Tag Archives: greatest games

Level One – Super Mario Odyssey

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 80/100Title: Super Mario Odyssey
Developer:Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
Original Platform: Nintendo Switch
Year: 2017

Thanks to the large number of decade best of lists Released at the end of 2019, there has been some interesting movements happening in PlayThatGame. Ultimately, three games I’ve played fell out and have been replaced with two games I have yet to play and Super Mario Odyssey. 

Now, I finished off Super Mario Odyssey a few years ago and, since I did the same when Overwatch entered, I figured that it was only fair I made a post about it. After all, this is a game that was a total joy to complete… and I haven’t played a list game for months thanks to my Sunday’s being taken up by a mixture of cooking food countries and making my way through back episodes of Infinite Challenge.

I know there is a recency effect here but, personally, I think Super Mario Odyssey might be my second favourite Mario platformer after the first Super Mario Galaxy. There were times where I thought Odyssey might just be able to tip the scales, but the story of Rosalina in Galaxy gave such an emotional core to the game that I never found in any other Mario game.

In terms of most of the gameplay, there isn’t much to say here that hasn’t been said in my write-ups of Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Super Mario 64. The big thing here is Mario has gone semi-open world with the more traditional platforming levels being strewn about larger areas. It has that similarity with Super Mario Sunshine, except that the gimmick of the hat and the variety in the settings makes Odyssey a whole lot better.


Level One – Punch-Out!!

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 82/100Title: Punch-Out!!
Developer: Nintendo
Original Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1987

Thanks to a mixture of time swallowed by making my own recipe book, the world cookery challenge and the extended campaign of Red Dead Redemption 2 there just has not been a lot of time leftover for me to get to this gaming list. Kinda aggravating really seeing how close I am getting towards finishing it off (even if games have shuffled around quite a bit since I wrote up Silent Hill 2), but I am going to try and make more time for this. Even if I still have yet to finish the Red Dead Redemption 2 story mode.

Before playing this properly, I knew of Punch-Out!! from two main sources – a minigame in WarioWare and from Little Mac being part of the Super Smash Bros roster. I figured, somewhat incorrectly that Punch-Out!! was a straight-up boxing sports game with colourful opponents and with Mario as the referee. I was happy to be proven wrong on this as that really doesn’t sound like the makings of a Top 100 game of all time.

The thing I found really cool about Punch-Out!! is that it plays like a hybrid of a boxing, puzzle and rhythm game. Each player has a particular set of quirks that you need to work out and then exploit with (sometimes precision) timing and good choice in jab. This means some characters are just plain irritating (like Don Flamenco) whereas other (like King Hippo) give such a sense of achievement when you get the trick and timing down perfectly.

This isn’t a game where you end up spending an awful lot of time on due to the limited number of opponents and the lack of depth, but it was still a interesting way to kill some hours on a Sunday afternoon whilst you wait for the appropriate time to make dinner.

Level One – Silent Hill 2

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 81/100Title: Silent Hill 2
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Original Platform: Playstation 2
Year: 2001

It’s been established on this blog for quite some time now that I do not have the nerves to play a survival horror game. In the past I’ve tried games like Resident Evil 4 and the original Silent Hill – only to end up frozen in place because I couldn’t quite push myself enough to move forward. So, since I can’t play this myself, I had my husband act as a surrogate as well as watching a Let’s Play in order to understand why Silent Hill is so revered.

In what might be a first for me, I am so angry at my own nerves for not letting me play this game. Having seen this being played (and still jumping despite not being in control) I have to say that this is easily the best survival horror I have ever seen. Hell, I watched a four hour quick playthrough of it on YouTube and was gripped pretty much the entire time.

Let’s start with what Silent Hill 2 has in common with its predecessor. The setting is still the fictional U.S. lake resort town of Silent Hill which is semi-open world, albeit with linear game progression. In place of a mini-map you have maps to collect (that can only be originally read if you have enough light) and a radio that bleeds static if a monster is near. I really love the radio static radar as it helps to build the mood without making things too jump-scary or too easy.

Similarly Silent Hill 2 takes place both in our world and the hellish Otherworld – with both iterations of the fictional town being influenced by the psychology of the main character. Now, where in the original Silent Hill this was quite well done, in Silent Hill 2 this is amazingly done. It makes me wish that I didn’t necessarily know all the reveals and all the twists of the storyline before starting on this. Whilst knowing things does take the sting out the big reveal, it’s so well done and so well lamp-shaded that I could still appreciate it with all the spoilers.

