Games are the most costly of all media types to produce, with vast wealth and an abundance of man hours and creativity pumped into the blockbusters we know and love. In praise of these titles and their wacky ideas or absurd budgets, here’s a list of the ten most ambitious and brave games ever made. Even if the execution doesn’t quite match the premise, here are ten games you definitely ought to investigate.
10. Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
Is it me, or does every game seem to include RPG elements these days? Whilst we can thank the original Modern Warfare for really putting RPG hybrids on the map, it was the second game in the Zelda series that first dared to merge role-playing into another genre. It also broke from the formula of the original Legend of Zelda, going for a side-scrolling perspective rather than the top down view normally used in the 2D Zelda games. Throw in some new plot elements like the recurring triforce pieces and Shadow Link, and you have yourselves a very ambitious sequel.
9. Baldur’s Gate
Has anyone ever really been able to complete this game 100%? Baldur’s Gate is a game with so much content, it could actually be considered frustrating. No matter how far you get, you’ll always know there’ll be more stuff to do for you around the corner. BG was the first RPG developed by Bioware, so you can thank it for the Mass Effect games. It not only set the standard for games using the Dungeons and Dragons rules, but also for all RPGs in general. A truly forward thinking classic.
8. Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar releasing another finely crafted open-world action game isn’t exactly much to write home about but, considering Red Dead Redemption’s pedigree, it was a fairly bold move. A million and one GTA games could be approved now following the series’ overwhelming success but, with RDR’s predecessor only gaining moderate success and acclaim, it was an interesting move making a sequel at all. Red Dead Revolver was a fun game, but Redemption really took it the extra mile, and it required a seriously hefty budget to do so. Ambition 101 right here.
7. Final Fantasy 7
The legendary Final Fantasy franchise use to be a Nintendo exclusive before Squaresoft fell out with the big N regarding their decision to keep using cartridges for the Nintendo 64. As a result of this debate, Square chose to migrate their next Final Fantasy game to Sony’s disc-based Playstation platform, resulting in the three disc epic that is FF7. With the CD-ROM format being able to hold far more data than a cartridge, FF7 was a mammoth title in terms of content and sheer ingenuity. It was also one of the first RPGs to ever get true notoriety in PAL regions. Thus FF7 holds a special place in my heart, for without the European release of FF7, many of my favourite RPGs never would have seen the light of day in my homeland. A two pronged assault of bravery in terms of design and distribution.