Pokeslob’s Top 26 Games of All Time



I’ve always had a rough top 10 in my mind, it fluctuated every here and there, but for the most part it’s been stable. However, expanding it to a Top 26 was actually quite difficult! I actually spent a couple weeks drafting this out, trying to fill and order it. At the end I provided a couple honourable mentions of games I love but couldn’t fit on the list. Quick disclaimer: The list presented here is what I, Pokeslob, consider to be the 26 greatest games of all time. A) This is NOT representative of the entire staff at Blazekick, and B) I’ve not played every single game ever made, so this list may change the more I play. (However, I did put a lot of effort into this, so I wouldn’t expect it to change that much). Please enjoy!

26. Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3

Japanese: ドラゴンボールZ 3

Release Date:  26 November 2008 (US)

Developer/Publisher: Dimps/Bandai

Platform: Playstation 2

Why It Made It: There are few really GOOD anime licensed games, or really licensed games in general. Budokai 3, however, was a really solid (not on a competitive level, but just for fun) fighting game, which offered lots of different game modes and characters to play with. Each character felt faithful to their anime/manga counterparts and actually varied in playstyle more than some mainstream fighters of the time! And all of the game modes offered plenty of replay value: after you beat the story, you have multiple world tournaments to win, and then a secret arena to unlock which will require you to work hard and level your characters up! On top of all of that, Budokai 3 was from an age where you actually had to work hard to unlock characters and abilities, nothing was just given to you, no cheat codes, and no DLC (those where the days). I logged so many hours in this game, both alone and with my friends, that I made a 26th spot for it when I set out to do a top 25.

25. Halo: Reach

Japanese: ヘイロー:リーチ

Release Date:  14 September 2010 (US)

Developer/Publisher: Bungie/Microsoft Game Studios

Platform: Xbox 360

Why It Made It: I know, I know: Of all the Halo games, why Reach? Well, to start, the Halo series is one of, if not THE, definitive first person shooting series offering both phenomenal storytelling and multiplayer. Reach particularly excels in the multiplayer realm, bringing plenty of innovation to the series. The maps, weapon variety, power ups, all of it felt better in Reach. Further, Reach’s ability to play with the Halo: Anniversary players helped keep the online community large and alive! To this day the Reach community is still large, in fact Reach is the sole reason I still have an Xbox Live account!

24. The Legend of Zelda

Japanese: ゼルダの伝説

Release Date:  21 February 1986 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Famicom Disk System

Why It Made It: The Zelda series is a classic, and many of its games make plenty of Top Lists, in fact Ocarina of Time is currently the highest rated game of all time according to Metacritic! The first Zelda holds a special place in my heart; the sheer depth of the game was almost unseen for its time. Zelda offered great exploration, combat, and a wonderfully put together dungeon system that combined to be one of the richest gaming experiences on the Famicom! Zelda is one of those games that was fun enough to play and start over, over and over again; it never seemed to have gotten stale. Plenty can be said about Zelda, but I’ll just leave it at this: The game was and is still great.

23.  Devil May Cry 4

Japanese: デビルメイクライ4

Release Date:  31 January 2008 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Capcom

Platform: Playstation 3/Xbox 360

Why It Made It: Devil May Cry 4 is fast, stylish, difficult, and fun! DMC4’s aesthetics are something I’d love to highlight, the game looks and feels really—cool. This game combines Japanese stylishness with outstanding HD graphics with amazing art direction and character design to deliver a product that is very easy on the eyes. That aside, it’s a very intricate hack-and-slash game that gives you a variety of executable moves as you progress and rewards you for using them stylishly. (The game will even punish you, sometimes, if you just button mash) The level designs are great and the boss battles were awesome, making progress rewarding, and very hard to get bored with halfway through like other games in its genre.

Also coming to PS4 in June!!!

