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Video Game Rankdown Pt. 2

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3 write ups in a row where I didn’t have to do one :wub:

 

I’m gonna YOLO a Sacred Stones one tomorrow when I’m frustrated by my thesis.

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53. The World Ends With You (DS; 2007)

 

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The World Ends With You is really an awesome title. Nice job on pushing this game to the finals Megan. While I do not have too much to say in this write-up that Megan did not already cover in hers, I will try to discuss why this game is so cool. Developed by Square Enix and Jupiter for the Nintendo DS, The World Ends With You is the perfect example of a video game that fully utilizes the unique software capabilities of its premiere console. The World Ends With You is one of the best games to be released for the DS, just because of how interestingly the dual screen + touch screen + microphone features are integrated into the gameplay and combat system, even if the controls can be a bit imprecise from time to time.

 

The game is set in the modern-day shopping ward of Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan, where the player assumes the role of Neku Sakuraba as he engages in what is known as the Reaper's Game. Neku and his allies Shiki, Joshua, and Beat, are forced to compete in the game that will determine the fate of their lives - humanity or non-existence. The game is divided into three parts, each part representing one of the three weeks that Neku is engaged in the Reaper's Game. The game is further divided into the days of the week, where each day sees Neku and his ally complete that day's mission. There are a ton of factors that go into the gameplay, such as fashion, noise, and pins. The game utilizes a symbol called the Stride Cross Battle System. The player controls Neku on the touchscreen and his partner on the top screen. The health of Neku and his partner are synchronized. The combat system utilizes the pins that are collected cited and equipped during the game, as well as a "light puck" that should be alternated between the characters in order to increase the damage dealt to enemies. The re-release for the Nintendo Switch, known as The Final Remix, obviously has a modified combat system due to the lack of two screens.

 

But really, we should be talking about the game's writing, art style, game graphics, and soundtrack. These are the standout features of The World Ends With You. I could really dive deep into the plot and the combat system, which are definitely unique. The strongest parts of this game though are found in the sublime soundtrack, emotionally heavy writing style, and the enthralling two-dimensional art styles that heavily incorporate pop art styles. The soundtrack is composed and produced by Takeharu Ishimoto. The game encompasses nearly every genre of music, but particularly utilizes rock, hip-hop, and electronica music throughout the game. There are multiple vocal tracks to be heard in the game, with the main single being "Lullaby For You." Honestly, every song is awesome. The entire soundtrack is awesome, which is why the soundtrack was released globally as an album for purchase. Everybody should listen to the soundtrack that Megan included in her write-up. The particular designs of the Noise Creatures and the characters truly stand out to me. Each character is given a distinct design, with distinct fashions that match the modern-day setting of Shibuya and really reflect their individual personalities. The incredible design of Shibuya can not be understated either. The game really immerses you in Shibuya, and the graphics are so evocative in a great way. 

 

The game received critical acclaim upon release, with critics and players praising the game's departure from the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series that clearly helped to inspire the creation of this individual title. Critics and players praised the character arc of Neku Sakuraba, who really is one of the more fully realized and deeply emotional characters in video game history. The game is also lauded for its unique combat system and gameplay, even if many did feel the combat system is too complex and players were really forced into a "sink or swim" method of playing the game. The game was also a solid commercial success for the Nintendo DS and received a lot of year-end awards + nominations. 

 

I really recommend that everybody gives the game a try on the Nintendo Switch. But if not, at least do yourself the favor of listening to the soundtrack.

 

On 2/6/2020 at 10:14 AM, totes4totes said:

The World Ends with You

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The World Ends with You is probably my favorite Nintendo DS game. Actually it definitely is my favorite DS game. The only other DS games that might match this for me are two of the Castlevania games (Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin), and the Pokemon I think that it's probably one of the most underrated Nintendo DS games out there just because it didn't get a ton of exposure in the West. But I think in retrospectives of what were the best games on the Nintendo DS, The World Ends with You will always ends up on lists now. And though it was originally a Nintendo DS exclusive in 2007, Square Enix thought highly enough of the game and its popularity to release an iOS and Android port in 2012 and 2014 respectively and later a Nintendo Switch port in 2018. Although I think the novelty of the game's battle system is best enjoyed on the DS, if you find it too difficult or to complicated to fully master, you don't really lose anything storyline or game wise by playing it on either of the other platforms.

 

I'm really bummed that this is the only Nintendo DS game to make the finals (and one of the only non-Pokemon Handheld game. In fact only this, Mother 3, and Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones made it for handhelds that aren't Pokemon. What a shame.) because the DS is a really fun system and while the 3DS also clearly had a dual-screen, I feel the most innovative uses of the second screen came from the DS. You had a lot of adventure games and visual novels (like the Phoenix Wright series and the Zero Escape series), games like Bowser's Inside Story, and games like Nintendogs.  It also probably has the at least second or third best Mario Kart on it as well. The DS really revolutionized handheld gaming for casual gamers with games like Brain Age (and probably directly lead to its own demise when phones realized they could co-opt the same space that the DS occupied). But I think because of all the gimmicky casual games like Brain Age and Nintendogs, people forget all the really good and really cool games that the DS had. And the innovation to gameplay that the DS brought. Anyway, that's my brief love story for the DS which up until the Switch was probably my favorite game system. Back to The World Ends with You.

