Top Ten Video Games of the Decade

It’s already been a decade… Hard to believe. I’ve played so many games over the years, some of which I forgot, that this list was hard to come up with. (And before anyone brings them up, no I have not played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus. Yes both most likely should be in the top 5, but I’ve not played them, so…) But I’m happy to present you with my Top Ten Video Games of the Decade list. Biased? Maybe, but meh… So without further ado:

Honorable Mention/11. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- (PSP – 2008)

Prequel to the critically-acclaimed 1997 PS1 title, the game takes place years before the original with the central character being Zack Fair. A part of The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII (along with Last Order, Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children, and Dirge of Cerberus), we see how things are connected throughout the titles, like what really led up to Sephiroth’s psychosis and corruption. Even though the ending is already known, it still makes me cry. Not to mention GACKTGenesis.

10. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3 – 2008)

My first true MGS. I tried MGS3: Snake Eater, but because of control issues… yeah, no. But thanks to the Access Controller, I can play MGS4 and I dare say it lives up to the hype. I don’t care for stealth or shooting games, but I do like MGS4. The aim-assist is a huge help for me too. “MGS4 has received widespread critical acclaim, garnering perfect reviews and Game of the Year awards from several major gaming publications, including GameSpot, which hailed the game as technically flawless. It is also considered by many critics to be one of the greatest games of this or any generation.” ~Wikipedia

9. Demon’s Souls (PS3 – 2009)

Welcome to the kingdom of Boletaria in this action game unlike any you’ve played before. You will die in this game, A LOT, but if you can deal with that, you will love this game. With the most engaging combat system ever, the game is skill based, not grind based (There are players who’ve beaten the game at Soul Level 1). It lacks story, but the game is driven by giving the player a purpose to fulfill. While it’s “Shit happened, fix it” as per usual, it’s more bare bones in this case.

8. Okami (PS2 – 2006/Wii – 2008)

Combining a distinct sumi-e-inspired cel-shaded visual style, Japanese myths, legends and folklore, Okami tells the story of how the land was saved from darkness by the Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu, who took the form of a white wolf. “Unique to Okami is the Celestial Brush. Players can bring the game to a pause and call up a canvas, where the player can draw onto the screen. This feature is used in combat, puzzles and as general gameplay. For example, the player can create strong wind by drawing a loop, cut enemies by drawing a line through them or create bridges by painting one, amongst many other abilities.” ~Wikipedia

7. Bujingai: The Forsaken City (PS2 – 2004)

I originally got this game because of GACKT, but soon fell in love with its fast-paced sword-swinging gameplay. It’s easy to pull off 50+ hit combos. The game is relatively short, but I enjoy it very much. I once beat the final boss in roughly 45 seconds. GACKT assisted in the development of this stylistically Wuxia-film-inspired game by providing the voice of its main character, Lau Wong, motion capture, and fleshing out the setting and story.

6. Zone of the Enders (PS2: Part 1 – 2001/Part 2 – 2003)

Hideo Kojima of MGS fame brings us quite possibly two of the best mecha/giant robot games (besides Virtual-On). Everything about this game just feels right. Not to mention it gives a new meaning to the term “cockpit.” “Zone of the Enders, the first game in the series, details the story of a boy named Leo Stenbuck, a colonist from Jupiter who accidentally finds himself piloting the Orbital Frame Jehuty. In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (known as Anubis: Zone of the Enders in Japan), a new pilot, Dingo Egret, finds Jehuty on the Moon of Callisto two years after the events of the first game and travels to the superweapon Aumaan in order to defeat Colonel Nohman of the BAHRAM army, who pilots Jehuty’s sister craft, Anubis.” ~Wikipedia

5. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (PS2 – 2004)

The game that overthrew Final Fantasy as the top RPG in my book, and made me an Atlus Faithful. Nocturne was surprisingly darker (no pun intended) than any RPG I had played previously, the cel-shaded characters were (and still are) a refreshing change from the typical ones, and the music blew me away. The battle system also takes Pokemon‘s weakness mechanic a huge step forward (You wanna fight fire with fire? Fine, go ahead and HEAL THE ENEMY), and while not quite as influential as it is in Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy or Heavy Rain, every decision you choose (outside of battle) affects the game’s outcome.

4. Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier (NDS – 2009)

We never got Namco X Capcom, State-side, but this game is the next best thing. With a similar battle system as NxC, you have to practice and try different move combinations to see just how much damage you can dish out in a certain number of attacks without letting the opponent hit the floor. Not to mention the jigging… Oh god the beautiful jiggling! *_*

3. Namco X Capcom (PS2 – 2005)

While it did flop in Japan, I really enjoyed this game a lot. The combination of Namco and Capcom characters, with an unique battle system where timing is everything. Gathered by an anomaly, Namco and Capcom characters have to save–well, you know the rest. The character combinations, attacks and interactions with one another are something to behold. King and Felicia? What the… Whoa, they actually fit together.

2. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 – (PS2 – 2008)

Truthfully tied for #1, a dead tie. P4 is much more human than 3 (one of the main characters question their own sexuality), and gives even more freedom. Set a year after its predecessor’s events, P4 sees you again assuming the role of Japanese high school student, this time living in rural Japan with his uncle and cousin. At school, rumor has begun to spread that watching a switched-off television set on rainy midnights will reveal a person’s soulmate. However, days after the player’s first viewing, unexplained murders begin to take place in the small town, where bodies are found dangling from television antennas and their cause of death unknown. You soon discover you can enter the TV. What will you find?

1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2: P3 – 2007/P3FES – 2008)

If you know me, you know just how much I love this game, and it’s not just me, it’s the RPG of 2007. In other RPGs, you just control the main character at certain times throughout the day, whereas in P3 and FES, you control him, pretty much the whole day. You go to school, can attend clubs, make friends and girlfriends, and explore dungeons. Hell, you can even pee! In fact, peeing, studying and hanging out with friends help level the main character. A teenager who was orphaned as a young boy returns to the city of his childhood. Shortly after transferring to Gekkoukan High School, he is attacked by Shadows— creatures that feed on the minds of their victims. He soon discovers that he shares a special ability with other students at his new school. From them, he learns of the “Dark Hour,” a hidden time that exists between one day and the next, swarming with Shadows. He joins the Special Extracurricular Execute Sector (SEES), and with his new friends, confronts the threat of the Shadows.

Andrew Monkelban

Andrew Monkelban is an avid gamer and writer, who has been featured in Second Skin, and on Wired's GameLife and The Escapist. He is also really into the Japanese entertainment scene. Even though he has Cerebral Palsy, he does not let it stop him from doing what he loves, although he's always on the look-out for technology that would help him with difficult tasks. He came to PopTen in the Summer of 2009, where he's now able to combine his passions.

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1 Response

  1. mike brady says:

    Arrgh this is a sad reminder of how little time I have to play RPGs these days.

    Great picks! Gonna check out some of these PS2 games I missed.

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