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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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Top five series in gaming

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5: 'Final Fantasy' 


Whatever your opinion on the post-Sakaguchi/Umaetsu era, there is absolutely no doubt who shaped the RPG as we know it. During the 90s, Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) seemed to have an intricate knowledge of making a narrative that could pull you in and give you a personal connection with each character. The amount of emotion that was given to each and every one of their characters was evidence of the time spent making them individuals in their own right. The battle systems were sleek yet complex, and the added challenge of hidden bosses lurking the dark corners of the world made each experience both unique and familiar.

4: 'Tales'


Namco has consistently been in Square's 'Final Fantasy'-shaped shadow, but their Tales series is evidence that everything they've done over the years has been leagues ahead of most RPGs. Building on the same unique-yet-familiar motif, the Tales series has always featured an active-time battle system with 'Street Fighter' levels of depth. An option for four-player co-op has also been a standard, allowing you to dump dozens of hours into each game with your friends at your side. Did I mention they're shiny? The graphics have ranged between anime-inspired sprites to the current cel-shading, giving the feel of controlling a cartoon in real time, which very few games have been able to pull off successfully.

3: 'Mass Effect'


I'm sorry, are you still stinging from the unfulfilling ending to 'Mass Effect 3?' Well, allow me to rub some salt in that wound. Bioware's massive (pun not really intended) undertaking made for a truly immersive world through character interaction. Professional voice-acting brings every single person you meet to life, and the seemingly innocuous decisions you make can affect (again, pun not intended) thousands of lives. Throw that all on top of 'Gears of War'-inspired cover-based manshootery, and you have an epic space opera on your hands.

2: 'Halo'


Perhaps I'm slightly biased because 'Halo' was my first console FPS and it left a gigantic footprint of impression of how to please your fans while still adding something new with each iteration. Bungie loves its community, and would implement gametypes, suggestions and improvements almost directly based on what their fans wanted. At the same time, they stayed true to their vision and cut away the fat with each new 'Halo' game. By 'Halo: Reach,' they'd perfected their art. While the series doesn't continue under their wing, the backstory and legacy that they've left is more than enough for 343 Industries to continue in their shoes.

1. 'Metal Gear Solid'


I'm going to get flak for this. I'm always going to get flak for this, but 'Metal Gear Solid' has always defined what it means to simultaneously make a game with a story that you can take seriously whilst including completely ridiculous concepts that could only work within the confines of a video game. The over-the-top villains (example: a seemingly immortal vampiric soldier that is sewn together constantly by nanobots) and ham-fisted monologues about the evils of warfare and consumerism should sound a death knell for any other game. 'MGS' not only pulls it off, but with flying colors. It rewards you for picking out tiny details with by breaking the fourth wall consistently and hilariously, but still keeps you immersed in the plausibly yet ludicrous story. From gunplay to stealth mechanics, the 'MGS' series has had near-perfect gameplay and controls, rewarding those that use them to their complete potential. All in all, it makes a fantastic package of that, depending on your viewpoint, is either a stereotype or a paragon of all gaming.

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