 

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The World Ends with You is the story of Neku. I'll be real with you, Neku sucks at the beginning of the game. That's the point though. He's supposed to be insufferable because the game is about him learning to connect with people to become a better version of himself. I know that's done a lot in a lot of different media, but I think this is one of the most successful versions of it. You find yourself following Neku as he can't remember really anything about how he got to the Shibuya district and why he's being thrown into a "game." You quickly learn that the game is a week long contest to judge who from the dead are most deserving of humanity and thus get to come back to life. You play with a partner against the Reapers who are trying to stop you from beating the game whose rules are designed by the Composer. The real game you are playing takes course over three weeks in which you have three separate partners: Shiki (a teenage girl), Joshua (an introverted teenage boy), and Beat (a former reaper). 

 

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The game takes place in the Shibuya shopping district. And as you can see from the screenshots and gifs I've posted, the game itself is highly stylized to reflect the stylish district it takes place in. In fact, up until like Splatoon, The World Ends with You was probably one of the only games that accurately reflected Japanese street style that you'd see in Shibuya. And fittingly being set in Shibuya, style and fashion play a part in mastering the game. The choices of the items you purchase affect your abilities, by buying things from more popular brands your powers actually get more powerful. It's not something that you necessarily need to master, but it's just an example of how deep and well-thought out the game is. And all the little details that the developers paid attention to when crafting it (shoutout to Steven, the producers of this game directed and created Kingdom Hearts). 

 

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I tried to find gifs of the battles on the DS but you can imagine that since the game was released on the iPad and Switch that most quality gifs of the game comes from those ports. So you will have to do with two tiny gifs and the screenshot. When I mentioned that the original TWEWY battling system was complex this is what I mean. You simultaneously control both characters, one on the top screen with the D-Pad and one on the lower screen with the stylus. To be most effective you have to be able to master both the top screen and the bottom screen at the same time to send attacks back and forth between the two characters. In all other devices with single screens, the second character acts as a pin for Neku to use in battle like his other attacks. Way easier to grasp but a little less fun in my opinion. But again only a little and I think the battle system is incredibly divisive amongst those who played it on the DS. Either you loved the challenged or you thought it needlessly complicated an otherwise fantastic game. 

 

 

Finally, I'll link the soundtrack. Again, it's just very cool. One of my favorite video game soundtracks of all time. It's a great complement to the game and really enhances TWEWY experience. 

 

If you have the time I'd try it out. Especially if you are a fan of Square Enix JRPGs. It's one of the most unique games in their catalog in terms of gameplay but it's well-worth the playthrough. 

 

On 2/9/2020 at 6:46 PM, NGM said:

I didn’t even rank this that high lmao. But I guess I’m the only one that has played it besides Megan? Anyway, just read her write up, it will do the game way more justice than whatever I ramble about. Anyway, it’s an action role-playing game by Square Enix and Jupiter. The game has a really memorable art style, and that’s honestly what sticks out for me the most. Like the gameplay is okay (it’s a DS game so it was annoying at times ngl). But the graphics and soundtrack? Amazing. I guess that’s why it sticks out to me, I can live with troublesome gameplay if you give me great sound and things to look at (duh, look at my #1). Anyway, good run.

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52. Mother 2/Earthbound (SNES; 1994)

 

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Mother 2/EarthBound is one of the greatest video games of all-time. That is a fact. There was a lengthy and tumultuous production period between the original Mother/EarthBound Beginnings and this sequel release, but what came to be is truly a gaming masterpiece. Between the incredible direction of Shigesato Itoi and Satoru Iwata + the incredible music composition from Keiichi Suzuki and Hirozaku Tanaka, the game was bound to be a true milestone achievement for Nintendo and the JRPG genre. Though on the surface the game appears to be a simple JRPG, the reality is that EarthBound is at time a parody of the genre, subverting player expectations by placing the game in the rather real-world like country of Eagleland, a place that really is just an idiosyncratic portrayal of Americana and Western Culture. The game is strange, punny, goofy, and other-worldly, taking the player on a unique ride that can never really be predicted. Though the game plays like a traditional JRPG, EarthBound is anything but traditional. What cements this beautiful game in the upper echelons of gaming history is the simultaneously surreal, Lovecraftian, apocalyptic, audacious, clever, bizarre, wondrous, lighthearted, poignant, dark, and hilarious nature of a JRPG that steered so far from the typical tropes expected of role-playing games at the time. In a sea of games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy, EarthBound dared to be different. 

 

EarthBound takes place a decade after the events of the Earthbound Beginnings, as Ness investigates a nearby meteor crash with his neighbor Pokey in search of the latter's brother, Picky. Ness and Pokey discover that Giygas has enveloped and surrounded the world in hatred, while transforming humans and animals into malicious creatures. A small bee from the future instructs Ness to collect melodies in a Sound Stone from eight sanctuaries in order to stop the evil force of Giygas. Along the way, Ness meets three allies - Paula, Poo, and Jeff. All of them are amazing. What progress in a fantastical story that I will not spoil for those of you who have not played the game - even if the game is a quarter of a century old. LOL. Some unique features of the gameplay is the usage of oblique projection rather than top-down views customary to the genre, as well as the removal of random encounters. Some of my favorite characteristics of the game are the rolling HP meter and psychic points that allow for special PSI attacks. 