Something else I really appreciated was the riddles system. For the most part they’re not too difficult, but for the most part puzzles like the music boxes and the clock hands help add to the ambience. Especially as to get the pieces together to solve the puzzles you have to explore and, at times, force your character to stick his hand into things that are revolting. You also get some solutions that are a bit twisted but make sense – like how you fish the key out of the shower drain.

It’s also impossible not to talk about this game with heaping praise onto the monsters. Monsters like Pyramid Head, the Mannequins and Abstract Daddy are, on their own, grotesque and (especially in the case of Pyramid Head) iconic. However, the psychology behind them – which only becomes clear when you either finish the game or do some prior reading – is so well done.

So yes, it’s a shame that this is a game that I wasn’t able to stomach but I’m glad that I was still able to appreciate it in my own way. This is not the last survival horror I’ll have to find a workaround for, but I hope that with this repeated exposure I might be able to play one at some point in the future.

Level One – Overwatch

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 80/100Title: Overwatch
Developer: Blizzard
Original Platforms: PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One
Year: 2016

Here we are with the second of the new entries to the Top 100, which happens to be a game that I was borderline addicted to for nearly two years. This game is the reason why I pay my Playstation Plus membership and one of the reasons why the video games list had some pretty substantial gaps in the last two years. So, let’s talk about Overwatch.

During my formative gaming years I invested some serious hours in all three entries of the Timesplitters franchise – especially Timesplitters 2. I wasn’t playing them for the story (I only played that in order to get more characters), but to play the multiplayer modes against bots. If I was younger (had a better PC growing up and wasn’t slightly hesitant about online multiplayer) I might have put similar hours into Team Fortress 2. 

Overwatch is a game that has been able to scratch all those itches that Timesplitters used to satisfy and as well as a number of others that League of Legends would have dealt with if not for the more abusive users that ended up putting me off. In the end, I’m not a player who is good enough (or wants to put in the obsessive hours to become good enough) for ranking matches, so I just spend hours playing the arcade modes and trying out a bunch of different characters.

It is these characters, in terms of their skill variation and personalities, that really sets it apart from other shooters like it. It shares a bit of this in common with Team Fortress 2, but on a much larger scale. As with most online multiplayer games like this, where there is a team element you end up finding an area you enjoy playing – for me that was support with my favourite characters being healers Zenyatta and Mercy.

It’s a bit weird writing this up after playing it for so long. You see, after two years of regular play I have found myself no longer feeling the need to play it, but we’re talking hundreds and hundreds of hours here where I would play it a few evenings each week. Since they’re still introducing new characters and modes I’ll probably get back to it eventually, but I have Red Dead Redemption 2 and Super Smash Bros Ultimate to play right now – both of which are worth a lot more attention before I put them down.

Level One – Mario Kart 8

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 79/100Title: Mario Kart 8
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Original Platform: Wii U
Year: 2014

In the update I made at the end of 2018 for Play That Game there were two new entries in the Top 100 that I have already played: Mario Kart 8 and Overwatch. Whilst I could have just crossed them off and added to the tally, these were both games that I love so much that I wanted to refresh my memory before officially crossing them off.

As of this update, Mario Kart 8 is the third of three Mario Kart entries within the Top 100 (Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 being the other two) and, now this might be recency bias talking here, I think it’s the best of the three. Maybe even the best Mario Kart game ever, although I will always have a soft spot for all the hours I played on Mario Kart Wii in my teenage bedroom.

The big change in Mario Kart 8 is the introduction of anti-gravity racing, which opened up a whole new swathe of track possibilities. It just feels that with every iteration of this series Nintendo find ways to refine and improve on the systems. It makes you wonder what they’ll do for the eventual follow-up, but with Mario Kart 8‘s Switch edition only being released in mid-2017 I doubt we’ll be getting a follow-up for a very long time.

I’ll be getting around to writing up Overwatch in the near future, but that’s going to have to wait until after Christmas and even then it might be delayed if I get Super Smash Bros Ultimate as a present.

Level One – Final Fantasy VII

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 78/100Title: Final Fantasy VII
Developer: Square
Original Platform: Sony Playstation
Year: 1997

As a self-identifying gamer, it has always been a bit crap that I hadn’t played Final Fantasy VII or ever had my own copy. I’ve waited a while to remedy this because of the ever-impending remake that is on the cards. However, whilst playing Horizon: Zero Dawn, I had a thought. I want to play Final Fantasy VII as close to the original as possible and this remake was altering so much of it that, for some, it could be considered a new game. So I bought a copy on PSN and have been playing it for the last two months.

Considering that I spent a long time on this game I think it’s fair to say that my opinion of this game has drastically altered since my brief try 5-6 years ago. I don’t think it helped that, back then, I didn’t get out of the first area – so I didn’t get to see the summons system, meet most of the playable character or get to see the large open(ish) world.

