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Discussion What is the best first party game of all time NOT by Nintendo?

Phantom Thief

Life Will Change
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I assume for many here (and in general), the best first party game of all time would be a Nintendo game. Which makes sense! Nintendo has a 40 year history in the medium propped up almost entirely on the back of nothing but their own output.

But through the years, there have been many, many, many other platform holders, all of them funding and putting out games to push their systems. My question to you is: what is the best game those platform holders put out to do so?

Now, we have to be very careful here, so let's talk this through:

  • Only games released by a publisher as part of a first party portfolio for their system count. In other words, Age of Empires 2 does not count for Microsoft, but Halo or Fable do. Yakuza does not count for Sega, but Shenmue does. RollerCoaster Tycoon does not count for Atari, but Tempest 2000 does. And so on.
  • Games funded by a first party and co-developed with an external developer count. So Bloodborne for Sony does count (because I know this will come up).
  • Games published by first parties, but owned and developed by third parties, do not count. As an example, the original Gears of War games, or the Nioh games, don't count. They're not first party MS or Sony games any more than Octopath or SMTV are Nintendo games.
Okay, I think that should be clear enough. With these caveats in mind, what is the best first party game not published by Nintendo? Bonus question, how would this game rank against your Nintendo favorite(s)?
 

Dardan Sandiego

Dill Spowser‘s nephew
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PanzerDragoonSagaBox.jpg


one of my favourite games of all time, baby. depending on the day I put it in my top 5, top 10 at the very least.
 

WestEgg

King of the Krocs
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The original Mass Effect might have been my answer as it was codeveloped with Microsoft Game Studios as an Xbox 360 exclusive (initially), but I believe BioWare always owned the IP so that probably disqualifies it. So I suppose I have to go somewhat safe and say Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Genesis. It’s still one of my favorite games in general.
 
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Phantom Thief

Phantom Thief

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Shadow of the Colossus! Still bummed there's no Vita version :(
They barely got it running on the PS3 lol, I imagine the Vita version would be very bad (especially given how little care Sony was putting into Vita ports of their classics by the end. I am still appalled at how bad the God of War ports for the Vita were).
 

JoshuaJSlone

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Based on personal enjoyment, maybe Um Jammer Lammy or Fable II? But if modern ownership worked retroactively Microsoft would have a lot more going for it, so if you ask me next year I wouldn't be surprised to say Starfield.
 
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Magic-Man

Sportsmates Enjoyer
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Hmm. This is tough. I'd probably go for one of the Forza Horizon games or The Last of Us.
 
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Phantom Thief

Phantom Thief

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My answers would be:
  • Bloodborne (Sony, PS4)
  • The Last of Us Part 2 (Sony, PS4)
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Sony, PS4)
  • God of War II (Sony, PS2)
  • Ratchet and Clank (Sony, PS2)
 

Aurc

Thoha
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I have to echo Shadow of the Colossus. It will always hold a special place in my heart. Bloodborne is also an incredible achievement.
 

Thunder84

Paratroopa
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Probably The Last of Us. Naughty Dog’s modern portfolio in general would probably take up my top three spots.

Really hoping that Spider-Man 2 turns out well though, could easily see that taking the throne.
 

Garrett

Rattata
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He
Skies of Arcadia - my all-time favourite game until Breath of the Wild, I adored this on Dreamcast (and played it again on GameCube) and would happily play a remaster yet again.
 

Sumio Mondo

Lynchian
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iu

& Shenmue 2.
SEGA's biggest gamble ever. Warts and all, I don't think I've ever been blown away by a gaming experience more than Shenmue 1, closest to it were Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Vagrant Story & the first Metal Gear Solid in terms of how mindblowing these games felt at the time.

Bloodborne and Halo: Combat Evolved are both definitely up there too. Best multiplayer experience of all time for me was the first Halo game. And Bloodborne is just a straight up masterpiece.
 
It's pretty close between Crash Bandicoot 2, Spyro the Dragon, and Ape Escape for me. PS1 is probably my GOAT console and these three are huge reasons why. I'd probably lean towards Crash 2.

