The 100 Greatest Games Ever – Part 3 (50-26)

Hello and welcome to part 3 of our 100 Greatest Games rundown. If you’re only just found us and you are curious as to how the first half of our list looks, here’s part 1 and part 2 for your reading pleasure.

We’re now at the business end of our list, and competition for the top spots is certainly heating up, with little to choose between our entrants. We must rank them for the purposes of this list, but rest assured that any games that make the cut here are exceptional experiences that we would unreservedly recommend. Regardless, here are 50-26 on our list.

50. Super Mario Bros. 3

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The desert is a bit too dry to require the services of a plumber.

Often touted as an example of game design done correctly, Super Mario Bros. 3 is just one of many Mario games on our list, but that doesn’t diminish Nintendo’s achievement here.

Mario 3 came late to the party in regards to the 8-bit era, but it’s graphical design was superlative in an age where the Mega Drive and the SNES were just around the corner. The environments were characteristically bright, beautifully realised, and the art style remains true through to the modern Mario games today. Not only that, the worlds were perfectly designed to ease players into the game, yet still provided a decent challenge throughout.

While it cemented the well-established building blocks of the first game, Super Mario Bros. 3 managed to forge an identity for itself at the same time. Many tried to emulate its formula for years to come, but the majority never managed to replicate that special combination of aesthetic and design that makes the game so appealing. It is undoubtedly one of the best games available for the NES, and is still one of the best 2D platformers ever created. That fact is undeniable, even if you were a Sonic kid back in the day.

-Adam Lloyd

49. Mass Effect 2

The one where shit gets real
The one where shit gets real

Mass Effect 2 feels like a significant step up from its predecessor. It begins with Commander Shepard’s death, just to set the tone, and that spurs on one hell of an adventure from there. Familiar faces join new ones in Shepard’s quest to stop a mysterious race known as The Collectors from siphoning off humans on lone colonies in space.

The decisions here feel much bigger, and the story is that much more serious and darker. While the first Mass Effect had a grand story that spanned the skies, Mass Effect 2 managed a much grander scope. It provides great characters, some truly horrifying and beautiful imagery, new beloved members of Shepard’s growing team and, thankfully, more romance options.

Mass Effect 2 did what a good sequel should, and then some. For that, it truly deserves a spot among the greats.

– Amber Colyer

48. Silent Hill 2

Graphically, Silent Hill 2 was amazing for its time.
Not quite as advertised on the Premier Inn adverts. Lenny Henry lied to me!

Following on from the frighteningly good Silent Hill, this sequel relies far less on horror tropes such as jump scares and gore. Instead, Silent Hill 2 dials up the foreboding sense of dread in one of the most fully-realised horror games ever created.

Players take control of James Sunderland who, after receiving an invitation from his dead wife, travels to Silent Hill in search of answers. What follows is a psychological thriller that focuses on the horrors that we, as people, create. The town of Silent Hill becomes a conduit through which people are made to face up to their monstrous pasts; each person inhabiting a separate, private hell from each other. Sure, monsters such as zombie nurses and the enigmatic Pyramid Head exist in the game, but these are manifestations of the psycho-sexual psyche of the protagonist, who eventually has to face up to some startling truths towards the game’s final moments.

While elements such as the tank controls and voice acting haven’t aged well, Silent Hill 2 stands head and shoulders above most other horror games (including other entries in the franchise) with its understated maturity and deft handling of controversial topics.

-Adam Lloyd

47. Final Fantasy IX

The protagonist, Zidane. Not to be confused with the French footballer with the famous forehead.

While it may be overshadowed by its Final Fantasy brethren, FFIX remains one of the standout titles in the series, and for those who have played through the whole thing, it is arguably the best in the series (despite it being the lowest FF game on this list. I tried, I really did).

While Final Fantasy VI, VII, and VIII were filled with solemn themes, downtrodden heroes, and a general sense of foreboding, FFIX returned the series to its roots and gave us a widely varied cast of lovable and relatable characters. Gone is the protagonist who constantly doubts himself to make way for Zidane, a trash-talking, flamboyant ladies man who, throughout the course of the game, learns how to love, and finds his own place in the great big world of Gaia (and also the world of Terra).

