For me I don't think it'll ever get better than (surprise!) Halo 2. Between the stellar campaign and the xbox live matchmaking it was the start of an era and an exciting time to be a fresh teenager without much homework, few friends, and a killer internet connection. At the time my best friends were the guys I would talk smack with and role play with here and then link up with to destroy some poor unsuspecting clan. LAN parties then became a weekend occurrence. The technology was still so new that it all felt so out of this world. There have been better games since but none have come close to providing the same level of immersion Halo 2 gave me.
For me, it would have to be Kingdom Hearts for the PS2. Gosh, falling into such a magical world with relatable characters was amazing...Square Enix alone was amazing. FF was a world of its own. When Kingdom Hearts 2 came out, I was so excited for it...and surprisingly it was as good (or maybe better) than the first!
They announced Kingdom Hearts 3 for the new gen consoles. So, there is that to look forward to. Currently playing DAIII, I played 1 and 2 (2 was disappointing). I played DAO not too long ago...so I do not find it nostalgic..not yet at least.
By the end of Mass Effect 3 and growing with the series for as long as I did, I had about 6 different characters all with their own definition of paragon/renegade personality and I actually enjoyed all of their endings. The only competitors I'd say honestly gave me as intriguing an experience throughout the entire series were The Walking Dead from Telltale Games, Shadow of the Colossus, and Spec Ops: The Line/Apocalypse Now 2012 Redux which to me are all still classics in their own right.
But outside the Halo games were good runner ups such as the Mass Effect series, Gears of War series, Fallout 3 and GTA V...all phenomenal games that I have played multiple times and will play again in the future.
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