I've actually replayed all 3 of these recently too and they all hold up really well.
 

freedomseekr

life is noise
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Hm.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth (Sega, Saturn)
  • ICO (Sony Japan Studio, PS2)
  • Sonic Adventure (Sonic Team, Dreamcast)
  • Gravity Rush (Sony Japan Studio, PSV/PS4)
  • Wild Arms 3 (Media.Vision, PS2)
  • God of War (Santa Monica Studio, PS2/PS3)
...are probably the ones I'd rank as high as some of Nintendo's stuff. I'd probably also put Sakura Wars in that vicinity, but I've only played V and that's not a 1st party title since it was made for PS2 and later Wii.
 

Heron

Moblin
If Bloodborne counts, it's Bloodborne.
Otherwise Shadow of the Colossus.

The debate there is whether a platform holder just funding / publishing something makes it first party, or whether it has to be developed in-house or by an owned / partially owned developer. I get that the modern accepted definition is anything published by the platform holder, but growing up it definitely meant developed in-house or similar. Anything else was "second-party", a term which is no longer used - except in my mind.
 

jirou

Joy Boy
Do Neo Geo games count? Not an expert on those but if they do my favourite is probably KoF 2002 or another of their fighting games 🤔

This is actually a harder question than I thought lol Shoutouts to Ghost of Tsushima's photo mode
 
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Aurc

Thoha
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My answers would be:
  • Bloodborne (Sony, PS4)
  • The Last of Us Part 2 (Sony, PS4)
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Sony, PS4)
  • God of War II (Sony, PS2)
  • Ratchet and Clank (Sony, PS2)
Ratchet & Clank and The Last of Us Part II are really great answers too. I'll always hold dear the wonderful childhood memories I made, playing through R&C 1-4 on the PS2. I'm glad the series still endures, having celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this month! Haven't played the Future saga or Rift Apart yet, though. Instead of remaking games like The Last of Us or Horizon, I really wish they'd remakester the R&C Future games.
 

Mekanos

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Sonic 3 And Knuckles is such an incredible accomplishment that they had to split it across two games. Just pure platforming bliss... except for like 3 levels maybe.

Not even a single mention of Sonic 3 & Knuckles here yet? For shame, that's an incredible game.
There are dozens of us!
 
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My answers would be:
  • Bloodborne (Sony, PS4)
  • The Last of Us Part 2 (Sony, PS4)
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Sony, PS4)
  • God of War II (Sony, PS2)
  • Ratchet and Clank (Sony, PS2)

I left out the Ratchet games because Insomniac was a third party at the time, though I guess they're Sony published so that qualifies. Up Your Arsenal is definitely one of my favorites.
 
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Phantom Thief

Phantom Thief

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Ratchet & Clank and The Last of Us Part II are really great answers too. I'll always hold dear the wonderful childhood memories I made, playing through R&C 1-4 on the PS2. I'm glad the series still endures, having celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this month! Haven't played the Future saga or Rift Apart yet, though. Instead of remaking games like The Last of Us or Horizon, I really wish they'd remakester the R&C Future games.
Unfortunately, I really didn't care for Rift Apart as much. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't... great? Plus it continued the neutering of Ratchet's personality 😭

Definitely worth playing if you're a fan, if nothing else.
 

Aurc

Thoha
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Unfortunately, I really didn't care for Rift Apart as much. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't... great? Plus it continued the neutering of Ratchet's personality 😭

Definitely worth playing if you're a fan, if nothing else.
The 2016 R&C reimagining was fun, but what it did to the duo's character development (as in, outright omitting most of that development) was... not good. 🥲
 
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Phantom Thief

Phantom Thief

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The 2016 R&C reimagining was fun, but what it did to the duo's character development (as in, outright omitting most of that development) was... not good. 🥲
Yeah, 2016 played well and looked gorgeous, but in terms of story and characters, uhhhhhhhhh
 

Jimmy Joe

Good ol' Jimmy Joe
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Hmmm

Shadow of the Colossus is an incomparable game. I played that game's demo dozens of times, and the full game perhaps a half dozen more across multiple platforms. Very few other games on the planet capture mood and scale and momentum the way that game does, and its aesthetics actually fit its framerate being so low. A real achievement

ICO is... man. ICO is just something else. If you're in a certain headspace it will knock you flat and you'll never get back up. Maybe the most effective ending of any game I've ever played, and I'm including bangers like Mother 3 or Disco Elysium

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is really, relaly hard to top as a platformer fan

I think the Sega AGES version of the original Phantasy Star elevated it to one of the best classic RPG experiences you can have. It blows its contemporaries in the genre—namely Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy—entirely out of the water
 

meatbag

Tingle
If Bethesda counts under Microsoft, then absolutely whatever Arkane makes, they are kings of the immersive sims genre. Oh, and MS also owns Double Fine now, and I do rather adore their output from Grim Fandango to Psychonauts 2.