But as unique as Zidane is, his character pales in comparison to perhaps the greatest character in the history of the franchise, the Black Mage, Vivi. Throughout the game, Vivi’s quest to understand what it means to exist is touching and heartfelt, and of all the various stories, Vivi’s is the most honest and genuine. But he’s also a badass, so don’t mistake him for a weakling.

FFIX is a perfect summary of nearly fifteen year’s worth of genre-defining, Final Fantasy action.

-JD Schmidt

46. Grand Theft Auto IV

“Don’t look back, don’t look back.That’s how you play it cool.”

As a young man back in 2007, I picked up a copy of PSM – that’s a magazine for all of you late millennials born amidst your Black Opses and Peter Capaldis. In said periodical I was greeted with a smattering of images from the not-yet-released Grand Theft Auto IV. While, up until that point, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had been my favourite game, nothing compared to the look and atmosphere that those screenshots evoked. Realistic details were strewn around every corner of Rockstar’s imagined New York; weeds grew out of loose tarmac, brickwork was incredibly lifelike and subway cars held the grime that was expected from life in the big city.

These visuals, combined with a cast of highly irreverent characters, naturalistic physics and animations, and a mature not-as-many-dildos story made Grand Theft Auto IV an outstandingly ambitious game upon release. Its sequel may have added in a number of flashier gameplay hooks, but the memories of cruising around Liberty City, listening to Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak, and being interrupted by your in-game cousin’s cell-phone proposition to play bowling will rattle around in my mind forever.

– Scott Russell

45. Mario Kart 8

Here we gooo!
Here we gooo!

Borrowing stages and gameplay elements from each iteration, and bringing back the unmistakable fun that the franchise has always been cherished for, Mario Kart 8 has made it’s mark in the top 50 of PUG’s greatest games of all time.

Although the original and Mario Kart 64 could have just has easily been up here, MK8 was ultimately chosen because of its crisp graphics, huge selection of stages, and for showing that Nintendo really could successfully incorporate DLC into their video games. One of its crowning achievements was also the fully orchestrated soundtrack that rivals the likes of the Super Mario Galaxy series. To top it all off, MK8 also gave racers individual costumes to use for their Mii racers based on amiibo the player had collected and has the stronger wi-fi racing we had hoped for in Mario Kart Wii.

So despite having one of the weakest battle modes, the newest Mario Kart sets the pace for being one of the all-time best kart racing games.

-Austin Flynn

44. TimeSplitters 2

Not to brag, but I’m an absolute surgeon with this thing.

Coming off the back of GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, several ex-Rare employees set up a new studio, Free Radical Design, and released TimeSplitters on the PlayStation 2. The studio certainly had a high pedigree already from their N64 days, but it wasn’t until 2002 that they refined the formula with TimeSplitters 2.

TimeSplitters 2 may very well be the greatest split-screen multiplayer shooter ever made; a genre that barely exists in this online multiplayer era. Boasting a high frame rate, a multitude of weapons and characters, and accessible gameplay, the game had all the hallmarks of a classic. It also contained a comprehensive single player/co-op campaign, with a tongue-in-cheek story that doesn’t take itself seriously. That, combined with a multitude of challenges in the Challenge Mode meant that TimeSplitters 2 had a staggering amount of content for a game of its time.

Content alone doesn’t make a game truly great, but fortunately TimeSplitters 2 featured responsive controls and great shooting mechanics for a console shooter. Cheats were available in a very GoldenEye fashion, such as unlimited ammo and paintball mode. This is a game that provides fun at every turn, whether that’s a quick Deathmatch or a full run through the co-op campaign. Considering that the series has since faded into obscurity, it seems fitting to honor it here on our list.

-Adam Lloyd

43. Age Of Empires II: The Age of Kings

Age of Empires II
Every man’s home is his castle, but only a few are literally castles.

