Top 25 video games of all time
eGaming Desk’s senior writer Jordan Heal lists his top 25 video games of all time…
Compiling this list was nothing short of difficult. With so many fantastic titles on the market, it took several hours to refine the list down to the top 50, let alone top 25!
There are so many that deserve an honorary mention, because they should be here, but have fallen short in the end.
Before we begin, it should be noted that only one game out of franchise or series will appear on this list; otherwise it would have been filled with only a handful of franchises.
Here is a look at Jordan’s top 25 video games of all time:
25: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, most commonly known as CoD 4, is one of the most popular entries to the franchise.
Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are also worthy contenders but, for me, their campaigns couldn’t hold a candle to CoD 4’s.
The campaign is as spectacular as it is riveting, accompanied by stellar voice acting and a gripping plot that leaves you wanting more.
Likewise, its multiplayer mode featured some of the most iconic maps in Call of Duty history, making it intensely addicting to the point where you could lose an entire day playing online matches.
There are other Call of Duty games which could be in with a shout to be on this, but this entry is still the best.
24: Super Mario 64
For many, Super Mario 64 should rank higher on this list because it is one of the most popular games to date, even though it was released way back in 1996 on the Nintendo 64.
I could scarcely imagine any gamer alive who wouldn’t rank a Mario game in their own top 25 video games of all time list and I am no different.
Mario has won the hearts of countless gamers and non-gamers alike, making this a trick pick because Super Mario World on the SNES also deserves a place on this ranking.
Ultimately, this choice boiled down to the fact Super Mario 64 was the first in the series to boast three-dimensional gameplay.
There isn’t a lot more to be said about why this game made the cut, it’s a classic title like any other entry to the Mario franchise.
23: Portal 2
Portal 2 is one of the most intriguing gameplay experiences to date and one that you wouldn’t find many other developers attempting to replicate.
Its unique gameplay features a gun which can create portals for you to access different pathways and solve various puzzles, making it a mentally-stimulating title.
It is a short and breezy play-through, but every moment is enjoyable and as you continue to come up with new innovative ways to get through the level, the longer you want it to last.
The original Portal was a superb game, but Portal 2 felt more refined which is why it has made it onto the list.
22: Final Fantasy 7
There are so many brilliant Final Fantasy games that it was a nightmare to pick just one and, in the end, Final Fantasy 7 felt like the natural choice.
It felt like the right pick because of the story, character progression and overall atmosphere – Cloud and Sephiroth represent two of the most compelling characters in video game history, instantly becoming fan-favourites.
Cloud and Sephiroth became so iconic that the duo even featured heavily in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2, another series which has become a staple of Japanese video game artistry.
We're happy to announce that we'll be releasing #FinalFantasy VII Remake on March 3rd. This will be the official #FF7R channel, and we'll be posting information from our promotional teams. Now, please have a look at the long version trailer revealed today. – Tetsuya Nomura pic.twitter.com/iM5rUpOh8v
— FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE (@finalfantasyvii) June 11, 2019
21: Goldeneye 007
Goldeneye 007 is based on James Bond film of the same name, released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1997.
It is the most iconic James Bond games and one of the best-selling games for the Nintendo 64. It’s a first-person shooter that could keep you gripped to the TV screen from start to finish and is a game that remains a classic.
I couldn’t place my finger on why this game was a classic, it was just incredibly fun and one of the better shooters around in its day.
20: Super Street Fighter 2
There are countless Street Fighter games, some good and some bad, but hardly any of them compare to Super Street Fighter 2.
The Street Fighter franchise represents some of the most nostalgic arcade-style fighting games in video game history.
Street Fighter 2 was initially released as an arcade game back in 1993 but remains synonymous as one of the greatest to emerge from Capcom and one that helped set a trail for the rest to follow.
While several other Street Fighter titles could be picked for this spot, choosing one that was released one of the arcade titles made most sense.
19: Spiderman (2018)
Spiderman (2018) is a PlayStation exclusive and the best Spiderman game ever created.
Having started playing Spiderman games back on the PlayStation, and then on the PlayStation 2 and then the PlayStation 3, to see one released on the PlayStation 4 was a dream come true.
It lived up to every bit of expectation I held for the game.
It certainly isn’t the most revolutionary title to emerge, but the way you can zip through New York is an experience no other game could replicate, add to that the fluid and super-fun gameplay results in this title being one of the most memorable ones to emerge for the PlayStation 4.
— SunhiLegend (@SunhiLegend) July 26, 2019
18: Fallout 3
Fallout 3, in my opinion, is still the best game in the series, though Fallout: New Vegas certainly gives it a run for its money.
Fallout 3 is set a post-apocalyptic wasteland and encourages players to go out and forge their own survival adventure.
It is one of the most fun games out on the market, and its place on this list is only so low because of personal preference – the post-apocalyptic setting is one I tend to stay away from.
Yet, Fallout 3 couldn’t be ignored for this list because it is one of the most iconic games to ever be created.
17: Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid ranking so low on this list is bound to stir up controversy, particularly when the earlier games are held so dearly in the hearts of countless gamers.
