For most of us, genre loyalty was defined back when we were just children playing console games at home and experiencing something unbelievable for the first time in our lives. Graphics or scope didn’t really matter — it was all about that captivating feeling of being able to change the world, albeit a small game world, with our willpower.
Now, a couple of decades later, we’re used to more variability than ever in a market with no shortage of choice. Can we really name one single game as the best one? Let’s look deeper.
Why it’s Not Necessarily from the Zelda Series
Having sold over 25 million copies, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild surely can be named as one of the best-selling adventure games in history, and it is rightfully so for many fans.
However, consider this: while it may appeal to a wide variety of gamers thanks to its picturesque scenery, unforgettable music, and of course a romantic love story, what makes it a tough candidate for number one place is its tight interconnection with previous chapters of the series. The best adventure is a new adventure, and not an old story simply told in a different manner.
Is an Open-World Approach the Best Solution?
While the concept of open world game progression is several decades old, to this day games continue to follow its principles providing huge maps for a player to traverse and close multiple points of interaction for a character at any given time.
One can argue that the open-world concept is now more of a requirement rather than a unique feature. And what games fulfill that requirement more faithfully than these two prominent titles: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher III. Their sheer scale, realism, and attention to detail are beyond what we’ve ever seen in the gaming world before. Very strong contenders to being the best games ever!
Sequel Development Capability
While having 10 installments in the franchise can sound boring for some, most players look forward to the continuation of their journeys. Consequently, a timely-released sequel is often most desirable. The ability to provide such a sequel depends on a lot of factors including previous studio team experience, ability to rapidly fix bugs and address players’ issues and of course, swiftness of the marketing team.
One of the great examples of this is the Ori franchise. Ori and the Blind Forest was released in early 2015 and after a small DLC, we saw the release of its sequel in early 2020. You might think that 4+ years is a long time for developing a very similar game, but factor in how many new mechanics, art material and top quality music had to be introduced. Also consider lengthy months of testing time, and we have one of the best examples of a sequel done right.
Freedom of Gameplay
If we ever had a goal of going back to basic building blocks of a casual game, we’d have to choose a platformer. The best version of it. With an insane amount of choice upon unveiling optional branching pathways that you can later come back to. With multiple bosses you can select from which to face first. Exploration, compelling story, amazing music, and art — we’re talking about Hollow Knight. For many of us it definitely stands tall as one of the best games ever.
The Winner Takes it All!
They do, but there is no spoon, Neo! Can you truly name one single game that never lost its playerbase or even a bit of popularity? No. It’s because we, as players — or rather, dreamers — are always in search of something novel and more true to its core. A passionate artist always finds new ways of expression, just as an innovative game developer is always in search of new technology to let us keep dreaming. Let’s see what the future holds and what new games can we name the best in the years to come!
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