 

What else makes this game perfect in every way? The incredible soundtrack. There is much to be said of this Beach Boys inspired soundtrack that spans the genres of classical, reggae, salsa, pop, rock, jazz, and even folk music. The soundtrack is obviously inspired by film scores, pop culture, and legendary bands. I encourage everybody to read up on the composition of this soundtrack, but I will leave you guys with the link to the whole soundtrack. LISTEN TO IT.

 

 

 

The game was not well-received during promotional efforts. Nintendo budgeted a two-million dollar promotional campaign that really is as bizarre as the game itself. The campaign literally used the caption, "This game stinks." On promotional advertisements in magazines for the game, there were nasty-smelling scratch-and-sniff stickers that most of the public found entirely off-putting. There were a ton of fart jokes throughout the campaign. LOL. The awesomely wrong approach to promoting the game + extra costs of including strategy guides with promotional materials + massive media campaign + phasing out of the SNES + high cost of the game led to really poor returns upon the release of the game. There was not even a European release. American sales and reviews were poor. The audience was way too accustomed to games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy to really be prepared for a game that is so off-kilter. Most contemporary reviews critiqued the "cartoonish" and "childish" graphics. 

 

Over time, reviews of the game became increasingly positive and a massive cult following + fandom started to develop in support of the game. Reviewers started to praise the game's deviation from JRPG norms, as well as praising the range of emotion found within the script + dialogue of the game. The idiosyncrasies of theEarthBound slowly led the game to reach critical acclaim for being a bizarre, yet clever, humorous, and poignant adventure game full of pop culture allusions and existential thematics. Themes of Americana serve as an homage to the real-world of the '90s, and this unusual choice of gameplay design is beloved amongst most critics and players of the game. Most people consider the game to be brilliant, and I absolutely agree. The game is intelligent and unconventional and just unforgettable in every way. In-game hallucinations. Battles against piles of vomit and taxi cabs. Evil hipsters. Skateboards. ATM machines. Payphones. Self-reference. Satire. Breaking of the fourth wall continuously. AN EPIC FINAL BOSS BATTLE.

 

EarthBound is simply put - phenomenal. I am so glad that the greatest RPG in history made the finals, even if I wish the game had placed higher than Mother 3 - its sequel. Ness has obviously become a gaming icon, and I am just so happy to see how beloved the game is nowadays.

 

 

On 1/29/2020 at 1:04 PM, Solaris said:

I like this game, but I don’t love it.  It is a very popular and successful game from APE, and was released on the Super Nintendo.  It is the second game in the Mother series.  Most people will know this game for its main character Ness that has since been popularized by the Super Smash Bros. series.  The game starts off with Ness and his friend searching a meteor crash to locate the brother of his friend.  They stumble upon aliens who alter the world, and from there is Ness’ responsibility to stop it.  It’s a fun role playing game and a good introduction into the genre, and its considered one of the greatest video games of all time.

 

On 2/5/2020 at 12:47 AM, Steven_ said:

I have not played this game before. The only reason I ranked it higher than most is because Ness and Lucas are two of my most favorite characters to play as in the Super Smash Bros. series. Lucas isn't in Mother 2, but Ness is. Wikipedia tells me that Mother 2 is a role-playing game in which the player controls the party of characters led by Ness as they navigate the world and fight enemies. After each battles, the party gains experience and can level up. Mother 2 has been universally acclaimed by game critics with many citing it as one of the best Super Nintendo Games. I hope the other write-ups do more justice than this one does. Although I'm not familiar with this game, I do like Ness and I'm glad his game is represented here in the endgame of this rankdown.

 

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51. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4; 2017)

 

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Horizon Zero Dawn is the game that never dies in this rankdown. Megan made me so proud dragging this masterpiece to the finals. A truly incredible, visually stunning story of a hunter named Aloy, cast out from her tribe at birth, attempting to discover the truth of her secret past in a post-apocalyptic world that is overrun with massive, violent, animal-like machines. Horizon Zero Dawn is seriously an incredible game, which really helped to reinvigorate the open-world genre that had long been uninteresting.

 

An insanely gorgeous and endlessly vast open-world. A really solid, quickly-placed, emotionally engaging story that is powerfully driven by the phenomenal performance from Ashly Burch as the main protagonist. Non-stop influx of seriously breathtaking visuals. I don't know the last time I played a game that is so visually powerful. Intense combat mechanics and scenarios against some pretty insane machines that really put you to the test as a player. Really solid character work, even down to the seemingly infinite support/non-playable characters that you encounter throughout Aloy's journey. One of my favorite video gaming features ever is Aloy's Focus, which really heightens the gameplay in such a solid way. The Focus is a headpiece found by Aloy that allows her to scan and assess her environment + enemies. The Focus is so seamlessly integrated into the gameplay - often used in missions to follow blood trails or footprints, and utilized even more to scan machines and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Aloy's powerful foes. The Focus introduces strategy into this open-world game, which is a pretty impressive feat. The Focus also allows for players to cycle between stealth gameplay and combative approaches. Players are encouraged to assess all situations, which really heightens the feeling that Aloy really is in a world of constant imminent danger, threatened by the disruptive destruction enveloping the beautiful world surrounding her. There are also endless Side Quests that offer endless hours of gameplay to the player and really immerse the player in this game's world.

 

There should be no surprise at the massive commercial success of Horizon Zero Dawn. Funnily enough, the production team for this game considered nearly 40 pitches, and considered Horizon Zero Dawn to be the most risky of all the pitches, worrying about the marketability of a woman protagonist. LOL. Considering the game sold 10 million copies and is one of the highest-selling titles in the lifetime of the PS4.


