IGN’s Top Games list includes the best of the greatest from across the generations of consoles, PCs, handhelds, and more. Our list was last updated in 2022, and several games have been launched since then that deserved to be included. Equally important, we examined the entire top 29 as it stood and posed a few crucial questions to ourselves. This resulted in the removal of some beloved games and the addition of others that we had previously missed.
Games in our top 29 must meet a few important criteria: how good the game was when it first came out. How enjoyable it is to play today, and how much the game reflects the best in its class. While previous versions of this list placed a strong focus on a game’s impact and influence, we’ve essentially removed it from the equation. Many games that made an impression and inspired future developers may not stand the test of time or be as enjoyable to play right now. Alternatively, they could just have been overtaken by other games.
Having said that, IGN’s list reflects the current staff’s 29 top games of all time – a selection of games that continue to fascinate us with their storytelling, astound us with their revolutionary approach to game creation, and set the bar for the rest of the industry.
1. Borderlands 2
Borderlands grabbed players’ attention apparently out of nowhere, and its sequel took everything that made the original great and grew on it. This game is the pinnacle of the Borderlands franchise, from its seamless continuation of the Borderlands vault hunting narrative to its unrivaled writing. Borderlands 3 is a vast upgrade over its predecessor The Pre-Sequel, but this game remains unrivaled in terms of fantastic levels, excellent DLC.
2. Divinity: Original Sin 2
When I was craving Dungeons and Dragons, Divinity: Original Sin 2 filled the need. I’ve now suggested it to all of my real-life D&D groups, and everyone has agreed: this is the best D&D experience you can get from a video game. The built-in tale is voluminous and practically indefinitely replayable. The prefabricated characters each have their own unique storylines, and the various outcomes are determined by player actions, backstory choices, race, and other factors. DOS2 is a fantastic fantasy realm to get lost in regardless of class or difficulty level.
3. Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is a seminal JRPG for many reasons, but many of its accomplishments have been lost to the winds of time and technological progress. Despite its age, it remains the series’ most popular and adored entry, because to its large ensemble of complex, emotionally-driven characters who adventure through one of the most unforgettable environments to emerge from Japan’s development landscape. The pacing of its constantly relevant storyline is its masterstroke. Square lets you to gradually fall for its motley crew of eco-terrorists before presenting its major villain – the eternally terrifying Sephiroth. And then centering the story on much more personal stakes, despite the oncoming doom. While the tale is serious in general, the environment lives on its eccentricities, which include a range of weird foes, funny minigames, and outrageously huge swords. This contrast of light and dark is what makes Final Fantasy VII such a timeless classic.
4. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
We knew who Guybrush Threepwood was when Monkey Island 2 came out, so we knew what to expect. So we reasoned. Somehow, designer Ron Gilbert threw everyone off by ending Monkey Island 2 in a carnival, leaving us to wonder if everything we’d done in the first two games was just a boy’s imagination, or if the finale was just another LeChuck voodoo trick. Regardless, the second chapter’s story, humour, and pacing were all cleaned considerably, making it perhaps the best LucasArts adventure game.
5. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge
Burnout 3: Takedown is a timeless classic. The combination of high-speed racing and vehicular destruction had been fine-tuned by its predecessor, Point of Impact, but Takedown mastered it. This was one of those games that could easily be played for hours, either alone or with company. Few things, however, can shatter a friendship faster than crashing someone’s ride just before the finish line – however, all was (usually) forgotten during the next round of Crash Mode.
6. Burnout 3: Takedown
League of Legends resides in a wonderful realm between between furious competition and entertaining strategy. Though there is a lot to understand, League of Legends has amazing modes that make the MOBA easy to start while remaining extremely hard as players progress up the competitive ladder. While the fantastic Summoner’s Rift is the major battleground for competitive play. The other modes offer a fun way to practice with Champions when things become too tense. League of Legends is one of the best competitive games in existence, with ongoing improvement upgrades and a continuously shifting roster.
7. Fallout 2
Mega Man 3 enhanced, polished, and remixed every lesson Capcom gained from Mega Man 2. While fighting new opponents such as Snake Man and Magnet Man, our brave robot hero learned a few tricks that would become staples in future games. Mega Man’s sliding ability gave him a much-needed boost, while his friendly robot pooch, Rush. Enabled him to explore greater heights and discover more hidden mysteries than in any of his prior adventures. There’s a long-running dispute over whether Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 is the ultimate NES Mega Man game. But we think the third installment is the clear winner.
8. League of Legends
Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Switch debut marked a significant shift from life simulator to a new form of artistic expression. New Horizons adds terraforming to the mix, as well as exterior decorations, so you can no longer merely conduct a home tour. Even if you’re playing alone, it’s a lot of fun: The main rocks-to-riches game has been revamped and is pretty enjoyable: Your natural resources, such as fish, bugs, timber, and flowers, can be utilized to buy or make items for your island. There’s an infinite daily checklist, but there’s not much urgency to complete it until you’re expecting company. This provides for a game you can play at your own speed, and as the seasons change, visiting your town may be one of the most soothing, meditative, and enjoyable experiences available.
