The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (May 2022)

  • @Capnbobamous Xbox Live not being ready in time for Halo 1's multiplayer is one of the great travesties in modern gaming history. The weapon set is the most satisfying of all Halos (yes, including the supposedly "overpowered" pistol), and the three large maps - Blood Gulch, Sidewinder, and Boarding Action (the best Snipers map in the series) - are also some of the best of their type in the series; I think only Halo 2's Headlong can compete. Halo 1 maps overall are more open and flexible than those in later installments, which had their metas pretty much solidified on launch day. The respawn system adds to this flexibility - your respawn point is affected by your teammates positions, which top level players can favorably manipulate.

    The light physics also add a lot to the fun factor. Big jumps without grenades, indestructible vehicles flying off small hills, explosions launching bodies everywhere, and top level players being able to use grenades to launch spawned weapons and powerups towards themselves.

    One thing that's both a positive and a negative is the high skill ceiling. It has supported a competitive community to this day, but casual players will get absolutely creamed by them. Later Halos, while 'stiffer', are much easier to be competitive in.

    You can get an approximation of what online could've been in PC and MCC, but they have terrible netcode (and the LAN code is inaccurate too). But back in the day, if you could wrangle together four Xboxes, four CRT TVs, and 16 controllers, the experience was just as legendary as GoldenEye...but way less attainable.

    That said, single-Xbox four-player splitscreen was also a great time; just not as epic as the big battles.

  • Response to @JDINCINERATOR about convincing gamers to play Dragon Age: Inquisition in 2022 and its current popularity.

    RPG is a popular genre and there are numerous excellent games, but if you want a AAA dark fantasy game, there isn’t much besides Dragon Age and The Witcher. However, you want to play Dragon Age: Inquisition not because you have no other options – this is an excellent game with incredibly detailed world, rich characters, grand environments, captivating soundtrack, flexible combat system and choices that are way more complicated than being good or bad. And if that’s not enough, this is The Game Awards’ first ever Game of the Year. And Dragon Age: Inquisition looks and feels like a modern game – you don’t need to deal with any limitations of “that era of gaming”, like you often do when playing something from the past. And it’s on Game Pass.

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is still bellowed and definitely not forgotten. This may be an imperfect indicator, but it has roughly the same amount of current players on Steam as Dark Souls: Remastered and God of War despite the fact that it was added to Steam only in 2020 and the vast majority of PC players have an Origin copy.

  • @jdincinerator said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (May 2022):


    1. Do you think that HALO’s legacy has had more of an impact on Xbox than the general videogame community, and if you think the latter how do you feel HALO is a monumental accomplishment in videogames overall?
    2. I’m not into HALO and when I played the original HALO it was hard to get into. Do you think HALO caters to a particular audience and that it might be too hardcore for the mainstream?
    1. The original Halo was a touchstone release. Not only did it singlehandedly drive sales of the Xbox to be immediately competitive against established market leaders, it got 10/10s and Game of the Year awards everywhere. Halo 2 kept the momentum going by being not only THE pillar of Xbox Live by far, but a pillar of online gaming in general. Other online FPSes like SOCOM, Counter-Strike, and Unreal Tournament were certainly big, but Halo figuratively rolled off the tongue easier. At the time, MMOs like Everquest and World of Warcraft may have been the only online games bigger. And somehow, Halo 3 was even more mainstream. It was the Madden of online gaming to WoW's FIFA. Of course, with Modern Warfare, Call of Duty tore the throne away. But Halo very much helped create the environment for its success.

    While Halo's sequels were greater successes in terms of playerbase, they've kept the central elements of the first game - the story, characters, gameplay formula, weapons, sound effects, and music - to this day.

    1. To a degree. Its design does have a somewhat overwhelming quality. Its two-weapon system requires more thought, as does its open-concept levels and roaming enemy squads. The missions are quite long too. Doom, GoldenEye, Gears of War, and Call of Duty all have had a better pick-up-and-play quality. The multiplayer though, if you had friends who played it, had a great party atmosphere. And while it may not have cast the absolute biggest net, elements of Halo have infused themselves into the gamer consciousness. Master Chief, the main music theme, the Warthog. It's not Super Mario Bros., but it's not a game that only found fame in the energy drink chugging speedrun MLG crowd either.