The game received widespread critical acclaim and is genuinely regarded as the best video game released in 2017, second only to Breath of the Wild. 2017 is one of the strongest years in gaming, so that just speaks to how incredible Horizon Zero Dawn truly is. There is a remarkable sense of discovery to be found in this game, with constantly captivating narration and action sequences. The game world is just incredible, not enough can be said about its beauty. There is lore to be found in every crevice and far recess of the ravaged, yet sacred landscapes of Earth, which makes the game not only about combat, but about deep exploration. As Aloy is a hunter, the missions and intricacies of the gameplay force the player to become a hunter as well. Though my favorite part of the game is easily the journey taken by the protagonist of this story. There is such depth and emotional range in Aloy's journey of self-discovery and maturation. It's really a fulfilling experience seeing her to the end of this harrowing experience.

 

There are a few oversights in the game's dialogue, but they are entirely negligible in the grand scheme of things. Horizon Zero Dawn kicks ass and deserved every bit of praise that it has received.

 

 

On 2/9/2020 at 6:46 PM, NGM said:

In the realm of STUNNING games, here is HZD. I know I should talk about the open world and stuff but f*ck this game doesn’t pull any punches in the visual department. Anyway, with that out of the way, it was released in 2017 for the PS4. You play as Aloy, a hunter in a world that’s infested by machines (not like chill machines ala Terminator, these things are behemoths that will f*ck you up). The plot (which lbr is convoluted af) centers around Aloy’s past and wtf happened to the planet, is entertaining, but it could have been sold better (dialogue is the one criticism I really agree with for this game, it’s so dry). Anyway, more than enough, but it’s a good game that still holds up if you wanna give it a shot.

 

On 2/6/2020 at 10:13 AM, totes4totes said:

Horizon Zero Dawn
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Horizon Zero Dawn is a PS4 exclusive game that came out in 2017. If you've paid attention at all in this thread, and some of you clearly haven't, you know I don't own a PS4. So I've never personally played this game but considering it was THE PS4 game of 2017 and I have friends with PS4s that I've seen a lot of gameplay of this game. When I defend and can TREAT MYSELF to a PS4 it's the first game on my "to-buy" list.

For those of you who don't know, Horizon Zero Dawn is an open-world third-person action-RPG where you control Aloy who is a hunter in a postapocalyptic world ruled by robotic creatures. It's a unique landscape that makes Horizon Zero Dawn look both prehistoric and futuristic at the same time. As an action-RPG you level up your skills through a skill tree to acquire new bonuses and abilities. As Aloy, you are exploring the world and hunting machines in order to uncover your past. I am not going to summarize the rest of the game so I can avoid reading the wikipedia. As I only spoil myself to know which exact people I can romance in any given RPG and I feel like that does not exist in this game. :haha:

Like I said, the game was released in 2017. Long after Open World almost became a default of many high profile western-RPGs. And we were reaching kind of a bloat of these games. To many things to do and too many rote ideas. And in 2017 both Horizon Zero Dawn and Breath of the Wild broke that. (In fact, if not for Breath of the Wild launching about a month or so later, HZD would have been probably unanimously THE game of the year). It's a game that received a lot of praise for its story and exploration. Again, had BOTW not jumped into the scene and redefined both the Zelda franchise and open world games, HZD would have been the Game of the Year for a lot of people. Instead it merely has to stand as runner-up.

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I'm gonna YOLO an Earthbound write-up because the only reason I ranked it low was to try and help Mother 3 place higher than it. :haha: #NoRegrets but clearly I'm the person that would have ranked this game the highest!

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50. Final Fantasy VIII (PS1; 1999)

 

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Final Fantasy VIII is easily the most divisive game in the franchise. While I have not played the game myself to speak on why it is so divisive, I have known this to be true about this particular entry for many years. That is why this eighth entry in the series making the finals is puzzling to me, but I guess it was the only remaining FF title for Tom/Sola to advance to the finals. Despite the debate surrounding the game's quality, FFVIII has been a massive financial success for the series, earning $50 million dollars within the first thirteen weeks of its release, the fastest-selling game in the franchise until the release of FFXIII some years later. The game was then ported to PC a year after its release and would eventually see re-releases across multiple PlayStation consoles over the years. By August 2019, FFVIII had sold 9.6 million copies worldwide, which is very impressive, despite reaching that number over a 20 year period. FFVIII was remastered and released for all major home consoles September of last year, so clearly Square has invested a lot into this particular title.

 

https://thenerdstash.com/why-is-final-fantasy-viii-so-divisive/

https://www.polygon.com/features/2017/12/19/16793294/ranking-the-numbered-final-fantasy-games

https://www.digitalspy.com/tech/a636855/ranking-final-fantasy-games-worst-to-best-mainline-entries/

https://www.denofgeek.com/us/games/final-fantasy/244017/final-fantasy-ranking-the-main-games

https://www.geek.com/games/review-final-fantasy-viii-remastered-is-as-frustrating-and-amazing-as-the-original-1802925/

 

I have decided to post some links that touch on why FFVIII is such a divisive video game rather than dive into all the details of the game myself, which would take forever. I do know that FFVIII is sandwiched in between the two most highly regarded entries in the franchise, so I do think that plays a part in the wildly varying perception it has received. FFVIII changed a lot of what caused FFVII to be so beloved. I also think transitioning from one of the greatest protagonists in history to the objectively whiny and annoying Squall was probably a mistake as well. There are a lot of major gameplay changes made in this entry as well. 

