Top 15 Video Games That Are Absolute Masterpieces

woman playing video games
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There are many considerations regarding a good video game, including graphics, story, music, and difficulty. What video game do you consider a masterpiece? After polling the internet, here are the top-voted responses.

1. Portal 2 (2011)

The number one voted video game masterpiece is Portal 2. While some argued for the first, others agreed, “Portal 2 had the puzzle-solving and great gameplay of the first game with an even deeper, richer, more immersive plot and lore added.”

“Also, the economy of the characters was brilliant. They only really added two characters of significance, and their addition’s payoff was massive.

2. Age of Empires 2 (1999)

Someone suggested, “Age of Empires 2 is a God-tier game, and I’ve burned hundreds of hours playing it. A well-executed real-time strategy (RTS) is one of the most replayable games, and Age of Empires 2 is the gold standard.”

3. Halo (2001)

One gamer noted, “The original Halo. It felt like you were in a movie.” A second added, “Halo was a monument in the history of video games. The original Halo was so monumental that it might be the sole reason Xbox still exists as a brand today.”

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4. Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (2002)

Roller Coaster Tycoon 2. I can still hear the kid laughing,” one admitted. Another confessed, “I still play it occasionally. I like to drown everyone after I win a level.”

Finally, a third shared, “Open Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 is excellent if you haven’t already checked it out. It fixes many bugs, lets you break the game in some wild ways, and if you have the first RCT, it’s backward compatible with all the original maps and objectives.”

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the game that made me fall in love with gaming,” one elaborated. “The story, music, characters, combat, puzzles, and world were all fantastic.”

6. Bioshock (2007)

“The original Bioshock is the best writing of any video game I’ve ever played,” a Redditor expressed. “Bioshock is easily my favorite game of all time, and that plot twist was great.”

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7. Half-Life (1998)

Half-Life came in at number seven. Someone confessed, “Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were game changers! Folks don’t remember when how amazing it was for HL2 to introduce ragdoll physics.”

8. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)

Someone nominated Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2. One user admitted, “I think the second one is much better.”

Another argued, “Two has a much more interesting story and characters, but it felt unfinished, and the ending appears rushed.”

9. Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)

Red Dead Redemption 2. I laughed. I cried. I went to freaking Tahiti! Red Dead Redemption 2 is the definitive masterpiece of a video game,” one answered. Others agreed, noting, “We all cried!”

10. Metal Gear Solid (1998)

Metal Gear Solid is awesome. Back when enemies who recognized evidence of your presence were mind-blowing,” one expressed. Many people discussed the greatness of parts two and three. 

However, one argued, “I’ve been replaying the first game on PlayStation, and it boggles my mind how innovative it was. The cutscenes, voice acting, music, stealth mechanics, level design, boss battles, and all the little hidden Easter Eggs are ridiculous for a game of that generation.”

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11. Chrono Trigger (1995)

Someone said, “I will argue forever that Chrono Trigger has the best music of any video game ever.” “100% agree!” exclaimed another. “I have no objection to paying for it on any platform because it is still fantastic and has aged very well!”

12. Stardew Valley (2016)

Stardew Valley. Made by one guy. All the art. All the coding. All the design. All the music. Sure other people came along later to help as it spanned out to more platforms. But the game is a masterpiece even before hitting major video game consoles,” shared one.

13. Super Mario World (1991)

Super Mario World is the peak Super Mario game. The only one that comes close is Super Mario 64,” one stated. “It was my first video game, and I feel SO lucky that it was.”

14. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)

Someone volunteered, “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. The in-depth gameplay combined with the incredible music makes them especially great.”

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask reminds me of what Lewis Carroll must have imagined when writing Alice in Wonderland. The world is so messed up but so vivid. I love that game so much. Every single character is so strange. I love the temples and boss fights,” another agreed.

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15. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas still as playable today as when it was initially released,” suggested one. “The world in San Andreas seemed impossibly big and detailed at the time. To the extent that I was disappointed by Grand Theft Auto V. I was hoping to return to San Fierro and Las Venturas so bad,” a final user confirmed.

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Written by Elizabeth Ervin

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