  • Reply to @jdincinerator's questions:

    1. Frankly I think it's absurd to call the combat janky. I can understand not enjoying it, everybody has different tastes, but it is easily one of the tightest combat experiences out there. It is remarkably fluid and polished, and I think jank implies that it is broken in some way, or at least rough around the edges, and that is simply not the case with Arkham. It's cool if the combat isn't for you though. Like I said, everybody has different tastes and different combat systems they prefer, but I personally adore it. It's so clean, so fast, and so pristinely executed that I have a blast with every encounter. Combat is a hugely important part of the game, and in my opinion they knocked it out of the park.

    2. Absolutely not. As I said in my presentation, I love the open world of Arkham City, but an open world is not inherently better than a linear space. They accomplish different things. Arkham Asylum is one of the best linear action/adventure games out there, and the level design is impeccable. City has great open environments, and Asylum has great linear ones. They are both excellent, and Asylum's linearity is absolutely not a detriment in the slightest.

  • Hey all, here is a compilation of everything we have so far. I have updated the original post as well. We have one more day of cross-examination, and if we get more I will make sure this is up to date. If you notice any mistakes let me know. Doing this at two in the morning so I'm a bit tired.

    Also I would like to remind @Shoulderguy and @bruno_saurus that you still have unanswered questions. Anyway here it is:

    Halo: Combat Evolved

    Dragon Age: Inquisition

    Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

    Mass Effect Legendary Edition

    Madden 07

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    Batman: Arkham Asylum

  • Two questions for @JDINCINERATOR

    1. Compared to The Elder Scrolls (Oblivion and Skyrim), how open and interactive is The Witcher III's world? I've always heard gushing praise of the game, often namedropping the open world, but every time I've looked at gameplay videos, I've seen a world that looks quite nice, but doesn't feel fully tangible. Like, there's a sense of being of funneled in certain directions, and going off completely randomly instead of following trails and markers resulting in nothing fruitful. Have I somehow been looking at the wrong stuff each time?

    2. How "edgy" are the characters and dialogue? I've heard praise of the narrative elements, but when I've tried watching some, it seems somewhat crass and shallow. Are there notable heavier/mindful plot elements, or is 'edgelordery' its raison d'etre?

  • @oscillator

    1. I think The Witcher 3 is quite open and vast-it's truly a marvel to explore all the cities and village-like areas, it's simply teeming with beauty. As for interaction, I think there is plenty to sink your teeth into and perhaps it's not always by following waypoints and markers where you will find the most fruitfulness. It's the sense the stories told within The Witcher 3 are diverse and built with the surroundings in mind that makes the game so enthralling. You namedropped Oblivion and Skyrim, which are quite limiting and rigid with interactions, whereas The Witcher flows wonderfully, I've seen no static encounters in the game.

    2. There are many stories and characters that give you a wide array of vibes. One character recommends that Geralt wipes his arse before a mission is to be undertaken, and Geralt's deadpan sense of humor offers plenty of unexpected chuckles. I think those who watch gameplay footage as opposed to experiencing it properly, won't find the excellent sense of humor and delicious shreds of sharply-written script so easily.

    Crass and shallow is quite a scathing remark to me, but I understand it would appear wooden at first. I think generally if you sit down and play The Witcher 3, hours and days will go by and the more you will see what the game is truly hiding underneath the surface. Many games of its ilk give you a huge open-world that is straightforward, soulless and checklisty.By comparison spending time with The Witcher 3 is akin to spending time getting to know your new partner-the quirks and idiosyncrasies become more apparent the more you know them.

