Our Favorite Games Through the Years - Part 7 - Gaming Thoughts

Estimated Reading Time: 13 minutes

We started this series with some games dating back to the 80’s and are finally nearing the latest generation of consoles and games. Those of us contributing to this series of articles tend to lean heavily into the RPG genre, but it was fascinating for us to see how our favorites did shift over the years into different genres of games as well.


PC 2010s: Divinity Original Sin 2

Where to start?

Taking the concept of Dungeons & Dragons and making it their own, the concept of a protagonist to make your own was twofold. Did you

A) Make your own character from scratch and go on an epic adventure with your cohorts. Or

B) Did you choose a premade character with their own unique quirks and dialog options based on their personal history that could surprise you in unexpected ways?

Fight your way though, talk your way through, or use the environments to knock your foes out, strategy on the battlefield or your own words was the name of the game of this epic RPG that is simply super easy to keep returning to either solo or with a friend.

Wii U: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors

And yes, here is the confirmation of both there being a theme, The Legend of Zelda, and, that the timelines do in fact exist, and Hyrule Warriors played upon this brilliantly. Taking the Dynasty Warriors format, Hyrule Warriors was a completely original story that sees the Kingdom of Hyrule come under attack and its people band together in different ways. Meshing in Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and unique new characters to the series, it was brilliant. Best part? Hyrule Warriors could be broken into three parts. The Heroes, The Villains, The Conclusion. You get to play as the bad guys in the heroes’ darkest hour. It was awesome.

PlayStation 4: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

I was late to Dragon Quest. Enix titles weren’t exactly common around here and those that were released were NICHE like Valkyrie Profile. That is however until Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King which had a demo disk to try out Final Fantasy XII. So I rented it, yes, we still had Blockbusters and the equivalents back then, and I figured since I had it for the weekend anyways, I would play it.

Mind. Blown.

WHERE HAD THIS JRPG SERIES BEEN ALL MY LIFE. And then I remembered seeing Dragon Quest VII on a shelf but couldn’t afford it but that was probably for the best as I really… REALLY… do not like that game. I’ve since played 1-9 and 11 since 10 is an MMO that was never localized for us.

Moving to Dragon Quest XI itself however, wow. It has that Dragon Quest magic, it has amazing music, stellar visuals, great combat and that’s even before the revamp, AND, it’s two games. Not that there’s the PS4 version and the 3DS version that we would get access to in the “S” version, but there’s the core game, 40+ hours, and then there’s the post-game which is a what if “X” happened instead at a certain point in time. Wow… just wow.

PlayStation Vita: Persona 4: Golden

Atlus not only made a masterpiece with Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, they made it even better with Persona 4: Golden. Persona 3 and Persona 3: FES on the PS2 would stay niche enough even after Persona 3 Portable on the PSP until about “now” where it’s been released on the PSN, Xbox Marketplace / Game Pass and Steam, but Persona 4? Sold like hot cakes in North America. It brought this series the attention that it had never had and only continued the upwards trend with Persona 5 which ditches the Shin Megami Tensei label.

Murder mystery. Mysterious other realm known as the midnight channel that you have to dive through a TV to get to. Hardcore JRPG system that if you’re not careful you can easily game over and lose a lot of progress. And a stellar voice cast to go with the writing, as much as I loved Persona 5: Royal, the Persona 5 revamp, Persona 4 is still my favorite in the series.

Xbox One: Gears of War 4

At this point I’m kind of running out of ideas and it’s not just because this is my second last entry, but it’s because I had an Xbox to play very specific Xbox games. Otherwise? I had a PC or my PlayStation. That said, Gears of War 4 managed to move the series forward in a new direction without it being forced and Gears of War 5 kept up that momentum making me wonder just when we are going to get Gears of War 6.

The cover shooter that really started the style modernized some aspects and made the whole thing much more approachable. They let new fans dive right in without really having to know what happened prior if they didn’t want to have to go through it all. I would suggest that they do, but they don’t have to in order to enjoy the ride.


Wii U: Hyrule Warriors

This spot goes to another title because I loved playing it with my friend. Same friend from the N64 section and one who'll appear again in this list. The winner for the Wii U section of my favorite game is: Hyrule Warriors. Yup, the Zelda themed Dynasty Warriors. I've always like Dynasty Warriors and Zelda, and so has my buddy. Combine the two with the expansive bonus maps you can play, and it was really fun. Yeah, the game isn't exactly for everyone, and the story is a little cobbled together, but we aren't here for quality, remember? Hyrule Warriors was a great coop opportunity, and because I had so much fun playing with my friends, that's why this is my top Wii U pick.

