The Satirical Troll’s Top 100 Games of All-Time Part 5 (#40-31)

40. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Konami, 2003)-

The Series’ third and final installment on the Gameboy Advance, Aria of Sorrow is a bit shorter and absent of new ideas compared to the brethren it shares a console with. Despite this, where it makes up for its shortcomings is by not only combining the best features of the previous games, but also cutting down on the filler and getting right to the best parts to make a fantastic Metroidvania game. This game has the best soundtrack out of the 3 GBA games as well, and I really got into the soul collecting mechanic. Soma is also one of the coolest protagonists in the series. I don’t think I truly appreciated this game enough when I played it as a kid, but as an adult, it’s one of my favorite Metroidvania games.

39. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (Naughty Dog, 2001)-

Jak and Daxter was the first game I ever played on my PS2, so it has a lot of nostalgic value for me. Jak and Daxter isn’t the most original game out there. The levels are pretty standard platformer fare and the overall structure is pretty generic by genre conventions. Where Jak and Daxter really excels is in the presentation and visual design. Even in the days before Naughty Dog were known for their cinematic storytelling, they were still the cream of the crop when it came to technical prowess. Each hub area acts as a seamless entry way to each level with no load screens. Even by today’s standards, it’s fairly impressive. The levels have this cool mixture of nature and ancient technology powered by primordial energy. The story and characters are full of personality and charm, and the constant clever dialog is what makes the game so memorable. The other games in the trilogy are also great, but they’re completely different games, and the original is still my favorite.

38. Resident Evil 4 (Capcom, 2005)-  

Resident Evil is one of my all-time favorite franchises, but by the time Resident Evil 0 had come out, the series had started to stagnate. Resident Evil 4 was the game that revitalized the franchise. Not only is Resident Evil 4 a great horror game, but it was a landmark title in 3rd person action games as well. One would think that these two things would clash, but Resident Evil 4 makes it work. There are effective uses of pacing in this game, and it realizes that to make an action horror game work, it needs to go from 0 to 100 on a dime. The tone of the game is also perfect. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and really leans into the camp in a way the other games failed to do, which makes its stupid story work. While there are some aspects that haven’t aged well, I think Resident Evil 4 can still hold its head high as not only an important title in the history of gaming, but one that is still very much enjoyable to this day.

37. Banjo Kazooie (Rareware, 1998)-

Another total nostalgia pick, most of my childhood gaming was spent playing this game and its sequel. Banjo Kazooie is a game made from an incredible spark of creativity and this is Rareware at their best. Everything from the perfect moment to moment gameplay, to the variety of levels to Grant Kirkhope’s incredible score is pure platforming bliss. There’s so much attention to detail in this game that makes it, like how the music changes based on the environment within the level, or how each level has unique characters and assets. Banjo Kazooie is the type of game that you pick up and start playing and then before you know it, 5 hours have passed because the game is so goddamn fun. I always make this joke, but I love Nintendo 64 games except when they’re being played on a Nintendo 64. You can play this game on Rare Replay and I highly recommend it.

36.The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Bethesda, 2002)-

An ambitious and insanely deep RPG, Morrowind is one the first CRPGs that got me into the genre. The world of Morrowind is so rich and full of deep character and lore, maybe even more so than the later Elder Scrolls games. My favorite race in the Elder Scrolls has always been Dark Elves, so it’s only natural that the game that takes place in their homeland would be my favorite in the franchise. Some people would point to the obtuse and harsh gameplay and see it as a negative, but I like it because it forces you to actually role play, and while newer games are way more accessible, they’ve always felt watered down because of it. In this game, your choices really matter, and your progression in strength feels like a gradual development. If you aren’t good at magic, you won’t be able to cast even the most basic spells. If you chose to become a vampire, you will be shunned by society and you must play the game in a completely different way. A lot of people will be frustrated by these aspects, but this is the kind of depth I personally love in games. Grab this game on PC, mod the hell out of it and experience a great single player RPG.

35. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (Silicon Knights, 2002)-

One of the greatest Survival Horror games, Eternal Darkness is a Lovecraft inspired, time-spanning adventure about the Tome of Eternal Darkness; the off-brand version of the Necronomicon. The game itself isn’t the scariest, but it has amazing atmosphere, and where it really stands out is its use of the sanity meter. Many horror games use this feature, but Eternal Darkness has the most creative implementation of this mechanic ever. It doesn’t just make your character weaker or make your vision a bit blurry, it does some crazy 4th wall breaks. These include pretending to turn down the volume on your tv, swapping what controls are mapped to which buttons, and even feigning like you’ve accidentally deleted your save file. The combat is probably my favorite part of the game, as its very in depth and allows you to target the specific limbs of enemies. Lovecraft is my favorite author, so it would make perfect sense that I enjoy Lovecraftian horror games.

34. Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Insomniac, 2004)-

I was always a huge fan of the Ratchet and Clank franchise, and for my money, Up Your Arsenal is my favorite in a series of games that I hold very dear. This game doesn’t innovate a lot on the series’ formula, but it refines all the franchise’s mechanics into the best version of the gameplay to date. This is the most varied game in the franchise, and probably has the most interesting and fun weapons as well. I love how Up Your Arsenal has a game within a game that turns into a 2D side-scrolling platformer with the vid-comics. The clever writing and fun characters really make the game. Up your Arsenal oddly has also stuck with me as the first time I discovered the then wild and crazy world of online multiplayer, back when that was actually a novel concept.

33. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo, 1996)-

So many game franchises really struggled in the transition from 2D to 3D. Mega Man, Sonic, Castlevania; they all dropped in quality massively the moment they bit the poison apple that was 3D gameplay. Mario on the other hand made the jump from 2D to 3D as if he was simply leaping over another sluggish goomba. I don’t need to explain why this game is classic and how important it was. Super Mario 64 is the gaming equivalent of freeform jazz. The game encourages you to constantly experiment with the movement, and the level design facilitates this as well, allowing for a crazy sense of player choice and flow. Mario 64 also has the best hub world out of any game I’ve ever played. Peach’s castle is so full of secrets and things to do, yet it never feels like it’s getting in the way of the core gameplay. This is probably the best game ever to watch speed runs of as well because people just do absolutely insane things with this game’s mechanics. I realize that this title hasn’t aged well in a lot of aspects, but 64 was the first game I ever played, and it has really stuck with me after all these years.

32. Mega Man II (Capcom, 1988)-

Mega Man has a lot of really great titles in its catalog, but the second is easily one of my favorites. Mega Man II is simply put side scrolling perfection. So many of the levels, and especially the music has really been something that’s ingrained in my memory. The weapons are really fun, especially the blade gun and the time stopper you get from flash man. Not only are the weapons cool though, but the boss vulnerability cycle is also as equally polished as the rest of the game. This game introduced so many conventions of not only the Mega Man franchise, but run and gun platformers as a genre. What I love about it is the simplicity of the title. Sometimes all you need is really solid gameplay and memorable music to make an amazing game.

31. Mass Effect 2 (Bioware, 2010)-

Mass Effect 2 is one of the best Western RPGs of the generation, and a real standout in Bioware’s already amazing catalog. The gameplay isn’t anything special, it’s your standard cover shooter mixed with light RPG elements and some real time strategy aspects, but it’s the story, writing and fleshed out world that really makes Mass Effect 2 pop. With so many choices, characters and twists along with the amazing Star Wars-esque sci-fi world they’ve built, Bioware proved they were still masters of storytelling. This game has an amazing voice cast as well, with stars like Jenny Hale, Michael Sheen, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin and Seth Green among others, it really makes the troupe of already memorable and amazing characters come to life. The final mission will forever go down as one of the best endings to any game period.