Overall Top 20 Editor's Picks
Andrew Barker
Neal Chandran
Eric Farand
Patrick Gann
Sam Hansen
Derek Heemsbergen
John P. Hussey
Josh Lewis
Abraham Ashton Liu
Liz Maas
John McCarroll
Stephen Meyerink
Kyle E. Miller
Dennis Rubinshteyn
Michael Salbato
John Tucker
Kimberley Wallace
Dave Yeager
The Hall of Shame
#14 - Mass Effect (Xbox 360)

Is it a shooter? A third-person OTS RPG? Some weird hybrid? When your game is this good, who cares? Commander Shepherd's adventure completely invigorated a genre where it is all too easy to recycle gameplay mechanics and still sell a million copies. Mass Effect showed that Bioware isn't afraid to take chances and break with its own paradigms – the strange combat where you pulled the trigger and dice rolled silently in the background may have been initially off-putting to some, but it worked beautifully to lend immediacy to the protagonist's situation. Top this off with one of the finest science fiction stories ever told in a video game, and you've got a title that earns its spot at #14 quite easily.

#13 - Fallout 3 (Multi)

The latest installment in a beloved series whose earlier games set the bar mighty high, Fallout 3 was originally being developed by Black Isle, the developers of Fallout 1 and 2. When Black Isle was shut down, though, the license was sold to Bethesda, who scrapped the existing assets and developed a Fallout 3 that was less like its predecessors and more like the game they had just finished making: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It's a story familiar to fans of the series, many of whom were extremely nervous as Fallout 3's release date approached.

You can't please everyone, but Fallout 3 sure pleased a lot of people when it was released in late 2008, and even more when DLC eliminated a few of the game's faults. Walking the wastelands of Washington D.C. was addictive, and though the landscape was barren, there seemed to be no end of things to discover there. Fallout 3 is a great example to developers of how to honor a game's legacy, even despite its big departure in gameplay from previous games in the series. Fortunately for gamers who mourn the loss of the Fallout 3 that could have been, some members of that team are involved in the upcoming Fallout: New Vegas, and reports are that some of the plot elements in the new game come from Black Isle's initial development.

#12 - Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
Lightsabers? Check.
Rogue mercs? Check.
Wookies? Check.
Droids? Check.
The chance to tell an NPC, "Join me and together we will rule the galaxy"? Check.

The only complaint anybody could possibly have about this game is that the plot is so good that it makes the prequel trilogy look even worse.

<< #17-15 | #11-9 >>


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