Unless you've been living under a particularly large rock, you're probably aware of Mass Effect 3's launch this week. Other than being the final game in Commander Shepard's trilogy, Mass Effect 3 aims to give us more of the high-paced action, incredible story, and Reaper whoopassery that fans have come to expect from the series. To get you in the mood for this coming dose of space opera goodness, here's our list of the ten best space games of all time.
Space Invaders might not have the HD visuals and deep storytelling that players have come to expect from modern games, but I think it's safe to give this game a break since it's been out for over three decades now. Even if you've never played it, this is one of the first games that introduced high scores. (In a way, that makes it responsible for my intense feelings of inadequacy on most leaderboards.) The pixelated alien graphic is also one of the most iconic images to come out of the gaming industry.
One of the more recent projects from renowned game designer Will Wright, Spore was a long time in the making. There are plenty of god games out there, but few have the depth and scientific accuracy that Spore incorporated into its design. There's a lot to love about the game: its quirky personality, deep customization, and colorful visuals make it something that appeals to pretty much anyone.
Other than being the source of one of the most well-known femme fatales in all of gaming—the bounty hunter Samus Aran—Metroid is known for its amazing platforming and gorgeous world. Originally, its formula was simple: just combine the platforming of Super Mario with the exploration and RPG elements of The Legend of Zelda. It's also one of the few series that's been consistent in its quality, even after eleven games in the series.
What's a list of space games without Asteroids? A crappy list, that's what. Asteroids redefined gaming back in 1979, decades before any of us took an arrow to the knee or knew how satisfying it feels to shred a Locust with a Lancer. Your objective is simple: Destroy everything on the screen before it touches your ship lest you watch helplessly as you get blown to bits. Like Space Invaders, Asteroids was all about endurance. Since its initial release, the game has been ported and re-released countless times.
Dead Space 2 is remarkable for a number of reasons: It's relentlessly terrifying, it looks stunning, it has some of the best sound design you can find in a game, and there's strategic dismemberment. In 2008, the original took us to the USG Ishimura, a Planet Cracker spaceship where something went terribly wrong. It was an unforgettable game that undoubtedly made many of us want to sleep with the lights on and a Plasma Cutter tucked under our pillow. The second game took everything its predecessor did and improved on it in every conceivable way. This game really does represent the best of what the horror genre has to offer right now.