 

On the bright side, the music in FFVIII is iconic and really great and the love story between Squall and Rinoa is super solid. 

 

 

On 1/29/2020 at 1:04 PM, Solaris said:

I am very happy the Final Fantasy franchise was represented in the top 64.  This wouldn’t have been the version I would have put through.  I would have proffered 14, 7 or 10 or preferably 6 to be that entry.  Final fantasy 8 however is a good option and I know Tom loves it.  The majority of the games playable characters from a military group called SeeD.  Some of the main characters in the game include lead character Squall Leonhart, Rinoa Heartilly, Irvine Kinneas, Quistis Trepe, Selphie Tilmitt and Zell Dincht.  My party usually consisted of Squall Rinoa and Zell.  No one liked Selphie but I know many love Quistis.  FF8 did some interesting things, such as drawing magic from enemies and the Guardian force system.  All in all, it’s a fantastic game and earned it spot here.

 

 

On 2/5/2020 at 11:05 AM, ~Tom~ said:

While this isn't objectively the best Final Fantasy in the series nor my favorite (I think both of those would go to VI), this one still ranks high up there and I'm glad I was able to get at least one of them into the Tournament. It's the first RPG I ever played and still remains one of my favorite to play through. The game follows Squall Leonhart, a SeeD cadet (a group of mercenaries trained to stop evil sorceresses), and Laguna Loire, a soldier from the country of Galbadia who eventually gets involved in a conflict with a sorceress named Adel. Squall and his team start of fighting Edea (who they grew up under in an orphanage) but it turns out she has been possessed by a sorceress from the future who wants to compress time. To stop her they use the powers of a girl named Ellone to go the future and stop her. The game drew some criticism for its Junction system (equipping spells you obtain from enemies to boost your characters' stats) and Guardian Forces (summons) but I loved playing it multiple times again to obtain everything the game had to offer. I also loved the soundtrack: 

 

 

 

 

 

A classic that deserved better as well as its counterparts.

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49. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GC; 2002)

 


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There are certain feats in video game history that I love to talk about. For example, how do you successfully follow-up two of the greatest video games in history, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask? You make The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. What an exciting accomplishment. This might be my shortest write-up, only because Rei and Megan did an excellent job of describing what is so amazing about this title. But The Wind Waker deserves so much more love than it received in this Rankdown. The visuals. The art direction. The gameplay. The plot. An incredible soundtrack inspired by traditional Irish music and composed by a team of legends. The King of Red Lions. The Wind Waker. Just an all-around fantastic game from start to finish. There is a reason why the game has continued to receive widespread critical acclaim and stands as one of the greatest entries from one of the strongest + most consistent series in video gaming. Everybody should play The Wind Waker. We deserved a sequel.

 

 

On 2/6/2020 at 10:12 AM, totes4totes said:

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I always thought that Wind Waker was more widely regarded as the second or third best Zelda console game, so I was surprised to find that only Rei and I rate it that high. If I were to rank all the Zelda games (And I started ranking them! But then old IDF died so that new IDF could live), Wind Waker would actually land at my number 3 or number 4 spot, just after Breath of the Wild and A Link to the Past and just about tied with Link's Awakening. A part of that could be my love for the GameCube (an underrated system that had the misfortune of competing with the PS2 and the OG XBox) but I think that it really is one of the most fun times you can have with a Zelda game with some of the best mechanics and one of the most unique looks of the series. The Legend of Zelda series is easily my favorite game series of all time, so that's really high praise coming from me. This is like a Top 20 game for me easily, and it was a no brainer to rank it so high in this rankdown. 

 

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When the Wind Waker trailer was first revealed at E3, it quickly became one of the most controversial moments in all of Zelda history. You come from the "realistic" looking Link in the N64 series and instead of seeing the natural evolution of that Link (like you'd see later in Twilight Princess) you get this cartoon. However, once the game was actually released, the initial disdain for the cel-shaded cartoon style was largely forgotten or ignored because Wind Waker turned out to be one of the best Zelda game play experiences of all time. And it turns out, that one of the reasons that this game endures stylistically is because of the cartoon graphics. The game was gorgeous in 2002 and looks even more incredible in its HD remake for the Wii U. But if you have a GameCube (or a fitting emulator), the GameCube version still plays incredibly and looks very good. And just look at how expressive the characters are:

 

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Gifs don't necessarily do it justice, especially for the HD version, so here's the E3 trailer for the HD version (PLZ NINTENDO BRING THIS TO SWITCH):

 

I love all the Zelda games (well except the ones we ignore), and I think that I love the big, exaggerated expressions of the Wind Waker the best. And back to the gameplay, combat in the 3D Zelda games has never really felt as good as it did in Wind Waker. Not that battling ever really felt all that awful (well, Skyward Sword exists), but in the combat is so fluid and it all just "feels" right. And it also features probably the best Ganon fight of the entire series:

 

 

Sorry for these spoilers for a soon to be 18-year-old game. 