Few games can be said to have aged as gracefully as Age of Empires 2. Nearly seventeen years have passed since its original release, and it is still a phenomenal game in every respect. Despite being locked to a 2D isometric view, the vibrant art style still manages to be breathtaking. The iconic soundtrack fits perfectly with every situation, whether you’re peacefully working on your economy, repelling an attack or casually slaughtering scores of enemy villagers and stealing their sheep.

Nostalgia would be enough to explain the lasting appeal of AoE2’s look and sound, except that the gameplay remains some of the most nuanced and well-balanced ever seen in a real-time strategy game. Your military and economy feed directly into one another, with every unit trained an investment, every gold mine a potential army, and every lost building a cost you might not be able to afford. Resources are largely finite, but there’s enough flexibility to stretch them out quite far, if you play your cards right.

Age of Empires 2 is a game for the ages because after all this time, I am still learning new ways to play. The multiple unit types, formations and behaviours all factor into a successful strategy. The defensive Teutons do well with a square formation of Teutonic Knights with a few archers and monks in the centre for support, healing and replenishing numbers with converted enemies. But no strategy is foolproof; you can’t just point your army at the enemy and expect the rest to take care of itself. It only takes one Paladin breaking through your ranks, one errant siege weapon strike to hit your weak spot, and that moment could be all it takes to send you routing back to your base. You can never go on autopilot, but it doesn’t feel like micromanagement either. Combat management is perfectly balanced, just like every other part of this superb game.

– Owen Atkinson

42. Rayman Legends

Colourful, addictive fun!

This under-appreciated platformer from Ubisoft has more staying power than probably any other modern 2D sidescroller. Sure Rayman may not quite be a household name like Mario or Donkey Kong, but Rayman Legends is one of the most finely crafted platforming titles out there.

For starters, the game looks stunning. Its unique, hand-drawn and cartoonish aesthetic brings life and colour to each level and every environment. But just because it looks like a cartoon doesn’t mean this game is easy. Simply just completing the main story of the game is an extreme challenge, and Rayman Legends has potentially hundreds of hours of extra content after the game is completed. Whether you’re grinding for high scores in the impossibly difficult online community, revisiting levels from Legends’ predecessor, Rayman Origins, punching strangely deformed creatures, or challenging your friends to high-flying football matches, Rayman Legends will have you entertained for hours on end.

But even with all those extra features, the pièce de résistance of the game is the final level of each world, which is a rhythm-based musical level, often based on a cheesy ’80s rock tune. To be honest, the only thing that would make Rayman Legends better is if every level were a musical one.

– JD Schmidt

41. Child Of Light

Not pictured: Terrible poetry.
Not pictured: Terrible poetry.

The first thing that strikes you about Child Of Light is the beautiful watercolour style that shines through Ubisoft’s UbiArt engine. The game is presented as if it is a children’s story with a cardboard cutout aesthetic that pops out of the screen.

After the awe of the artistic flair dies down, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a typical fairy story awaits. For the most part you’d be correct and the game does fall into a lot of these tropes. However, under the hood there is a compelling combat system which marries the concepts of random, turn-based battles with a vibrant platformer. With your firefly pal Igniculus who can slow enemies down, heal your party and collect items in hard to reach places, there are a lot of unique systems in place that really make this a compelling game.

All in all, Child Of Light is fantastic and it really ought to be experienced by anyone with an interest in RPGs or platformers. While it doesn’t reinvent either of these genres, it blends them both into a cohesive experience that is both deeper and more interesting than it initially appears.

-Adam Lloyd

40. Streets Of Rage II

Kick, punch, it's all in the mind!
Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind!

In an era full of 2D brawlers, Streets Of Rage II managed to fight off the Double Dragons and Final Fights of the world to become the quintessential beat ’em up. It featured a simple control scheme that could be combined and utilised in more complicated ways, such as combination throws, leaping attacks, double-teaming enemies and special moves.

