Stuff's Best Games Ever: The 50 greatest games of all time

15) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (2000)

A sports game ranked as one of the best ever? Surely that can't be… but this is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 we're talking about. Almost everyone with a games console in the early noughties lost endless hours skating the various parks and industrial sites.

With extensive skills to master, levels to unlock and secrets to find, it had more depth than a good number of RPGs. And let's not forget the multiplayer mode, as we'd all invite our friends over for an ultimate face-off to see who was the greatest Tony Hawk wannabe. No, it was never us.

14) Mass Effect 2 (2009)

Some of you may prefer other episodes in the huge space opera that is the Mass Effect trilogy, but for us it's the second game that perfectly hits the right mix of epic gun battles, beautifully realised alien worlds to explore and, of course, beautifully realised people (and aliens) to seduce. Just like in Star Wars – original trilogy, of course – it's the middle chapter that packs in the most excitement, possibly because it doesn't get bogged down with setup or attempting a finale and instead can just concentrate on all that gameplay.

13) Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Rockstar Games will probably always be known for Grand Theft Auto above all - and for good reason (keep reading this list) - but Red Dead Redemption deserves just as much acclaim.

Putting a Wild West spin on the familiar open-world formula, it swaps speedy cars and motorcycles and horses, all while packing in plenty of action and atmosphere along the way. With Red Dead Redemption 2 on the horizon for next year, it's possible that this franchise will be just as esteemed as GTA someday, but whether or not that happens, the original will surely remain a classic.

12) Final Fantasy VII (1997)

For years, the only story a video game managed was that one about some woman being kidnapped and us having to rescue her. Then Final Fantasy VII came along, with months’ worth of non-stop emotional storytelling and the power to make adults cry. Not us, obviously, but, you know… other people.

Final Fantasy VII used the power of the PSone to modernise and add a huge cinematic edge to the classic Japanese role-playing template. In hindsight, it's super weird and really uneven, yet still suitably epic and enthralling.

11) Super Mario World (1991)

A perfect platformer from its start to a Bowser-stomping finish, Super Mario World is so good that it took Nintendo almost two decades to stick its mustached icon in another 2D outing for home consoles. Rather than bang on about just how brilliant the portly plumber's SNES debut was, we'd rather take a moment to remember that without Super Mario World there would be no Yoshi. Can you imagine a world in which the best dinosaur of all-time hadn't been invented? It truly doesn't bear thinking about.

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