Let’s be honest here, The Valve Corporation may very well be the greatest video game developing company of all time. They have given us Steam, have consolidated an entire PC Gaming community into the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race under Gabe Newell, and have consistently given us some of the greatest video games of all time. While other prominent developers like Bethesda, Ubisoft, and Rockstar North have put out either bad or forgettable games, Valve has remained rock solid by sticking to a small amount of solid titles.
Originally, I wanted to make this list the Valve Corporation Games ranked from Worst to Best… But than I realized that this was a bit of a misnomer. Because, out of the five games listed, the lowest of the five will still receive a 4/5 from me. It would be very wrong of me to call it the ‘worst’ Valve game when they have all been stellar. So, with that said, I decided to instead go with The Valve Franchise Games Ranked from Great to Greatest.
KEEP IN MIND before we start this list, that I am not going to be including games that were originally Half-Life mods on this list. So games like Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Alien Swarm, Ricochet, and Deathmatch Classic will be included in the Half Life listed below. Sure, these games became independent games, but they still started as a part of Half-Life. With that being said, we will start this list with number 5.
We start this list with the multiplayer online battle arena game that was originally a World of Warcraft mod. Out of all the Valve games, this is the only game that I have the least experience with, and is also the only game that I have not played first hand. My well stated derision of competitive multiplayer should make it obvious that, if I never touched League of Legends, I am not going to touch Dota 2. My experience with the game has remained strictly observational, from watching friends play, and watching the occasional YouTube video.
However, out of the genre, it cannot be denied that Dota 2’s is a successful title, and a stellar video game from all of my observations. It is easily one of the best MOBAs on the market… In fact, regardless of fans of the game who will vouch of its superiority, Dota 2 only plays second fiddle to League of Legends. The problem is that the shadow that Dota 2 lives under is a shadow that they will never come out of. Like World of Warcraft, League of Legend has staked its claim in its particular genre and bar a massive cultural shift, League will forever remain on top.
It is this reason, more than anything, that finds Dota 2 in the number 5 slot. Out of all five of the video games on this list, it is simply the least successful. Considering though, that Dota 2 is the ‘least successful’ of the games on this list, it truly does say something for the games that are to come.
We come to the Big Four of Valve Corporation Games. Keep in mind, that all of these games AT LEAST score a 4.5 for me, so to say that Left 4 Dead is number four on this list was a decision not taken lightly. I struggled to think of how I would list the Top 4 Games on this list, but ultimately this is how the chips fell.
Left 4 Dead, like most of the games on this list, was an absolute trail blazer. After its success, it spawned countless clones that are still going on to this day. Games like Order 1886, Dead Island, Assassin’s Creed, and many more have attempted to recreate the lightning in a bottle that was Left 4 Dead… And for the most part all of them are complete steaming piles of dog shit, ESPECIALLY in comparison to Left 4 Dead.
Left 4 Dead is innovation personified. A four player survival game that features excellent challenges, memorable special zombies, and memorable characters make this game an instant classic. It is also the number one inspiration to Humans vs. Zombies, a game that is near, and dear to my heart.
The game only finds its spot on number 4 due to the limited play in single player for both the original and the sequel. Other than that, it is easily a 5/5 in my eyes.
Now here is a competitive multiplayer that I can get behind, one that doesn’t take itself AT ALL SERIOUSLY! I love a good competitive multiplayer where the goal of the game is to see who has the most impressive hat collection compared to who has the biggest dick… Very similar now that I think about it, but ultimately there is one of these two that is less dickish (pun not intended).
One of the greatest decisions that a game like Team Fortress 2 could have gone was to step away from the dime-a-dozen team based, realistic shooter and make it a cartoony goofy shooter that is dripping in character and originality. The characters are original, the scenery cartoonish, and the back story in the comic books is engaging! This is easily the best competitive multiplayer in existence, bar none!
The only thing that keeps Team Fortress 2 from ascending higher than three is the fact that the games at 2 and 1 are so well-known and loved by the people who love the company that defeating them is simply out of the question.
Oh… I may get some stimulating comments for this one, but I will explain myself near the end of this section why it is number 2 and not number 1… But for right now, let’s talk about the amazing phenomenon that is Half-Life. What started out as a Doom and Quake inspired first person shooter from 1998 has propelled the Valve Corporation into the beloved video game developing juggernaut that we see today.
This game has been modded countless times, many of which have become video games in their own right, as I listed above. Half-Life was one of the first games that openly embraced the concept of modding a game until it breaks and endeared itself to the fans around the world. The game still holds a hardcore fan base who are constantly clamoring for the epic conclusion to the Half-Life series with Half-Life 3. Because of this, it is easily one of the greatest video games of all time and made Valve into what they are today.
I struggled between Half-Life and the game that finds itself at number one. By all accounts, Half-Life is THE game of Valve, it has countless mods, countless add-ons, stand alone games, and made the company great! But… Overall, thanks to the fact that Half-Life, to the date of writing this, remains incomplete with no signs of its completion in sight, and the fact that the game at number one has stepped above Half-Life in the realms of cultural significance, it finds its spot at number two.
It was a toss up between Portal and Half-Life. If I could, I would do a 1 and 1A slot. However, I’m a person who doesn’t enjoy a tie when it comes to list like this and eventually a winner had to emerge and it was Portal. While Half-Life made the Valve company what it is today, it is Portal that propelled Valve from a stellar developer to an absolutely legendary developer.
When the tiny little puzzle game appeared in The Orange Box in 2007, nobody would have guessed that the game would become as amazing and legendary as it did. As I said in my review, the game’s characters, atmosphere, story, and memorable material make this game rock solid. Granted, the same could be said for all games on this list. But what truly propels Portal above the competition is the legacy that it has left.
I still see videos of Portal everywhere, merchandise, fans of the series who applaud it, people constantly quote Portal, and think fondly of Portal. Half-Life’s fan base has become soured due to the infuriating cliff hanger that has now lasted for close to a decade, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2 remain memorable, but not to the level that Portal has reached AND maintained. It may be controversial, but Portal stands head and shoulders as THE Greatest Game Developed by the Valve Corporation.
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