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Gaming Masterpieces

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Gaming Masterpieces.

Simply put, they are the experiences that not only exceeded your every expectation, but the ones that go on to permanently plant their memories into your subconscious through a combination of soulful design, music, story, art and direction. The special few that have a lingering aura of impressiveness, no matter how many years have passed since you last put down the sticks.

A game so truly and utterly magnificent, that it can only be referred to as a masterpiece of the medium.

We’ve all had our favorites, but I want to dedicate this topic to the sharing and discussion of the holy grail of short–lists. I want to dedicate this topic, not to our favorite franchises, or games that were good fun, but to the singular titles worthy of the highest level of praise.

If you were to erect an art gallery for only the top tier of gaming experiences. What masterpieces would paint your walls?

Since this is my topic, I’ll take the first stab and start my collection of masterpieces.

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*****Valkyria Chronicles

I honestly can’t say enough about this hidden gem.

Being an American, it’s a little bit hard for me to appreciate the glaring Japanese influence on a title like this. Little things like the common character tropes or the mandatory swimsuit scene usually do more to get me disenfranchised than anything else, but Valkyria Chronicles clears this hurdle by having a tale to tell that transcends international boarders. It’s a book of peace and war. A story of grief and loss that griped me from start to finish. The story is delivered so well that you really connect with Squad 7. You feel their struggle, and when tragedy hits, it hits you just as hard.

And as great as the journey is from a story standpoint. The gameplay is even better. The hybrid of realtime and turn-based management is as fun as it is innovative. Learning the little tricks of the trade really made you earn your stripes and the increased difficulty of later story missions really put your mettle on the line. It brings the urgency and realness of a shooter to bear with the tactical decision making that comes with strategy games of its kind. It was a brilliant mix.

And then there is that glorious Canvus engine. V. Chronicles is a painting come to life and actually looks like it belongs in a museum (The only other game that even comes close from an artistic standpoint would be Okami). The art direction of the game is nothing short of phenomenal. Everything about this game is a masterpiece. I can’t find fault with it anywhere.

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*****Sonic 2

Do I really need to explain this one?

...

Well screw you guys, I’m going to anyway

First I’m gonna address the 800 pound gorilla in the room. That would be the collective thoughts of this Sonic fanbase using every ounce of restraint they possess to keep from railroading me off this site. The question is obvious, why isn’t this slot occupied by the superior Sonic 3 & Knuckles?

My answer? Sonic 2 came first.

In a discussion like this, I believe seniority is immensely important. There is no doubt in my mind that S3&K is the superior all around game, and had it come out before or alongside Sonic 2, then it would surly take up this spot in my art gallery. However as it stands, a lot of what made S3&K so good, was built up off of the Sonic 2 foundation. The extra characters, the sense of freedom in speed, and the culmination of the Genesis Sonic formula all came from the groundwork that was properly put into motion by Sonic 2.

In essence, when Sonic 2 came out, there was simply nothing else like it. The spindash completely tore down the walls that the original game left standing and the combination of the freedom it opened up and pure bliss of the cooperative and completive multiplayer implanted itself on me and a generation of gamers. The way the game was crafted, the pure attention to detail was so painstakingly perfect that you have to stand back and applaud the foresight of the developers. Sonic 2 is nothing short of a programming pinnacle. They took a console and squeezed everything they wanted out of it.

I don’t need to rant on and on about this game. It is what it is. The game that anchored the start of an icon’s legacy. Nuff said.

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*****Ecco The Dolphin

I’ve been a very avid supported of Ecco around here in the past, so I’m just gonna cannibalize some stuff I said earlier.

Ecco is a game that adds new dimensions to exploration. It is a chance to explore the vastness of the seas in a 3D plane, a task few if any games of its time can pull off successfully. Furthermore it stood out as different. It made its mark by doing what the Dreamcast did best. It offered an unmatched and unparalleled experience that simply cannot be found elsewhere.

All this being said, the game goes even deeper. Rather than being some happy-go-lucky Dolphin fun-in-the-sun romp, the game sets a somber and almost epic atmosphere full of sharks, octopus and aliens. You feel for Ecco when you are forced to dive to the dark depths. You feel for Ecco when you are clawing (or finning) your way through monstrous caverns seeking out that next gasp of air. Forget just playing this game, you have to WILL that dolphin through each obstacle in his path.

Then there is the difficulty. It may just be the fact that I was coming into the age where I could handle the real gaming challenges, but Ecco represents a near perfect balance. A difficulty that was not disheartening, but rather encouraging. Never easy but always entertaining. When I beat Ecco (w/o a stradgy guide or online help) I really felt like I accomplished something.

