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The 100 best games ever

50. World of Warcraft

There are sane, rational people in the world who've been playing World of Warcraft for over ten years. That's because WoW has been and still is the gold standard for MMOs, serving as the template that many have tried to mimic and none have topped. With every expansion, countless refinements and fresh zones added to the realm of Azeroth justify the monthly subscription fee for veterans and latecomers alike.

What makes WoW so everlasting is the way it caters to players of all kinds. Newbies are eased into learning the pristinely tuned class mechanics, taking on quests that make them feel like the hero at the center of their own personal epic. Meanwhile, experts will always have new ways to test themselves, either against brilliantly designed raid bosses or their fellow adventurers in intense PvP. Whatever you want from an MMO, WoW's got it in spades.

49. Ghost Trick

You know it's been a great party when you wake up as a corpse the morning after. Wait, what? It might sound bonkers, but such is main character Sissel's predicament at the outset of this ectoplasmic twist on the humble point-and-clicker. As a recently deceased ghost, Sissel must piece together the events that led to his demise while simultaneously averting disaster for a cast of characters in the present.

The twist? He's only able to interact with things by possessing them, and can only travel a certain distance at a time. Oh, and when things do go wrong, Sissel's only able to manipulate events within a tiny window of time. Cue brain-melting puzzles which gleefully dance along the line between frustration and satisfaction. And that ending. Pack some Kleenex.

48. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the best of many, many worlds. We don't just mean the Nintendo worlds it brings together, but how it seamlessly fuses the competitive edge of the fighting genre with the accessibility and just-plain-fun that Nintendo is known for.

While every Smash title has its upsides, the Wii U entry is a cut above what's come before. Its gameplay is simple enough to enjoy immediately, while the depth it lends to character mastery will keep you coming back. Refined balance makes every fighter an attractive option; you're just as likely to win with Jigglypuff as you are with Star Fox, assuming you know how to play them. Add a roster of over 50 characters with an insane amount of alternate costumes (you can be any of the seven Koopalings!), and now we really want to settle every personal dispute in Smash.

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47. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Alucard, son of Dracula and the handsome hero of Symphony of the Night, has the distinction of being half-human, half-vampire. That kind of unique fusion brilliantly captures what makes one of the great grandfathers of 'Metroidvania' so great. It combines the tight 2D platforming of Super Castlevania with the open-ended structure of Super Metroid. The timeless graphical style blends the best of 16-bit-era spritework with 32-bit special effects. There's all the excitement of a side-scroller, mixed with the rich loot cycle and constant stream of new abilities typical of an RPG.

Just when you think you've reached the finale, SOTN reveals that you're only at the halfway point. But you won't be mad, because Dracula's castle is rife with secrets and monstrous, imaginative enemies, making the exploration and combat captivating from start to finish. Say what you will about the melodramatic voice acting, but SOTN's hauntingly beautiful score is still one of the most enchanting highlights of video game audio to date.

46. Fire Emblem Awakening

Not many games can boast the combination of strategic battles and romantic matchmaking, but Fire Emblem Awakening does. And why not? Too few strategy games stop to think about life outside the battlefield, but this 3DS outing is all the richer for its relationship-focused narrative.

It's completely up to you whether you just want to play Cupid and set up the couples you think are cutest, or go full eugenicist and engineer the most powerful warrior babies. The turn-based strategy is compelling enough to distract you from your romantic meddling, with endless combinations of moves, weapons, and characters to mix up into your very own flavor of tactical mayhem. Just don't mess up if you're playing Classic Mode - because once a character dies, they're dead forever, and you can't marry them off any more. 'Tragedy' doesn't even begin to describe it.

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45. Secret of Mana

Where do we even start with Secret of Mana? The beautiful world full of waving grass and gentle rivers? The swelling music that fills the air with adventure and mystery? The real-time, stamina-based combat that favors patience and timing over mad dashes? The unprecedented three-player co-op which lets each person fall madly in love with their own unique protagonist? It's a bit difficult to choose.

Secret of Mana is still amazing more than two decades later, its moments of desperate struggle and quiet awe no less powerful than the first time we experienced them. It's a shame that the Mana series has been a perpetual second fiddle to Final Fantasy since then, but we'll always remember that haunting piano theme...

44. The Secret of Monkey Island

"I wanna be a pirate!" Those simple words open The Secret of Monkey Island, and they set the tone for a hilarious swashbuckling adventure, filled to the brim with cheeky anachronisms and endearingly terrible pirate puns. Where else can you fend off buccaneers with nothing but insults, or have other LucasArts adventures advertised to you in-game?

Its quips, one-liners, and zany puzzles are memorable and eminently quotable. We still laugh at the "How appropriate, you fight like a cow" line. We still smirk every time we get a chance to use that rubber chicken with the pulley in the middle of it. And we'll never forget Guybrush Threepwood's parting words of advice: "Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game."

43. Destiny

There's just something about Destiny that will get you hooked. Yeah, you can get loot hoarding from plenty of other games, and traditional MMOs have the 'raiding' thing down pat. We've seen all of the parts of Destiny before. But Bungie has managed to wrap the best shooting mechanics in the genre, engaging MMO cooperation, and competitive multiplayer elements together to create a persistent open-world shooter that's unlike anything we've played before.

While the base game is sure to put you through a hundred of hours of single-player missions, co-op Strikes, intense Raids, and online Crucible matches, its universe continues to expand. The developers are constantly making improvements. New expansions loom on the horizon, giving players even more environments to explore, loot to gather, and intimidating bosses to tackle as a team. Destiny is only the beginning, and its future is looking bright.

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42. FIFA 15

Sports games are never ones to make sweeping changes. Like football itself, the FIFA titles introduce improvements gradually, the overall product remaining fundamentally unchanged since some guy said "Let's kick that pig's stomach into something!" Pitches bear skid marks. Shirts get pulled. Corner flags react to contact. There's a three-second shot of the stadium before high-profile matches. New menus shave a few seconds off navigation.

Extra touches make dribbling a touch more effective, and subtle swerve gives shooting slightly more potency from distance. It's hardly a strong argument to use against the 'sports games are just yearly roster updates' crowd, but the minor things in FIFA 15 are what make it.

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41. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

In a time when colors were limited, characters were simple, and polygons were gigantic, Yoshi's Island managed to capture a completely unique feeling with its adorable pastel scribbles. Mario games have always excelled at making the sinister seem sweet, and Yoshi's Island takes this idea and waddles off with it. The entire game is about stealing children, which in any other circumstance would be a reason to call the police.

But between its endearingly cute looks and slightly tiring babysitting mechanic, Yoshi's Island is a deceptively excellent little platformer. Even after you've dusted off the story, the secrets and collectibles tucked away inside each level make replaying a must. Go on, give yourself a break from zombies and guns - play a game where a dinosaur turns into a helicopter instead.