GamerSushi Asks: What Are Your “S” Games?

One of the things that the GamerSushi staff likes to debate in lengthy e-mail threads and occasionally on podcasts is the difference between an “A” rated game and an “S” rated game, based on the qualifications laid out in our grade chart. As some of you know, our review system underwent a major overhaul last year, where we tried to spread out our grades a little more. So often, review sites fail to distinguish between great games and classic games.

For me, an “S” game isn’t just a great “A” game that you love. It’s something a little more than that. One of my favorite games of this generation is Resident Evil 5, and I wouldn’t distinguish it with that remarkable rating because I feel like it lacks that intangible quality that stamps it as one of the greats.

Ideally, there are only a handful of games that reach that mark every generation. For this gen I would say Portal, Call of Duty 4 and Uncharted 2 easily fall into that category. I would also say Red Dead Redemption, but that’s another issue altogether. For last gen I would say Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Gear Solid 3 are the top two that come to mind, though there are definitely many others (side argument: did last gen have the most “S” games?).

Anyway, as we are taking another look at our review system as some new changes (hint: get excited) are in the works here at GamerSushi, I wanted to ask what you think gives a game that special something, that quality that makes it stand out from the pack. In addition, what games this generation would you give an “S” to, and can you remember any from last gen? Go!

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

18 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: What Are Your “S” Games?”

  1. I’ve been AFK this generation, so the only “S” I can give would be to Oblivion. As far as last-gen, I would give an “S” to Super Smash Bros. Melee, The Sims 2, Zelda: Twilight Princess (shocking, I know), and Animal Crossing. I was a big Nintendo fanboy last generation.

    And although it’s not technically a game, I would give five S’s to Action Replay. Ahh, good times.

  2. I think time spent (or potentially spent) in a game is the most important thing (not the only factory, but the most important). This does not mean game length. In a short game, it means one so good that you keep going back (Braid). In a long game, one that makes you want to not only finish the game, but do everything there is to do (FFXII). There are different ways a game can do this, whether it be story or online play, but if a game can keep you coming back and really make it worth your money, it’s an “S”. A close second would be how well the game immerses you in it’s world.

    “S” games for me include: Demon’s Souls (I think I bring this game up in every post for GamerSushi), Fallout 3, Okami, SotC, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, Morrowind, Braid, FFXII, Assassin’s Creed 2, Baldur’s Gate II, and others.

  3. Before I list my S-rank games I gotta say: fucking love this entry.

    MGS4: if only for the nudey scenes (or lack thereof ;D)
    SSB: The original that changed a generation
    Wii Sports: A landmark in gaming, the addition of motion
    SW-KotOR 1
    Dragon Age

  4. For me:

    Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    Golden Eye
    Knights of the Old Republic
    Heavy Rain
    Metal Gear Solid 4
    Left 4 Dead

  5. My S games are going to transcend generational separations, so here’s my S games, in no particular order because I’m an indecisive coward:

    >Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (I’m about half-way into Majora’s Mask, and I love it but it’s still an A to me because it can be pretty difficult and…I don’t know , it just doesn’t have the same feel that Lozoot had)
    >Fallout 3 (it ruined my Xbox LIVE life, so yeah)
    >Okami (awww cute Ammy is cuuute)
    >Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2 (AC1’s innovations amazed me for the entire game and I really loved the feel of the Crusade-besieged world; AC2 had much more content and better writing, and yet I still love AC1)
    >Red Dead Redemption (fun gunplay and a massive world that was so much fun to explore even to the end of the story)
    >Shadow of the Colossus (go read my post on that one article about MGS2 being art, and you’ll know why I love SotC so much)
    >TF2 (perhaps THE best multiplayer FPS because of it’s incredible balance and fun-factor)
    >Call of Duty 4 (it tore me away from Halo 3, and even to this day, I love CoD4; yeah, the multiplayer can be cheap sometimes, but MW2 has shown me that it can be much MUUUCH worse)
    >Halo Combat Evolved (another FPS that I still play and love to this day; it’s just so awesome, and if you don’t know why, just…just…wow)
    >Portal (sure it was short, but a short movie doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie; Portal was perfectly paced)
    >Pokemon Gold/Silver (the ones on the Gameboy Color!)

    I really want to put Left 4 Dead up here because it’s one of the best co-op game I’ve ever played, but it just doesn’t have enough content and I feel like it needs moar, so it has an A. Sozz.

