied to the Sphere Grid. I had the bad luck to work with the Expert Grid, which made things a lot harder for me. I outright randomized where my party went with laughable results. Yuna eventually got DualCast with Ultima, making her an EndGame savior. But, her getting Ultima was never my true end goal.  

 

By the way, in order to get ready for the final stretch, I decided to get my party buff. I decided to get more sphere levels and some rare Spheres, but I didn't get them with the usual fastest way possible. I captured monsters for the Monster Arena, only to find out the superbosses I wanted to defeat were hard as heck. So, I looked up to see the best options. Wakka's Overdrives and Celestial Weapon were amazing choices, but they were unlocked behind a minigame I dreaded. Blitzball. Blitzball is perhaps one of the worst minigames I ever spent hours on. I hate sports, and this was a tricky sports sim. After about perhaps 10 hours of wasting time there, I got my stuff, and after more time wasted, I upgraded the World Champion. I later realized that unless Wakka is tougher, he sucks with the weapon. So, that'll mean more grinding.    

 

I stopped grinding for Sphere levels after a while, and I went after the final boss. Actually, the last part of the game is really weird. The fights leading up to the real final boss were challenging but fair, while the real final boss being easy but annoying. I realized I was powerful enough to beat the game. I didn't need to beat the superbosses. As much as they could have been fun, there is a distinct gap between them and the normal bosses. I was exhausted after nearly a hundred hours of game play. And, those 100 hours are strange, considering I put less time into most other games in the series than this. Still, they don't have the nightmare that is blitzball or the cruddy minigames. There's no way I'll dodge 200 bolts of lightning. At least VII's minigames and optional bosses were feasible.  

 

There's also one thing I was a bit cautious of when playing this game: the linearity. Okay, maybe the other games did have a sense of linearity of where one could go, but at least in most of those games, one could backtrack to all of the other places to do quests and minigames with no problem because of access of mounts and airships. The airship in this game is accessible 9/10s of the way in the game, and the player doesn't even ride it. Sure, there's a lot to do in this game, but it's mostly left out until near the very end. There's also the fact that there's a map on the screen, and there are arrows telling the player where to go. In dungeons and whatever. Other games put the map on the overworld, something this game lacks. Sure, some games did this by blocking off places in unique ways, and V cut off one world until adventure in other was done, but there was incentive to go back to other places before the ending parts. Sure, the other games started off in a linear way, but they at least opened up to exploring the whole world. Yes, the game does have exploration in terms of its collectibles, but picking the coordinates on a tourist guide kind of thing than just flying over the world to find a secret area is really lame. Heck, the chocobos are only usable in two locations. They made riding stuff less fun. How'd Square do that?! They had a great world to explore, but it's very bland.  

 

Still, I think X has some of the best puzzles and puzzle-solving ever. Even battles feel like puzzles, like when there's armored enemies that need a great pierce attack, or flying enemies Wakka can hit with his blitzballs. With the switching out and in mechanic, everyone has a chance of AP (or EXP for the Sphere Levels). And, the bosses in X felt a lot more triumphant than they did in IX before it. Still, I might hold off on the optional bosses. Unless that damage cap is removed, beating 1,00,000 HP bosses with 9,999 damage takes a long while.     

 

Final Fantasy X, like I said, is odd. I don't like some characters, but the rest of them are decent and the world of Spira is incredible. I don't like a few voice overs, but the rest do a fine job, and the music does a great job making me get over it, and the cutscenes are really charming. The story might be strange and odd at times, but its themes make it a worthwhile experience. I might not like the Sphere Grid in execution and the amounts of random minigames, but the amount of customization is great for those who want Wakka to be a thief. Still, even though Spira is a beautiful place, exploration and back-tracking is very limited compared to the other games. I don't think it's the best Final Fantasy. I do think it gets more hate than it deserves. Some elements of the game aren't as great as I wanted them to be, but the rest exceeded my expectations. 

 


 
90. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair for PC   

 

Spoiler

 

A while ago, I played the first Danganronpa game: Trigger Happy Havoc. Despite my complications with some of the gameplay elements and the ending, it was a fun murder mystery visual novel involving teenagers. I knew there were currently two other mainline Danganronpa games. Eventually, I was going to beat 2, but... I spoiled myself about a year before, thanks to an online playthrough. Still, even though I remembered some huge events, it's not like I remembered most of the smaller details. So, did Goodbye Despair fix what I hated in the original game and improved in other areas?  


Goodbye Despair stars Hajime Hinata and fifteen other students from the world renowned Hope's Peak Academy. Hope's Peak Academy is a school that nurtures talented students called Ultimates. Although they wish to learn at the academy, a magical rabbit named Usami teleports the students to a tropical paradise. Usami wants everyone to get along and not fight each other. Essentially, she wants peace. But, after the students decide to go swimming at the beach, a familiar creepy voice has returned. Monokuma somehow came back, and Usami tries to fight him off. However, Monokuma beats the life out of Usami, destroys her Magic Stick, and transforms her into an abomination. Monokuma gains control. He then tells the students that in order to leave the island, they must kill each other. But, a class trial will begin to decide if the killer lives and the rest die, or the rest live and the killer dies. Some references to the past game are mentioned, and a traitor is revealed to be among the group. Like the last game, this game is split into 6 chapters. Who lives? Who dies? I won't spoil it. As for the cast, I think I like this cast more than the first game's, even though there are some obvious ones who will be on the island and I can't wait to see die.   


Goodbye Despair does a lot more visually and audibly, even though the game uses some assets from the first game. First off, the tropical setting makes the game a lot more colorful than the stale school setting of the first game. And, there's a lot of places that would fit on the six separate islands. Plus, I like the cast designs more compared to the first game. But, the biggest upgrade is the music. Beautiful Ruin or whatever sounds a lot more pleasant than Box 15 and the like.   


Goodbye Despair made several improvements in gameplay. Exploration is a little bit better, by allowing Hajime to run in overworld locations. As the amount of locations and islands are a lot, it cuts down on needless time wandering around, looking for the right location. Also, location investigation has been streamlined a lot too, since the game won't allow Hajime to leave until he looked around that area thoroughly. There's also no reactions when talking, making dialogue a lot more manageable. Hope Fragments are like what happened during talking in the first game, but it seems giving people items makes a bit more progress than before, and the items are not randomized this time around. All one needs to do is use Monokoins at the Rocketpunch Supermarket. Also, random Monokuma stuff will appear in the background and will reward Hajime with Monokuma Coins. Hajime can also take care of a virtual pet, even if it seems it does nothing.   


The Class Trial is mostly the same, but most of the stuff is new or improved. Non-Stop Debates now contain truths, which Hajime can confirm with evidence. The puzzle and rhythm minigames have returned, and have been given some much needed attention. The Closing Arguments are a lot better, since a row of certain panels have to be used before another row comes along, and there's also hints. Rebuttals happen when a character is often confused, so Hajime just needs to cross swords and present evidence. Logic Dive is a racing snowboarding minigame where Hajime answers basic questions. So, yes, it's mostly better, even if the rhythm minigame really sucks.  


I enjoyed the ending a little more this time, even if it was really insane and got a lot more philosophical than the last game. But, it was still a lot more fun than the first game, for sure.  

 


89. Spider-Man 2 for GCN   
  

Spoiler

In a world full of horrible superhero games, Spider-Man 2 is amazing! The story is based on the film, but has so much more content that it will take hours to complete! The graphics were amazing for the time, even though the voiceovers are a little bit horrible and cheesy to listen to. The controls are so perfect, that you feel like you are Spider-Man! This game is really hard at times, but it’s still a very exceptional game and one of the best superhero games of all time!      
 
(I heard the new Spider-Man PS4 game is amazing, though.)     


 
88. Final Fantasy IV for DS 
 

Spoiler

So, after I played III, I immediately thought about playing IV, which I heard was one of the best games of the series. I picked up the DS version, but did not know it was harder until later. So, what do I think about it? 
 
From right off the bat, the story begins with a Dark Knight named Cecil Harvey, who is ordered by his king to get the Water Crystal. He and his team take the crystal by force. Cecil despises the fact that he did this, because he hates hurt the innocent. He doubts the orders of the king, and even confides to his sweetheart Rosa that what he did was wrong. He begrudgingly takes his king’s commands, and he and his friend Kain Highwind take something to a nearby town. What follows is what sparks Cecil to rebel against his king and to find a way to redeem himself for the pain he caused to others. Unlike I and III, the main hero has a rather tragic backstory. And the people he meets and join up with are just as memorable as he. It’s a little bit darker than I and III, but there are still a good amount of comedic moments. Still, that doesn’t begin the amount of weird melodramatic surprises that happen in the game. 
 
The visuals are better than III’s, and the music, like III before, is not of great quality, but I love the music here more than III’s. Theme of Love, the battle theme, the boss theme, the Baron Castle theme, the opening theme, and the theme when Kain and Cecil leave Baron are some of the best FF music pieces.  The character models work for me. They never felt out of place, and during some scenes, they made me feel different emotions.  
 
The job system is gone, but the character lineup in every part of the game is situational to most battles. This game also brought the active time battle system, which is a complete inversion from the last game. Each unit has a different time gauge to plan their next move, attack, use magic, use items, defend, and so on. And that goes for the enemies as well. It’s active, but it can be stressful when a certain unit is hit, dies, or gets affected with a status effect. This remake, like I said, is harder than the original. Some of the bosses are hard to plan with, because actions now happen at different intervals. Coming from III, this was a little bit hard to get used to at first. What IV has over III are… save states in dungeons, caves, and the like! It’s no longer a problem to trek inside!  
 
In the remake, the team can retrieve augments, or abilities that can be equipped to a unit. Still, a unit can only switch out four of the five abilities (EXCEPT FOR ITEM), and some of these augments have certain requirements to get, some easier than others. Also, a new summon for this remake, named Whyght, or as I called him, WHY, can be given different abilities and can be trained to receive higher stats. I barely used WHY though. The black and gold chocobos make their debut here as well. 
 
 FFIV is not perfect, but I feel like it made some improvements in a lot of places, and I’ll say it’s better than III. But, I think I’ll prefer I, because of the different battle system, the impact it made on gaming, and I think I has a better final boss. I also somehow found I more enjoyable. That’s not to say IV is horrible.  
 
II’s not here because I will never touch it for the gameplay alone, and III and V are decent.  

 

87. Final Fantasy for GBA!  
 

Spoiler

I have the first and second games as Dawn of Souls, but… Honestly, this game has become an icon in video gaming, and I finally know why and LOVE it.  
 
The story follows four warriors of light, who are sent by the King of Cornelia to retrieve his daughter Princess Sarah from the clutches of Garland, a disgraced knight of Cornelia. Afterwards, the king orders his people to build a bridge, so that the four warriors of light start their true journey: restore power to the crystals of each element and defeat the fiends guarding each. Simple, but fun. Except for the heroes and the villains, most of the NPCs don’t offer much, but it was never usually about THEIR problems.  
 
The music is legendary, even if one has never played one of the games, and even if it’s on the GBA! The main theme and the prelude are some of the most iconic pieces in VGM history! Although some of the locations and scenery seem simple and bland in an updated format, the designs of the backgrounds during battles and each enemy is distinct. 
 
 The real meat of the game is gameplay. A player can choose four heroes from the following six: a black mage (damage spells), a white mage (healing spells), a red mage (both), a knight (hits effectively with weapons), a monk (hits effectively with fists), and a ninja (hits effectively with speed.). Each have an advantage and disadvantage. I chose the black mage, a white mage, a knight, and a monk, but maybe I’ll use a red mage and thief sometime later, because it was really fun to play it the first time. Getting armor and weapons, magic, and items is really important, so get as much money as possible! Fighting monsters is fun, and if I heard correctly, it was revolutionary because it clearly defined what anyone’s party looked like, and who they were fighting. It wasn’t the first person time-based gameplay that Dragon Quest had. Party lines were clear and defined. Exploring the open world was a bit jarring, since the map was big. So, I resorted to online walkthroughs. But, I forbade myself for doing the same in dungeons. And, the world is really open! The player gets means of traversing the world, like a ship! 
 
 Still, until the player gets an item, they’re prone to random encounters. Some of them take forever and get boring. Running away is sometimes an option, though it’s 50/50. Sometimes, the player gets either ambushed or have a chance of a preemptive strike. Spells take some or a lot of magic points, so buy a lot of ethers! Save whenever convenient, because some parts are ruthless. Leveling up, on the other hand, is not. And, at a certain time, the party can grow to new characters and get stronger! The antagonists aren’t hard… but I went to a bonus dungeon too soon, and got my butt kicked. I’m unable to go to those dungeons right now and finish them, because I beat the final boss. I’ll have to play over again. Still, I had fun, for just getting into the series because of this game!  


 
86. Crash Bandicoot 3: WARPED! for PS4   
 

Spoiler

Even though I hated the first Crash with the amount of B.S. I had to go through, I found the second game to be a bit easier but still a little bit tricky. So, it's come to this. What do I personally think of Crash 3?  
 
The story begins with a darker tone, as Uka Uka, an evil deity and twin brother to Aku Aku (the mask that saves Crash countless time), has broken free from his prison thanks to the ending of the last game. He gets really angry towards Dr. Neo Cortex for failing to conquer the world twice, but is grateful that he is no longer imprisoned. Uka Uka will help Cortex this time, and brings along a new villain, N. Tropy, a master of time portals. Meanwhile, Aku Aku warns Crash and Coco about his twin's release, and tells them that in order to stop Uka Uka and Dr. Cortex, they have to go through the many time portals to gather the crystals before the villains do. Yes, this game sort of has time travel. Because the stakes are much higher and because it doesn't center around Crash being totally clueless, I think this is the best Crash story. The villains even pop in from time to time to break Crash's spirit. Not only is it personal because of the "sibling rivalry", but also because of the bad guys' taunts.     
 
Crash 3 throws out most of the level themes of the last game, and brings in Medieval, Chinese, Arabian, Jurassic, Egyptian, 50s, World War 1, Underwater, and Pirates inspired ones. The only returning one would be futuristic. Crash 1 wins the world-building category, but Crash 3 wins in terms of variety and newer set-pieces. Not only are the places gorgeous, but the music accompanying them is really catchy too. Even I've heard of the main theme thanks to... CRASH... BASH...    
 
Now, since Crash 2 made some improvements to better Crash's mobility and attack range, what does Crash 3 do to perfect it? Coco becomes a playable character. (This was her first playable appearance, even if the N. Sane Trilogy allowed her to be playable in all three.) Joke aside, not much at first. Like the last game, the new mechanics mostly come from level gimmicks. Coco rides Pura, a pet tiger, over the Great Wall of China, and although I think Polar controlled a bit better, there's no doubt the death animation is a lot cuter. Arabian brings back the rail climbing from the last game in a few sections, while Jurassic brings back the autoscroller sections with no turbo pads and triceratopses chasing Crash during some intervals. Egyptian has three different gimmicks, and Crash goes scuba diving in the Underwater levels. The 50s, World War 1, and Pirates stages are all vehicle-based, with the Pirates stages being notoriously worse in the N. Sane Trilogy (even though I didn't have much problem with them myself). But, Crash does acquire more abilities after he defeats the bosses, like a double jump and consecutive spins. And guess what the abilities are needed for? TIME TRIALS. Like collecting the gems, I didn't bother with getting those, even if it meant a better ending and more stages. Guess what I think handled collectibles better? CTR Nitro-Fueled and the Spyro Trilogy. Except for N. Tropy, everything in CTR Nitro-Fueled is possible to obtain within days of playing the game, and the Spyro Trilogy are a lot easier to play. And, to be honest, it's still because of the landing stuff and my probably bad depth perception.   
 
The bosses in this game are some of my favorite of the series. They are harder than the last two games and are actually more threatening, but are a lot more impactful to defeat. It's not only because of their taunting, but their patterns are a lot more erratic in nature. One boss fight even has a cool gimmick, and the last is maybe one of gaming's best. But, I won't ruin the surprise. Now that I think about it, because of Crash's new moves and I think the level design is near-perfect, Crash 3 is perhaps the easiest of the three, and is my favorite game of the trilogy. In fact, this is the only Crash game on my Top 100. Well, of the trilogy. As for the first two games, Crash 1 is not good, and Crash 2 almost made it in to my Top 100 list. I’m just really picky.   
 
… But, it’s not my favorite Crash game! 


 
85. Professor Layton And The Unwound Future for DS!
 

Spoiler

 

I planned on beating this game after Diabolical Box about two years ago. ... And then other games came around. Until a game marathon kind of thing came along, I had no reason to come back to Unwound Future. I kind of hated Diabolical Box for how hard some of the puzzles were, and since I don't have much in terms of complex riddle solving, I didn't like it compared to Curious Village. So, what hardships did I face with The Unwound Future?   

 

Professor Layton and Luke Triton go to a scientific unveiling that is presenting a time machine. However, the machine explodes, and a few scientists and the prime minister have vanished. Later on, a mysterious letter from FUTURE LUKE says that his world is in danger, and that the duo must help him stop whoever is causing trouble. And the person responsible for making the future a worse time is... FUTURE PROFESSOR LAYTON. There are a lot of interesting turns in this game that I won't say, but this currently my favorite story of the series. Layton has a lot more personal stakes this time around, not only because of his future self, but also because of events that happened in his past.    

 

For a DS game, the character models, environments, and music are really charming. The voice acting is average, but Professor Layton and Luke have a lot more emotion to their characters this time around. The cutscene quality is good, even though on a New3DS it looks a little odd.   

 

The game follows the tried and true puzzle formula, interacting and moving with the stylus, and getting information from people. And now that I think about it, there's one thing that has bothered me a little bit when it comes to the series as of this game. They sometimes needlessly halt progression through puzzles. Sometimes when it's for the sake of story, it's fine. But, when it's with some random character, it gets rather monotonous. And then there are those times when one has to complete an absurd amount of puzzles to get through a roadblock. Most of these puzzles this time around are okay. Some of the final ones were a little bit too hard that I had to look online for their solutions. I just wanted to see where the story was going, not to find out the liar among truth-sayers. 

 

Unwound Future could be my favorite of the series... even though a certain crash left my save file corrupted, and I had to start from another save from another player. It's emotionally gripping, and save for some "puzzle-roadblock nonsense" attitude I acquired through playing the game now, it's a beautifully constructed game.     
 
(I deem this the best puzzle game of all time! Boink!) 

 


 
84. Professor Layton x Phoenix Wright for 3DS!
 

Spoiler

 My favorite CROSSOVER gets number 64 on the list for a good amount of reasons. The story… is out there. Phoenix, Maya, Luke, and Layton all arrive in Labarynthia, a land which believes in witchcraft and prosecutes those who are witches. There is a lot to swallow in the end. The places are spectacular, and the music is phenomenal, and some of the tracks from both series get an upgrade. The animation and framerate is much to be desired. The gameplay follows the Professor Layton style of investigation and puzzles, while the courts follow the usual Ace Attorney style. This also introduces the mob trials, where more than one person can testify, and this mechanic is used well, even if the tells are obvious. I think this is the first game that returned to the ‘!’s when it came to the cross-examinations. It’s a really cool blend, even if both aspects are super easy to welcome newcomers to both series.  There’s even free DLC content for those who finished the game. I love what they tried to do, even though this came about two years later after it released in Japan.    


 
83. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for 3DS 
  

Spoiler

The last three games I played in the series, III, IV, V, all prepared me for the moment of playing perhaps the most highly acclaimed of the series: VIII. I had to know if it was just hyperbole, so I downloaded the game from the eShop days after V. And... it instantly grew on me. But, would that feeling last forever? 
 
The story begins with two men, one simple (Eight) and the other a brute (Yangus), accompanying a small troll and a horse. The troll and horse were once a king and a princess of a kingdom, named King Trode and Madea, but an evil jester named Dhoulmagus stole a magical scepter belonging to the king. Dhoulmagus turned the king and princess into their current state, turned the staff into green statues, and destroyed part of the castle with humongous thorns. Somehow while on guard, Eight is knocked unconscious, but is not turned into a statue. With no clues on where to go, the four set on a quest to defeat Dhoulmagus to return things back to normal. On their journey, the company is soon joined by Jessica, a prodigal mage, and Angelo, a flirtatious knight, who also have good reasons to hunt down the jester. Although the goal of the game is to defeat Dhoulmagus, there's still a sense of underlying and unknown dread that comes around during the halfway point.  
  
The 3DS version might have some frame-rate and pop-up issues, but I will say that the I still really enjoyed the style of it. I'm a huge sucker for Akira Toriyama's work, and with the original transition of models going from 2D to 3D, it makes each character stand out more. Heck, even in battles, the cameras show everyone now, including the main fighters. Even though the 3DS game is critiqued the use of the MIDI samples (because the composer is a well-known snob or whatever), the music in general is pretty amazing. War Cry is one of the greatest and most simple battle themes of all time. And, I especially love the boss music and Dhoulmagus' theme. The instrumentation is top notch... even when it is sometimes louder than when characters need to talk. That's right; for the first time in the series, there's voice acting. Compared to the delivery of two other Square Enix games that came before it, Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts, I think this one is perhaps the best. Though, it too has its moments of corniness at time. And, most of the actors have formal British, Cockney, and Scottish accents. Stereotypical, perhaps, but the series is known for its Western-influenced ideas. It would be better if the music didn't blaze over the voice acting, however. Still, there is a way to adjust the volume for each, so maybe I should do something about that. 
 
Even though I jumped from V to VIII, I will only talk about what VIII and the remake brought to the table. Characters can raise their tension to deal more damage, but I myself never used it recently. One quick Oomph spell is all I need. Alchemy can be used to create items out of others. When leveling up, the main party can acquire skill points to increase the potential of certain weapons and to gain certain skills, like Heal and Kafrizzle. In the 3DS version, there's no random encounters. Instead, they can now be seen in the overworld. If one person thinks that's a blessing, it's also a curse. Some monsters WILL hunt the party down really quick. But, with the turn the camera, new enemies can spawn. Because I was looking for a certain EXP monster for some time, this exploit actually helped me in the long run. There's two new characters that join the party, but I only got one of them through a story beat, and one I really needed for the new content in the 3DS remake. I found the photo stuff seemed really unnecessary. But, the biggest surprise is learning that the bosses in the 3DS game are harder and have more hit points. This really frustrated me, as some of the bosses by the end were huge jerks because they were able to attack twice in one turn. But, through sheer force, I defeated them... when I ended my EXP monster grind. If this game is playing dirty, so will I. 
 
Now, since I finally preserved through the Heavenly Dais and Memories Lane stuff… swears like a sailor Sorry, but the repeat bosses in Memories Lane are for the most part the most frustrating things I may have encountered since Anna from FE Apotheosis and Galdera from Octopath Traveler. Two to three attacks each turn, critical attacks, high HP, and status ailments. The ones that I HATED the most were the Trap Box, I think maybe Gemon, Dark Servant, EVIL JESSICA (FOR HER STUPID ALLURING GAZE SPAMMING THAT ALWAYS HIT), and first Form Dhoulmagus. Estark was a total breeze when I made it sleep for most of the battle. The Lord of the Dragovians was hard at first, but he’s pitifully easy if one does the Lane battles first. Advice for those who haven’t defeated those bosses: Get Red and Morrie, get the Timbrels of Tension, make Elven Elixers, and get the Catholican Rings. Also, spend 100 stat points on Fisticuffs for Jessica. HER. MAGIC BURST. SAVED. A LOT. OF TIME. 
 
I can understand why Dragon VIII is so beloved by its fans. It perhaps made the series once more famous after a decline after IV came out. To be perfectly honest… this is the best Dragon Quest game I've played as of now. Sure, it might not have the best story, the best bosses, the best characters, and/or anything that makes this game stand out in terms of gameplay, but it perfectly captures the essence of the series: character customization. (I haven't played VI nor VII, so they might have done that better, but I won't play them.) For now, since IX is a bit in a tough situation with co-op, and X is an MMORPG only available in Japan, XI: Echoes of And Elusive Age for the Nintendo Switch will be my final Dragon Quest game in the series. But, due to VIII taking a long time to beat, I'll play it later.  
 
(Dragon Quest IV did character motivation and the last boss better than Octopath Traveler! Even though they’re not on this list, I’ll recommend Dragon Quest III and IV anyways. Solid RPGs. Not so much V. Fire Emblem and Poke’mon did some things a lot better than it. They’re still fun in their own ways.)   


 
82. Luigi's Mansion for 3DS 

 

Spoiler

We all know that Luigi's Mansion was one of the first titles for the GameCube, when it's usually a Mario game that's the launch for Nintendo systems. I was never a huge Mario fan in my childhood, so I never experienced the drama, if any, that came with a new play-style. Instead of platforming, it was a... third person kids version of survival horror. A kids version of Resident Evil, even if that's a loooooong stretch. I bought the GameCube version before news of the remake came, but never played it because other games were on my mind. It's the same reason I haven't dove into Kingdom Hearts until recently.  
 
So, the story in Luigi’s Mansion? Luigi wins a mansion, but is tricked when he goes to the location and finds out that the place is haunted. Not only is the place haunted, but Professor E. Gadd, a scientist who researched ghosts for most of his life, tells Luigi that Mario came to the mansion a while ago and is currently missing. E. Gadd gives Luigi the Poltergust 3000 and tasks him to find his brother and capture ghosts, of which E. Gadd wants to put several into portraits. So, the night begins! 
 
Compared to the sequel, there is only is there ONE mansion, and there are three floors and a basement. There's no recent Mario tropes, and depending on skill alone, the adventure in the first game can take about five to seven hours! (In Dark Moon, Luigi has to travel five mansions, each with their own gimmick.) Unlike its sequel, there's no missions in the first game, which I think works for pacing, since one should always be on guard in a game like this non-stop.  However, even though I like the variations when it comes to the theme song [Luigi humming to it is cute], I think the sequel did it better with changing up the theme because of the different locations Luigi went. Both play wonderfully on a New 3DS (and my version of Dark Moon was actually installed in my second 3DS I got), and I personally didn't see any frame drops with the remake. 
 
The control scheme is like Dark Moon’s, but at times, moving the screen works, other times it doesn't. And the Control Pad, D-Pad, and C-Stick aren't as useful too. I might have only died twice thanks to luck, but it was annoying when I didn't shine a light on Ghost Number 124 directly or vacuum them on time. (Dark Moon had a stronger flashlight and a vacuum too.) And I got stuck a few times in Luigi’s Mansion, because the game also has the GAME BOY HORROR, which can scan enemies for some weaknesses and search the room Luigi's in. There are two rooms that require Luigi to investigate two items, so that he can transport to another area in the Mansion. That's the only time I looked up online, because even though there are only a few hits of where to go and what to do, the game is easy enough to explore around. Besides the main story, there's more to do in Luigi’s Mansion, like teaming up online with a player to take on the mansion. I haven't tried it out, but I might some time...  
 
Besides some potential end-boss shenanigans (which is easier than people make it out to be), Luigi’s Mansion is challenging, but fair. I got an okay ending, and I don't care getting the best. This game is good, even if it’s on the short time. That's all for now.   


 
81. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 for GB! 
 

Spoiler

Kirby is Kirby! I remember owning this game and a Game Boy as a kid because of a local spot I rarely go to nowadays. The story is simple: King Dedede is trying to rule the world and steal fruit like before! (But, this is where the REAL STORY kicked in for good ol’ Kirby.) The stages are simply executed and the music is cheerful and whimsical for Kirby! Everything about Kirby is similar to the other Kirby games, but they are expanded upon with new abilities and the helper animals. Although the secrets are harder to work with more than the story, the game on its own is one of the must haves of the Game Boy generation!      


 
80. Kid Icarus Uprising for 3DS
  

Spoiler

What happens when talented people make a true sequel to a classic game about twenty years later?  Kid Icarus Uprising.
 
Pit tries to save Earth from monsters and Medusa, but not all is as it seems to be. For one, this is the introduction of Dark Pit, Pit’s dark alter ego. He’s just as strong, intelligent, and fast as Pit. But, that’s just the beginning of what happens an hour or so later! I won’t spoil the rest of the story because it’s just really incredible.
 
The game is beautiful and glorious in the presentation. The game is a rail shooter, but it doesn’t detract from the genius meta humor this game is known for. The comedy is on point with each character! This game had an interesting difficulty setting that gave more benefits for those who beat each level with a 5-10 difficulty. The new Smash Bros. even used this setting because those games were made by the same people who did this: Hal. 
 
 Even though this is loosely based on Greek myths, that won’t scare fans away from how silly and fun it can really get. Like a shrimp-type monster trying to eat Pit whole! The characters become self-aware at times, even in times of danger and seriousness. I love that!    

  
 
79. Fire Emblem Fates Revelations for 3DS!  
 

Spoiler

I got both Birthright and Conquest, but thinking it over time and time again, I never thought both were good in a few aspects. Mostly everyone was just waiting for Revelations to come out. 
 
It’s a perfect combination of Conquest and Birthright. In this game, Corrin rejects both family’s offers to take either side, in order to save both of them. However, Corrin is now at war with both, and convincing both sides to join his/her cause of saving both worlds… (and another…) won’t be easy. He/she wants to bring hard earned peace to two families who really can’t stand each other because of their beliefs and ties to him/her. This game honestly is the best game story-wise in my opinion. It reminds me a little bit of Romeo and Juliet, as Corrin just wants the two sides to get along, even if it doesn’t go as planned. Maybe the ending is too perfect, but I just liked the resolution better than the other two games.   
 
I will say every location in the three games has a purpose. The music for all three games is some of the best in the series, and is wildly varied based on the place and characters. The characters and their motives are a bit hard to swallow in the other games, but here, it’s just perfect… Okay, not ALL of them. It’s better than Conquest’s, and maybe worse than Birthright’s. The three countries in this game chart high on my list of Fire Emblem worlds, currently third. It’s really because of the diversity of the countries themselves. It’s right behind Gallia and Ylisse, and right about Valentia. 
 
When it comes to the roster, however… This is one of the worst. Heck, even Blazing Blade, has a better rounded roster! By, that, I mean the characters and their development. But, the amount of customization is insane, and it has an exceptionally large roster, and maybe that’s why I love this game than other people do.
 
The game is in the middle when it comes to difficulty. It’s a good blend of easy and hard. MyCastle is a perfect way to get resources, get skills and characters by beating other castles, and spend money on stuff. There’s also a ton of DLC which works well with this game in particular.
 
Although the content is not as huge as Awakening’s, I still regard Revelations as maybe the best of the Fates series. It did a great job keeping the series afloat, with some good and bad choices. After all, it was hard to follow up to Awakening’s BOLD standards. And to that extent, I thought Echoes was worst. I’m not going to lie: I. HATE. ECHOES.  


 
78. Guitar Hero 3 for Wii! 
 

Spoiler

 A long time ago, Guitar Hero wasn’t focused on the pop songs and the other instruments. There was a sea of three games, but the next installation was maybe their best. It was called Guitar Hero 3. 3’s plot is basically about a band getting gigs and what-not. … And selling out to the devil! Mwahahahahahahaha! The style was maybe the last we would see the cartoony style before it became a little more realistic. The song list is one of the best of the guitar hero and rock band genre. It had hits like Welcome To The Jungle, Cherub Rock, Sabotage, Barracuda, and a lot more.  And who could forget, like THE LAST TWO SONGS?! It was the golden times. The stuff was the same, except for new characters and bonus songs. Sure, it was hard at first, but that’s why we loved it. The series later on became over-popular for its own good.       


  
77. Mario Kart Double Dash for GCN
 

Spoiler

Double Dssh’s tag team mechanic is one of the reasons it’s one of the best racing games of all time. The music is top-notch, the characters and tracks breathe of life, and the controls are perfect. The tracks are great too, featuring those such as DK Mountain, Wario Colosseum, Mushroom City, Peach Beach, and Dry Dry Desert. I think the second and third tracks I mentioned are the only ones left that need to “change” … Okay, along with the last two tracks of the game, but those can wait for 10… Let Super Circuit have a chance, alright?    

  
 
76. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 for PS4  
 

Spoiler

 

I remember having a lot of fun with Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, 3, 4, and I even used to have Downhill Jam. Never played the first, and will dare not play the 5th. The cheats, the tricks, the characters, the music, the locations... were wonderful as a kid who was maybe ten years old at the time. Even though I'm not a sports guy, skateboarding was the %&#^ in the 90s! I had a board myself, even if I barely rode it, and I never did go to a local skate park. I think scooters were cool too. So... THE NEWS CAME. I was hyped as all heck! Told my mom to get me it for my birthday. Had to wait a little because Amazon service delayed the order... But, I eventually got it and played it on the same day when it arrived. And... all of the nostalgia came back!  
 

The game's... games are about a variety of skaters doing a lot of tricks, competitions, and objectives. A player can even create their own. I made an Officer Jerk, because I felt like something was missing at first. Do stuff to level up, get BETTER, and unlock a variety of stuff, like new stages. By the end, players will get to [redacted] and [redacted], two of the most insane courses in the series. 
 

Game... Games look beautiful. From the Warehouse to the Hangar, nothing looks jarring or visually weird. Even those places that I won't mention look incredible! Most of the songs from the two games return, with even new songs. Though, I wish there was an option to make a customized playlist of one's one choosing, like the SSX reboot did. I also realized there's new characters, since I don't remember a Riley Hawk! 
 

There's a lot of tricks to do in... this combo game, so I won't go over that. The main goal is just to collect things, score points, and find secrets. But, the most efficient thing to do is make combos with grind rails and manuals. But, beware of the balance bar, or else it can trip a player up. If a player doesn't know what to do, look it up online. Because if one has tried their best to do it once, there's no shame in looking up solutions. Or just use mods. Because these games were made for the cheat codes too. But, unlocking a certain character means one will have to master to combo system. And, it can get pretty insane at times. But, I got them. The less I say about the BS I'm dealing with another unlockable character that I cannot get through a glitch of some kind, the better. But, this game rewards mastery of the controls and exploration. 
 

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a solid remaster combo of two well known classics. Moments of happiness, rage, curiosity, and hype all rolled into one. Along with Spyro 2 & 3, these games were my childhood. (Well, just only the second, to be honest). I beat the games 100% of their original completion within a week, and it felt so good getting Officer D. voiced by Jack Black. If one has heard of the series and wants to see what the fuss is about, I recommend these games. And, there is a lot of customization, with a character and stage maker selection! Out of the games to have come out when it did, I'm glad I got it. Because I love a lot of other games though, I’ll cheat by making this a combo game here, not like the Remastered Trilogy games.   

 


 

75. Guitar Hero Aerosmith for Wii
  

Spoiler

After the success of 3, whoever made the game thought it was a great idea to make a band-centric game. That idea became Guitar Hero Aerosmith. Although it didn’t have Last Child and Same Old Song and Dance, it had great hits such as Dream On, Walk This Way, Sweet Emotion, Rag Doll, Love In An Elevator, Toys In The Attic, Livin’ On The Edge, and Train Kept A Rollin’. And the complementary guest songs, like Dream Police, I Hate Myself For Long You, and most importantly King of Rock were in it too.  
 
The locations were places Aerosmith went to, and the game has some footage of what happened to the band from their start to their performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If one doesn’t know what Guitar Hero is good at, it’s gameplay and presentation. The story is basically nonexistent, except for following in the footsteps of Aerosmith’s legacy. There’s a devil named Lou too, but no one really cares about the story more than the other stuff.  
 
After this, I opened up my music library to their music. And, I never regretted it because their music really holds well. One can play as the band themselves after doing certain requirements… well, some of them. And DMC. If there’s anything to hate about, it’s maybe the remasters and covers. But, that’s small compared to what the creators truly gave their audience: something fun.      
 


