5. Shadow of the Colossus
At the forefront of the defense of games as an art form (prompted in part by Roger Ebert) is Shadow of the Colossus.The game was made by Team Ico, the developers behind none other than Ico. Shadow of the Colossus is a spiritual successor to the aforementioned game, and will be followed by yet another similar spiritual successor in 2012, by the name of The Last Guardian. To make things more interesting, the game only has 16 enemies in total. You start off your journey as Wander, with your horse Agro, appealing to the god Dormin to revive Mono, who you later learn was sacrificed due to a cursed destiny. In this land, desolate and forbidden, you know little background between the characters and their relationships to each other. You are tasked to destroy the sixteen colossi by Dormin. After you fell the first colossus though, it is clear that there is something more sinister at play, as you are pierced by black energy and awaken at the shrine. The game does an excellent job of creating a bond between you and your horse through the use of minimalistic touches, the horse will steer itself away from cliffs and jump when needed, and will even go off and graze on its own when you clamber off. As the game and story advances you learn that Wander is being followed, and you begin to witness one of the best uses of antihero ever. After every colossus killed, Wander becomes more dirty, ragged and clumsy. This results in your questioning of Wander’s motives, and just which side you should be rooting for.
4. Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy)
A cult classic, Fahrenheit, or better known in North America as Indigo Prophecy, was a precursor to the much more well-known Heavy Rain, and its cinematic gameplay. But where the game really stands out is its deep, captivating, and oftentimes disturbing story. The tale, which opens prolifically and profoundly with a murder, and is ranked as number ten on Game Informer’s Top Ten Video Game Openings, centers around Lucas Kane and the supernatural forces that he must fight to comprehend why New York City is being targeted by a series of mysterious murders that follow the same pattern: ordinary people becoming possessed and killing absolute strangers in public. Receiving the Best Story and Best Adventure Game award from Gamespot, Fahrenheit is not a game to be passed over in the used section of your local game shop.
3. Silent Hill 2
Receiving a letter from his wife asking him to come to their special place, James Sunderland becomes drawn to Silent Hill. It is a quiet town they had frequented in the past, before the sickness took her from this life; she’s been dead for three years now. Upon entering Silent Hill, James encounters gruesome monsters and exaggerated versions of humanity, including a girl oblivious to what is happening around her, a man who has killed someone, and a woman who’s a spitting image of his wife, although she is dolled up and does not possess his wife’s subdued behavior. Finding more and more clues that lead to the revelation of the murder of your wife, Silent Hill 2 addresses your problems with analogies and metaphors. Silent Hill isn’t a town, it is your emotional being, and every door and corridor could contain a clue to James’ past, and the further you delve in, the more you must fight the mental blocks that portray him in innocent and culpable lights.
2. Deus Ex
With a surplus of over 40 Game of the Year awards, and also including the accolade of Best Story, Deus Ex comes loaded with great expectations. In this cyberpunk themed tale of a world controlled by conspiracy and on the brink of collapse, a bionic government agent, J.C. Denton, is issued a series of risky covert assignments by his employer, UNATCO. A lot of background information is presented in the game that is purely optional; books, newspapers, e-mails, passwords, and other lines of text that are pertinent to the story and often contain allusions to science-fiction references, such as Tron and Blue Harvest. UNATCO coworkers react to your actions towards your enemies, appraising you or giving you the cold shoulder, and enemies can be hounded for information. Pioneering the FPS RPG formula, Deus Ex frequently finds its way near the top of the greatest games of all time lists.
For those of you following the list order, it is in reverse chronological order, and with that, we come to one of the greats of modern game storytelling: Half-Life. Considered and cited as being revolutionary in terms of the immersive gaming experience, interactive environment and storytelling, Half-Life was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews and, like Deus Ex, frequents greatest games of all time lists. The game has received over 50 Game of the Year awards as a tour de force first-person shooter as well as holding a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as best selling FPS of all-time. Half-life contained artfully scripted in-game sequences and a story that the player became captivated by. Offering a proposition or a battle Gordon Freeman has no chance of winning, an anticlimax after what you’ve survived, it is time to choose…