Feature: 50 Games That Defined This Generation, For Better & For Worse – Part I

games-console-warsThe next-generation is only a few months away. We’ve had the PlayStation 4 reveal, albeit without the console, but enough to whet our appetites. Now we’re all waiting patiently for Microsoft to show what they’re bringing to the table with their next Xbox console.

As the next-generation looms ever closer (it may be months away, but that time will fly) why don’t we take a look at the back catalogue of games that have kept us entertained over the past 5-6 years on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, and the titles that have made us weep with buyer’s remorse.

The Better

 

25. Crackdown (Xbox 360)

Crackdown was brilliant fun, chaotic at times, but still bloody good fun. Playing the role of a super-clone-cop it was your job to rid Pacific City of the criminal gangs that have been running the city ragged for far too long.

 

24. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (PlayStation 3)

Uncharted: Drakes Fortune came from the talented minds over at Naughty Dog, blending action, adventure, platforming and shooting to create a tale worth telling. Boasting some of the best visuals at the time, the original Uncharted was what showed people who the PlayStation 3 could perform with the best.

23. Assassin’s Creed (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)

I remember first playing Assassin’s Creed when it released all those years ago, blowing my mind with the vast open world, the extreme climbing capabilities and brutal combat. It still holds up with its sequels today, so if you’ve never played through Altair’s adventure, there’s no time like the present.

22. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

The Call of Duty franchise is old, very old actually. The first installment stormed onto the PC with critical acclaim in 2001, taking you into the dirtiest battles of World War II. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare took the series forward into the present day with astounding success, becoming the catalyst for Activision’s dominance over the first-person shooter market.

21. Wii Sports (Nintendo Wii)

Love it or loathe it, Wii Sports was innocent albeit tiring fun that all could enjoy. Fancy some bowling? Great, turn on the Wii. What about a round of gold? No need for the outdoors, the Wii will do just fine.

20. Project Gotham Racing 3 (Xbox 360)

Racing games had been done to death by the time Project Gotham Racing 3 released on the Xbox 360, but it still managed to beat on harder than ever, providing some great thrills in high-powered super cars with an online component that brought all car lover together, even if it was just to hear who’s had a go on your mum…

19. Red Faction: Guerilla (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

Moving away from the series’ tried and tested first-person shooter formula, Red Faction: Guerilla let you pummel the crap out of Mars, and it was so good. The difficulty often made the game downright frustrating, but that didn’t matter, you could go and vent some of that anger out on some poor souls martian house and move on. If you’ve not gotten stuck into this yet, get it now on the PlayStation Store for under £5! Bargain!

18. Perfect Dark: Zero (Xbox 360)

OK, I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t as good as the original that graced the Nintendo 64, but it was good enough. The story was pretty ‘bleh’ and the visuals were a bit too simple, but the fun factor was all in the multiplayer, not only online, but getting it on with your mates and the AI was even better.

17. Halo 3 (Xbox 360)

Halo 3 may be a little old now, especially since Halo: Reach and Halo 4 released, but there’s many a fan of the series who will tell you that Halo 3 remains the king of online shooters within the franchise. An engaging campaign made all the better with co-op and a solid online offering put Halo 3 at loggerheads with Call of Duty for top shooter this generation, a battle still being fought fiercely to this day.

16. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Described by many as the spiritual sequel to Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy took Mario on a much-needed 3D adventure with a difference. Without a doubt one of, if not the best titles for Nintendo’s casual gaming platform, the Wii.

15. Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

Super hero games tend to get blasted by critics and fans, mainly because they’re pretty crap. Batman: Arkham Asylum changed our way of thinking when it comes to super hero games, they don’t need to be flashy action and colourful, instead the require a good balance of expertly crafted storytelling with some bone-crunching combat. Rocksteady outdid themselves with Batman: Arkham Asylum, or so we thought, because then they went even bigger and better with the sequel Batman: Arkham City.

14. God of War III (PlayStation 3)

Kratos has become as recognisable within the PlayStation franchise as much as Crash Bandicoot, and he demands the respect of gamers (he’ll kick your head in otherwise.) Kratos’ return on the PlayStation 3 in God of War III was nothing short of spectacular, boasting cutting edge graphics, massive combos to bust out and some of the most awe-inspiring arenas to do battle on.

13. Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition (Xbox 360)

Before the massively successful Minecraft came to the Xbox 360, the only way you could get your dig on was with the shameful copy-cats on the Xbox Live Arcade. To be fair, some of them were half decent, but nothing can beat the original. Taking the blocky adventure from the PC and pushing it into the living room, bedroom or bathroom (if you can Xbox in the bath, I take my hat off to you) and delivering the fun in spades (wood, stone, iron and diamond varieties, naturally) was the best thing that happened to the game. With constant updates and a growing fan-base, it’s world domination for Minecraft, especially as there has been talk of a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita port. Fingers crossed!

12. Splinter Cell: Conviction (Xbox 360, PC)

Sam Fisher came back with a vengeance in Splinter Cell: Conviction, unfortunately he only paid a visit to the Xbox 360 and PC. Deviating slighty from the series roots, Splinter Cell: Conviction gave Sam a more active way of doing things, so to speak. Taking on the abilities of a man much younger than himself helped breathe new life into the series, which believe it or not, is almost 10 years old. Be sure to look out for Splinter Cell: Blacklist later this year!

11. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)

Star Wars and video games have a troubled relationship to say the least. There’s been a plethora of terrible games, peppered with the occasional good title and glazed with the even rarer great game. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed falls into the latter category of terrible analogy’s. Taking place between Episode III and Episode IV, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller gains notoriety for being one good bad-ass. Some fierce lightsaber action coupled with hilarious Force physics gave us a Star Wars title to be proud to display with the rest of our games. (Remember that terrible Tekken style Star Wars game for the PS1? Yeah, I buried it with my evil hamster, they were made for each other.)

10. Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360, PC)

Zombies have become the ‘must-have’ DLC for every game under the Sun these days, but no matter how hard they might try, none will come close to Left 4 Dead. Valve’s classic co-op zombie fest boasts hours of gameplay and replay value, as well as some genuine frights. Just you try wandering ahead on your own with a Hunter stalking you, it’s not a smart thing to do… Best played on the PC due to the amount of add-on content and fan created mods, Left 4 Dead and it’s fleshed out sequel were the best of the zombie bunch this generation.

9. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Basically Grand Theft Auto in the Old West, but without the cars, machine guns or helicopters. Surprisingly though, it was a hit amongst fans and critics, all applauding the broad open-word gameplay and the tasty graphics that brought the under-played era to life. It’s a personal favourite of mine and I barely go a week without taking off across the desert on my trusty stallion to the local bar for a stiff whiskey. What? Don’t judge me,I don’t have a horse in real life and you can’t dip cookies in a real whiskey.

10. Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

Another title from Rockstar, another hit. Grand Theft Auto IV may have had it’s fair share of problems and flaws, especially on the PC, but it definitely brought the series into the next-generation. A massive city just begging to be sped across, a massive single player story and the funniest online experience you can have without crossing moral boundaries, GTA IV will always be remembered as the one that came first this generation. Remember, Grand Theft Auto V releases later this year, September 17th!

8. Gears of War (Xbox 360)

Like big men? Big men with muscles and massive chainsaw guns? Gears of War accommodated those kind of weirdos, but at the same time brought some refreshing third-person cover based combat. The clunkyness of the gameplay was a pain in the arse, but Gears of War was without a doubt a technical achievement at the time, setting up a fantastic trilogy. What? There’s a prequel? Cough*milking*cough…

7. LittleBigPlanet (PlayStation 3)

Platformers come and go like there’s no tomorrow, but LittleBigPlanet has far extended its welcome with a robust online community of creators constantly pumping out wonderful levels. That’s not to say the base game isn’t fun. Beautifully crafted levels with pleasing candy-sweet visuals, it’s the all-rounder package and shouldn’t be missed by those who own the PlayStation 3.

6. Mass Effect (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

Despite the trilogy coming to a lackluster end, the first entry in the franchise was solid as you could wish. Blending crisp visuals, tight controls and a good balance of action and RPG, there’s a lot to go around in Mass Effect. Coming from the creative minds over at BioWare, you’ll struggle to find a deeper experience in any trilogy.

5. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

Point and click adventures have gone down in demand since they had their heyday back in the 90’s, but Telltale Games has brought them back in style. After the success of their Back to the Future episodes, The Walking Dead improved on every aspect and even brought in some harsh decision-making to make your gaming a little less bland and standard. Season Two is due out later this year, so be ready for more difficult decisions, one of them being which platform to buy for…

4. Borderlands (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

RPG’s and shooters rarely work in tandem, yet Gearbox managed to conjure up some spiffing gameplay by mixing the two together in their oddball shooter Borderlands. An open-world adventure that puts you in a comic book-esque environment? That had me sold from the start.

3. Heavy Rain (PlayStation 3)

In recent years video games have somewhat caught up with Hollywood in terms of story telling, but none came as close as Heavy Rain. Innovative in gameplay style, ambitious with its story and impressive with the visuals, Heavy Rain is something that has to be seen to be believed.

2. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

Wise cracking army dudes with a complete disregard for their own safety as they blow out the side of buildings might just seem a little too generic to care about, but Bad Company 2 was a fine shooter with personality. Played from the first-person perspective (as you do) you’ll be flabbergasted at the amount of destruction you can punish the Earth with, just because it got in your way. Online was where the most fun happened, taking it down the river with a few mates and you’d be there for hours.

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3)

Uncharted: Drakes Fortune may have looked great when it first came to the PlayStation 3, but Nate’s second outing was spectacular. Literally, in every sense of the word. The action was ramped up to stupid levels, the story telling was even stronger and more engrossing and the graphics, well, they put Naughty Dog’s first Uncharted effort into murky waters. The graphical leap really showcased the power of the PlayStation 3 and put all nay-sayers in their place. There’s a third title out as well as a prequel for the PS Vita, but for most fans, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the real star.

That’s Part I over and done with, so if your favourite game isn’t listed above, I do apologise. However, if it should be found in ‘The Worse’ in Part II (coming tomorrow) then I’m taking that apology back and demanding you rethink your hobby as a gamer.

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What are the games that define this generation for you? Let us know down in the comments below.

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