74. Super Mario 64 for Nintendo Switch
 

Spoiler

 

I've played and beaten Super Mario Odyssey, which I think has Mario's perfect controls in the 3D sandbox genre. It has most of the moves of his former games, and it has Cappy, a game changer on how to interact with enemies. The game also doesn't reset its stuff after Mario dies, and there are no lives to be lost. But, there's more to SMO than that. After playing it, I wondered if there was any reason to go back to the older 3D games. Sure, Super Mario 64 was revolutionary in helping 3D platforming where it was now, Super Mario Sunshine... uh... and Super Mario Galaxy is one of the best Wii games, but why should people care about those games NOW? Thankfully, because of the announcement of the 35th Anniversary Super Mario 3D All-Stars Pack, I was proven wrong because when Nintendo knows how to celebrate something momentous, they never back down and make a huge bang. I have had some history with Super Mario 64 more than Sunshine and Galaxy. I remember one of my friends and I playing the game at their house for some time. Cool Cool Mountain flashbacks and all of that. I was a PSX guy around that time, but Super Mario 64 looked really fun. And, when the DS came around, I played the DS remake. And eventually, I stopped playing it. The thing is, until now, I never really beat Super Mario 64. I don't know what stopped me before; maybe it was because I wasn't really much of a platformer person, and really loved Poke'mon so much more. After nearly 20 years of its release, I have on the newest Nintendo console. I have both the original 3D foundation and the recent 3D perfection on the Nintendo Switch. I plan on eventually taking care of the other two games, but I knew I had to buy the bundle for Super Mario 64. What do I think of the game that elusively escaped my mind twice before? Does Super Mario 64 still have merits years later? 

 

Princess Peach invites Mario over for a cake at her castle. He comes over, and Bowser has taken over it, and has stolen Peach once more. Not only that, but he has hid all of the Power Stars, energy that fuels the castle or whatever, into fifteen locations and places inside the castle. Mario must navigate the castle, enter several paintings, and retrieve the Power Stars to find Bowser and rescue Peach. It's a simple story like before, but now Peach's castle acts as a hub world to all these new locations. It's no longer linear of how Mario progresses. At least, after Mario explores the first course and after each time Bowser is defeated.  

 

The jump from 2D to 3D is where Super Mario 64 needs to be looked at. Most of the characters from the old 2D games that appear in this game look incredible. But, Bowser and the Goombas look bizarre in their first outing. Poor Bowser looks like he hit his teen years again. Still, most of their sounds and grunts sound fantastic, even if most of the death sounds are copied and pasted. The best part of the game is seeing how each enemy and NPC reacts to their own predicament and Mario. Something about taking down a penguin who thinks he can beat THE MARIO is pure satisfaction. And even though his dialogue is corny, Bowser somehow still comes off as comedic and imposing. And, the bosses sometimes talk about how you're never going to take them down by doing something Mario can obviously do. I think it's poor hubris on their part. And, the soundtrack is one of the most iconic 3D staples of all video game history. Including some remixes of former tunes, there's also Bob-Omb Battlefield, Slide, and the Power-Up songs. It's timeless and still memorable. Last, Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, absolutely nails Mario in his first outing. Go listen to his lines when he sleeps. In the 3D All-Stars Bundle, there is a noticeable line missing, but because Charles still does Mario well, I didn't care. 

 

Mario can jump, double jump, triple jump, long jump, crouch, climb, hang, run, spin, crawl, slide, ground pound, swim, kick and punch, wall jump and kick, jump slide, jump kick, somersault jump, break dance, and backflip as his basic moves. If there's anything else I'm missing, let me know. But, now all of the power-ups are gone. The only things to have returned are the coins and 1-Ups. The coins also have a red and blue variety, but I'll get into those later. So, what's up with the power-ups. By activating three switches, Mario can gain the temporary power-ups Wing Cap, Metal Cap, and Vanish Cap. The Wing Cap is nearly identical to the Cape from Super Mario World, but there is a timer to it, and it's more of a gliding move than a flying one. The Metal Cap allows Mario to become completely indestructible, but Mario can't float with it (which is okay for some objectives). The Vanish Cap allows Mario to avoid attacks and walk through some walls and the like. The power-ups are limited by time, and cannot be used outside their courses. Speaking of, Super Mario 64 is a sandbox game. Instead of going from point A to B under a certain time, Mario must do a variety of objectives, like help return a baby penguin to its mama or beat a boss in an arena. Each of the 15 courses are accessed within Peach's Castle. But, a few are hard to locate, even if the NPCs and signs give off some clues. For instance, to access the Boo's House course, one has to ground pound one of the Boos in the courtyard to reveal a cage-like diorama. That diorama is the entrance to the Course. Not only that, but most of the stages have a secret seventh star which pops out when Mario gets a hundred coins. Coins are inside enemies, on the course itself, and in boxes. Red coins count as two, while blue count as five, so it's good to collect those too. The problem is that if Mario loses a life, the counter and objective starts all over again. And, he's booted back into the castle. It's also the same when he beats and objective. Super Mario Odyssey has it beat there. Mario also seems off with his control at times, drifting aside in this version. Sometimes, his collision seems wonky, he jitters, he doesn't get onto platforms and somethings hangs onto an item before he gets on, he fully commits to a slide with no need to stop, he has a little too much momentum, and his turning is a little too much. None of these are totally game-breaking, but it makes me think that Odyssey handled him so much better. I guess years of experience hasn't made his first outing in 3D too fresh. But, some of the objectives are so fun, that his old control doesn't dampen the game too much. Also, one can play any objectives out of any order. But, there are some objectives that require the certain suits in order to beat them. 

 

Because I had some internet help, Super Mario 64 can be beaten within three days or less. Most of the bosses are fun to beat, even though I haven't taken down a few because of this game's progression system. Even though Odyssey has surpassed Super Mario 64 in everywhere, I won't deny that there's still some joy in playing Super Mario 64. From the courses, to the music, and to Martinet's performance, Super Mario 64 is important to 3D gaming and is still playable after over 20 years. Hail to the Mario! 
 
(Don’t regret not having Sunshine on my list.)

 


  
73. Far Cry 5 for PS4
 

Spoiler

Far Cry 4 was my first PS4 game, so it was interesting moving to a shift of location from Kyrat to… Hope County, somewhere in Montana, U.S.A. Yes, Far Cry 5 is a little bit controversial because of the religious aspect. But, I didn’t mind.  
 
The bad guys are extremist cultists who say what they do is “righteous”, but there are those who believe in God, but don’t believe in the cultists’ viewpoint. Instead of being a simple man who goes to a foreign country to bury his mother in Kyrat and gets caught up the rebellion, the protagonist is a deputy. They, along with three other people, are charged with arresting Joseph Seed, a man in charge of a cult Project at Eden’s Gate also known as “The Father”. Once the deputy handcuffs The Father, they and the rest leave via a helicopter. However, the plane is shot down within minutes, and Joseph escapes. Nearby cultists take the deputy’s coworkers, and the deputy escapes. After a little bit of action, the deputy plans on liberating Hope County from the cultists and plans on rescuing their friends, who have been taken to different parts of Hope County lead by Joseph’s family. Joseph and his family are nowhere near as funny and hilarious as Pagan Min and his team… But, they are a lot darker. What happened to them is no joke horrendous, and they seek to save humankind through any means possible. Unlike the last game, the ally characters have a common goal through the same means. There’s no split in the rebellion ranks, and I’m glad that drama wasn’t here this time around. Still, Far Cry 4 has a better ending.  
 
Hope County is beautiful too… but, like last time, I got a few bugs and glitches. It’s not as bad as the last game in the series. The animals in Hope County aren’t as exotic as those found in 2, 3, and 4, but they don’t stand out in a bad way. The music is by far better than 4’s because of the mix of modern and older tunes.
 
 The variety of weapons are good too. Hydroplanes make their first debut in this game, as well as the fishing mechanic. Far Cry 5 gets rids of castles and radio stations in favor of shrines, radio towers, water tanks, and outposts. (The player can hire up to two mercenaries for additional help. Online co-op is recommended too, and here’s why. The difficulty… is where the game drops a little bit. The missions, bosses, and some enemies are hard to take care of. And that’s because… the world is open, unlike the last few games. A player can take on the three region’s leaders at any pace. Some of the enemies now glow green, because of the effect of a certain drug, bliss. Bliss is a hallucinogen and is how the main antagonists are controlling the cult. Brainwashing. There’s a lot more to it, but I won’t spoil anything more. I found this game to be a little bit harder than 4 at times. Sometimes it was the controls and the number of enemies. But, it was all so worth it when I beat a mission I had a hard time with. Critics say it’s the best Far Cry so far… but, I’m going to disagree. There’s a bit more to do in Far Cry 5, but I got a lot more enjoyment out of 4, seeing how that was my first Far Cry game.  
 
The New Dawn game looks promising though. It might make 5’s lore and story a lot more engaging with the apocalyptic vibe. (Yes, 5 ended on a horrible note. Not sold on 6 yet.)   


 
72. Far Cry 4 for PS4!
 

Spoiler

Although Far Cry 3 was better cooperatively, I loved the single story for Far Cry 4 more. The story… is a little complicated, but the player essentially joins forces with the Golden Path as they try to overthrow the tyranny ruled by the terrorist Pagan Min, who is a hilarious psychopath. Most of the characters are great, but Pagan Min takes the whole show with his antics. Although, the leaders of the Golden Path need their leader’s priorities straight. 
 
 For the most part, the sights and sounds of Kyrat, the location of the game, are beautiful… until you run into bugs, the game freezes, random things falling out of nowhere, and the game tries to load stuff. It’s not perfect, but it’s still stunning.  
 
The number of weapons is bountiful. Still, it’s a survival game, so going guns blazing is not the best idea. Especially when the enemies get harder further down the game. Taking outposts, radio stations, and castles are easy at first, but becomes hard later when one gets access to the north of the country. A lot of Asian wildlife appear. Hunting is advised, because you need some material to hold more ammo. And, riding on elephants is amazing. But, watch out; most of them fight back and attack you! Skills are also useful in certain situations, so leveling up is a must. 
 
 Helping the citizens is crucial too, as karma gives one skills and better weapons. There is also a great amount of DLC. The game is challenging, but fair.   


  
71. Mario And Luigi: Partners In Time for DS! 
 

Spoiler

For me, this is the third strongest of the Mario and Luigi games.  
 
When aliens called the Shroobs invade the past and present, it’s up to Mario and Luigi and their past counterparts to save the world from the evil creatures. Along the way, even other present and past counterparts meet. Although it ultimately creates a time paradox, and the time travel logic makes no sense, it’s a great mash-up of the babies and the grown-ups. The comedy and chemistry is on par like the last game.  
 
Though the location is in the Mushroom Kingdom again, traveling back and forth in time is fun. It’s similar to LoZ:OoT. But, with aliens. One of the places is even YOSHI’S ISLAND! The music is really catchy at times, with my favorite being Star Hill… I think that’s what it called.   
 
 Although I really hated how it was hard to play Superstar Saga sometimes, working with babies… is harder. Sure, the babies have different powers and so on, but managing four players while dodging can be difficult. Especially when one of them is down. I don’t know how I beat this over the original Superstar Saga. ( … Oh, wait: THAT ENDING BOSS FIGHT.) 
 
 I really enjoyed this game more than the original Superstar Saga, Bowser’s Inside Story, and Dream Team. I haven’t played it in a while, or owned it again. To this day, I still think it’s the most underrated out of the Mario & Luigi series.  
 
If only THIS GAME got a remake... Oh wait… That dream can’t happen right now… 

 

70.  Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam for 3DS
 

Spoiler


So… Except for a problem concerning the Paper Toads, and the usual story, gameplay, and location elements being really basic, I really enjoyed Paper Jam because of the interactions with the real and paper characters, its humor, and the music. While at Peach’s Castle, Luigi knocks over a book, which unleashed the world of paper! Now, minions, Toads, and even… Paper Mario run wild! It’s up to the trio of Luigi, Mario, and Paper Mario (no Paper Luigi) to save the day by… rescuing the Princess Peaches from the Bowsers and return the paper people to their world. The gameplay during battles relies wholly on Mario and Luigi’s system, while Paper Mario can make copies of himself and can float for some time. Paper Mario also helps out the duo by becoming different things when Mario and Luigi need a way across platforms and the like. BP attacks return, and the new Trio Attacks are a neat addition… although I’ve used the racket ball one the most. Gear and items are basically the same, but the addition of Battle Cards also help during certain situations. And, the player can make Amiibo cards as well… provided they have the right one, and there’s no data on it. It’s no PM:TTYD, but I think it’s still a solid entry in both series, even if people love to criticize it to death. Heck, there’s a few crossovers that I love more than this!


 
69. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions for 3DS!  

 

Spoiler

Now for Superstar Saga… + Bowser’s Minions. For those who remember the original, it is a solid game. The story is different from the usual Mario norm, as Peach lost her voice, the antagonist is a witch named Cackletta instead of Bowser, and the location takes place at the Beanbean Kingdom. (I’m not going to mention HIM, because everyone else does, and I think he’s overrated as heck.) The characters and locations have their own identities, there is a lot of humor, and the game looks like a cartoon. But, even though some of the “charm” of the original isn’t in the remake (Geno and so on being replaced or not there, and the cartoony feel not being there), I found the remake to be a more balanced game, thanks to the gameplay quirks that it borrowed from the sequels (but the player still only gets to play Mario and Luigi). Still, it had been years since I played the original, so getting used to the patterns of the enemies unique to that game was challenging but rewarding all over again. And, this time around, I finally beat the final boss, WITHOUT ANY GAME-BREAKING MECHANICS. Sure, there are those who will despise what became of their old classic. But, I don’t care. The remake is beautiful as well, even if the songs are so-so. It was weird thinking if the simple controls of this game or the complicated controls of the sequel were better. I cannot give that answer, since I somehow beat Partners In Time, and not the original game of this I despised more than ten years ago just because of last-boss-itis. It’s been years since I played PiT and BiS, but not necessarily a decade. Even though this game “fixed” what I thought was a huge problem, there’ll be a good amount of people who will sing the original’s praises. I will never forgive the original for making that lass boss cloud my judgment of the rest of my experience with the game. Now that I finally have closure, I can finally acknowledge how great it was to play both. Sure, neither games are perfect, but I’m glad I finally got a positive and a satisfying reaction out of this game, like Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and a game coming later on the list. I can finally let the floodgates of emotions break the mental dam that held those memories long ago. I can say “thank you” to the past and present for how emotional of a ride these years have been. 
 
I also love Bowser’s Minions. It follows a lonely Goomba, as he tries to find Lord Bowser after Fawful destroys the Koopa Cruiser in the beginning. He later is appointed Captain, and recruits a great number of minions along his way. The story coincides with the main story, so there is never any plot hole with it. Instead of directly controlling the characters, each minion will act accordingly with their in-game attacks. But, there is a little more depth to the game, as flying characters trounce melee characters, range characters can take down flying characters, and melee characters can get very close to range characters. And each character who has a disadvantage will likely (but not always) miss the character with an advantage. Like rock-paper-scissors. But, the captain of each 8-character squad can turn the tide of battle with their commands. Still, this game does not sway my placing of Superstar Saga.  


 
68. Pokémon OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire for 3DS!!! 
 

Spoiler

These games are remakes of the third-generation games to keep up with the “current” times, like Mega Evolutions and Fairy typing. Not to mention, the orchestral soundtrack is amazing! It’s one of the best remakes in recent history! It doesn’t have the Battle Frontier… Even though I’m going to get hated for this: … I don’t care. (Although in hindsight, it doesn’t compare to the remakes of the first and second generations. Only the main Poke’mon remakes are on this list, since the recent entries seem to be just okay and too formulaic right now.) 


 
67. Super Castlevania IV for SNES Classic 
 

Spoiler

 

Now, my time with the first Castlevania hasn't been friendly, and I've heard that 2 is just... bad, and 3 is just way too difficult. So, why this game? …Cause it’s great! 

 

Super Castlevania IV is a remake of the original Castlevania, in a sense. Simon Belmont has to get rid of Dracula and his terrifying creatures. Like I said before, as long as a story is simple and not at all confusing, I'm okay with that. But, this time, Simon has to traverse to many more locations, and all of them are unique in their own way.   

 

SCIV is a step above its predecessors when it comes to detail. There's more enemies, the locations are grand, and the little background moments are cool. And, the music... I really love it. Not only are there a few homages, but Dracula's theme and Simon Belmont's theme are some of the greatest pieces in video gaming history.  

 

SCIV makes the whip a better weapon. It can attack in more directions, including diagonal. Simon Belmont doesn't need to use the sub-weapons as much, but there are some moments where the sub-weapons feel very useful. (I know a certain YouTuber would say otherwise, but I feel like the whip doesn't cover too much ground. It isn't broken.) Using the whip, he can also cling onto these loops on the wall to traverse over pits and spikes.   

 

Because of the upgrade in range and mobility, Super Castlevania IV is easier than Castlevania. But, that doesn't mean that the game is still full of challenges, including the bosses. The penultimate stage is where I nearly gave up, thanks to Death. Still, when the sun rose, I was able to beat Dracula once and for all... for now. There is another Castlevania I like more, but Super Castlevania IV is a fantastic game!  

 


 
66. Hollow Knight for Nintendo Switch 
 

Spoiler

 

As I was waiting to play Metroid: Samus Returns, there were a few indie games I wanted to get invested in that catered the Metroidvania fanbase. Hollow Knight is probably the best talking point people bring up nowadays, so I got it and played it. For most of my near 50 hour playthrough, I really enjoyed the game. But, after I defeated it, how was my joy as the credits rolled?  

 

Hollow Knight stars a cute bug thing with a helmet, cloak, and a knife called a nail. He drops into the Hallownest Kingdom, more specifically Dirtmouth. When he arrives, only an elder greets him, as most of the other inhabitants are minding their own business elsewhere. With nothing else to do, it's time to explore. The knight fights off enemy after enemy, explores the world and finds many things that expand the lore of the kingdom, and runs into a weird cast of characters. One of the NPCs even challenges the knight for the test to see if he's ready for what's to come. And even though a few look dangerous and creepy, they'll help you, like the charms lady worm or whatever, or an odd grasshopper thing that sells seemingly useless charms. But, the knight eventually learns about this infection, and these once heroic beings named Dreamers that sealed away an evil being named Hollow Knight. By either some action of the knight or the seal being broken little by little, the knight must now defeat the Dreamers and stop Hollow Knight from corrupting the world again. But, even though the knight is to prevent all of this, he's not a good person as well. Sometimes because I needed an item, I had to kill what I think would be otherwise harmless creatures and ghosts. And, because of an upgraded item, I could read their minds as well. In fact, not all of the NPCs are good people. There's this Zote guy who say's he's amazing, but he gets captured twice, and in an optional arena, the knight can fight him. He's pitiful. There's a giant bug thing that wants to eat the knight, because nothing around it is particularly edible. Oh, but the Old Stag is adorable. He's trying to find his home, but the rest of his kind have disappeared, and the whole world is too big to find out where it is. With the help of the knight, he eventually does but learns the HARD TRUTH.   

 

The game is gorgeous. A lot went into the game's areas, from the forest in the west to the crystal caves in the east. Even though the color scheme is heavily muted, Hallownest is full of various locations that breathe life. Still, the world is perhaps too large, and there are a lot of places that can be overlooked because of how the foreground and background looks in certain areas. And, when enemies are in the mix, expect some cheap shots at times. It doesn't help that some secret paths can be unconventional found by the noise of rubble. Still, for the most part, Hollow Knight doesn't gate places with upgrades. Again, for the most part. This is a Metroidvania. And, most of the enemies are bugs. Even spiders. And bees. Okay, because some of the sound effects were like really strong, like the buzzing of the bee enemies, I muted the game sometimes. Even the swing of the nail and the noise of getting hit are crazy loud. And that's sad, because the soundtrack is amazing, even if during suspenseful moments the game is really ambient. But, nothing makes more nervous than Shade because of his theme. Forgot his attacks, Shade is creepy.          

  

Unlike Metroid and more like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the knight gets one close-ranged weapon: the nail. Its range is pathetic, and Hollow Knight can rebound from enemies when attacking with it. He can also absorb SOUL by hitting enemies to recharge his health or use spells. I often chose the former, since Hollow Knight has low HP in the beginning, and some bosses and enemies are jerks sometimes. Later, he receives other abilities that use SOUL, finds and buys charms to help his way through, finds items to increase his health and soul meters and amount of charms he can use, and upgrades his sword and finds nail techniques. Like Metroid. But, some bosses are no pushovers, even though most of the bosses are fair in pattern recognition. The game doesn’t mention that certain charm combinations help with certain situations and bosses. This game also does have moments, even with is platforming, where I swear the wrong thing happens at times. Though, the gratification of beating something in this game is justified, because those bosses and obstacle courses can be so hard at times. Looking at you, Queen's Garden's horrible vine thing. I hated it more than the optional White Palace. Oh, thanks to an item, the knight can also fight dream bosses and boss variants that reward essences. The higher the number, the better the prize. The same goes for a few other NPCs too. There's an old worm caterpillar looking for its children, and one by one, the knight frees the captured guys. Though, a few turn out to be mimics. Ew. Also, exploration can be a bit of a pain, since the knight needs to buy a map first, and find new places for them to show up on the map. And, unless he equips a charm, finding his location on a map of Hollow Knight's scale can be overwhelmingly confusing. I admit I have no shame after about getting 70% of what I had, I eventually used an online map and playthrough, because I was eventually stumped and needed help. And, I hated that, because Hollow Knight, like I said, is great when the gears in my head start to click, and it’s majestic when things went my way. It felt more rewarding than Super Metroid’s platforming, although I think I prefer the combat in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night because I love the RPG elements more and the game is less restrictive in weapon variety.      

 

I beat the game. Loved fighting Hollow Knight. He's the best. Fair patterns and I've beaten him a lot... I would say a different tune for THE RADIANCE if she didn't have too much, like quick and large attacks that cause two bars, teleportation, different phases, and was properly mentioned. And, beating her is lame. Hollow Knight and the knight die in both endings from self-sacrifice, but an NPC I didn't really like lives. Still, I got 94%, so that's something. (As of beating THE RADIANCE, I got 100%. Yes, because of my frustration with THE RADIANCE, I almost threw in the towel.)   
 
There's DLC too, like Grimm's Troupe. Because THE RADIANCE gave me too much of a headache, I wondered if the DLC would make my experience with the game better. And, as I swung a candle and lifted the curtain to this new scenario, I began to have fun again. Grimm is a magician of nightmarish proportions, and has an audience to boot. As a performer myself (who can’t perform as of now because of horrible circumstances), Grimm instantly became a favorite of mine. He gives the knight a companion, so that is grows stronger by absorbing Grimm’s friends when they are defeated in combat. Though the friends move at wicked speeds, with enough preparations with charm combinations, they are easily defeated. 
 
Then, eventually Grimm challenges the knight twice, once as Grimm, and the last time as the Nightmare King. I love the first boss fight more than the second because Nightmare King has nearly the same problems as THE RADIANCE; but the problem is that in order to fight them, the knight has to be with his companion, and the companion is a charm too. Then, when the fights begin, the companion leaves. In the first boss fight, Grimm absorbs it, and in the second, it… leaves. Okay, the second boss fight takes place in a dream, but in other dream matches including this, the knight can summon other minions to aid him. So, what’s up with the companion? Does it not want to fight its former master? Some exchanges of the companion’s inner turmoil could help. Like I said, the Nightmare King gave me some trouble similar to THE RADIANCE, but at least the Nightmare King is fairer and doesn’t do anything too drastic until they are hit at certain damage percentages. And, he gives the knight a lot more time to recover and hit him. Plus, his arena is a better place to fight compared to the one THE RADIANCE has, and he’s a lot easier to dodge.  
 
And, this is where I thought I screwed up. There’s another DLC NPC I could’ve talked to before defeating The Nightmare King that switches the companion with a charm that negates most damage, but I was too late. I was stuck with the companion. I really wanted the other charm because it could’ve cheesed THE RADIANCE. And, there’s no way to get that charm now, besides starting the whole game over. Still, although that mistake happened, I tried to fight THE RADIANCE with a new strategy with the companion. After I ended another crucial sidequest, and after many, many attempts, I finally defeated THE RADIANCE. Though I had some skill, I mostly attributed my victory as luck. I defeated THAT, but I still think that it’s cheaper than it has any right to be. This is also one of those victories that don’t mean much in the end. Perhaps it was a hollow one. Huh.      
 
 Hollow Knight is a great game, even though some parts of it are a bit too challenging to Metroidvania newcomes. And don’t even get me started on the “GET GOOD” meme. Even though it’s not my favorite Metroidvania, I still think it does a great amount of stuff better than the next two ones on my list. 

 


 
 
65. Custom Robo for GCN! 
 

Spoiler

How dare they abandon this series!… Why did they?! If I remember, this game focused on a guy… My memory is fuzzy, but I do remember the ending well, and I know that this game is about how these little machines called Custom Robos can be used for battle. It was fun, and I really loved it for what it did. A lot of the aspects of this game worked. The story, the music, the characters, the relationships, the locations, and the gameplay… were fun, even if I don’t remember it years later. It’s a shame that the next game appealed a little more to kids. After that… there was no more Custom Robo. What happened?! The first one was great! How did they not continue the series?! Still, it’s one of the best games I played from the early 2000s.    


 
64. Bayonetta for Nintendo Switch  
 

Spoiler

I'm glad I played this game after... NEARLY TEN YEARS OF ITS RELEASE?! Daaaaaaaaaaaang! 
 
 The story is about the fight between the Lumen Sages and Umbra Witches after two of each clan birthed a child called Bayonetta. After fighting angels on a floating clock tower (inspiring the stage for Smash Bros.), it cuts to her fighting angels in a cemetery IN THE PRESENT. Except this time, she has lost her memories, sans her name, her powers, and her identity. She travels to Vigrid City in Europe in order to obtain the Left Eye, a treasure known to have tremendous power and is part of the set known as The Eyes of the World. Along the way, she encounters a few friends and a buttload of angels, who have no qualm trying to kill her. And, stage by stage, she recovers parts of her past. The story is intriguing, but what really sells the game is... Bayonetta. Yes, she's one of the most raunchiest characters of video game history, but she's very facetious and jocular in how she interacts with others and the world(...s...). Unless serious matters happen, she's a cool and collected character.  
 
The game has a different amount of stages, enemies, and obstacles with the city. One will never know what they might come across in this game the first time they play this. Except for a few stages, I love the variety of what happens. And the music... what can I say about Bayonetta's Theme, the Fly Me To The Moon Climax Remix, and some remixes of other Sega games? It's one of the most pumping soundtracks in gaming history. 
 
 Bayonetta has to fight the legions of angels, and that's where her combat comes into play. She not only can punch, kick, jump, and do sweet combos, but she's also shooting with four guns. She carries two with her hands, and holds two on her boots; and with how much stunts she pulls off... I believe that she can pull that off. She can also use some obscene Torture Attacks and finish fights off with Climaxes, where she uses her... hair to summon interesting creatures and pull off some gruesome specials. During both, it's a bit of a button masher, but the only thing it really affects are the ranks (which don't do much for me anyways). Last, she can dodge, and if the time is right, she can enter Witch Time, where time slows down and Bayonetta has more time to get hits on her opponents. It only lasts for a few seconds, but the stuff she can do within the time is reasonable. Some moments in the game are... quick time, but they aren't really as intrusive as other games.  
 
Except for a few moments of irritation, I really enjoyed Bayonetta, and I cannot wait to get the third one when it comes out! I'm happy I played this around Halloween time! Still, Bayonetta 2 is better!       


 
63. Super Mario World for Wii U 
 

Spoiler

 

I've played Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, some of the most iconic games on the NES library. After five months from playing the third title, I decided to play the next game I haven't touched: Super Mario World. Although I played the All-Stars versions of those two games, Super Mario World is Mario's true jump into the 16-bit era. Super Mario World has been heralded as one of Mario's best games, if not one of the best video games of all time. With Super Mario Odyssey perfecting the 3D formula, is Super Mario World still as fun to play today? 

 

Super Mario World takes the adventure from the usual Mushroom Kingdom to a new world called Dinosaur Kingdom. Within the kingdom lies the popular Yosh'is Island, an island full of the cutest creatures ever. Mario, Luigi, and Peach decide to take a vacation to Yoshi's Island. But, after a while, Peach is kidnapped. By Bowser. Mario and Luigi must explore the kingdom to retrieve her. Now, even though the plot is still about saving Peach, and Bowser and the Koopalings are at it again, the new location makes the tired trope more unique.      

 

Super Mario World is a lot more colorful thanks to the transition to the SNES. And, to be fair, the change of scenery makes this game stand out a lot more. From the greens of Yoshi's Island to the spooky maze known as the Forest of Illusion, not one part of the kingdom feels the same nor out of place. In fact, some of these locations return in Super Mario Kart, such as the Donut Plains and the new Ghost Houses (which are home to some of the scariest yet adorable ghosts: the Boos). The soundtrack is one of the greatest to be composed. Not only does every song fit each stage, but there's a certain mechanic that adds more them.  

 

Super Mario World is also solid in the game-play department. Although only the mushroom, the fire-flower, and star power-ups return, the game adds the cape feather, which acts similarly like the P-Wing in the last game. The cape feather is necessary to access secrets and other routes. Next is the spin attack, which can damage foes if stomping on their heads don't work (i.e. the Chargin Chucks). There's also the P-Balloon. Which is not really fun to control. Last, but most importantly, is Yoshi. Not only does Yoshi add percussion to the soundtrack, but he's a valuable partner. See an apple? Eat it. See an enemy? Eat it. See a Koopa Shell? Find out what the shell does, and use it! Yoshi also acts as a power-up, where upon being hit, it flees. One can just try to jump on it again, or find another Yoshi egg in a random block. Still, Yoshi's sadly a tool in some cases, where one needs to sacrifice it for getting extra height to access a secret area. There's other moments of fun in each level as well, but I don't want to spoil it all.  

 

Although I had some control hiccups at times, Super Mario World is a fun game and a lot more accessible than the first three games. The enemies and bosses, old and new, feel right at home in this game and the Mario universe. I hated like only 5% of the stages, but the rest of them are solid. Super Mario World also has its share of secrets and bonus content, in the form of the hidden switches. Most of the worlds have one, so it's very important to explore each stage. Some stages even have different end routes and objectives, like putting a key in a keyhole. I'm not going to try going for THOSE WORLDS, but I'm glad such a surprise existed. Super Mario World has held up really well in a modern setting, and I'm glad I can put it on this list.   

 


 
62. Banjo-Kazooie for N64… and XBONE.  
 

Spoiler

 

Banjo-Kazooie has been a game that was under my radar for some time now. I got the game because of The Completionist and because of its legacy, and before the duo were announced for Smash. Heck, I even have a memory of watching and/or playing the game at an old friends' house when I was a kid. But, there were other games that came out that I had to play, and Super Mario Odyssey was perfect in the 3D platforming genre. Until THAT TRAILER came along, I had no urgency. Still, with a good amount of time on my hands now, I was able to finally take down what many people call the pioneer of the collectathons.   


Banjo-Kazooie starts off with a witch named Gruntilda, who desires to be the most beautiful creature in the world. However, Tooty, Banjo's sister, is declared the most beautiful, so Gruntilda kidnaps her in order to swap their beauties. Banjo and Kazooie hear the news, and rush off the defeat Gruntilda and save Tooty. During the adventure, Gruntilda chimes in to mock the pair and praise herself by rhyming. A few characters, who clearly hate Gruntilda, help out the duo. Brentilda, Grunty's nicer sister, gives Banjo and Kazooie personal details about her ugly sister. I'm not sure if Wicked was in some way inspired by Brentilda's shade-throwing. The Tildas had to be references to the Wizard of Oz characters. Still, it's a fun narrative, and like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Metal Gear Solid, some characters even through in meta-humor. If there's one thing I dread about this game, it's saving. After saving, the game shows the success of Grunty's plan, and Tooty even scolds the player for not saving her. The save data is not erased, but it's the only game I can think of that haunts the player for leaving the game for a bit or while. That's just plain rude. Imagine Super Mario Odyssey or Breath of The Wild pulling that off! Bowser marries Peach, and Hyrule is forever doomed by Calamity Ganon! The player is trying hard to stop those events from happening, but at the same time... they need their rest.  


Okay, the game might not be in HD and looks odd in some places (especially underwater), but I won't deny that Banjo-Kazooie is a colorful game. From the termite enemies to the squirrel who loves acorns, from Treasure Trove Cove to Click Clock Wood, everything screams attention and most of them feel unique. Heck, the NPCs that aren't the main characters talk about their woes and such with distinct voice patterns. Instead of just talking in a familiar language, the game pulls a Star Fox with noises. Grunty's reflects how maniacally evil she is, while Kazooie's takes on a sassy nature. And do I need to go over the soundtrack? Thanks to Grant Kirkhope and co, this is one of the best gaming soundtracks. PERIOD. When the game starts up, Banjo, Tooty and friends even play the theme song in a cute cutscene. That's a neat touch I'll never forget. Other games, like, Luigi's Mansion, the Fire Emblem Fates trilogy, Octopath Traveler, the Splatoon games, and the 64 Zelda games pull off somethings similar.   


The controls and platforming are not perfect, but are still decent. Banjo can run, jump, punch, roll, and do a ground pound. Thanks to Bottles, new abilities and moves are handed to the pair within the first half of the game. Kazooie can sprint (which is really useful for some slopes), jump, and peck things. Since Kazooie is also in Banjo's backpack, the two can pull off a beak barrage and an aerial flip. Using certain items, Kazooie can throw eggs from her beak and butt, Banjo can use her as a timed shield, and Kazooie can soar into the skies. But, some of the powers also require a pad (flying and high-jumping), or shoes (running really fast and hazard traversal). The shoe power-ups are timed, so don't think they'll make the game easier. While in the air, Kazooie can also charge at an enemy (which for me did not work a lot). There's also swimming, but it too is probably one of the worst aspects of the game. That's not all. In some stages, a shaman named Mumbo Jumbo will be able to transform Banjo into certain creatures. The guy needs a good amount of skulls to do that though. Still, the transformations allow Banjo to enter places that are otherwise inaccessible and to interact with certain NPCs and enemies. So, what's the problem? Some platforming parts I tried to perfect were at times unreasonably denied. Falling da... damage. The reach of some attacks and platforming moves are questionable. There's no Z-targeting, so there's no way to indicate from what angle is good to throw eggs and such. The camera is not a friend at times. One of the transformations has a really difficult mini-game. And have I mentioned the mid-air and swimming controls?!  


 Couple that with some horrible objectives and the fact that if one loses a life, they have to get all the notes and Jinjos in the world from scratch, one may think not all of the game is fun. Seriously, if Banjo can hold Jiggies (the main collectibles), eggs, feathers, and skulls, why not those certain items? They're required items, and Majora's Mask did it better when ALL of the key items were able to be brought back in time. How is that fair or fun? The notes open doors in Grunty's place, and the Jiggies open the worlds. Why was such a restriction in this game? This is why I like Super Mario Odyssey more. Cause I don't need to retry ENTIRE STAGES just to get stuff I might fail at again. Still, not all of the Jiggies and Notes are required to beat the game, and the completing the game is kind of bittersweet. But, imagine spending about thirty minutes at a time collecting notes, only for an enemy to blind-side the pair and make them lose a life. Is that okay?  