As you work your way through the game, you’ll cave in the skulls of a colourful cast of enemies that look like rejects from Micheal Jackson’s Bad video. Playing this in co-op is probably the best way to experience it as you and a friend try hard not to hit each other (or hit each other on purpose if you’re not nice people), and try to steal the health-replenishing chicken before each other.

If glassing a bunch of punks wasn’t enough to draw you in, Streets Of Rage II features a killer soundtrack from start to finish. Featuring some heavy 90’s house and techno sounds, it still sounds fantastic even to this day. Combined with a deliberately zoomed-in art style which allows the character designs to be scrutinised in detail, Streets Of Rage II was visual treat, and one of the more important games in the Mega Drive’s library. It is a mainstay on any Sega retro compilation and has been re-released more times than Spiderman films. An absolute essential for any video game fan of any age.

-Adam Lloyd

39. Okami

Once brought back to life, the world of Okami is brimming with life.

If there’s any game that can make a case for being a piece of artwork it’s Okami. Its stunning Japanese ink-illustration graphics are eye-watering, and make you feel as though you’re running around in an actual painting.

The title sees you controlling the white wolf Sun Goddess Amaterasu who must bring colour back to a darkened world, and rescue it from the evil eight-headed demon Orochi. It’s a simple but fantastic tale that draws deeply from Japanese culture. The characters Ammy (as he’s called by his spritelike companion Issun) meets are colourful and interesting, and support the story as they gasp in awe or ignorance at the world around them.

The main tool Ammy uses to succeed is his celestial brush, and the player can pause the game for a few moments to interact with the environment by drawing different shapes. Circling a tree will make it bloom, a straight line will cut foes and obstacles alike, and a crescent drawn in the sky will bring night at any time. This world is truly at the sun god’s whims.

The title has received several re-releases, and a sequel on the DS. The Wii offered up the Wiimote controls, which were interesting but clumsy, and the PS3 version supported the Playstation Move, but is more notable for its beautiful HD graphics that enhance an already stunning game.

-David Tierney

38. Undertale

Anime is real
Anime is real

By now, most people already know how great Undertale is. The music, the characters, the story, the differentiation on gameplay and gaming as a whole – it is the perfect storm of excellence. As a human child, you fall down into a large pit in the mountains and into the area where monsters were banished during a great war. Your goal is set: find your way home, as simple as that sounds.

Some of the best moments of Undertale are simply talking with the various monsters you encounter. Similar to Mother 3 in play style, Undertale doesn’t force you to kill everything you encounter. Instead, you can choose to spare or kill as you please, and the actions you take play a large role in what ending you get. The world built around the player is beautiful, the characters are all memorable and well loved by many, the music is fantastic and, again, it is just a whole new take on video games in general.

All in all, Undertale is a memorable experience all the way through to whichever ending you get. An absolute gem.

– Amber Colyer

37. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

COD4 moved the series away from the trenchfoot-addled WWII setting.
COD4 moved the series away from the trenchfoot-addled WWII setting.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the game that changed first person shooters. There are few higher accolades than that. Nowadays you would be hard pressed to find a recently released FPS that does not sport the left bumper/right bumper aim/shoot configuration; you’ll find it tough to find one that doesn’t have a multiplayer component; you might even struggle to find one that doesn’t have some form of unlock system. This is the FPS landscape as we know it today, and a striking amount of it is in thanks to what we now affectionately refer to as COD 4.

Today, COD is a full fledged institution. You can be as sure as syphilis that a new one will be back on store shelves every year. You can’t build that kind of legacy without one damn good game at the very beginning. For all the hate that the series generates today, few people would contend that COD 4 was not one exceptionally good game. The multiplayer was almost very literal crack-cocaine. Shooting was near-impeccable. Even the single-player was a tonne of fun. Captain Price’s elegant beard will be etched in our hearts forever. COD 4 is Black Ops 3 without all the bloat. It is pure, simplified fun. It is a glorious chapter in the evolution of modern video-games, and one that is well worth a re-read.