 

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Before I get to some other things I love about the game, I will quickly discuss the drawbacks. If you can't tell from the gif, it's mostly the sailing. Which I'll admit that's a large part of the game, but it's not that the sailing is bad it's that it can be repetitive. Especially because the rest of the world is so fun. The towns are incredible, the dungeons are great, when you make it to islands it's fun to explore. But there's only so much you can do when you are sailing a ship. If this game had a more typical overworld for a Zelda game, then I think that more people would think of this as fondly as Ocarina of Time, because in literally every other way imaginable it outclasses that game. Anyway, back to the stuff that I love.

 

 

I love the music. Some of my favorite songs in the entire series. 

 

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Tetra is probably the most incredible Zelda (the character).

 

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Love Medli (also love Link looking like a total dweeb in this gif).

 

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Love my boat king. Sailing might be a bit dull, but I'd sail to the ends of the earth for my boat. 

 

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Again, I just love the character designs (and you can see many of them here). It's such a lovingly detailed world and every character feels incredibly unique. 

 

Anyway, Nintendo plz bring this to the Switch so I can play this in HD without buying a Wii U. I love this game so freaking much and just looking through the gifs and videos makes me want to break out my GameCube and play it again. ALAS I HAVE A THESIS TO WRITE BUT MAYBE IN APRIL. 

 

 

On 2/11/2020 at 3:49 PM, .Rei said:

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

 

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is simply a masterpiece. I love this game so much that it pains me that is now gone from this rankdown. It is my second favorite Zelda game ever and one of my favorite games ever, probably Top 5.  

 

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My journey with The Wind Waker almost never occurred as I wasn't sure if I should purchased at the moment cause it graphics made it look more directed towards children. Before The Wind Waker, the only two Zelda games I had played before were Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess (both also amazing games) and even if I loved those games I still wasn't really sure if would enjoy this one. In the end I ended up buying the game (the Wii U version, as I never owned a GameCube) and boy what an experience I had.

 

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The Wind Waker is one of the most visually stunning games I've ever played. It was definitely an amazing experience to play this game, and up until that moment I hadn't felt like that playing a game since Super Mario 64. The story, the graphics, the design, the freaking bosses!!! Everything is just so beautiful and I still sometimes get chills of remembering the moments playing this game. I never played the GameCube version of the game, so I don't really know if the original is the better version or the WiiU is the better one but what I know is that this game is fantastic and a must experience to any Zelda fan out there. 

 

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I've only played five Zelda games as of today (Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, The Wind Waker, Breath of the Wild and Link's Awakening) and this game is easily in my top 2 from this group. What I love the most about this game is that is the most unique game from that bunch and it easily stands out in the crowd of Zelda games out there.

 

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The story of The Wind Waker takes place in the New World timeline set hundred of years after the events of Ocarina of Time. The game starts when another incarnation of Link is celebrating his coming of age in Outset Island's. Years prior to the events of The Wind Waker, Hyrule was sealed under the Great Sea by the goddesses in order to contain Ganondorf and his minions. The Wind Waker takes place in the Great Sea which is a massive sea with 49 islands scattered in it. One of my favorite things about the game, is how there are so many places to discover that it gives you the sense of playing an open world game even if it's not. I just loved sailing in the sea on the King of Red Lions and always discovering a new place. 

 

 

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Like most Zelda games, the main goal is to obtain the Master Sword and defeat Ganondorf who was able to break the seal that was keeping him trapped. In order to do so, Link must reunite the Triforce of Courage that has been divided into three pieces and prove that he is the reincarnation of the Hero of Time. Link must also find the reincarnations of the old sages, that are needed to restore the power of the Master Sword. Along the way, Link is able to find the sages and reunite the Triforce of Courage and present it to the gods. The gods then declare Link, the Hero of Time and passes the power of Triforce of Courage to him giving Link all the tools to defeat Ganon. In the end, Link is able to rescue Tetra (who is in fact, Princess Zelda's reincarnation) and defeats Ganondorf stabbing him through the head and turning him into stone. 

 

Like I said in another write-up, I just gave away my WiiU to my little nephews with The Wind Waker along, so I don't think I will be playing this game again unless somehow it gets ported to the Switch which is very unlikely. So this is my goodbye to an amazing game in real life and from this rankdown.

 

 

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Just now, Steven_ said:

The Wind Waker ❤️

 

Such an amazing game.

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23 minutes ago, Deeee said:

We deserved a sequel.

The Phantom Hourglass would like to speak with you. 

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48. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (multi-platform; 2000)

 

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Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes is easily one of my favorite fighting games of all-time. As you all can tell, crossover fighting games are some of my absolute favorite video games, so there should be no shock to hear that I grew up addicted to games like X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and Marvel vs. Capcom 2. For a long time, I felt like this title was the pinnacle of fighting games. Over time, I have loved the game a bit less, but I still think the game is a nearly perfect fighting experience. Despite being the fourth entry in the MvC series, this title is arguably the best and has still yet to be dethroned. 

 

A follow-up to the very good Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, MvC2 features several significant changes to the gameplay that make this sequel a true standout. 3-on-3 tag team battle mechanics, character assist systems, and simplified controls. All three of these features were critical to the success of this title, particularly the modified control scheme that made this game less of a button-mashing experience. The game also features an updated graphics system, moving from 2D to 2.5D, creating background visuals in 3D. The character assist system allows variability in fighting style and strategy across the rather large roster. 

