Out of the countless hours on multiple platforms I have dumped into hundreds of games, I’ve attempted to figure out what my top 10 favorite games of all time are. This list was extremely hard to make since I have been playing since a very young age, but after putting some serious thought into it, I believe I have come to a decision. Note, this will vary as time goes on, but here are my all-time favorite games.
My decisions for this were based on two factors: how I rate the game and how it affected me personally. The games I have picked are ones that I have played multiple times and left me thinking about them for days after I have beaten them.
10. Alien Isolation
The Alien franchise has always been one of my favorites growing up, and I had been long waiting for a great game to come to life given the disaster that was Colonial Marines. Alien Isolation blew all of my expectations out of the water when it was released in 2014. I loved every anxiety-inducing, heart-racing moment that I experienced as I survived through this game.
As I played Amanda Ripley, I not only got to enjoy an incredible narrative as I tried to find out beloved mother Ellen, but I also felt as if I were placed in the movies with how accurate the Nostromo was portrayed compared to the movies. All the sounds, the walking joes, the technology, and even the Alien onboard felt spot-on per the cannon universe. The gameplay was just as exciting and did a great job at creating stressful situations and submerging players into a feeling of actual life or death. Hiding in lockers, crawling through vents, the paranoia in constantly checking the motion tracker while trying to not draw the Alien’s attention due to the noise, all of it provided such a great immersive experience for the game. I cannot express how great the Alien was designed with the learning AI and how it changed per difficulty. This game meant so much to me not only as a fan but also due to the incredible design.
9. NieR (Replicant and Gestalt)
NieR had two versions come out, Gestalt and Replicant. Both games are completely the same aside from Gestalt featuring NieR as the father to Yonah, whereas, in Replicant, NieR is Yonah’s brother. The game also acts as the fifth installment to the Drakengard series. This game had such a good impact on me due to how amazing the story is and how unique the main characters were.
With the planet being left in a decaying state due to the events from the first game of Drakengard, you follow NieR’s tale of trying to save his sister/daughter depending on which version fits your preference. Yonah gains a horrible illness known as the black scrawl which is said to be incurable. You set out on a mission to find the impossible cure and fight the plight of monsters that came with this plague. During the journey, players will find great allies along the way to aid your cause and overcome their personal issues. The game’s incredible story allows you to feel such a strong bond with your allies and the urgency of trying to save the person you love most in this world. Kaine, Weiss, and Emil were all such great allies that have experienced loss in this world with heartbreaking interactions and dialogue.
Furthermore, I loved how well the ruins of each city were designed and portrayed as well as the incredible soundtrack for the game. You feel the devastation brought upon each location, and you feel the hardships the natives experienced trying to survive the plight and get by each day. This game stuck with me so much after the story, and it is such a great series in general for those who love a strong narrative and old-school hack and slash gameplay.
Words cannot do justice in expressing the love I have for this game. Sekiro can be described as a masterpiece birthed by the beautiful gods of FromSoftware and Activision. It is a recent addition to my top 10 list because, aside from the amazing and stylistic kick-ass shinobi gameplay with your sword and ninja tools, it actually tells a very thrilling and emotional tale.
I loved playing Wolf’s narrative as he tries to protect his lord, a young boy named Kuro, and fights with his code as he takes revenge on a samurai clan. The shadow from his father haunts him to stay his course and keep his honor, but his father ends up becoming one of his greatest enemies corrupted by the lust for the Dragon Heritage. Wolf overcomes many hardships on his mission and finds so much love in protecting Kuro. Furthermore, playing as Wolf is very fun combat-wise, not only due to the cool combos and ninjutsu techniques, but also the awesome prosthetic tools that come in clutch when fighting. Firecrackers, flame vent, and especially mist raven felt like god savers in the worst situations. Not to mention, it felt so cool grappling into the sunset and bathing in my enemy’s blood from awesome stealth kill animations.
Finally, I loved exploring the land of Ashina, not only because there were so many different secrets and paths to take, but I also felt plunged into Japan during the 17th century after the Sengoku period. Devastation and Havoc plagued these lands with collapsed temples, shrines, villages, and burnt down encampments all from Ashina trying to seize control over these lands. I found excitement discovering the different Area bosses placed in each area whether is the ruins of Ashina outskirts, Senpou Temple, or even Sunken Valley. While the smaller bosses felt a bit redundant at times being generals, headless, and samurai, the main bosses felt unique in design and all brutal skill checks.
