Game Reviews… of All Games I Ever Played

Video games have always been a big part of my life ever since I was… 7 maybe? Not spending as much time on them nowadays unfortunately, due to growing up and stuff, but games will always hold an irreplaceable position in the makeup of who I am.

I don’t know how different my life would be without games. IMHO, it’s one of the most flexible medium for artistic expression – building a virtual world for players to immerse in and explore, shaping their own experience to some degree, within the confines of the world dreamed up by the game designers.

Out of curiosity and nostalgia, I decided to try to list all the games I have played to date. Most of them are RPG (role-playing game) or RTS (real time strategy), since those are the types I enjoy the most.

This list only includes games I played significantly (at least 20 hours, most of them way more). Does not include games I only played briefly or tried, or at a friend’s place, etc.

Blue = highly recommended.

*inhale*

Age of Empires (+ The Rise of Rome)
Age of Empires II (+ The Conquerors)
Age of Empires III (+ The Asian Dynasties, + The WarChiefs)

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Middle Ages RTS. Well balanced. A lot of fun!!! I like AoE 2 the most because it fixes most of the control annoyances with AoE 1 (formations, etc), but not nearly as complicated as AoE 3 (which I believe is overly complicated).

PS. WAR ELEPHANTS!!!

Age of Mythology

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RTS. Don’t remember much about this game. Mythical giants killing each other.

Empire Earth (+ The Art of Conquest)
Empire Earth 2

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Very interesting RTS. It’s like Age of Empires, but with 15 or so ages. All the way from pre-historic age to space age. I still remember playing a multiplayer game with my bro – he resigned when I started shooting ICBMs at him when he was still in WWII age. Pretty fun.

Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ORIGINAL VII)

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MOST AMAZING RPGs EVER!! Fantasy setting. Magic, dragons, evil monsters, sad monsters, romance, epic-ly artwork, wicked humour, usually good character development, beautiful music… and most importantly, very well thought out and extremely touching stories.

FF VII is my personal favourite because of the totally f*@ed up story, in the most amazing way. Mind blowing. More thoughts (SPOILER ALERT FOR VII!!): http://matthewlai.ca/blog/?p=3

Full review of FF XIII: http://matthewlai.ca/blog/?p=652

The other ones are pretty good, too… with the exception of Crisis Core. Crisis Core was garbage.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Watcraft II
Warcraft III (+ The Frozen Throne)

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RTS in fantasy setting. A lot more fast-paced than AoE series, which is why I don’t like them as much. More tactical (short term micro-management), less strategical (long term planning).

The SC 2 single player campaign is pretty fun, though.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert
Command & Conquer: Red Alert II (+ Yuri’s Revenge)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert III
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

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Modern/futuristic RTS. Pretty creative on the part of the game designers. Otherwise similar to Warcraft/Starcraft.

Baldur’s Gate (+ Tales of the Sword Coast)
Baldur’s Gate II (+ Throne of Bhaal)

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Very BIG RPGs, in scope. Set in the Forgotten Realms – a fantasy world, but more down to earth (if that makes sense) compared to most others. A world of humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, etc. Almost Lord of the Ring style, but less lore and large scale magic.

Pretty good story. Many side quests to explore, and side stories to discover. Lot’s of puzzles, dungeons, mythical creatures. A lot of interaction both between party members and with Non-Player Characters (NPC). Hundreds of spells that do all kinds of things.

These 2 are my all time favourite games.

Icewind Dale

Similar to Baldur’s Gate, but more linear. More dungeons and mazes. Very good music.

Didn’t like it as much as Baldur’s Gate because I think it lacks depth. Still pretty fun, though.

Civilization 3
Civilization 4

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Turn-based nation-building game, on the city level. Fairly complicated. Need to worry about economy, military, diplomacy, and fighting for natural resources etc. Computers are fairly predictable. Multiplayer is fun, but turns take too long towards the end.

SimCity 3000
SimCity 4

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City planning game. Supposedly fairly realistic simulation. Need to worry about things like zoning, road layout, power and water distribution, building schools and hospitals, transit systems (congestion, etc), budget management, and natural disaster response, etc. Pretty fun, but I got so good at it I didn’t find it challenging anymore. I stopped after building a few metropolis, and nothing was happening anymore.

The Sims (+… probably some of the millions of expansions?)
The Sims 2

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Life simulation game. Build or buy a house, and control a group of dudes and dudettes. Need to make money to buy furniture, etc. The funnest part for me was developing relationships with other people, and having them do weird stuff.

It was kind of fun back then? Gets repetitive pretty fast.

Diablo II
Dungeon Siege
Dungeon Siege 2

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Hack and slash games. Not impressed. I’m probably the only gamer on earth that doesn’t like Diablo II, but hey. I found it incredibly repetitive.

Crysis
Crysis 2 (+ Crysis Warhead)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Battlefield 3

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First person shooters in modern settings. It’s a genre that I recently (in the past few years) started exploring. Check back later.

Good stress relief at the very least, though. I spent a whole summer playing CoD4 online, and got pretty good at it. Anyone want to play?

CoD4 is my most recommended one in this category because I loved the single player story line.

Golden Sun (Game Boy Advance)

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Don’t remember much about this one. RPG. Some puzzle solving. Some magic. Was pretty fun I think.

Star Fox 64 (Nintendo 64)

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Flying and shooting game. It was fun back then… many many hours spent on this game. Funny dialogues.

Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)

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I believe this was one of the first 3D RPG. Endless fun! Lot’s of puzzles to solve. Requires quite a bit of creativity and good reflexes. Pretty frustrating at times. Countless hours spent here.

Story-wise, it’s pretty simple and you have probably heard it a few hundred times. Princess Peach got kidnapped by Bowser… Mario has to rescue him, for the 200th time.

Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64)

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Same as the Mario Kart on NDS (I believe the Nintendo 64 one was the original). Very funny racing game.

Power Stone (Dreamcast + PSP)
Power Stone 2 (Dreamcast + PSP)

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Power Stone… most amazing fighting game ever! Comical setting. Lots of props, etc. Also spent countless hours on this.

Caution: EXTREMELY addictive. If you have a few hours that you want to spend LOL-ing, this is the game to get.

It was the best Dreamcast game ever… too bad Dreamcast didn’t do very well. It was later ported to PSP, but I still like the Dreamcast version more because of big screen.

This is also the only fighting game I would recommend. I find other fighting games boring.

Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP)

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Don’t remember much. RPG. I think I liked it?

Full review: http://matthewlai.ca/blog/?p=93

Block Dude (Ti-84)

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Yeap. TI-84. I don’t know how I would have lived through Physics 11 without it. Beat it over the course of 2 months, playing only in my Physics 11 summer school class.

Pretty awesomely frustrating puzzle game.

… that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

Yes, there are no MMORPGs on the list. I am a gamer with principles. No MMOs.