It might seem I hate the game, but I don't. Helping out the NPCs and taking care of the bosses felt satisfying when one figures out what they need to do. The final moments of the game were probably some of the most intense things I've ever done. The final level is a board game that tests one's knowledge of the game. Those Brenty hints? Necessary. After that, Grunty hands over Tooty. There's a fake credits scene, and after opening one last note door, and one last puzzle door, the final battle begins. Grunty first flies at the pair with her broom, then she resorts to shooting fireballs, then she resorts to shooting fireballs while high up in the air, then she resorts to shooting fireballs while high up in the air and guarded by a magical shield, and then she finally resorts to shooting fireballs and a seemingly indestructible ball of magic while guarded by a magical shield. And most of the moves the pair learned are instrumental to defeating her. To top it all off, in the last two phases, statue Jinjos arrive to help take Gruntilda down. I hated this final battle at first because it seemed like Gruntilda's AI was cheap and unfair, but once I learned the patterns, I finally finished her off. The real credits roll this time, and some surprises about the sequel are mentioned by the lovable shaman. The thing is, since the sequel is out, I have no reason to find any more of the items. Especially the notes. Some of the locations and stuff are hidden maybe a bit too much as well. With my frustrations aside, Banjo-Kazooie is a cornerstone of the collectathon genre and gaming history. It has quirky characters and worlds that are wonderful and engaging, and elements Super Mario Odyssey, in my opinion, perfected. My thoughts on archaic game design don't detract much of how important this game is.  


An update: This is one of the Rare cases I did something interesting. I bought an XBONE right after I beat the game the first time. I plan on getting and playing other games for the system, but one of the games on my list was the exclusive Rare Replay. Shocking, since Microsoft was sort of responsible for their downfall. But, surprisingly, the Rare Replay version of Banjo-Kazooie is actually rather better. The game looks miles more beautiful, even if there were some odd glitches here and there. Controlling the pair is still not perfect, since even though the swimming is better with analog control, sometimes I accidentally pull of the Wonderwing move by accident because where it's mapped, and the camera is stuck in the past. However, the music notes and Jinjos don't go away after one loses a life, which made completing the game that more fun. That still doesn't forgive the game for some archaic platforming. And I misinterpreted the information about the secrets. Besides the stuff for the sequels, getting most if not all of of the music and Jiggies grants the duo twice the amount of eggs, red feathers, and gold feathers... or full refills if the player already inserted the cheats. Yes, I forgot to talk about Cheato, Grunty's cheating spell-book, and Bottle's puzzle thing. Cheato will give the player three cheat codes, provided that you find it in three locations of Grunty's lair. As for Bottles, the two can return to Banjo's house and complete timed jigsaw puzzles for seven cheats, that just make the two bigger or Banjo a washing machine. Cheato's cheats are much more reasonable, but maybe some people like making the pair silly. I had a lot more fun with the Xbone version this time around, even if it didn’t help move the game higher up on my list. Because I heard that the sequel is... mediocre in comparison to the first, I won't play Banjo-Toole for a while.    

 


 
61. Celeste for Nintendo Switch  
 

Spoiler

 

Just keep breathin', and breathin', and breathiiiiiin'... Sorry if I felt a little bit of a number coming to me, but it felt appropriate to the game at hand. For a while now, I've heard about an indie game that spread like wildfire for months, named Celeste. It was one of the biggest hits of 2018, and I'm sad I didn't get to play it until just recently. The game tackles matters not usually discussed in video games lately: anxiety, stress, and depression. Now, this especially hit hard with me, as I suffer a bit from anxiety here and there. But, I'm glad this game reinforced the fact that I'm not alone in this problem. I felt it was appropriate to play this during Halloween-time, since the biggest monsters humans usually face are none other than inner demons. But, besides being a story about facing those difficult topics, how well does the game handle and compliment them?    
 
The story is about a girl named Madeline trying to climb a mysterious and dangerous mountain named Celeste. It's not at all clear why she is at first, but after a while, the player learns that Celeste suffers from anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. Her climbing that mountain is both a literal and mental goal, as not only does she want... needs to get to the summit, but she also wants... needs to face her self and to find a solution to her situation. Still, it's a rough time for her, because she's not only facing the perils of the mountain, but she has to deal with PART OF ME, a physical manifestation of her ugliest of traits. PART OF ME, or Badeline, tries to stop Madeline from reaching the top through actions and words and tries to make things worse for Madeline. That doesn't mean Madeline is alone in her journey, as she meets a quirky and peppy old lady who clearly has some history with the mountain, and Theo, another traveler who tries to find what the mountain will mean to him. The old lady knows more than she'll tell Madeline, and Theo is trying to reflect on what he wants in life. The two form interesting bonds with Madeline, as they try to comfort and help her from time to time, and Madeline tries to help Leo in some situations. Madeline doesn't like them... or maybe trusts them at first, but she later opens up her worries and cares to them, which results in her own health and her relationships with the two becoming better. And, with the support she gets from them, she eventually tackles her situation with Badeline. If one couldn't tell, I love this story. It's personal, and even though I could never do the stuff Madeline does in this game, or think about climbing a mountain at all, I too have my own issues and ways to cope with them. Taking care of mental health is no laughing matter.    
 
Celeste is also full of different and colorful locations, such as the dark base of the mountain to the eerie and broken Celeste Resort. Some places are gorgeous, while others show the age of wear of the mountain. The character models are kind of bland or whatever, but it's the dialogue boxes that make this game shine. I just wish the dialogue wasn't in beeps and boops, but the emphasis on some words are genuine. The music is phenomenal. The game has some songs which sound triumphant, and others, like the Chapter Complete song, are smooth and welcoming.   
 
So, how does Celeste play out? It's a platformer, in the barest of senses. Madeline can run, jump, climb onto walls, and dash. That's pretty much it for most of the game. She doesn't attack, but that's okay, since Madeline is likely a pacifist... Unlike Badeline, who tries to impede her progress by attacking in some stages. But, each chapter brings in a unique gimmick that compliments her controls, like a yellow diamond that restores stamina, and bouncy clouds.  Stamina is important, because Celeste can only dash once, and she can climb for about only 30 seconds. After that, she falls. If she hits an obstacle, that's all. Each room brings in their own variation of the stage gimmick, so players will have to use their mind to beat the puzzles and tricks. Some rooms can be just frustrating at times.   

BUT, the game is fair. There's no game over screens, the players reset from where they enter, and the game encourages trying and trying again. Heck, there's even an assist mode, which has an INVINCIBILITY feature that can bypass the spikes and other things. But, other than that, I still had the normal stamina amount, and I turned off assist mode when a level wasn't too much of a challenge. Heck, the game even says that the collectables, the strawberries, are just bragging rights. There's no true ending, and all of that. I had a legitimate fun time with Celeste.   

 


 
60. Splatoon 2 for Nintendo Switch! (With the Octo Expansion DLC!) 
 

Spoiler

The first Splatoon was shown during the 2015 Nintendo World Championships. I was hyped, because it was a new Nintendo IP, and had a cool fresh look with the sea setting and the multiplayer and so on. I played the first game for the multiplayer for a while that I… never played it for its story. 
 
 But I think the story in Splatoon 2 is a lot better, because not only has the Great Zapfish gone missing (who would've seen that coming), but Callie has as well. Some missions are fun, unless I got a weapon I hated a lot, but was forced to use because it's Sheldon's "REQUIRED"... "REQUESTED" one. Most of the bosses are fun to defeat. (Though, I clearly remember hating Octo Samurai, because one is required to use Sheldon's "REQUESTED" weapon: the paint roller.) And the rolling Octarian balls and their missions can go roll into a dumpster for all I care. But, the games are never much about the story…  
 
Because the Splatoon games are mostly about the multiplayer! The music and stages are still amazing, and there are a lot of clothes and weapons and stats! The multiplayer still has Regular Battles (the team to ink more of the stages wins), Ranked Battles (different objectives), and the always fun Splatfests (the team who does the best in battles wins), but Splatoon 2 also has co-op in the form of Salmon Run and League Battles. I haven't played League Battles (but I assume it's the same as Ranked Battles), but Salmon Run is about hunting Boss Salmonid and capturing their golden eggs before the timer runs out. There are three waves, and the waves change based on different things, like there being higher tides and it being nighttime. The Boss Salmonid themselves are tricky too. Splatoon 2 is a wonderful game and a cool variety of a third-person multiplayer shooter, because it uses ink instead of bullets and the like, marine life instead of real people and aliens, and unconventional weapons instead of the usual guns and swords you'd see in Call of Duty and Battlefield. 
 
 Fun note: My brother got it for me as a birthday present... last year, and thought it was digital. It was physical, and by the time I wanted to finally play it... a year later, I could no longer get it for free. Thank gosh I have a job, and got it when the Octo Expansion came out a few months earlier!   
  
… It was really difficult when it compares to other games that I deemed it better than. The story might be simple, but because of its style, gameplay, its content, and because it has only a few flaws... this game will hold up for a long time! (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!) I played the Octo Expansion DLC, and if one doesn’t like the simple story and gameplay of 2, then they need to get it with the DLC. The DLC might be challenging here and there, but it has a lot of really cool ideas and fun puzzles that don’t want to make your head explode.
 
But, the rest, to this day, have even exceeded my expectations more than Splatoon 2! (Even with the DLC!)    


 
59. Assassin’s Creed II for Xbox One 
  

Spoiler

It’s been over a year since I defeated the first Assassin’s Creed, and started my journey into the sequel. While I thought the first Assassin’s Creed was okay, there were some obvious gameplay problems, and there was a huge cliffhanger at the end of it. Hopefully, the sequel helped those questions in my mind. Why was that assistant Lucy wearing clothes with blood? What was Abstergo Industries looking for? What was the Apple and that Piece of Eden? 
 
The story begins with Desmond and Lucy escaping the facility of the first game. They stop at a warehouse, and Lucy introduces her friends and a new Animus. Lucy wants Desmond to link his mind to Ezio Auditore, a new assassin from Italy, not only to inherit Ezio’s skills and abilities to become a better assassin, but also to find out where the other Pieces (yes, Pieces) of Eden are. 
 
Ezio lived his life in Rome with his assassin family up until he was 17. A close friend of his father’s betrayed his family during a political struggle and ordered them to be executed. While he, his mother, and his sister escaped, his father and his two brothers died in the public. His remaining family retreated to the countryside, where they were given shelter by his uncle Mario. Mario trained Ezio to be an assassin and told Ezio to seek out the ones responsible for his family’s deaths. While Ezio travelled across Italy for revenge and justice, he gained many new allies, including a young Leonardo da Vinci who was instrumental to Ezio’s growth.  
 
Many interesting developments happen as before, and because the game took place in 2012, a shocking but now horribly dated theoretical calamity is soon discovered. The same old discussions of truths and lies and morality are still present.  
 
And here is where I’ll claim the second game is better than the first not only because Ezio is a much more relatable assassin than Altair ever was, but because… I like Italy and the Renaissance a lot more. The game even uses Latin, and I’m a huge sucker for a dead language.  
 
The game looks very beautiful, and I like the creative freedom they had when making the Italian settings. Although the number of locations is shorter, I feel like there is a lot more depth and scale for each city Ezio visited. Also, there is a day and night cycle. If it isn’t obvious enough, I love this game for the Italian scenery. The music is still as atmospheric as before, but I won’t give the game any flak because if that. But, some of the faces look uglier than before.  
 
Assassin’s Creed II did a lot to improve on the original’s gameplay. Eagle Vision can be used in the third person and can be used while moving. Like before, Codex pages can be found, and this time researched by Leonardo for upgrades and new weapons. Swimming and using gondolas have finally been implemented. Although the combat has been updated, the actual combat is still counter-oriented and hiding is still just as important. Speaking of which, Ezio can hide among any group, rather than just a few. The many ways of assassinating and distraction have also been increased, such as smoke bombs and killing from haystacks. A new notoriety system replaces the Social Status icon, depending on the good and bad actions Ezio performs. Ezio can also leap while climbing, making impossible feats in the last game feasible in this game. But, climbing is still a little bit awkward and not totally perfect. The mission system has also seen some changes. Ezio also has a frequent use of a base in the form of his uncle’s villa. Ezio can use the base to not only review his collectibles, but also upgrade certain shops via to receive certain discounts and even income. …Those darn bards are just as annoying as the beggars… And, finally, quick travel. THANK GOSH!  
 
Less time is also spent on Desmond, even if he has a few minutes to test out his new assassin skills. But, a big concern happens in the second sequence where he is playable. It turns out the Animus can have long-term mental side-effects if a person stays in the Animus for too long. And Desmond figures out one of these soon enough.  
 
If there was anything negative about the game, the final boss fight is just ridiculous as it sounded. And, the stuff afterwards really dates the game. It’s not as bad as the first game’s ending, but history has proven the ending very wrong. Still, besides some gripes with facial designs, the bards, climbing, and the combat, Assassin’s Creed II is leagues better than its predecessor. There’s a lot of bonus content that comes with finding every collectible, but I can just look it up online and not really care. There’s also Altair’s gear and sword, but because I like Ezio’s white robes more, I only got the sword. Now, even though there’s a III, Assassin’ Creed took on the Kingdom Hearts approach and gave Ezio two more games. With “current circumstances” still present, I think it’s best for me to finish the trilogy. No matter how good or bad the sequels are. Then again, I do like Italy and Ezio. Maybe they’ll be just as good as II. Assassin’s Creed II made such a leap from the first game that I’m proud it’s here. 


 
58. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony for PC
 

Spoiler

My journey into the Danganronpa series has been mostly positive. Although I thought the first was decent, I found the second game to be better in almost every way. Then, I realized that the next game was a spin-off shooter, and the continuation of the first two games was an anime. Last, I remembered that V3 is so far the conclusion of the series as a whole, even though fan support has still grown strongly since then. But, what's going on? Is V3 really the last game the fans will ever get, or was that just a prank since 2017?  
 
V3 takes place some time after the events of the first two games. Players take control of Kaede, a seemingly ordinary girl who wakes up and falls out of a locker in a classroom. A boy named Shuichi comes out of the locker near her. They are confused about their situation; and when they walk out of the classroom, things get worse as a big machine chases after them. The two race to the gym, where they find fourteen other teenagers just as confused as the two are. Then, all five of the machines show up in the gym, and five bear-like creatures named the Monokubs jump out from the machines. The Monokubs realize that something is "wrong" with the pathetically normal high school students, and give them interesting clothes with matching Ultimate talents to boot. The game seems to have started again, with Kaede remembering her talent as the Ultimate Pianist, and Shuichi as the Ultimate Detective. While exploring and finding the other students, they learn that they are in school grounds of the Ultimate Academy for Juvenile Delinquents and a trapped within the confines of a huge wall. Back at the gym, the Monokubs and the machines known as the Exisals return. Monokuma makes his grand return, and explains the rules of the killing game as before. As for the cast, I think it's perhaps the best in the series, even though I like some of the characters of the first two games much better. But, the problem is that unlike 2, there's no foil to Monokuma like Usami, and the Monokubs can't really make that same magic. And, don't get me started on RISE AND SHINE, URSINE! But, unlike the first two games, where the emphasis was about hope and despair, V3 also takes in account two contrasting themes.   
 
Now, I have mixed opinions on the visual designs. Because of the jump from 2 to V3, there is a lot more color used. Or maybe it's the design of the world. I'm not sure if there's a lot more freedom of the characters' clothes compared to 2, but the characters seem to have more animations and expressions. Also, during investigations, there can be more than one character on screen using different frames! I love that new detail! Still, even though there's a lot more greenery of the Ultimate Academy compared to Hope's Peak, I really prefer the island setting of 2's Jabberwock Island. Plus, exploration once again mostly revolves around moving in the first person, whereas it was first and third person in the second game. If the Ultimate Academy took place in an artic world, then that would've stand out a lot more than the first game. But, the music is really astounding, and it's mostly original this time around. Some tracks do return, but the soundtrack is nice and fresh. It even got me listening to Clair De Lune by Claude Debussy. 
  
The investigation system is borrowed from the first two games, but the Hidden Monokumas and the Monomonomachine are a step back. The Hidden Monokumas I feel are way too hidden, while the Monomonomachine uses the lottery system like the first game. Still, players can now get Monocoins by knocking down stuff, and there is a casino where certain other unique items can be acquired for making relationships. There's also a Love Hotel thing... but I never used it. There is an Observe thing that locates clues that help some players find clues too obscure for them. I rarely used it for help, and it being mapped to Y was weird.   
 
The Class Trial has been improved most of all in this game. Along with Non-Stop Debates, Mass Panic Debates exist, where three characters at a time will talk over each other. The puzzle and rhythm minigames have returned once more, and are perhaps the best iterations.  The rhythm minigame has turned into something similar to that of Hatsume Miku. The Closing Arguments segment should've been implemented the row system from the second game, instead of using the locks. Psyche Taxi is an improved Logic Dive, since the only true obstacles are cars, and the music is a lot catchier. Though, I could've done without Mine Mind, and they should've turned into simple multiple-choice questions. But, the best new additions are Lying/Perjury and Mass Scrum Debate. Instead of using people's evidence against other's now, there are chances where lies are used to protect another character. (And, sometimes, they are followed by interesting Back Routes indicated by the change of music.) Mass Scrum Debates are used when two parties are nearly split among themselves, and correlating bullets are used to refute the other side. The music of the Mass Scrum Debate is wild! 
 
However, even if this game surpasses the first two games in many aspects, it does have perhaps the weakest and worst ending of the trilogy. First, there is a time limit to the investigating because a certain robot wants to destroy the Ultimate Academy. I thought it was an automatic game over if the time limit ended, but apparently I did not have to restart from the very beginning of the case. Two, the first case is retried, with one of the most boring characters ever, Tsumugi, in the series being the culprit. It not only completely screws up the killing game rules, but also perhaps makes the first case weaker by affiliation. Then, the villain JUNKO ENOSHIMA HAS RETURNED, and it turns out the survivors were given false "memories". In fact, the whole story was fake. The killing game is being televised by an audience who wanted it, and it's currently in the 53rd season. Shuchi, Himiko, and Maki say that they no longer want any part of this, but Junko says it's not up to them, as one of the other survivors, K1B0, is a robot told what to do by the audience. The audience and Junko wants the killing game to continue, but the others don't listen and DO NOTHING. Because even if they were fictional, everything they felt was real to them. When voting time happens, the survivors, and even Tsumugi, rely on the audience to choose on whether the killing game will continue or not. The audience surprisingly do not vote, and it feels like they don't want the game to continue. The Ultimate Academy blows up, and only Maki, Shuchi, and Himiko remain. What happens next is unknown, but for now, the killing game has finally ended. So, because of the ending, a lot of people really hate that this game is perhaps the last in the series. It also feels too meta-narrative and too complex for its own good. The second game might have taken inside a game, but for the whole series to be fake to its own characters is pretty out there. But, by making the characters self-aware, it also means that the game somehow gave a metaphorical middle finger for those who actually liked playing the games with this ending. Because of that, some people HATE that this is perhaps the last Danganronpa game we'll ever get. The only positive I really see from this is that the ending at least got people talking years later after its release, whether good or bad. I like most of the cases in the game, but the final case is perhaps the worst... well, there is the dreaded third case too... With that rant aside, V3 is worth the money, even though I got it on sale at Steam and the button schemes with a 3rd party controllers needs to be worked on in the Steam settings before playing the game.


  
57. Fire Emblem (Blazing Blade) for WiiU      

 

Spoiler

 

Out of the many Fire Emblems games that have come out in the West, I had yet to beat Path of Radiance and Blazing Blade, the latter being the first to be brought everywhere. My first experience with Fire Emblem was Sacred Stones, the game that came after Blazing Blade. Years passed by, and even though I knew Blazing Blade existed, I never thought about finishing it. Blazing Blade is more than fifteen years old, and the recent games have made some of Fire Emblem's mechanics a lot fresher. As for why I hadn't defeated both it and Path of Radiance... it's because they were not in the back of my mind when I was younger. I was in school, and I think I played a lot more Poke'mon. And maybe it was because of one of the series' most defining traits. I currently have a lot more time on my hands, and Blazing Sword was on the chopping block for games I wanted to finally take care of. With other Fire Emblem games in my head, how does Blazing Sword hold up today?  

 

Blazing Blade has a bit of a backstory behind it, as humans and dragons once lived together in the continent of Elibe. However, that soon changed when a war between both broke out; a war which was called "The Scouring". Humans fought and forced the dragons to be exiled behind the mythical Dragon's Gate. The details behind the war become a lot clearer during the game, but the real story begins when Lyn, a Sacaen woman, wakes up a person lying in bed (the player, the tactician). After fighting a few enemies and finding new allies, she hears that her grandfather of noble descent has been waiting for her. The grandfather has never seen Lyn, and might not get the chance, as he is slowly dying, and there is someone who is preventing her from seeing by means of armies. Lyn has to overcome the odds to see her grandfather before it's too late. The true story picks up after a third of the game later, and a year later after what happens in Lyn's story. I won't spoil anything, but I think it's just as great, if not better than: Sacred Stones, Shadow Dragon, Fates, and even Echoes. The game has the same motion of "not every enemy is inherently evil", and even though it's a strategy RPG, the plot is mostly simple, and there a good amount of characters one can relate too. When good and bad moments happen, they feel real. Not since Fates, or even Awakening have I felt such rushes of emotion.  

 

The music is really amazing, and the standouts are by far the first map theme, the attack theme, the recruitment theme, and the Black Fang theme. Not sure if it personally beats Sacred Stones in that regard, and I think besides Shadow Dragon it's not better than the rest of the later Fire Emblem soundtracks. It's still enjoyable to listen to anyway. I always thought Sacred Stones did well with sprite work, and it's just as great in this game. And I'm pretty sure this game has a lot more enemy variation and maps and their variations compared to its following game. And cutscenes. In fact, I will admit that Elibe is a better place than Magvel. But, it’s not my favorite.   

 

Blazing Blade has tutorials for everything, but one of the main mechanics is the weapon triangle system. Lances beat swords, swords beat axes, and axes beat lances, and same goes for magic. What Blazing Blade brought to the table are support conversations, where two allies just talk. The conversations not only expand on some of the ensemble, but they're also stat buffs. It's not as fleshed out as Awakening's, but it's still as good as the rest.  The conversations require a lot of killing... but, hopefully not one of the allies! Permadeath exists in this game, and because most of the crew are really good and memorable, I had to reset the chapter... or use the WiiU's broken save feature. This game can be really hard at times, and some enemy and obstacle placements can be the worse. Even the places sometimes have environmental roadblocks, like snow restricting movement or the night making things difficult to see enemies.  

 

However, even though the game is challenging, some of the bosses are memorable, such as the Black Fang quartet special ops Four Fangs. I had to regretfully restart even when one of my characters died. The game can be tricky, but if one knows which unit they should take to the field, then the allies could be hits or... disasters. I think some of the recruitments are not worth it. I won't talk about another "mode", because it's really cool and I don't want to spoil it, but please note that it adds a good amount of replayability for the game. I love Blazing Blade, but… there a few Fire Emblem games I really love more, even some a few might disagree with.   

 


 
56. Super Metroid for Nintendo Switch
 

Spoiler

 

Metroid: Zero Mission, despite my complaints about the controls, is still a superb game. Because of certain reasons, I jumped from the remake of the first game to Super Metroid: one of the best games of its generation. (I plan on defeating Metroid: Samus Returns eventually.) So, knowing the controls were nearly the same as Zero Mission, how did I enjoy my wild ride in Super Metroid?  

 

Super Metroid takes place after the events of Zero Mission and Samus Returns. Samus defeated the Space Pirates on her old home planet, and nearly destroyed all Metroid life forms on their planet. Samus allowed a baby Metroid to live, and gave it to the Galactic Researches for them to study. However, soon after she leaves, a distress call comes from the Galactic Research ship. It is attacked by the Space Pirates, and when Samus arrives where the baby Metroid was, she is suddenly attacked by Ridley. They battle, but an imminent explosion of the ship begins to happen. Ridley flies with the baby Metroid, and Samus gets back on her own ship. Samus follows Ridley back to Zebes, back to the beginning. She once again has to stop the Space Pirates and rescue the Metroid from its predicament. After that intro, the story doesn't continue until the very end, where the biggest of surprises happen. Super Metroid has a much grander ending, and I love how insane it gets. 

Super Metroid is a very atmospheric yet colorful game. The various life forms and locations of Zebes burst with wonderful detail. Super Metroid also has some of the best visual effects and Mode 7 greatly enhances the experience. And, I think the locations this time are a lot more vibrant than Zero Mission. And, although the music doesn't get as much notice as other games', it is spectacular to hear. Some songs are booming with the bass, while others go for a much softer tone.   

 

Super Metroid introduces a lot of attacks and movement options that would become iconic in the series, such as the famous Screw Attack. Now, although there's also moves Super Metroid teaches with these adorable aliens that seemingly came from nowhere, my complaints from Zero Mission still happened. Samus' midair movement is still too odd for my liking, and there are still those stupid short platforms. Also, knockback. But, since it was 1994 when Super Metroid came out, I'll be a bit more lenient on my hatred of it. Now that I think about it, Super Metroid has some of the best upgrades in video gaming. Still, even though the series is known for its exploration and discovery, Super Metroid might seem too large in scope. The jump from old Zebes to new Zebes was incredibly stress-inducing. It doesn't help that I think Zero Mission had the better map layout, and there are barely any hints. I needed some walkthroughs again. But, this and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night were responsible for the exploration of a gigantic building and world which featured many collectibles, later coined "Metroidvanias". Super Metroid's impact and importance cannot be ignored.  

 

 Super Metroid has more and better boss fights which pushes Mode 7 to its limits. Ridley's fight is a lot better, even though the battle still takes place in a confined space over acid. Mother Brain Part 1 is still as annoying as Zero Mission's, but the real joy is in Parts 2 & 3. If Part 1 didn't exist or was improved with its barrage of attacks, Mother Brain would rank higher as a final boss. But, it has one of the best moments in any video game. Super Metroid might not have been as perfect as I wanted it to be, but I think it's genuinely better than Zero Mission. And, 2D and psuedo-2D exploration had been more integral since it was released.  
 
(Metroid: Zero Mission was just okay.)

 


 
55. Resident Evil 4 for PS4   

 

Spoiler

 

I finally beat Resident Evil 4 months after conquering the mainline games (RE0 and the classic trilogy remakes), even if it felt really weird getting used its controls. Still, I prevailed, and I finally conquered what people say is one of the best Resident Evil games. Still, with all these remakes out now, and the world of horror changing back to the classic genuine horror after years of action horror, does Resident Evil 4 still belong as an important landmark of spooky scary video games? 


After the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, Raccoon City has been wiped out, and Umbrella no longer has the funds to stay active. A few years later, Leon S. Kennedy, a former R.P.D. cop and current agent of the U.S., is tasked to retrieve the U.S. president's daughter, Ashley Graham. Rumors are that she was last spotted in a rural village in Spain, so he and a few local cops check it out. However, the insane townspeople try to kill Leon to stop his rescue. Leon takes them down one by one, and comes across Luis Sera, a former researcher of the Los Illuminados and the Las Plagas. Las Plagas is a parasite that differs from the viruses before it, as the villagers are able to have somewhat reasonable minds and teamwork, and everyone is controlled by a dominant host. Leon is eventually captured by its chief and infected with it. After breaking free from a sticky situation, Luis panics and leaves, and Leon enters a church and finally finds Ashley. However, a priest by the name of Osmund Saddler tells Leon and Ashley that they both have been infected with Las Plagas and that his plan is to make sure Ashley directly gives the same parasite to the U.S. president. So, it's a race against time not only to stop the Los Illuminados and its leaders Saddler and Salazar, the latter who is an infected Spaniard nobleman, but to find a cure Leon and Ashley before the Las Plagas takes complete control over them. Along the way, Leon also comes across a certain mysterious lady from his past who wants the Los Plagas for other reasons, and finds other interesting developments. Even though there are some plot threads tying this game to the games before it, the in-game story stands on its own with its unique creatures, villains, and setting. The game also takes an episodic approach compared to the mostly straightforward plots of the classic trilogy. Now, even though there's a clear horror element, there's more Hollywood action cheese compared to the games before it, and Leon has comebacks and jokes for everything. Leon himself is a lot snarkier than his last appearance, because like Jill Valentine before him, he has seen some crazy stuff before in his life. And, there are certain moments, like Leon running away from a moving boulder, that make this game tense and strangely fun. Even though the classic horror is replaced, that doesn't take away the corny enjoyment I appreciated from this game. 


Although the remakes have changed their original games for the better, Resident Evil 4 still looks fine to this day. The various locations stand out from the last few games because of a mostly bleaker design, besides maybe the lab at the end. Heck, all of the characters move smoothly, and the villagers act faster than most enemies of the classic trilogy. Though, it's mostly 90% villagers that Leon has to face, and not much in terms of other creatures, like the hunters. Still, a few creatures by the late game did genuinely annoy me. The voice acting and delivery is some of the best of the series, even though the script has the smell of cheese. The cutscenes are really amazing, even though the Quick Time Events are a bit intrusive. As for the music, it's fine and atmospheric.  


Resident Evil 4 changed the landscape of video games in a few ways. First, instead of the static cameras of old, players can now control the camera in whatever direction. Still, Leon gets around by a modified version of the tank controls, which work a lot better in this game because of the much more intuitive camera. The biggest change is the aiming, which takes an over-the-shoulder approach. While Resident Evil 4 might not have introduced it, this new aiming helped third-person shooters and third-person shooting in general for years to come. Next are the Quick Time Events, which are a gameplay element most gamers have critiqued since its inception. Basically, it's the pressing or holding of a button or a combination of buttons to determine an outcome of an action or event within seconds. The QTEs are reaction-based and could upset players who don't know the game has those. In fights, chases, and battles, they possibly come out of nowhere, which leads to either lost life or death. Besides that, Resident Evil 4 has a lot more enemies compared to the classic trilogy and a lot more weapons and ammo. Although the weapons Leon acquire are ridiculous at times, the villagers can attack with and throw weapons, operate machinery, protect themselves with shields, masks, and armor, climb ladders, and run. There will be a lot of times when enemies move in a large group. And, if one thinks a classic headshot might do a trick, the villagers seem more resilient than before, and some grow the Las Plagas parasite heads out of their bodies. The new heads have a ridiculous range and can even make a swift combo attack. But, even though the game might seem cheap at times, the enemies now reward players with random ammo, herbs, and money. What can Leon do with the money? Buy weapons and other things from a strange merchant of course! This merchant appears in different locations to give Leon the means he needs to beat those enemies. But, some weapons aren't cheap, and it's strange that the merchant sell a supply of any ammo. Leon also has a kick and a suplex to take care of the enemies in close combat. Last, the loading and reloading times are much faster, the knife is a lot more useful, the puzzlers are a lot simpler, this is the first game to allow players to save without the use of those pesky ink ribbons, and the inventory system takes on a puzzle-like element.   


... I forgot Ashley! Sometimes, Leon has to... escort her. She's not a truly horrible A.I. is some people make her out to be, but she does nothing but cower in fear, yell "LEON! HELP!" when she gets captured, and can lose life if she's hit. It's a game over when she dies or her captor exits the door with her. Still, Leon can order her to hide and stay behind while he takes care of the enemies, and she's useful in helping Leon with some puzzles and some situations.  


The bosses in this game are a blast to defeat compared to the older games, even though none compare to the thrill of Mr. X and Nemesis. Though, this game has a strange means of difficulty, where it's determined how good the player gets as they play. Sometimes, it feels like the game is unnecessarily unfair at times with its waves of enemies and random rewards. But, it makes defeating the enemies so much more victorious. After the game has ended, there's more modes and other stuff to obtain. As my true objective was to beat the main story only, maybe I'll play those at another time. Resident Evil 4's take on action-oriented horror makes the game really fun and replayable. Although the genre of horror went in a bit of rough phase until years later, Resident Evil 4 is a gem of the horror genre. It might distance itself from the classic survival horror trilogy, but Resident Evil 4 has a lot of charm to it. And, it's better than the confusing and grittier messes that came after it. It was influential, for better and for worse, and was insanely enjoyable to play. It might be just Number 100 here, but it might be for different people, and there’s nothing wrong with that!   


(An update: I beat the Separate Ways mission or whatever, and unlocked the Chicago Typewriter and two other special costumes. But, wow, the quality of those cutscenes feels strange. And, looking at some costumes, neck clothing such as scarves seemed to phase through bodies, which distracted me a little bit. But, it was fun seeing Leon in a fancy dress. Plus, the knight armor Ashley gets makes her unhittable and untouchable. In my second playthrough, I got the infinite ammo rocket launcher, but found it ineffective in close quarters, so the Chicago Typewriter it was. The Chicago Typewriter is amazing, even though it and the infinite ammo rocket launcher cost a million in game currency, or about another whole game’s playthrough. Every creature will eventually fall down before the might of the Chicago Typewriter! I still haven’t touched Mercenaries Mode, but maybe that’s not worth my time, as I’m not a genuine speedrunner.)      

 


54. Resident Evil 3 Remake for PS4 
 
 

Spoiler

 

This upcoming review might get me a lot of eye-rolls, but I don’t care.
  
After waiting after nearly a year since the Resident Evil 2 Remake, I was really hyped for the remake for what I thought was perhaps the hardest game in the series: Resident Evil 3. I really loved RE2M, that I was genuinely curious if Jill's story would get justice, since that game is not really seen highly as much as the first two games. Now, here's the thing. I planned on playing it originally when the game came out. Problem was... real life kind of imitated art. The game had the unfortunate timing to come out when a pandemic was hitting strongly in the world. So, to save it for a better time, I waited till October, when I thought it would be better. (Though, THAT'S not gone by the time of this review.) The time to be scared. Now, before I played it, I great question came to my mind: How would Nemesis, the main villain in this game that I think outshines Mr. X because of his relentlessness and much iconic catchphrase, make a comeback after nearly 20 years of being in video games, besides crossovers?! 


Jill Valentine, a S.TA.R.S. member who was sent on a mission to the Arklay Mountains and a nearby mansion, is waiting for her time at Raccoon City to be over with. Or just a vacation. Her crew didn't have much evidence or whatever to put down the Umbrella Corporation, the ones responsible for the T-Virus, and it seems like the local government and Umbrella are in cahoots. Or at least, that's what I know from the other games. After a frightful nightmare, Jill wakes up and gets a call from Brad, the trained S.T.A.R.S. pilot, that something is after her. Nemesis pursues her until she comes across Carlos, a mercenary hired by Umbrella. They rest at a subway station full of survivors. Although Jill has nothing to do with Carlos and the rest of his team, she will help the rest of the survivors look for an escape. In order to escape the city, Jill needs to turn on the power of the subway cars by searching the city. A lot of familiar beats happen in this game, but a few places have been added and cut. And, because there's no choice system or whatever, outcomes in the game don't matter as much as the original game. It took me nearly six hours to beat the story mode this time, because even the puzzles were simpler this time around. The strange thing was that I didn't care about those changes. The premise still worked, and nothing stopped me from getting Jill outside Raccoon City. Though, instead of Jill going to the Raccoon Police Department, it's Carlos, and that takes place after the subway cars finally move.  

