A gobal pandemic can only slow us down so much! We’re back with part 2/2 of our top 5 lists, this time for video games. Let’s roll.
Demetri’s #5 – Warframe
D: We’ve all had that comfort food game that we keep coming back to. Usually that’s some kind of RPG subgenre – MMO, ARPG, WRPG, or some other acronym. But for me there isn’t a better “I wanna sit down and play something” option than Warframe. I’ve been playing on and off since the beta (even have the goofy bandana they sent out to prove it) and it’s wild to see just how much GAME they’ve added to this thing since it kicked off while still keeping it approachable. There are so many layers to its systems that you can play it as hardcore as you want, yet it also supports just sinking 30 minutes here and there to play a top shelf action game with one of the most satisfying control schemes I’ve ever experienced.
K: I haven’t played since the alpha like…7 years ago. Which in itself is a testament to how much care they’ve put into this. For someone who hasn’t played in ages, how is the startup nowadays?
D: Way easier than any other game this big. They completely revamped the structure of it so that it gates off complex planets and features until you clear plot quests. You wouldn’t even recognize it now, it’s wildly different.
Kyle’s #5 – Syphon Filter 2
K: Like most of the anime I flock to, I love a game with some meat on its plot bones. Which explains my absolute love for the Syphon Filter series. While I remember Syphon Filter 1 more notably for its bold brash ideas in the PlayStation 1 era, Syphon Filter 2 exceeded it in every way. The twists and turns across a worldwide plot against time, the innovative combat style (and notorious taser), the plain badassery of Gabriel Logan. Add the complete multiplayer experience (that needed its own separate disc) and you’ve got hours of fun. God I loved everything about this game. I still patiently wait for a Trilogy Remake…or Syphon Filter 4. I’m not picky.
D: Fun fact: the guy who led the development of the OG Siphon Filters is retired and making board game content now. It’d take a new team that really understood what makes SF good to pull off a solid remake or sequel. We don’t really have a great stealth franchise at the moment so I’d definitely welcome it. Imagine that taser in a modern game, good lord.
K: Well the studio that did make them just finished up Days Gone, so hey: open field here! Since Ubisoft seems so inclined to not make another Splinter Cell the door is wide open, lets get Gabe back in the saddle.
Demetri’s #4 – Mario Party 3
D: Of course I found a way to put board games on here. Dokapon Kingdom, 100% Orange Juice, Fortune Street, and Culdcept are contenders too depending on your group. I have a lot of affection for the “horrible dice-rolly bullshit” subgenre and MP3 is my favorite of the lot. It has a lot of great refinements on the MP formula, especially in the items and minigames, that make it just a bit better than its brethren. Plus it’s the only MP with duel maps! Games like this are made so much better for being digital over cardboard – real time minigames, no upkeep, no setup or teardown, just instant fun*.
*fun not guaranteed for all players
K: Really most Mario Party’s can be here because as good or as bad as they may be, they all have that beautiful ability to bring a group together and get them shit-talking each other in about 30 seconds. Except Mario Party 10, that can go to Hell. Favorite Mini Game on MP3? I gotta take Rockin’ Raceway.
D: Rockin’ Raceway’s good stuff, basically a less brutal riff on Slot Car Derby. MP3 has a fairly good number of games that actually take some skill which is a nice change of pace over other MP entries. My go-to is Aces High because I love dogfights, with an honorable mention going to all of Game Guy’s games for just being straight up gambling. Magic boxes double or nothin’ baybee let’s GO.
Kyle’s #4 – SSX 3
K: While I feel SSX Tricky would garner more general votes as the de facto best SSX game, the sheer gall to make and traverse a whole fucking mountain with no loading in the PS2 days was such a treat. I loved how the soundtrack responded to moving through ambient back-country to blaring in the heated, sculpted courses. An impressive amount of customization across a diverse set of characters with that top-notch gameplay that never failed to get old. I find myself coming back and running through a character to 11.0 stats, burning a day in the best way.
D: Oh man, I’m definitely on team Tricky over 3. It’s probably my favorite of all the “extreme-sports-but-even-more” games. Not gonna start a brawl over you picking 3 though, at least you didn’t pick the reboot. Did you ever play that? It tried to do the mountain thing but hoo boy did it not understand anything that made SSX special.
K: Dude the reboot had such potential but they somehow made it…too multiplayer? It’s crazy. EA needs to let the trademark go and let some hodgepodge EA Sports Big-esque studio give this series its revenge tour.
Demetri’s #3 – God Hand
D: God Hand represents a lot of favorites for me. It’s my favorite beat ‘em up, my favorite character action game, my favorite Clover/Platinum game, and my favorite thing to ever have a Capcom logo on it. It’s not fair to say they don’t make games like this anymore because no one’s even tried to approach making something like God Hand before or since. I revisit this every couple years and the sheer energy of its combat system never fails to blow me away.
K: Maaaaan, the memories of this game. If there was any game to be defined under the word “Fever Dream,” this would be it. I just remember this game being hard as shit but you felt like a purebred badass when you hit a super long, customized combo that may or may not have involved copious ass-slapping.
D: Ass slaps, drunken fist, and poke of god probably add up to more than 50% of my inputs in that game. I will go for the poke on a demon every single time whether or not it makes sense. It is the absolute most stylish thing I can imagine.