22.  Star Ocean The Second Story

Japanese: スターオーシャン セカンドストーリー

Release Date:  30 July 1998 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Tri-Ace/Enix

Platform: Playstation

Why It Made It: One of the great, early action RPG games, Star Ocean. Star Ocean had a great story and universe, combining elements of sci-fi and fantasy together in a way that only it could do. Aside from the universe it created, I loved the battle system! One of the first game series to offer you the depth of a turn based RPG but with relatively free action during battle. The battle system that, in fact, inspired the entire Tales Of series! Star Ocean was one of the first RPG’s I ever actually got serious about playing, and it absorbed so many hours out of my life…with absolutely no regrets.

21.  Mario Kart DS

Japanese: マリオカートDS

Release Date:  14 November 2005 (US)

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo DS

Why It Made It: Of all of the racing games in the world, I don’t believe one can even compare to Mario Kart DS. What appears on the outside as a simple child’s kart-racer, turns out to be the most fulfilling and enjoyable motorized experience. Mario Kart DS offers a great variety of tracks from the other games in the series, as well as all the characters and rides. But what made Mario Kart DS truly stand out was the incredible 4-player experience. Only one person needed the game, everyone could just jump in wirelessly on their DS, smoothly and with absolutely no lag. Mario Kart DS is by far, the most fun multiplayer experience to date.

20.  Zero Escape Vol. 2: Virtue’s Last Reward

Japanese: 極限脱出ADV 善人シボウデス

Release Date:  16 February 2012 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Chunsoft

Platform: Playstation Vita/Nintendo 3DS

Why It Made It: I’m not a huge fan of visual novels, necessarily, but this one is an outstanding exception. Honestly, I started this game because it was free on Playstation Plus and I had heard it was an easy Platinum trophy… However, when I started getting into the story, I no longer cared about the trophies and I couldn’t stop playing. The writing is absolutely brilliant, the cast of characters is perfect, and the twists and turns the story takes are unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I really can’t stress how good the writing is enough. It’s so easy to feel a part of the murderous story, feel very fond of certain characters, and at the same time when you are betrayed you may take it personally. Throw in a couple interesting puzzles, and you’ve got a near perfect gaming experience. I read one quote in another article that perfectly describes this: “There should be no timeline ever created that doesn’t contain you playing this game.” (Thank you IGN)

19. Pokemon Crystal Version

Japanese: ポケットモンスター クリスタルバージョン

Release Date:  14 December 2000 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Game Freak/Nintendo

Platform: Gameboy Colour

Why It Made It: I don’t have to explain why Pokémon is great, Pokémon games have always been spectacular, but none quite as so as Crystal version. Crystal (and Gold/Silver by extension) version was the first, and really only, Pokémon game to be a true sequel. Going back to Kanto and being able to refight the original gym leaders was like a dream! They even gave little bits of story that gave you an image of what happened in between Red/Green/Blue/Yellow and then. Another thing I like about Crystal version, in particular, is that instead of feeling like a stand alone “version,” it feels like an improvement on the previous titles. Red and Green started it, Gold and Silver added 8 more badges and 100 more pokemon, and then crystal comes along with graphical improvements and extra story without losing anything from the previous games (i.e. the inability to go back to Kanto/Johto in the games to follow)

18. Dead or Alive 4

Japanese: デッドオアアライブ4

Release Date:  29 December 2005 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Team Ninja/Tecmo

Platform: Xbox 360

Why It Made It: Dead or Alive is my all-time favourite fighting game franchise. DOA’s play-style is a lot more realistic in the sense that it is very reactionary (the Jiggle physics are far, FAR from realistic, on the other hand). Instead of hitting a long, complicated button combination to perform moves, DOA has a simpler button layout so that the advantage comes from how you counter your enemies and not how many combos you know. This also makes the battles a lot smoother than other mainstream fighters. The cast of characters in DOA is very diverse, also. Each character has a specific fight style that is not only unique, but also reminiscent of real-life fight styles. To top it all off, the games difficulty can be brutal! And certain unlockables require you to actually man-up and play the harder modes.