  

Resident Evil 3's story begins before the adventures of 2, and ends after the events of 2, so it's more like another story of events in Raccoon City, but with the lock-pick loving Jill. (And she has the lock-pick, don't worry!) I've always liked Jill the most out of the protagonists because she's serious when she needs to be, but can have a funny and sarcastic side when it matters. Plus, her transformation from the first to the third game is really intriguing. After the events of the first game, of course she would be a little bit more pessimistic and realistic, but it's not like she gave up hope. I'm not sure if it's PTSD, but her first scene in the remake is a dream where she becomes a zombie and picks up a gun to kill herself before likely infecting others. She has to deal with fear the most out of all of the protagonists because she experienced it before, and has to again weeks after the events of the first game. And now because the whole city is in chaos and there's a huge monster after her, there's a big question if she can make it this time. The Arklay Mountains Incident was just a small warm-up compared to what happened next.   


Like Resident Evil 2 Remake before it, the game is beautiful, even though this time I found a lot more visual glitches. Plus, some of the models just look weird. If I can think of anything new, it's the electrical tower. underground sewer, underground maze or whatever, and underground laboratory. The park and clock tower from the old game are gone, which used to work with expanding the world of Raccoon City. But, even though they might be iconic set-pieces, does the remake really need more hunters? And getting rid of them doesn't really change Nemesis, Nicolai, or Carlos, and the new places give Raccoon City more of an industrial feel and something separate from the nearby mountains. Plus, dang, Carlos and his team, Jill, and Nemesis look really fine in this game. It helps that their voices fit their characters, and they made Carlos sound sexier than just a dork. But, to dock off my positives again, Jill says her iconic line way too early. At least the translators knew that they could never take that away from the original game. As for the soundtrack, it's alright, even if it's atmospheric.  


Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was the starting point of when the series became a lot more action-oriented, so what has the remake changed? ... Less puzzles. More stuff to shoot with. A better dodge mechanic.  The over-the-shoulder aiming. The live selection thing is mostly gone. There's more Quick-Time Events. Carlos is a playable character, and takes Jill's auto-firing gun or whatever and her visit to the police department. The tank controls have left. All of the modes don't use the ink ribbons. The combination of ammo is back, with new grenades to boot. It's a good thing that the item needed to combine ammo in the original doesn't appear in this game. They for the most part copied what worked with Resident Evil 2 Remake and put it here. Well, this game doesn’t have sub-weapons and limb targeting, but Jill’s Perfect Dodge is a fine replacement.  


But, what about Nemesis? He doesn't stalk Jill as much as the original game. I'm kind of fine with that, since Mr. X basically stole his groove when he reappeared in the remake he was in. Maybe the people at Capcom had to in order to make Nemesis an individual, or didn't realize there were fans who also wanted a Resident Evil 3 Remake and were put into an odd position. Plus, personally, I hated that Nemesis seemed faster than Jill in the original. At least Mr. X in the 2 Remake was a lot slower, so maneuvering around him was a bit easier to pull off. Still, Nemesis now transforms zombies into these weird eye abominations, gets a flamethrower, and has brand new transformations. His roar even momentarily stuns Jill, and he also jumps like he has rocket boots! How did Nemesis get so athletic for a thing his size?! Getting away from him is a lot more fun and suspenseful, since those pesky tank controls are gone, and the dodge mechanic works a lot better. That doesn't mean Nemesis is a pushover this time, however. Normal bullets can't hurt him much in the remake, and it still takes as much effort to defeat him as the original. I say "defeat", because like Mr. X, he keeps on coming back. And I like Nemesis more than Mr. X because of his constant battles with Jill and his methods of trying to kill her. That, and "S.T.A.R.S.!" will always be more memorable than boots thumping on the ground and a big guy wearing a trench coat. Plus, whereas Mr. X was probably just an updated Tyrant, Nemesis evolves to get stronger and even learns how make himself better to outsmart Jill. And, the encounters, action sequences, and battles with Nemesis are more impressive than anytime Claire and Leon deal with Mr. X. I think he's also the best villain of the series because he's the complete opposite of Jill. Cold. Cruel. Driven to kill. Relentless. Logical. Stronger. Their character dynamic is perhaps unmatched in the series as a villain-hero duo, but I haven't played VII to give that one a true verdict. Or the rest of 4.  


I defeated the game in about six hours, compared to probably a day's worth for the original, but that's because I began to master the controls to my benefit. There are more zombies in most places compared to 2, more enemy variety compared to 2, and 3 is possibly harder than 2. 2's strength relied on good old puzzle-solving more than action, whereas it's the reverse for 3. And, it was really nerve-racking when I saw the grand return of the hunters. Those jerks were a pain in my playthrough of the Resident Evil Remake, so battling and running away from them in this remake felt like a true triumph. Plus, this game has an interesting shop mode, where Jill can acquire more stuff to make the next playthrough a lot smoother.   


That just begs the question of why play 3's Remake, when everyone really wanted 2's Remake more since the remake of the first game. The original 3 was known for being a rushed side-project that became 3 when the other ideas for it weren't working well. There were two stories and a lot more to do in 2 and its remake, so why bother with 3's remake? I think if a person likes action over puzzles, speedrunning, and wants to see what the fuss about Nemesis is about, then they should try this game. But, playing the first remake should be a priority, because Jill was in that game too, and it would be a little bit confusing if no one understood the details of what happened before 3 began. It's like playing Bowser's Inside Story before playing Superstar Saga. Of course, references to past games would fly over people's heads.      
 

(As of now, I defeated Resident Evil 3 four times, with Hardcore S ranking being my biggest achievement in all of the Resident Evil games. Thank you, shop system and DLC!)   

 


53. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Blue and Red Rescue Team for GBA and DS!!  

 

Spoiler

 

Wanted to be a Pokémon? You can! In the first iterations of the spinoffs, you could play as one of twelve Pokémon, and you choose your partner! Though, there was a personality test behind it. You wake up as a Pokémon, and want to know how it happened, while also trying to find secrets about the world you explore and why you were brought into this world. It gets really big by the ending, so I won’t say anything more.  

 

 The amount of detail is amazing, and every Pokémon has a quirky and interesting personality (you can understand them because you are a Pokémon). The music fits the mood and locations well. Because the games have a roguelike element to it, the combat has changed a bit. Some moves are element neutral, and some moves have more space than others (like Bubblebeam and Earthquake). Apples fill your hunger meter (one of the most frustrating parts, as 0 means you lose 1 HP while you move one space until you eat something). There are a lot of quests too, and you can befriend a lot of Pokémon… up to generation 3. 
 
 I loved it as a kid, and even though Gates of Infinity is where I stopped for a while because X and Y were coming out, I tried to remain faithful to the series.  
 
(I might get the DX remake… at a lower price.) 

 


52. The Messenger for Nintendo Switch  
 

Spoiler

 

I tried The Messenger out because of a certain YouTuber who played it and highly recommended it. As a spiritual successor to Ninja Gaiden, I was a little bit... worried, or so, that this game would be very difficult. Well... it is. But, unlike Ninja Gaiden, I found the game to be challenging but fair... except for some moments where I swore heavily when things didn't go my way. But, taking some breaks actually helped me progress and march through this seemingly difficult game. I shouted to the heavens when I finally... beat The Messenger.    

The Messenger takes place on an island which is mostly populated by monsters. A small and secluded group of villagers are training to become better ninjas. They eagerly wait for the return of The Hero of the West, who will give one of them an important scroll and the title of The Messenger. The Messenger then has to make his way to the top of the island for the hope of mankind to continue. Even though the demons find the secluded village earlier than anticipated, The Hero of the West arrives in the nick of time to repel the demons and give the avatar the scroll. That's all I'm going to cover, because the story becomes a lot more interesting later on. Despite the apocalyptic vibe that the game presents in the beginning, this game also has some of the strangest but comedic moments I've ever seen. It's kind of like Undertale in its humor.    


But, the story is not the only thing I loved about the game. The retro vibe of the graphics is perfect for the amount of characters and locations that this game has, and the music is rich with pumping old school beats. No seriously, I think the soundtrack is the best part of the game, hands down.  


 And, now for the gameplay. At first, all The Messenger can do is swing their sword and jump. But, when timed correctly after hitting something, the Messenger can "Cloud Step", which is another jump in midair. The Cloud Step is crucial to the game, as it saves the player from countless moments of death. Now, I say "at first", because the upgrades and weapons The Messenger gets are also integral. I won't spoil them, because they too are plot related. Now, I'd be lying if I said the game was easy. There are some really difficult moments and boss fights that will take time to master.    


Dying and repeating motions after motions will be common in this game. The game has infinite lives, so I'm glad the game is generous there. Like I said, conquering said moments and bosses is satisfying. Except for some moments where I thought I did one thing, and the game did another, I really love most of this game.   
 

(Strider’s okay. Nothing more to add there.)   

 


51. Star Fox 64 3D for 3DS 
 

Spoiler

I played Star Fox Zero when it came out. I loved everything, but it was the controls that were the biggest issue, because looking at the gamepad and the TV hurt it my overall happiness with it. It did not detract from my overall appreciation for what this game tried to accomplish. It's rough around some edges, but it was the new Star Fox game in about ten years. It's been about five years later, and sadly, no new news on a new Star Fox game, though the Switch could work for a definitive edition of Zero. Since I've been trying to get into franchises that I have unfamiliar territory with and have been buying some highlights of each of them, I thought to finally check off one of the best Nintendo 64 games, Star Fox 64. I got the 3D version because I heard it's a lot more beautiful and sounds a lot nicer. 
 
Star Fox 64 begins with the tale of the evil scientist Andross, who was banished from Corneria for being evil. Andross plans on taking over the Lylat System, but the mercenary group Star Fox, comprised of Pigma, Peppy and their leader James, try to stop him. However, things go horribly wrong when Pigma betrays his crew, and both Peppy and James are captured by Andross' forces. Peppy escapes thanks to James, but James is presumed MIA. A few years later, Andross attacks the Lylat System once more. This time, Star Fox, comprised of Falco, Peppy, Slippy, and their leader and James' son Fox, defend their world from Andross. I love this story, not only because it's a story about legacy, but the story is simple to follow, even if it's another war game. The player knows who is good and bad from the very start and the stakes involved. 
 
Star Fox 64 3D is beautiful. It has some of the best locations, with my personal favorite being Zoness, even if it has a really horrible gimmick. The game also has some of the best music as well, with the main theme and Star Wolf's theme being really amazing. The original game came bundled with the Rumble Pack, which paved the way for rumble in all controllers ever since. The cast is hammy, funny, and expressive. A good amount of the stuff they say are memorable, and the voice acting is legendary. 
 
Star Fox 64 has some really great controls, compared to Zero. Thankfully, there's a training mode, so I could get ready to fire at stuff, move around, and do a barrel role. The 3D game has gyroscoping, but I never used it. There's also rail shooter and all range sections, where the former is on a set path, and the latter is moving around in an arena to shoot enemies. Make sure not to accidentally hit the companions. Go for the ships after them, because the companions make things easier in some instances. Still, Slippy is one of the most frustrating characters to save because he’s next to useless. Thank gosh they have different colored pointers to distinguish which ship is whose. Last is the route system, where a player can get certain routes to different planets based on how they finished a previous one. In fact, Star Fox is original there too because in order to get to the other planets, a player must retry former missions and/or do specific things in each mission to get to the next. I beat the game twice, because there's a bad and good ending. Fox can drive a submarine ship and a land machine, and they’re not that bad to control. 
 
The bosses aren't too bad, and the Star Wolf team is iconic. This game can be beating in 1-2 hours, depending on trying to get the best stages and trying to see the other zones. It's a solid game, and I think it's better than Zero. But, I might be called crazy if I say I liked other games more than this one. I still love this game, okay?   
 
(I deem this the best shooter of all time! Boink!) 


 
50. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 for DS! 
 

Spoiler

Sonic The Hedgehog had a good premise, but the three-act structure, level design and obstacle placement contradicted Sonic’s fast and frantic style. Sure, the scenery and music were amazing, and the bosses were fun to beat, but getting to the end is a nightmare. Marble Zone is poorly executed, Spring Yard Zone is alright, Labyrinth Zone is just horrible, Star Light Zone is the second amazing part of the game after Green Hill Zone, and Scrap Brain Zone is just cheap. I beat the last boss fairly easily, because of another game which had a similar boss fight. And, the ending was just okay. So, going into the sequel might have been hard, right?! … Actually, no!  
 
In Sonic 2, Dr. Eggman plans to rule the world by means of turning woodland critters into robots and using the seven chaos emeralds and the recently built Death Egg. Sonic and his new two tailed fox friend Miles “Tails” Prower go from level to level to bring an end to Dr. Eggman’s plans! The player has the option of playing as Sonic (the same as before), Tails (who can fly for a certain amount of time), or both! … Or, if anyone have the Sonic & Knuckles game, they can lock on both games, so Knuckles is playable. Which is what I did, because Knuckles is awesome. He has a glide ability, that makes short work of most of the levels. Until Metropolis Zone comes around, Knuckles pretty much dominates most of the game by himself. 
 
Unlike the first game, the obstacles and level design complement each character a bit more. Sure, it’s harder at the end, but that’s to be expected. The only cheap time is at Metropolis Zone. If you couldn’t tell, I love this game a lot more than Sonic The Hedgehog. While the first game made Sonic a legend, it’s no secret Sonic 2 is a lot better. For most of the ride, I had fun. And, sorry, Sonic CD isn’t here as well, but the music is really good.      


 
49. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past for 3DS. 
 

Spoiler

 

Years before I defeated this game, I played and defeated A Link Between Worlds, a sequel to the critically acclaimed A Link To The Past. I loved the heck out of the former for how it was different from the current linear 3D Zeldas and because it was bringing Zelda to its roots. But... I never played and finished the latter. There are a few Zelda games I haven't finished, but owned: Wind Waker, Skyward Sword, and A Link To The Past. A Link To The Past is regarded to one of the best SNES games and one of the best, if not THE best Zelda game. People have argued and debated that either A Link To The Past or Ocarina of Time is the best one. While I do love the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time, I do agree that the games following the original in the series tried to copy and paste a good amount of what Ocarina of Time did well. Still, it's currently higher over A Link Between Worlds on my favorite games last. However, now that I finally beat A Link To The Past, what I do think of it, and how might it change my opinion on A Link Between Worlds?  
 
The game gives a little introduction to The Golden Land and The Golden Power, before it throws the player into the first scene. In a stormy night at Link's house, Zelda telepathically tells him in his sleep that the castle has been taken over by Agahnim, an evil sorcerer, and that she is being locked up in the dungeon. Link's uncle gets ready to head towards the castle, and warns Link not to go outside. Link disobeys him and goes to the castle with a lamp. Although the castle guards tell Link to leave, Link finds a secret entrance to the sewers. Link finds his uncle in a dire condition, and with his last words, the uncle gives Link his sword and shield. Link roams around the castle while battling the guards, who are most likely brainwashed by Agahnim. He finds Zelda, and they both leave through a secret area. Once they arrive in the sanctuary, an old man promises to keep Zelda safe and tells Link to find an old sage named Sarasaland. The old sage says the Master Sword is the only weapon that can hurt Agahnim, but in order to pull it from its pedestal, Link will have to retrieve three pendants. There's more to the story, like Agahnim's motivations and The Golden Power, but I'll keep it brief, because the game is very good with its storytelling and lore. It's really simple.   

 

This game has some of the best visuals ever, like the different locations and variety of townsfolk and creatures. The world map has the famous Mode-7 thing going for it, and although it looks weird up close, thank gosh there's a zoom option. Still, the game tends to slow down a few times when there's too much going on (perhaps it's the 3DS' fault), and Link's hair... is pink. Sure, it makes him stand out compared to the other Links, but... why? Why not blue or green? How did he get it that way? Is there pink lotion in Hyrule that can do that? Maybe I'll never understand why or how. The music is tremendous. A great variety of the Zelda music originated in this game, like Zelda's theme, the Dark World's theme, and Kakariko Village. It's so good, that Ocarina took some of it and made it a little better. But, that's not to say the soundtrack is horrible. Because, it isn't. I think this game, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask have the best soundtracks of the series.      

 

Well, how does Link fare in combat and puzzle-solving? Link has a lantern at first, which drains the magic meter. Unlike A Link Between World's magic meter, it does not replenish on its own. There are other tools that need to use the magic meter, so plan wisely. He then obtains the sword and shield. Link can stab his sword in a forward motion repeatedly, and can hold his blade long enough in order to do a spin attack. Link can block projectiles with his shield, but he has to not use anything else and his shield can only block a few things at first. He'll later obtain bombs and a bow with arrows, which both have limited ammo which can be bought in shops, found underneath pots and bushes, and dropped by enemies. There are other items that are used for combat and/or exploration, and most of them can be accessed within dungeons around the world. Unlike the method used in A Link Between Worlds, some items are stored in big chests that need the Big Key. The Big Key also opens other doors other keys can't within a dungeon, and some of the items don't need to be used to beat a boss or can be used for any other boss.    

 

So, with how much arsenal Link gets, the game is easy as Ocarina of Time, right? Well, no. First off, some enemies tank a lot of hits, even the bosses. And they too hit hard... and some of them are obnoxiously annoying, like the knights who constantly pursue Link and the Zora who pop in and out of the water and spit fire. The dungeons themselves have some rooms that have the most obnoxious trap and enemy layouts and enemy variety. Imagine a room with spikes, conveyer belts, and enemies that electrocute Link even with a touch of his sword. One might say that's not too difficult to manage, but there are rooms I think have too much going on for one to process what to do and avoid. Compared to the other Zelda games I've played, it's possibly the hardest or second-hardest with Breath of The Wild somewhere there. But, it's not like all of the rooms are like that, and I think each dungeon has a good balance of fair and hard rooms. Except for ONE of them, but I will be nICE about it and won't give it away which one I'm referring to. It's really refreshing getting items that are useful for progressing and more heart containers, it's nice when a lot of secrets are discovered using the items, and it's cool seeing Link hold such things up in the air. Link has abysmal health at the beginning of the game, and even though he gets healthier, there will be times he will need faeries and the player will get game over screens. Link thankfully starts at the entrance of each dungeon, cave, and the like if he died inside. If he doesn't... he'll have to make a quick trip from a select few places. I kind of liked Link's Awakening approach more, since there will be a warp point after a midboss if defeated, and he starts at the nearest entrance when he dies outside. I think the invincibility frame doesn't last a good while in this game as well.  

 

I really enjoyed my time with A Link To The Past, even though there were some BS moments I think some people tend to forget. Once I beat the final boss, I celebrated my victory with an apple. Call me crazy, but I think I appreciate other Zelda games more than this one. … EVEN THE ONE THAT’S GETTING A BACKLASH IN RECENT TIMES.     

 


 
48. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for 3DS!! 
 

Spoiler

It might be overrated, but Ocarina of Time is one of the most important video games, and I’m glad it has a 3DS release. It tells the story of Link, a boy in the beginning who is tasked to save Hyrule from a man named Ganondorf. He is asked by Zelda to retrieve some stones in order to stop Ganondorf’s plan from entering the Sacred Realm. By the time he does, Zelda is being chased by Ganondorf, and she throws the Ocarina of Time into the nearest lakebed. With the Ocarina and stones with him, Link plays the Song of Time. He sees the Master Sword inside, but because he’s a child and not ready for the sword’s true power, he jumps seven years in the future. Ganondorf however enters the Sacred Realm while Link is unable to stop him. Seven years have gone by. Link has grown up, but Hyrule is ruled by Ganondorf. Hyrule is much bleaker. A man named Sheik asks Link to rescue the seven sages. Only then will they break the seal around Ganondorf’s Tower, so Link can fight Ganondorf and end his reign once and for all. For its time, Ocarina of Time had a simple but effective story that showed the future of narrative-based games, for better or for worse. 
 
Everyone has praised most of the locations and dungeons, the amount of detail, the music, and sound effects, so I’ll stop there. The Ocarina brought up an interesting mechanic: time travel, which a few other games does better than it. Combat is significant, as it introduced the Z-targeting lock on, even if it’s not perfect. Sure, the game itself has been criticized for being linear and being similar to A Link To The Past, but, to me, I think it’s just as fine. Still, now that I’ve played both, I will admit that it takes some of stuff from its predecessor, its Hyrule Field is boring to traverse for some time until Link gets Epona, its puzzles are basic, and it unintentionally paved the way for similar narrative titles in the series. But, 3D exploration and combat owes a little to the basics of this game. Just like how movement in 3D owes something to Super Mario 64.   


 
47. Persona 4 Golden for PC!   

 

Spoiler

 

I cannot understate how much I love Persona 5 and its Royal edition. It introduced me to an RPG series I never knew of, and wanted to get into. So, Persona 3 and 4 were good choices after that, I assumed. Still, there were a few roadblocks. Persona 3 has a few other editions that are not on par with the original game, and the base game itself does not have some features the next two entries do. I might plan on not completing P3, should some frustrations arise. Then, there's Persona 4 Golden. I heard that the game, even the base version at that, is really phenomenal and just as great as 5, but since I like a more complete package, I wanted to get Golden. However, for a long time, it was stuck to... the PS Vita or whatever. And I wasn't going to get a PSTV for just only one game. Then, out of nowhere, the Steam announcement. Golden was finally on another thing I could reasonably play it on. Still, jumping from a nearly perfect game as Persona 5 Royal to Persona 4 Golden meant I had to accommodate to a nearly different game. How was my experience in the rural Inaba going to be different than that of Tokyo, Japan?  

 

First, the story. The main guy this time around is Yu Narukami. He transferred to a town called Inaba because his parents are working abroad for a year, and will be staying with his detective uncle Dojima and his cousin Nanako, a grade schooler. At school, he meets his classmates Yosuke, the son of the manager of Junes (a big supermarket company like Walmart), Chie, an avid Kung-Fu lover, and Yukiko, the daughter of future heiress of a local inn and a close friend to Chie. Some stuff happens, like a reporter dying, and Chie tells Yu the legend of the Midnight Channel. With nothing better to do, Yu waits for the rain to settle in and for midnight to appear. An image shows, and Yu puts his hand in the TV.  The next day, Yu tells Chie and Yosuke about what happened. Chie and Yosuke jokingly tell Yu to do the trick again at Junes' electrical department. They of course are shocked when Yu manages to put his upper body in a bigger TV. Yosuke has to pee, and in their panic, Yosuke, Chie, push each other and Yu into the other side. In this other world, the trio come across an image of a disturbing room where the reporter was last seen, and... a talking teddy bear. Named Teddie. He wants to have peace and quiet, but someone has been in his world recently. So, he shoves the three out of the TV. The next day, an urgent school meeting happens. A female student passed away, and one Yosuke really loved. Yosuke thinks her death is related to the reporter's, as they were shown on TV and on the Midnight Channel before their deaths, so he plans to enter the TV World to figure out who's responsible. After cooling down from the situation, Teddie agrees to join Yu and Yosuke in order to stop the one who's been throwing people into his world, though he's more of a navigator than a fighter. Teddie takes them to the deceased female student's father's liquor store, where it is revealed that the girl only hanged out with Yosuke because he was the manager's son, despite her father's objections. Then... the literal Shadow of Yosuke appears and flat out says that Inaba sucks, and says he only gets attention because he's the manager's son. Yosuke, afraid of facing the truth, denies it, and the Shadow becomes stronger because of Yosuke's denial. Yu fights the Shadow with his Persona, an oppressed self which takes form when the person truly accepts themselves and the manifestation of one's true heart. In order for the Shadow to go away, Yosuke has to confront the negative aspects of himself. He admits that things sucked since he moved, but his love for the dead girl was real. His Shadow then becomes his Persona. The two teenagers return to the real world, and Chie has a real meltdown, because the original plan to bring them back to the real world via a rope did not work as planned. Yosuke and Yu apologize and treat her to steak. Did I forget to mention Chie loves meat? A few days later, Yukiko appears on the TV, and a sexy princess version of herself appears on the Midnight Channel. Chie joins Yu and Yosuke to save her best friend, and make their way to a castle. The story gets a bit more complicated, but it is comprehensible to follow.   

 

Now, this is where I'll compare 4 to 5. 4 has a slow start to get to its combat, whereas 5 is instant. Inaba has a lot less places to go to compared to Tokyo, but to its benefit has less places to get lost, and doesn't need a fee to get to other places. And, it's stylishly prettier and more breathtaking than Tokyo. There might be arguments if less or more things to do in each makes the other game better. I like the many options in 5, but 4 has plenty to do as well. 4 also has sports and clubs, something not even 5's school has. I think I like 5's premise a little bit more, only because Ren is mistaken as a delinquent, whereas Yu is Mr. Popular City School Kid day one. Ren has to earn the respect of other people in an entirely different way. Everyone has made the joke of Yu being the ultimate bro without even trying. Ren has to work for it. Though, the who-dunnit murder mystery is a lot more consistent than the next series of events the Phantom Thieves have to go through. Speaking of the main cast... Ms. Kawamaki is miles better than King Moron. Alright, I'll give my thoughts on the Investigation Team later. And, I wanted to actually study when the teachers didn't have hideous faces. 
 

Okay, now that I've had the time to think it over, the opening to Persona 5 is still the best I've seen hands down. I'm sorry, but the animation in Persona 5's opening is much more stylish, and the opening song is better from how they begin. Shadow World starts strong too early, while Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There builds and builds. And, I love how different the latter is used, only because one doesn't hear much symphonic jazz in video games compared to pop and rock. And, the whole thing about the style of Persona 4 Golden's opening could be said for the rest of the game. Inaba might be prettier to look at, but Persona 5 is better in style and animation. The characters in 5 emote a lot more than those in 4. Sorry, but the portraits are at least 1/3rd of that means of expression. There's also a lot more fluid movement in 5 as well. And, I might get a lot of hate from P4 fans, but I also think P5's soundtrack is better too. There are some amazing songs in 4, but I'm not really in love with 4's singers compared to 5's singer. I would like to bring attention to Your Affection, which has some of the weirdest notes. At least 5's singer feels more comfortable in her vocal range. Also, like I said, symphonic jazz is unique compared to pop and rock, even if Persona 5 does have some rock songs. Though, I'll Face Myself is a better boss battle song than Blooming Villain. Last, the cutscenes in Persona 5 are better to look at, even if Persona 4 has the better anime series. As for the dungeon themes, I like Kamoshida's castle more, the art museum more, the bank more, the game more, the space station more, and the casino more. But, I chose heaven over the ark.    

 

Instead of listing everything in Persona 4 Golden when it comes to how it plays, I'll mention what this game has that 5 doesn't and vice-versa. First, it's darkness instead of curse. Second, no guns, and no nuclear and psychic attacks. Three, there's no means of negotiating. Fourth, the biggest hurdle was player advantage. Since I couldn't hide and ambush like a Phantom Thief, getting the player advantage in this game was trickier. Speaking of trickier, the enemies. I swear, even on the easy difficult, the enemies dodge a lot more than Persona 5, LOOKING AT YOU GLOVE FREAKS THAT ARE WORSE THAN THE TREASURE SHADOWS! Fifth, because there's no negotiating, there's Shuffle Time... Which is only good for restoring HP/SP, getting Personas, and more EXP and money. Sixth, there's no showcases, although something similar happens with a few pairings. Seventh, a few other status effects, like energization, which makes characters forget their actions, are present. Eighth, there are a few activities, like catching bugs, that Persona 4 has over 5, and vice-versa. Ninth, it's a lot easier to track and find the Confidants in 5 compared to the Social Links in 4. Tenth, 4's deadline system is a bit more confusing than 5's, since Yu has to constantly watch the news for when fog comes after rain, and in Persona 5, the game conveniently puts the numbers of days left on the right side of the screen. Eleventh, 4's information gathering is also a bit excessive at times. Twelfth, there are a few more seasonal events in 4, like going on a campout and visiting Port Island from Persona 3. Thirteenth, Persona 4's bosses don't have exploits like Persona 5's, so the bosses in Persona 4 are a bit harder. Fourteenth, the Social Stats are different by name, but some are similar in concept. Fifteenth, because of the RNG of the dungeon-making, I like Persona 5's Palaces simple designs than the unknown floors of Persona 4. Also, there's a lot more to interact with in Persona 5's dungeons, and each part of the dungeons have their own rooms with their own floors. I love the organization and simplicity of the Palaces a lot more, and there's more puzzle variation in them. Last, even if Mementos might have been bland, at least there was a reason to do more in it. There's no real reason to go back to the places in Persona 4, but maybe just grind THOSE GLOVE SHADOWS... Oh, and Sojiro and Morgana don't make you stay inside at night as much as Dojima. (If there's anything I missed, please tell me. I know there's some stuff I might have overlooked.)   

 

Now, my opinions on the cast from the order of when they appear in their stories, and some confidants. I still like Ren more. As for Ryuji and Yosuke, I enjoy Ryuji a lot more. Ryuji might not get to say fiddlesticks, but at least he's not a total pervert like Yosuke. Plus, I like his struggles of regretting what he did to the track team more than Yosuke's pity party. As for Chie and Ann... the less I hear about TRIAL OF THE DRAGON and steak, the more I can appreciate Chie. I like Ann more. Then, there's Yukiko and Yusuke. Yukiko wins hands down, only because Yusuke is a bit of a pervert himself, even if his art is admirable. Yukiko's Social Link is a lot deeper than I gave her credit for. Then it's Kanji vs. Makoto. Makoto, hands down. As much as I like Kanji's conflict of what it means to be a man, Makoto is tied to 5's story through her sister. Next are Rise and Futaba. Even though I like Rise, Futaba's skills as a hacker gives her more credibility as a navigator than a pop star. Plus, Futaba is also tied to 5's story and is a complete social awkward dork. Last are Naoto and Haru. Since Haru contributes little to no help during 5's story, Naoto wins by at least having a bit more screen time to develop their character. ... Oh, there's Teddie and Morgana. Morgana. Morgana has a cooler voice, doesn't make as much terrible jokes as Teddie does, and doesn't swoon over all the girls in his story, besides Ann. So I like 5's main cast a bit more, but there's still the supporting characters. Besides drama chick, Nanako, and Dojima, none were as good as those in Persona 5's. That's because 5's Confidants had skills that were beneficial to the Phantom Thieves. Still, Nanako, Dojima, and Yu are the better family. And, Nanako's perhaps the best Social Link. Still, I like Caroline and Justine a lot more than Elizabeth. Even if they're weird, at least they contribute to the story. 

 

There's also the matter of the endings, surprises, and bonus content. 5 has the better ending, only because it doesn't hide the true last boss behind Social Links. (I don't plan on doing that, because the anime exists.) Looking at you, Izanami. I can also say that Akechi and Shido make better villains than Adachi. (Laugh about the pancakes, but I got cabbages on the line.) Yaldabaoth is a better final boss battle than that eyeball thing. 5's ending dungeon is a lot more creative than 4's murky and confusing dungeon. Heck, even the music is better. 5 Royal has a better extended epilogue compared to 4 Golden's because of the dungeon design and whose dungeon they're about. Kasumi is a better added character than Marie. Also, Persona 5 Royal has DLC and other new challenges to boot.   

 

I loved my time with Persona 4 Golden, even if I think Persona 5 is the better game. Persona 4 Golden might have kept Teddie spinning, but Persona 5 and 5R are the closest to perfection in the modern Persona series. That's not to dismiss Persona 4 Golden for what it accomplished. Without its success, who knows where Persona 5 might be. It's one of my favorite games, for sure. 
 

(I deem this the best game of 2012! Boink!)  

 


46. Crash 4: It's About Time! for PS4   
 

Spoiler

 

The N. Sane Trilogy is one of the best remade collections of a classic trilogy: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: WARPED! So, when Crash 4 was announced, I was a little bit cautious. I accidentally forgot its release, and bought it the next day. Would my problems be unfounded in this new adventure made by Toys For Bob, who also made the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, or did they surface once more to ruin this game?  


Crash 4 takes... some time after the events of WARPED! It's never stated when, since Dr. Neo Cortex and N. Tropy are stuck in another space and time thanks to what happened in the last game. Uka Uka uses all of his power to create an inter-dimensional rift, and possibly dies after after making one. The two doctors leave him behind, and proceed to take over all of the dimensions. Aku Aku notices the disturbance, and tells Crash to find what the problem is and go to N. Sanity Peak. When Crash arrives there, he meets a ble mask, but a big spirit chases them before they have time to chat. When the two meet up with Aku Aku and Coco, Aku Aku sees that the blue mask is Lali-Loli, one of the Quantum Masks. Lali-Loli tasks Coco and Crash to help find the other three Quantum Masks, close the inter-dimensional portals that have been opening up, and stop the plans of Cortex and N. Tropy. But, knowing Crash and Coco will try to stop them, Cortex sends N. Gin and N. Brio to impede the bandicoot's progress. Along the way, a Tawna from another dimension comes along to help the duo, and Dingodile (possibly an alternate version too) gets forced into the story because of the rifts and just wants to return to his diner. They are playable characters with their own missions, but instead of being fully-fleshed levels, their levels provide explanations on how certain events happened, and continue with Crash or Coco from where said event happened. Since I didn't care about getting the collectibles, I ended their levels when the events happened. I didn't need to play a familiar level again, and these Dingodile and Tawna scenarios are just shorter than just the usual levels. The game could have longer scenario levels which ended when the events happened. Dr. Cortex is playable too, even though through most of his scenarios he's just trying to make things harder for Crash and Coco. Still, there are some interesting twists that happen, not only the usual double-turns. I love this story, and think it's Coco's and Crash's big adventure yet. It's too bad Uka Uka doesn't get a mention after the first scene, since Aku Aku seems like he had a connection to him in the third game. 

 

 

 

45. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled for PS4! 
 

Spoiler

 

In my childhood, the original CTR was one of the few games I owned on the classic PlayStation. I was never a Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing guy back then, so this was my first exposure to a racing game. ... And this is before I picked and played the three games he was in beforehand. I think I played Crash Bandicoot and thereafter gave up because of the controls back then. But, CTR was different because it was the first Crash game I ever defeated. When the N. Sane Trilogy came out, I was waiting the day when one of my favorite games would get the reimagining bug. Because even though I have little to no experience with Crash, I loved the memories I had trying to beat the objectives. And, two years after the N. Sane Trilogy came out, it finally happened. Crash Team Racing... Nitro-Fueled. Believe it or not, this remake actually incorporates many things from its sequel Crash Nitro Kart, which I think is a bit inferior to the first racing game. But, will the game go higher where I originally placed it, or burn down from its over reliance on turbo?  


One day, Crash, Coco, and Cortex are just racing, when suddenly AN ALIEN! His name is Nitros Oxide, and he wants to face the fastest racer on Earth. If he loses, he goes away; but if he wins, he'll turn Earth into a parking lot and will force everyone to be his slaves. The story's main premise is still the same, as the villains and heroes race each other to see who is the best among them. What actually surprised me and shocked me were the boss intros and defeats. Instead of standing in their karts and monologing of how they're the best, they actually show how menacing and/or crazy they can be, and spite the main racer when they lose. The map layouts are still the same, and the blinking lights indicate where the next track is. However, I wish there was one area that had a few more exits/entrances, and that there was a warp mechanic to get the other tracks from one's distance. The story might be simple, but there are no real problems with it, and I feel like it has aged well and it's maybe the best racer so far. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  


The tracks of course have been upgraded, and I have to say: it's definitely a lot colorful. Even tracks like Dragon Mines now have a dragon or two, Cortex Castle has flags with Nina on them, and Hot Air Skyway has other Potoroo-like people on these flying machines. The level of detail has been tremendously upgraded. Though, I think there's too much bloom at times, especially when one has to look for the CTR tokens. As for the soundtrack, I like some tweaks to the songs like Dragon Mines and Crash Cove. However, what was once a big baseline in Blizzard Bluff is sorely absent. And when I was looking for and playing reviews of the old CTR, I heard that CTR soundtrack was probably not really good. That really hit my heart hard, because I think most of the soundtrack is really catchy. Some of it is not really memorable, but they do fit the songs of each track. And the fact that I can recall the guitar wail of Crash Cove, the harmonica part of Dragon Mines, and the instrument that plays in Hot Air Skyway makes me appreciate this game a little bit more than other reviewers. Then again, CTR was a childhood game of mine, so maybe there's some bias here, and most other people only heard the sound effects in full force.  


