My Top 10 Video Games
Games appeal to me the most when their stories tell better tales than books. So think of this list as the best books I’ve ever had the honour of living in. (I tried to keep it in order but after the 3rd one, there were too many games that couldn’t be compared or put on a scale). Anyhoo:
Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New world
Its the 2nd of the two Symphonia games and, not gonna lie, there’s some sentimental value for me on this one. But I stand by the thought that anyone who loves a good fantasy story (or who loves a good story and doesn’t mind the fantasy) would love this game. I’d never known true story telling until I played this masterpiece; never known true world-building either. Typically, in fantasy stories, the characters aren’t necessarily that relatable. I don’t know what it’s like to save a princess or to stop an evil overlord from destroying a world, but I do know what loneliness feels like, and sacrifice—choosing what’s right over what you want, being the odd one out, and, dare I say, ROMANCE.
Tales games in general know how to attack you in the feels, but this one happened to be the one that knew how to emotionally resonate with me. It also probably plays a major part in why my imagination might seem as endless as it is. This game is a gorgeous, rollercoaster of adventure that I wish got the recognition it deserves.
P.S. You don’t have to be into anime to enjoy this game. Picture it like a more emotion-driven version of final fantasy games. (And with better story, in my opinion)
Naruto Storm 3
(I’m biased, I know)
The only reason this isn’t my first favourite game is because it’s my favourite anime and has an unfair advantage. It’s really not a game that everyone will enjoy, unless you’ve watched or read or played the other Naruto games. But all I’ll say... is I have never known the fear of walking in the e.x.c.r.u.c.i.a.t.i.n.g.l.y. slow shoes of a blissful pregnant woman, until this.
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. As @D_Reaper mentioned, the aesthetic of this game is just an international treasure and boy do they make it fun to steal treasure. This game is every artist’s dream. It’s art on art on art. The soundtrack has music producers wiping tears from their eyes. The animation is too detailed for words, the story— *chokes up*. This entire game is so impossibly perfect and flawless and [chef’s kiss] that I feel unqualified to even talk about it; to even begin to try and capture its beauty in my mere mortal words. There. Aren’t. Enough. Words. To express how breathtaking and phenomenal this game truly is.
Tales of Xillia 1 and 2
More Tales games = more feels. So many feels, so many dynamic characters. So many cool map locations. Such unique, interweaving plotlines! Collectively, these games have made me scream out loud more times than I could count. The 1st game has two main characters, which means you get to play it twice with different perspectives (similar to Nier Automata).
The second game has a Choices-Matter system, and we all know how PAINFUL. Choices-Matter games can be! If you don’t know what those are like, picture reading a book or watching a movie where the character’s wellbeing relies solely on how properly you can make a choice in a designated amount of time.
I kid you not, in one of these two games they casually throw in an optional side plot at you that gives you about as much storytelling shock-value as some marvel movies. EXCEPT IT’S A SIDE PLOT!!!
Xillia is a true adventure game through and through. There are experiences from these games that I cannot un-see or un-feel or ever forget, and if I had my own copy, I would be replaying it right now.
Kingdom Hearts 2
(Haven’t played 3 yet, but it will probably be on this list once I do)
This review is mainly for those who don’t know what Kingdom Hearts is, because I think in the gaming community, it’s pretty self-explanatory. But basically:
Kingdom Hearts is the ultimately Disney movie. The magic of Disney is this game. As in, if you like Mickey Mouse, and Stitch and Tinker Bell and Jack Sparrow and Disney characters on a whole, you will get to see, and talk, and fight with and against them all in this game. They are true, authentic versions of their movie selves. As in, for the most part, the same voice actors you know and love from Disney movies are in this game. As in, please. Play. This game. And when I say this game, I mean all of them.
There’s a fine line between hilarious fun and psychological trauma apparently, who knew?
Detroit Become Human
If Detroit was a book, it would be the type to make you race words to turn pages like three lives depended on it.
Choices have never mattered more.
I did not come out unscathed, nor do I know of anyone who has—on their first playthrough anyway. And if you have the heart for it, then this game practically begs for you to suffer through more than one playthrough. The story follows three very different android individuals who have all given me very different types of intense stress! I didn’t even know there were different types of stress.
It got to the point where, during this one scene, I had to pause the game and call my non-gamer, IRL, mom—at work—and ask her what to do (she was also fairly invested in this game). Despite all this, it’s stress I don’t regret.
Out of all of my top 10, this game would probably appeal to non-gamers the most. And if you’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, then you’ll have someone to look forward to.
Speaks for itself.
(Also Spider-Man is my favourite superhero so I’m biased)
Life is Strange
Another game that left a mark. Choices matter here too, except this game doesn’t often rush you to make a decision, because it doesn’t have to. THEIR CHOICES ARE HARD!!!!! There’s a beautifully calming (and misleading) Lo-Fi soundtrack to accompany you on your tough journey through the authentic, post-secondary, art student experience. Did I mention you have powers?
I’m not exactly sure if this one belongs in my top 10 but it made a very lasting impact for such an underrated game. You play as an adorable cat child in a dying world. Your job: to deliver a Sun, as the chosen one. But it is not. By any means. Your typical ‘chosen one’ story. There’s really no preparing for what this game has in store. And what happens in OneShot doesn’t stay in OneShot.
Keep in mind I chose my top 10 based on story, so let’s not get offended as I share my Honorable Mentions (based on general experience and fun):
Smash Bros! Jet Set Radio Future, Nier Automata, The Last Guardian, Tales of Abyss, Persona 4, Phoenix Wright games, Danganronpa games, Genshin Impact, Tales of Vesperia, Tales of the Borderlands, Final Fantasy 4 and 7, Dust an Elysian Tail, Deemo, and Osu!