We know you love those "top" lists and due to the advent of a new decade, we're starting to see them pop up just about everywhere. So we started thinking: what are the top 10 PlayStation games of the last ten years? …and how freakin' hard will it be to make such a list?
Well, I can tell you that Arnold and I spent quite a long time making the final selections; we probably considered at least 50 titles overall (if not more) and knowing that a lot of awesome and even groundbreaking titles released since 2000, this was not an easy task. In fact, it took longer to do this than it took to make our picks for the Game of the Year Awards…but then again, I guess it should, considering we're talking about a decade's worth of gaming. And while I'm well aware we can't possibly please everyone with a list like this, it'll be interesting to see what you guys have to say in response.
One thing you must remember: we considered impact and the memorable quality of the games; i.e., the games that were the most revolutionary, withstand the test of time, and/or stick out in our minds. There are a million possible criteria but this is what we used. So check 'em out; in no particular order: the best of the best of the best, released between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009:
Still one of the best action/RPGs you will ever play, this game helped to pioneer the concept of targeting specific limbs and specific weaknesses in various enemies. It also presented the gamer with a downright fantastic story, excellent longevity (you could continue to work on your skills in a New Game+) and a hybrid turn-based/real-time combat style that remains one of the most polished and impressive systems to this day. If you ask anyone who has played this one, chances are, they will respond with something like, "oh my God, that game was awesome ." Yeah, there's a reason for that.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Yeah, I know, we could very easily have gone with MGS2, MGS3 or MGS4 but we ended up opting for MGS2 simply because of the massive impact it had on the new generation back in 2001. The story was about as deep and intricate as humanly possible (for the time, especially), and it was our first glimpse of a truly 3D MGS that looked like a beautiful action game but played like the top-notch stealth adventure it was. It just left the original on the MGS so far behind in terms of a technological leap and really laid the framework for the excellent MGS3 and MGS4. It just didn't get much better for the fans.
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
While GT4 was certainly another step in the right direction, GT3 performed a similar feat to MGS2: it marked the turning point in a rapid technological boom; it solidified Gran Turismo 's position in a new generation as the iconic racer of the time, and oh yes, stunned us all with its unbelievable visuals and massive leap forward in terms of driving physics. Polyphony tweaked it all and made everything better in GT4 (for the most part), but we're talking about the most "impactful" games; the most "memorable" games. Who doesn't remember when this one came out? It was one of the first true-blue system sellers for the PS2.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Think we're jumping the gun? Not a chance. For both Arnold and I, this really is the action/adventure game we've been waiting for since we started gaming. We've heard the claims of "playing a movie" hundreds of times before, but for the game that brought us closer to this than any previous title, it deserves its place in the top 10. Some will argue that if we are going to put a PlayStation game in from this generation, it should be Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots or perhaps Killzone 2 , but the impact Uncharted 2 had on us is almost unparalleled. Not to mention what it did for that genre; an instant "measuring stick game."
Grand Theft Auto III
Much like the Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy franchises, we had multiple options for a GTA representative. And although we all have our personal preferences, we ultimately had to go with GTAIII. Do you guys remember what GTA was like before this game? Most of you probably don't; it was a merely decent top-down action game that was actually quite forgettable. GTAIII put the series on the map and absolutely exploded onto the scene back in 2001 (one of the "years of years" in the industry). We just hadn't seen anything quite like it and boy, did it make a splash . Some of the most fun I've ever had, I tell you.
God of War
Again, per our chosen criteria, we have to place GoW ahead of the sequel, which was admittedly bigger and better in just about every possible way. But you can't have a sequel without an original and in this case, the first title was just…wow. Is there a better term? Although it didn't have a tremendous amount of hype, God of War got everyone's attention and put a serious charge into the action genre. We had never seen anything quite so fluid, quite so polished, or quite so innovative in terms of memorable boss encounters, QTEs, and nearly unrivaled brutality. Let's face it: when all is said and done, we could be looking at the most critically acclaimed franchise in history.
