5. Grand Theft Auto 3

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The ‘sandbox’ genre is a label loosely thrown at anything that has a small area to freely explore these days, many of which don’t really offer the true liberties of what has been seen years prior. Grand Theft Auto 3 was what paved the way for the modern sandbox, but managed to completely transform a series from a top down criminal simulator into a 3D criminal simulator. With this change came the ability to properly flesh out characters and make the world around the protagonist Claude feel alive, complete with its audacious and masochistic vibe that the GTA series has kept true in to its newest installments.

~ Jose Herrias

4. Resident Evil 4

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The Resident Evil series is widely accepted as the progenitor of survival horror, building on the foundation laid by the original Alone in the Dark and Capcom’s very own horror RPG, Sweet Home. However, it was Resident Evil 4 that resurrected the series and, for better or worse, brought it into a very different direction. No matter how you feel about what RE4 did to encourage the following titles in the series, the level of inspiration this game had on the industry as a whole, is monumental. The shift to the over the shoulder point of view was groundbreaking and is evident in many games that came after, such as Gears of War and Dead Space. The focus on action was certainly a jarring shift for longtime fans, but the element of horror was still present, from the gloomy atmosphere and grotesque creatures, to the constant feeling of being overwhelmed by large numbers of far more aggressive foes. While nothing can justify the personality crisis the series currently suffers from, Resident Evil 4 still proves change can be a good thing, it just depends on how far you go with it.

~ Nick Grave

3. Metal Gear Solid

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While the original Metal Gear titles certainly earn themselves a rightful spot in gaming history with their unique gameplay, the release of Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation brought with it an era of stealth action, complex storytelling, and character depth that just wasn’t possible on NES. Putting players once again into the role of Solid Snake, only this time in full 3D and being voiced by David Hayter, the man who sounds like his cigars also smoke cigars from the stash of Baby Herman. The detailed 3D environments mixed with the cinematic camera angles and equally cinematic cutscenes, instantly helped draw you into the cold blue world of Shadow Moses. The combination of slow crawl stealth mechanics, fast paced boss fights and a mysterious story kept the game going at a fun and unpredictable pace. The gimmicks are also some of the most memorable moments, such as one of the bosses reading your memory card and telling you what Konami games you’ve played. This game defines how developers could not only make the most out the console, but out of player interaction as well. If there’s anything Metal Gear Solid’s legacy will truly will be known for, it’s thinking outside (and inside) the box.

~ Nick Grave

2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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Action -Adventure mixed with roleplay and puzzle elements all rolled into an open-world environment. Controlling Link as he journeys on his quest to stop Ganondorf. His travels take him across the lands of Hyrule and through time. Along with the main story there is a variety of side-quests players can go through to occupy time and add more fun to game play. The fifth of the series and the first with 3D graphics. The graphics system was considered to be further improvement with large-bosses being one of the highlights. The context sensitive control system was considered another highlight of this game. It made controls simpler with few buttons needed. Still one of the highest rated games of all time.

~ Melissa Buranen

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