It’s not that this game didn’t have any issues for me. For one thing, as much as I loved the materia system – where you can level up and swap around magic/skill orbs – the way to swap them between characters was tedious. Especially when, for story reasons, everyone’s materia was all mixed up and you had to re-assign everything (damn it Yuffie!).

There were also some towns (like the beach one) and some minigames (like the snowboarding) that really distracted from what was otherwise an excellent and cohesive world. Sure there was some tonal whiplash, but for the most part it was handled with aplomb… apart from the snowboarding bit which really shouldn’t not have happened so close to the games bit emotional sequence (which would have been more shocking had I played it 12 years ago).

On the flip side, the variety in this game is startling – not quite up there with what they did in Final Fantasy VIbut not too far off what you got in later games like Final Fantasy X-2. Whilst I ended up settling on a party of Cloud, Red XIII and Barret because of their Limit Breaks – for most of the game I rotated through 4 characters and enjoyed experimenting with different tactics and combinations. I mean, I only dropped Cait Sith (a giant remote controlled plush toy) because his big ability can go wrong and insta-kill the party… which I found out during a boss battle.

The story lines this this game are also, on the whole, excellent. Whilst I was annoyed at Yuffie for messing with my materia – it was fun playing her side-quest storylines and getting a massive water dragon as a prize. Similarly, where I began the game really being annoyed with Cloud as being another moody pointy-haired protagonist, you really do start to care about him as a main character. Sure there are times where he is a bit generic in a JRPG way, but man has he been through the wringer.

I would also like to get into the, now kinda retro, environmental and genetic engineering messages within the game – but I can see the word count increasing at a stupidly quick pace and I have work in the morning. Needless to say, Shinra and Sephiroth are fantastic and timeless villains and how they work them into the mythology and message of the game was pretty damned cool.

So whilst I still think Final Fantasies VI and X are better on the whole, I am definitely turned around on VII. Would I have completed this if it wasn’t for the extra buttons that were added on the PSN release and had to really grind my way up? Honestly, I cannot tell but I am glad that I could enjoy the game for the story, combat and variety rather than getting annoyed about mining frogs for experience points.

Level One – Mega Man II

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 77/100Title: Mega Man II
Developer: Capcom
Original Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1988

It’s been nearly 4 months since I last posted about crossing off a new video game for this list – the excellent Diablo II – and since my playthrough of Final Fantasy VII is taking a while (and I sunk a lot of time into Horizon: Zero Dawn) I thought it would be a good idea for me to at least cross off one of the shorter remaining games.

For the purposes of this post I was lucky enough to have a husband who bought some Mega Man collections for the Switch, which meant I was able to play it without having to dominate the TV. Also, this collection comes with a ‘rewind button’, which helps to circumvent the high difficulty level of this game.

There is no way I can overstate the difficulty of Mega Man 2 compared to the likes of Super Mario Bros 3. This is one of those games where you can take a few steps in a given direction and die instantly. I’m guessing that Mega Man 2 is the 1980s robot-based platformer version of Dark Souls? Or is that too weird a comparison to make.

Difficulty level aside, the thing that makes this game really fun to play are all the power-ups that you get by beating the various bosses along the way. It’s cool how, at the beginning, you can choose the order that you complete the 8 bosses – which makes the first part of the game somewhat tactical… as long as you know which powers are given by each boss.

The powers themselves really do add to the tactical aspect of the game, tactics you need to work out on the fly in between instakills and prolonged boss battles. In the end I tended to over-rely on the throwing buzz-saw blades and making projectile leaf shields.

Ultimately I really enjoyed playing through Mega Man 2, but know that I would not have had the patience to do so if the rewind button was not available. It makes me wonder why this game (or any game in this franchise) was not included in the 1001 video games list. At least it made it on the Play That Game list.

Level One – Minecraft

As part of the New Year’s 2018 update of PlayThatGame’s list, one of the games I’ve played fell out of the Top 100… so the numbers have been adjusted from here on out.

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 76/100Title: Minecraft
Developer: Mojang
Original Platform: PC
Year: 2011

Right so I originally crossed this off of the video games list back in 2014, but I probably spent a few hours playing this (whilst listening to the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast) and figured that was enough. However, after a recent(ish) visit to the in-laws my hub and I decided it would be worth us setting up our own Minecraft server and giving it a proper go in co-op mod.

Given my ever present fear of zombies, we decided that we would play it on peaceful mode. However, we wanted to still play it properly so we set it to Adventure Mode rather than Sandbox. So this means we don’t get attacked by random creatures, but we also have to craft and mine like with a regular game.