 

Hyper Combos are still as incredible as ever. While the game really only has a few modes (Arcade, Versus, Training), the beauty of this title lies in the replay value. You can spend an endless amount of hours playing this game and never once feeling bored because of the endless character combinations + fast-paced fighting style. 

 

That leads us to discuss the epic roster.

 

Marvel: Blackheart, Cable, Captain America, Colossus, Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Gambit, Hulk, Iceman, Iron Man, Juggernaut, Magneto, Marrow, Omega Red, Psylocke, Rogue, Sabertooth, Sentinel, Shuma-Gorath, Silver Samurai, Spider-Man, Spiral, Storm, Thanos, Venom, War Machine, Wolvering

 

Capcom: Akuma, Amingo, Anakaris, B.B. Hood, Cammy White, Captain Commando, Charlie Nash, Chun-Li, Dan Hibiki, Dhalsim, Felicia, Guile, Hayato Hanzaki, Jill Valentine, Jin Saotome, Ken Masters, M. Bison, Mega Man, Morrigan Aensland, Roll, Ruby Heart, Ryu, Sakura Kasugano, Servbot, SonSon, Strider Hiryu, Tron Bonne, Zangief

 

The hyper energy, insane cast of characters, refined and tightened gameplay mechanics, three-on-three combat, detailed backdrops, and replay level earned this game critical acclaim. The biggest complaint is the music, which is admittedly some of the worst music in video game history. LOL. But that is a minor factor imo. Truly happy to see this game make the finals, and I think it left at just the right spot.

 

On 1/29/2020 at 1:04 PM, Solaris said:

I played a number of fighting games growing up.  I was mostly a button masher.  The street fighters, mortal combats and tekkens of the world don’t come close to what was produced with Marvel vs Capcom 2 in my opinion.  It was truly an amazing game.  As a whole the fighting genre didn’t do too well in this fame outside of Smash Bros.  I would argue that’s a different style of fighting game though next to these.  This was game was fantastic whether you were playing it in the arcade, or on the PlayStation 2 (all other methods are irrelevant).  The game started out with only 24 characters, which is still a lot for the time these games were popular.  However you could unlock 36 more for a roster of 60, that was huge!  Marvel favorites like Hulk, Ironman, Wolverine and Gambit (one of my mains), got into the ring with Capcom heroes such as Mega Man, Chun-Li, Felicia and Tron Bonne.  You could play Arcade mode or multiplayer mode.  The unique part of the game was that you picked 3 characters to comprise your team, and you didn’t lose until all 3 were knocked out.  Proud of myself for dragging it here, and sad it didn’t advance, because it should have.

 

 

On 2/10/2020 at 9:57 AM, .Rei said:

Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes

 

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Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes is one of the best fighting video games of all time according to many critics and fans. I'm probably the only one in this rankdown that has not played this game but I'm familiar with previous game in the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise and I've enjoyed them very much so I know that I would love this game. After watching YouTube videos of this game, now I'm 100% convinced about the previous the previous statement. The game was originally release on 2000 for the arcades, and was later ported to the DreamCast, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360 and iOS. The game features a massive roster of 56 characters, which is insane tbh. The only fighting games that I can think of with these number of characters are Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mortal Kombat Armageddon. You're pretty much guaranteed to find a character that you would love. As you can guess by the title, the game features characters from the Marvel Comics, such as, Captain America, Gambit, Hulk, Iron Man, Storm, Spider-Man and Venom; and also characters from the Capcom video game franchises, such as, Chun-Li, Mega Man, Ryu, Akuma, Felicia and Captain Commando. The players would pick a team of characters and engage in combat against another player and try to knock them out. Like I said earlier, the game received amazing reviews with many praising the gameplay, visuals and number of playable characters. This game looks like it has aged very well and would probably enjoy playing right now. And as one of the people that was constantly targeting this game (mostly because I've never played it), im actually kind of glad that it lasted this long.

 

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somehow rei and i overlapped with only one gif.

 

also dee's shortest write-up because rei and i put in work. lol.

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8 minutes ago, totes4totes said:

The Phantom Hourglass would like to speak with you. 

 

I specifically meant the originally planned for The Wind Waker 2. LOL.

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3 minutes ago, totes4totes said:

somehow rei and i overlapped with only one gif.

 

also dee's shortest write-up because rei and i put in work. lol.

 

Pretty much. I've tried to write as much as possible for these games, but I was given a reprieve on that one. LOL.

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1 minute ago, Solaris said:

next!

We haven’t finished speaking about how amazing is The Wind Waker and how everybody else but Megan and me just flopped in their rankings 😘

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1 minute ago, .Rei said:

We haven’t finished speaking about how amazing is The Wind Waker and how everybody else but Megan and me just flopped in their rankings 😘

 

 

hard pass

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FF8 is in my top Final Fantasy games. My top 3 would be 6, 8, 10. I think FF8 is definitely the most underrated of the Final Fantasy games.  My preferred party is the same as Sola's but I also liked Selphie unlike him. Her limit break was capable of killing any boss in 1 hit so it was pretty op the only problem is it relied on rng. Quistis was the only main character that I didn't care for. 

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47. Persona 4 (PS2; 2008)

 

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Persona 4 is one of the greatest games of all-time and easily the best entry in the Persona series. I cannot speak on the larger Shin Megami Tensei series, but I would bet money that Persona  4 is still the supreme title. I'm a sucker for murder mysteries, so Persona 4 is exactly my type of game.