 Now for the meat and potatoes of this game, Crash Team Racing handles its racing, items, and collectibles a bit differently from Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing. The weight of the cars are more grounded and less floaty than Mario Kart, and the implementation of power boosting relies a lot on the characters and the space to execute such. Drifting is a lot more accentuated in CTR, and jumps and bumps provide that intensity of speed. It was so good back in the day that I think that the Mario Karts took some pointers from it. But, I think the drifting at times can be odd at times, and I can never seem to jump off ledges perfectly here and there. The items in CTR are those similar to those in Mario Kart, but some work a little bit differently. When a driver knocks into a TNT crate, they'll have a few seconds to jump to remove the crate, and bowling bombs are like green Koopa Shells, but they explode after a less amount of time. And the red potion might have been the precursor of the lightning thing in Mario Kart Wii, but maybe that's my imagination. Wumpa Fruit act like the balloons from Diddy Kong Racing and collecting the colored brick in Lego Racers. The more the Wumpa Fruit a driver has, the more powerful an item becomes, like the TNT becoming Oxide or whatever. Last, are the collectibles. Each trophy will unlock other tracks, and eventually the boss doors. Defeating the bosses will nab the player a boss key, which will open more areas in adventure mode. Then, the player can hunt for crystals in arenas, race in tracks again while this time trying to get the letters that spell out "CTR", and last get the time trial relics by beating the minimum amount of time. Getting some of these collectibles is a breeze, while others are just cheap and unfair at times. It was mostly jumping over bumps and hills and wonky hit detection. Looking at you, third arena B.S. 


Like I said, I defeated CTR once before. But, I never actually completed it on my own terms. This time, I did everything in Adventure mode. Yes, I did say Nitro Kart stuff was in this... including their racers! To unlock some of those characters, the player must buy them at the Pit Stop using... fruit coins, I think, which can be earned by racing. I don't know the coin distribution works, sometimes I get 20-60 after each race. Characters aren't the only unlockables this time around. Karts, stickers, paint jobs, and costumes can be accessed by playing the game and buying them at the Pit Stop. A few other things are hidden behind other means too. There's going to more content for this game, including Spyro. I loved CTR as a kid, and I think most of the current version holds up well. It might not be perfect, but I'm glad I got the pre-order Nitros Oxide Edition. Playing as Nitros was actually kind of fun. It’s definitely a little better than the original game, so that’s why I slightly raised it above a few games. But, there’s still a lot of competition out there, and CTR Nitro Fueled isn’t as grand as most other games. But, there’s going to be more tracks, characters and so on thanks to the Grand Prixes.  


As an update to this review, I managed to finally beat N. Tropy and all of his time trials. It sure wasn’t easy, because the guy uses shortcuts and drifts like nothing else before. I used Tawna because of her insane acceleration and speed, and turning with her is adequate at best. And, not only does one have play the normal tracks once to unlock the chance to race against his ghost, but race the ghost in all of the tracks in order to unlock him as a playable character. Maybe it was a dream I wanted to finally achieve, but the time trials can be really brutal. Expect a lot of frustration and tears. Still, time trials aside, the rest of the game is really fun.   


Although I beat Diddy Kong Racing DS, I had a lot more fun with this game. Why? Although the planes and hover-cars were fun concepts, their control seemed horrible to me. That game is also a little lacking in the power-up department. Hitting halls and ceilings made my characters lose control for a little bit. That’s poor gameplay design! It was also a bit hard to turn at times. And some of the levels were just plain hard to master. Last… I didn’t grow up with Donkey Kong and his friends as a kid. I was mostly about Pokemon.    
 
(The whole micro-transaction situation with the Wumpa Coins is a bummer, though. But, yay, Spyro’s in it!)   
 
(I deem this the best racer of all time! Boink!)  

 


 
44. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for Nintendo Switch!
 

Spoiler

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a wonderful game. The story takes place in Alrest, a world which homes several Titans, huge creatures that make up the land, just like Bionis and Mechonis in the first game. However, presently more and more Titans are slowly dying, and thus there will be no land eventually for people to live on. And to make matters worse, those Titans who die off fall into the Cloud Sea, which is basically water with a ton of pressure. The story revolves around Rex, a salvager who looks for treasure within the Cloud Sea. (He has diving gear, if you’re wondering!) He travels on a Titan named Azurda. After he collects some treasure and ponders with Azurda about the horrible state of the world, the two head off to the Argentum Trade Guild. Rex sends some of his money to his family back home, and is given a new task by Chairman Bana. He is requested by a group of people, Jin, Malos, and Nia, to retrieve a sunken ship and find the contents within. While onboard, Rex finds a girl, frozen in time and in a large case, and a sword. Upon seeing Rex near both, Jin… stabs him. In an odd state of matters, Rex dreams a lush field of land, and the girl who he saw in the real world. She says her name is Pyra, and the land he’s dreaming of is known as Elysium, a paradise which would be a solution for the dire problem at hand. After Rex makes a promise to help Pyra go to the real Elysium, Pyra shares some of her life with him. Rex, reborn, tries to get revenge on Jin and Malos. However, the battle is pointless. Azurda rushes over to Rex, but is heavily attacked by Malos’ and Jin’s ship. Rex, Azurda, Pyra, and Nia, who has a change of heart, manage to escape. But, the attacks from the ship cause the four to fly off to another part of Alrest. Rex and Pyra landed on another Titan, but do not know the fate of Azura and Nia. So, it’s time to search for them! I’ll end the story there for now, because the rest of the it is really out there. The whole plot takes about 5 hours or so, because there is a lot of detail that went into the lore of Alrest. And, I like that. Even the Nopons return, and Bana is a huge one!  
 
And, even though some of the graphics are a little bit jarring at times, this game shares most of my feelings like I had with the first, even the odd voice acting moments! The music is a delight, and I always love listening to the desert world’s in the day. Who knew a desert world could rock hard?! plays it on speakers   
 
The Arts system has got a bit of an overhaul, and a person can only do three instead of five. But, for good reason. Remember Pyra from a while ago? She’s a Blade, a being with enormous power, who help their mortal counterpart, in this case, Rex. Blades also have Arts, which help their Drivers in certain situations. Each enemy now have elemental weaknesses, and Blades also carry a different kind of element. It is also possible to combine elemental special attacks, the same or different, to make the enemy weaker. New statuses also take place along with Break and Topple from the last game.  
 
Xenoblade Chronices 2 really won me over how similar it felt to the last game, and that’s what I love about this sequel. It will be pretty hard to make the third. KOS-MOS, T-ELOS, Shulk, and Elma from the other Xeno series are available, and there are even more Blades now! 
 
(I haven’t beat Torna: The Golden Country yet, which expands on the gameplay and lore of the base game.)   


43. Bayonetta 2 for Nintendo Switch! 
 

Spoiler

 

I was genuinely surprised how much I loved the first game, so I asked myself if the sequel would top it in all manner. Well, did it? To be honest... Bayonetta 2 did not disappoint me! 
 
 In what I think is New York City near Christmastime, Bayonetta and Jeanne (now playing for the... better side) fight more angels on fighter jets. After doing a Climax with one of the big angels, one of Bayonetta's summons... go out of control and attacks her. Even though Jeanne protects her, Jeanne's soul... is separated from her body and is sent to Inferno, one of the Three Realms of Reality. After taking care of the betrayer, and with not much time left to save her fallen comrade (for Jeanne is not truly dead), Bayonetta plans on going to Hell by finding the real Gates at... *checks Bayonetta Wiki* Fimbulventr, where all Three Realms (Paradiso, Inferno, and the human world) intersect. There, she runs into a new character pivotal to her past, and goes up against a masked Lumen Sage (for those who played the last game, you might know who it is), who also now some more development. Still, not only is Bayonetta fighting the cherubic Angels, but she's now also fighting nasty Demons from Inferno, since the balance of Paradiso and Inferno is out of whack. Bayonetta is the still the cool chick that she is, but with Jeanne in a bind, we now get to see a little more serious side of her. She discovers more truths about her past and learns to accept them. She has a haircut now, and I kind of prefer the look over her weird one from the last game. But, make no mistake: her summons are still as powerful as before. The main focal point of the story is the town of Noatun, a beautiful port city located at the base of Fimbulventr. It doesn't share as much time as Vigrid City, but it's still as important. 
 
 Like the last game, the game has a great amount of variety in terms of stages and baddies, even though I think the obstacles were toned down a little bit. I actually liked all of the stages this time around because there's not as much annoying things that happen. The music... okay, even I agree that the Climax Mix of Moon River and Bayonetta's new theme (Tomorrow Is Mine) show how brilliant the soundtrack is.

 Now with demons in the mix, how does the combat fare this time around? Bayonetta holds on to what her had and acquired in the previous game, but two new factors come into play. One: Bayonetta can now use Umbran Climax, which summons the powerful Wicked Weaves, an extension of Bayonetta's attacks thanks to her... friend, Madama Butterfly. (If one has played the first, she has basically appears in some of the boss fights). It uses the same magic as the Torture Attacks, but there is an option to do both. Second: the number Quick Time Events have been reduced to a reasonable amount, and pulling them off is not as bad as the first.  
 
A few more things really help the replay value of this game. A realm known as Muspelheim tests the combat with different objectives and time limits. (Apparently, a similar realm appeared in the first game, but they were much easier to spot in this game.) The game also has co-op, in which two players battle waves of Angels and Demons from the game in order to get more halos and some secret stuff. Last, the game has amiibo support, and like last time, Bayonetta can wear some of Nintendo's classiest of costumes. I love Bayonetta 2... a bit more than Bayonetta. With a third game currently in development, I await the day to fight once more as one of video game's sassiest of sisters.    

 


 
42. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies for 3DS!  
 

Spoiler

Although the CROSSOVER arrived in North America AFTER this game, that didn’t impact this game that much. The story happens a while after Apollo Justice. A lot of the cases are more intense because of the “dark age of the law” theme, even though the logic loops are still present. A mix of old Ace Attorney, Apollo Justice, and new characters come, and they are entangled well in the story. 
 
 The locations are more vibrant than the last two games, and the music is more integral to the game. Songs like Simon Blackquill’s theme, Athena Cykes’ theme, and the Cornered theme are amazing with the new potential of real instruments. And even some old favorites return, like Phoenix’s T&T Objection theme. The animations now transition seamlessly. The environments are now three-dimensional in a one-person view, and turning around is better and more participating than investigation in one area.   
 
In addition, Athena Cykes and her power and the Mood Matrix are a welcome addition to the series and is not as hard like the other powers in use. The game is a bit easier, and the DLC case and costumes are complementary, even if they’re not necessary to enjoy the full game. It’s a must buy for fans, and it made way for the sixth in the series.      


 
41. Phoenix Wright: Trials & Tribulations for DS!
 

Spoiler

The game to end the original trilogy on, Trials and Tribulations ended it on a high note. Not only does one play as Phoenix Wright in his third year, but they also play as his old mentor, Mia Fey, in a few of her cases. The first case is Mia defending Phoenix from a murder charge, two years before Phoenix became a lawyer. The other cases are great too, even if they have holes in their logic as well. 
 
 I’d say this has the best variety of locations, and has perhaps the best music of the series, thanks to the Objection theme, Godot’s Theme, and Tres Bien. The characters are even crazier before! And who doesn’t love Godot’s sweet look… and coffee?  
 
The gameplay is the same as Justice For All. But, the Magatama feels a bit faster paced when presenting it and when a person spills their beans. By the end of the game, most of the loose ends of the series have come to a close. Like the last game, the only enemy is basic logic. It’s a point where the series ended until Apollo Justice came… and almost brought upon the death on the series…      

 
 
40. Kirby Super Star Ultra for DS   
 

Spoiler

I've been a fan for a long time ever since Dream Land 2 came out on the Game Boy to the recent adventures of Kirby Star Allies on the Nintendo Switch. But, I had yet to finish a great deal of Kirby games, which included one of the big ones and one of the fans' favorites of the series: Kirby Super Star. I played the Ultra version because it was portable, the best way Kirby should be played on because Kirby is the mascot of portable gaming. Going back to a game that was made... ten years ago (!), I wanted to ask myself if it works now.  
 
The game has a variety of stories. One is a retelling of the first Kirby game, the next is about stopping a bird named Dynablade who cause destructions in Popstar, the third is about Kirby exploring a big cave, the fourth is about stopping Metaknight and his goons from taking over Popstar using his ship Halberd, and the last is about stopping the moon and sun from fighting by asking the power of Nova. While the first and third stories are simple, there are a few plot twists in the second and last, and the fourth has a countdown which makes the stakes higher. 
 
 And each comes with cutscenes that detail certain events. The detail and music is a lot improved from that of the Game Boy games, and the DS version gives the game a bigger punch. The soundtrack in particular is one of the best in the Kirby lineup, from Meta Knight's Revenge to the last boss of the game. 
 
 On to the actual game, there is a variety of subgames, like the stories mentioned, to a few quick ones like the Gourmet Race. Each one has a certain amount of difficulty, like the easy Spring Breeze to the hard Milky Way Wishes, and a different set of objectives and rules, like just completing the basic story of Spring Breeze to not being able to copy enemies' abilities normally in Milky Way Wishes. None of the standard stories are very difficult to beat, but I'll get to why in a moment. Like the last few games, Kirby is able to swallow, inhale, exhale, and copy abilities. But, most of the abilities Kirby get have more move-sets this time around depending on the direction of the D-Pad and the like. The old and newer ones work perfectly... except for the obvious Sleep ability. What would come back in the current Kirby game is the Helper System, where a former enemy known as a Helper is controlled by the AI or a second player. The second player makes or breaks the fun, but in most cases makes the game easier, like the bosses. They can die a lot, but can be revived and made by Kirby throwing away the ability it already has. Most of the puzzles and enemies Kirby faces are simple and easy to beat, with a few being really challenging but fair.  
 
Now, the core game is easy, but the extra sub-games, like the True Arena and an Ultra story involving Meta Knight make the remake a bit more difficult. The bosses are harder but grander to beat… I say “a bit” because I ended up beating The Revenge of The King, and Meta Knightmare Ultra on the same day. I haven’t done The True Arena and Helper to Hero because… I think Star Allies and Triple Deluxe did them better.  
 
But, this game alone set the standard of the next games' post-game experience as well, as late as ten years later. Heck, some of the other stuff in the original game, like the sub-games and Arena, would be foundations for certain things not only in the next Kirby games but also in the Super Smash Bros. series. I had a lot of fun finally having the spirit to finish this game, even though it sometimes would crash on me unexpectedly on my New3DS (maybe it was because it was inside my crammed backpack for a long time or my New3DS has a slot problem when it comes to DS games) and I had to readjust playing an older Kirby game. 
 
(Now, the next Kirby games that I put on this list might shock you, but this is not an objective list, and it doesn’t mean that Super Star or its remake are bad or worse. I just had a different experience.)  


  
 
39. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for PS3!! 
  

Spoiler

 

 This is perhaps the best movie tie-in game. It follows the structure of the movie, but the game makes it a bit longer and enjoyable for gamers. Scott Pilgrim has a new girlfriend, but Scott is tested by her seven ex-boyfriends to make sure he can have her heart. The game has an 8-bit over-world reminiscent of Mario, and the stages, objects, and characters are presented 16-bit. The music is also very nostalgic of an SNES game. I forgot how the gameplay works, but it’s like Final Fight and River City Ransom. It’s a beat-‘em-up, and because it’s a licensed movie game, it’s perhaps the best. Not only can one play as Scott, but his friends. Get another guy, and you can play co-op. In a world full of new but boring and lame games, this is one of the best games based on some other games and a movie!  
 
(River City Girls was almost on this list! As well as Streets of Rage 2 and 4. And Turtles In Time!)
 
(Can’t wait for the Switch version!)   

 

(I deem this the best game of 2010! Boink!)   

 


 
38. Kirby: Triple Deluxe for 3DS! 
 

Spoiler

After Kirby went and did some experimental stuff, I lost touch with Kirby for a while. That mentality alone is why I didn’t play Return To Dreamland and Squeak Squad… even though those games were main-line Kirby games. But, the game that got me back into the game was Kirby: Triple Deluxe. 
 
 Kirby wakes up to find a huge beanstalk outside, he goes up and finds worlds full of evil. It’s up to Kirby to stop whoever grew the beanstalk. Or something like that. I’m not going to spoil the story for the next few points.  
 
The world of Kirby got a face full of 3D graphics and music, though I can barely remember most of the locations now. Huh. Well, one noticeable change is the new powers. Swallowing a beetle gives the player Beetle Kirby, who is like Heracross, swallowing a clown gives the player Clown Kirby, not one of the best powers, swallowing an archer mouse gives the player Archer Kirby, and swallowing a guy with a lance gives the player Lance Kirby . … Oh, yes, and when Kirby eats a certain fruit, Kirby becomes HYPER NOVA KIRBY, able to swallow ANYTHING in his path for a while.  
 
There are also a butt-load of mini-games, secret keychain collectibles, and another mode only accessible after the game. Again, it’s Kirby, so it’s going to be easy. But, Kirby then and now is great… even if I hate “Experimental Kirby” for those lame gimmicks.   
 
(I deem this the best game of 2014! Boink!)  


 
37. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for PS4   

 

Spoiler

 

My experience with the Castlevania series has been mixed. I hate Castlevania, I somewhat like Rondo of Blood, and I really like Super Castlevania IV. And I'll never touch Simon's Quest and Dracula's Curse because the former is bad, and the latter is too hard. Not sure about playing Bloodlines any time soon, or the other portable games. But, I had to see the big deal behind what is one of the best entries of the series: Symphony of the Night. 


SOTN takes place four years after Rondo of Blood. It stars Alucard, Dracula's son, who rises from his eternal sleep and wonders why he woke up. Dracula's Castle has once again risen, and Maria is there looking for Richter, who disappeared a while ago. After a bit of exploration, Alucard finds Richter, who claims to be the lord of the castle and has seemingly become mad. Maria is shocked that her old friend would turn evil, and asks Alucard to help Richter come back to his senses. (Alucard killing Richter would result in the bad ending, so...) It turns out that Maria was right; Richter was being controlled, and it was by Shaft the Dark Priest's command. Shaft summons another upside-down castle, and plans the return of his master, Dracula. After more exploration, Alucard defeats Shaft, and eventually his own father. Like I said with Rondo of Blood, I love it when personal motivations are a key factor of the story. In the last game, Richter had to save his girlfriend, but in Symphony of the Night, Alucard has to remember his mother's death and has to come to grips with facing his father. Alucard's existence is tragic, because he is not really wanted by humans, but Alucard has no desire to destroy mankind. 


Symphony of the Night is gorgeous. I think it's an improvement over SCIV and Rondo of Blood by a long shot. And although I think the map layout is maybe too spacious at times, the different locations and enemies make the game stand out. And, I love how each enemy is destroyed in this game. I've never talked about enemy death reactions before, but I like it when an ax armor explodes and makes a grunt. No other game I've played gives me that satisfaction. The music is really chilling too, and I especially like the Colosseum theme. It's orchestral in some places, and groovy and rocking in others. Now, I played the Requiem version, which unfortunately does not have the cheesy voice acting. But, the voice acting in this game is solid enough... even if the dialogue is not in synch with the text. It's the same problem I had with Rondo of Blood's cutscenes. The few cutscenes in SOTN... are kind of stale, even if they were cool back then. 


Still, I play a game for how it controls, some of the times. Unlike the usual linear platforming games the series is known for, SOTN is an open-world RPG. I know that Simon's Quest technically did that first, but... no one likes that game compared to SOTN. And, SOTN has better level design and RPG elements. The game teases the player by controlling Richter, but it's actually Alucard now. Alucard is so powerful in the beginning, that Death strips him of his own equipment. With only his bare fists as weapons, Alucard begins to wander around the castle. It's not easy at first, since some enemies do a lot of damage. But, by acquiring more equipment, various items, and heart and life potions, Alucard becomes stronger and stronger. Like I said, this game is an RPG, and Alucard gains EXP and levels up. Exploration is required, because not only does Alucard gain more power and new gear, but some he also gains transformations, power-ups to those transformation, and familars. Familiars act as uncontrollable ally that only attack, but not in the case of the faerie that heals. And, they too level up. Alucard can attack with a multiple of weapons, and block attacks with shields. By far, this is the best main protagonist with the most potential in a Castlevania game, even if Alucard doesn't use a whip.   


Symphony of the Night, like I said, is an open-world RPG, and it helped define what players nowadays call Metroidvanias. The game's difficulty is rather weird, because of the nature of this game. A player could have a cakewalk defeating certain enemies in some rooms with ease, but find it really difficult with some enemies. That goes with the bosses as well, who are really fun to beat, once one knows their patterns and are ready enough to face them. But, exploration is a must if one also wants to 200.0% this game. Alucard must be in the present box of the map for it to register as .1 of the game. Still, there is a problem with the open-world aspect. Some of the rooms feel barren, feel copied, and should have not existed at all, unless it was for the sake of one of the other castle rooms which had more. Most of the items found cannot be sold to the librarian, unless they're gems. Most vendors in RPGs are okay with buying items that become useless after a while, so why can't I get rid of the 16 cloth tunics what are a waste of space in my inventory? Sure, I could rearrange my inventory, but that takes time. Some secret rooms require Alucard to destroy parts of walls, floors, and ceilings that are otherwise normal and require him to solve puzzles that are somewhat vague. For example, there's a wood platform that blocks another part of the castle, but Alucard needs an enemy to throw a barrel on fire for it to be gone. Unless a player knew it beforehand, they would get stuck forever. And, that's why I had no shame using a map and guides, because secrets like those are not worth my time. And, I said 200%, because both the normal and inverted castle count. But, the ending is better if the map reaches a certain percentage, and it's not worth it to reach all 200%. I don't remember the amount, but it IS possible to have the best ending without reaching all of the game. I also did some trophy stuff here and there, but not all of it. SOTN is a fun game to defeat, but completing it is maybe a double-edged sword. After a few days, I easily took down Shaft and Dracula, and saved the day. I even got the best ending, even if I felt like getting to that point was a hassle at times. Secret B.S. aside, SOTN is a fair and challenging game compared to its predecessors. I think it's even the best of the series, and near perfect. It's good enough to be in my Top 100. I wish it were higher, cause it’s THAT GOOD! 

 


36. Final Fantasy IX for Nintendo Switch 

 

Spoiler

 

After playing Final Fantasy VII a long while ago, I knew I would never play the black sheep VIII. So, I eventually would have to defeat IX, a game that catered to the fans of the series since the series' inception. Before playing this game, I placed VII over the other games in the series. But, would my opinion change after playing a game many people probably turned away from because of its predecessor's reputation?
 

The game begins with a simple premise. A theatre troupe arrives at the kingdom of Alexandria to perform a play "I Want To Be Your Canary", the princess' favorite play. What the theatre troupe is actually there for is to kidnap the princess herself. Still, the game throws the player through a loop, as Garnet, the princess, DESIRES to be kidnapped, because she needs to escape her mother, the Queen Brahne. The queen has not been herself since her husband's death, and wants to conquer the world. So, Zidane, a thief with a tail who is part of the theatre troupe, helps with her escape. Things become a little more hectic, as Steiner, a knight of the Pluto Guards and a loyal follower to the queen, tries to stop the kindapping, and Vivi, a Black Mage, get involved. The four meet on the stage located on the back of the troupe's airship, and a Bomb arrives behind Steiner. The three others tell him to turn around, but Steiner does not listen. Eventually, the four leave on the airship, but the plane itself has taken a lot of hits thanks to the kingdom's defenses. It crash lands in the Evil Forest. The objective now is for Zidane to escort Garnet out of the forest to another kingdom, with a stubborn and brash Steiner and a shy and timid Vivi joining them. Although the beginning seems like the game is going for a more comedic tone compared to most other games in the series, the game does not shy away from themes of fear, war, grief, and... existentialism. Most of the main characters go through loss, pain, and identity throughout. Vivi gets the worst of it, but I won't say why. There are some genuinely hilarious and tragic moments, so this story gets an up from me. 


The detail of the locations and characters definitely have gotten an upgrade since VII. But, I think Zidane during cutscenes and Eiko's in game model look totally cringy, and some of the textures look muddy and weird at times. Still, this game has a better look and better and much more cutscenes than VII. If there's anything to really appreciate about IX, it's the fan support and appreciation. Some character designs, items, monsters, and location names are taken straight the first six games. The first four party members are basically the typical black and white mages, knight, and thief. I'll come back to the other homages later. The music... is fine, but except for a few songs, none don't really stand out as much as IV's, VI's, and VII's. I guess it's just preference.  

So, back to homages, this time in gameplay. First, from IV, is ATB, Active Time Battle. Combat is spontaneous and flowing, unlike turn-based combat. Next, from I, III, IV, V, and VI are job abilities. Zidane can steal, while Vivi can cast Black Magic. From VII, battles are in a 3D environment, followed by a camera. From III, IV, and V, VI, many summons have returned, like Bahamut. From V, each character can get abilities by acquiring AP after battles, this time from the weapons, armor, and accessories they equip. Last, returning after a while since VI, is the trance system. Unlike Terra from VI, who was the only one who could Trance in VI, each party member is able to do it in IX. There's no Limit Breaks in this game, but the Trance system is a fine replacement. Of course from I and II, transportation like airships and Chocobos return. VII's various Chocobo perks also return. But, wait, what about VIII?! ... A card system. Which I think is worse than Joustice. I don't think I'll understand it. ... But, that doesn't mean I put some hours into it. I could go on with the homages, but the game does it really well. With all this homaging, what does IX bring to the table itself? Active Time Events. Just watching other characters do their own little scenes. YAAAAAAAAAAAAWN. Not all of them are mandatory.  

So, if this game has some really fantastic stuff going for it, what don't I appreciate, except for the stuff I went over? Well... 75% of the bosses suck. I could not count the times I thought to myself: "This boss is so not intimidating as I thought it would be". They seem harder than VII's, but my characters barely had any attachment to most of the enemies in the game. But, when the bosses are amazing, they are amazing. Except for the final fourth. And, because of a Switch trick I used, beating a certain annoying superboss was easier than taking on Ruby Weapon from VII for me. Oh yes, like VII's port, the skipping battles and fast forward features are back in the Switch version. Also, I don't know what was going on, but during sutscenes, the game would randomly crash. Thankfully, the Continue feature picks up from where a character loaded. IX is amazing! The best game in the series? Not for me. But, currently it’s my third favorite, behind…  

 


 35. Final Fantasy VI for Wii!    
 
 

Spoiler

I love this game. Though I resumed the game years later and forgot some beats, that did not detract from how wonderful this game is.

  

Terra, like Cecil, starts out on the wrong path, but events finally turn her allegiance as she joins a rebellious force take down the corrupt empire. She meets a quirky cast of characters, like Locke Cole, a leader of the Rebellion and a “treasure hunter”. The story deals with a lot of drama, as not only does Terra have to find her place when she becomes good again, but many of the main cast goes through loss, heartache, pain, suffering and so on. It's not only a great story with how the story progresses, but it's also a well-balanced story of how each character has to cope with each of their problems. I love this attention to detail, because although one starts out as Terra, it's more of an ensemble piece. Unlike IV, where only a select few characters had a detailed backstory, most of the playable characters have a stake of what happens in this story. Of course, the greatest foil to all of them is Kefka, who is my favorite main antagonist of the series so far. He's a killer mortal joker who does horrible and horrendous actions, wants absolute destruction and chaos, and only cares about himself. He does not want to rule the world and make the world dark. He's just out to be a sadist, plain and simple. No one, not even some of his "imperial co-workers" really like him. This game isn’t all that depressing, as there are several moments of comedy too. Even though at one point Locke needs to stop the imperial soldiers from obtaining Terra, a group of Moogles help him out. And the characters are just as expressive as those in V. There’s also Ultros, a comic relief bad guy who the party fights on a few occasions (though, he’ll never replace Gilgamesh, the best thing out of V). 
 
 Although I thought IV DS and V were okay artistically, I love every single detail of the characters and locations in VI, even though it was sometimes hard to distinguish stuff that was part of the environment or not. And need I say anything about the music, when the Opera song is one of the best pieces of gaming music history? It's perhaps my favorite soundtrack of the series so far. I can relate to some of the stuff that most of the main characters go through, and being a theater geek, I loved both the complex and simple matters of this game. 
 
I gave V a hard time because it just expanded on some of the stuff III brought. Well... there are a few things this game really truly brought in terms of originality. Magicite are shards of espers, that not only summon said monsters, but allow a unit to gain an increase of one of their stats upon leveling up, and allow the unit their magic. A unit can learn Fire from holding onto the Ifrit magicite and so on. Anyone can learn magic with magicite, including those not known for using magic traditionally, like thieves and monks. The system for getting the magic is similar to leveling up job classes in V, but only the magic can be learned in this case. Espers are also very important to this game's story, and have a lot more significance here than in the last five games. Speaking about magic, Magitek Armor made its grand debut here. Though I don’t know how, the armor is able to use magic and fire beams. Relics can do a multiple amount of stuff, like raise ATK and prevent a status effect to happen to a unit. 
 
One of the best mechanics VI brought to the table is swapping out party members. Some characters are better at handling some enemies more than others. Unlike IV, which has a revolving door of playable characters, the playable characters in this game are able to fight the last final boss, even though the player recruits them at different intervals and some leave for a while because of plot relevant matters. Because each character is limited to one distinct role, and because Magicite doesn't seem to take more time to grind than the job leveling up system of V, I had a better time improving my team in this game more than V. Buuuut... this game has a lot more characters than V, so... It might be a tie in which one is more grind heavy. But, I think VI's battle theme is why I enjoyed the grind this time around. Actually, now that I think about it, I haven’t talked about the battle system. The ATB system is back, but each character has a distinct ability. Locke can steal from enemies, players can press buttons to make a character use a powerful Blitz attack, and another character can “follow” enemies to learn their techniques and use them while in a Rage mode, even though while in such a state the player cannot control them and they are either likely to use the learned abilities or just attack normally. Not only does most of the playable characters have a significance in the main story, but their special actions are also part of who they are. This is those oh-so lovely sprinkles on the lovely cupcake that is Final Fantasy VI.  
 
(Thanks to a certain YouTuber for also reminding me of side and pincer attacks and group formations.)
 
Until about 9/10ths of the game, I really loved this game's difficulty too. I say it's perhaps the best balance. The bosses for the most part were easy to deal with too. I didn't have a hard time like I to an extent, III, IV DS, and V. The last boss really threw me a curveball, but I eventually defeated them, and this time I felt really satisfied because they were a constant pain for the main playable cast to deal with within the plot. 
 
I loved I for getting me back into the series, but VI is really special and better than it. The amount of detail to every single thing from story to gameplay is outstanding. Still, as much I debated with myself to ask which one of these juggernauts were stronger, I ultimately thought the next game was the Final Fantasy game I’ve played was better.   


34. Final Fantasy VII for Nintendo Switch!   

 

Spoiler

 

About twenty years ago, Final Fantasy VII graciously arrived to everyone everywhere on the PlayStation. Square left Nintendo for the higher quality CDs of Sony that would bring a lot more flair to the gaming world. Final Fantasy VII was going to be bigger, grander, and better than VI. It would have cutscenes, pre-rendered backgrounds, polygons, and 3D character art. And because the game was leaning towards a more steampunk and modern environment, it would stand out against the usual fantasy and renaissance vibes of the last six games, even though some of the later games tried to emulate that feeling with less success. It also marked the era of the emotional main character that had weird hair and/or a big grand sword. It was revolutionary, and is considered to be one of the best Final Fantasies, if not one of the best games ever. But, that was close to twenty years ago, so has Final Fantasy aged at all?  


Before I start with the story, I have heard about the extended lore thanks to The Completionist... even though his original videos are no longer on YouTube due to some legal issues. Crisis Core is the prologue to this game, but because it's on PSP, I couldn't bother playing it, so again, thanks Completionist. At the start of the game, the action takes place in the city of Midgar, the center of the planet Gaia and the most industrious city. A cutscene introduces the player to the flower girl, who will have a pivotal role in the story, the city, and a train about to land. The music changes to something dire, as a group of people get off and attack some nearby guards. They are part of AVALANCE, a group of mercenaries who want to stop the big bad company Shinra from wasting the planet's life energy, known as Mako. Their leader is Barret, a huge man with a gun as a hand, and the newest recruit is Cloud, the main protagonist with spiky hair and a huge sword, Ex-Soldier 1st Class. Their mission is to blow up the nearest Mako Reactor, one of Shinra's buildings. Sounds simple, right? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. What I just said is about 1/50th of the whole story. For there is a lot to take in with this game: revenge, grief, anger, sorrow, confusion, loneliness, happiness, shock, loss, sadness, angst, acceptance, identity, goals, relief, fun, and frustration. All of the nine characters, even the optional two playable characters, go through moments of character development and moving on from their pasts and mistakes. But, isn't there one big person I've leaving out?... Sephiroth. He and Kefka are the most notorious villains from the Final Fantasy series, and even though Kefka's clearly the better one, that doesn't diminish how much pain Sephiroth inflicts on the whole world and the cast. Although his goal is really heinous, his motive is somewhat understandable and maybe relatable. Still, how he goes about to get his goal doesn't excuse him very much.   


The visuals themselves are a little bit of a mixed bag. About fifty-percent good, fifty-percent bad. The cutscenes, the pre-rendered backgrounds, the battle locations, and the character models in battle are all execute nicely. Buuuut... the character models outside of battles and the overworld "boundary-popping" have aged the game a little poorly compared to the earlier games. And, the camera is perhaps the most finicky thing to work with. The map can be zoomed in... to some extent, and locations on it are barely visible. Last, interacting with the environments at times can feel rather clunky. Some of the dialogue also have errors and some childish and immature swearing, even if it's presented in the magical language of "%$^" . I know the mid-90s was full of "extremity", but that just shows its age. ... Or maybe not, if one can give me a modern T- or R- rated RPG that's full of cursing. The music... is legendary, and is perhaps the only thing that is timeless about this game. From the first cutscene song, to the battle and boss themes, to Aerith/Aeris's theme, the overworld theme, the Gold Saucer theme, and Sephiroth's theme, don't tell me that there's one song that feels out of place.   


