5. Max Payne
God I played the SHIT out of this game as a kid and still can't get enough of it. The game was simply amazing for it's time and even though it's sequels managed to outdo many aspects of it, it still remains a deep, enjoyable, action-packed romp through New York City's nitty gritty underground. The bullet-time mechanics and awesome weaponry really added some lengthy replay value and those graphic novel-inspired cutscenes were simply something that I hadn't seen before in a video game. It really was the start of something fresh and it has forever crafted a strong legacy with many gamers today.
Gory, brutal, unrelenting. Manhunt is the true definition of controversy within video games that make many politicians cringe in their sweaty leather seats. With that said, one of the great things about Rockstar is that they aren't afraid to push the envelope and with Manhunt they certainly did. The gameplay was very reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto III but with a more linear and violent twist. The stealth mechanics weren't the best, but the dark mythology of the game and the bleak underbelly within it is what makes the game truly shine. Just do you yourself a favor and play it, because it's way better that anything a Saw movie could ever do.
NOTE: This game also introduced one of the most terrifying villains I have ever seen. Anyone that played this game should know who I mean...
Leave it to Rockstar to make school fun. For real, this game defined the darker side of schools and pushed it further, managing to mix elements of both truth and satire for an engaging video game. You'll take classes, participate in missions with fellow students, bully and cease bullying of other kids, and pretty much anything else you'd expect to do in school and more. You can also leave campus to visit what the outside town has to offer. Basically it's GTA in a school setting. This little adventure is a nostalgic trip for adults and an escape from reality for kids still in school today.
2. Grand Theft Auto IV
I know what your thinking, why this and not GTA V? I loved the fifth installment for all it had to offer, but in my opinion, GTA IV had one thing that GTA V didn't, and that was Niko Bellic. Bellic was a fresh and different protagonist within the GTA canon and was the most badass out of every one of them who really made the story of the game much deeper than it could have been had the developers took another direction with the character. Also the game was a fresh take on the GTA everyone was used to and introduced some great shooting mechanics that would be improved in Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. GTA IV has it's flaws sure, but the game is an instant classic and is my favorite installment in the series to date.
1. Red Dead Redemption
The story of John Marston's rise and fall is one of the most powerful tales that Rockstar has ever developed. The game is a spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver, and surpasses it in every way imaginable. Redemption almost makes players forget that Revolver ever existed. The way that Redemption is presented not only grabs you from the start but does not let go until the final climactic ending that probably made even the most hardened gamer shed a tear or two. The gunplay, visuals, voice acting and basically everything else within the game were top-notch not to mention game's soundtrack is one of the most personal and fitting soundtracks I have ever encountered. This is a true quality game for anyone looking for a good story and some good western style fun.
Honorable mentions: Max Payne 3, L.A. Noire, Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, The Warriors, Red Dead Revolver
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