Even through all that, the game is still fun. Nothing stops you from breaching the surface to have some sky time with the acrobatics and tailwalking. Not to mention the sheer unbridled joys of being free in the ocean. They even throw in a Soccer mini-game. To say nothing of being a Dolphin is just plain awesome.

The game is simply a masterpiece. To me, it stands out in a collection of masterpieces that was the Dreamcast. Its a spin on platforming that just isn't done often enough.

Swim on Ecco the Dolphin. Swim on.

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*****Bayonetta

I have to be honest, I did not see this one coming when I first picked up the sticks. Watching videos of the game makes it seem overly frantic, convoluted and confusing. Sure, it looked pretty, but the whole thing seemed like a burden.

Then you get your hands on it for yourself. Then all of a sudden your walking on walls, stopping time, skillfully dishing out pain and doing it all in High Heels made out of guns.

And just like that, your hooked.

Bayonetta is, on so many levels, an experience unto itself. The gameplay is so exhilarating and deep that it pushes you to attempt to master it. The magic system, that demands perfection mind you, keeps you actively engaged even when you’re throwing down against the games version of cannon fodder. Every move you make counts as a single slip up can cost you a ton of Magic and break your flow. It’s like a dance from the start of the stage to its conclusion. In its entirety, once you start to get a hold of how to handle the game, it’s simply poetry in motion. I think that’s the best way to describe it.

The game also was a spectacle. Each of the bosses were incredible in their own way, and (I won’t spoil anything for you guys who’ve yet to play it) but the final boss may be the single greatest thing I’ve ever witnessed in a video game. I am still in amazement that I was actually able to fight that thing. Its character model and the sight of it in motion leaves me in such awe that I still can’t remember how I was able to focus on the fight. The entire time my jaw was one the ground and the only audiable thought in my mind went along the lines of “holy f@ck”. That was a seriously impressive climax to a game that touted infinite climax gameplay. It cemented netta’s place amongst my masterpiece collection.

Well, that’s what I got. Anyone else want to share the titles they would like to hang amongst this selection of treasures? My list is a little Sega heavy… I’m sure that will even out though…

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(also known as "Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer" in Europe)

I seriously can't say enough good things about this game. Spyro 2 is my favorite game of all time, for several reasons. In my opinion, this blows the first Spyro game out of the water. The characters are fun, the music is awesome, and overall... it's just an absolute joy to play. Platforming is my favorite genre, and if you ask me, this is one of the greatest 3D platformers of all time. Apparently it's a taboo thing to say, but I enjoyed this game a lot more than Mario 64, and even Banjo-Kazooie. It's also because of this game that I completely forgot about Sonic for a short period of time as a kid. Spyro took the spotlight for a little while. And because of this game, I always question why all my friends and so many other people I know prefer Crash over Spyro. Come on, now. This game alone is better than all three original Crash games combined! =P But really. This game is beautiful, and I think it still holds up to this day.

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(Please Tell me I haven't been Ninja'd while writing this post)

THIS GAME IS THE SHIZZNIP. Seriously, while the industry was suffering with lackluster 2D titles like New Super Mario Bros. and Sonic 4, this game came cam along with its beautiful artstyle, grabbing the attention of people who weren't even fans. The formula for this game is rock solid, it's platforming at its finest.

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This truly is the best of Super Mario, especially in 2D. This game is pretty much PERFECT, and I feel it's one of the only few 2D platformers able to hold a candle to Rayman Origins.

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Sonic 3andk is truly the best of Sonic the Hedgehog, classic or modern. The formula for the game is rock solid, there's no medal collecting or tedium, this is PURELY Sonic the Hedgehog and at his finest. It expanded on everything the first two games did right, and the sheer scale of this game in comparison to its predecessors is staggering, Sonic Team totally went all out with this one baby.

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Rayman Origins.

This game practically describes the word masterpiece. Everything about it is perfect - the controls, the level design, the visuals, the music, the humour. Everything. I mean, it could have used online play but it's been years since I've had an experience like the one you get from a same-console 4-player game of Origins. Sheer perfection.

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Upon just completing this, I have to add it to the list. The Binding of Isaac is a relatively unheard-of game by Edmund McMillan (of Super Meat Boy fame) and Florian Himsl. It's a roguelike RPG (similar to old-school Zelda) with dungeons that randomly generate each time you play, so the experience is completely different every time. It's a hard-as-nails game (you die once, you die for good) but everything about it just keeps you coming back for more - the music (by Danny B, also of Super Meat Boy fame), the amount of items and content in the game, the level of exploration, the many different endings to the game. It's an utter masterpiece and I would recommend it to everyone. Well, maybe not for those with weak hearts...

Talking about it doesn't do it justice at all. The best part, however, is...the game is a measly £4/$5 on Steam! You can also get the 'Wrath of the Lamb' expansion for about half of that, too! Seriously, go try it out.