 

Persona 4 is a JRPG with simulation-genre aspects. The game places you in the role of the self-named protagonist that moves to the countryside town of Inaba for a year. Unexplained murders with no known cause of death are occurring in the town, and the bodies are found dangling from television antennas. The "Midnight Channel" rumor begins to spread, which states that watching a switched-off television set on rainy midnights will reveal a person's soulmate. The protagonist quickly befriends Yosuke Hanamura, Chi Satonaka, and Yukiko Amagi, all of whom follow this rumor that leads them into the mysterious TV World, where they are greeted by a hollow teddy bear named, Teddie. The students then decide to use their Personas, avatars projected from one's inner self that resemble mythological figures and represent the façades worn by individuals to face life's hardships, each Persona possessing its own skills, as well as strengths and weaknesses to certain attributes, in order to explore the murderous dungeons of the TV world and hopefully solve the cases of the real-world murders. While in the TV World, the students explore the dungeons that are each tailored around a particular murder victim. In the TV World lurks Shadows, the enemies that are fought by the students in mostly typical JRPG fashion. Though I will say that the combat system still feels unique in the Persona series. 

 

Persona 4's production was greatly inspired by the murder mystery classics of Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Seishi Yokozimo. Persona 4 is also notably different from many JRPGs by limiting players to the world of Inaba, while most JRPGs tend to be vast open-world experiences. The Japanese to English localization is pretty solid. The soundtrack really encompasses the emotional depth of many of the situations faced by the protagonists of the game. Persona always comes with a stellar soundtrack, and this entry is no exception to that rule. 

 

Persona 4 was so good that it warranted an expanded release a decade later titles Persona 4 Golden, which contains expanded content and more Social Links. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, a big part of the gameplay in Persona series encourages players to form Social Links with other students in order to gain additional abilities. Social interaction and coming to know the characters over the course of the game really is the selling point of the series, and Persona 4 executes this aspect of gameplay perfectly. Persona 4 also inspired three spin-off titles, which include a fighting game, dungeon-crawler, and dancing rhythm game. Persona 4 is also expanded on by a manga series, a light novel, an anime, a stage production, and a ton of merchandise.

 

The game released to critical acclaim, receiving praise for its clever art style, exploration of the JRPG genre, and for being a sequel that raises the bar. Persona 4 received a ton of awards and was a commercial success in Japan. While the game is not perfect, there is something incredible about the game. It's different and endlessly entertaining, and I think that is why it has received such high praises over the years.

 

 

On 1/31/2020 at 4:43 PM, ~Tom~ said:

Persona 4 blends traditional RPG gameplay with life simulation elements. The player controls the game's protagonist (known as Yu in the manga but who the player can name), who comes to the town of Inaba for a year long stay with his uncle and his daughter. The plot is influenced by murder mysteries; just after Yu’s arrival, a TV announcer is found dead and Saki Konishi, the high school student who had discovered the body, is later found dead herself, hung upside-down from a telephone pole. You becomes friends with Yosuke, Chie, Yukiko, Kanji, and Rise, and they discover the TV world where the victims are thrown into. There, they discover Teddie (a mysterious figure who wears a bear costume). The characters fight in the enemies of the TV world (Shadows) using their Personas and discover the connection between the TV world and the murders. They eventually discover the culprit, police officer Adachi who they dismiss as incompetent but has an iconic speech about humanity being boring and useless to him. In addition to the plot and gameplay, it’s always been a favorite due to the fact it was the first RPG where real-life/simulation activities were done so it’s been one of my favorites since it came out in 09.

 

 

On 2/6/2020 at 10:10 AM, totes4totes said:

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Considering I'm doing like 15 write-ups and also the Persona 5 write-up, I'm going to put less effort into this one. Even though it's probably the best of the Persona Games (at least the Vita enhanced version PS4: Golden, though I don't have a PS: Vita so I've not played that version). 

 

Due to the fact that Persona 2 was split into two games with two POVs, Persona 4 is the 5th game in Atlus's Persona series (a spin-off of its popular flagship Megami Tensei series). And while Persona 3 was definitely the series breakout moment (it's the first to create the social link system), I think Persona 4 is where the games really caught on in the west where neither Persona nor SMT had really been all that popular. And I think that's because it's the game that really separated it from its SMT roots to its own thing. 

 

Like the other Persona games, the combat and dungeons of Persona revolve around Personas. Each Persona has its own ability and skills and you can create new more powerful Personas by capturing other Personas. There is a time system and a social system. In the dungeon you are working to save a person by the next foggy day and if you do not, then they are killed and the character is taken back a week to try again. The story of Persona 4 revolves around a murder mystery. The main character moves from the city to the country and gets involved investigating a series of murders that are happening in the town. Placing the story in the rural town was an intentional decision to get the player to focus on and get invested in the lives of the characters. And that's really where Persona 4 shines. Getting to know and hang out with the characters is the draw of the game and where it really shines.

 

If you like the other Persona games, then you will like this game. If you aren't sure about it, then at this current moment in time, Persona 5 is more accessible to play, so play that. 

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1 hour ago, .Rei said:

We haven’t finished speaking about how amazing is The Wind Waker and how everybody else but Megan and me just flopped in their rankings 😘

Don't forget Steven!


Everybody else is a flop!

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41 minutes ago, totes4totes said:

Don't forget Steven!


Everybody else is a flop!

@Steven_ always with the taste :wub: :wub: :wub:

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