17. Catherine

Japanese: キャサリン

Release Date:  17 February 2011 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: ATLUS

Platform: Playstation 3/Xbox 360

Why It Made It: The people at ATLUS, especially Katsura Hoshino, really know how to write a good story! Catherine’s story is thought provoking and interesting, and at times, very uncomfortable… The game puts you in situations where you really feel like you can’t win. The story is set around the themes of love and infidelity, which are themes the video game media really hasn’t touched on outside of PC visual novels. What’s especially great about Catherine was the way they framed the story with an incredibly deep and challenging puzzle platformer. Catherine is not only an original IP, but really the game is one of a kind.

16. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

Japanese: 牧場物語 ミネラルタウンのなかまたち

Release Date:  18 April 2003 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Marvelous Interactive Inc.

Platform: Gameboy Advanced

Why It Made It: Harvest Moon is a very solid series that perfectly blends social aspects of a dating sim with an intricate farm simulation system (that frankly no other series beforehand had done). Friends of Mineral Town is a remake of the Playstation version, Back to Nature. The reason I chose the former over the latter is because the small changes they made (made to accommodate a portable platform) really tightened the games UI and mechanics. Back to Nature felt a little messy in execution, and where so it was, Friends of Mineral Town makes better. For example, the PS game is at a ¾ angle which makes the precision of harvesting crops and feeding animals slightly more difficult, more so even since the game (to my memory) didn’t support analog control. Friends of Mineral Town changes your perspective to a regular top-down, making the use of the D-pad much more efficient. Technical stuff aside, the game (both games really) have a great story, cast of characters, art direction, and a ton of stuff to do.

15. Super Mario 64

Japanese: スーパーマリオ64

Release Date:  23 June 1996 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo 64

Why It Made It: This is the game that changed the way we think about platformers! This was the dawn (and still one of the best) of the 3D-Platformers. Mario 64 is counted among nearly ever top list, and for good reason. The level designs were intuitive, well-structured enough to enable multiple different quests in the same level and yet every quest feels like the level was designed exclusively for it. The platforming was smooth, and the controls were very easy to use. The game also had a bunch of content; both the main quest and the extra stuff were meaty. There were a bunch of hidden areas throughout the castle, and lots of extra stars to find, you could get lost for hours just earning extra stuff.

14. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

Japanese: ジャック×ダクスター 旧世界の遺産

Release Date:  3 December 2001 (US)

Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog/Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform: Playstation 2

Why It Made It: Jak and Daxter took everything I like about Mario 64 and made it better. Aside from the obvious technical advances from the 64 Age to the PS2 Age (like better graphics, smoother controls, etc.), Jak and Daxter took the 3D-Platforming style and set it to the tune of an adventure game. All the jumping and exploring in-tact, but now with a bigger world and a narrative that is not as simple as “Save the Princess!” The game also throws you into a bunch of interesting challenges and puzzles, from hover crafts to reviving a giant forest cannon. Jak and Daxter is what I would consider the ultimate 3D-Platformer (with one half-exception that we’ll get to later).

13. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Japanese: メタルギアソリッド4 ガンズ・オブ・ザ・パトリオット

Release Date:  12 June 2008 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Kojima Productions/Konami

Platform: Playstation 3

Why It Made It: Metal Gear Solid 4 is a near-perfect gaming experience that’s only real flaw is its incredible install times between chapters. I really don’t even like stealth games all that much, but MGS4 really wowed me. To start, the game looks spectacular and really takes full advantage of the Playstation 3’s power (to this day is still one of the best looking 7th generation games). The story is really, REALLY good with a phenomenal cast of characters, in-depth plot, and superbly written dialogue that can be serious when it needs to be, and goofy when it wants to be. The icing on the cake here is really the gameplay, though; the level designs are perfect, with plenty of options on how you handle each situation, and the boss battles are unique and flat-out fun. From beginning to end, MGS4 is jaw-dropping.

12. Dead or Alive 2 ULTIMATE

Japanese: デッドオアアライブ2 ULTIMATE

Release Date:  26 October 2004 (US)

Developer/Publisher: Team Ninja/Tecmo

Platform: Xbox

Why It Made It: As you already know, Dead or Alive is my favourite fighting game series of all-time. DOA2U is my favourite fighting game of all-time. Ultimate took the Dreamcast title and gave it a nice graphical overhaul using the engine from the recently released (at the time) Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. That graphical engine was really something else; visually the game rivals the HD generation’s first titles that were still a few years to come. Ultimate also added new game modes, online multiplayer capabilities, TONS of unlockable costumes, and, of course, my favourite character: Hitomi. All the new stuff aside, DOA2U maintains everything I love about the DOA series.

