Top Ten Games of the Decade: 10 – 6

December 5, 2009

A friend’s blog, Big Red Coat, recently put up his reaction to a Top 15 Games of the Decade by posting his own list.  It would be inappropriate to shamelessly copy that idea by posting my own list, but I’m doing it anyway.  Except worse.

I feel one of the major flaws with lists like this is a lack of an explanatory theme.  So, these aren’t the best games of the decade – it’s not a metacritic rundown of the top fifteen scores.  It’s not even the most influential games of the decade.  It’s the ten games from 2000 on that I enjoyed the most, whether that enjoyment be a product of context or actual quality.

#10: Baten Kaitos Origins

The original Baten Kaitos was something of an odd beast, refreshing for the different things it did, but ultimately failing on doing them right.  The game was infamous for a terrible localization that took the wind out of what could be considered an interesting premise for a story.  The sequel, which was ignored mostly because of the bad first game, takes all of its predecessor’s flaws and makes them golden.  The battle system was refined, the localization was top-notch, and the twist tied it together with the first game in a way that many of the much-vaunted top video game writers of the industry have not been capable of.  Really a hidden gem.

#9: Mega Man Zero 2

One of the most stagnant series that still, at the same time, gets a lot of shit for changing things, Mega Man has basically branched out in to several different series all offering different but connected gameplay styles.  The zenith of this experimentation is Mega Man Zero 2, which is either a bitch-hard game or God’s face in handheld form. In my opinion, nothing the series has done has been quite as good since.

#8: Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2

I can’t remember exactly when Ouendan clicked with me, but when it did, it was some sort of gaming nirvana.  I can distinctly remember sitting there for hours, playing songs over and over, starting over if I missed a single note because it meant I wasn’t getting as good a score as I should have.  Ouendan 2 zombified me, turning me in to a shambling corpse thirsting only for points.  If any game can do that to me, then god bless it.

#7: Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

In twenty years, when people try to figure out where platformers have come from and where they could have gone, Sands of Time might be the starting and ending points of both these conversations.  Sands of Time, at every instance, knew how to be an excellent video game.  It was not trying to be the next Hollywood Blockbuster like Uncharted (a fact that eludes Jake Gyllenhall), it was not trying to be anything but an enjoyable video game.  At that, it succeeds.  It marries entertaining narrative without stopping your gameplay.  It isn’t without its flaws, but the sum product overcomes them gracefully.

#6: Mass Effect

I could sit here and list off many things I don’t like about Mass Effect.  There were all sorts of flaws that most developers wouldn’t let past quality assurance, yet Bioware did.  If you asked me to tell you what I liked about Mass Effect, I probably couldn’t.  Yet, at the end of the day, I still remember it as a game I’ve played through three times, stayed up nights just to see a little bit more, and had me obsessing over whether to choose a blue alien girl or racist jerk as a love interest.  That’s more than I can say for most games.


One Response to “Top Ten Games of the Decade: 10 – 6”

  1. […] to list out the ten games since the year 2000 that I enjoyed the most.  For numbers 10 through 6, click here.  For five and below, I’m going to go in to a little more […]

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