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Ok, I'll do one everyone knows and loves.

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SUPER MARIO ALL-STARS (+ SUPER MARIO WORLD)

I was torn between all the classic Mario games. After sitting at my desk for 5 minutes, I realized that there was a cartridge that contained them all in one amazing collection! That collection? It is none other than SUPER MARIO ALL-STARS for the SNES!

The game contains remastered versions of NES classics Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2: A GAME FOR MEN (The Lost Levels), Super Mario Bros. 2: Donkey Donkey Picnic (SMB2 USA), and Super Mario Bros. 3! Later versions of the game even added Super Mario World for the low, low price of free!

5 Amazing games on one single cartridge! It doesn't help that when it first came out, the original Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, known as the Lost Levels in the USA, was never released in the USA before!

Edited by Cola

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MARIO? Where we're going, we don't need no stinkin' Mario.

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Oh yes, the Gamecube launch title Luigi's Mansion. This game is just great, and I could gladly call it a gaming masterpiece, it's original, and it's amazingly fun. This just proves not every Mario title needs to be about jumping on enemies and blocks to be a fun time, and you should seriously pick this title up if you haven't played it yet

Bandicoot and Doctors Galore!

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Well, I WAS going to go with Crash Twinsanity, but it's really short and has alot of game-breaking glitches. So I went with my second most-favorite Crash Bandicoot title, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. It's a fun game, where you have to jump, spin, and....ride polar bears through ice, water, jungle and other strange enviroments in this top-of-the line platformer!

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We're this many posts in and nobody picked Okami?

SSMB, I am disappointed in you.

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This game is like the epitome of perfection. The aesthetics are beautiful, adding life and giving the world you explore its own distinct personality. The story they have created is very unique in my opinion, the characters are simply wonderful and the story is presented to you in two ways at the same time. One, as an average wolf who's just seeing the world, and the other as a god who's protecting the world. Granted, you are the god and you do see the bigger picture, but most of the commoners just treat you like a normal wolf or ignore your existence entirely. Performing various deeds for the common folk doesn't exactly get you much recognition since they don't actually know you're a god, but you feel good for helping them anyways. The gameplay is also unique making use of an interesting and easy to use painting/brush mechanic to manipulate the world around you. There's nothing more godlike than changing the world, and combat is pretty fun (at least on the PS2 version, the Wii's waggle, while not terrible, doesn't exactly do the combat any justice). Then there's the soundtrack, and it's immaculate. The soundtrack perfectly fits the mood, the look, and the feel of the game, and a large amount of the tracks are absolutely phenomenal standing alone anyways.

So yeah, the perfect game right here, and it's being made more perfect than it already is with the PS3 exclusive HD version.

Edited by Pinkamena

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Wow, fellas. I'm honestly surprised you guys haven't mentioned this game yet:

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Metroid Prime

Oh, good lordy, Metroid Prime. What can be said about this superb game that hasn't already been said a million times before?

This is the first Metroid game I've ever played and, as far as I'm concerned, it's pretty much the best -- yes, even (a tad) better than Super Metroid. I mean, everything about this game -- from the environments, the general atmosphere, the music, the gameplay (especially the gameplay) -- is simply perfect... or, the closest thing to such a term. Though the sequels (and Hunters) are pretty great in their own right, even they don't quite hold a candle to this. I do apologize if I sound a bit gushy here, but this is quite literally one of my all-time favorite games! smile.png

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I'm going to echo Komodin's statements EXACTLY. Also Super Metroid has just about the same appeal, only it's a lot older and was the game to really get the Metroidvania thing swinging, at least, before Castlevania: Symphony of the Night continued this while Metroid was on hiatus. That's another fantastic masterpiece btw, with great graphics for the time, beautiful music, and a great castle map. It's unrefined compared to the later entries, but it has the atmosphere those games lack somewhat.

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LittleBigPlanet and it's sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2.

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The first LittleBigPlanet was just a stroke of genius: play, create, and share your own levels, other people's levels, with online friends or by yourself, with the most adorable devils you've seen. LittleBigPlanet 2 just out-and-out improved on it's predecessor(s) like the aforementioned Sonic 3&K. The wide arsenal of tools allows you to create what was a first platforming levels to your liking, now levels/minigames of essentially a variety of genres, from RPGs to shooters to racers and everything in between. Great music (and if you didn't like it, create your own!), good visuals, content out the wazoo-it's just awesome. LBP Karting I'm pretty sure may not be on the same pedestal as the original two games, but I'm pretty sure it can take the already great on it's own ModNation Racers and improve on it massively. All that's missing for LittleBigPlanet is for the game to just establish it's Play, Create, Share slogan in an 3D environment.

