My Top 50 RPGs

As someone who has played a lot of RPGs, I feel that I’m able to stick them together in a big pot, draw them out one by one, and build them into a list that is ordered from my most to least favourite RPGs ever. I had approximately 70 listed, and I’m sure that I missed another dozen or so, because after playing so many after approximately twenty years, it becomes a little difficult to keep track of them all!

Anyway, here it is, my top 50 RPGs. This article really serves no purpose at all, I just felt like writing something on a Wednesday for once.

50 Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
49 Wild Arms
48 Fable
47 Risen
46 Sacred
45 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
44 Final Fantasy X
43 Suikoden 2
42 Brave Story
41 Legend of Mana

40 Fallout 3
39 Maple Story
38 Lufia 2
37 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
36 Grandia
35 King’s Bounty: The Legend
34 Chocobo’s Dungeon 2
33 Persona 2
32 Tactics Ogre
31 Tales of Phantasia

30 Seiken Densetsu 3
29 Shining Force
28 Champions Online
27 The Witcher
26 Final Fantasy XII
25 3D Dot Game Heroes
24 Final Fantasy V
23 Chrono Trigger
22 7th Saga
21 Final Fantasy Tactics

20 Breath of Fire
19 Breath of Fire II
18 Final Fantasy XIII
17 Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
16 Final Fantasy VIII
15 Valkyrie Profile
14 Shining Force 2
13 Dragon Age: Origins
12 Final Fantasy IV
11 Breath of Fire III

10 Breath of Fire IV
09 Diablo
08 Final Fantasy VII
07 Final Fantasy IX
06 Chrono Cross
05 Diablo 2
04 World of Warcraft
03 Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
02 Final Fantasy VI
01 Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen

And that’s it! Sorry that I haven’t played some well known series, such as Baldur’s Gate. I’ll see if I can address this problem in the future.

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Marvel vs Capcom 3 Leaked Roster?

BEFORE READING: To keep up to date with the latest Marvel Vs Capcom 3 news, click here. I try my hardest to publish MvC3 info even before the major gaming sites!


Here is the supposed leaked roster for Marvel vs Capcom 3. Note that this is not confirmed. I REPEAT, NOT CONFIRMED. Take the following with a grain of salt.

Capcom

Akuma
Albert Wesker
Amaterasu
Arthur
Chuck (Frank West Alt Outfit)
Chris Redfield
Chun-Li
Dante
Felicia
Frank West
Hsien-Ko
Mike Haggar
Morrigan
Ryu
Spencer (Bionic Commando)
Trish
Tron Bonne
Viewtiful Joe
Zero

Marvel

Captain America
Deadpool
Dr. Doom
Elektra
Emma Frost
Hulk
Iron Man
Juggernaut
Magneto
Mr. Fantastic
She-Hulk
Shuma-Gorath
Spider-Man
Super Skrull
Taskmaster
Thor
War Machine (Iron Man Alt Outfit)
Wolverine
X-23

So there you have it. I personally find this to be a bit of an unusual line-up with far too many new entries into the MvC series. The number of returning characters is questionable, and a few names listed raise alarms. Mr. Fantastic’s name jumps to mind, since Capcom said that the Fantastic Four would not be playable characters.

The lack of memorable MvC characters such as Captain Commando, Gambit, Mega Man, Strider Hiryu and Venom is somewhat odd. What we see here is hardly an all-star line up. Frank West? Hsien-Ko? She-Hulk? Trish?

I don’t know about this roster, and the jury is still out on whether or not it’s real. Whatever you do, don’t jump to any conclusions just yet.

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The Decline of Need for Speed

The Need for Speed series has been respected and revered as one of the best arcade racing franchises ever developed. It has the numbers to back it up as well, as Need for Speed is the fifth best selling video game franchise of all time, behind only Mario, Pokemon, Tetris, and The Sims.

Despite achieving such success, the series has developed a bit of a bad reputation among reviewers and the general public alike over the past few years by repeatedly releasing games in the series which share very few common similarities except rushed development times and generally poor reviews.

Generally, the Need for Speed franchise is losing more steam as it continues to evolve into the unstoppable beast of the racing game genre, pumping out at least two games a year now. To reflect the decline in the games’ quality, here are the metascores for each Need for Speed game in chronological order, oldest to newest.

The Need for Speed – N/A (8.3 from Gamespot)
Need for Speed II – 71
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit – 88
Need for Speed: High Stakes – 86
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed – 78
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit II – 89
Need for Speed: Underground – 85
Need for Speed: Underground 2 – 82
Need for Speed: Most Wanted – 82
Need for Speed: Carbon – 74
Need for Speed: ProStreet – 62
Need for Speed: Undercover – 59
Need for Speed: Nitro – 68
Need for Speed: SHIFT – 84

With the exception of SHIFT’s success, the Need for Speed series has almost been in a steady decline since 2002. That is eight years of Need for Speed titles being consistently worse, barely even ranking above “average” since ProStreet in 2007.