Dance Dance Revolution (the series)
What's this? Why? Before you get too upset, head on over to Wikipedia and check out how many DDR installments there have been. Worldwide, it looks like there are over 50; Arnold turned me onto this and it was only then did I realize the impact this series has had on gaming. Let's face it: this was Guitar Hero before there was any such thing; this was the game that blazed the trail for what we now recognize as the music genre. PaRappa the Rapper may have been the pioneer in the PS1 days but in terms of interacting fully with the music and rhythm on the screen, Dance Dance Revolution is innovative, evolutionary and revolutionary, all at the same time.
Final Fantasy XII
Trust me, choosing between this and Final Fantasy X was not an easy task. And everyone is going to have their own preferences, especially all you ardent FF fans, but you just can't argue against this: FFXII introduced a style of gameplay never before seen in the series and wonder of wonders, it worked beautifully. We also finally got some great voice-acting (let's not forget some of the painful voices in FFX), and the big, wide world of FFXII made the more linear, straightforward adventuring approach in FFX seem a little constricted. The game honored here just appeared to mark a progression in the franchise that many had been waiting for and all in all, its sheer size and scope prevailed. < /p
If you ask a role-playing fan to name a single PlayStation title that might actually compete well against any Final Fantasy , the name "Chrono Cross" will be heard in reply more often than not. Beautiful, complex, and loaded with a cast of characters that didn't seem to include any duds, this was one of the finest RPGs in history. There just didn't seem to be anything wrong with it. Try as we might, it's difficult to remember any flaws, and that combat system featuring the Elements mechanic was freakin' sweet . It just didn't get much better from a role-playing perspective, and that's why CC has a place on the list.
Really, this came down to ICO or Shadow of the Colossus and although SotC once again offered something we had never seen before, ICO really stands out in our minds as one of the first "wow, look at this " titles of the decade. The artistry was gorgeous, the co-op gameplay between two normal people (not superheroes) and the puzzles involved all came together in an irresistible package. It was just a joy to watch and play and to this day, everyone is pining for a sequel. Well, we'll get The Last Guardian instead, and I doubt anyone will complain too much. ICO is more than a cult classic; it's a legitimate phenomenon on the world of gaming.
And that's that. Bear in mind that towards the end, we had five games left and only two spots available; we had to choose between MGS4, Chrono Cross , FFX, LittleBigPlanet , and FFXII. Think that's easy?! But now, we'll give you what we consider to be the:
Top 5 Non-PlayStation Games of the Decade
I doubt we have many Halo fans amongst our readers but there's not much you can say against it; not when we're talking about games that made the biggest impact. It was also just voted as the most popular video game in history according to the Guinness Book of World Records: Gamer's Edition. What this FPS did for console shooters and the corresponding legion of followers is almost unparalleled in the world of gaming, and it's tough to argue against this game's fun factor, excellent control, and what could be considered as top-notch AI for the time.
Gears of War
In terms of third-person shooter action, this is another pioneer in the genre. Gritty, dark, brutal, and with wonderfully honed mechanics, this is one game that totally ruled the school in every sense of the claim. One can argue that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune helped to revolutionize the genre in question but Naughty Dog didn't really perfect this until the sequel. And besides, let's not forget that Gears featured a bad-ass online mode, too. That kinda matters.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
It helped to bring the concept of "player choice" into the limelight, all the while providing us with one of the best free-roaming, real-time battle systems available. The story was almost second-to-none and for "Star Wars" fans, this was the title they had all been waiting for. For some reason, the sequel just didn't hold up under the scrutiny of those who adored the original, and so, this is a no-brainer. Known by most as "KOTOR," this is remembered very, very fondly by millions and that alone is immensely impressive, isn't it?
Although we may have our reservations about Valve, that doesn't mean this sequel didn't have a tremendous impact on the industry. One of the most anticipated follow-ups in history, this once again reset the bar for the rapidly expanding FPS genre. Once again, we're brought into a world that features both FPS elements and an RPG-like story; the unique aspects of items like the Gravity Gun prompted plenty of discussion and entertainment. It's still revered by many as one of the best FPSs ever made.
This may be another surprise to many but if you really think about it, NFL 2K2 was the game that football sim fans desired, and pushed EA to take the necessary steps to ultimate gridiron domination. At the time, Madden was still trying to find itself and most will argue that NFL 2K was superior to Madden 2001 . There's little doubt that 2K2 was a definite step up from 2K and for the Dreamcast, it was the sports game to own for many.