Friday, January 27, 2023

Best Epic Games Of All Time

Before it became one of the biggest companies in gaming, Epic Games was Epic MegaGames, and before that, it was Potomac Computer Systems. It’s easy to just think of Epic as “the Fortnite people” nowadays, but the studio has a 30-year history as an important game developer, publisher, and engine creator.

Related: Fortnite Cross-Overs That Still Need To Happen

Over these 30 years, the studio has only released 40 or so games, but when you run the biggest live service game on the planet, are the most popular engine provider, and run the second-biggest PC storefront, you don’t really need to develop many new games. From being made by one person in his parent’s garage, to well over 2,000 across the world, what are the best epic games over the years?


11 ZZT And Jill Of The Jungle

ZZT and Jill of The Jungle gameplay

I’m not going to lie to you and say either of these games are a lot of fun to play 30 years later, but they are both very important. ZZT was an outdated adventure game when it was released in 1991. The whole game was created with ASCII graphics in an era when PC games were moving toward digital graphics. However, it did have one of the first-ever level editors and made enough money to fund Tim Sweeney’s second game, Jill Of The Jungle.

Jill also isn’t amazing, but it is a huge step up from ZZT. The game was basically a gender-filled Pitfall with the gameplay of Prince of Persia. More importantly, it became Epic MegaGames’ first ongoing series, getting two sequels.

10 Jazz Jackrabbit

Jazz Jackrabbit - gameplay and boxart

There was a time when every developer worth its salt had its own mascot platformer. The big hitters were obviously Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic, but almost everyone else wanted in on the 2D platformer actions too. Bubsy, Cools Spot, Earthworm Jim, Dangerous Dave, Bonk, Ristar, and, of course, Jazz.

Related: Platformers Everyone Needs to Play

While the game’s sense of speed and movement was impressive for a PC game in 1994 the most notable thing about it was that it was the first game created by famed developer Cliff Bleszinski. The Jackrabbit’s adventures might feel a bit dated now but there were certainly much worse 2D platformers at the time, and it holds up pretty well even now.

9 The Matrix Awakens

The Matrix Awakens

For as impressive as it is The Matrix Awakens barely even counts as a video game. It is a tech demo for Unreal Engine 5 released to coincide with the long-awaited fourth movie in the franchise.

The game is basically one big showcase demonstrating the power of modern consoles’ ultra-fast SSDs. It’s not much more than a fun distraction, but it certainly fulfills the power fantasy of flying around a never-ending city just like The One would.

8th Infinity Blade

Infinity Blade 3 art

For a time Infinity Blade was the hottest thing on mobile devices. It was a fairly simple mobile game and for as quaint as it might seem now, it was mind-blowing how good it looked when it was released in 2010.

Related: Best Mobile Games

No one would claim that Infinity Blade was the deepest experience, but it was a window into the future of just how good mobile games could look.

7 Fortnite: Save The World

Fortnite Save The World Cover Art

It’s hard to even believe but Fortnite: Save The World has been around since 2011 when it was announced at the Spike TV Video Game Awards. It took six years of development, previews and continued delays before it saw the light of day, and even then it was far from an instant hit.

The game languished in early access between June and September 2017, which was when Epic decided to release an experimental free-to-play battle royale mode for the game to capitalize on the popularity of PUBG. When the battle royale became a huge success the development teams split and Save The World was quietly released as a premium game in 2020.

6 Paragon

Paragon - Gameplay and artwork

Poor Paragon deserved so much better. This was a gorgeous team MOBA that focused on melee combat and cooperation. Sadly for as fun as it was, it came out well after the MOBA boom of the early 2010s.

Related: Best Unreleased Video Games

Within months of entering early access in 2016, it only had a small diehard community. When Fortnite took off Epic unceremoniously shut Paragon down in 2018. Thankfully, the assets remain freely available in the Unreal Engine for developers to use however they see fit.

5 bullet storm

bulletstorm covers & gameplay

Developed alongside People Can Fly, Bulletstorm was one of Epic’s many collaborations when the company was not in a position to create entire games on its own. Yet another showpiece of Unreal Engine 3 this game is over the top and then some.

Bulletstorm combines Epic’s love of inventive weaponry with People Can Fly’s attitude and the result is one of the most curse-filled, bloody, wild rides in games. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a lot of fun to go back to.

4 Shadow Complex

Jason Shooting A Mech

This was yet another joint project, this time developed with Chair Entertainment, the company that would go on to lead the Infinity Blade series. Shadow Complex is an oft-forgotten gem of the early Xbox Live Arcade and by far one of the best Metroidvania during an era when that genre had gone out of style.

Related: Best Metroidvannias For Beginners

If you’ve never tried it before, Shadow Complex was remastered in 2016 and is still great.

3 Unreal And Unreal Tournament

Unreal - gameplay and Unreal Tournament gameplay on facing worlds

Unreal was Epic’s first big financial hit, capitalizing on the popularity of Id Software’s Quake and Doom. The game is most famous for its revolutionary 3D engine, of the same name, which was one of the first engines that could stand toe-to-toe with the impressive Id Tech.

While Unreal had its own multiplayer, it was the follow-up Unreal Tournament that cemented the series as a classic. While it may have never surpassed the competition, even the most ardent Quake fans will admit that UT had some excellent maps and guns, making it one of the best arena shooters ever.

2 Gears Of War Trilogy

Gear Of War Trilogy wallpaper

For the longest time Gears was Epic and Epic was Gears. The two were inseparable and at the forefront of not only the popularity of the 360, but cutting edge video game technology.

Related: Best Third-Person Shooters

Some may bemoan the generation of waist-high-walls and cover-shooters this series ushered in, but there is no denying just how good these three games are. Gears may not be developed by Epic anymore, but it will always be an Epic game.

1 Fortnite: Battle Royale

Fortnite Chapter 4 showing off a Doom Slayer collab.

We couldn’t really put anything else at number one, could we? Even if you don’t like Fortnite you can’t argue that it hasn’t revolutionized games forever. From defining how seasonal content and battle passes should be structured, to being the foundation of an era of cross-overs and co-marketing. Love it or hate it Fortnite is Epic’s most important game, and it might just be the studio’s best too.

Next: Best Battle Royales For Beginners

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