  • @bruno_saurus

    1. A sports game is an uncanny choice for Hall of Greats-what does Madden 07 do to stand out from all of them?
    • I definitely get this game will likely get banned because of its competition, but also its genre. However! This is one of the most in-depth Madden’s of this era, and probably still today. Sure the graphics are obviously better today, but the amount of things you could do in 22 are dwarfed in comparison to 07. Practices are more actual practices because you aren’t wearing a full NFL gameday uniform to them. You actually are wearing Training Camp like uniforms which just helps the immersion a bit more compared to today. As far as other sports games, The Show, FIFA, NBA 2K, and NHL I am not as versed in compared to Madden. I play them from time-to-time, but not following these series as much as Madden. NCAA Football has also been in a dormant coffin until they announced the return of it last year. I love the additions of Creating a Stadium in The Show, but it can get too complicated and I would much rather download one from the servers.
    • Another reason this specific era of Madden stands out for me is the announce team. You have Al Michaels and the man who the game is named after, JOHN MADDEN. This is one of the last games these two would appear together in the Madden series. In the next-gen version of Madden 09, John Madden would show up as a virtual holographic version of himself helping guide the player with NFL tutorials. But, some players never saw this man because they knew the game too much to care. You see him when you boot up the game or the first time and that’s it.
    1. The last Madden game I played properly was 2003, what advancements have been made since that games release-provided you’ve played 2003 of course?
    • Starting off, in Madden 2004, Owner Mode was introduced! This let you control all the prices for various things like tickets, jerseys, parkings, relocating your team, etc! This also brought in coaching staffs that you can manage each year to help improve your team! 2005 brought in the legendary Hit Stick letting you hit the offense with more ferocity. The Defense was also given more control with pre-snap adjustments you counteract offensive adjustments. 2005 also brought in Storyline Central implementing the Tony Bruno Show, National and Local Newspapers introducing more immersion to the game itself. 2006 introduced the Truck Stick to counteract the Hit Stick from the previous year for more powerful running backs. It also introduced the Superstar Mode for created players and such! 2007 introduced the Highlight Stick to help all Running Backs, not just the bruising Running Backs. It also introduced the Lead Blocking Control to control blockers for your Running Back to find a clear running lane. The implementation of all of these features helps make Madden 07 one of my favorites. For Madden 08, they took away the Tony Bruno show on the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube versions, and the UI is just cleaner to me in 07 and less flashy.

  • Question for @bruno_saurus:

    In your screenshot for Superstar mode, you have the character's parents and their IQs. What's going on there? Not a complaint or anything, just genuinely curious what that's about and how it ties into the gameplay of the mode.

    • So here you pick your parents and dependent on some of that information, you get recommended a position. If your Dad was a Pro Bowl WR, you would be picked to play that position! Overall, the parental IQ does seem just like a fun nonsensical thing for backstory for your player. I am not entirely sure how much it plays into the actual career as you have to take a 20 question IQ Test before the Draft anyways, but it is another fun addition of depth that isn't really present in today's Career Mode.You just pick one of the four positions offered and that's about all the setup you get.

  • Also, sorry I haven't had the time to actually ask any questions. It's been quite a hectic seven days of work and life on weekends! So please everyone forgive me this one time.

  • Two questions for @bruno_saurus

    1. I have virtually no experience playing Madden, but I did briefly dabble in a couple other football games, around 2005. They came across to me as being obtuse for people who aren't really, really into football. You're offered dozens of plays to select, but can't tell the difference between most of them. And all these teams and players don't feel different in a gameplay sense. With four downs/chances, it feels like you can 'brute force' a positive result by picking the most basic looking plays over and over.

    Are 360-era and newer Madden titles considerably more advanced and polished in gameplay compared to older Madden titles/other football series, as in does play selection/team+roster knowledge/how well you execute a play, make a very clear difference in how well you do, and for newbies, do they help you 'get' how to play well?

    1. Is the draw of Madden more the things surrounding the on-field gameplay, like managing teams? Is experiencing the flavour of a football league more key to a football fan enjoying it than the actual playing of football?