For many this title would take a spot in the top five, if not the top spot. But for me, Metal Gear Solid ranks at number 17 out of the top 25 video games of all time.
Metal Gear Solid popularised the stealth genre and gave birth to one of the most monumentally significant video game characters in existence, Solid Snake.
The first Metal Gear Solid game prompted the origin of an entire franchise with endless remakes, spin-offs, comic and novel adaptations.
While I enjoyed the Metal Gear games, and understand their significance in the video game world, they didn’t strike a chord in my heart as much as the following games, hence the lower ranking.
16: Horizon Zero Dawn
Typically, futuristic-style games filled with robots are not my forte – much like the post-apocalyptic setting of Fallout – and as such when I first played this game, I was sure I would hate it.
Despite this, I fell in love with Horizon Zero Dawn immediately and it is seldom that a game infatuates me so quickly.
It is one of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s best titles, and it isn’t hard to see why.
A compelling plot with thrilling gameplay and the ability to roam around vibrant settings instantly made this game one of the best-of-all-time in my books.
15: Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Zelda franchise is one that engrossed an entire generation of kids and sucked them into the world of gaming.
Ocarina of Time was the fifth entry to the Zelda series and the first to boast 3D graphics.
It has consistently been ranked as one of the greatest titles in video games, not just the Zelda series.
Alongside transitioning into 3D graphics, it also introduced a target-lock system and pressing buttons in certain situations.
This helped set the tone not only for further Zelda games, but for many other 3D games that came after.
14: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Many, many people would argue a Tomb Raider game deserves to be on this list. But I disagree – Tomb Raider never absorbed me in the same way the Uncharted series did.
All four of the Uncharted games are phenomenal but Naughty Dog created something really special with Uncharted 2.
It continued on from its predecessor and elaborated on the story of Nathan Drake all the while gripping players to their seats as each bit of action unfolded in the most epic of ways.
Uncharted 2, to this day, stands out as one of the greatest action adventure games to hit our PlayStations.
13: The Last of Us
Some might think it criminal to have The Last of Us rated so lowly, particularly when its narrative is one of the best ever delivered in a video game.
The Last of Us is a contemporary classic, feeding players with plot and character development that shouldn’t be possible in a video game, and yet it is.
Considering narrative is key for me in a video game, this game is one of the best. The only reason it doesn’t break into my top 10 is because of the setting, and with a game this good, I really am nit-picking.
12: Resident Evil 2
Video games in the horror genre rarely shine bright, but the Resident Evil franchise is the pinnacle of horror games and one that has always been popular.
Resident Evil 2 had a re-make released this year, a game which is superb from start to finish in itself.
But it would never have existed without the original. The original Resident Evil 2 is a straight-up classic.
I’m sure that everyone who played Resident Evil 2 can still recall the first moment Tyrant appeared, because the experience is just that memorable.
11: Pokémon Yellow
To be truthful, any of Pokémon Red, Blue or Yellow could sit here.
The sole reason I picked Yellow was because I struggled for a long time trying to beat Brock’s rock-type Pokémon using just a Pikachu and that memory has never left me.
Typically, players choose either a fire, water or grass-based starting Pokémon, so to begin with an electric-type Pikachu is incredibly fun.
Pokémon Yellow was released after Red and Blue as a special edition, but it is still firmly part of that generation of Pokémon games.
This trio, arguably, spawned the generations that followed and to this day, Pokémon remains one of the most popular franchises in existence.
10: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Could there be any top 25 video games list without an Elder Scrolls game? I highly doubt it.
The fifth instalment in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim, upon its release signified a ginormous shift in the status quo for fantasy RPG titles.
The map – for the time – was enormous, and there was so many side quests and miscellaneous activities to complete that the journey was far from over upon completing the main questline.
Filled with magical races and lands, for any fantasy nerd, Skyrim represented the pinnacle of video games for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
It certainly had it flaws, but Skyrim is one of the GOATs.
9: Assassin’s Creed 2
The first Assassin’s Creed title was ground-breaking for its day and has one of the most interesting plots from that generation.
The second one however, moving setting and time period, refined the mechanics from the first and cemented itself – in my mind – as the best entry in the entire franchise.
Set in Renaissance Italy, the player follows the story of Ezio an aristocrat turned assassin in an incredibly well-written narrative that subsequent Assassin’s Creed games haven’t been able to recreate.
8: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Any top 25 video games of all time list without a GTA game is criminal. No list can be complete without a Grand Theft Auto game.
GTA: 3, GTA: Vice City, GTA: 4 and GTA: 5 are all deserving games to be on this list but San Andreas, for me, is where the series really opened up.
GTA: 3 did a great job of transitioning the series from 2D gameplay to 3D, but San Andreas expanded the series so much further.
Not forgetting to mention the story is one that still holds up; Smoke and Ryder’s betrayal still stings to this day.
7: God of War (2018)
Picking just one God of War game proved to be challenge in itself, because they all stupendous games.
However, God of War (2018) was picked Game of the Year for a reason.