Two more games in the Need for Speed franchise will be released this year. The first, due out next month, is Need for Speed World, a PC MMO. From what I understand, a beta began quite recently and the general consensus is that the game is unfortunately very bad. A low metascore is pretty much a sure thing with NFS World, unfortunately.

The second game coming this year may help get the staggering series back strongly on two feet (or four wheels?). Currently titled Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, it is the third game in the Hot Pursuit sub-series. The previous two Hot Pursuit titles scored 88 and 89 on Metacritic, the two highest scores that the series has received on the ranking and scoring website.

Electronic Arts is playing it smart with Hot Pursuit III. They know what works and what the core fans of the series enjoys most, and that’s the Hot Pursuit aspect of the franchise. While Carbon, ProStreet, Undercover and Nitro were interesting experiments, they can be considered failures due to being the lowest scoring games in the series since Need for Speed II, a thirteen year old game that hadn’t even found it’s footing or decided yet what it wanted to be.

Hot Pursuit III, ultimately, will be the game that decides whether or not Need for Speed will continue to be successful in the long term. NFS World will inevitably bomb judging by the comments by beta testers, and if Hot Pursuit III follows suit, then I’m afraid that Need for Speed’s time will almost be over.

If the new Hot Pursuit works out and happens to be a success, I truly hope that Electronic Arts will see the light and base all future Need for Speed games on the Hot Pursuit formula. After all, it has worked pretty darn well for the two games based around it.

To conclude the post, here are videos of Hot Pursuit, Hot Pursuit II, and what I assume will be named Hot Pursuit III. It’s quite cool to play them all at the same time and check out how the series has evolved in terms of gameplay and graphics.

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Diablo 2 (Retro Review)

“Few games have aged as gracefully as this colossal hit by Blizzard.”

Diablo 3 is probably still about a year away from release as of this writing, and there are few games available to allow gamers to satisfy their thirst for quality hack and slash action. Sacred, Titan Quest, and several others have attempted to copy Blizzard’s successful formula, but just like those who tried to copy the formulas of Starcraft or World of Warcraft, they have failed to even come close to matching what they are blatantly imitating.

Rewind a full decade to the year 2000. Diablo 2 had just been released, and it drove the hack and slash RPG fanatics absolutely wild as the game became critically acclaimed faster than you can say “stay a while and listen.” Ten years later and no game in the genre is yet to make as big a splash as Diablo 2, and it will likely remain this way until Diablo 3 ships sometime in 2011.

So what made Diablo 2 so good? Why has there not been even a single game released in the past ten years capable of topping it? The simple reason is because what Blizzard does well, they in fact do very well. Blizzard strives for excellence in their games, and it shows. Whether you like or hate their games, it’s impossible to deny that they are high quality sources of entertainment.

I consider World of Warcraft to be my favourite Blizzard product of all time, but Diablo 2 is not far off. Since this is a review for that excellent game, it’s time for me to stop talking about other Blizzard products, which includes Diablo 3.

Diablo 2 picked up shortly after the first game. The hero of the first game (Diablo canon dictates that it was the warrior class) has become nothing but a vessel for Diablo as he seeks to unleash his brothers Baal and Mephisto, which would ultimately allow them to rule Sanctuary (the mortal realm in Diablo). Of course, most people didn’t play Diablo 2 for the story, since the game came out just a few years before story telling became the prime focus of almost every genre. Diablo 2 was able to get away with just having great gameplay alone, and it did just that.

If you’re unfamiliar with how Diablo 2 plays, then you have probably been living under a rock. If you have indeed been living under a rock, then I will explain how the game plays in a simple manner. Players assume the role of one of several different classes (which are all 100% unique) and must adventure across Sanctuary from an isometric view, slaughtering demons and monsters almost the entire way. The game is played mostly with the mouse, as left clicking instructs your character where to go while right clicking performs whatever action you may have assigned to a hot key. The left mouse button can also function as a hot key, but you will only perform whatever ability you have tied to the left button when you click on a hostile creature.

Players take on a variety of quests that point them in the direction of Diablo and his brothers. Experience points are awarded by killing creatures and completing quests. Once you level you are able to distribute five stat points to various attributes, and you also get to put one skill point into anything of your choosing in your talent trees. The sorceress can learn new elemental spells from their trees, while the barbarian can learn powerful physical attacks.

Diablo 2 has more pieces of equipment than any game from 2000 should have, as the different gear combinations number in the thousands. This is excluding possibilities that include socketing pieces of gear with gems and runes (the latter are only in the expansion pack) which increase stats, offer resistances, deal bonus elemental damage, and much more.

