The gaming industry is full of interesting titles that are worth playing, and new games are released every year, pushing the boundaries of possibilities even further. But sometimes the old is gold and we need to slow down and take a moment to appreciate the gems that influenced the whole generations of titles and are still considered quite enjoyable to play.
Here are some of the best old video games that aged exceptionally well.
The best old video games
Heroes of Might and Magic III
|Developer:||New World Computing|
Let’s start with a game that for many players was probably one of the first, if not the first, games they played. HoMM III does not only not look bad after all these years, but it can still be as addictive as it was over two decades ago. If you’re not familiar with the title, it’s a turn-based strategy, where you meet with other players on a map and fight over castles.
You can command multiple heroes, each with his own army, and with their use collect resources and artifacts scattered around and declare battles on other heroes. Combat is tactical and turn-based as well, taking place on a hex-based grid. The game does have some balance issues, but this can be easily solved by using certain mods made by the community.
|Genre:||Action Role-Playing, Hack and Slash|
Fans of hack and slash games surely remember the title that later became an inspiration for entire generations of diablo clones that flooded the market in later years. It may be hard to believe, but Diablo II is still quite commonly played, which should give you an idea about how good it was back then and how well it aged.
The game isn’t especially difficult to dive into – you choose your starting character class and start exploring the world, killing hordes of enemies in the process, collecting randomized loot, and developing your character, simple as that. The game was later upgraded with Lord of Destruction expansion pack that added an entire new act, two new classes, and tons of new items.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Age of Empires II was a true strategy gem and it still is. It was a huge upgrade when compared to its predecessor, featuring many quality of life additions and some gameplay changes, while reatining the elements that were considered to be already working well in the original game.
AoE II puts players on a map where they need to build their bases, harvest resources and recruit an army to protect their empire while trying to eliminate the others. What made the game shine among other strategies was the fact that players were able to advance through several medieval eras, gaining access to new technologies and more advanced stuff. It was one of the core gameplay mechanics, as being able to get better troops gave a significant advantage on the battlefield.
Starcraft was always considered a major competitor of Age of Empires, but instead of medieval times, it’s set in a fictional sci-fi universe dominated by three intelligent species: Terran, Zerg, and Protoss. You can choose either one as your playable race – each suits a different playstyle, so everyone should be able to find something enjoyable to play.
On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that when Blizzard released the game, it was quite revolutionary for a game to have three distinctive playable races that are played so differently. This idea gave birth to tons of similar strategies that were released later. Despite having over 20 years already, the game aged quite well, and it could still be a nice time killer if you starve for some good strategy action.
Baldur’s Gate is another example of a game that aged quite well and could still be played for hours of unforgettable experience. It’s based on rules of Dungeons & Dragons, which happens to be probably the most popular and influential role-playing game of all times. This means that you will command a team of heroes of different roles and make them work together on the battlefield if you want to win.
It can be quite confusing for newcomers as it combines real-time combat with tactical decisions – expect to pause the game a lot in order to rethink what action should each of your heroes do next. Should your mage cast an offensive spell or buff the warrior so he can deliver a killing blow? The game also puts strong emphasis on dialogues and features a reputation system.
Half Life 2
We’ve also got something for fans of first-person shooters on the list, and it’s nothing else but a good old Half Life 2. The game in several aspects is just like its predecessor, but it comes with better physics and graphics, thanks to the use of a new Source engine. Despite being quite linear, HL2 gives players more freedom and encourages exploration, as some areas can be missed and skipped entirely.
The game aged really well and it can still surprise you with its physics-based world that reacts to player’s actions – you can manipulate objects with use of a gravity gun, and sometimes it’s even mandatory to do so, as the game features several physics-based puzzles. Even among other games that have aged well, Half-Life 2 looks good.
Neverwinter Nights 2
Neverwinter Nights 2 is very similar to Baldur’s Gate in a lot of ways, but it’s worth being put on the list nevertheless, as it has its own spirit and does some things differently. Just as Baldur’s Gate, it’s based on Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, with only difference being the ruleset’s version, and it too has an active pause that allows a tactical approach to combat encounters.
NWN2 is considerably easier but it gives more options when it comes to creating your dream character, mainly due to the introduction of specialized prestige classes. If you’re not familiar with the game or the DnD-based video games in general, this would be a great introductory title, especially considering the fact that it aged quite well.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
|Developer:||Bethesda Game Studios|
Games from The Elder Scrolls series were always high above the competition when it comes to action role-playing genre, but TES III: Morrowind set the bar even higher. The game features huge open-world environment inhabited by many different races and dangerous creatures protecting valuable treasures from the likes of you. Explore the world, develop your character, join influential guilds, and tailor your own story.
If you’re up for an epic fantasy journey full of original quests and mysteries waiting to be discovered, you can’t go wrong with Morrowind, especially if you play with a Morrowind Overhaul mod – seriously, give it a try, if you didn’t already, because Morrowind is one of the best games released in the 2000s.
There are not that many post-apocalyptic turn-based role-playing games out there, but Fallout happens to be one of them. Released back in 1997 and starting an entire series that is still being developed, it’s also coincidentally one of the best games of the genre and it aged quite well.
Fallout is set in the 22nd century and takes place after a global nuclear war that caused twisted and mutated creatures to appear due to being exposed to large amounts of radiation. The game offers quite a lot of freedom both in terms of world exploration and character creation, giving you a unique opportunity to make your name in the inhospitable wasteland, where different post-apocalyptic factions are fighting for dominance.
For the last entry on the list we have Original War, a real-time strategy that revolves around a mysterious mineral called Siberite, something that can allow people travel back in time. Because of its valuable properties it sparks a new conflict between forces of USA and Soviet Russia. The game aged well and it offers some unique features when it comes to real-time strategies.
For example, there is no unit training – instead, you have to make best use of whatever you are given at the beginning. The same people who fight can be later assigned to gathering resources. What’s more, buildings and vehicles need to be manned to operate, so you are required to manage your people and send them where they are needed. The game has its own unique flavor, so it’s definitely worth coming back to.
Oldie but Goldie
Video games usually age worse than books or movies, but, as always, there are some exceptions. Games that tend to age the worst are the ones that are trying to represent the world in the most realistic way graphics-wise. The technology grows rapidly and we get more powerful hardware every year. Believe it or not, but right now our smartphones are millions times faster than computers that were used to send people to the Moon. For this very reason, graphics are quickly getting outdated and overshadowed by visuals offered by more recent games. If the game is designed to not look realistic in the first place, it seems to age better.
Gameplay can also age, but it’s less of an issue. Sure, it could lead to some problems – years of evolving certain genres taught us certain solutions that at one point were considered innovative and uncommon. For example, when we play a modern first-person shooter, we expect our character to reload the weapon once we press the R key, and we expect it to jump once we press the spacebar. But it wasn’t always the case, and it’s not hard to find certain things that old games did differently than what we’re used to. Going back in time and finding out that our character can’t jump, or that we can’t rotate the camera with mouse freely might seem disappointing and give us the impression that the game didn’t age well at all.
Considering all these facts, some games do age exceptionally well. The list above presents some of the best examples of such games, so if you want to relive the past and try some titles from the ’90s, these would be a great start.