Outside of Bethesda, I do like Halo. Halo 2 was one of my favorite shooters. State of Decay was jank but fun for me, a massive fan of zombies.

Passing the ball to Sony, off the top of my head my favorites are Spiderman, Patapon, Shadow of the Colossus, Fat Princess, and Tomba.
 

em

Moblin
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I hadn't really considered this, but wow, I guess I don't really care about others' first party titles. God of War 2018 would be my choice. Maybe Streets of Rage 2 for something older.
 

KC Hazel

Bob-omb
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Skies of Arcadia - my all-time favourite game until Breath of the Wild, I adored this on Dreamcast (and played it again on GameCube) and would happily play a remaster yet again.
I think I'll agree with this. This or Halo 1.
 

Phendrift

Chain Chomp
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I guess God of War 2018 for me. Maybe Ragnarok once I’m done lol.

I haven’t really gotten into MS’ first party games yet. Not really a fan of Sony’s other high profile ones like Naughty Dog’s or Horizon despite trying them. Didn’t have any Sega hardware.

Damn this is making me realize I have some gaming blind spots I need to clean up lol. Most of my playtime on PS is 3P stuff like Final Fantasy, KH, MGS…
 
0
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Ratchet & Clank and The Last of Us Part II are really great answers too. I'll always hold dear the wonderful childhood memories I made, playing through R&C 1-4 on the PS2. I'm glad the series still endures, having celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this month! Haven't played the Future saga or Rift Apart yet, though. Instead of remaking games like The Last of Us or Horizon, I really wish they'd remakester the R&C Future games.

A Crack in Time is one of my favorite games of all time. I'd definitely recommend it if you're a fan of the older games. It still holds up very well technically and artistically even though it's a PS3 game.
 

curl-6

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halo1-1638834266884.jpg


One of those rare games that sends shockwaves through the medium and changes gaming forever.

Back in 2001, it felt like being catapulted forwards into the future, as if a game from a decade later had been sent back through a time machine.
From its huge and seamless open levels, to the eerily intelligent AI, to the cutting edges visuals, to its incredible soundtrack, to quality of life innovations like dedicated grenade and melee buttons and regenerating health, it felt lightyears ahead of the curve.

It was the Breath of the Wild of its time, throwing established convention out the window and boldly reimaging its genre from the ground up, bringing the first person shooter into the 21st century with flying colours.
 

Mekanos

Smash Mele
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I hadn't really considered this, but wow, I guess I don't really care about others' first party titles. God of War 2018 would be my choice. Maybe Streets of Rage 2 for something older.
I've never really cared for MS and Sony's first party output either, or the majority of Sega's if I'm honest with myself (at least console era Sega). Really, Capcom is the only other game company I think of with a treasure trove of IPs that I really like.
 
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I forgot to add Twisted Metal 2. Easily the best car combat game ever. I went through the campaign as every single character to see their ending, writing down passwords as I went along. Some of my most fond gaming memories.
 

MagiCarbo

Octorok
Anything put out by Sega on the Dreamcast. That's a level of sheer creative freedom and insanity that's simply hard to recreate these days. Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, SA2, Space Channel 5, REZ, all classics in my book.

Runner up would be Dreams on PS4. What Media Molecule achieved with that game is simply nuts.
 

Christo750

Koopa
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He/Him/His
Halo 3. Feels like people don't remember how big Halo was in its heyday. Halo 3 was absolutely massive, for the time. Both the campaign and the multiplayer were great, and it was a polished experience.

Wanna give shoutouts to:
Astro's Playroom
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Sonic Adventure
Jet Set Radio
Shadow of the Colossus
God of War 3
Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Jak and Daxter
Ape Escape
 


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