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Oh hey, I'll pop in my 2 quid.

So... games I would consider masterpieces eh?

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#1. Super Smash Brothers Brawl

Holy fuck, this game.

OK, maybe they got rid of wavedashing, L-Cancelling, and all those fancy tricks.

But when I got this game on launch day, popped it in the Wii, and played my first match, I may as well have been left picking the pieces of my shattered brain up off the floor.

This game is the sheer genius of Nintendo in a single product. Yeah, it may have lost the slight tactical edge that Melee had in favour of a more party game esque feel, but damn it, that's how Nintendo games SHOULD be. Nintendo's games tend to be more on the charming, fantasy edge compared to over systems, and that showed in this game. Just forget all the fancy tricks, forget bitching about how great Melee was compared to thi-JUST FORGET THE TACTICS AND ENJOY IT.It's not every day such a brilliant game comes around, but damn, the 3 years it took to release this game were more than worth it. This is by far my favourite game on Wii, and easily ranks amongst my most played games of all time-on launch day, I kept at it for 9 hours straight. This game remains the only game I've ever done that for.

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#2. Sonic Adventure 2

Quite honestly, this game just blew my mind. I was 4 years old, and got this with my shiny new Nintendo Gamecube, and I loved every second of it. It gets bonus points for being my introduction to Sonic-but besides that, the graphics, the music-THE SPEED. It may have taken around 9 years for me to play the Dreamcast original, and 10 years to beat it (I only beat the FinalHazard this year, after playing it both on GCN AND DC for so long) but every second was a blast, save for Security Hall. The multiplayer was exciting, the first level got you pumped for the rest of the game, and the truck chase blew my fucking mind. The game had some flaws, notably Knuckles and Rouge's stages COULD get tedious, but regardless, it was varied, fun, vast, and made for an epic game.

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#3. Super Mario World

OK, so this HAS already been mentioned, but I just can't go without praising this game. It was colourful, had a mountain of re-playability, controlled like a dream, had some darn amazing tunes, and... fuck it, I just love this game. No, seriously, if you haven't played this thing, that needs to be corrected right now. Hell, I love this game so much, I'd take it over the widely considered superior Mario Bros. 3 any day.

Well, there's a few of mine anyway.

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So wake up, SSMB...Wake up and...smell the ashes....

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HALF LIFE 2

This game is such a brilliant masterpiece! While all Half Life games are good one way or another, Half life 2 will always be the game that Defined VALVe to me. It's the god of all shooters to me.

Before I played this, I could here all around me about how perfect this game was, and I saw all the praise it got. Trying it out for myself on the Orange Box, I can definitely say this game deserves all of the praise it got and much more. The game started it's development almost immediately after the original Half Life was out on Store shelves. It's gone through a ton of different idea's. Some Scrapped and other's kept. And as for the scrapped one's, Some where more fleshed out, while others were simply idea's or a single piece of concept art and nothing more.

After a long development, the end result is fantastic. We got a terrific story, Which showed just how well the old formula of "Aliens take over the world" Can work. Every bit of the story was great, fleshed out, and explained here, brilliantly expanded upon in Episode 1 and 2. Let's just hope 3 comes out and finished it already...

The Gameplay is fantastic. Using the Still used to this day "Source" Engine, The combat is excellent, the level design is excellent, the physic's are damn near perfect, and it never get's stale to me. The gameplay is just so amazing! I could play this game from start to end in just one sitting sometime's I still want to keep on going.

This game came out in 2004. It's the year 2012 now. The visuals were Mind blowing back in 2004, and today, they still look great! The animations are great, The color's pop out, the level theme's are incredible, and overall, the visuals are just perfect. Everything stick's out for me in this game, and nothing's ever forgettable, which I love.

This is my favorite FPS of all time. I've played a lot of different shooter's here and there, but this one will always be the best one. Now if only VALVe would just give us some information on the Next half life game already...

GRAND UPPAR/GRAB THE PAW/GRAM CRACKA/

"You Underestimate me Axel, and for that, YOU WILL DIE!"

"You Really want to die don't you...I'll be happy to Oblige!"

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STREETS OF RAGE/BARE KNUCKLE

This is without a doubt one of my favorite if not my all time favorite gaming franchise!

With the exception of the Bombergame remake, This series was completely focused around the Sega Genesis/Megadrive. There were a few attempts at a sequel on a saturn and dreamcast, and even a few attempts on The Xbox 360, But they all led to cancellation (Fortunately or unfortunately?).

