games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games Missing from Game Informer’s 300 List – Final Fantasy 12, Sonic & Knuckles, More

April 17, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Final Fantasy 12

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to partially dissect another publication’s list, that being Game Informer and their “Top 300 Games Of All Time” feature. The issue came out last month and is worth reading. No list is perfect, not any of mine, not any of yours, and not theirs. I looked for some specific favorite games of mine and was happy that Suikoden 2 and Castlevania: SOTN were mentioned but other games I loved weren’t at all. Also, the list seemed a little skewed towards console/modern games, with some older notable PC titles like Tie-Fighter, Master of Orion, and Sid Meier’s Pirates! not being anywhere on there. With that in mind, I picked out 8 of some of my favorite games for games that should have been on their list but weren’t. Enjoy:

#8: Star Fox 64

In the Star Fox franchise, Star Fox 64 is the best one without a doubt. It looked good (still kind of does, honestly), the controls were responsive, and it had a decent amount of replayability. This is good since a skilled player can blow through the game in about 20 minutes, give or take. But being able to take multiple paths and uncover new secrets helps. Let’s not forget also that Star Fox 64 included the rumble pack which might have been the first really commercial product that had force feedback.

#7: Lost Odyssey

Lost Odyssey is one of the last “real” games Hironobu Sakaguchi made, alongside The Last Story for the Wii. I gravitate more towards Lost Odyssey because of the combat system. It is highly reminiscent of Shadow Hearts: Covenant: it’s turn-based but requires active button presses to make critical hits or to block successfully. The story is almost complete nonsense, but the combat system kept me fully engaged throughout the game. Also, the way some of your characters earn new skills is unique, you basically link with other characters to gain new skills. So, if one party member had great healing magic, you could have another character link with them to learn it also. This is still a system I don’t think has been used in other RPGs, but I’m not sure.

#6: Sonic 3/Sonic and Knuckles

There were actually two Sonic games on the GI list, Sonic 1 and 2 and I can understand why. The first one was an impressive title due to its sense of speed and colorful characters. Sonic 2 had more expansive levels, was faster, and had some more gameplay mechanics. But hey everyone, what about Sonic 3 with Sonic & Knuckles? Originally Sonic 3 was supposed to actually be both games, but Sega split up the game due to the cost of the cartridges. So for the sake of this entry, I’m having it be the “complete” version. It has 13 different zones with them of them changing between different levels. Three characters are playable: Sonic, Tails and Knuckles and the Super/Hyper emeralds you collect can power them up immensely. I would actually hold this game up above Sonic 2 if I’m being honest.

#5: Final Fantasy 12

Final Fantasy was the third most recognized franchise on GI’s list, behind Zelda (at 6 games) and Mario (13 games, including spin-offs). The Final Fantasy games named were: 2, 3, 7, Tactics and 10. I can reasonably agree on the first four of these picks, but 10 is where I draw the line. I would have much rather 12 be put on there (or even 15), because of its innovative gameplay. It’s not the traditional FF game and that’s why I actually like it. I never, personally, quite got a grasp on the Gambit system, I could do simple things but I know it’s much more robust than what I could do. The players are a tad stereotypical but I dug how the main character is the blandest of all the other characters. I also dug how you can really just break the game if you get the right combinations going. The remaster of the game on PS4/PC is an even better version of the game.

#4: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Nocturne doesn’t have the flair or drama of the Persona games. There isn’t the dual system of “go to school in the day, go in the dungeon at night”. While you do start off on a school trip, within 20 minutes, the world has ended and you’re in a demon-covered world. It’s up to you, as the Demi-fiend, to try and restore the world, if you so wish to. The gameplay is very similar to Persona’s, although strong elemental attacks net you more turns to act, instead of dealing more damage to other demons. But the system of talking/recruiting demons remains the same, which is always fun. Nocturne does have a sense of style its own, that I don’t think any other Shin Megami Tensei game has dared approach.

#3: The Operative: No One Lives Forever

The fact that few seem to remember NOLF is a travesty in the game industry. I talk about it a fair amount in these columns because of how cool it was. It was a slight take-off of Austin Powers, only instead of a cretinous toad, you get a foxy agent named Cate Archer who actually can take care of business. She’s a part of UNITY trying to stop the evil organization H.A.R.M. from their world domination plans. To do that, you sneak around, shoot, use gadgets like spy glasses, robotic poodles and lipstick explosives, to complete your missions.

#2: Any Kirby Game

There were NO Kirby games on GI’s list, none. What the hell? Kirby might not be the deepest platformer but he is a recognizable character where his games usually have some clever mechanics in them. For me, I would probably have Kirby’s Adventure (NES) on there, and maybe Kirby’s Epic Yarn? Kirby’s Adventure is probably the most distilled Kirby (as a franchise) is, with a lot of powers to use, a lot of levels, and secrets in those levels that allow for even more of the map to be uncovered. For Epic Yarn, while I haven’t played it much, the art style alone makes it a contender. It’s kind of weird how a game series that has been around for 25+ years wasn’t mentioned at all.

#1: NieR: Automata

From a gameplay perspective I can kind of see why NieR: Automata might not be included. While I personally loved it, on the surface it does appear to be shallow and there isn’t as much complexity, compared to other PlatinumGames titles like Bayonetta or Metal Gear Rising. It may not be as combo-heavy as those games, but there is a lot of depth to be had by changing weapons on the fly, utilizing the chip system to add modifiers to your attacks, and having your pod have multiple special attacks as well. Combat aside, NieR: Automata has one of the best game stories within the past decade easily, with characters that you grow to really care about and the struggles they have once they uncover the truth. Lastly, the soundtrack is superb and is worth buying the game alone.

For comments, track down Game Informer’s list, and then add what games you’d have like to see on there and why.

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Top 8 Games that could be Movies

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison