All My Favourites

I recently asked my fellow reviewers what their favourite games are and why they're ranked so highly? It's aptly named "All My Favourites" and each week we'll go into a breakdown of games in each genre but for the first instalment I thought we could start off with something a bit more special...

All time favourite series!

It's difficult to pick one single game out of the hundreds of thousands of games that are available, to be the pinnacle of all video game entertainment, so I figured I'd cut us a little slack and pick a series to start with.

I've got a few favourite series, Metal Gear Solid springs instantly to mind as does Monster Hunter, Assassins Creed and Pokémon but none rank as highly as the Legend of Zelda. I've played many platforming and puzzle games on my original Gameboy way back in the day, but it wasn't until I got a copy of Link's Awakening that I really got engrossed with anything to go back to it over and over again.

It wasn't until I got Ocarina of Time that I truly found the game that would change my expectations on all games that followed. Despite being a huge Nintendo fan, Mario was never my thing, I had Goldeneye, Lylat Wars and Blast Corps and a bunch of other games to pad the time but once I got that sweet golden cartridge in my hands, slammed it into the N64 and just gave in, I'd never had a better time with any game.

Years have passed since then and the formula to Zelda hasn't really changed much, but to be honest, I don't want it to, why ruin a great thing? Through Majora's Mask to Wind Waker, Four Swords to Twilight Princess, back to handhelds with Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass, the vast amount of hours I've put into playing as a young elf boy, garbed in green, on his massive quests to save his friend Zelda and banish evil from Hyrule must be in the thousands by now. My passion for playing as the Hero of Time goes beyond just the core Zelda games, he's my go to in every Smash Brother's game and he's the only character I used in Soul Calibur 2 on Gamecube. No series I've played has such a deep intertwined story arc as Zelda and I doubt any game will ever get to the height that it has. Recently the Hyrule Historia was released which I instantly snapped up. It details the huge amount of backstory covering the entire series and links all the games into one complete universe, if you've ever had the slightest bit of interest in the series then I couldn't recommend it enough. It's full of information and decades of beautiful artwork.

Finally wrapping up, Skyward Sword is the latest offering and even though I hate to admit it, I haven't finished it, but that's mainly because I don't want to finish it... better yet, I don't want it to end...ever! As a bonus sign off, here's some doodles I've drawn on Miiverse to celebrate the Legend of Zelda series.

Miiverse...my favourite non game part of the WiiU

Matt - @lzr_atk
My very first games will probably always be ones I'll list in my top 5 favourites - the original Sonic series for the Megadrive. In my opinion not even Mario's sidescroller platformers could top Sega's mascot, that eventually all changed when the games eventually shifted to 3D however - Mario is in his element in games like 64 and Galaxy, while some of the more recent Sonic titles just haven't managed to fit right, most notably in the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. If Sega had only stuck with the brilliant Sonic Adventure gameplay...

My love for classic platformers aside, one of my other long time gaming loves is RPGs, particularly JRPGs. My love for stat increasing, number crunching, exploration and turn based battles keep me hooked every time, although my fascination sometimes crosses into the Western RPG environment especially thanks to games like Oblivion bringing me back to the world of Tolkein-esque High Fantasy instead of the more sci-fi tendencies of Final Fantasy. Kingdom Hearts, the genius combination of not only Final Fantasy and Disney, but also RPG and Action/Adventure will always have a special place on my favourites list for it's innovative and polished gameplay and a storyline so increasingly complex it makes Lost feel simple.

Like Chris, The Legend of Zelda is another long-time favourite of mine and the only one so far I haven't got round to playing is Skyward Sword but when it's eventually mine I plan to lock myself away for the weekend to finish what I can only imagine is another Nintendo masterpiece.

Growing up, instead of buying all the popular games that were on the most notable shelves, I'd tend to look around at some of the more interesting games that were tucked away which explains why I'm now the happy owner of some pretty strange and obscure games such as Gitaroo Man, Incredible Crisis and Tombi. These don't have huge followings by any means but I've definitely spent more time on them than many of the better known titles. Another genius game I have to mention is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In the style of Metroid games but add some RPG elements and give it the guise of a gothic Dracula's castle and you get some of the best secrets and bosses I've ever encountered in a game.

Shenmue for the Dreamcast is one of my favourites for it's pure originality. You play as Ryo, a man out to discover who is behind his father's dishonourable death, set in 1980's Japan. The realism this game had was unheard of at that time, and although there were parts where you actually followed a storyline, watched cutscenes and had martial arts fights with people, a large portion of the game felt like a life simulator and not at all in a bad way. For example, say you had to wait until 8pm to ambush a suspect gang member outside his workplace which meant that at 12pm, you had a little time to go down to town, check out the arcades and actually play classic Sega arcade games or even collect figures from the Gacha machines. These insignificant parts of the game were so fun, I'd often end up missing the appointment with the bad guy... Whoops.

Check out my article on the Top 10 Games That Made The Playstation 1 for my thoughts on another one of my favourites, Metal Gear Solid.

Ryo Hazuki clearly has some time to kill


Nik - @CaptainCortez
I like a lot of different Genre's, but what I like in particular are experimental games, or at least those that feel on the same level as triple A titles, but are often under-rated and far from mainstream. Good examples of this would be games like God Hand, Gitaroo Man, Rez and Viewtiful Joe. Though what I like most however, is a game that offers true challenge, which would explain why I'm such a fan of incredibly punishing Japanese titles.

A lot of companies within the Gaming Industry of today feel that Westernisation is a step forward in the right direction, but I see it only as a negative because westernising once supreme titles that shone brilliantly as Japanese titles has been ruining my experience as a gamer.

Take the new DmC: Devil May Cry title for example. I felt that it was a good game, but compared to Devil May Cry 1 and 3, it's not even on the radar. There's little that reboots can do for the original series, because Devil May Cry 1 still remains to be one of, if not the greatest Action and Adventure game of all time.

It had a brutal difficulty that would put you down faster than a Shotgun to the head,.if you became cocky and full of yourself, with its normal difficulty equalling hard mode or higher to most games at the time, and it was because of this difficulty that the combat and completion of the game felt as rewarding as it did. In a sense, the punishing difficulty was so extreme and so new at the time, that it actually only enticed you to come back for more, to boost your confidence by proving yourself to the game as a worthy adversary.

The combat was ground-breaking for its time, with the game even creating its very own Sub-Genre (labelled "Extreme Combat") under the Action and Adventure Genre, with character design oozing style and atmospheric electro music that kept you pumped and on your toes throughout every encounter.

Bosses were memorable (Phantom, along with the honourable, dark and devilish Nelo Angelo), and although the story lacked depth, the Japanese design of the game mixed with the advantages mentioned above is what made the original Devil May Cry such a huge success, and placed it on the pedestal I keep it on to this very day.

To conclude this, if I haven't already made it apparent enough, Devil May Cry 1 is my favourite title of all time, and I'd like to see a return of our Devil Hunting Veteran in the very near future!

I've always been a fan of DMC, and drew this in commemoration of DMC3!

Liban - @wkg_liban
I like to think of myself as an all rounder as I like to play a lot of different titles spanning multiple genres. From your FIFA's to Uncharted's and your Mario's to your Need For Speed's, however if we're talking favourites I am a big fan of beat em up titles such as the Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom series but when it comes to being immersive and completely focusing on what's happening on the screen, Tekken always wins for me.

Created by Namco Bandai, Tekken is alot closer to what combat in real life is minus some of the over the top moves you can perform in game. What I mean by this is the fluidity of the moves and animations along with the fact that you can parry and dodge moves by the skin of your teeth makes it really exciting for me. The first game in the series I played was the original on the PlayStation 1 and from there it has gone from strength to strength with the addition of new characters, new martial arts and generally improving on the combat system overall.

Who thought Kazuya would make a decent looking Link?

They went a step further with all of this when Tekken Tag Tournament was released for the PlayStation 2. All the goodness of the series was retained however the only difference being is now you can pick a partner that can fight with you, and while at the time not fully fleshed out, you had the ability to pull off some pretty slick combos that involved both you and you're partner.

With some of the more recent releases of they game they introduced the juggle system where you hit your opponent in the air and can constantly batter them (to a degree) without letting them get up. While this obviously made it lose points on its realistic element, it did make the game more challenging and envoked players to adapt to it.

Ben - @kingkicks
Selecting one favorite series is mighty difficult, considering all that is out there in the glorious world of gaming. I've got old favorites like Streets of Rage, favorites that I was addicted to throughout my teens like Final Fantasy/Grand Theft Auto and favorites that have only sprung up during the current generation like Uncharted/Batman Arkham.

Rather then going with one of those, I'm going to go with the most obvious game series of them all...Super Mario. It helped begin my life as a gamer and it continues to entertain me upon the release of all the main Mario titles.

You beautiful plumber you!

I was lucky enough at a young age to have my sisters' NES & SNES passed down to me and thus I was given the opportunity to play the first three Super Mario Bros. While the first two were enjoyable, I didn't fully fall in love with Mario until Super Mario Bros 3. Right from the first level, I was addicted and couldn't get over the depth of the game with so many worlds to play, costumes to try and secrets to find.

And it just continued with Super Mario World on the SNES, which might just be my all time favorite video game ever. Somehow Nintendo had managed to make an even more addictive game with excellent replay value, well thought out level design and Yoshi!. We were given the chance to ride a dinosaur that could eat enemies! Ridiculously awesome.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Nintendo release Super Mario 64. Transferring Mario from 2D to a 3D world and still managing to keep the high quality of the game is absolutely ridiculous, though admittedly after Super Mario Sunshine (which I feel is the only Mario to not really evolve the series), I did wonder if Mario's time was up and there wasn't anywhere Nintendo could take the plumber. Yet the release of Super Mario Galaxy (as well as its sequel) managed to blow me away once again, and looking back at the Galaxy games, I can't help thinking "Who thought putting Mario in space would be a good idea?".

The way Nintendo has managed to continually change Mario alongside each new hardware release and yet still keep the addictive, legendary gameplay that we love is an amazing achievement. The fact the games have aged so well is a real testament to how simple, yet brilliant the gameplay actually is.

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