Gaming has been a well-loved hobby for many years, providing many hours of entertainment. There are thousands of fantastic video games on many different platforms, and more are coming out each year, so the debate over which ones are the best is an ongoing conversation. Some games have won the top spot through nostalgia, others through their brilliant graphics and storyline and many were just too great to put down, keeping players locked onto their screens for way longer than is probably healthy. Let’s look at some of the best video games of all time.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)
This action-adventure open-world game was developed and published by Rockstar Games and acted as the prequel to 2010’s Read Dead Redemption. Players take control of Arthur Morgan, an outlaw and member of the Van der Linde gang dealing with the decline of the Wild West. Throughout the game, players will get into brawls, go hunting, ride horses through the massive map, loot places and interact with non-player characters. Moral choices and deeds affect Arthur’s honour rating, and a player’s criminal activity affects the bounty system, which, in turn, affects the response of law enforcement and bounty hunters.
Red Dead Redemption 2has an emotionally driven story that players can systematically work through or ignore for side quests. Players will watch as Arthur deals with betrayal, loss and his own mortality. Players face many enemies on Arthur’s various missions and can switch between first- and third-person perspectives. During the epilogue, players control John Marston, the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption. The gamewas initially released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Ask anyone; this is definitely one of the best video games of all time.
The second instalment of the Half-Life franchise is widely considered one of the best games ever made. It has won 39 Game of the Year awards since it was first released, and its success inspired several other Half-Life projects, including Half-Life: Alyx. The first-person shooter game was published and developed by Valve and used a combination of shooting, puzzles and storytelling to progress players through the story. Players take control of Gordon Freeman, a former employee at the Black Mesa Research Facility who joins the resistance movement and tries to help liberate Earth from the control of the Combine. This alien empire arrived in the previous game and overwhelmed Earth with its forces.
Throughout the game, players will build up their arsenal of weapons while playing through the linear story and battling various enemies, which can be taken out via weapons or the exploitation of environmental hazards. The game uses physics and gravity mechanics; players even gain access to a gravity weapon part-way through the game. Much of Half-Life 2’s story is told through exposition from different characters and in-world events rather than cutscenes, meaning the player is constantly in control of Gordon. Half-Life 2 was initially released for Windows through Steam but eventually made it to other consoles and platforms.
3. The Last of Us (2013 & 2020)
The Last of Us Part I & Part II were action-adventure games developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Interactive Entertainment, respectively. Both games are played from a third-person perspective. Players will use a combination of stealth, firearms and improvised weapons against hostile humans and the Infected. Part I sees players take control of Joel Miller, a smuggler tasked with transporting Ellie, a young teenage girl immune to the effects of the bite, across the United States. At first, Joel considers her nothing more than cargo, but as the game progresses and the two are thrown into life-or-death situations, he comes to see her as a daughter. A daughter he refuses to lose, even if it means never finding a cure.
Part II takes place four years after Part I and shows that Ellie and Joel have a strained relationship after she learns the truth about what happened with the Fireflies. The game swaps between Ellie and Abby Anderson’s perspectives. While Ellie spends most of the game hunting Abby to exact her revenge against different members of the Fireflies, Abby tries to find a new sense of purpose and make her way back to the Fireflies. The two games tell brilliant stories, though many preferred Part I, as the story flowed better and they weren’t playing from the perspective of a character they disliked. Part I was released for PlayStation 3 and 4, while Part II was released for PlayStation 4.
It goes without saying, The Last of Us Part I is one of the best video games of all time.
The Legend of Zelda franchise has been popular since Nintendo published the first game in 1986. There have been several instalments over the years, and the latest is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an action-adventure game developed for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U.
Players take control of Link and are allowed to explore the world of Hyrule in a non-linear fashion as they set out to save Princess Zelda and prevent Calamity Ganon from destroying the world. The game introduced elements of chemistry and physics engines, and the designers drew inspiration from 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus and 2011’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The world is unstructured and interactive, and there is often more than one way to solve a problem.
Though the game has faced criticism for not having more traditional dungeons and items, it still kept to what was central to every Zelda game: exploration and choice. The game also lets you discover the world independently rather than giving you a list of tasks to complete. As a result, there’s plenty to discover and interact with in Breath of the Wild.
On a side note: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is also highly recommended.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
This first-person shooter game is the sixteen instalment of the Call of Duty series. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision, serving as a reboot for the Modern Warfare subseries. The main campaign is single-player and takes place over several days. It follows three protagonists: British SAS sergeant Kyle “Gaz” Garrick, former Delta Force operator turned CIA SAC/SOG officer Alex and Urzik rebel leader Farah Karim. The three protagonists players work with their allies to take down Al-Qatala, an Urzik organisation led by Omar “The Wolf” Sulaman and Jamal “The Butcher” Rahar, and General Roman Barkov, who treats the rebel forces and Al-Qatala as criminals.
After completing the main campaign, the story continues in the Special Ops and Multiplayer modes. Players take the role of various operatives in the Armistice, a joint alliance comprising of Western forces known as the Coalition and Eastern forces known as the Allegiance. The Special Ops story follows Al-Qatala’s re-emergence and the threat facing Russian forces in Verdansk. The Armistice work together and discovers the identity of Al-Qatala’s benefactor and the new leader. Multiplayer mode follows the operations in Verdansk.
Arimistic continues to dispatch agents against Al-Qatala forces, but the alliance between the Coalition and the Allegiance begins to fracture. Shortly after Al-Qatala unleashes chemical attacks across Verdansk, the two factions begin a conflict with each other. Multiplayer mode supports cross-platform multiplayer and cross-platform progression and is set up so gameplay becomes more tactical and realistic. The game also introduced a free-to-play battle royal mode known as Warzone, marketed as a standalone title. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows.