And so an addiction has been born. So far we’ve built bridges, houses and watch towers together. We’ve farmed spruce trees, sugar, wheat and obsidian (unsuccessfully). We’ve died a number of times falling into ravines and lava as well as off of one of my watch towers. So many times we have stayed up a bit too late on a weeknight as we try and finish off our latest construction project or mining attempt.

We’re still in the middle of making a mansion (although I have already completed a rather nice looking stable for our two riding horses) and I can how this may be one of those games (much like Skyrim) where we end up doing a lot of hours just wandering around to see what we can see. After all, I still haven’t seen an ice or a dessert biome (although I have been lucky to see the mushroom forest).

I really love this game.

Level One – Diablo II

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 78/100Title: Diablo II
Developer: Blizzard North
Original Platform: PC
Year: 2000

After a bit of a failed start to playing Baldur’s Gate (I pretty much fell asleep… which happens I guess) it took me a long time to think about what game to play next. Especially since I already spend a lot of time on Overwatch and have only just finished playing L.A. Noire. The deciding factor for Diablo II was that it would be a fun game to explore with the husband.

As I write this I am a long way from completely finishing Diablo II. It’s like Final Fantasy VI in that it’ll take me 30-50 hours to finish the game and, after a decent amount of playtime, you can just say that you’ve played it. I guess this is a long way of saying that Diablo II is a game where I am going to continue playing this for a while because, as expected, Blizzard know what they are doing.

Directly following the storyline of the first game, Diablo II starts as the evil being from the first game re-animates and continues his plan to enslave humanity. Your goal, therefore, is to defeat this evil as you kill monsters, complete quests and level up your character.

For my playthrough I went for the Amazon (who is a mix between a typical rogue and ranger character class) because of my love of playing characters with ranged attacks. The husband went for a paladin so that we had someone who could barrel in as I picked off enemies with my arrows (which are currently both poisonous and have the ability to give lightning damage).

Like in Overwatch everything in the game is balanced well and, at least so far, the difficultly curve is the right amount of shallow so that you aren’t overwhelmed too quickly (although that might be more the setting we picked). I’m also loving the variety in enemy types and level construction. Sure the quests are the typical kill this, rescue that, but the randomly generated item system helps to make each quest feel different enough to be engaging.

Usually an isometric point-and-click hack-and-slash game wouldn’t be my cup of tea, but there is something in Diablo II that helps to make it incredibly enjoyable and accessible. Once I finish this game properly, I think it’ll be time for me to have another go at Baldur’s Gate – maybe when I’m not exhausted after a long week at work.

As things currently stand I won’t have to play either Diablo or Diablo III unless I make the decision to expand my games list to a Top 250. Considering that I am only 22 games away from completing the Top 100… I guess I’ll need to think on that decision in a few years.

Level One – The Walking Dead

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 77/100Title: The Walking Dead
Developer: Telltale Games
Original Platform: PC,Playstation 3 and Xbox 360
Year: 2012

When producing the Play That Game list I have tried to ensure that this particular entry on the list is reserved for ranking of only the first season of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. So, for my blog, I have played through the first season of this episodic adventure game.

The Walking Dead for two reasons: my extreme jumpiness at survival horror games and my weird phobia of zombies. Having this be described as a graphic adventure-survival horror game made me think that this would be a game that would keep making me jump, but I don’t think that I jumped once – mainly because jump scares is not what this game is about.

This game is really more about presenting a character driven narrative with quick time events, some puzzles and interesting choice-based mechanics. The zombies and the imminent threat of attack is important to this game, because that’s the world, but it’s how this game deals with the psychology and inter-personal relationships that made me keep playing this. I also enjoyed the graphic novel style graphics, which have inspired some great feats of cosplay.

For The Walking Dead you take on the role of Lee as he tries to survive in the brave new world of zombie attacks and act as guardian to 8-year-old Clementine. Over the course of the game you team up with other survivors (including, at one point, Glenn from the comics/TV series) as you try to find a way to escape from this hell that you find yourself in.

What’s truly excellent is how so many of your decisions have an impact. Things from the first episode can influence the final actions of your character in the final episode. Characters remember your dialogue choices and it will change how certain scenarios play out down the line. Of course some things (like deaths) are unavoidable, but such is life.

The incredibly well done thing about this game is how much you end up caring for these characters. Lee, Clementine, Christa, Omid and Molly are all complex and well realised people who you want to see survive this ordeal. Kenny is also a good character, but there are times you want to shake him.

The Walking Dead really is a game worth recommending. Even if you have not read the comic or are not a fan of the TV show, it has a lot to offer a gamer who loves a good story.