Most of the stuff from the last six games, from visiting towns and dungeons, finding items, talking to people, battling, and buying and selling stuff is similar or the same. So, what makes Final Fantasy unique in terms of gameplay? One, the game has a good amount of side-quests and mini-games not seen before, but for those wondering, I won't say more... Two, along with the ATB bar, characters now have Limit Breaks, but they're only available after a character receive the right amount of damage. Each character have unique limit breaks, and there are four levels for each that require time and patience. Each level, except for the fourth and some other instances, have two limit breaks that can be gained naturally. Still, the first level of limit breaks is the fastest for getting the limit break bar to fill up, compared to the later levels. But, pulling off a level-4 limit break is really rewarding. Unfortunately, if a character loses their life, the Limit Break Bar will reset to zero, so getting hit is still a hassle. Even Cloud uses most of his limit breaks in his Smash appearances, including Omnislash as his Final Smash. Unlike the other games where the characters' abilities could be used at any time, the game demands the player to wait a little bit. Last, there's Materia. Now, similar to Magicite, the characters can learn and level up the different kinds of Materia, and the stats of the characters change with each Materia equipped. However, unlike Magicite, the Materia only have one kind of use, they level up with AP themselves, and they can be equipped to the weapons and armor. The characters don't inherit the Materia's power, and there are different kinds of Materia. The armors and weapons have slots which can house Materia, and some Materia can be linked to have different effects. For example, when linking "Restore" and "All", instead of just one character getting HP, all of the characters can receive HP. There's a lot of Materia to find and buy, but I just only got the ones needed to help me on my way.   


A little thing that has bugged me about how it relates to the story, I forgot to mention that Materia also is a crystalized form of Mako, the planet’s life energy, and the good guys are using it regardless. What I found hypocritical is that the GOOD GUYS are using the same resource that they don’t want the evil company to have loads of. Maybe I’m reading into this wrong, but if my characters are taking Materia from random places and are using them for the sake of “justice”, how are they different from how Shinra use the Mako reactors in Midgar? Shinra might be taking a lot of Mako, but Materia is fundamentally life energy too. In VI, the Espers are willing to side with the Returners because they still have souls before they become Magicite, but in VII, because most of the main cast cannot communicate with the Lifestream (basically, the underworld/ the world of souls), how do they know that using Materia won’t hurt the planet as well? And why do I feel like I’m the only one criticizing this aspect of the game? 


Now, what's the deal with the Switch version? One: one can turn off random encounters with the press of the L3 and R3 buttons... The buttons to move stuff ... Now, the player cannot avoid bosses, so grinding is still necessary. It's only really needed in the cases of backtracking and needing to find a save point for health. Two: there's a fast-forward button. Summoning is a lot better, and getting the ATB bar to fill this way might be fine. But, this too is double-edged, as the enemies can attack while one is off-guard, and the player cannot skip past the cutscenes and certain moments, as much as they want to speed-run. Those are the only two things I've really noticed, so maybe there's more I haven't seen yet. 


With the exception of a few bosses, and THOSE EVIL SUPER-DUPER-BOSSES THAT MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I'VE BEEN THROUGH A SIMILAR SITUATION BEFORE, the game can be a breeze for the most part. When it came to the 3rd part of the game... I spent about fifty percent of it trying to level up my characters. ... All for nothing, because of a hard roadBLOCK. (Edit: As of now, I defeated the superbosses. One of the rewards is game-breaking, while the other is totally worthless. It could be worse looks at Octopath Traveler.) The last third is maybe where I got the most bored, as I got my team to 90, with the exception of Cloud, who went to 99. But, it made some optional fights and the last boss a complete joke by the end. And, I spent the other fifty finding and collecting stuff that would work for beating the last boss too, so it wasn't all that bad. With the Switch getting ports of some of the games, I might defeat XII, and XV to find a place where they fit in my Top Ten Final Fantasies later. I’m not going to play II, VIII, XI, and XIII for good reasons.  


It might surprise some people I regard FFVII better than FFVI and IX. It was a really close call, and that’s not to say FFVI and IX are horrible. I love all of them, but there were a few things that made me like FFVII more, even though I can understand the reverse as well. It’s like the ALTTP vs. OoT debate. I even went back and did a little more, and even though the last boss is harder, I was well equipped to take them down a third time. It’s a lot better than what Octopath Traveler tried to pull.   


(Here’s to the weird remake I have yet to defeat!) 

 


33. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones for GBA! 
 

Spoiler

I’ll confess… I never played Blazing Blade before this game. I wasn’t interested, even if Marth and Roy were key factors of bringing Fire Emblem to the rest of the world. My mind would change when I got the next game. The story is about a set of royal twins losing their kingdom when it’s attacked by another neighboring country. The female one, Eirika, gets help from their friends in the kingdom to the left, while the male one, Ephraim, is with his buddies near the enemy border. He takes control of a fortress controlled by opposing forces, but is betrayed by one of his own guards, Orson. The story gets a little more intense, but that’s all I will reveal. 
 
 Most of the locations didn’t stick with me, but there were a few that really made me remember them, like the lava one, the twins’ palace, and the levels where there was no light. …Okay, maybe thinking back on it, Magvel is perhaps the worst country, cause its lore is pitiful, and the placement of the countries don’t sit well with me. A lot of the music is great for the GBA hardware. There is a good amount of happiness and sadness, and most of the relationships are done well. If I had to choose my favorite character, it’s L’Arachel. She’s very funny, she’s really optimistic, and a little bit mysterious at first. And, as a positive, Sacred Stones has one of my personal favorite rosters. 
 
 Since it was my first time with a Fire Emblem game, I had a fun time playing it my first time around. The gameplay was fair to people who never played a game like this before. Still, some of my characters kept on dying, but I could always just do a soft reset. This also marked the first time of a world map in the localized games. Skirmishes were cool, and the endgame content was really good. 
 
It’s been a while since I played it, but maybe I should once more. I’ve been invested in the series since this game. I played the 7th game finally, and people might hate ne for saying this, but… I liked Sacred Stones more. It’s one of my childhood games, so I have a clear bias. But, a few recent games have recently surpassed what Sacred Stones did. 


  
32. Mega Man X for Nintendo Switch!  
 

Spoiler

To be honest... I haven't touched this game for a while since I played it on the X Collection for PS2. My only problems were some enemy placements, some obscure places to find some items, and Sigma Stage 1. But, besides that... I really enjoyed beating it in a span of one day. Although there is a prologue video that describes the moments before the actual game when the remake came out, I'll start with where the game begins.  
 
X and Zero, a duo of robots, plan to stop evil robots, known as Mavericks, from destroying the human population and from making chaos. The player controls X, who is a bit weak compared to his buddy Zero when the opening stage begins. That latter plays into the story when X goes against Vile, one of the leaders of the Maverick Hunters. Vile floors X with his machine in no time possible; and when all hope seems lost, Zero saves X in the nick of time. X then travels across the world to get ready for the big battle against one of the most notable villains in video game history.  
 
As much as I loved the old nostalgic art style of Mega Man classic, Mega Man X is leaps and bounds better. Thank you, newer hardware! But, it's not only the visuals, since even the music and sound effects have been dramatically increased. A lot of the songs would work well with a metal or hard rock arrangement! I think it's one of the best soundtracks to date because most of the music is energetic!  
 
The opening stage is perhaps the best example of that... and game-play! I know a certain "Grump" would tell you how much important that stage alone is. Everything has evolved: a new charge shot, wall jumping, jumping AND shooting, and gliding! Plus, the other stages give the player a glimpse of the "potential" of X, through getting equipment that will make X become a better fighter. Mega Man classic might have done that with getting abilities from Robot Masters, and sure it's similar when X acquires his through the Maverick leaders (and eight of them, no less), but Mega Man X needed those new equipment pieces for the bigger battle ahead, bigger than anything Dr. Wily ever conceived during his fights. 
 
 I'm glad I had some videos and walk-throughs to help me out a little bit, because of the problems I mentioned. But, after coming back to this game... I'm glad I played it again. It’s this high up on my list for how really special it is. There's also that sweet secret I got that fans of this game know of! It's amazing to pull off!  Almost forgot that each stage changes depending on a stage that was previously beat! (X4 was on this list once for the gameplay alone.) 
 
(Mega Man 2 & 3 are fun games of the classic series, but this is perhaps the best Mega Man game.)


 
31. Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 for PS2  

 

Spoiler

I’m a fan of the series, so it was a must to get Budokai 3. To this day, I still have it. The game follows the moments of the series, but one can play as different characters and play their parts in the story. The roster encompasses the most essential characters of the series, and each has a light, medium, and heavy attack style. The presentation is incredible, and the music is some of the best of all time. The gameplay and fighting system is why people regard this game to be one of the best fighting games and anime games. It’s complex to master, but rewarding to play.   


 
30. Dragon Ball FighterZ for PS4!!!   

 

Spoiler

… So, I thought Budokai 3 was the best game of the series, but the new game in the Dragon Ball line-up, FighterZ, is really amazing too.  
 
The game has a new story, in which the Z Fighters are powered down due to energy waves, clones roam the world, and a soul is linked with Goku. Goku and the soul must power up to save his friends from being killed by the clones, and must found out who’s responsible for the chaos and stop them. But, as this is like Street Fighter or Tekken, the story does not matter in relationship to the other parts of the game. It’s decent, but it’s really a breath of fresh air compared to most of the other Dragonball fighting games. The characters even manage to make in-universe jokes, which really make me laugh.  
 
The soundtrack, while not great as Budokai 3’s, is fine and helps with the locations’ atmospheres. The characters and locations are animated beautifully. It’s perhaps better than Budokai 3’s.  
 
The gameplay is like most of the arcade fighter games, and it even borrows the tag-team system introduced in Marvel vs. Capcom. Because the battles are frantic and over-the-top, it’s regarded to be better than Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. When I battled enemies in the story mode, sometimes I struggled, and other times I wrecked my foes. The difficulty felt weird at times. But, I will commend how amazing it is to use an Ultra Attack, like Vegeta’s Final Flash. In the case of when some are used to finish enemies, it’s downright magnificent. Each character has a different and unique playstyle, was made to be equal to each other, but like most other fighting games, I had clear favorites. There’s DLC coming out too, with Broly and Bardock being in the game as of now. This game is meant mostly for the competitive scene, but I don’t care. I’m just glad this game exists. Can’t wait for a possible sequel, which might have Jiren!       
 
… Oh wait, Season 2 has Jiren. My bad! 
 
(I deem FighterZ the best licensed game of the 2010s, and the best fighting game of all time! Boink!)


 
29. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D for NN3DS
 

Spoiler

 

For XC, I thought about getting the older Wii version, but I’m glad I got this game at a lower price, and bought the new console because of it.  

 

The story starts out with two big giants fighting… later on, a war takes place between a race of human-like creatures called Homs and machines called Mechons. The Mechons are killing Homs. In the middle of this, three Homs, Dunban, Mumkhar, and Dickson, are trying to stop the wave of forces. Dunban uses the legendary blade The Monado. After becoming overwhelmed by its power, Dunban can no longer use one of his arms. Mumkhar runs away, but becomes the target of Mechon snipers. Dunban and Dickson are surrounded by more Mechons, and it seems like hope is lost, but they still fight. A few years later, the Homs race survives, including Dunban and Dickson. Shulk, a genius, lies on the field, looking at Mechon scrap. Reyn finds him and says that the general is going to be mad at Shulk for being late. Shulk and Reyn return safe… Blah blah blah, Shulk and Dunban’s sister Fiora talk a little bit, Shulk tries to find out what the Monado is hiding, and he and Reyn look for an energy source to power up a tank. They unintentionally alarm an old security droid, and beat it. However, Colony 9, their home, is attacked by Mechons again. In the chaos, Shulk powers up a machine to save his friends, and then he wields The Monado. It cuts through most of the Mechons, but doesn’t cut through a new model, which can talk! The new Faced Mechon wreaks havoc and kills Fiora. Enraged, Shulk is able to hurt it, but the new Mechon leaves before Shulk can really get his revenge. Shulk and Reyn go on a mission to stop the Mechon, while trying to avenge Fiora’s death. The story gets crazier, and there are a lot of twists. It’s one of my favorite games, story-wise. Most of the characters are fresh, the comedy and tragedy work well, and the relationships are really important in this game. A lot of environments are detailed, the characters are amazing, and the music is really outstanding (even though the detail had to compensate for being on a lower resolution console). Some of the voice work is hit-and-miss with the “oofs” and “I’m really feeling it”. The gameplay is deep and engaging. It’s one of my favorite topics, so I won’t divulge anything here. A few times, it gets hard, but I really love the game. It’s worth playing over and over again.     
 
(Have yet to play the Definitive Edition)
 
(I deem the Xenoblade Chronicles series the best new IP of the 2010s! Boink!) 

 


 
28. Monster Hunter World for PS4! (Including Iceborne)
 

Spoiler

 

I said that other games in the Monster Hunter series stretched the grinding and so on so deep, that beating those games were next to impossible. What I meant to say was the single player experience as well. A lot of monsters took real genuine skill to beat, and I am a casual at best. This series is best known for its multiplayer aspect, so I never took any time to go through any stories. I also said that I even cheated to beat Freedom, even though that was the first game to get me hooked with the series. I knew the series was known for the long grind, so I played other games from other franchises, while the dust settled for Tri, Ultimate 4 (because I hated Tri, and hated the fact the US never got Portable 3), and Generations. Then, World was announced. And, then I played it. It took about ten years for me to finally get really involved into the series since my first time. It improved on a lot of problems this series was known for. Monster tracking, the online components, how effective attacks are, customization, the grinding, and so on. I think it’s the most accessible Monster Hunter game in the series to date.  
 
The story is interesting, as it involves an OC hunter going to a new world to discover it. But, the real duty throughout is to fight monsters. Plain and simple. They gave a lot of detail to the story, but the premise is the same. Battle monsters. 
 
Monster Hunter is known for its music, and it’s no different here. The characters, the locations, and the monsters scream life as well.  
 
To get into the gameplay would be hard, but the big focus of the game is its open world aspect. For the first time in the series, locations no longer have loading screens and aren’t segmented. It only happens from location to another. Hunting in this game is more fluent than in other games, because loading always dampened the pace of the action. The locations also have set pieces, like toads that can stun monsters and falling rocks. Heck, even monsters can fight each other for dominance, which was sorely lacking in other games. The player can also fight monsters in other optional quests as well. Speaking of quests, story quests can be played with other players now as well. But, until the player watches the monster intro, they have to start the quest alone. Speaking of multiplayer, players can also jump into others’ quest, even if the quests have started. If they jump into the quest a bit too late, however, the reward won’t be as big. Players can also send SOS flares while in quests to get help. 
 
 Sure, there are a few problems with this game. The companion is a fangirl who doesn’t do much in the terms of the story, the monster variety is a little bit lacking, and the camera jerks to the tracking of a monster when the player looks back into the world, when the player plans on doing something else later. But, in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t affect the overall shift in the series. There will be new content patched into the game, such as new monsters, so the adventure will never end. There is a lot of potential for this game to grow, and even a sequel. There are building blocks for Monster Hunter to grow here; and if they improve using what’s here, Monster Hunter will become a powerhouse for years to come, more than it’s ever been. For both the casual and experienced players. 
 
(The new expansion, Iceborne, is lots of fun too.)  

 

(I deem the Monster Hunter games the most customizable of characters of the 2010s! Boink!)  

 

 


27. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for Nintendo Switch  

 

Spoiler

 

Super Mario World is one of the best games of the SNES, and perhaps all time. No one can take away its legacy. So, following it up would be nearly impossible, right? No, not really. The next game in the series would have to do something really different. It would have to be... a prequel! I used to play the GBA version when I was a kid, but never beat it. It was one of the few video games I took years later to defeat, like Link's Awakening. I eventually beat Yoshi's New Island... which was a BIG mistake, and still have the Yoshi's Woolly and Crafted World games, which I still haven't defeated. I don't know why I'm taking so long to defeat Yoshi games, since they're notably easy. I mean, I play Kirby games all the time, so what's going on?   


The game starts with a stork carrying a bag of two brothers. THE BROTHERS. The stork is sending the children to their parents. However, the stork collides with Kamek, a magikoopa who wants the two siblings out of the picture. One of the brothers, Baby L, is kidnapped by Kamek, while the other one falls from the sky. Thankfully, the kid lands on a nearby Yoshi, and it is discovered that the kid is none other than MARIO. The Yoshi takes Baby Mario to the rest of its tribe, and they decide to help the kid out and reunite the children. But, it won't be easy, because Kamek is determined to stop the Yoshis and kidnap Baby Mario as well. It's never really clear what Kamek plans on doing with the siblings, but the player knows he's up to no good.   


I think it's really obvious that this game not only pretty, but a lot more visually beautiful compared to the game before it. And the video game community has the wonderful MODE-7 to thank for its wonderful details and animation. But, the hand-drawn style also compliments the game as well. It feels like a kid drew the game inside out, and that's not a bad thing at all, considering who the main protagonists are! Although it might not be as memorable of Super Mario World's, the soundtrack still has a good amount of highlights. The title theme, the overworld theme, and the final boss battle theme are still as amazing over two decades ago. If anything is bad about the sound design, it's obvious. BABY MARIO. If any Yoshi gets hit, he cries and cries and cries. It's annoying, and I think it was intentionally made to make people frustrated to get him. 


But, enough about children whining, I'll talk about the great parts of this game. The game stars Yoshi, and not Mario. Yoshi can jump and swallow stuff like before. But, not only can he jump, he can do a flutter jump, which can make aerial maneuvering and landing smoother. And, not only can he swallow stuff, but he can spit the stuff out or turn it into eggs. The eggs can be thrown in any direction, and can ricochet off of any platform and certain enemies. Yoshi can also do a ground pound, which works for some enemies who can't be eaten. Some items, the watermelons, can be used in different ways, like a fire or ice breath. Using these techniques, especially throwing eggs, is essentially for progression, as some objects, like the question-marked and flying clouds, are needed to be hit. And some objects reward the player for using the techniques in unique ways. Yoshi can also transform into three vehicles: an airplane, submarine, and a mole tank. Even Baby Mario can transform into a caped version, where he can float and is indestructible. However, they are for a short time. Speaking of Baby Mario, he's the only real drawback of this game. Like mentioned before, if Yoshi gets hit, he cries and cries. He also floats in a bubble, waiting to be rescued. If he isn't rescued in time, Toadies, Kamek's henchmen, take him way, and a life is lost. Each level starts off with ten seconds for the timer, and Yoshi can replenish the seconds by waiting. Yoshi can also add more time by going into the checkpoint markers and by collecting stars.  


That's not to say the game is altogether easy. There are some really challenging platforming bits, and some enemies and bosses are a bit of a threat. Bandits want to grab Mario as soon as they see him, and there are these flying puff-things that make Yoshi dizzy and distort the stage around them. Still, the bosses have really fun strategies of taking them down, and they're just upgraded goons that Kamek made stronger by using his magic. I kind of like that kind of thought in mind, and I sometimes wish some other bosses these days were created similarly to that. But, nothing compares to the awesomeness that is the final battle. It's simply one of the best boss fights I have ever beaten, and it needs no more than that to describe it. And, the ending is wonderful... even if the later games kind of ruin it, but we don't talk about them as much. And, I never got a game over, thanks to the amount of lives I got. I love Yoshi's Island, and I wish I could have appreciated it more when I was a kid. it's so good. Sorry for saying this, but I kind of like this game more than Super Mario World. I just like this game's... everything more. Super Mario World is still a great game, I'm just stuck in nostalgia.   

 


26. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch!!!  

 

Spoiler

Although it’s been out for a while, I had to ask myself the biggest question: is it perfect? I thought… No. There are a few controller problems, frame rate issues, and questionable character moments to say it’s a ten out of ten. BUT, WITH ALL THAT SAID, it is rather enjoyable. 
 
 This reincarnation of Link wakes up after 100 years, after when Calamity Ganon sought to destroy the world. He lays in Hyrule Castle, because Zelda is still holding him captive in the tower. However, she doesn’t have much time, so it’s up to Link to free the Four Divine Beasts, four gigantic mechanisms who were originally controlled by four Champions, from Ganon’s control, so that they can help Link in his battle against Ganon. But, unlike most of the modern Zelda games, which ask you to follow the story, you can ignore it for a while. This game finally brings Zelda back to its exploration roots, by having the biggest map of the series. With time, patience, and a good amount of supplies, Link will be able to traverse every single area of the world. He can unlock parts of the map, by going to towers, ala Far Cry style. This is the game-changer hardcore fans of Zelda wanted: a balance of story and exploration.  
 
The visual art style is wonderful, the backgrounds are gorgeous, and the characters actually… breathe. Heck, the Hylians and so on actually FIGHT. And, a few races return, and a few enemies, though no spoilers. The music, though mostly present in cities and stables, are a nice touch, and some of them are homages. Speaking of homages, some of the areas you go to are named after certain characters and locations old Zelda fans are familiar with.  One certain place gave me true nostalgia. 
 
 The gameplay is where this Zelda game shined. Right off the bat, this game customizes the clothing. It’s imperative to switch clothing for certain areas Link will visit. Also, he has no shield and weapons. He will grab the nearest thing: a torch. But, he can defeat certain enemies and obtain their weapons. This also brings up a controversial new thing: durability. Shields, swords, and bows will break after some use. Without warning, Link could lose his stuff. But, Link doesn’t have to charge his enemies head-on. He can use the environments around him to help him kill and distract enemies more sneakily. Why is this important? Breath of the Wild… is one of the hardest games to master. The enemies now have life bars, and some enemies are harder than others. It’s like Zelda II again; but this time, fairer. Certain weapons and arrows are more beneficial than others. And stealth is necessary at times, even when trying to find certain things to cook with. Yes, finally a Zelda game with cooking! Link can make food out of whatever is roaming around the world, planted on Hyrule’s ground, or whatever is inside an enemy. It’s fun to see what Link can make, even if some results turn up… rotten. Each meal also has a bonus effect, depending on the ingredients. Back to combat, you’ll stumble upon some things called Guardians. Without preparation, it’s impossible to kill most of these guys. However, some in these buildings called Shrines can be defeated. To compensate for the 4 main dungeons, there are several mini--dungeons called Shrines that have specific puzzles and challenges. This again, is what hardcore Zelda fans wanted too: challenge in their puzzles. Each Shrine has a spirit orb, which has the power to do spoiler-related things. Some puzzles require a certain thing to use: a rune. There are seven types of rune: two types of remote bombs (but only one bomb per use, and it can be triggered at any time), a rune that can move certain metal objects, a rune that can make ice blocks out of water, a rune that can stop objects, a story related rune, and an amiibo rune. Yes, this game features amiibos. The many Zelda amiibos can offer different items, like chests that might have familiar clothing seen in other games. Is that all? No. Weather plays a big part in this Zelda title, the game follows a day and night cycle, and Link can obtain more than one horse by soothing them and by going to stables to register them to your game. And, Link will be surprised when he picks up a rock. Why? Spoilers! And, although Calamity Ganon sought to destroy the world, there are a good number of towns in the over-world, which have certain races most Zelda fans are familiar with. 
 
 Sure, it isn’t perfect by my standards, but I’ll be darned if I said the developers didn’t think this through after Skyward Sword, a game that I haven’t played after two years or so. The wait for a new console title was worth it, because the 3DS got A Link Between Worlds, Tri Force Heroes, and the Majora’s Mask remake. The series has gone back to a familiarity the first Zelda gave brought nearly thirty years ago.   
 
And to boot, Breath of The Wild gave me moments of child-like wonder, curiosity, fear, and confidence that I once experienced playing Link's Awakening. Although BOTW is more in tune with the first Zelda, for me it amplified what I experienced in Link's Awakening. There was a bigger nightmare I was getting prepared for, and I was a lot more ready and experienced than I used to be in Link's Awakening. Interestingly enough, the Link in this game parallels what I once went through: he was defeated by a huge force for a long time, but woke up years later and crushed the demon that he couldn't before once he was much more skilled. I found that kind of reliability rare and unique, and not much video games can convey that kind of personal connection. That's why some other Zelda games never did it for me. Maybe I'll go back and play the Zelda games I have but never beat (SS, WW, the Oracle ones, ???) But, BOTW had a genuine experience that not much games like it can replicate. I tried the new DLC recently… the new trials are not for me, but the new outfits and such are amazing. It will be hard to see what could possibly topple this game, but for now, this is the best, not perfect, Zelda game.  
 
As of 2020, I heard of this current stream of critiques when it comes to this game as to why it’s not a true Zelda game. There’s not many dungeons compared to most games, and the Shrines do little to make a reasonable replacement. But, there were only four in Majora’s Mask, and not too many people have a problem with that game. Still, Majora’s Mask had a lengthy amount of side content. Breath Of The Wild has side content too, but their rewards aren’t as big as Majora’s Mask. If they meant the puzzle-solving aspect of Zelda, the game has tons of puzzles because of the Guardians and shrines. Following that, the breakable items. Okay, I admit the weapons you get from the Champions shouldn’t have the chance to break, but the weapons and so on breaking meant trying other ones that I would normally not do. It throws me out of my comfort zone, and I am okay with that. But, the biggest problem is the lack of tangible character and item progression. And, that critique is fair. Unlike most other sandbox games, Link doesn’t grow stronger, and that is a huge detriment, and sometimes makes the game harder. Also, he doesn’t gain a fancy shield or the hookshot. Most of the items in the game fall apart, and the only think to solve puzzles is the rune tablet. Sure, he gets four abilities, but they aren’t totally game-breaking, except for maybe Mipha’s Protection even if it was a charge time. Even the Master Sword becomes unusable for some time, and needs to not be used to regain its own power. If they meant the story, sure it’s one of the weakest, but there’s still an obstacle in the force of Calamity Ganon. It harks back to when plots were simple. Not all stories have to be grand and epic like most games nowadays. If there was anything about the characters, I do like the Champions and their descendants, the Sheikah, and this incarnation of Zelda. I never really cared much about side NPCs unless it was Majora’s Mask or Link’s Awakening. Maybe it’s because of its open world nature. Have people forgotten that’s what the first game was like? The other games integrated more things to give them a more linear feeling. Mario can be both sandbox and course clear, so why can’t Zelda be two different things? I’m sure there’s more to discuss, but like I said, I never said this was a perfect game. For me, Zelda has been about exploration and the gameplay. Even though it’s not the best in certain aspects, I still think this game did a lot for the series moving forward, like what Ocarina of Time did. With that said… it’s not my favorite Zelda game, and it’s reasonably significantly lower after reevaluating its importance. But, still, it’s a fun game!
 
(I deem this the best adventure and best open world game of all time! Boink!) 


 
25. Sonic 3 & Knuckles for DS!  
 
 

Spoiler

I do not hate this game. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played, because of level design, music, the story, the characters, and the bosses. With that said, I haven’t been much of a Sonic fan, so my experience with him isn’t as big as some of these other characters. It didn’t help that I thought his first outing was lame, but I really loved the sequel. I heard that these two games were supposed to be one at one point, so I played the definitive version. I played as Knuckles, but like the next game in the list, found out his path is actually a bit harder. I then played as Sonic and Tails, because I had to see how big some levels were and get the true ending.
 
Sonic and Tails head off to Angel Island to stop Dr. Eggman from rebuilding the Death Egg, this time using the Master Emerald, the source of Angel Island’s flotation. Sonic reaches the island and goes super, but Knuckles, thinking Sonic and Tails are there to steal the Master Emerald, hits Sonic and takes the chaos emeralds from him. It’s up to Sonic and Tails to stop Dr. Eggman, even though Knuckles tries to halt their progress because of a misunderstanding.  
 
The music is incredible and upbeat. Some of it was even made by Michael Jackson! Every song in these games are amazing! The levels are really interesting too. Some of the bosses seemed a little hard, but weren’t as hard as the past two games. This game also has the first save feature of the Sonic games, and that’s really great, because getting to the level select in the last two games was a nightmare. Also, it was necessary for one thing in particular that I will get into later.   


24. Fire Emblem: Three Houses for Nintendo Switch!   
 

Spoiler

 

After the so-so predecessors Fates and Echoes, I was unsure about the future of Fire Emblem, and especially Three Houses. What really caught me off guard was the roster of playable characters, because it was perhaps the shortest of the series. And, the main character was going to be a professor, who trains one of three teams: The Blue Lions, The Black Eagles, or the Golden Deer. I was a bit skeptical at first, because if Fates didn't work narratively, Three Houses was going to be just as mediocre. But, then I saw the reviews... and immediately digitally ordered the game. I was on vacation at the time, and there were no electronic places nearby. So, I played it for what felt like an eternity. But, why was that, and how much did I appreciate the routes I played?  


The game begins with a battle between Nemesis, the King of Liberation, and Seiros, the grand knight of the goddess. Seiros comes out the victor, to avenge her family's death. Jump to a couple hundred years, and the world of Fodland is divided by an empire, a kingdom, and an alliance. (From which I thought they stole from Sacred Stones, since it did that kind of thing first.) A person canonically named Byleth is dreaming of a mysterious woman named Sothis. Much to their surprise, only Byleth can hear and see Sothis. Immediately afterwards, three teenagers, who turn out to be leaders of their respective lands, are attacked by a team of bandits. The woman is caught off guard by one of them, but Byleth jumps in to save her. Byleth dies, but Sothis turns back the hands of time to save him. The scene plays out once more, but this time, Byleth kills the bandit the right way. The teenagers, Byleth and Jeralt, Byleth's father, head out to the... center monastery, the name of which still eludes me. The teenagers are to learn at the Officer's Academy, and thanks to a recommendation from a former friend at the monastery, Jerald once more joins the Holy Knights of Seiros, and Byleth becomes a professor. Byleth then must choose one of the Three Houses: The Blue Lions, headed by Dimitri, The Black Eagles, headed by Edelgard, and The Golden Deer, headed by Claude.   


After looking carefully, I choose The Blue Lions first. During the school year, there is a group of villains who want to destroy the holy power of the church and their leader, Rhea. Their motives unclear and their M.O.s unknown, The Blue Lions swear to stop anyone from tearing down the monastery. As for Dimitri, his tale is rather grim and sad. His parents died during a huge tragedy that happened five years ago, and he himself wants vengeance for his parents' murderers. Things go horribly wrong around the last fourth of the school year, as Jeralt is killed by a sinister person, the person behind the invasion of the church is revealed, and during a frontal attack on the monastery, Byleth falls into a dark passage, presumed dead.     


When it comes to the Black Eagles… it’s kind of frustrating at first. skips most of the cutscenes If a player doesn’t do a specific event during the penultimate school month, it will play out just like the Dimitri route. Still, if they do the event, something interesting happens. In the other route, it is presumed that the Flame Emperor and a league of other baddies want the church out of Fodland to spread chaos, but in this route, it’s clear that the Flame Emperor doesn’t have the same objective as the others. It’s revealed that Edelgard is the Flame Emperor herself, and she only wants the church, not only the monastery, to be gone because the people believe in the goddess, but don’t have faith in themselves. She wants only people to rule Fodland, not the church’s power. However, some of the teachers and faculty still remain with the church, like Seteth and Catherine, so there’s no way to recruit them on her path.   


Claude’s story plays out like Dimitri's route, where Edelgard invades the monastery and declares war on the other countries as usual. But, Claude questions the secrets of the church, who the professor really is and their role in the plot, and why Fodland had to be separated not only by lines, but by social status. He also wonders about the true intentions of those "who slither in the dark", and what they are scheming. 
Byleth wakes up five years later, and hears that the monastery is in shambles. With nowhere else to go, Byleth heads out to the place he once taught. Dimitri, thanks to a horrible realization and the invasion that took place, is an utter mess and desires revenge even more. His friends arrive to help out the two of them and rebuild the monastery. The Blue Lions want peace and to take back their kingdom, as a coup happened during the five years, even if Dimitri's sanity is still in question. And that's all I'll say for the Blue Lions now. The rest of the gang also have their side stories as well, with one of them being a real head-spinner, but The Blue Lions route mainly showcases Dimitri's slow spiral into mental unstableness. There's even a month where he refuses to listen or talk to anyone, making support conversations unavailable for him for a little while. And since Byleth has no family by the end of the first act, he has to keep Dmitri from walking a dark path. 


As for the Edelgard route, until Byleth came back, the countries remained the same. The monastery is in shambles, but Rhea and her followers have been allowed to stay with the kingdom. It’s been a political deadlock. Edelgard’s path mirrors that of Dimitri’s. While Dimitri is about the past, revenge, and losing sanity, Edelgard is about the future, hope, and gaining humanity. But, her route feels anti-climatic, because the other group of villains don’t appear later on in the second act. And, Edelgard’s route is shorter than Dimitri’s. It could have also been the fault of that ONE THING too.    


As for Claude, even though he's looking for a brighter Fodland, the war dampens his plans for a while. Like the Kingdom, some of the Alliance side with the Empire. Until the professor shows up again years later, the Alliance is divided on matters and can't do anything. Claude declares war on the Empire to save Rhea and get answers for everything… including the people that have been hiding in the shadows for some time. Claude, personality-wise and motivation-wise, is different from the other two. He's a laid-back person, but gets serious when the situation calls for it. Claude is a strategist, and mostly thinks about the smaller pieces of a picture and schemes. He doesn't even care about resorting to getting people sick, even if his professor and friends tell him no. He means well, and it's because of his calm-headedness that more people come out alive in his story. At least nothing really tragic happens in his route. Again, he's another foil for his opposites. Claude is about the present, secrets, and making people see Fodland's horizons. At least his story is longer, and his ending leaves no questions unturned and is a lot happier. Dimitri= Birthright, Edelgard= Conquest, Dimitir= Revelations.  


Now, this is one of the best looking Fire Emblem games to date. The cutscene models look less robotic than the ones I've seen in Echoes, everyone looks wonderful, and the locations are beautiful. The support conversation and talking animations are more expressive, and with each beginning of every month, a drawing of what each moon brings springs into life and detail. It's like a painter making an event come to life! The only thing that is troubling is the moments of pop-ups and slow frame-rates.. As for the music... the first map music is maybe weak compared to others, but the rest of it fits the world of Fodland and its inhabitants… Actually, I take that back. About 50-70% of it does. And, that’s because some of the music feels like it belongs in a fighting game, not a strategy RPG. It’s very percussive and trap-like, which does not describe Fire Emblem music at all. Though, there is one killer beat that works amazing for the villains. If there's one thing to say, Fodland might be middle in the road from my rankings of the Fire Emblem countries. It's not as diverse and much in lore as Gallia, Ylisse, the three Fates places combined, and Valentia. In fact, before I remembered that Judgral has vast plains and maps of nothing for most of their games, I placed Fodland in the lower tier. The only reason why it's not lower is because of the placement of the kingdom, alliance, empire, and monastery.    


On another note, Three Houses by far has one of the best well-rounded rosters, even if it's in the middle of the road for quantity of who I like. I think I'd personally choose Awakening and Sacred Stones over it... and maybe Blazing Blade.  


The biggest surprise to get into was the gameplay. Three Houses does away with the free roaming and chapter based structure of missions, and goes with a monthly calendar kind of thing. Not only is this game like Harry Potter, but now it's getting awfully similar to Persona. Every Sunday of the month is a free day, where one can explore the monastery, do sessions, battle (similar to the current games), and rest. Only one of these things can be done, and most events within exploration and battling take up an activity point. After each point is wasted, the free day ends. The battling, sessions, and battling are easy to get into, but exploration is the true meet of the game. One can roam the monastery to talk to other characters, buy and sell items, accept battle and monastery missions, fish, cook, plant food, and so much more. Some of these activities boost the Professor skill, which is necessary to build. Blue lights indicate items, some of which are lost items and gifts. If given to the right people, those two things restore motivation. Another important thing is to study from the professors as well. Because... as I found out, characters from other Houses won't be recruited until certain stats and skills are at the right level. And, I found out too late, because there's a point of no return in this game, and I was only able to recruit two more characters. The next playthroughs were easier to work with. Still, thinking about it, there's two quests I don't like: the fetch quest, and supply run quest. Although I finally ended the latter... apparently, that one recycles. Nothing good comes out from the first, but renown points.     