11. Final Fantasy X

Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーX

Release Date:  19 July 2001 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Squaresoft

Platform: Playstation 2

Why It Made It: Spoiler Alert: This is not the only Final Fantasy title on this list. Final Fantasy, as a series, is one of the highest-quality RPG series’ of all time (you can debate the newer titles if you must). Each game in the series share certain elements, but keep a certain individuality about them, which made each experience completely new and fresh.

Final Fantasy X was the last in the series to retain its turn-based battle system; one that is missed and remembered fondly by fans. Like the others, X made some slight tweaks on the combat. The highlight of X’s combat was the summoning system; for the first time, when a monster was summoned, you could control him completely. Your summon (called Aeon) had its own health bar, attacks, spells, stats, and what not. This added a whole new level of strategy to the game! The story and setting were really good as well, with themes like religious manipulation, political defiance, racism, family discourse, love, duty, and faith. X was never afraid to get raw, and it created an emotional provocative experience.

10. Bloodborne

Japanese: ブラッドボーン

Release Date:  24 March 2015 (US)

Developer/Publisher: From Software/Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform: Playstation 4

Why It Made It: I was SUPER hesitant to put a game so new on my all-time list, let alone in the Top 10… But damn does this game deserve it. I had to answer one question before I added this game to the list: In 10 years will I still remember how good this game is? The answer is yes. Bloodborne is the latest installment in the ‘souls’ series. Like the rest of the souls games, Bloodborne is fun and brutally difficult! I was originally worried about this game’s release because I loved Demon’s Souls, but Dark Souls sort of lost some of the magic, and then Dark Souls II completely put me off. It’s not that Dark Souls I or II were bad games, they just felt sloppier and less thought-out than their predecessor. However, it only took a couple minutes of playing for my original fears to completely vanish. Bloodborne has everything I loved about Demon’s Souls, in a new shiny Victorian age package. For more info see our review of Bloodborne, or wait until Demon’s Souls pops up on this list.

9. Final Fantasy VII

Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーVII

Release Date:  31 January 1997 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Squaresoft

Platform: Playstation

Why It Made It: Heralded as the greatest Final Fantasy of all time, and one of the most influential RPGs to date. And although there is one more FF ahead of it on this list, they’re not over exaggerating. VII had one of the grandest worlds, filled with hidden bosses and hidden mission. It also had one of the best stories and casts of characters, and even had thrown us all through a loop when we witnessed Aerith die (it’s not a spoiler anymore). I think that the incredible amount of depth the game had was probably the best feature. All 3 discs of this game were filled to the brim with 40+ hours of content. This game really speaks for itself, though, so I won’t spend any more time on it!

8. Final Fantasy V

Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーV

Release Date:  6 December 1992 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Squaresoft

Platform: Super Famicom

Why It Made It: Last FF game, I promise. What makes V stand out above the rest of the series is the job system. V has all the great story, characters, depth, etc. as the rest of them, but the job system was outstanding, and one of the most interesting mechanics in any FF game to date. Essentially, as the story progresses you unlock different job (classes, like warrior, mage, etc.) that any character can use. As you level up your characters, the jobs level up as well. When the jobs level up, the character using it gets a special ability that can cross over into another job. For example: If you use the monk long enough the character gets the ability ‘barefist.’ This ability makes so that the character deals damage as if they were using a weapon, even with no weapon equipped. Then you equip ‘barefist’ to a White Mage, and now you have a character who is both a potent healer and a fighter. This gave the game an incredible amount of depth, but also replayablity! The nostalgia factor also plays in a bit here, because this was the last of the “classic” Final Fantasy games, before they got all steampunk/sci-fi. (but that’s just a little detail)

7. Fable II

Japanese: フェイブルII

Release Date:  18 December 2012 (US)