The first game in the series was released for the Genesis in 1991, and was meant to compete with Capcom's Final Fight, Since it didn't get a Genesis port (It got a Sega CD port though with some hilariously bad voice acting. :/ )

The first Streets of rage game featured a fairly simple plot which got the job done. An evil syndicate has taken control of the city (Wood Oak city) Gang's have taken control of the city, and all of these gang's are under the control of one mysterious man, Mr.X (Originally Mr.Big in a few incarnation of the franchise)The government is corrupt. The Police force might as well be useless. 3 Rookie Ex cop's take it to the streets to fight there way up to Mr.X himself and end this.

The only playable characters in this game are Adam, Blaze, And Axel. Axel being the most balanced of the two, Blaze being the weakest but fastest character, and Adam, being the slowest, but strongest character. You also can call assistance from a character called murphy, who will drive in his police car to shoot down all the thugs in your area. This will kill anyone except you and the bosses (If the bosses have enough health anyway)

I Love nearly everything about this series! The gameplay is great and fluid, and only gets better in the sequels. The Music was catchy in all of the game's, and is very memorable, The characters are well designed and thought out, from the thugs you fight, to the main characters and main baddies. The games would only get better from sequel to sequel in my eyes. The 3rd game is my favorite because of it's more fleshed out story, gameplay, and visuals. Although Some music track's are a tad bit inferior to the previous games. I still love some of this game's soundtrack though.

In 2006, We saw A fanmade Remake of the game by Bombergames. Now all I can talk about this game is it's music, since the game won't work in my PC....The music's fantastic. End of story.

We got another version of the game in 2011 though. I can play the game fully.

Holyshitthisremakeisthebestfangameevar.

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I love this remake! It combines all of the thing's that made the original streets of rage games great and multiplies them by over 9000. Seriously, The remake is the best way to introduce someone to the franchise.

Also, There's Shiva.

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Need I say more?

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Glad to see all the Metroid love, and I'm gonna have to add to it.

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Ah, where to begin. To me, Super Metroid is the closest a video game has ever come to being perfect. On a technical level, it's near-flawless. The controls are my favorite in the series, because Samus really has a feeling of speed and fluidity that other games in the series, for whatever reason (lack of a run button, probably), do not quite have. The graphics are fantastic, especially for its time, and it still looks nice today. The added perks, like the mini-map, diagonal firing, the status screen, and customizable controls, are all very welcome additions that show just how much the designers cared about making it a great experience.

But it's much more than just a well-put-together game. It is truly a game that transports you to another world like very few other games can. Not many games can pull off the feeling of isolation and loneliness that this game achieves. The music perfectly sets the tone for the adventure, sometimes fast-paced for action, but usually creepy, atmospheric, and at times even a little sad. Every area is lovingly crafted, making each room memorable and adding to the feeling of one big, cohesive world. With such a huge world map, it's pretty impressive to see that pretty much every room seems to have been given the same amount of effort and care. The way it goes about teaching you new moves is directly infused with the level design. It doesn't just give you text prompts on how to pull off more advanced maneuvers, it lets you figure it out for yourself, observing your surroundings and acting accordingly. Having little monkey creatures demonstrate the wall jump is much more immersive than, say, having a tutorial room tell you how to do it. Stuff like that makes it a very rewarding experience. All of this is coupled with the feeling of progression you get every time you acquire a new item, like my personal favorite powerup ever, the Speed Booster.

And then there's the action itself. Fighting enemies feels great with such a diverse arsenal of moves, allowing you to pick and choose different methods of taking them on. This is especially present in the bosses, which are an absolute blast. One great example is the fight with Draygon, which can be a straightforward battle if you choose to approach it that way. But some well-placed missiles and a shot from your grapple beam, and you can electrocute the beast in one go. The game rewards you for being creative.

I think that's one of the things I like about Super Metroid the most. It has a feeling of freedom that games nowadays just don't let you have. You can follow a straightforward path, or you can diverge and explore every little nook and cranny, or you can even try to do things out of order if you're skilled enough. Most games nowadays make sure you don't miss anything or do something out of order, but this is a game where just messing around is fun, because the controls are fluid and the world is a joy to explore. Which makes me realize something. You know how pretty much every game has "that" level? The one area you aren't looking forward to. You're having a good time, but you know that one area is just going to ruin your fun. Super Metroid doesn't have one of those. Every level is expertly designed and fun to explore. Even the water area! Which happens to be my favorite part of the game! My goodness!

And that ending. My god. I wish more games would understand how to make a satisfying ending, and they should take cues from this game.

I could gush about this game forever, but I'm getting tired of talking about it. If you haven't played it, do so. Now.

I'll leave you with some eerie Super Metroid music to get you in the mood.

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This song really creeped me out as a kid. Love it.

Let's see, other masterpieces.........well, Portal 2. But I've gushed about that game so much in the 30 Day Video Game Challenge topic that I honestly don't think I want to compliment it anymore.