For new players, Diablo 2 can be a very overwhelming and difficult game until they fully complete at least two runs of the game before understanding how all of the encounters work and what gear should be used and when. Many creatures have resistances or weaknesses that the player will discover, and boss fights are anything but easy on the first play through the game. Diablo 2’s bosses will, almost all of the time, hit like tanks. Stocking up on health potions is imperative in this game due to the extremely high damage output of many creatures and bosses as well, especially Diablo himself.

The game spans several different geographical regions before the player journeys to Hell to battle Diablo (and then to the snowy mountains in the expansion). All regions are very unique with their own unique creatures and quests, as well as a major quest hub each.

Diablo 2 has some of the creepiest music I’ve ever heard, and if it had been used in any other games (such as survival horror titles) then the effect would have been absolutely terrifying. Fortunately for Diablo 2, it is an action packed hack and slash RPG, so you likely won’t feel any fear when you play this game. Certain areas a little unnerving though, such as when you reach Hell itself. The background music, coupled with the groans and wails you will hear, make it very unsettling while being extremely fun at the same time.

Areas that lack the creepy atmosphere come off just as well. Act 2, which is set in the desert, has some fantastic music that is hauntingly immersive. The sound effects are quite good for a ten year old game. While the sounds aren’t particular realistic (in fact many are quite cartoonish by today’s standards), they set the tone very well and compliment the game’s music and graphical style very well. Voice work, which plays a major part in the game, is quite good. Modern games certainly have more emotional voice work that comes across better, but Diablo 2’s is still very decent for it’s time.

The only part of Diablo 2 that hasn’t aged the best are the graphics. While the game looked stunning when it was first released, it is now borderline ugly in some areas. Characters are blurry and lacking a lot of detail despite being 2D. In fact, the entire game world is 2D. Though you would expect the world to be very beautiful to look at, the only areas that have great attention to detail are the towns. Wilderness areas and dungeons look and feel rather generic most of the time, and due to the areas being randomly generated, they suffer severely from what I call “Copy & Paste Syndrome” where you see familiar surrounding all too frequently, resulting in a few cases of deja vu.

Diablo 2’s positives far outweigh the negatives and the game remains a real pleasure to play even to this day. The game was quite ahead of it’s time and, if it was re-released with modern graphics, it would still score very high with practically every reviewer. Diablo 2 is one of Blizzard’s best games, and the love that they put into it still shows strongly even today. If you’ve never played the game, you owe it to yourself to give the game a play before Diablo 3 hit shelves next year.

Final Score

9.1/10

Crysis 2: Marine Salvage Trailer

I will admit that I had my doubts about Crysis 2 when I heard that it would take place in a city setting. The first game did such an amazing job with the jungle, the water, and much more. Could they really do as good of a job with a boring, grey city? Well..

Yes, they have. This game is looking better and better all the time! Watch for it in stores around November of this year.

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DiRT 2 (Review)

INFO: This is a review of the PC version of DiRT 2, which is identical to the 360 and PS3 version. I have no experience with the DS or PSP versions of the game, therefore this review has absolutely nothing to do with them.


“A respectable sequel that takes a few steps forward, but also a few steps backwards as well.”

A few years ago, Codemasters released DiRT, which was then the newest installment in the Colin McRae Rally series. The game was received favourably by gamers and reviewers alike, so it was only a matter of time before they capitalized on the success of the first DiRT game and released a sequel. Last year, DiRT 2 was released and received an even greater reception than the first. As for me, well, I think I might like the first one more.

DiRT 2 borrows heavily from a racing game that Codemasters had released just prior to it, GRID. The overall presentation of DiRT 2 has more in common with GRID than the previous DiRT game by a landslide.

Gameplay features and menus are almost ripped straight out of GRID, which makes the game give off a sense of deja vu that it truly should not have. GRID was an arcade racer and DiRT is a semi-serious rally game. It just feels awkward that the presentation of the game is so similar between DiRT 2 and GRID.

The profile function from GRID, which allowed the game to call you by your name, makes a return as it lays nestled in the game’s menus which, while cleverly scattered across a 3D environment, are borderline carbon copies of GRID’s menus. Another feature that returns is the flashback ability. Five times in each event or race, you can rewind time to before you make a bad corner or before you crash, and you can pick up and play from that point on. This essentially allows you to undo your mistakes, which I didn’t approve of in GRID and I certainly don’t approve of in DiRT 2.

The game’s presentation is very flashy and loud, which is a huge contrast to the calm and vivid presentation of the original DiRT. Codemasters aimed for style with this game, throwing in loud punk rock tracks and making half of the text in the game look like graffiti. It’s clear that, with DiRT 2, Codemasters changed their marketing campaign and aimed for DiRT 2 to appeal to the mainstream audience rather than the semi-hardcore fans of the old Colin McRae games.