PlayStation 4: Iconoclasts

This one gave me a lot of issue for a while. In all honesty, there were a lot of games on the PS4 I enjoyed, but none really felt right to say they were my favorite for the PS4. For a while I was waffling between either The Witness or Gravity Rush Remastered, both amazing and unique games. Then I remembered Iconoclasts. Oh boy, how could I forget Iconoclasts. For a while I was feeling a little let down by the Metroidvania titles at the time, as none of them really scratched that itch I wanted scratched. Then I discovered Iconoclasts. This rekindled my spirit and hope for Metroidvanias. The gameplay and soundtrack were great, and I loved every second of it. While Ender Lillies, which is a Soulsborne and Metroidvania sort of hybrid was also really great, I just feel like Iconoclasts I enjoyed the MOST personally.

Nintendo 3DS: Stella Glow

This was a rough tossup between the turn-based strategy of Stella Glow and the turn-based battles of 7th Dragon III: Code VFD. Both titles are really good, with a solid battle system, a super amazing soundtrack that just blew me away, as well as very enjoyable and entertaining. Barely eking in a win here though is Stella Glow. While Code VFD was also good, I just felt a little more invested in Stella Glow. They aren't very comparable, since they're different genres, so I advise you to play them both, but for those who lean towards the turn-based strategy/tactics style on a grid-based battlefield? Stella Glow was definitely a really big hit for me.

PlayStation Vita: Criminal Girls

Here we go to wrap it up, it's actually a title that fellow reviewer P.Y. made as a joke. Yeah, if you're reading this, first of all: how dare you. Second: ...you're right. My favorite title on the Vita? Well, there were a few really good options, but in the end I was left with one very specific choice: Criminal Girls. Now, before you go googling that in public, please don't. It's not the...worst title I could've put on here, but it's certainly up there. Playing like a more traditional RPG in a sense, you are tasked with taking a group of prisoners, all teenage girls because why not, through Hell as a form of "pre penance" before they end up living a life that could be considered a testament to one of the capital vices. I say this instead of the seven deadly sins as they go the more archaic route when there were more than seven of them. Criminal Girls has an interesting battle and skill system that's rather unique. In battle, you get four primary characters each give an option for you to pick from. That's right, you aren't really in charge of what your units want to do, just picking an option from what you're given. Their skill callouts are also sometimes rather vague, such as "everybody go brr". For learning new skills, you need to learn new skills by "training" the prisoners. Yeah, don't do that in public. Seriously though, I really did enjoy the game.

And that's my list of favorite games! Sure, some of them maybe be pretty poorly designed or implemented, but I love them regardless. Everyone has some of those, right?

Susan N:

PC 2010-2015: Antichamber

From 2010 to present, I had such a large list of memorable and favorite game titles that I struggled to find one or two without debating another ten titles that are also eligible. Sims Medieval (which very few people know about), Guild Wars 2, The Secret World (or Secret World Legends), Transistor, and Her Story are all games that I absolutely love for various reasons. However, out of those, a puzzle game comes out on top to be my favorite between 2010 and 2015. That game is none other than Antichamber. What makes it stand out above many puzzle games is the fact that it was successful in breaking my brain. I STILL have no idea what that timer is for. I’m not sure that I remember how to solve some of the puzzles, but for a game to completely flip the script when it came to the puzzle genre, was something that hadn’t been done in several years. It was mind melting in such a good way because it broke all conventions. Most puzzle games had clues that could be found in other places. One could logically figure out what pieces fit together, making certain games predictable. It takes a lot to create a puzzle game that challenges puzzle aficianados like myself. Among notable puzzles were ones where you couldn’t look at the ground because the floor would LITERALLY disappear if you peaked. If you had certain colored tools, you could duplicate blocks to make a stairway to previously unreached locations. It made sense eventually but not after you could feel brain matter falling from your ears (metaphorically). No other game has equated to Antichamber in that way, and I’m not sure that any game ever will.