Also, Majora's Mask, which I find to be the most fun Zelda game.

If I think of anything else, I'll make another detailed post later.

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Get ready for tl;dr...

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Genso Suikoden I & II

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These games are probably the most enthralling RPGs I've ever played. The storylines are so well thought-out and nuanced, and have some of the only scenes in video games that can make me teary-eyed (Nanami's scene in Rockaxe, especially). The battle system is quite fun, with magic runes, unite attacks and the ability to use up to six fighters at a time. Not to mention the huge cast of playable characters, gorgeous 2D graphics, and the excellent soundtrack. I consider these two games as one, because II picks up shortly after I with many returning characters and the ability to transfer your save from the original.

Prince of Persia (SNES Version)

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This game... it's just brilliant. It took what was already a solid game on PC and gave it attractive graphics, an amazing atmospheric soundtrack, more levels, bosses, extra content, and a faster, more exciting speed.

The real draw for me is the physics. This was the first cinematic platformer, and The Prince moves just like a real person. He can't jump twice his height, he needs a running start to jump far, falling a long distance hurts him, and most traps kill him instantly. The sprites are rotoscoped so as to look as much like a real human as possible, creating a fluidity of animation not seen in many games. The Prince has real weight and momentum in his movements, and the real-ness of the controls make the game extremely interesting to play. You have to actually plan your moves carefully while still going fast enough to get past a closing gate or some other hazard. The new player will take a while to get used to the controls, but they are elegant in their simplicity and rewarding to master. You can play the game with only one button plus the directional pad, which is very impressive compared to today's games that use 10+ buttons.

Super Metroid

This game is art, simply put. The dark, eerie atmosphere, the feeling of isolation, the large map to explore, the lack of hints or clues... it all goes together to create one of the best experiences on a video game system. Later games should look at Super Metroid when they want to know how to make a game that stands the test of time. The feeling you get when you first set foot on Crateria, a creepy, abandoned-looking area, and look around for your first upgrade, is amazing.

Banjo-Kazooie/Banjo-Tooie

This was the pinnacle of platforming on the N64. Banjo took what Super Mario 64 did and improved upon it. Levels were full of things to collect and secrets to uncover. The soundtracks, with their numerous catchy jingles and interactive music are spectacular. The games had such depth that they are still fun to play today, and the mystery surrounding Stop 'n' Swap just adds to their greatness.

Alundra

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A somewhat obscure action-adventure that plays like top-down Zelda. The puzzles in this game will have you stumped for days, literally. The writing is quite possibly my favourite part - whoever did the writing for this game should look into writing novels.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

While OoT was great, LttP is the true "best Zelda". This was before annoying companions, before the game telling you exactly what to do, before difficulty that wouldn't challenge an infant. This was a game that let you figure things out on your own, that believed in you as a player. LttP improved on the original LoZ in every way, while still managing not to feel like a rehash. LttP was simply epic and it disappoints me that the Zelda series is going away from what made LttP such a great game - the difficulty, the non-linearity, and the lack of intrusive tutorials and annoying helpers. And the moment when you first step out of the sanctuary and hear the main theme... it's simply brilliant.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

This is without a doubt one of the best games the Metroidvania genre has to offer, and one of the first. The voice acting is hands-down perfect, as is the script. The gameplay is solid and fun, the music is astounding, and the difficulty is well-balanced. This is one game that everyone should experience.

Super Mario RPG

A brilliant RPG, possibly the best on the Super Nintendo. If only Square would cooperate and help create a true sequel (though its spiritual sequels are good in their own ways).

Rayman Origins

The most gorgeous artstyle I have ever seen in a video game, not to mention extremely fun platforming, loads of extras, and four-player co-op. I don't even own this at the time of writing, and yet it has to go on this list.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

I think this speaks for itself.

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Honourable Mentions: LIMBO, Super Meat Boy, Super Mario Galaxy, Final Fantasy IX, The classic Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon trilogies, Donkey Kong Country series (including Returns), Zelda: Majora's Mask, LittleBigPlanet

Anyway, that is my pretty long list!

Edited by cosmictruffle

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Masterpieces, huh? Well, I suppose I'll go with the two games that instantly came to mind the moment I saw the words "masterpiece". I'll be recycling my 30 Days of Video Games post for the first one, but only because I don't really think I could add anything to it anyway. So without further ado, let's get started:

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I LOVE this game. To the extent that I can call it my favorite out of what's probably over a hundred games.

Persona 4 isn't a game that you play; you experience it. EVERYTHING about this game just oozes depth, style, and competence. EVERYTHING has an underlying meaning. Why is Izanagi the protagonist's main Persona? There's a reason. Why does Yosuke's Persona look like a flashy ninja disco frog? There's a reason for that.