It excelled in every department; the narrative was mysterious and gripping, culminating in a very satisfying ending, the world was rich, vibrant and engrossing while the gameplay was as visceral as it was fun.
God of War (2018), despite how new it is, will be in the pantheon of greatest games to come for many years.
6: Kingdom Hearts 2
Kingdom Hearts is a series that, on paper, should never have worked and yet it is executed masterfully and it should come as no surprise that it finds itself on this list of the top 25 video games.
Taking various Disney worlds and characters and then placing them into a video game with its own, unique story is a concept that goes beyond many.
Yet, through all the cracks that naysayers would poke at, sits a game series with a story so addicting and gripping that suddenly those would-be flaws flutter away.
Many would argue that it is a ‘kids’ game’ without having fought the many optional bosses, which children would have an enormously difficult time dealing with.
It is a fun, interesting, and if you want it to be, challenging.
The second game expanded the story far beyond the first game, adding to its own lore and timeline rather than expanding any Disney universes – something that works really well and to its merit, ranks it higher than its predecessor.
5: Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2, like Assassin’s Creed to Assassin’s Creed 2, drastically improved upon the original Mass Effect and added a lot more depth to the overall experience.
It is the best game out of the trilogy and put me through one of the best gaming experiences of my life.
Space-based games typically do not interest me, but Mass Effect’s RPG-style gameplay had me hooked.
This, twinned with the ability to explore different worlds and gather allies from various alien races added so much diversity and enriching moments to the story and helped craft one of the greatest games to ever grace the Xbox 360.
4: Fable 2
Fable 2 was the best fantasy RPG game of my childhood.
It offered multiple endings and the ability to be either good or bad, giving players a lot of freedom which in that day, was rare in gaming.
Though, this isn’t what made Fable 2 a stellar game. Fable 2 stood out because of its world, lore and characters.
It wasn’t just a journey of fantastical nature; it was a journey of epic nature and heroism as though it was extracted straight from a novel in the literary canon.
3: Red Dead Redemption
When it comes to the top 25 video games of all time, Red Dead Redemption or Red Dead Redemption 2 have to make it onto the list. For me, it is the former.
This pick will be controversial, considering the sheer scale and magnitude of Red Dead Redemption 2, but I think the first – Red Dead Redemption – is better.
By no means was Red Dead Redemption 2 a bad game – it has just as much shout as its predecessor for being the best of all time.
But without Red Dead Redemption there never could have been the prequel game.
Red Dead Redemption’s story is one of most cherished narratives in gaming history and in my mind, RDR 2 is only fantastic because it leads up to RDR and explains John Marston’s history.
2: Dark Souls
To be completely honest, had I not been restricting one entry per franchise, places six to two on this list would be filled with Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, Dark Souls 3, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Bloodborne and Sekiro are true masterpieces and FromSoftware deserve every bit of credit for these two titles.
However, the Dark Souls trilogy shines brighter for me. Demon’s Souls spawned Dark Souls, which spawned Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls 3 with Bloodborne released between the second and third games.
The first Dark Souls really demonstrates the beauty of FromSoftware’s game design, which is why is ranks here above the other two.
From surviving the dreaded Blighttown, to navigating the maze of Sen’s Fortress before witnessing the glory of Anor Londo only to be greeted with the most iconic boss battle of the franchise with Ornstein and Smough, Dark Souls never disappoints.
The game is known and avoided by some for its difficulty, and ironically its challenge is what its lovers love.
Its story is highly convoluted and not spoon-fed to players, nor are the mechanics and overall game direction – meaning players have to discover everything for themselves.
This is true beauty of Dark Souls, it isn’t just an adventure, it’s your adventure.
1: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher game trilogy is based on the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. No list is complete without this title, and this is my number one pick for the top 25 video games of all time.
The books focus heavily on morality, philosophy and host of other subject matters, something which the games encapsulate perfectly.
No game is as profound and thought-provoking as The Witcher 3 – it is the pinnacle of fantasy RPGs and video gaming in general.
It has a world that is so large you could lose yourself to it for hours, a place that is so vibrant you forget that it is a video game. It is a world filled with choices that actually matter.
The majority of decisions you make in-game directly affect the outcome of either main or side quest plot-lines, and without ever realising it you could mess up a lot more than you bargained for.
It is seldom a game forces you to reflect on choices, but if you do not do so in The Witcher 3, you will soon find yourself in a situation you wish had never happened.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of The Witcher trilogy is its ability to take already-existing characters and lore with a grounded story and expand beyond the books without ruining what made the books superb.
While knowing the plot of the books helps, reading them is by no means required.
I played The Witcher 3 first, and it became my favourite and best game of all time before I knew the books even existed, and they also got better as I started reading the books.
This list was difficult to compile and made me reflect on which games really do stand out for me, but in the end – for me – these really are the top 25 video games of all time.
I’ll be surprised if anyone agrees wholeheartedly with this list, because games touch us in different ways.
There were a few games that narrowly missed out, and in my opinion, deserve an honourable mention. They are:
Gears of War, Halo 3, Mafia 2, Dragon Age: Origins, The Simpsons Hit and Run, and Persona 5.
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