50. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Oblivion was the first Elder Scrolls game I played, and I was immediately taken by the deep RPG elements, from leveling to crafting to the many different styles of combat. The thing that turned me off from it the most, though, was the completely open world. I know that seems weird to say, especially now when every game that comes out BOASTS of an open world, but back then I guess I was looking for something a little more structured. And the fact that you could essentially cheat to level up a large amount of your skills took some of the fun away as well. But all in all, Oblivion was a game that was ahead of it’s time, and had a great story to boot.
49. inFamous 2
I didn’t care for the first inFamous game, and I know that I was in the minority on that. But something just didn’t click for me. I love superheroes, so the setup of the game should have been right up my alley. But I just didn’t have fun traversing around the city and I hated how cheap the enemies could be. So, I honestly surprised myself by being interested in the second game, but I’m glad I went out on a limb. While it still had it’s flaws, inFamous 2 fixed a lot of the problems from the original and had a much better story, along with the addition of fun new powers. Being good or evil actually had a tangible affect on the gameplay by taking you down different power classes.
48. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
And here comes the hate for having a Call of Duty game on this list. But hear me out on this one; like it or not, CoD 4 completely redefined the competitive multiplayer shooter for this generation. It had plenty of balancing problems, and the campaign mode was woefully short (though fun, in a Michael Bay sort of way), but if you play multiplayer first person shooters nowadays, you have CoD 4 to thank for them. I didn’t put as much time into this one as some other shooters on this list, but CoD 4 is the one that paved the way, and it deserves to be recognized for that.
Flower was something completely unique when it came out. It was less a game, more an experience (in the least pretentious way possible). There wasn’t really a story, and there was barely even an objective, all you did was ride the wind around a landscape, blowing life into the dying grass and surroundings. The music was beautiful, and it really felt like you were accomplishing something meaningful when you gave all of the plant life color again.
You wouldn’t think just by looking at it, but Limbo was a brutally difficult game. The platforming was made all the more difficult by the stunning black and white graphics, and the near instant respawn made failing a jump less painful than it could have been. But boy, did those deaths LOOK painful. Limbo was a game that did more with less, and the only thing that held it back from being higher on this list was the floaty jumping and how it made some of the precision platforming a chore. The simple and haunting story made the game worth working through, though.
45. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection
I will say upfront that neither of these games holds up particularly well in the graphics or gameplay department, but they are both absolutely worth playing if you missed them on PS2. Ico follows a young boy trying to rescue a girl, simple as that. The only gameplay hitch is that you’re escorting her along the entire game, so you have to platform and fight with her in mind. It’s not the worst escort mission ever, but that story trope thankfully mostly went away in recent years. The story is definitely worth experiencing, though. Shadow of the Colossus was one of my favorite PS2 games ever, both for it’s understated story and for it’s completely unique combat system. Every enemy you fight in the game is a boss, and they’re all hundreds of times your size. Basically, you just have to find a way to the top of the colossus to put in the final blow, but each colossus is different enough that every encounter feels new and offers unique challenges.
44. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
I’ve talked about the unfortunate behind the scenes story of this game, so I’ll skip that and get right to the fact that this game having turned out as well as it did is basically a miracle. A lot of people compared it to Skyrim at release, but that wasn’t a very fair comparison because both were vastly different games. Amalur was a third person action RPG that focused a lot on melee combat and magic, with a little bit of ranged combat thrown in. The cartoony graphics and over the top character design really did a service to the game and helped it to stand out, but the story took itself a little too seriously compared to the way it looked and played. The customization was off the charts, with almost infinite ways to distribute perks, and it was really easy to completely change your loadout to fit a new weapon or piece of armor. The game was immensely replayable; it’s just a shame that the studio closed before they could work on DLC.
Bulletstorm was a very unique take on first person shooters, with a focus on creativity over twitch aiming skills. It was a blast trying to find new ways to kill the moronic enemies in the game (kicking them into giant venus flytraps was a personal favorite of mine). The story was forgettable and the characters went back and forth from being chuckle worthy to completely obnoxious, but the gameplay made everything worth putting up with. Wracking up thousands of points by killing dudes in new ways was very gratifying.
42. Metro: Last Light
The biggest bummer about Last Light was that it’s predecessor, Metro 2033, wasn’t available on PS3 at all, only 360 and PC. But the game mostly stands on its own, and fills in the blanks of the first game enough to get by. But know that to feel the full emotional effect of the ending, it’s probably best to play the first game. One of the most annoying things about Last Light was also one of the things that made it so unique, the fact that your character doesn’t have very good aim. By that, I mean that even if your reticule was hovering over a guy’s face, there was no guarantee that you’d get a headshot. And while that could be frustrating at times, it definitely made sense in the world of the game and the fact that you were just a guy, not a super soldier who’s only reason for living was to kill thousands of people. Don’t get me wrong, you did kill thousands of people (this is a video game after all), but there was a weight to everything that most first person shooters lack.
41. Arkham Asylum
I love Batman, he’s one of my favorite comic book characters, so I was understandably excited when Arkham Asylum was announced. And thankfully, it turned out to be mostly what I wanted out of a Batman game. I didn’t love it as much as a lot of other people did, but there were plenty of little nods to the comics that kept me going when the combat and missions didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the combat was very well done, I just didn’t really find it fun to do. If I would have put several more hours into the combat training to learn all of the moves and combos, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more, but I didn’t want to spend time doing that. I just wanted to be Batman. I did love the story though, and most of the detective mode stuff was fun to do, though I do wish there was a little more to being a detective than turning the camera around until something lit up.