7. Persona 5
Persona 5 is one of the deepest and most emotional experiences I have had in gaming. I struggled for a while deciding whether I loved 4 or 5 more, and I still struggle choosing between them in all honesty. While the franchise has been known to hit dark areas of people and their corruption, I felt this entry to the series provided a stronger bond for the player.
My favorite part of this game was the story and relationships built along the way. Playing as Joker was an unforgettable journey, and it became an emotional roller coaster as he changed the hearts of everyone. The bonds created with Ryuji, Anne, Morgana, and the rest of the gang are some of the most touching relationships in gaming history. This is one of the few games where I felt such strong connections to the main character and his team. Joker and Ryuji seem to form a great unbreakable friendship as they work to fight his anxiety from leaving the track team. The optional romantic relationship formed with Anne felt as if it were meant to be as Joker crushes the walls of mistrust around her and brings her to find a family with the team. Saving Futaba as she tried to avenge her mother’s death and fought her fear of leaving her room felt like such an incredible story arc. Every character felt so incredibly designed and eccentric that you could tell Atlus cared so much for this game.
Hours were spent in the amount of side content Persona 5 has from quests to grinding endlessly in the Momentos. I loved how far the Momentos went and how it progressed with the story, all of the side quests, and I enjoyed the quests pertaining to companions to deepen the relationship with Joker. Everyone had a unique story to follow and provided bonuses for combat. The game felt so intricate and fun, and it stuck with me to this day as one of the best JRPGs I have ever played.
6. Devil May Cry 4 (Special Edition)
I know many DMC fans will ask how 3 is not my favorite entry, and I will most likely get roasted for it. However, not only was 4 the second DMC game that I played, but Nero is actually my favorite character and childhood crush. The special edition just made it ten times better especially getting to play as Lady, Trish, and Vergil.
First and foremost, I loved the story and all of it’s goofy puns and banter while stylishly slaughtering demons and overall assholes. Nero felt so edgy and relatable compared to good old uncle Dante and daddy Vergil. I love the mountains he overcomes between his inner demon and trying to save the love of his life Kyrie. Not to mention, every insult Nero throws is just as fire as Dante’s banter. The series seems to be building up to being Nero’s story just as much as Dante’s, and it’s been left in great hands.
The combat and music made everything feel SAVAGE. I loved the fluidity of Nero and Dante’s combat, though at times Nero’s grab felt a bit busted. The combat for Trish and Lady in the special edition was also enjoyable, and though many people disliked Lady’s campy playstyle there were actually a lot of fun combos you could pull off with her.
5. Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 is one of the best games to ever exist and it is part of one of the most iconic franchises in gaming history. Never have I played a game that has caused me so much anxiety, stress, happiness, heartbreak, and regret in one playthrough. I could talk about this game for hours, but I am here to quickly summarize why this game is in my top ten.
Mass Effect 2 featured all of the best companions throughout the series and the most heartbreaking struggles. Not only do your favorite people carry over if they survived (NOT ASHLEY), like your best friends Garrus and Wrex, the terrifying snuggle bear, but you also get to build new relationships with the new recruits Thane and Jack. They all come with awesome storylines to follow to build your loyalty as well.
The story featured so many stressful scenarios and heartbreak depending on your choices and how far you built your loyalty. The suicide mission was the most depressing yet legendary mission that made a staple for every species survival against the reapers and, if you did not use a guide, ended up the most devastating. This game left such a huge impact on my heart and had me thinking about my choices for hours during my first play-through. I’ve never played such a game, let alone franchise, where an entire species could go extinct from me picking the wrong answer.
4. Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Geralt of Rivia, my secret bae, has stolen my heart yet again in this legitimately perfect game. I already am a die-hard Witcher fan due to reading the books, playing the games, and watching the new addicting Netflix series. However, this game broke new boundaries for gaming and deserved all 251 awards it received.
My favorite part about the game was how beautifully accurate the world is portrayed, including monster and character designs. Huge does not even give the size of the map justice, and I lost months of my life delving deep into every nook and cranny of the world to find new items from gear to crafting items. I loved discovering every new hidden area with secret monsters to kill and the time it takes to prep for each battle with potions and signs for plotting your offensive. The towns, forests, and plains were also all breathtaking paired with a fantastic soundtrack which also happened to win an award.