Mondays are instruction days, where the Professor can teach each member of their house which skill to improve at, from swords to riding. Remember the motivation thing? There's a meter of how much a character can learn each Monday for how much motivation a person has, up to four chances/bars. The chances of leveling up a skill depends on a bad, good, great, or perfect rating. When a person gets a bad rating, they lose double the motivation, but when they get a perfect rating for the first time, they regain a bar. But, a person can recover a bar from a bad rating if they are either consoled or critiqued. One can also set goals for up to two skills for a character to get better at. Some characters might not excel at some skills more than others, so pay attention. Then, there's the exercise things or whatever, in which two characters can get better in the riding, heavy armor, and flying skills (since they're not teachable in sessions). After the instruction begins, the whole week up to Saturday moves on. Experience in skills goes up for each character... rather slowly. This is kind of a chore at times, because to get to a new class, a character must take a certificate exam. Yes, there are no longer master seals, and one might find out the leveling bar is no longer existent in Fire Emblem. To get to a new class, one must take the appropriate exam. But, there are requirements, such as the skill's and the character's level, and the right seal. Sure, a character can take an exam underneath the required skill levels, but the character must at least have 30% of passing. Even then... passing is not guaranteed. And some seals and classes are hidden by unorthodox means, like beating this really powerful boss. Last, there are Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master classes. I did not joke, it feels like Radiant Dawn all over again. By the end of my game, about two of my characters were in Advanced classes, while the rest where in Master.   


As for battling... battalions and authority skill, new combat skills and combat points, brawling, and monsters (with huge HPs boxes, ways of attacking, and different weak points) are new.  (Though, I forgot combat points was in Echoes, but I still somewhat hate that game.) Yes, no more of daggers and shuriken, but brawling is still just as fun (because of the 4x hit speed). Durability for items and weapons are back. The weapon triangle has not returned, but this time for the better, though there's still the armor, riding, and flying breaking stuff. Magic, both white and black, is like Echoes' mechanics, but thank gosh they don't need HP to be used. Dark Magic is what sorcerers use, and Black Magic is what Sages use. And, the rewind mechanic is very simple, but is limited for how much time can be rewinded. Even though Prologues have returned, the child system is gone, and there's a matter of time when they can be finished. There's always new battles, so grinding is never restricted, and money always comes. Just don't do the "!" stuff until at good levels. 


The game can take up to at least two days to beat for each route. The enemy AI and bosses are no pushovers at times, especially at the second half. The game does have some faults, but it's still wonderful to play. Thank gosh for New Game Plus. New Game Plus makes this game a breeze when on other playthroughs, even if recruiting everyone is not ideal when there's a time limit and experience goes way too slow. Just choose your favorites. Another problem is that I at least think there should've been more renown points for playing a New Game Plus file.       


The expansion DLC is nice, but the Cindered Shadows side-story is meh. The beginning of the story, the new lore, music, and gameplay are great, but the rest of the story, the maps, the villain, and the new hub-world suck. Just only get it if one wants to transfer the stuff into the base game. Maybe wait for the price drop, if there’ll ever be one.  


(I deem this the best game of 2019 that’s not a remake or has an expansion! Boink!)

 


 
23. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for PS4!!  
 

Spoiler

Although everyone says that the second is better, I’ll always stick to the third. Why? Phoenix Wright is in it! And that’s all I need to hear! The story is about a threat is trying to destroy the universe. The Marvel and Capcom universe team up to stop it. And, that’s pretty much it! Even though they weren’t my main focus of the game, the places were nice and vibrant, and the music was good. Many characters played differently from each other, and it was tag team bliss. Just playing it again on my PS4 reaffirmed my love for this game, even if it had been nearly a decade since I last touched it. (I WILL NOT BUY INFINITE!)   
 
(To be fair, I have played the second. I like at least 2/3rds of the cast of that game, the music, some of the locations, and the gameplay. I’m okay that some of the cast didn’t return in MvC3 because of their decline in popularity and some returned later in the Ultimate installment and MvCI. But, why isn’t it on here? The arcade mode gets really difficult around stage 5, even for a beginner like me. Plus, Abyss? Really? As the FINAL BOSS?!)  


 
22. Sonic Mania Plus for Nintendo Switch!  
 

Spoiler

I was a little bit hesitant to play this game, since I never really got far in the first Sonic game beforehand, and even before that, I never finished my copy of Sonic Advance 2.... Until just recently. I knew of Sonic’s existence, but the late 2000s and currently now has not been very kind to Modern Sonic. I played Forces and hated part of it, then I played Sonic Generations, the first which was bad, and the latter was decent. I also heard this game brought back older stages and put a twist on them. So, my hopes of completing such as game was daunting. Could I really defeat Sonic Mania? And the answer was… YES!  
 
Dr. Eggman and his new creations, the Hard Boiled Heavies, have obtained the power of The Phantom Ruby, which bends the fabric of time and space, and which was responsible for Forces. Sonic and friends must stop Dr. Eggman and his new friends from taking over the world. Like I said, the game brings back eight different zones, from Sonic The Hedgehog up to Sonic 3 & Knuckles, including Sonic CD and gives them a modern update. I won’t spoil any, but they’re all fun to go through now more than ever. There are four new zones, with Studiopolis, Press Garden, and Mirage Saloon Zone. And, they’re all great! The music, even the remixes, are perfect. 
 
 The gameplay is mostly the same from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but there is a lot more variation in the level design, shields, bonus stages, obstacles, gimmicks, even the bosses, and so on. I played as Knuckles, because his gliding powers can break most levels. At the very end, the game got a little harder, but I still finished it barely. I then played as Sonic and Tails, and managed to get all of the chaos emeralds to unlock the true final boss and ending. Still, I had to use the level select to do so, because some of the places the emeralds are behind are really cryptic at times. That holds true for Sonic 3 & Knuckles as well.  
 
I’ve never been a hardcore Sonic fan, but I will admit Classic Sonic had some really good ideas in the past, and I’m glad it was made by people who really cared about Sonic. I don’t know if this game will make me go back and play older platformers that were considered marvels, but this has been a wonderful experience.        
 
Edit: Finally going back to the classic games, Mania is the best of the “Classic” series. And there’s Plus to boot, now with Ray the Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo from that one Sonic arcade game, and a new bonus level! But, I still love a lot of other games more than the Mania hype machine, such as...  
 
(I deem this game the best old-school revival of the 2010s! Boink!) 


 
21. Shovel Knight for WiiU! … All of the expansions for Nintendo Switch!
 

Spoiler

 

One of the best indie games of all time, Shovel Knight is a like… Ducktales, Castlevania, and Mega Man. The story is about Shovel Knight, a knight who fell in love with Shield Knight, as they roamed the world to vanquish evil and claim loot. Upon entering a tower full of evil monsters, the two get separated. Shovel Knight defeats his wave, but finds Shield Knight’s helmet on the floor. Shovel Knight, knowing in this heart that Shovel Knight is gone, becomes a farmer. Later, he hears that a new force of evil has come from the same tower: The Enchantress and The Knights of No Quarter. (HEY, THEY RIPPED OFF LED ZEPPELIN!) It’s up to Shovel Knight to save the world from this new evil. Shovel Knight relies heavily on 18-bit style music and visuals, but it does it so well, that I’m not going to say anything bad about it. Shovel Knight’s main weapon is a shovel, which he can bounce off of like Scrooge McDuck’s cane in Ducktales. He can also use it to dig for treasure, reflect attacks and kill enemies, and find secrets in walls. Of course, Shovel Knight also has other items he can use, like a fishing pole, a wheel, and daggers that spin Shovel Knight around like a little hurricane. He can also get other armors, like one that does a better jump. Shovel Knight can also refill his potions by going to the… apple fish thing…   Troupple. He he. There’s a few moments where it really gets hard, but I still love this game. I haven’t tried out the Shovel Knight amiibo thing, which is basically Co-Op. 
  
Buuuut… A while after the main story hit the WiiU years ago, I haven't jumped back into Shovel Knight, despite saying that it's one of my favorite games of all time. The story was simple, the detail was amazing, the soundtrack was sound, and the gameplay, although inspired by DuckTales, was still very fun and easy to learn. That was 2014. Shovel Knight has newer homes, including the Nintendo Switch, and there are currently two new campaigns starring Plague Knight and Specter Knight, with a new one arriving in 2019 starring King Knight. Plague Knight's story acts an alternative, while Specter Knight's acts as a prologue. As I beat Plague Knight's first, I'll get into what makes his "game" unique. Plague of Shadows stars... Plague Knight. Unbeknownst to his fellow Knights of the Order of No Quarter, he wants to make the Ultimate Potion, capable of doing... anything. By his side is Mona, his female assistant who helps him with his goal. So, how will he make the Ultimate Potion? By taking the "essences" of his former knight companions and the Enchantress. Plague Knight's nature is somewhat of an anti-hero, because although he's going against his former Order and boss, he's still looking for power which might allow him to rule the world, the townspeople hate his guts, and he's not siding with Shovel Knight any time soon. Still, it's not like the tone is sad or dramatic always. Plague Knight makes fun of his former comrades, and he has a budding relationship with Mona. And his "friends" are just as quirky too. Although the style is about the same, there's a few more songs that go with his story. Plague Knight is even more expressive in terms of animation. He's misunderstand-ibly adorable. So, since Plague Knight is different from Shovel Knight... what exactly is different? Instead of a trusty shovel, Plague Knight uses bombs. There's a variety in terms of their throwing arc, how they explode, and how fast they will detonate. Defeating baddies this time around acquire a bit more strategy due to their distance and the bombs themselves... Especially bosses, and the two I had the most problems due to PK's bombs and movement are Tinker Knight and Specter Knight. There are no more extra jumps when hitting enemies and obstacles, so in order to accommodate for Plague Knight's size and gameplay, he has a double-jump and a huge blast jump. Unlike Shovel Knight, Plague Knight has to deal with trickier and more precise landing and jumping. Plague Knight can double jump, then blast jump, then attack the air to land better and so on, but Plague Knight does not have ideal vertical and horizontal movement. Just like Shovel Knight, Plague Knight suffers from... knock-back syndrome, and he can be knocked back a good distance. Plague of Shadows is a little bit harder to in those regards... but it's not impossible to beat. Sometimes frustrating and cheap at times, but not impossible. Plague Knight can also change his jumping and some of his arcane powers by going to the shops and meeting a certain Relic lover. Really, it's similar to Shovel Knight's way of getting new arsenal. If the base game didn't keep one satisfied, I can easily recommend Plague of Shadows. While Plague Knight's means of combat and movement are a bit harder and the stages were meant for Shovel Knight in mind, everything else is really great. Not perfect, but enjoyable.   


Shovel Knight was a fantastic game, and its Plague of Shadows alternate story was decent. But, what about the third campaign, Specter of Torment? The game is actually a prequel, as Specter Knight is ordered by The Enchantress to find eight knights so that they will form the Order of No Quarter. All of the knights from the Order of No Quarter were not bad guys at first, and were extraordinary knights specializing in blowing stuff up, airfare, and so on. Specter Knight has to do so not because of free will or because of power, but because of tragic events. He was once a treasure hunter (or an adventurer, the game doesn't specify) named Donovan, who partnered alongside his comrade Luan to get treasure from The Tower of Fate. What happens in the Tower of Fate changes their lives, but I won't spoil much more. If Shovel Knight was a true hero, and Plague Knight was an anti-hero, Specter Knight is a tragic hero or villain. He had good intentions, but eventually has to be evil. Specter of Torment not only adds more music, but the locations and so on have changed because the timeline of events. Familiar places will have old and new enemies, layouts, and obstacles. For example, King Knight's song is more joyous than scary in this campaign. And the beginning stage is in the night rather than the usual day time. It's the little touches that make this game stand out. But, Specter Knight also has different gameplay. He can attack with his trusty scythe, and not only can he attack whatever is in front of him while on the ground, but he can attack directionally while in the air. (Slashing up-right, up-left, down-right, down-left.) Unlike Plague Knight, where landing and combat was trickier because it was not for him in mind but Shovel Knight, everything was accommodated for Specter Knight's movement and combat mechanics. Enemies, platforms, and obstacles were placed beneficially. But, slashing things in the air comes with some costs. Specter Knight can lose lives by attacking something from above while there's a pit, or by attacking something from below while there are spikes on the ceiling. The timing of the strikes is crucial just as it was for Shovel Knight's shovel bounces. Specter Knight can also climb on and jump off of walls, like Ryu Hayabusa. There's two ways to get out of a wall jump, so beware. Like Shovel Knight, Specter Knight can obtain different powers and outfits. However, Specter Knight has to test out each new power he gets in a few short practice trials. If he also misses a chest which can boost his life and magic, he can buy it it from one of the venders... IN THE TOWER OF FATE. The Tower of Fate is the hub-world of the game, replacing the map that Shovel Knight and Plague Knight use. Using a big magical transporter mirror thing, he can travel to ANY OF THE STAGES FROM THE BEGINNING, RATHER THAN PROGRESSING THROUGH EACH AT A TIME. One has to complete the beginning stage first, but the rest can be accessed at any time. The last few things that have changed are the boss fights. All of them have different attack patterns, and all of them have new circumstances, like fighting Propeller Knight on falling wood or such, and fighting Mole Knight using bouncing green blocks. They have become trickier to defeat, but not impossible. Like I said with Plague Knight, this game is very enjoyable. In order of skill and story... I'd go with Treasure Trove (Shovel Knight's main campaign), Specter of Torment, then Plague of Shadows. The base game is probably the easiest and has the main story, Specter of Torment is a little harder and has the prologue, and Plague of Shadows is probably the hardest and has an alternative story.   


… And I finally beat the last campaign mode of this game: King of Cards. I'm a Yu-Gi-Oh fan since the early days, so I wondered if the card system would hold up to my expectation. King Knight wants to be the very best at a card game called Joustice. He roams the lands to become the champion by beating all other players. Basic and simple. But what sells this game is King Knight and his relationship with his mom. His mom still sees King Knight as a kid, while King Knight is going through that awkward phase of not being embarrassed. It's cute, even though what happens in the end is tragic. This too takes place before the main campaign. Along the way, King Knight meets other characters who join him, but out of reluctance. And like Specter of Torment, there are new stages and bosses to encounter. Not all of the stages require fighting a boss, so that was an interesting change itself. Controlling King Knight is similar to that of Wario in the Wario Land games. He has a tackle, followed by a little twirl, similar to the shovel bounce. He gets other abilities, but those two commands are fine on their own. Each stage challenges King Knight on his performance to tackle and twirl, with other gimmicks thrown in as well. Not going to lie, I really hated some of these stages, because sometimes the tackle and twirl are a little bit hard to work with. King Knight can also roll after the tackle, but I rarely used it. But, what about Joustice, the card game? Players move cards from one space to another to occupy spaces with gems. Get the majority of gems, and one will win. It seems simple, but each place within the four "regions" have cards which drastically play differently. Most of the cards have an arrow, and moving cards require facing the "back" direction. Cards cannot move with opposite directions, except in certain situations. Although it's a cool concept, I wish the AI weren't so cheap, especially the regional experts, who get to use BS boss abilities. So, it's a good thing there's a cheating system in place as well. Losing really hurts, when the opponent CAN TAKE ANY ONE OF THE PLAYER’S CARDS. Best advice: don't play with really rare cards. One can buy them back, but the rare ones of course cost the most. And because I like Yu-Gi-Oh... Joustice become the one thing I loved and hated in this game. Now that I finished the game, I won't go back to it. STILL, THANK GOSH IT ISN'T REQUIRED TO BEAT THE GAME. I just did it because of an odd obsession. King of Cards sadly left a sour taste in my mouth for the end of the first Shovel Knight game.  


 While Shovel Knight and Specter Knight play wonderfully, I wish there was some more playtesting with Plague Knight and King Knight. The overall experience is not that bad.   


And now Shovel Knight is an … assist trophy in Ultimate. … Yaaaaaaay…      
 
I’m glad there’ll be more Shovel Knight stuff! Such as a sequel! 
 
(I deem this game the best indie game of all time! Boink!)  

 


 
20. Pokémon LeafGreen and FireRed for GBA!!!   
 

Spoiler

A great remake of the original Game Boy games that borrow a lot from the other third generation games to keep up with the current times, like the special defense and attack split and abilities. It is one of the best remakes of all times. 
 
(As much as I really wanted to root for the Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu games to be on my list… the “shallow” capturing mechanics of Poke’mon Go and some story elements left a bad taste in my mouth. Still, I love what they tried to do, and there are some really lovely moments of those games. Like the music!) 

 

19. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver for DS!!!  
 

Spoiler

Perhaps the best of the Pokémon remakes with good reasons! Johto and Kanto got a huge makeover in every aspect, including competitive play. I dare anyone to find any flaw for this game, except maybe the soundtrack! 


 
18. The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds for 3DS! 
 

Spoiler

 

Although I didn’t play A Link To The Past before I defeated this game, I did some research so I could understand the lore of this game. From what I know, ALTTP is considered to be the best Zelda game alongside Ocarina of Time. I’ve heard that 2D Zelda is superior to 3D Zelda because of the connection of puzzles, worlds, and combat. If anyone knows a thing about Sequelitis, it’s that Arin has a few good points… But, now after watching his OoT GameGrumps videos, it’s hard to see him defend his opinions that much, because he sucks at OoT. But I get it. The 3D Zelda games became less explorative and more linear for the sake of the story. If only there was a game to go back to the roots of 2D Zelda… Wait!  

 

A Link Between Worlds is a “sequel” to the great SNES hit. It’s about Link trying to save the world from a wizard who wants to rule Hyrule. There are a lot of similarities to the SNES classic, as halfway through, Link arrives in Lorule, Hyrule’s dark counterpart. The overworld is full of nostalgia for older fans, as this one is nearly identical to LTTP’s. The amount of detail and visual variety is wonderful. It’s one of the best-looking Zelda games out there. Some of the music are wonderful new versions of the SNES tunes, while new music such as Yuga’s theme and Ravio’s theme fits.   

 

 The gameplay is a bit improved. For one thing, instead of normally looking around the temple for an essential item, Ravio, a mysterious person who decides to stay in Link’s home, rents the items to him. Rupees are more valuable because of this. Speaking of Ravio, he gives Link a bracelet. After Yuga turns Link into a painting early in the game, Ravio’s bracelet reacts, and Link now has the ability to roam in walls as a painting while also coming out from them. Of course, the puzzles and secrets wonderfully integrate this new mechanic.    

 

Does it get hard? If anyone is not the one for exploration, secrets, and puzzles! I really love this game, and if you haven’t seen, I placed this higher over A Link To The Past. Call me crazy, but I had a much more enjoyable time with this game, and I think this game was easier in some places and far more balanced. That’s not to diminish A Link To The Past’s legacy.    

 


 
17. Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage for PS4 
 

Spoiler

Immediately after I completed Spyro The Dragon, I played what was argued to be the best Spyro game: the sequel. Unlike the first game and Spyro 3 where I have defeated both games... I have no memory of ever beating the original Spyro 2. Maybe it's the fact that I held Spyro 3 in such high regard that I completely forgot some details of the second game... and the first. So, now that I have finally beaten Spyro 2, how well does the remake stand up? 
 
 The story begins with Spyro and Sparx roaming in the rain. They plan to have a vacation at Dragon Shores, now that Gnasty Gnorc is gone. But, their plans are interrupted when the Professor (a mole), Hunter (a cheetah), and Elora (a go-faun) activate a portal that sends Spyro to their home of Avalar instead. A sorcerer named Ripto and his goons, Crush and Gulp, find the four, and upon seeing Spyro, Ripto orders his goons to attack them, because Ripto does not like dragons at all. The portal is broken in the chaos, and Gulp accidentally swallows Ripto's scepter. Ripto and his goons leave the area, and Elora begs Spyro to stop Ripto from taking over Avalar. Because it's his duty as a hero and/or because there's no other way to get to Dragon Shores, Spyro agrees to help. Because the cliffhanger in Spyro The Dragon's epilogue was never followed up in any other games, that's one of the reasons it was never on my Top 100. At least this game has a proper ending with nothing left out. 
 
 Like before, the graphics and music are really amazing. Spyro 2 has a bit more of storytelling because of the cutscenes that play out when Spyro enters and exists a stage and hub world. Stewart Copeland has an advisory role compared to the original games, and now there is a new composer. I'm glad there's a setting to switch soundtracks, because... some songs have been remade well, but the rest cannot top the originals. And the drums were probably hit the hardest most of all. I don't hate the whole Reignited soundtrack, but I was just disappointed. Another disappointment is the voice acting. The voice acting in the new Spyro The Dragon is a lot better than their counterparts. But, in Spyro 2, some nods and humorous lines were changed for reasonable but not as hilarious voices. One example: the Electrolls, which sounded exactly like SpongeBob Squarepants in the original, don’t sound the same! Why that decision was made is beyond me. And the Romeo one is not as clever as well. Speaking of characters, I'm still out on Elora's new design and Hunter's new voice acting. Elora looks a bit stranger from what I remember, and Hunter is trying way too hard to sound like Sonic. Moneybags might be better in this game, because he's a lot angrier when the situation calls for it, and he looks not only cute but imposing. Still, nitpicks and grievances aside, everything is about 75% better.  
 
So, what about the rest? Spyro can now swim underwater, climb, and headset, even though Moneybags hides those moves behind paywalls. Spyro also has a hover move, which can make him land on platforms a lot better compared to one. Last, the acid spit and shield/invincibility power-ups are the new timing mechanics, like super-charging, super-breath, and flying in the original game. In this game alone, Spyro has to defeat enemies to use their souls to activate such gates. All three games come with a map in the Reiginited Trilogy, and Sparx can track gems in all three games, not just the second and third this time around. It’s a lot smoother from what I remember in the original game. The collectibles in this game are orbs and several talisman. The talisman are basically given at the end of the stage, while orbs are usually earned by completing missions. Some are easy to do, while the rest require trial and error. Despite the star system the game provides for each mission, they're not impossible or really difficult. Because there's more variety when it comes to the allies Spyro helps, a player will not know how ridiculous some missions can be. One of the most infamous tasks is the Alchemist one, where the Alchemist takes a long route that is full of enemies that will end the mission when they hit the Alchemist only once, and Hunter's feet is stuck in concrete... for some reason. 
 
 But, this game is just as easy as the first game. Still, thankfully the bosses have a lot going for them this time around and they actually pose a real threat. Granted, this game is possibly similar in game length as the first game, but I still had fun, even more than the first perhaps. But, how does it stack against the Spyro game I have a CLEAR BIAS with?!    


 
16. Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land for GBA! 
 

Spoiler

A remake of the NES classic Kirby’s Adventure, I always associated it with the TV series Kirby: Right Back At Ya! The story is about King Dedede trying to rule the world by using the iconic FOUNTAIN OF WISHES! It’s up to Kirby to stop Dedede while fighting a lot of battles. Short and simple. The upgraded sounds and graphics make this game a dream to play on. Kirby’s many animations are so funny and cute. The gameplay in the original introduced Kirby’s now known ability to swallow an enemy and copy their power. Swallowing a Sir Kibble gives the player Sword Kirby, while swallowing a Knuckle Joe gives the player Fighter Kirby. The list goes on. Because Kirby is meant for kids, it’s a very solid and easy game.     
 


15. Kirby Star Allies for Nintendo Switch!   
 

Spoiler

I feel like placing this below another Kirby game might get me some hate… Here I go. Let me start to say that I love the current Kirby game that came out. It’s not my favorite of the series, but I consider it to be really solid. A sage is seen breaking a heart star thing. The pieces of the star turn bad and crash around the nearby worlds, including Popstar. The pieces make anyone who comes into contact evil and more powerful. But, one of the pieces isn’t evil, and it falls onto Kirby. Kirby wakes up to find minions of Dedede running with food towards Dedede’s castle. Kirby runs to stop Dedede… But, there is a lot more to the story than what is told in the game.  It’s not as grand as the last three games in this sense, but I found it still decent and simple. 
 
 The game is beautiful, hands down. One of my favorite levels is an autumn hillside stage, and I was just dazzled with the accompanying music. The new music works well, and the old music fits perfectly. Kirby’s been on a roll with the soundtracks since RTD! But, the loading screens… they just did not need to be there. In fact, the loading screens have never existed until now. Also, Kirby moves remarkably slow on foot, and when too much stuff happens… yeesh, it’s not pretty with the frame rate drops.  
 
As for Kirby’s abilities, his new ones are Staff, which I think is better than Lance, Artist, which reminds me a lot of Adeleine from Crystal Shards (WHO ALONGSIDE RIBBON ARE NOW IN THE GAME), Festival, which is situational like Cook and Mike but is fun to use, and Spider, which I haven’t used as much as the rest. But, there are nods to past games. Like Return To Dream Land, there is co-op. Like Super Star and its remake, classic enemies become friends, but the way to turn them good in this game is to throw hearts at them. That is, if they have a power and have a heart on their head. And, like Crystal Shards, certain powers can combine to make better ones. But, unlike Crystal Shards… the combinations are restricted to certain weapons and abilities, and some of the combinations are only temporary. (I haven’t played Squeak Squad, so I didn’t know it took more inspiration from that.) Not to mention, some combinations are just basic, even if they hit hard. Suplex, Fight, and Beetle just throw people around, and I really wanted to hit enemies with my gloves of fire! I can’t do that! I wanted to see different elements react to Spider, but Spider is just a bounce mechanic! This blows! Plus, maybe it’s just me, but trying to get powers and friends is hard, because I confuse the power removal button with the throwing hearts button, and sometimes, my friends attack the enemy with the ally or power I need. I mean, the CPUs.  I also managed to swallow and copy my allies by mistake when I wanted a new power as Kirby. I haven’t seen too much of that in multiplayer yet.  
 
And, the collectibles and mini-games don’t compare to what the next Kirby game on my list did, in my opinion. Last, this Kirby game might be near Epic Yarn kinds of easy. I got at least 100 lives by the end of the game. I know Kirby games are supposed to be simple and easy, but with the number of stars and lives this game throws at the player, this game rewards the player a bit too much. Some people say it’s also because of the level design and obstacles… and they might be right there. I myself enjoy a good and variable number of places. I don’t take issue with this game’s stages as most people do. 
 
 As for the bonus content… there’s a lot. First are the Dream Friends, which are the different pals from Kirby’s detailed history, from King Dedede and Metaknight to Taranza and Susie. Some of the choice are really weird, like Dark Metaknight and Marx. Their moves play out like a combination of different abilities, and as of the last patch, there are even more moves. The moves themselves even have nods to the games they are in. Daroach will summon his Squeak Squad friends, while Gooey… I did say that some of these choices were strange. Not only that, but there’s a new mode called “Heroes In Another Dimension”, and a newer difficulty in The Ultimate Choice (the arena in this game). Heroes In Another Dimension takes place after the events of the story… has more challenging levels, and has even harder boss fights! And the new difficulty includes the newer bosses, and… and a harder final boss. The former rewards the player with a new character and the latter… is a really cool nod to Kirby itself.  
 
Despite a few problems, Kirby Star Allies is a great game, and I hope the next game tries to do better with one of my favorite video game characters. Thanks to a SECRET, there’s a hint that this might be the last Kirby of this style, but maybe thankfully not the last Kirby game. Still, this game is a must-buy for the Switch!  

 
  
14. Kirby: Planet Robobot for 3DS! 
 

Spoiler

Although I still haven’t finished Rainbow Curse, Plant Robobot… revived my faith in what experimental Kirby could do. A big spaceship crash-lands on Popstar, and drills the planet for resources (an environmental tale).  Kirby will stop the thing from destroying his world. The visuals are lovely, even if the “machine aspect” is taking over everything. The music and sound effects are perfect. 
 
 Kirby has three new abilities, Poison, ESP, and Doctor, which aren’t that useful compared to his other ones, and the controls at times are slippery, to me anyways. But, what makes up for it is Kirby’s new friend: the robot. Although it cannot fly as high as Kirby, it can copy abilities too, and it is stronger. But, the Kirby and robot sections are balanced, which is why this experimentation really works. The bosses are fair and challenging, too.  
 
Plus, if a player gets Kirby and Kirby’s friends amiibos, they unlock some older abilities with new costumes, and the two Kirby ones unlock Smash and UFO. I hate to say this, but this is my favorite Kirby game right now. Sorry, Star Allies, but you came darn close!  
 
(I deem this the best game of 2016! Boink!)  


 
13. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch! 
 

Spoiler

I've been a long time fan of the Smash Bros. series since Melee. Melee was fantastic, Brawl was decent, and the fourth games were amazing. Then, Ultimate became one of the biggest games they ever hyped. Mostly everything was coming back, plus more! I never played the demo or looked at any gameplay video because my excitement was real. I had to experience it for myself. I played it the day it came out, and... spent a lot of time on it. But, how does Ultimate fare against the rest?  
 
First, The World Of Light in my honest opinion is a lot better than the Subspace Emissary. There is a clear bad guy who is taking control over characters. Kirby's the only one who managed not to become a soulless puppet, so they go through many challenges to save allies and spirits. The map features different routes, spirits, enemies, and unlockable secrets, and it's mostly cloudy until a certain obstacle is defeated. Spirits in this game have different effects, like getting more physical attack, being immune to lava floors, and bonus stamina. The primary ones can become stronger by leveling up, and have one to three slots for secondary spirits. Both kinds of spirits can train at gyms and the like to learn different styles. Not only that, but exploring caves rewards players with loot and there are a few stores which house experience stuff and other spirits. The spirits also come in three different styles as well: attack, defense, and grab or whatever, and can give the fighter a disadvantage or advantage depending on the enemies' spirits. Some of the challenges can be easy, but there are a certain amount which are a pain in the neck. For the sake of my experience, I played on the normal difficulty. But, some challenges and even... bosses are annoying at times. They can be defeated, but some fighters use really cheap tricks to win at times. What I thought would take me about three hours... took about five. A good amount of fighters can be unlocked in this mode, as well as other things. The real final boss is possibly harder than Tabuu, but they're more satisfying to take down.  
 
The music and detail... is incredible. Smash has gotten better in terms of looking solid, and sounding solid. Most of the modes, like Smash and Classic Mode, have come back in style. Classic Mode now implements a new difficulty thing where the better the player plays, the difficulty increases. More stuff has been added, but the core controls still function as they should. If it sounds like I'm skipping a lot... well, it's because it's better to play and look for yourselves. With only the story to complain about at times, it's a solid game with more DLC coming down the road... like the last mysterious DLC fighter of the first wave!
 
If you’re wondering why I put this game ranks over Melee and Brawl... Then it’s the story and the gameplay. 
 
(I deem this the best game of 2018, the best content, base and expanded, the best soundtrack, and the best multiplayer of the 2010s! Boink!)  
 


12. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D for 3DS!!  
 

Spoiler

This is what happens when the Zelda team get crazy. In this game, Young Link is looking around and riding on Epona in the woods, when a Skull Kid with an odd mask and two fairies, Tatl and Tael, scares Epona, making Young Link fall off. Skull Kid looks inside the bag and claims the Ocarina of Time. When Link wakes up, Skull Kid takes off with Epona. Young Link pursues him, but falls down. When he wakes up, he finds the Skull Kid. Link has become a Skull Kid. Tatl stops Link from going near Skull Kid, who runs away with Tael. The door closes and Tatl needs Link’s help. They arrive at the Clock Tower, where Link meets the Happy Mask Salesman, who asks to bring back the mask the Skull Kid stole and the ocarina in order to turn him back to human. Tatl and Link look around Clock Town, and find the Skull Kid on top of the tower. Although the two go on top by the time, the Skull Kid is about to bring down the moon to destroy Termina. Tael cryptically tells them to awaken the Four Giants of Termina, and Link gets back the ocarina. Link plays the Song of Time to rewind to three days before, and the Happy Mask Salesman uses the Song of Healing to turn him back into a kid. The salesman reveals that the mask is pure evil, and they must retrieve it. Tatl and Link plan to go to four areas to awaken the giants so that they can stop the moon from falling down.  
 
Because this is another port for a N64 Zelda, the locations and characters look better, and because of the theme of impending doom, darker. And, who can forget the music?! The combat and ocarina mechanics are the same, but the masks set this game apart from the prequel. Some do certain things, while the Deku Scrub, Goron, and Zora masks transform Link. Link can spit bubbles and triple jump in water as the Deku Scrub, he can roll and punch as the Goron, and he can swim and shoot boomerangs as a Zora. To get most of the masks, Link must take part in several mini-quests. Some are easy to do, while others are hard. Some masks are more useful than others in certain scenarios. But, perhaps the best one is the Anju and Kafei one, which I won’t spoil. It’s one of the best remakes of a really great game! (Although the swimming is a lot worse!)  


 
11. Pokémon Gold , Silver, and Crystal for GBC!!
 

Spoiler

 

Pokémon peaked a lot during my childhood. Red, Blue, and Yellow were followed by true sequels. The game starts off two years later in the region of Johto. Professor Elm tasks the player to go into the world of Pokémon. He first asks them to go to Professor Oak, who has a surprise. There’s a kid looking through Elm’s window, but he ignores the main character. When they find Oak, he gives them an egg, and possibly a Pokédex, I think. Receiving a call from their Pokéwatch (another new element), the main character hear that someone stole a Pokémon from his lab! They encounter the kid from before, and they battle him. The kid drops his wallet, and the main character looks at it before he takes it back. They tell Elm who the guy is, and the police go to find him. The player later goes on to defeat the eight gym leaders as usual. The plot and story get even more crazy, but I’ll stop there.  
 
For Game Boy Color visuals, the presentation is great. The music is some of the best in the series. Listen to Raviolirod City, and see what I mean! The gameplay has grown, with berries, the split between special attack and special defense, eggs, night and day, held and items. There’s a lot more when the player progresses, but it’s maybe the best from the series, even if it seems a little harder! 

As for Crystal story is more interesting! Eusine interacting with Suicine is one of the best side missions of all time! 
 

 


10.Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch!!! 
 

Spoiler

I’m not a huge main series Mario fan. I’ve loved the racing and RPG games… well, most of the RPGs. But, I never beat any of the NES classics (until later), Super Mario World (until later), the 64 original (until later) and its remake, the New Super Mario series, the Super Mario Land games (the second until later), the Super Mario Galaxy games, and Super Mario 3D World. I beat Super Mario 3D Land, but I thought it was average. And, lest I talk about Sunshine, the better. (I beat that relunctantly.) Usually, I’d just stop playing each game for a while, because I had other stuff to do and play. However, something was different about Odyssey. 
 
 The story starts off as Bowser kidnaps Peach, and Mario comes to rescue her. It’s basically standard for main series Mario. But, the beginning starts off with Mario fighting Bowser on his ship already. When Mario might have a chance to save Peach, Bowser’s new hat sends Mario flying away. Mario lands in a new world, and befriends his newest companion, Cappy, a sentient hat-ghost creature. Bowser stole Cappy’s sister, a tiara, and gave it to Princess Peach. Yes, Bowser forces Peach to marry him, and goes so far to do a lot of things in this story to prepare for his wedding. But, Bowser’s not alone, as he has wedding planners called the Broodals, four rabbit-like creatures. That’s as much as I will spoil, as the plot thickens. For a main series Mario game goes, it’s much better than what the normal games tend to do. Sure, the Land and Sunshine games are different in their own ways, and I haven’t played the Galaxy games to say if they are as well, but this game goes further into the lengths Bowser will go to make Peach his. Never have I wondered what will happen next in a main series Mario game until now. 
 