9. Mega Man 3
Mega Man 3 took every lesson that Capcom learned from Mega Man 2 and expanded, refined, and remixed it. While taking on new enemies like Snake Man and Magnet Man, our plucky robot hero managed to learn a few tricks that would become mainstays for future games. The slide ability gave Mega Man a much needed upgrade while his friendly robot pooch, Rush, allowed him to explore greater heights. And find more hidden secrets than in any of his previous outings. There’s a long running debate as to whether Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 is the definitive NES Mega Man game, but for our money it’s the third installment, hands down. – Zach Ryan
10. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Thief II harnessed everything good about stealth games and filled it with steampunk magic. Looking Glass Studio created a convincing scenario in which technology was on the rise and the old world’s enchantment was on the run. The perfect anti-hero was added to the mix, who wouldn’t even consider saving the world provided it meant no more houses to steal from. Thief II provided the player with all of the necessary tools for the ideal theft, as well as interactive maps for taking notes. It rewarded patience and listening to some of the best guard talk in any game ever. Silently racing along rooftops, slipping through secret mansion passageways – the game made you feel like a master of the craft, not just a thief.
11. Thief II: The Metal Age
Thief II harnessed everything good about stealth games and filled it with steampunk magic. Looking Glass Studio created a convincing scenario in which technology was on the rise and the old world’s enchantment was on the run. The perfect anti-hero was added to the mix. Who wouldn’t even consider saving the world provided it meant no more houses to steal from. Thief II provided the player with all of the necessary tools for the ideal theft, as well as interactive maps for taking notes. It rewarded patience and listening to some of the best guard talk in any game ever. Silently racing along rooftops, slipping through secret mansion passageways – the game made you feel like a master of the craft, not just a thief.
12. SimCity 2000
SimCity 2000 is a beautiful, hilarious, and detailed sandbox in which players have power over a massive, customisable map that they can manage anyway they see appropriate. You can either develop the perfect metropolis or have it destroyed by natural disasters such as earthquakes and alien attacks. When compared to previous entries in the series, the game reaches that sweet spot of player agency, where you feel empowered to defend your city without being overwhelmed by options. You must ensure that your Sims have access to electricity and water, as well as that they are safe, have access to healthcare, and that the roads are well-maintained. You’ll have to keep track of things like mass transit, entertainment. And the economy as your city expands, but the learning curve is never too steep, and success is always just a stadium away.
13. Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
System Shock 2 pioneered the groundwork for today’s genre-blending first-person games, nailing the idea years before anyone else would even try. Its premise was simple: you discovered yourself alone on a space station, supposedly the only thing remaining alive. The only organic thing, that is. SHODAN, the rogue AI, takes no time in establishing herself as a strong opponent. Along the process, you learn about the backstory through audio recordings and can shape yourself into anything you choose, from a DPS/combat specialist to a pure hacker capable of infiltrating any system. System Shock 2 was tense, intelligent, and ahead of its time when it was released in 1999. Ryan McCaffrey’s
26. Spelunky 2
Spelunky’s original shareware edition, as well as its 2008 HD remake, are two of the most influential games of all time, shaping the whole roguelike genre. The HD remake, in particular, was widely regarded as a near-perfect game. That is, until Spelunky 2 came along 12 years later and managed to improve on every aspect of its mechanics while never compromising the procedurally generated magic that made Spelunky so unique. Spelunky 2 is a game all about storytelling, but the stories you tell aren’t the ones the game scripts for you. They’re the ones you create for yourself by exploring its constantly changing worlds. Fighting against nearly impossible odds, and remembering both your successes and failures.
27. Return of the Obra Dinn
At first glance, Return of the Obra Dinn is easy to dismiss. A 1-bit game about being an insurance examiner on an empty yacht may not light your fire. But it houses one of the most ingenious, engrossing, and consistently stunning puzzle games you’ll ever play. It’s a mystery game that allows its players to solve its bizarre cold cases for themselves, focusing on true detective work of observation and reasoning rather than highlighted objects. And scripted set pieces to reveal its mysteries. There isn’t much else like Return of the Obra Dinn out there. And once you play it, you’ll surely want more.
28. Dota 2
Dota is more than just a game; it’s a way of life. The steep barrier to entry will deter new players, but those who get through. And become addicted will almost certainly never play anything else again. Its 100+ characters all play differently, and properly comprehending one might take hundreds of hours. Even so, there is always something new to discover. Every botched approach, every death, and every comeback is an opportunity to learn something new. Dota 2 is at its best when played with a group of five friends. Gathering gold, killing foes, capturing objectives as a coordinated squad. And then making a last drive to win is an awesome high that you’ll want to repeat.
29. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Although Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a re-release of the original Wii U kart racer. Its purpose is to serve as both a wonderful kart racer in its own right. And a more complete bundle of an already fantastic game. With a diverse pool of racers and a plethora of kart modification possibilities. It offers an outstanding cycle of races that keeps things interesting no matter how long you play. While it isn’t the main draw, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s multiplayer options are some of the best the game has had since Block Fort on the N64. But it’s the precisely tuned racing of Nintendo’s long-running game that steals the show – racing has never felt better. And the courses are stunning, fantastically detailed, and represent some of the greatest of the brand, both new and old. Play game in mario games