Side quests took just as long as normal quests, giving just as thrilling of a tale and leaving strong impacts on the players. Every side quest left you remembering different characters and their situation such as the Bloody Baron, or even the goofy Ronvid of Small Marsh. This game set a new bar in terms of side missions, and shows that not everything needs to be a simple fetch quest.
3. Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Some might be surprised I did not pick 1 or 2, but many have also missed out on this gem of a game. This entry sheds light on the past for how Sora and Riku found themselves with such power. We also get to meet some of the original Keyblade wielders, such as my favorite all-time character Terra.
Terra, Aqua, and Ventus are some of the most down to Earth students that show the struggles of trying to become a master. This game allows you to play through each of their perspectives on how they tried to fight the darkness and Xehanort. Aqua struggles to be a good leader and save Ventus and Terra from horrible fates, but she falls into the darkness doing so. Terra struggles with the darkness inside him, and tries to do good but leaves destruction in his path. Ventus is so innocent but is the key to something greater and horrible. I loved that everyone played such an important role and led to the events that we have in the first two games.
Birth By Sleep helped to answer so many questions in this ongoing convoluted plotline. It helped shed light on Xehanort and who he was, how Sora is a vessel, where the heartless came from, and even why Riku did not get the Keyblade. The fates and outcomes were always sad, the adventure was well worth it, and it was such a good story.
2. Dark Souls
This beautifully, brutal, and unplaytested beast is one of the best experiences in gaming that I have ever been through. There was a lot of crying considering this was the first souls game I had ever put my hands on, and my friend made a bet with me that I could not beat it. However, through all the tears and screams, this game made me the gamer I am today. I would not have become as good as I am at video games, and that is the truth.
No other souls game has left me feeling as accomplished as this first one made me feel. Maybe it was because of how janky some of the bosses are, but, through all of the trials I experienced, I felt such a sense of happiness and confidence as I progressed through the game. Every area left so many possibilities and secrets that I could not wait to overcome. Finding all the covenants, killing all of the greatest bosses, and uncovering the story filled me with such wonder and wanting more and more from the game. I will always remember killing Ornstein and Smough solo because I did not know you could summon help until after the game; there were so many tears.
I love the story of Dark souls so much, mostly because it leaves you with a sense of curiosity and the fact you need to listen to the dialogue and find items to truthfully uncover it. Learning about the time of the Ancients and about the first flame felt magical. Finding remnants of the war between Gwynn and the dragons and the turmoil Kathe brought to the war-torn people of Oolacile provided such a powerful tale to be told.
1. Final Fantasy 4
Final Fantasy 4 is my all-time favorite game and a lot of people have wondered why. This game had not only very balanced gameplay but, in my opinion, it also tells the best story in the franchise. Not to mention, it has three of my favorite characters in the franchise, which are Kain, Rydia, and Edge.
Cecil is one of the best protagonists of all of the Final Fantasy heroes. He overcomes what he feels is the darkness that resides in himself and, despite all odds, becomes a paladin. Kain, his best friend, redeems himself after falling under hypnotism and working with the evil sorcerer Golbez who is also controlling the king Baron. What I love most about this story is that it feels true to itself. There is no angst and bitterness in Cecil or Golbez, or even Kain. It felt like a real fantasy story with men fighting for what they really believed in. Each character had such good development like Rydia, a girl who lost her mother and came back as a powerful summoner to help destroy Zemus. Even Golbez, the long-lost brother of Cecil, overcame his possession and fought back against Zemus in an effort to redeem himself like Kain did. The story came to show that we all have a battle with ourselves, but we can come out better for it in the end.
I loved that this entry did not feel as exploitable as the others, and it actually felt incredibly balanced. Every boss required a good strategy, but it was not so far out of reach that it became frustrating. Grinding was relaxing and did not take an overbearing amount of time nor was it too quick. Both the Overworld and Underworld were fun to explore in order to find required items and material, as well as great summons. Overall I have never loved a game as much as I have Final Fantasy 4, let alone the franchise. This game is one I often find myself playing over and over again, and it has had a great impact on my life.
These titles almost made the list, but fell short.
- Silent Hill 2
- Fire Emblem: Awakening
- Dark Souls 3
- Ghost of Tsushima
- Persona 4
These were my top 10 favorite games. Let me know what yours are and your opinions. I know my list is rather odd, but its mine to have!
Veteran gamer, tech nerd, comic addict, anime lover, and just your average introverted weeb.