Developer/Publisher: Lionhead Studios/Microsoft Game Studios

Platform: Xbox 360

Why It Made It: Fable II took the whole WRPG thing and just did it so right. While it may not be as long as most other WRPGs, (in fact the game is relatively short, in regards to the main story) every single minute is filled with something good. The game has no fillers, or boring tasks just to make the game feel longer. Every bit of the main story has a purpose. What really makes the game shine is everything else, though. Your decisions change the game, both actively and passively. Obviously, the stuff you choose in the story will change the story. BUT! Certain side quests can drastically alter the game as well. I was walking through a tavern and some monk was yelling something. I ignored him. When I came back, the monastery was destroyed, the abbot and the monks were all dead, and all the plant life in the town was dead (apparently the monks were tending to them). On top of that, the minigames were great, you could buy up houses and castles for yourself, the combat was fun, and just everything about the game was great!

6. Kingdom Hearts II

Japanese: キングダムハーツII

Release Date:  22 December 2005 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Square Enix

Platform: Playstation 2

Why It Made It: KHII is another one of those games one can describe as ‘near-perfect.’ KHII has an amazing combat system, fluid and fast unlike any other action-RPG I’ve ever played. The graphics, although cartoony, are extremely well done, and it creates an extraordinarily unique atmosphere. The cut scenes are well directed, the voice acting is amazing (both in English and Japanese), and the story is well done. There’s not a whole lot about this game I don’t like!

5. Dark Cloud

Japanese: ダーククラウド

Release Date:  14 December 2000 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Level-5/Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform: Playstation 2

Why It Made It: By far this is one of the most original RPG’s I’ve ever played. For starters, Dark Cloud has an extremely solid dungeon system, which require thought and strategy. Also, Instead of your characters leveling up, you buff each character with items and you will spend time leveling up and creating new weapons. This weapon system makes the player think differently about how to grind since sometimes leveling up meant finding specific items, or fusing specific weapons. Dark Cloud’s strongest point, however, is the ‘georama’ system. The whole premise of the game is that an evil genie goes through towns and destroys them, and scatters the bits of the town throughout dungeons. As you run through each dungeon you gather the pieces back and recreate the towns however you like. The fun part about city building was that, aside from just building cities, each villager has certain requests on how they’d like it done. This gave the game an extra dimension of depth!

4. Persona 4: The Golden

Japanese: ペルソナ4 ザ・ゴールデン

Release Date:  14 June 2012 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: ATLUS

Platform: Playstation Vita

Why It Made It: I was expecting this game to be some boring weeaboo bait anime RPG… damn was I wrong. While it does have a lot of weebish charm to it, this game turned out to be a spectacular game; one that I lost nearly 100 hours of my life to! First and foremost, the thing that really stood out about this game was the writing. Each character is extremely well written, the scenarios are funny and light on the surface, but get provocative and dark as it goes on. The game is full of twists and turns, you’ll meet new characters all the time, and there are plenty of side dungeons/stories that add to the mix. This particular version of the game is fully-voiced, and the voice actors (in both Japanese and English) are phenomenal! The gameplay is extraordinary also. The amount of ‘persona’ to collect, customize, and fuse is incredible. You’ll willingly spend hours and hours grinding to get your persona to the right levels and start fusing them to get your ultimate persona! It also should be noted that the use of different religions and mythologies for character inspiration adds a little spice to the mix; everything from Michael the Arc Angel and Satan, to Amaterasu, Izanagi, and Izanami, to Thor. Plus the inclusion of multiple endings, tons and tons of hidden content, and an outstanding art direction made this one of my absolute all-time favourite games.