– Harry Bowers

36. Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver

Gotta catch 'em all, even unessential ones like Lanturn.
Gotta catch ’em all, even unessential ones like Lanturn.

Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver are excellent remasters that offer plenty over the forefathers of Pokemon games.  They combine all of the quality of life upgrades from Pokemon Black and White, while remaining faithful to the Gold and Silver games that they are based.

As in the originals, not only can players explore the Johto region, but they can also become the master of the original Kanto region. This effectively doubles the amount of catchable Pokemon and even adds a few more from later regions. HG/SS goes so far as to letting the player battle the original Pokemon trainer, Red, in a battle so decisive it will leave your rival jealous.

Heart Gold and Soul Silver offer the same quality Pokemon games that you have grown to love, but with sensible upgrades and a beautiful lick of paint. Essential for any Pokemaniac.

-Austin Flynn

35. Final Fantasy VI

Steampunk before it was fashionable
Steampunk before it was fashionable

Final Fantasy VI, though not as famous as its successor, is just as good as its successor. The heartbreaking story of Terra, Locke, Celes, and the rest of their crew is one that stands out in my mind as one of the single most emotional stories from the retro era. It’s rare for a 16-bit game to contain the kinds of sentiments that FFVI does. Each of the game’s main characters are deep and complex, and deal with their own struggles while trying to stop the maniacal Kefka from destroying the world.

A spoiler warning shouldn’t be necessary for a game that’s over twenty years old, but here it is just in case. The fact that Kefka actually wins – that he actually does destroy the world – is shocking. Even by today’s standards it’s a twist and a loss that is hard to handle, but that just makes his eventual defeat all the sweeter.

The story of FFVI is without equal, and its soundtrack even more so. Terra and Celes’ respective themes are simultaneously haunting, morose, and cautiously optimistic, while Locke’s upbeat theme drives the game forward. The battle themes are some of the best of the best, and the theme of the final battle, Dancing Mad, is a stunning achievement, featuring a choral arrangement, organ solos, and a rocking conclusion. FFVI is not the kind of game you want to miss.

– JD Schmidt

34. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grove Street for life!
Grove Street for life! Or until I earn enough money to move away from Grove Street.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is only matched in terms of scale by GTAV, which is testament to Rockstar that they managed this feat over 15 years ago on a PS2. Even without the technical feat of bringing it to an aging console, San Andreas is an impressive achievement from top to bottom.

San Andreas follows the plight of main protagonist CJ as he gets wrapped up with local gang culture, crooked cops, and crazed hippies. The game includes a lot of the larger than life characters that GTA is synonymous with, but takes that a step further with the ramped up potential for mayhem with the inclusion of jet packs, sky-diving from passenger jets, and a fully-fleshed out Area 51 location. San Andreas embraces fun in a way that other GTA games often fail to do; by increasing the opportunity for the player. In a huge map that encompasses three whole cities, the sky is literally the limit to what you can do.

Set in the 90’s, San Andreas serves up an excellent soundtrack featuring the likes of Rage Against The Machine, 2Pac, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy, amongst others. In this regard San Andreas allows you to revel in the recent past while pushing the consoles of the time to breaking point. A remarkable feat.

-Adam Lloyd

33. Resident Evil 2

Imagine what the other side of his face looks like.

Everyone remembers the first Resident Evil, one of the earliest examples of survival horror done right. Resident Evil 2 is the natural sequel, but this time it is not just a huge mansion full of experiments gone wrong and dark secrets; it is an entire city. That is a large portion of what makes Resident Evil 2 so outstanding. It has a grander scope, more at stake and one of the most memorable monsters in horror history.

The tormented wails of William Birkin as he mutates is something that remains haunting to this day. The emotional weight of his crazed screams for his younger daughter set the end game, while the rest of it is plunged in desperation, secrets and the standard Resident Evil soap opera.

In essence, it took the magic of its predecessor and made it bigger, badder and even more emotional. Players got the wise-cracking Leon Kennedy and the persistent Claire Redfield out of the series, who would each go on to feature in sequels down the line, much to the joy of Resident Evil fans.