Runner Up: Tomb Raider (2013)

In 2013, a game was famously rebooted and released. The moment I knew it released, I HAD to have it. At the time, I didn’t have the money to get it until someone graciously gifted me the 2013 Tomb Raider. Up until this point, I had played through several of the Tomb Raider games and loved them. It was a perfect blend of combat, mystery, and story in one. The game was familiar to me and I loved the movies that had released in the late 90s. I loved this game because of the nostalgia factor, the graphics, and the lore pieces you could gather. I adored the storytelling and the relationships between the characters. It was also one of the first times where a game scared me enough that my reactionary screech surprised the heck out of my roommates. I clearly recall heading to the kitchen to make some tea while muttering, “I didn’t see the second wolf” as I passed my roommates. I thought I had everything planned out, but when all you see when you turn around is a set of wolf teeth in your face, you’d likely scream in terror too. Just saying… Anyways, as a person that was solidly embedded in the TTRPG space and in the adventure and puzzle gaming space, Tomb Raider had everything I was looking for in a video game. Hence why it is a contender.


PC – 2010s: King’s Bounty: Dark Side - After that machine, it would be several years again until I could afford another decent gaming computer. I spent most of my time playing consoles during that time – but my wife bought me a gaming rig for Christmas early that decade and I got to experience the wide world of Steam. The idea of that many games all available digitally was mind-blowing really. I could almost just plug Wow in here again – honestly I played it more than anything else in the 2010’s. But the King’s Bounty titles take the cake here. I was late to the party with The Legend (2008) and Armored Princess (2009), but Crossworlds was still a fairly recent release when I got my new machine (2010) and later Warriors of the North (2012). The music was amazing in these games (I still use them as background music when I’m in the mood to write), the tactical gameplay and progression elements were highly addicting and just in general the series had me hooked over and over again. If I had to give a nod to one, it would be Dark Side that released in 2014. Putting me in charge of the more evil minions from the get-go was a blast.

Nintendo DS / 3DS: Kid Icarus Uprising – I didn’t have a DS right out of the gates, preferring my at-home consoles on big screens most of the time. Still, my kids had them, and the more I saw them playing truly excellent games on them, the more interested I became. Especially since there were so many excellent RPG and strategy games – some of my favorite genres, that felt right at home on the handheld system. Still, when the 3DS came out, I went and bought one, and Kid Icarus Uprising was one of the first things I got for it. The 3D was absolutely mind-blowing, and the music is arguably among the best handheld ever. It was so good that my son and I continued to trade it back and forth, working through our play files until we beat it within a day of one another. There were probably other games (like Fire Emblem) that I spent more time with on the platform, but Kid Icarus made me look at what handheld gaming could do differently.

Sony PlayStation Vita: Persona 4 Golden – Like the Dreamcast, I always felt like the Vita was a fantastic piece of hardware that never quite got the love I felt it should have. There were plenty of games that I enjoyed on it, but none more so that Persona 4 Golden. I had a bit of a weird gap with the Persona series. I played the original when it released on PlayStation and loved it, then missed the entries until playing 4 on the Vita. After thoroughly enjoying it here, I rectified that mistake and played the other entries I missed – but Persona 4 Golden was still my favorite out of all of them.

Nintendo Wii U: Super Mario Maker – Okay, one could argue this isn’t a game in the traditional sense. But man – our family had a ton of fun with this. We used our small army of Amiibos to unlock lots of things, and we spent dozens (if not hundreds) of hours collectively making stages and challenging one another to beat them. The Wii U had an odd controller that never really helped with its adoption, but it worked really, really well for this title in particular.

Sony PlayStation 4: Spider-Man – So. Many. Options. However, Spider-Man was one of those games I was a bit late getting to, but once I started to play it? I couldn’t put it down, on my way to a platinum as well as fully completing all of the DLC as well. The story tickled my comic book-loving side, and the sensation of movement throughout the city with Spidey resonated with me in a way few open-world games do. There were some flaws to be had here, some missions that I didn’t care for, but in the end? I absolutely loved my time as the web-slinger.

Sony PlayStation VR: Star Wars Pinball VR – Does the PSVR count as a different gaming platform? Eh, that’s for me to decide when I sort these articles out. But let me just say that my time spent with Zen Studios’ Star Wars Pinball VR is one of my favorite reasons to pull out the bulky headset and lose myself in the immersive sights and sounds of the game.

Microsoft Xbox One: Halo: Master Chief Collection – It feels a bit like cheating to list this here, as it’s really a compilation of lots of different games. That being said, I was never the biggest Halo player back in the day, and this offered me a great way to catch some of the titles I had originally missed or not given enough time to. Now, this game got off to a notoriously rocky start with its online problems, but the state it wound up in? Absolutely fantastic.

Article by RobertPierre-YvesRichard, Susan N., and Nick



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