    Oh and just to piss of Anthony, FF8 gets an S. :3

  6. This list would probably change if I thought about it for a bit longer, but here it goes anyway:

    -Panzer Dragoon Orta

    -Metroid Prime

    -Strider (Genesis version)

    -The Secret of Monkey Island

    -Street Fighter II (I don’t know which version, probably either Champion Edition or Super SF2)

    -Gunstar Heroes

    -Final Fantasy VIII (aka: the greatest soap opera ever)

    -Fallout 3

    -Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 (best co-op experience ever made)

    -Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries

  7. For me, last gen had the most S ranks as my list shows. To be fair, this gen ain’t over yet and 6 vs. 13 leaves only 7 games to even it out.
    This gen:
    Burnout Paradise
    Uncharted 2
    Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction
    Zelda: Twilight Princess

    Last gen:
    Shadow of the Collosus
    Hitman: Blood Money
    Timesplitters 2
    Dark Chronicle
    Freedom Fighters
    Conflict: Desert Storm 2
    Metroid Prime
    Wind Waker

  8. @ Anthony: Oh woops, I meant Spoony. He’s the one who hates FF8, not you. Wow, that’s embarrassing. lol

    So…to suck up to Anthony, FF8 gets an S. :3

  9. [quote comment=”13266″]@ Anthony: Oh woops, I meant Spoony. He’s the one who hates FF8, not you. Wow, that’s embarrassing. lol

    So…to suck up to Anthony, FF8 gets an S. :3[/quote]

    haha, no worries. I would rate it an A, actually.

  10. All game-play and story so I’m not thinking of when the game came out

    Valve games(PC)
    MGS games
    Bad company 2(PC)
    Legend of legaia(PS1)
    Legaia 2: Dual Saga(PS2)
    Mirrors Edge
    Scott pilgrim vs the world the game(PS3)

  11. I also haven’t played a lot of games this generation that have really blown me away. My list would definitely include Portal and Fallout 3 though. Assassin’s Creed 2 comes close, but gets snagged on an A+ (i know, i know. No +/-)

    Either way, great topic dude.

    Can I say Super Mario World again?

  12. For me, a game that exceeds just an “A” rank is what I call “The Perfect Game.” What they say about movies, is that if you walk out of the theater saying “Wow, that movie had great lighting and scene direction,” then it probably wasn’t a very good movie. That’s part of my philosophy on how a game becomes what I consider “perfect”- there can’t really be a single aspect of the game that you can single out as being exceptionally better than the rest of it. All of the ingredients must mesh together seamlessly to create a perfectly rounded game. For example: my favorite retro game, Rocket Knight Adventures. If you were to ask me what I love most about that game, you’d probably get several answers. The graphics are stylish- no wait, the music is amazing- no wait, the gameplay is original and fun- no wait, it’s the variety in the levels- no wait… etc, etc, and etc. That’s kinda how I was with games like Portal, Half-Life 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and all that, and all that (really there’s too many games that I really, really love for me to list in a single comment, so I’ll just leave it as is with that.)

  13. For me to give the S-grade it would have to be something very special.

    This gen
    Forza Motorsport 3

    last gen
    Medieval 2: Total War

    Hearts Of Iron 2
    Operation Flashpoint

    Very Old school
    Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

  14. Hmm, what are my S games…

    Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

    Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

    Metroid Prime

    Halo: Combat Evolved

    Battlefield 2

    Half-Life 2

    Knights of the Old Republic

    Assassin’s Creed 2

    That’s about it I think. Not a bad list, all in all.

  15. I think it’s really interesting to see what constitutes an S game for you guys. We seriously go around and around about that seemingly small line that separates A and S. It’s nice to know we’re not crazy, and that other games seem to pick up on the nuances that separate them.

    Do you guys have any games like Resident Evil 5 for me, a game that you love but can’t bring yourself to call one of the greats of all time?

  16. Eddy, I most definitely have games like this. The most obvious for me would be Folklore for the PS3. That game entranced me, and it was the only game that I actually stood on the couch while I was fighting the last guy. However, I would probably give that game a “B” because of the flaws I know are present, most notably that the two characters play through the same levels. Doesn’t matter for me, though. Loved it.

    Others include: Prince of Persia (new), Oblivion, FFXIII, and MGS4. Probably others, too, but I can’t think of them right now.

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