This action RPG was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It was an instant success and was later remastered for newer consoles and platforms. As a result, it is widely considered one of the greatest video games ever made. Players can play from a first- or third-person perspective and roam freely across the open world of Skyrim. There are various missions and side quests, from farming to fetch quests to clearing out dungeons.
Skyrim takes place 200 years after the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. As the game begins, players are on the verge of being executed when a dragon attacks, freeing them and the captured rebels. However, after fleeing to Whiterun, there is a second dragon attack, and in the aftermath, the dragon’s soul is absorbed by the player, revealing them to be Dragonborn.
As you progress through the game, you can join different factions, increase your skills and learn various shouts, which will help in the eventual defeat of Alduin, an ancient dragon prophesied to bring about the end of the world. Players have an arsenal of weapons and magic at their disposal, can battle alongside companions and follow different paths depending on the faction they choose to join. Skyrim has been well-enjoyed by everyone who gives it a chance, and players are excited for the next instalment of The Elder Scrolls series.
7. Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)
This action-adventure game based on DC’s Batman was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The game is set nine months after the events of Arkham City and takes place in an open-world Gotham City, which can be freely explored by players from the beginning. The campaign plays out in several well-known Gotham locations, including Ace Chemicals and Arkham Asylum. Many of the gameplay elements introduced in the previous games, like the grapple gun, batarangs, Detective Vision and the Remote Hacking Device, make a return alongside new gadgets like, the Voice Synthesizer and a drivable Batmobile. Several challenges are scattered throughout Arkham Knight, including 243 challenges from the Riddler and several investigable crimes, in which Batman can use Detective Vision and the Tissue Scanner.
Players take control of Batman, who has been struggling with the Joker’s passing and must now face Scarecrow, the Arkham Knight and several other villains who are all determined to take down Batman. In the ensuing onslaught for Gotham, Batman receives help from Commissioner Gordon, Oracle, Robin, the GCPD and even Poison Ivy, the one villain who was uninterested in Batman’s passing. The story is more grounded than the previous games, and though there were some complaints about the mechanics of the Batmobile, it was an epic conclusion to the Batman: Arkham series. Fortunately, it isn’t the conclusion of the Arkhamverse.
The sixth entry of the Final Fantasy series is considered one of the best video games of all time. It was developed and published by Square for the Super NES. Square Enix later released it for the Game Boy Advance. Much like the previous games, Final Fantasy VI is set in a medieval fantasy world with steampunk influences and follows four of fourteen playable characters as they journey through the land to revolt against the Empire and defeat Kefta, the main protagonist who was the first of the Magitek Knights and whose actions often reflect his demented nature.
Players progress through the game as they explore towns, which offer side quests and helpful information, and dungeons, which feature puzzles and mazes that require different party members to progress through. The combat is menu based, and each character has a unique ability that assists against enemies in one way or another. For example, Locke can steal items from enemies, and Celes can absorb most magical attacks until her next turn. Final Fantasy VI became one of the best-selling video games in 1994, even though it wasn’t a commercial success.
9. Metal Gear Solid V (2015)
This action-adventure stealth game was written, directed and designed by Hideo Kojima. It was developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami as the ninth instalment of the Metal Gear franchise, which followed the stand-alone prologue Metal Gear V: Ground Zeroes. The game follows Punished “Venom” Snake nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes. He leads a mercenary group known as the Diamond Dogs. He goes on a journey to track down those responsible for destroying Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF), travelling Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan conflict and the Angola-Zaire border region during the Angolan Civil War.
On the journey, he encounters Ocelot, an old rival, and Quiet, an assassin with supernatural abilities. Though initially driven by revenge, Snake soon uncovers a plot to develop a new Metal Gear system model known as the ST-84 “Sahelanthropus”. The single-player campaign relies heavily on stealth mechanics and encourages players to progress without taking on any enemies through the use of non-lethal weapons. The game was released on several platforms, including Windows and Xbox One.
Though it may be the oldest game in the franchise Halo: Combat Evolved is still widely considered the best instalment of the franchise and one of the greatest games ever made. The first-person shooter was developed by Bungie, published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox and Windows, and spawned a multi-billion-dollar franchise.
In the single-player campaign, players control Master Chief as he rescues his crew, who have crash-landed on a ringworld structure of unknown origin known as Halo. They soon discover it is a weapon that the Covenant plans to use, and Master Chief and the AI Cortana work together to keep the ringworld from being activated. The game features various vehicles and weapons players can use to battle enemies and travel the ringworld.
11. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)
This beloved platform was developed by Sega Technical Institute and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. Players control Sonic and Tails, Sonic’s sidekick, introduced in this game for the first time, as they journey to stop Doctor Robotnik from obtaining the Chaos Emeralds and powering his space station.
A second player can join the game, allowing players to choose to control Sonic or Tails individually. Sega fans consider Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to be one of the greatest video games of all time.
This action-adventure game is the seventh main entry of the Grand Theft Auto series. It was developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. Players control the protagonists as they travel through the fictional San Andreas: Michael De Santa (a retired bank robber), Franklin Clinton (a street gangster) and Trevor Philips (a illegal substance dealer and gunrunner). The three commit various heists under pressure from powerful criminals and a corrupt government agency.
Players can explore the one world of San Andreas and the fictional city of Los Santos while stealing cars, accosting civilians, and being all-around menaces to the peace. A “wanted” system affects the aggression of law enforcement. The game was initially released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 but has since been made available for other platforms, including PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X/S and One and Windows.
Without a doubt, GTA 5 is one of the best video games of all time.