Resident Evil 2 upped the stakes, developed more character, made things more personal and emotional, and that much more terrifying. It truly cemented its place as one of the best.

– Amber Colyer

32. Mega Man 2

Mega man, Mega man, does whatever a Mega can.
Mega man, Mega man, does whatever a Mega can.

You can’t think retro gaming without the Blue Bomber and Mega Man 2. Sure, there are plenty of choices when it comes to Mega Man, but we at Power Up Gaming agree that Mega Man 2 got it just right. With the precise combination of badass robot masters, catchy stage themes, difficulty and weapons, it’s no wonder Mega Man 2 repeatedly comes up as one of the best games of all time.

The standout facets of MM2 include the level design and controls. To make some of the game’s tricky platforming viable, tight controls and clever level design were essential. Capcom more than delivered when they gave us such gems as Metal Man’s stage and his dastardly conveyor belts, as well as Heat Man’s stage with its disappearing blocks. Fans would spend their time formulating ways to best traverse these obstacles, simultaneously searing a place in their brains as well as their hearts.

I still make it a habit to beat MM2 at least twice a year just as a way of relaxing.

-Austin Flynn

31. Quake III: Arena

...Im not cleaning that up!
…Im not cleaning that up!

1999’s Quake III: Arena encapsulated a turning point for first person shooters in that the whole game was build around a robust multiplayer. This was around the time that Unreal Tournament and Counter-Strike 1.6 came into existence, so the industry was already turning towards online shooters. While both of those games were huge successes, what sets Quake III apart from the pack is the simplicity of its design.

Each gun is easily recognisable from the rocket launcher to the railgun, and the premise couldn’t be simplier; shoot anything that moves. Quake III is incredibly fast-paced, and your success depends more on your skills and reflexes than it does on teamwork or map memorisation. In this way, the game is very well balanced and, as such, the gameplay is engrossing.

Despite the straightforward gameplay, Quake III did a lot of things behind the scenes to keep the game flowing. The tightly-focused maps ensured that you were never too far away from the action. The ID Tech 3 engine was cutting edge at the time, giving the game an unbelievable look for 1999. Quake III cannot be praised more for it’s graphics, and the fact that it ran at a steady framerate is a testament to the engine.

The game still lives on today through the browser-based Quake Live, which is every bit a worthy successor to the original. As long as you have access to a PC, you really have no excuse not to have played this game.

-Adam Lloyd

30. Resident Evil 4

AKA Leon Sasses Monsters
AKA: Leon Sasses Monsters

This game has been a contender for the best game ever multiple times on multiple lists across multiple publications. Really, it’s not hard to see why. It was the first in the Resident Evil lineage to remove the tank control scheme and introduce an over-the-shoulder camera. While these things are complaints in more modern Resident Evil games for some, Resident Evil 4 managed to make it effective and absolutely terrifying.

The game is bleak, with a soundtrack that is murky, intimidating, and sends chills crawling up the spine. Every moment is tense, no matter how much Leon sasses and snarks. Sent out to rescue the president’s daughter, Resident Evil 2 survivor Leon Kennedy is sent into mysterious territory with little idea regarding what is going on and no backup. The colors are drab and cold, and every step feels like it could be leading straight into death.

In short, Resident Evil 4 took a new spin on the series, and on horror in general, and it proved to be successful. Given that, Resident Evil 4 can comfortably take its seat alongside any other game on this list.

– Amber Colyer

29. Super Smash Bros. Melee


Super Smash Bros. Melee isn’t even good; it’s incredible. No matter who you are, if you’ve played any Nintendo system since the Super Nintendo, chances are that you’ve yelled at your friends in rage over this title. It isn’t successful just because it has all of Nintendo’s best characters such as Pikachu, Link, Mario and Samus. It is successful because – like a true Nintendo game – it’s simple to pick up and play. It just so happens that some enthusiasts like it so much that they still play it at big events like EVO for tens of thousands of dollars.