  • Alright everybody, cross-examination is now closed and it is time to DM me your votes. As a reminder, here are the rules you need to follow:

    1. Only those who brought a game can vote.
    2. You must choose your top 3 picks, with your first place game getting three points, second place getting two, and third place getting one.
    3. You may not vote for your own game.

    I encourage you to look back at all of the presentations and questions/responses before you cast your votes. I have updated the aggregation in the original post, as well as the post I made yesterday, in order to help make that easier. I will start to reveal the winners after I have received all of the votes. Also, for the sake of transparency, I think it important to mention that I have already voted in order to avoid being influenced by your votes.

    Thank you all very much for participating, and I'll see you when I have your winners.

  • Alright everybody, I have received all of the votes and it is time to reveal which two games will enter the Hall of Greats. Before I start, I just want to say that we once again have no banned games, which means that every single game got at least one point. Hooray! I think I speak for everyone when I say that all of you did a great job presenting your games.

    Without further ado, here are the games going from least to most points:

    #7: Madden 07 -- 2 points

    Submitted by @bruno_saurus

    #5: Mass Effect Legendary Edition -- 4 points

    Submitted by @Shoulderguy

    #5: Halo: Combat Evolved -- 4 points

    Submitted by @Oscillator

    #4: Dragon Age: Inquisition -- 5 points

    Submitted by @ffff0

    Alright, we have only three games left, two of which will be entered into the Hall of Greats. Our third place game, which narrowly misses entry is:


    #3: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End -- 7 points

    Submitted by @Brannox

    And that means that the two games that will enter the Hall of Greats are:


    #2: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt -- 9 points

    Submitted by @JDINCINERATOR


    #1: Batman: Arkham Asylum -- 11 points

    Submitted by @capnbobamous

    And there you have it folks, The Hall of Greats for May 2022 is officially over! I would like to thank you all so much for participating. I had a great time and I hope you all did as well. What did you all think? I feel it went smoothly but I am always open to suggestions so let me know. Otherwise, that's it! Feel free to discuss your votes and such. The next HOG is scheduled for September, which will also make one whole year of doing it! Hard to believe that it will have been that long, but I'll see you then.

  • I can't believe Wild Hunt actually got in. Such a competitive row of killer games y'all brought to this Hall of Greats, I didn't think Wild Hunt stood much of a chance. Thank you all who voted and to @Capnbobamous for presenting the Hall of Greats.

  • Wow. While I didn't know what to expect in terms of points total, I didn't think Uncharted 4 would place so high. Which means, once again, NOT BANNED BAYBAY!!!

    But in all serious, this round was a toughie. I felt the cross-examination period rubber-banded a bit, with some activity the moment questioning opened, silence for a long while, then a flurry of questions/answers at the end (I chalk this up to people being busy during the week and only having time to focus on this during the weekend). I also was quite surprised I didn't answer many cross-examinations.

    Regardless, to any of you who chose to vote, if it was only a point, I thank you kindly. Big congrats to both Batman: Arkham Asylum and The Witcher III: Wild Hunt for being recognized as Greats (tm). And as always, if people wanted to share what they voted for and why, I'll do so to by either going back and editing this post or dropping my decisions separately.

    To close, shoutouts to @Capnbobamous for making these and to everyone who participates. These are so fun and I always look forward to them. Can't wait for the next one in three months!!

    EDIT: Since others left their votes below, here's how I went:

    3 Points - Dragon Age: Inquisition. Personally I felt this had the strongest combination of presentation and cross-examination

    2 Points - Batman: Arkham Asylum As much as I love this game, the detective vision's lack of penalty (as appreciating the art design doesn't impede gameplay. Apologies for not wording my cross-examination question better) is my only gripe. And though I may prefer other Arkhams, Asylum is fantastic

    1 point - The Witcher III: Wild Hunt Of the remaining games to vote for (that I could), I feel like this had the strongest remaining case (And I agree with ffff0 about the point regarding the Mass Effect Trilogy. But I do hope all three get in at same point). I still don't foresee myself playing it, but to me, it's undeniable the exceptional quality it has.