3. Yakuza 3

Japanese: 龍が如く3

Release Date:  26 February 2009 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: SEGA

Platform: Playstation 3

Why It Made It: What makes Yakuza 3 one of the most memorable and amazing gaming experiences ever created? The list is gigantic, so I’ll try and condense it a little. To start, the guys at SEGA created an incredibly intricate and detailed world filled to the brim with life-like people, completely organic scenarios, and hundreds of hours’ worth of quests and mini-games. The story is emotionally engaging, taking you through the life of an ex-yakuza boss as he tries to redeem his sinful past and start anew right before he gets dragged back into a city wide family war. The cinematics are gorgeous, so gorgeous, in fact, that when someone walked in mid-cutscene, they mistook it for a live-action movie. The combat is exceptional and gives you plenty of options on how to take on each battle. You are able to use almost anything in your environment as a weapon; being able to beat some street punk’s ass with potted plants and couches is very satisfying. It’s worth noting that the Yakuza franchise is completely made up of games as good as this one, every single (sans Of The End/Dead Souls) title delivers 100%. However, they’re all so similar that I didn’t want to over-populate my list with them. I chose 3 to be representative of the whole series because 3 was the most well written chapter in the series, regarding story.

2. Demon’s Souls

Japanese: デモンズソウル

Release Date:  5 February 2009 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: From Software/Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform: Playstation 3

Why It Made It: Demon’s Souls is probably one of the most rewarding games I’ve ever played. Not in the sense of getting cool stuff in game for doing shit (although you do get cool stuff for doing shit, and it’s neat), but in the sense of how accomplished you feel once you’ve completed it. Demon’s Souls is one of the most difficult games I’ve played. You’ll die left and right at the hands of the punishing level-design, the frenzied boss fights, and the dicks (online) who invade your world while you’re trying to grind. (On a side note: Dark Souls and Dark Souls II are harder games, but Bloodborne is about on the same level as Demon’s Souls.) Demon’s Souls, in particular, had my absolute favourite world. A disgustingly depraved medieval castle-town, filled with dragons, knights, and demented humans whom have lost everything. With how dark and creepy everything is, Demon’s Souls maintains a certain stylish aspect to it. The very few cutscenes you get are very smooth and the character designs are really ‘cool.’ Everything else I loved: Amazing combat, tons of weapons and armour to find, tons of hidden items and shortcuts, interesting and original PVP, that hour long fight with the red dragon, the fact that your experience points are also currency (so you have to decide, sometimes, whether leveling up or that shiny new sword is more important), interesting lore, the fact that the game doesn’t spell out the story for you, cool NPCs, how easy the final boss was in comparison to the entire rest of the game, and finally the rush I got after beating every boss!

1. Kingdom Hearts

Japanese: キングダム ハーツ

Release Date:  28 March 2002 (JP)

Developer/Publisher: Squaresoft

Platform: Playstation 2

Why It Made It: Kingdom Hearts is THE perfect gaming experience. I kept the KHII bit short because I wanted to save most of it for this without sounding more repetitive than I probably already do… This game is essentially the love-child of everything I love about video games: Final Fantasy like storytelling and character design, Fast and Smooth combat like Devil May Cry, Platforming like Super Mario 64, with just a splash of Disney magic. The story was awesome; it had a great cast of characters and a great plot. Like KHII, the cinematic scenes were excellently directed and were extremely vivid. Each world (for the most part) was based on a classic Disney film, with its own score, enemies, and weapons. The voice acting was also spectacular, both in English and Japanese. Each language used the actual movie voice actors for each guest character, like Mickey Mouse or Aladdin! The original characters also got top notch voice actors from Disney’s arsenal. The platforming was spectacular, and really added depth to each level design. There were plenty of hidden items you really had to work to find. I think the most important thing I’d stress about this game is the combat. (gameplay is everything!) Flawless: The combat is fast and smooth, incredibly accurate and responsive, perfectly integrated magic and summons, with the inclusion of aerial and ground combat, and with plenty of customizable combos and special moves to learn as you level up. No other action-RPG felt this good.


Lastly, I’ll just leave some honourable mentions:

Soldier Blade (PCE), Metroid Prime Hunters (NDS), Legaia 1&2 (PS/PS2), Dodonpachi Saidaiojou (360), Tales of Xillia (PS3), Dragon Quest Heroes (PS4), Dragon Quest VIII (PS2), the Dot Hack Series (PS2), Hot Shots Golf 3 (PS2), The Bouncer (PS2), Lost Odyssey (360), Dragon’s Crown (PS3), and all the games in the series of the ones that did make the list!


Written by: Pokeslob