 The game is absolutely beautiful. Mario travels to several worlds, some bigger than others. One is a vast desert which has a pyramid and oasis, while another is a city inhabited by Sims and has plenty of skyscrapers. Since I never fully played another main series Mario game as far as this game, I couldn’t say if the worlds are better than the worlds in other games. The soundtrack is incredible too, and is some of the best in the series. “Jump Up, Superstar”, the theme, will go down as one of the best in video gaming. 
 
 Mario’s controls are nearly-perfect. He can do the jumps from 64 and a lot more, like rolling into a ball like Sonic. Sometimes, my jumps weren’t on point, but I think that’s probably on my end, as everyone else so far has no problem with it. The camera works nearly-perfect as well, as I’ve struggled with the camera a few times, even though it’s fully controllable this time around. It’s not as obnoxious as other 3D Mario games, though. The game-changer is Cappy. Not only does he help make some jumps and other actions bearable, but once Mario throws him into different life forms and objects, Mario possesses and captures them. This is the highlight of the game, as many of the collectables, Power Moons, need Mario to possess a variety of things. And, there is variety. The first thing Mario possesses is a frog, which can jump really high. As a bit of a warning for anyone who wants to play and buy this, not everything and every creature can be possessed, and some creatures have hats which act as a “barrier” to possession until Mario knocks it off. Minor spoilers. I won’t go into what Mario can possess, as I won’t ruin the fun for anyone. But, the capture gameplay is impressive and perhaps Mario’s greatest technique to date. It’s perhaps better than his usual power-up system, FLUDD, Luma, and the Yoshis. (But, the Yoshis can never be replaced.)  
 
The collectables, Power Moons, are essential for moving the plot forward, even though not all of them are required to beat the game.  Still, not only are there many ways to get each moon, but there are a LOT of them. Power Stars from 64 got nothing on the number of Power Moons in this game, even if some of the Moons are really easy to get. But, don’t think the tests will be that easy, as some of them require real mental strength. One of the challenges? I’ll spoil it: jump-rope 100 times in a continuous manner, while the act of the ropes moving becomes faster. It took me a while, because the matter of pressing the jump button in such a fashion needs to be straight-on perfect. It was so intense, that I held my Pro controller in different ways, and I even used both the Joy-Con and Pro controllers with HD rumble on to make sure each jump was precise. That was maybe the longest and most simple challenge to complete. The developers somehow made the act of jump-roping harder than it actually looks like. And, to be honest, this is one of the few times where I want to collect everything in the game.  Still, there is a catch. There are so many Power Moons, and some of the worlds are really big, that it sometimes became really hard to locate some that aren’t in plain sight. Luckily, the game provides two ways to get hints in the game. (If that doesn’t work, luckily some YouTubers have already found out where they are. But, I don’t mind, as I know that there is still some challenge along the way.)  
 
And even though I won’t spoil anything, the ending and the post-game are jaw-dropping amazing. The game has a few flaws, I’ll admit, but this, with the game that’s number two on my list, are worth owning. The DLC looks great too, even though I haven’t played the game in a while. Yes, it owes some of its magic to Banjo-Kazooie, but I think this game does most of the elements better.  
 
(I deem this the most fun game I’ve played of the 2010s, the most beautiful and audio stunning of the 2010s, the best controls and difficulty of the 2010s, this the best game of 2017, and the best platformer and sandbox game of all time! Boink!) 


 
9. Fire Emblem Awakening for 3DS!!! 
 

Spoiler

This is a love letter to newer and older Fire Emblem fans. It is one of the most essential RPGs IN recent history and of all time. Everything is phenomenal, even if the story might be its weakest point!     
 
(I deem this the best game of 2013, and the best strategy RPG of all time! Boink!)   


 
8. Persona 5… and Persona 5 Royal for PS4!!! 
 

Spoiler

 

When Joker was announced for Smash DLC, I planned on buying this game. I’m somewhat of an RPG guy, so I wanted to ask myself would it be great as people made it out to be. And the answer is… yes.     

 

Before the player plays the game, they are given a very flashy cutscene. It gets around to the main characters and how weird and strange their world is. The game starts out with a heist, as the leader of the team, the avatar/Joker, is leaving the scene of the crime. He tries to escape, but is soon ambushed by the police. Hours later, he is sent into an interrogation room, where he has been drugged. A prosecutor tries to get the whole story from the leader of the Phantom Thieves, but he lost a good amount of his memory. He begins to recall what has happened up to the moment of his arrest. In media res, or the middle of affairs. The avatar is sent to another city and is put on probation because he pushed a person, even though he saved a woman’s life. Things get a little rockier, as he and another high school student, Ryuji, are transported to a castle. They are immediately sent to prison, and are planned to be executed by Kamoshida, or rather his shadow. But, the avatar releases his persona, and the two exit the area. They meet up with and break out Mona, a cat-like creature. The two students escape the place, but are late to class. After a few days of trying to exploit Kamoshida’s actions (as he is a former Olympian and current volleyball coach and abuses his students), finding Mona in the real world as a cat, and talking to Ann, one of the avatar’s classmates, tragedy strikes. A friend of Ann’s attempts suicide, and although the avatar stops Ryuji from punching Kamoshida, as he has a bad history with the coach, Kamoshida decides to expel the two from school. This is especially bad for the avatar, as they’re still under probation. For a year. So, how will they get out of this mess? They will infiltrate the palace, find the room holding Kamoshida’s treasure (the manifestation of a person’s desires) and take it, so that he will have a change of heart. They have a set amount of time before the deadline. If they do not take the treasure by then, it’s GAME OVER. The game goes further beyond that, as it tackles corruption, friendship, free will, and acceptance. Sure, there are some stupid moments in it, but it never tackled my enjoyment of the game.  
 
 First, I must say that the music is perfect for every situation a song is used, and the style and look of the game is incredible and maybe goes for a comic book style. It’s perhaps the best presentation-wise. Go look at the opening cutscene for example. It is one of the best opening cinematics. EVER. As for the gameplay… there’s a lot to get through, but the game naturally tells the player what they will/should/and might do. Even the combat changes things up, and I never thought guns would ever work in an RPG. That’s all I have to say, because it would take me a page or more to explain everything.  
 
But, the game is worth the price and another playthrough, as I finished my second playthrough. It can be hard and cheap at times, but everything from beginning to end is wonderful. There’s DLC that comes from the last few Persona games, like some previous Personas such as Apollo from Persona 3! 
 
(I deem this the best plot, best artistic design, the best original soundtrack, and best boss design of the 2010s! Boink!)  
 
But, that’s not all! I was curious how or if the Royal version could top that. To my surprise... yes.  

 

The Royal edition adds in a few more confidants (people Joker can socialize with) and another semester. It also expands on a certain important confidant, made a great improvement on the script in a few ways, and adds a good amount of lovely portraits.  

 

I love the music of the original game, and many of the new songs in Royal aren't half-bad. But, I don't really like the new ambush and opening cinematic music. Sorry, but Last Surprise and Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There can NEVER be replaced. Sure, Last Surprise still plays normally, but ambushing is a huge part of the game. Don't get me wrong, I will forever love the soundtrack, flaws and all. ... Oh, and the game still looks fabulous.  

 

There are wonderful improvements to the gameplay too. First is the addition of the grappling hook. Its effectiveness is dungeon-exploration deviation and a more effective ambush. Ambushing enemies with the hook also rewards status ailments on enemies. When an enemy or party member is hurt really badly, there will be a prompt to saw “SHOWTIME!”, which involved two characters doing wacky stuff in an odd scenario, where a Shadow is always the victim. The first with Mona and Ann is priceless. Next, after leveling up a confidant, some will call Joker. The answer Joker gives will give more confidant points, which are necessary to get to the next level. Some confidants have new rewards and revisions, making certain rewards faster to get. Joker can now read books in the Cafe Leblanc, after getting rid of the customers. New shadows, attacks, equipment, and items have also been added. You can talk to Caroline and Justine, the helpers to Igor, outside of the Velvet Room. Taking them to different places rewards Joker with skill cards. Speaking about skills, abilities have also been added, which boost many effects of many Personas. A few new locations have also been added, and one is the location of the new confidants and a few new great shops, hang-out areas, and a shrine. Go to that big new city as much as possible, I say with all seriousness. Because of it, the Baton Pass has a bigger buff in battles. Mementos, the most grindy and one of the blandest dungeons in the game, has gotten a bigger overhaul. Not only are there new deviations, but a new character named Jose is collecting stamps and flowers. Joker can find the flowers in Mementos, and can trade them for a various amount of items. As for the stamps, in return for giving them to Jose, he can affect the money, items, and EXP gained in Mementos. If one doesn't like the choices they made, Jose can reset the outcome by being given flowers. Each Palace also have Will Seeds. Collect all three, and they will fuse into a crystal. Give the crystal to Jose, so that he can make powerful accessories. Last is the Velvet Room. After challenging many opponents in the Palaces and Mementos, a siren will go off. The siren will affect the outcome of the Persona fusions and power ups. However, doing too much during the siren time will eventually cause a failure. One can also take part of challenge battles, and the battles against Minato and Yu from Persona 3 & 4 are DLC. They're hard, but they reward one with many rewards. There's more DLC to enjoy too, such as costumes. There might be other noticeable changes to the gameplay that I forgot about, but this expanded version has done so much wonderfully.  

 

The last greatest bonus is the Thieves Den. One can look at different statues, movies, events, music, art, and even play cards. It's a big thank you for the fans. 

 

Persona 5 Royal evoked a lot of emotions like the base game did, but they came out more powerful. To appreciate my love for the game, I'll forever hold the steelcase versions of both Persona 5 and Royal. To that, I say... thank you Persona 5 Royal.
 
(I deem Persona 5 Royal the best expanded game of all time! Boink!) 

 


 
7. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for DS!!!   
  

Spoiler

Although it’s simple, I will defend Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney as one of my top twenty games. The story starts off with Phoenix Wright defending Larry Butz, his best friend since he was little, for a murder he didn’t commit. He has his mentor Mia Fey by his side, and together they will solve what happened and try to get a Not Guilty verdict for Larry. The story gets so huge and epic, that I will end it there. 
 
 The graphics were ported from the GBA version from Japan, so no complaint there. The music is some of the most iconic in video games, and SHOUTING “OBJECTION” IN THE MIC IS AWESOME! The main focus is to press witness statements to get info, and use evidence to object to one of their statements if there’s a contradiction. Later, investigating becomes important, as Phoenix looks for clues to help his case, and talk to people on what happened and their involvement and alibis. The touch screen becomes important, because even though it’s not used heavily on the first few, the last bonus case focuses heavily on it. 
 
It’s a great game that stands tall after about fifteen years in Japan, and I’m glad they did HD remakes for the first three games. Thanks to my brother, it’s actually one of my favorite series to date. TAKE. THAT! 
 


6. Chrono Trigger for Wii
 

Spoiler

 

It's about time that I have finally sit down and defeated one of the greatest RPGs of all time. I'm not joking: Chrono Trigger is one of the most timeless games ever. Not only does it share some gameplay elements  
 
the next destination nor had a detailed map where each setpiece was. Chrono Trigger may not be perfect, but it's still a great game.  

Some bosses were challenging, and the last one was especially annoying to work with until my team grinded up to level 60. But, when the last boss was defeated, this is where the game truly shines: New Game + and other endings. Chrono Trigger has over 10 endings, and I'm okay where I'm at because I'm good with the ending I got. Chrono Trigger is simply magnificent and pure.  
 
(I deem this the best retro game I’ve played in the 2010s, and has the best NG+!! Boink!)  

 

 

5. Resident Evil 2 Remake for PS4 
 

Spoiler

I played RE0, the REmake, and Resident Evil 3 in preparation of this game and to know what transpired beforehand. I thought RE0 and RE3 were mediocre, but praised Resident Evil in some aspects. Still, I also heard that this game borrowed the over-the-top-shoulder camera from Resident Evil 4, the gunpowder mechanic from Resident Evil 3, and the REngine from Resident Evil 7. Could this remake be just as scary as the original, or possibly even scarier?  
 
The game stars Claire Redfield, sister of S.T.A.R.S. member Chris Redfield, and Leon S. Kennedy, a Raccoon City Police Department officer on the first day of his job, as they unexpectedly meet and head to Raccoon City. Although the city of full of zombies, Claire is searching for Chris, while Leon is searching for survivors. A truck rams into the car they're in, and even though they make it out alive, they're separated by an immediate explosion. The two promise to find each other at the police station not far from them. What starts as a rescue turns into an ominous and bizarre night. Claire helps a little girl named Sherry escape, while Leon tries to find the truth behind the whole mess with the assistance of the mysterious Ada Wong, who claims to be an F.B.I. agent. The story might have taken some notes from the first Resident Evil, but the city is a lot bigger than a mansion, and although the city is a lot more explorable in Resident Evil 3, there are few places unique to Resident Evil 2, the Underground Parking Lot and the Sewers. Plus, the cast of Leon, Claire, Sherry, and Ada separate themselves very well from the S.T.A.R.S. group too.  
 
The music is just as suspenseful as always, and even though there are moments where the contrast of colors seems to murky the sets, this game is really beautifully and a lot more vibrant compared to the other games I've played. The voice acting, like the REmake, is just as good and authentic. 
 
 Now, this is where the game shines the most: the gameplay. Unlike the other games, the two characters get scenarios. The first character a player chooses is the main story, while the other one is a parallel story. Both characters not only have access to different items and weapons, but different entrances, rooms, and locations. It's not like going through the whole mansion as either character in Resident Evil 1, and because of this small change, Resident Evil 2 is one of the most highly replayable games in the series. Leon and Claire don't have any pros and cons compared to Chris and Jill, but they have different moments in their own stories.  
 
The only few I can recall that make a true return are the variety of items and different assortment of guns, defensive weapons, and ammo, puzzles, typewriters and item boxes, and the ZOMBIES! The map is even a combination of 0's and the REmake's item layout system. But, there are a couple of things that make Resident Evil 2 and the remake stand out. First, while inside the police station, a player has the option to barricade some windows with wood. If they don't... more zombies will come later. It's like the lighter fluid in the REmake in that regard. There are a good variety of unique creatures as well, like the Lickers, and even though the boss count is rather poor in comparison to the other games, the bosses themselves, Mr. X and G... are really tough. I was so afraid of Mr. X and his boots, that I turned the volume on mute to calm myself. Mr. X leaves a huge impression as a villain because of his size, his appearance, the sounds his boots make, and his stone-cold face.  
 
But, there's more to this remake! The camera is free-roaming, compared to the fixed angles of yesteryear, and the controls, like the REmake, don't have to be tank in design! Still, the game's scary even without restrictions! Even though item management is still a thing, the process of collecting, using, combining, and examining items has been significantly improved, because hip pouches increase the amount of slots in the inventory screen... and there are no load times. That goes especially for opening doors! And, I think the puzzles are probably the best to date, AND even though backtracking is still a thing because of that key system it borrowed from Resident Evil (or the remake), it's not as bad as the others games because there are NO LOAD TIMES. In the other modes that aren't hardcore, saving is unlimited. The regular zombies don't fall down after one shot to the head and they are capable of opening doors, even MR. X! Yes, Mr. X is a boss, but like Nemesis in 3, he's capable of going to many places where one least expects it. He's also a Tyrant, one of the most formidable creatures in the series. Unlike Resident Evil, I felt a lot more compelled to play through both characters because not only are there the differences in each story, but also because beating both campaigns unlocks the final boss encounter and the true ending. There are other modes to play with too, but like Resident Evil 3's Mercenaries mode, I'm not too hardcore. There are bonus collectibles as well, like models and costumes. There is paid DLC as well, like the original soundtrack, but I didn't bother.  
 
(As of this update, I bought the soundtrack and the unlockables. It might be cheating, but shooting infinite rockets at Mr. X was really fun. And it was the only way I can get an S rank on Assisted mode.)
 
 So, even though it borrows from other games in the series, it looks a little washed out at times, and it's a little bit unfair at times, those points don't detract from how wonderful this remake is. This game, along with the 3 remake, 4 and 7 (both of which I haven't played yet), are probably the most accessible games in the series to date. I'm not a true fan of the survival-horror genre, but that doesn't mean I cannot appreciate the care that this game got after a long time. I highly recommend RE2make, and if this long review doesn't convince you, watch the LPs of this game..  SERIOUSLY, GO- *gets neck bitten*.    

  
 
4. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door for GCN! 
 

Spoiler

Highly regarded as one of the best RPGs of all time, this game is THAT good. It starts with Mario and Peach taking a vacation to Rogueport. There, Peach gets kidnapped by Grodus and his minions, who want to use Peach to resurrect the Shadow Queen. Paper Mario needs to obtain seven crystals to open The Thousand Year Door, so that he can save Peach. Peach, although stuck, is able to do stuff on her own for a little bit, and Bowser, hearing the news that someone else kidnapped her, rushes to get revenge and tries to kidnap her too. Along the way, the player recruits a Goomba researcher, a ghost that’s an actress, and even a nameless Yoshi that likes to fight. What this game really got right is the relationships between characters and the writing. 
 
 The music is some of the most iconic in the spinoff series, and there are many locations to remember. The style felt like a realistic-cartoonish combination. It’s one of the stranger games out there. And, there’s a certain character that turns Mario into paper things, like a plane or a boat. I love those transformations!
 
The combat is great. Paper Mario can attack, the partners can attack, they can use items, and they can run away.  Timing is also important for each move the player does. The audience can in on the fun as well, and the scenery can do some interesting stuff as well. It’s just like watching a show, which is also emphasized by the curtains during the starts and ends of each chapter. Badges also make a fun return.  
 
There’s a lot of enjoyment from this game.  Although the series fell down after this game, still, I still think the devs will one day bring back what made Paper Mario fun. … Or make Color Splash. Bleh.   
 
(This is the best RPG of all time!)


 
3. Spyro: Year Of The Dragon (3) for PS4 
  

Spoiler

 

As for Spyro 3, before the PS2 games and SKYLANDERS RUINED my favorite mascot, Spyro was my main platformer guy before I finally welcomed Mario. He wasn’t a Crash or a Mario. He was Spyro.

 

 About two decades ago, I defeated the original Spyro 3. I put it on my Top 100 because I thought it was really great back then. But, it's been twenty years, and I've grown a little bit as a gamer. Has the new Reignited take on my cherished games changed it for the better... or for the worse? 
 
 The story begins with all of the dragons sleeping in the meadows with the new dragon eggs. A rabbit/bunny girl named Bianca and her henchmen the Rhynocs steal all of the eggs and go back into their holes. But, as Bianca is about to leave, she trips on Hunter's tail, alarming everyone in sight. Bianca enters one of the holes and reports to her leader, The Sorceress, who tells her to make sure no one rescues the dragon eggs on her watch. Zoe, a fairy from the last game, informs the dragons where the eggs currently are. One of the dragons says that the location is The Forgotten Realm, where the dragons used to live. Because of the holes' size, Spyro... and Hunter... are the only ones able to retrieve the eggs. Although The Sorceress is no Ripto, not only does Spyro have to save the inhabitants of each world, but he has to find more of his kin before The Sorceress uses them for power. It's like a combination of 1 and 2's objectives. 
 
 I'll say it once more, the Spyro trilogy has really great presentation and music. And I've always loved most of the Spyro 3 soundtrack in particular. The cutscenes for each entrances and exits are gone, but there are still story cutscenes and moments. Most of them revolve around Bianca's relationships to The Sorceress, Spyro, and Hunter, the last who... uh... Spyro's still the hero, but the third game is mostly about Bianca's growth as a character. Compared to the last game, I appreciated some of the new begins a bit more. Bianca is cute, The Sorceress is still as weird, Sgt. Byrd and Bentley are adorable, and Agent 9 is wacky as ever. I'm "eh" to Sheila, though. It's about an 80% ratio this time around, with some of the points last time still here. 
 
 But, like before, what's new? Spyro still has the abilities he acquired in the last game, so to make Moneybags still relevant, Spyro has to pay for certain roadblocks and... the animal buddies. Sheila can kick and pounce, Sgt. Byrd can fly and shoot rockets, Bentley can bash and repel projectiles, and Agent 9 can shoot. Some might say that the variety of the characters should be focused more on quantity, but each character still has platforming mechanics. All of them have different objectives which are either straight-forward or complicated for the sake of an egg, and everyone can jump. Sheila would be close to Mario's style (basic punches and kicking), Bentley to Donkey Kong (hard and heavy hitter), and Sgt. Byrd and Agent 9 to Mega Man (using different weapons to dispose of objects and enemies). Their inclusion expands on movement in 3D, rather than detriments. Dragon eggs are easily collected by going to the end of a stage or looking around and by completing certain missions. It's like how one gets stuff in the last two games. Newer missions are now racing on tracks (with the usual time trials) and controlling Sparx in a top-down shooter. Again, more stuff that enhances replayability. The one thing that is obviously 90s and dated are the skateboard races and time trials. Doing tricks is either hit and miss in this game, and skateboarding is not as cool or hip as it was back then. Still, that's one of my few pet peeves in this game. I think it's middle of the road for difficulty. Some enemies are trickier to defeat, but others still go down way too easy. But, the bosses have definitely stepped up their game. I have yet to get a game over, even though I have less lives than I did at the end of Spyro 2. I personally had fonder memories and excitement for Spyro 3 over Spyro 2, even though I have said that Spyro 2 is not horrible.  
 
The Reignited version launched Spyro 3’s original placement a lot farther than where the original version used to be. I love Spyro, and even though he’s not the best platform mascot, I stuck with the PlayStation over the Nintendo 64 because of Spyro. (And maybe because of Crash, but my mind seems to be a blank there… and the GameBoy was my first Nintendo console, so guess what other mascot I value a bit more OVER Mario?! KIRBY!)

 


 
2.  THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LINK AWAKENING REMAKE FOR THE NINTENDO SWITCH... and thoughts! 
 

Spoiler

 

21 years. It's been 21 years or so years since I first played Link's Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color. It was one of the first memories I had of being a casual gamer, and I'll never forget playing it when I went to the beach all those years ago. It, alongside the first Pokemon games, were my first steps into what would become one of my things I have done over the years. Play video games.    


But, back then, the adventure was kind of scary for eight-year -old me. I never properly finished it. Jump to around 2010-2011. It was on the 3DS Virtual Shop for around 10 bucks. So, I bought the game, and treaded old ground. This time, I was more prepared, and I was able to battle the NIGHTMARES that once haunted me as a kid. I was able to travel through the world known as Koholint with a brand-new pair of eyes. I preserved, and never gave up like I did in my past. Once I finally beat the game, I felt the power of joy, relief, and happiness. To finally have a victory over that game was amazing! I love Link’s Awakening.    


To this day, Link's Awakening DX is one of my top ten. Why should it drop down, when I have a clear bias and nostalgia for this game?! I know there were a few things wrong with it, but I didn't mind. I love the game to death.   


So, skip to an early Nintendo Direct 2019. I think it was the last video... when it showed the remake for the Nintendo Switch! I didn't like the art style at first, but over time grew to love it. It was a game I loved, and now it was getting a remake! I was shocked and floored to see it happen. Many people think A Link To The Past should've gotten one. I didn't care. Not in a million years did I think this would happen!
I waited, and heard news of the Special Edition. Bought that sucker early on eBay. Too bad the things were never sold inside the United States, and it cost a lot. But, I didn't mind. The game was so so much for me.  


When the day finally arrived... it didn't come. The heck?! I tried to get in contact with the seller. None. Turns out... I was fooled. It was a ghost. They robbed me of my money. A lot of drama soon came following this. I eventually got a refund, and got a cheaper Special Edition that had another item. I waited. I waited. I waited. And then it FINALLY came.

 
 I checked out everything else before I checked game. The additional stuff, including the art book, made me feel teary-eyed. Things that were old were now fresh again.   


And, then... I played. The opening cutscene played out. I was my eight-year-old self again. THIS... IS LINK'S AWAKENING FOR THE NINTENDO SWITCH!  


Link's Awakening takes place sometime after the events of A Link To The Past. Link is on a raft, when a storm tries to take his life. He clings onto the raft as much as possible, but a bolt of lightning catches him off guard. A girl, named Marin, catches him unconscious on the beach of Koholint. Koholint, where Link's new adventure begins. Link wakes up, and Marin tells him that she doesn't know Zelda, he's on this island, and that she found his shield lying next to his body. Link treks to the beach, and eventually finds his sword. An owl tells Link that in order to return to Hyrule, he'll need to defeat the nightmares, find all of the siren instruments, and wake the Wind Fish. With his trusty sword and shield in hand, Link goes on a new journey. As this was the precursor to the other games like Majora's Mask that didn't have Zelda, it was new at the time not to have the usual Zelda story trope. But, as this was my first game, I didn't know about that, and didn't care. As long as a game has a good story, I'm always good to play the game I have.  


Do I need to repeat how cute this game is? The people, creatures, and enemies are incredible to look at. Although it does kind of make the bad guys look weaker and less dangerous in comparison, they still behave like they did in the original game. Some creatures from Mario invade Koholint, even the ANTI-KIRBY! Sure, the fogginess of the game is kind of jarring, and the game's speed is incredibly slow, but I kind of semi-excused the former as a stylistic choice (maybe it wan't intentional), and there were never too many moments where i needed to rush anything for the latter (except for Eagle Tower shenanigans). There are those who won't like what I say, and that's fair. I appreciate the difference. In most other games, that kind of speed is unforgivable for an action-packed game. I also love the new art directions for the places and dungeons, and it makes them feel even newer. 


Most of the music turns up the 10 to YES! I love the overworld theme and Tal Tal Heights theme a lot. It wasn't easy to make the shift regarding the new instrumentation, but I soon grew to love it. And, there are some of Game Boy sounds in some tunes. Still, there are some songs that have gotten worse. Animal Village, anyone? With all that said, however, the game tries to be as close to its roots as possible in regards to story, the art design, and such. And even the sound effects feel just as fun. Link does a little tap dance before he dashes and I love it.  


The gameplay itself has gotten a noticeable overhaul. The power bracelet, pegasus shoes, sword, and shield now have different corresponding buttons, and don't need to be swapped in and out like the Roc's Feather or Hookshot. Speaking of which, does the jumping arc feel more refined in this version, or is it just me? Attacking in multiple directions is a lot more fun in a top down setting. The flow of Link dashing feels clunky when he changes directions, since he has to tap dance every time, and that really killed my time with one of the latter mid-bosses. The game has a lot more heart pieces, so dying should not be a big problem this time around.  


Still, dying was barely an issue in this game. With the amount of stuff to do, I was able to take on the last boss and defeat them with 1/2 health left. Most of the mini-bosses and bosses can go down real easy, with the right weapon. I think the hardest before the last boss was definitely clown in a jar. And most of the puzzles are simple to solve. I think either the Face Dungeon or Eagle Tower is the worst culprit of being way too confusing. I think the routes to the fourth and seventh dungeons and the means to enter were a little bit confusing as well, but that's much about it for navigation.   


Not only does the game have more heart pieces, but more secret seashells. The seashells give Link a better sword, but I just used the regular sword for fun. Plus, thanks to a trade sequence, I got the boomerang once more. It may not be as useful as before, but the boomerang packs a punch. Bottles also appear (three instead of the usual four now), and fairies can be used to gain health, but they're not life-savers as usual. One would have to get medicine or a witch's potion to make it work. The Color Dungeon from the DX version has come back with the blue and red garbs, and I chose blue wisely. This version doesn't have the Game Boy picture feature, but it does have some photos. The one thing most people have mixed feelings about is Dampe's House dungeon creator. It's like Super Mario Maker... but it only uses dungeon room layouts from all nine dungeons. It's just barebones here, but a Super Zelda Maker would make this concept work. Plus, one would have to buy the certain Link amiibo to share the dungeons. ... I bought the amiibo anyways as a huge fan of the game to begin with. I just stuck with the main story overall.   


My time with the Link's Awakening remake has been mostly positive. Except for some odd music choices, the dashing, how fairies work in this game, and Dampe's House, I loved the changes that were instrumental in making this a better game. The game might be short... about 8-9 hours short, might seem a bit easy, and might not warrant full price, but as an avid fan of Link's Awakening... I didn't care that I spent a lot on the Special Edition. This remake is a lot more important for my gaming history, for thinking of the good old days, and how much the industry and myself have grown up since then. This trip started from my childhood and as of this review reached what seems like my peak of adulthood. Sure, it's not the best Zelda game in my opinion, but it's a game I'll go back a lot more than the other Zeldas nowadays. Link's Awakening... Awakened that childhood spirit once more, and I'll always be thankful for that.     


Someone might be wondering how this list could be any better? Weeeeeell…   


(I deem this my favorite remake of all time! Boink!) 

 

 

1.    Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow for GB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1
 
This is the start to my adventure into video gaming. When I was eight, I got the original Red version. Instead of going over why this game is a masterpiece, I’ll tell you all a story. When I was a kid, I used to camp in this certain forest during the summer. I distinctly remember my possible first time in Viridian Forest while I was walking on this concrete road or whatever... It’s been twenty years since then, and my love for video games hasn’t stopped any time soon. Sure, there are a good amount of issues with it, but I won’t lie: for introducing me to a whole new community and world, I thank the first generation of Poke’mon for making that happen to me. 
 
Thank you for hearing me out on this!

 

And as a bonus…  

 

XLW’s 10 Top Least Favorite Games! 
 
These games suck, and I will tell you why!  
 
10 and 9.9. Mega Man 4 and 5 (MMLC) for Switch 
 
4’s just boooooooooooooooooooooring! The only amusement I got were some of the music pieces, the prologue, Eddie, and Skull Man and Pharaoh Man. Sad, because I think this is a sharp drop in quality compared to 1, 2, and 3. 
 
And boring fits 5 too. Proto Man kidnaped Dr. Light and has made eight new robot masters. Stop him. Man, this is getting old. Gravity Man and Star Man are the only ones with their stages I care about, the music and graphics are decent, and the weapons are somehow worse as well. The difficulty is fine, but trying to get the collectibles is something I did not look forward too. Mega Man 5, along with 4, don't contribute too much for the series. When compared to 1-3, 4 and 5 are just the lame intermissions for the real stars.   

 

As for 6… it’s definitely better, but it’s sadly off my list now due to some heavy competition now. 
 

9. Paper Mario Sticker Star for 3DS! 
 
I now realize how terrible it is. Still, that does not mean Super Paper Mario is free from criticism! 
  
8. Crash Bash for PS!
 
Crash did a good job with kart racing, but he sucked at trying to rip off Mario Party! 
 
7. Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam for Wii! 
 
Tony Hawk was about the tricks and so on. Why a downhill race?!
 
6. Band Hero for Wii!
 
The only reason why I still have it is Mr. Roboto. Most of the songs are dated 2000s pop crud.
 
5. Yoshi’s New Island for 3DS!!
 
Skip! 

 

4. Pokémon Conquest for DS!!
 
By the time this came out, Black and White 2 was out! SKIP! 

 

3. DBZ Buu’s Fury for GBA!!!
 
It was hard when I first played it! One of the worst times DBZ went RPG! (DBZ Kakarot… was kind of decent. Don’t buy that full price, though.)

 

2. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events for GCN!!!
 
I… liked the movie. It’s a guilty pleasure. But, this was horrible! 
 
2. DBZUT for PS3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
I will not say its name, because it sullied the name of the Tenkaichi franchise! I hate the combat, the music, the graphics. I hate everything about it. The Kinect game was worse. Only things going for that were Bardock’s SS transformation and the cutscenes. But, we got that in other games. Hurrah.            
 
But, wait, there’s more now!
 
XLW’s Top 10 Games That He Wants to Eventually Beat and/or Wants to Play:  
 
10. God of War for PS3. 
 
I like Roman and Greek stuff. Maybe it was the blood and hack-and-slash elements that made me reconsider not playing it. Maybe Halloween. 
 
9. Ni No Kune for PS3.
 
I like the person who did the art style, so, why has it been under my radar? Maybe for Halloween. This or Skies of Arcadia: Legends. Or Earthbound. Or FF XII. Or Illusion of Gaia. Or two Tales games. Or Golden Sun… Or Dragon Quest XIS. Maybe this should’ve been certain RPGs.)
 
8. Kingdom Hearts II for PS4.
 
I started playing it on and off… I don’t know what makes me turn away from it. I liked Kingdom Hearts and some things from Re:Chain.   

 

7. Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land for 3DS and Super Mario Galaxy for Nintendo Switch. And some RPG spinoffs.
 
Kind of cheating, the former is one on my portable to beat lists, and I heard amazing things about Super Mario Galaxy, even though Odyssey probably blows it away with gameplay. I played a few of the classic Mario titles a while ago, and SMM2 is out, so they will likely be under my radar for some time. … Oh, and I’ve been here and there with Super Mario RPG and the Bowser’s Inside Story Remake. Though, that’s not without hesitation. looks at *SPM* 

 

6. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for PS4
  
Maybe during November. I associate survival stuff with Survivor Series, which happens in November. I kind of liked the recent movie.

 

5. Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS

I have heard that Samus Returns might be the hardest and most polarizing of the Metroid series, but I defeated both Metroid: Zero Mission and Super Metroid. 

 

4. Cave Story for Nintendo Switch. 
  
I remembered liking the game for the 3DS. Why haven’t I beaten it? 
 
3.    Ducktales Remastered for WiiU.  
Maybe it was Shovel Knight that I haven’t gotten into the game for some time. But, it is a solid platformer.
 
2.    Metal Gear Solid 3 for PS2 
I kind of appreciate the first game, but we all know what the true masterpiece is! (And I’ll throw in Death Stranding maybe. The gameplay is weird… but the story is okay.) 

 

1. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker for WiiU, Oracle of Seasons for 3DS, and Skyward Sword for Wii. And Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch. 
 
There have been a good amount of Zelda games I need to finish, but never fully defeated. These are the Zelda games I really want to finish and are the remaining ones I have yet to beat.  
  
And finally… 
 
Top 10 games that XLW refuses to finish nor play.
 
10. Metal Gear Solid 2 for PS2
 
From what I know, it’s because of Raiden that most people turned away from this game. Since I’ve seen reviews and such about the story, I don’t care about playing it. MGS 3, however…

 

9. Final Fantasy II, VIII, XI, and XIII  
 
II has some horrible power mechanic, VIII is a wannabe VII, XI is an outdated MMORPG, and XIII… the less I say, the better. 

 

8. Xenoblade Chronicles X for WiiU
 
I was wrong to think that this would be a proper sequel to a great game. It’s the antithesis to the first game, with the mechs and the realistic setting. 

 

7. Resident Evil 5 and 6 for PS3
 
It was because of 7 that things are getting back on track. Resident Evil is about the scares, not the action and quick-time sequences. Other franchises do that better anyways.  
 
6. Mortal Kombat vs. DC for PS3.
 
pushes MKvDC away. 

 

5.    The Game Gear Sonic games, most of the Sonic spinoffs, Sonic Adventure, Shadow The Hedgehog, Sonic ’06, Storybook Sonic games, and Sonic Unleashed  
 
Sonic has had a turbulent ride. He’s not the only one with bad and mediocre games, but he’s the most inconsistent. 

 

4.    Castlevania: Simon’s Quest 
It’s the polar opposite of Castlevania, which is an okay game. 

 

3.    Metroid: Other M and Federation Force 
 Other M is a horrible game, and nobody was on board with Metroid: Four Swords Adventure. 

 

2. Starfox Adventures for GCN
 
Make Starfox similar to Zelda. What was Rare thinking?! 

 

1.    Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts for XBOX360
 
It killed off a fun franchise. You could say that for a lot of franchises these days, but this one hurt the most.  

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