The game itself is presented as a full career mode. As soon as you start the game, you are thrown into your travel trailer which is rendered in full 3D. From in here, you can select race events, check relationships with other drivers, and purchase DLC. When you exit your trailer, you can check out your purchased vehicles, go racing, and tweak the game’s options. I find that this menu system is a little cumbersome. Sure it looks good, but the game wastes a lot of time moving the camera around when it could instead be hurrying along and showing you whatever you’re trying to access. To hop into an event, you have to first select one on the event map that is laying on a table inside of your trailer. This can take several seconds or more to find an event that you want to do. When you choose one, the camera pans back and takes you outside so that you can select a car. Once you do this, the camera then moves to show you your car, and it is here where you press the confirm button/key to finally go racing. What takes only a few seconds in conventional racing games can take a minute in DiRT 2.

In terms of events, I was a little upset to find that there is a huge lack of actual rallying in DiRT 2. Most events are competitive races, meaning multiple laps and a full field of opponent racers. Look, the old Rally Cross games were not rally racing, nor are more recent games such as MotorStorm. DiRT 2 isn’t a rally game either, it’s just a racing game that features rallying.

Some events are even more peculiar and questionable, such as the gate crasher races. These play as point to point rally stages, but there are many breakable checkpoints all along the course, and to win you essentially have to break through more of them than the opposition. Does this even sound like rally racing anymore? This isn’t a minigame or an optional game mode, these are mandatory race events.

The event that you take part in is decided by the country you choose on the map. The available countries for you to race in are China, Croatia, England, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, and the United States. Since I bought DiRT 2 to play a rally game, I find myself sticking mostly to Croatia and Morocco, where I find most of the enjoyable rally events to be located. While mentioning the countries available, I want to touch upon Malaysia. I find it very peculiar that Malyasia, on the ingame map, is Madagascar. China’s name strangely appears over Malaysia instead. I don’t want to question Codemasters, but do they know their geography? Labelling Madagasar as Malaysia is quite an odd thing to do since they are on opposite ends of the Indian Ocean. It’s a shame that Canada is not featured in DiRT 2, because part of me believes that they would mistakenly label it as Ireland.

In terms of gameplay, I must admit to being quite impressed. Controls are tighter and much more responsive than they were in the original DiRT, and gone is the sensation of your vehicle feeling as if it is “floating” around the course. All cars feel like they have genuine mass to them now, and they behave as such. Actual rallying feels more developed in DiRT 2, and I really enjoy whipping around hairpins in rally cars, something that was extremely rare in the first DiRT. I truly couldn’t be happier with the rally portion of game. I do not feel that the buggy/truck racing really stands up to the rally racing, nor is the lap racing particularly exciting, but there is still some enjoyment to be had in these races and, thankfully, the quality of the racing never dips below average.

As you race, you will earn experience points and level up. This doesn’t increase any abilities that let you drive better. Instead, gaining levels unlocks new events to race as well as new liveries and car decorations. You will also be able to forge relationships with other rally drivers in the game. Real life rally drivers Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, Tanner Foust and Dave Mirra can be befriended, as well as two fictional female drivers named Jayde Taylor and Katie Justice, whom I presume are in the game to add some equality to the game. Unfortunately, the friendships that you develop hardly matter at all. A better relationship with a rival driver will really only increase your chances of partnering them in team events.

The sound in DiRT 2 is about the same as it was in the first game, meaning that the sounds of cars accelerating and crashing are about what you would expect. They sound realistic enough to get the job done, but in truth are not very convincing. The voice acting in the game is a different story though, and I find that it annoys me frequently. Throughout races, fellow drivers will make witty quips about you or the circuit, or yell at people who hit them. It’s pretty unrealistic and makes it seem that the drivers are all wearing headsets to talk to one another, making it feel more like the races are casual and friendly events that good friends are taking part in. It’s just really silly and doesn’t fit the game’s atmosphere at all when you’re driving and I find it very distracting. Co-drivers sound good and do their jobs well, and listening to them is more of a required fixation rather than a distraction.

DiRT 2 doesn’t look too bad graphically. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I found myself not being surprised by any of the graphics. Nothing really stands out as being exceptional in DiRT 2, and unlike the first game which looked absolutely stunning when it came out, DiRT 2 just looks simply good.

Overall, it’s certainly an evolution of the original DiRT. While I don’t like how the rally experience has been neglected in DiRT 2 very much, the ability to replay rally events whenever I want makes me feel a little better. For the most part, DiRT 2 is a vicious offroad racer that can be quite unforgiving at times. If you’re a fan of rallying or chaotic offroad races, then DiRT 2 is likely your cup of tea. However, if you’re looking for the next Need for Speed, then you may want to give DiRT 2 a pass.

Final Score

8.1/10