Written by Rick Warren / gfn21
This is it; the last top five. For over 8 months, each Friday I’ve shared everything from my favorite games of all time to my own ideas for superhero games. Easter eggs, endings, soundtracks, art styles... it’s all been covered. Sure, I could keep going (maybe I’d write a list on weapons or start doing lists about specific series, like one on Uncharted setpieces) but I feel like I’ve done every list that I truly want to do. It’s time to move on to something new, but before I do, one last top five: my most anticipated games.
5.) Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption is my favorite game from Rockstar. I like all the Grand Theft Auto games and love some of them, but Red Dead is on its own level. For me, the story is so much stronger than Rockstar’s other games, which says a lot. All the characters are perfectly acted, and the story is strong from beginning to end. It’s that “end” which really helps the game stick with me, too. It’s one of the most somber and effective endings in gaming, and a perfect conclusion to John Marston’s tale. The open world was incredible, the soundtrack was fitting, and the gameplay was awesome. There are not enough good things to say about Red Dead Redemption, and because of that, there is no legitimate reason not to be excited for the prequel. Placing Red Dead 2 allows it to steer clear from the events of Red Dead Redemption, and, hopefully, show players a glimpse of John Marston before he was wise and good like in the original game. It’ll look visually stunning; the gameplay will be even smoother, and multiplayer will be far deeper. Given everything Rockstar has learned from GTA Online, there’s sure to be plenty more to do in the open world. On top of that, a Battle Royale mode is highly likely. Rockstar has delivered with every game they have made, joining Naughty Dog, Blizzard and a very small number of other studios as “perfect”. I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Next up, a Remake of the most popular Final Fantasy game ever...
4.) FF7 Remake
Final Fantasy 7 is, without a doubt, the biggest game that I missed out on playing during my gaming career. I’ve mentioned it here and there on other lists and during episode of The Level Up Show, and I even intended to make a list of “5 games I missed out on” with Final Fantasy 7 taking the top slot. For years, I’ve heard about how great of a protagonist Cloud is. I’ve heard about Sephiroth’s villainy and the great story. I’ve heard about the game’s infamous crossdressing scene. I’ve heard a lot about Final Fantasy 7, but I’ve never actually played it. I tried a few times, sure, yet I couldn’t connect with it no matter how much I wanted to. There’s just too much of a time gap there. It’s hard to connect with the characters due to how they look and without them speaking, and that’s the big reason that I’ve always wanted to play this game. Thankfully, after years of requests from fans (and moments when they straight-up trolled the audience), Square Enix delivered. A full remake of Final Fantasy 7 is on the way, with a modern action combat system, voice acting and excellent graphics. It’s exciting for those who consider FF7 their favorite game of all time, but it’s just as exciting for people like me who have been waiting to play a modern version of it for such a long time. I can’t wait to get in there... whenever it releases.
Next up, Hideo Kojima’s mysterious new game...
3.) Death Stranding
Everything that has been shown on this game has been, quite literally, jaw-dropping. Everything is ridiculously detailed, with the trailers matching up when played at the same time being a perfect example. What else can be expected of Hideo Kojima? He’s always been a master of detail, and his games have always had enough depth to where players can fall down a rabbit hole at any time. Death Stranding exudes that style more than any other, though, as it’s more of a mystery than any other video game. The marketing has been intentionally cryptic, with each trailer showing very different locations from the last and having very different events happen. It makes no sense, but at the same time, it makes a lot of sense. Nearly every frame can be examined in different ways and in turn lead to different theories. Every new bit of footage for the game leads to new ideas and days’ worth of excitement, something that I haven’t seen any other game do to this extent. Death Stranding is a beast of its own. It’s utterly confusing but painfully interesting, and we’re inching closer and closer to finding out what the game is truly about. Whatever happens, I’m excited to play Kojima’s new masterpiece.
Next up, the sequel to my favorite game of all time...
2.) The Last of Us Part 2
I neeeeeeeeeed it. With The Last of Us being the achievement that it was, many felt that it shouldn’t be touched. There should be no sequel because the original game was perfect, and there should be no sequel because it could tarnish the original. For many, no matter what this sequel does it won’t live up to the first game and it’s guaranteed to disappoint. For a while, even I had some worries. Those all disappeared as soon as the first trailer dropped, though. As soon as I felt that excitement again and saw the two characters I loved so much together, I was reminded of why we should always trust Naughty Dog. I watched that trailer around 100 times (not an exaggeration), and this game hasn’t left my head since. Then came the excellent PSX demo, which showed off how dark this post-apocalyptic world is. It was the perfect example of why The Last of Us is great; it’s a game that will do whatever is necessary to tell a good story. If there are people who can’t handle it, that’s fine, because the game isn’t for them. It’s gritty and realistic, and that’s an exciting change of pace from most games. The PSX footage also showed off what is easily the best facial animation I’ve ever seen, and a new group of characters. One of these is a woman, voiced by the excellent voice actor Laura Bailey, who Naughty Dog refuses to reveal the name of (Ellie’s mom Anna, perhaps?). It’s an interesting thing to hide, and it makes the wait even more of a struggle. Maybe we’ll get the answer at E3, or maybe we’ll have to wait until the full game releases. Either way, I can’t wait.
Only one game can surpass my hype for The Last of Us Part 2. It is...
When I was a kid, Spider-Man was always my guy. He was Marvel’s #1 hero, and he was everywhere. He was getting great games, good movies, and an endless number of new stories in the comics. Then came Spider-Man 3, an outright terrible movie that damaged his image. The MCU soon followed, and as amazing as it was, it was missing Marvel’s most beloved character. He was instead a part of the average Amazing Spider-Man movies, a trilogy that was never even finished, and people began to forget about Spidey. The games weren’t coming out anymore and his movies weren’t as popular. It felt wrong. Yet, unexpectedly, a deal was announced between Sony and Marvel Studios to get the character into the MCU. We were given the perfect live action Spider-Man, and shortly after, what was likely another part of the deal came to fruition: a PlayStation exclusive Spider-Man game.
This game is what I’ve always wanted and then some. Insomniac has nailed everything, from open world activities to a swinging system that seems even better than that of Spider-Man 2. It looks gorgeous, and the five or so suits we’ve seen out of the 24+ offered look unbelievable too. The combat looks better than expected, pulling elements from the great Arkham system but adding plenty of its own twists to make it feel new. The city is huge and packed with Marvel references like Avengers Tower and the Sanctum Sanctorum, Doctor Strange’s HQ. The story offers looks at Peter Parker’s life outside of the suit, an element that’s been key to all the great Spider-Man stories in the past and present. Throw in a variety of villains from Taskmaster to Kingpin and we’ve got ourselves the best Spider-Man game ever. When the only think I don’t like is Norman Osborn’s character model, it’s clear that Insomniac knows what they’re doing. They’ve said it themselves, and all the footage from the game proves it: they care about Spider-Man. With that mindset and everything we’ve seen so far, there is no way that this game disappoints. September 7th can’t come soon enough.
That’s a wrap, everyone! I’ve enjoyed writing these top fives over the past nine months, and I’m thankful for everyone who read them. This will be the last list, as I’m moving on to a new type of content. I’ll still do game reviews and opinion pieces here and there, and all my writing will still be right here on this website. I’m excited to get to work on the next projects, and hopefully you all enjoy them.