What makes a game great is subjective and will vary from person to person. As you read this post please understand this is what makes a game great to me and the standards that I hold when calling a game great. Please also note just because I enjoy a game or genera of game that doesn't mean the game is great. Fun is fun but that is also just one aspect of a great game and is not the complete package. When you get a game that can put all the pieces together and make it a cohesive experience that you get lost in that's what makes a great game for me.
When I say all the pieces I mean gameplay, story, controls, and graphics (graphics pertaining to that time period). I feel like in this current and most of last generation we lost those games that made you feel complete and like you got your monies worth. We lost the games that made you talk about your experience and how it made you feel while playing it. Now the biggest talking points are the graphics, frame rate, dlc, and if its exclusive or not. You will find these topics across all of gaming media, and yt videos. While the current atmosphere of the gaming community and media can be to blame I feel that the quality of gaming has dwindled as well. Yes there are lots of fun games out, but are they great? Will you remember these games 3 to 5 to 10 years down the line?
These next few games I want to talk about are just off the top of my head and I did that on purpose because I wanted to remember games that stuck with me not have to dig through my collection.
Jade Empire: This game stuck with me because although I am not a traditional RPG fan I enjoyed this game because it was not a traditional RPG but kept the story, quests, and feel of an RPG but with real time action. This was also the first game that I played where I got so involved in the story I would lose track of time. It was also the first game that I did not feel like I was being pulled along but able to go my own way. You had the option through out the game to do good path of the open fist, or bad path of the closed fist. Which one you chose would depict the ending you would get. The graphics really helped me enjoy this game as well and each environment that you where in had its own unique feel to it. Like I said above this was not a traditional RPG and that you are able to control the character in real time and not turn based. That being said the combat in this game was off the chain. Being able to fuse kung fu, weapons, and magic into a fighting style was really enjoyable.
Fable: What makes fable great to me is for all the same reasons as Jade Empire. But what put this game over the top for me was the fact that you could actually have a spouse, have sex, cheat on her and get caught. I though this was the most amazing thing at this point in gaming. Not only that but how you played the game, the choices you made good or bad would reflect in how the npc's would treat you when there around you. If you where a good guy they would cheer and chant when you came around. If you are bad they would either snarl, whisper, or run. The one thing I will never forget about Fable and is one thing that is missing from RPG,s and games today is real time consequences to your actions. Most games if you do something then leave and come back the game resets itself and everything is just normal. In one of my fable play through I decided to take the bad path and just annihilate this town. I killed everyone in it. For the rest of that play through that town was forever a ghost town. It didn't reset it stayed just the way you affected it.
Jedi Knight Jedi Academy: While everyone else was head over heals for KOTOR I like above did not like traditional RPG gameplay. So that game never really made me feel like I was playing a star wars game. Jedi Knight Jedi Academy on the other hand was awesome to me. I could choose which side of the force I wanted to be and it would unlock certain force moves that I could use. For some reason being bad is always more fun. Being able to just force grab, or choke an enemy and then throw them off a cliff or into a wall is all I have to say about this game. ohh yea light sabers.
GTA 3/San Andreas: GTA 3 was the first game and only game that ever made me go out and buy a system just for that game. I played all the top down versions of GTA and enjoyed those. But when I saw a friend playing this game and just basically doing any and everything I lost it. I went out and bought a PlayStation 2 that next day. Here it is a game that let you be the bad guy. The story that depicted different mafia crime movies and basically let you play it out. Then you could get hookers, kill cops, shoot bystanders, drive cars, drive by shoot, you could basically do what you wanted.(at that point in gaming that was all you could do). So a few years later San Andreas came out and just doubled everything and then told the story from a La gang bangers perspective.
Medal Of Honor(2010): The first and so far the only FPS campaign that I actually enjoy and respect. This was the only shooter that took what it is like on a real battlefield and crossed it over to a game and kept it as close as you can to reality. It is based loosely on real life battles in Afghanistan told by real US soldiers. The feel that this game has is one that can't be explained and you just have to go rent or buy this game and play it for yourself to understand.
Skyrim: This is like the ultimate fantasy game. Dragons, swords, magic, vampires, werewolfs, giants, mammoths, and tons more. This game is for me one of the biggest games I have ever played. The main story was enjoyable but that's is not even the biggest part of the game. There are so many side quests with stories that would rival any other games single player campaigns (cough the order cough). This game is several years old now, and I have put several hours in this game and still have not discovered all there is to discover. This was the one game that I said when it came out and still say now was fully worth every penny of my $60.
Heavenly Sword: The last game on this list and one of my most favorites of the last generation is Heavenly Sword. The gameplay of this game was highly enjoyable to me. The combat style, the use of the gyroscope in the ps3 controller where great. The story was very interesting and I enjoyed it. But what drove the story home and what puts this game on my list is the characters, graphics, and voice acting. What kept me playing this game was how enjoyable it was to actually watch the cut scenes and then see them smoothly transition into gameplay. Each character looks like extra special attention was put into them. It was just so breathtaking to watch it unfold. This was a true cinematic experience and reasons I laugh when games like cough the order cough try to put their laziness off as that. This is one game that I feel if you have a PlayStation 3 you owe it to yourself to play.
While these games may not be great to you they are great to me and if you take a moment you can get the idea of what I'm trying to say. Basically what is the last game you played that made you feel like you enjoyed every aspect of that game and you feel that you totally got your monies worth out of it?