Taking place over the course of a year, Persona 4 has you team up with your friends to solve a case of mysterious murders by entering the world inside the TV and saving the people that were thrown in by the killer. Trust me, it makes sense in context. You save them by summoning your Persona, a hidden facet of your personality that you can gain by having the courage to face the embodiment of your suppressed emotions, and using it to fight the monsters in the TV, the shadows.

The story is a work of genius. Everything makes perfect sense by the end of the game, and I absolutely love all of these characters. I actually started getting watery-eyed at one of the sad parts of the game. I know, hard to believe from a manly man like me, right? :v

The battle system works extraordinarily well, with a ton of depth in the inner mechanics, while still being easy to learn for beginners. A lot like Pokemon.

I find Persona 4 to be practically flawless. Whatever improvements I would want for Persona 5 aren't the result of something done badly in Persona 4, but rather being expanded upon because of how well it's already being handled. The story is fantastic, the characters are all incredibly lovable (even the ones I expected to hate before playing the game), the gameplay is nigh on perfect, the visuals are extremely stylish and flashy, and the soundtrack is amazing.

Any RPG fan (or hell, anyone who likes a good story) is doing themselves a HUGE disservice by skipping out on this game. PLAY IT.

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Ooooooh man. This game. Words cannot describe just how beautiful of an experience this game is. With very little in the way of gameplay mechanics, the game is very simple; you're a pilgrim travelling to a summit you see at the beginning of the game, and you run into a bunch of neat stuff along the way. It's kind of hard to say much more about it in detail without spoiling the experience, but I'll say this: It's not often that I can write a massive essay dissecting the symbolic significance of each level of a game and why I interpreted the game's message the way I did.

Seriously, if you've got a PS3 and $15, you're doing yourself a huge disservice skipping this. It truly is a masterpiece.

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First off, imma post one game at a time, 'cause I'm too lazy to compile the games I love into one post. So without further ado,

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Muramasa: The Demon Blade

I love this game for a variety of reasons, the biggest being the art style and gameplay. The art is just amazingly high-definition and truly beautiful, even as a Wii game. As for the gameplay, think watered-down Metroid combined with ninja sword action. The fighting system is simple and incredibly fun, and collecting all of the swords and using their abilities is a great replay factor. As for the negatives, I wish the fighting system was deeper and more immersive, but it's a small gripe. I highly recommend it!

Edited by Hatsune Miku

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Uncharted!(Series)

I would put a picture, but I couldn't figure it out!

Uncharted would definitely have to be my favorite. From the PS3 versions, to even the Vita versions. This game gives jaw-dropping reactions. I have played these series awhile, and can't wait for a new one to come. I was so excited for Uncharted Golden Abyss for Vita. I still enjoy that game now even though I beat it. If you have a PS3, and you haven't played Uncharted. This is a MUST get. If you don't have a PS3, Simple enough Get the Uncharted Bundle. You won't be unhappy with your decision.....if you are.....I guess I am accountable!

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The Binding of Isaac
Uuugh I don't want to think of this game right now. Not that it's bad (it isn't, it's quite good overall), but I've just about reached the end of my patience looking for the polaroid so I can get to the new last level again.

Anyway.

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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

For a series that usually relies on its established and successful formula, Majora's Mask stands out as something truly unique. While the moment-to-moment gameplay is largely lifted from Ocarina of Time, the game's big gimmick is how it handles time; rather than a simple linear progression of meaningless days, everything is crunched into just 3 days, repeated Groundhog's Day style. Focusing in on this narrow range allows for far more detail; every NPC has their own schedule, their own little life to lead, and the more you play and explore and watch, the more you learn about them. The 3 day cycle is also a powerful gameplay element, simultaneously forcing you to always move forward towards the next objective, and giving you a safety net if you fail. 3 days is not enough to save the world, but little by little you make progress, each checkpoint giving you the tool you need, each reset giving you the time to use it. And to facilitate this, the game is designed to be extremely "open"; unlike so many games, bound to a strict linear progression by the plot, Majora's Mask only limits you by the items and songs you've acquired. The world may start fresh with every cycle, but you're free to go anywhere and do anything that you're physically able to.

And on top of this, the game has a powerful style and tone that no game in the series before or since has matched. There's a certain indescribable wrongness to it, something subtle and dark. There's perhaps no better example than the moon. In spite of it being the game's big world-ending threat, it's easy to forget the immediacy of it, but remembering takes nothing more than looking upwards; it is always there, literally staring down at you, and slowly (so slowly, that you can only just barely see it) falling towards the earth. It's powerfully oppressive.