  • Good game everyone and congrats to the winners! Those were all great presentations, fortunately I've played all of these games before so that made voting a little easier for me.

    Here's where my votes went:

    1. Halo: Combat Evolved (3pts)
      It's Halo, it's obviously one of the all-time greats. It was an undeniable game changer for the video game industry and the gameplay still holds up.

    2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2pts)
      It's maybe the best action adventure game I've ever played. I replayed Uncharted 4 with the Legacy of Thieves Collection this year and it's even more stunningly beautiful at 60fps.

    3. Dragon Age: Inquisition (1pt)
      I remember this game fondly and I'm disappointed that more RPG's like this one are not being made anymore. Personally, I still prefer Dragon Age: Origins more, that game is more consistently great but Inquisition has many great moments too.

    Thanks to @Capnbobamous for putting this together and thanks to everyone for letting me make my case for Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. I'll try not to create any new rules with my next nomination. :)

  • Here are my votes:

    1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I love this game and was thinking about bringing it myself. Great presentation and strong cross-examination left no room for other contenders.
    2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. I also love this game, although not as fondly as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Again, great presentation and strong cross-examination have secured my vote.
    3. Madden 07. #3 and #4 were very close, but I votes for Madden 07, because I got convinced that this was the high point of the series which is something for an annual series.
    4. Batman: Arkham Asylum. I barely remember this game, but I put it so low because of detective mode discussion. I think when player have to chose between making things hard and pretty visuals, it’s a bad game design.
    5. Mass Effect Legendary Edition. I think Mass Effect games are too different to work as a single product, and I wasn’t convinced otherwise.
    6. Halo (Combat Evolved). Presentation had an abrupt ending and I think that levels shouldn’t be fun to play only on the hardest difficulty. A shooter with levels that aren’t fun, is a bad shooter.

    Thanks everyone for your effort, whether I voted for your nominee or not. See you next time.

  • Okay I am actually shocked Madden 07 isn't banned. Thank you allies! I feel honored to not have it banned! This weekend I will honor you all by playing more of it. September, I already have a game planned that isn't a sports game, so don't worry!

    3 Points: Batman Arkham Asylum

    • I love Arkham Asylum so much and I appreciated the combat discussion. Felt the presentation was also explained the gameplay vibes while utilizing stealth to take out enemies.

    2 Points: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    • While I have only played a handful of hours of The Witcher, the cross-examination was strong and the presentation was definitely great at explaining why the game as a whole is a Great.

    1 Point: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

    • Maybe my favorite Uncharted game! This and The Witcher were a toss up for me. Felt the cross-examination was strong as well and helped bring out some of my own thoughts that were answered.

    Thank you all for the dedication your presentations showed. And thanks to @Capnbobamous for setting this all up again!

  • Good presentations everybody. I meant to participate but I missed the deadline. If Bruno brought Madden 2005, I would've been totally in but my experience with the PS3 version of 07 was bad, but I heard the PS2 version was much better than the next gen which was super new at the time.

    I would've voted like so:
    3 pt - Uncharted 4
    2 pt - Batman Arkham
    1 pt - Halo CE

  • I was very surprised that my game got in, and it's a little bittersweet because I didn't have the time to make the presentation I had originally planned, but I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth. Here are my votes:

    3 pt. The Witcher 3. One of my favorite games of all time. Just an absolutely masterful RPG that every other game in the genre will be held to for years to come. Shoutout to JD for a great presentation.

    2 pt. Uncharted 4. Another classic. I still prefer Uncharted 2, but 4 is undeniably great so I was happy to give it points. Certainly has the best combat of the series. Also Brannox delivered a great presentation which made my vote that much easier.

    1 pt. Madden 07. I think this vote comes down to a number of reasons, not least of which is that the game simply looks fun. Love how in-depth it seemed to go in its modes (parent IQ levels, huh????) and when somebody says that an old sports game is the best in the series, I tend to believe them. It's crazy how much charm these old games had when their current day counterparts are so hollow and lifeless. It was a great presentation by Bruno, and I was happy to give it a point.