Games don’t typically stick around like that either. Sure, Street Fighter II and III are still played competitively, but nowhere near the amount of money and followers that Melee has. Keep in mind that this is also after having released Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. So to have a game that casual and competitive players flock to in such hordes after all this time is quite amazing. Sm4sh may have been close to earning this spot on our list, but it’s too early to tell if it has the same staying power that Melee has impressively shown.

-Austin Flynn

28. Persona 4: Golden

High school and serial killers are a potent mix.

Amidst all the monstrous acts that videogames throw at you – torture, stabbing people – Persona 4: Golden presents you with a mundane yet exemplary premise: make friends. Despite all of its Japanese quirk circulating television demons and serial murderers, your time at Inaba, a small rural town in the shadow of the big city, is about adjusting to school life in a way that is instantly relatable to any player. Relationships can be built upon through simply hanging out with some of your teen compatriots down by the Junes Department Store, or by spending your summer vacation at the beach.

Not only is the cast of Persona 4’s characters brilliantly acted, but their personalities are far from the smouldering teens that you would expect in a high school tale; Twilight this is not. Take Kanji Tatsumi for example, voiced by Troy Baker. While on first meeting he may be a hard-faced goon with an IQ smaller than a wood finch, through careful bonding time with the game’s other protagonists, you discover that sexuality troubles Kanji highly; repression is key to his characterisation, but as he progresses, he learns the value of embracing both masculine and feminine interests.

Kanji, however, is only one part of Person 4’s nourishing, emotional and thoroughly empathetic pie. It is game made for any person, with any foible or personal doubt, and I happen to find that beautiful.

– Scott Russell

27. Tekken 3

Paul Phoenix wins! For most ridiculous hairstyle.
Paul Phoenix wins! The award for most ridiculous hairstyle.

Tekken was already a stalwart of the PlayStation console and the arcade in the mid 90’s. It combined slick fighting with outstanding visuals into one premier fighting game that filled the niche left by Street Fighter. However, when Tekken 3 hit arcades, it took everything a stage further with unprecedented graphics and slick presentation.

Fortunately, the 1998 PlayStation port was every bit as amazing as you could have hoped for. The characters models were outstanding and smoothly animated. The stages were all meticulously detailed, feeling as realistic as you could hope to achieve at the time. That’s not to mention the flashy effects which fly off of characters when you land a successful hit, providing satisfying feedback without compromising the action or framerate. Not only that, Tekken 3 offered one of the largest character rosters ever seen in a fighting game. Most of the characters were viable to use and well balanced, meaning that there weren’t many overpowered fighters either (even Ogre and True Ogre could easily be steamrolled by a decent player), and newcomers such as Eddy, Xiaoyu, Hwoarang and Jin fit in well with the old favourites such as Paul and Law.

Arriving towards the end of the console’s lifecycle, Tekken 3 simultaneously showed the full capabilities of the original PlayStation and put another nail in the coffin of Virtua Fighter, especially impressive given that Virtua Fighter 3 was also released on the more powerful Dreamcast around the same time. There’s only one word to describe it. “Great!”

-Adam Lloyd

26. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

It seems silly to think that manuals were a revelation at the time.
Remember when games used to come with manuals?

Turn that shit up! Sure, the first Tony Hawk game was pretty good, but it’s got nothing on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. The second installment in this staple franchise introduced new tricks, the create-a-park mechanic, and overall smoother and more enjoyable gameplay to the series. Oh, it also has a killer soundtrack and moon physics, so that’s great too.

Simply put, you weren’t cool in school unless you could nail a 900 and had unlocked Private Carrera. And if you did have it, you were actually too cool for school. THPS2 is one of the most recognizable games of its time, and helped to usher in an era of extreme sports fanaticism in the gaming world. Games like Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX, SSX, and perhaps even ATV Offroad Fury can all trace their roots back to one source: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

-JD Schmidt

So how does that suit you? Are you pleased to see your favourites getting some recognition? Do you disagree with the order of our list? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below. Remember to check in tomorrow where the coveted top spot will be revealed.

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