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I've done enough venting on Metroid Prime's awesomeness in the past, and it seems someone beat me to the punch, so let me gush about another personal favorite.

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GODDAMN MUTHAFUCKIN' VANQUISH

See this shit? Your magician uncle WISHES he could be this awesome. People play fuckin' Gears of War thinking it's the shit, with Marcus Fenix lugging his weight in throat muscles through Brown Town with a shaky camera, but you know what it doesn't have? ROCKET KNEES. TRANSFORMING GUNS. GIANT ROBOTS WITH 20 MISSILE LAUNCHERS ON EACH ARM. Seriously, you haven't LIVED until you've used thrusters to slide your bad self up to a 2 story tall robot, backflip-kick it upside the balls, shotgun its head off it as you both descend in bullet time, backflip into cover and watch it explode behind you as you rest with a well-earned cig. What makes this game a masterpiece to me though, is how elegant it all feels. It's one thing to watch that stuff happen, but your movements in this game flow so freely into each other that it feels almost like you're dancing through an intense warzone. The slow-mo really adds something to the action the way it's implemented; things get pretty crazy in this game, and the simple act of being able to take a breath somehow feels very satisfying. And yes, the campaign is only about 4 hours long tops, but I got a good 50 hours out of Vanquish by playing through it on God Hard difficulty, which, as the name implies, is pretty fuckin' hard. Seriously, there are NEGATIVE scores on the leaderboards for playthroughs on that difficulty. Believe me- I don't get that dedicated to a game that easily; it really takes A LOT to make me that interested, and Vanquish was just a special kind of awesome that I can't get tired of. I still find myself popping it in my PS3 now and then despite the fact I've beaten it at least 10 times.

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Fucking Dio, gotten to praising this game right before I could.

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sigh, what could have been......

anyway.

Yeah, Majora's Mask one of finest works in gaming that Ive had the privilege of playing it thoroughly and experiencing the magic in full.

I think what I loved most about the game was the fact that it took place out of the main Zelda canon of Hyrule, Ganon, Zelda, and the Triforce and crafted it's own wonderfully made world separate from the continuity which shows that the Zelda series doesn't have to use the same assets over and over again to tell a great story.

The game's main selling point for me was the incredible amount of care and detail put into the the NPCs. As Dio stated, each NPC has their own schedule to follow and their own story to tell. Some of their stories are interesting, humorous and sometimes sad and tragic. And I you, Link, can close to help these characters and solve their problems. You can help Romani defend the ranch from aliens, help Anju find her lost lover Kafei, race some Beevers for a bottle, or help Cremia defend her wagon from bandits. All of these characters are lovable so you actually care about these people and how you want to save them from their imminent doom via the Moon. This game ties with Wind Waker with having the best NPCs I've seen in a game.

Speaking of the Moon lets talk about and Termina as a whole. Since I'm lazy I'm just gonna quote what I already said in a previous Zelda topic.

As my absolute favorite game, it's reads like this that make me wish we'd have more games take place in Termina

I just love the idea of Hyrule being an otherwise prosperous land that the gods smile down upon, and Termina being the dark underbelly that the goddesses look towards in shame. And the little things like Termina being a lot more technology based than Hyrule and how Termina seems to have plenty of evil figures scattered about while Hyrule just has one big one (Ganondorf), goddamn how I love MM.

To add to this, it also expands on Link's character in a way and someone compliments the whole inverted feel that Termina has with Hryrule. In Ocarina of Time the game was essentially about how Link was the chosen Hero destined to save Hyrule from Ganon. In Majora's Mask, Link wasn't a chosen hero, the story isn't about him at all, it's about the the other characters and the hardships that they had to go through. Link just saves them out of the good of his heart, he has no obligation, he just does it.

Majora's Mask is a wonderful an unique gem of a game, and I really hope that Nintendo can take strides to create something as unique and outlandish as this game.

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ZeldaWindWakerGCNCoverArtUS.jpg

Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is amazing and it still holds up to this day. Sure the puzzles are fairly simple and there are only five dungeons in the entire game. But the beautiful cel shaded graphics, music, unforgettable characters and the exploration outweigh these minor flaws. Even the boss battles are really fun! Puppet Ganon and Ganondorf are so epic, it's satisfying when Link finally plunges the Master Sword into Ganondorf's friggin' HEAD!

And the ending...well, what can I say? Very emotional and IMO the best ending of any Zelda game. It truly is a masterpiece in my eyes. =)

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Heh, a lot of love for Platinum/Clover in here. Those guys really know their way around a dev kit (or two). Those guys will need a wing of our gaming museum dedicated to their efforts. biggrin.png

I'm also pretty stoked to see someone throw out the original Metroid Prime. It falls just shy of Masterpiece in my book, but man it was such an extremely satisfying title.

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