It might surprise some, but video game consoles have distinct generations with the current PS3/Xbox 360/Wii dominated era considered the seventh.
With next week’s annual E3 conference set to show off the launch titles and franchises of the eighth generation of gaming (PS4/Xbox One/Wii U), I thought today would be a good time to reflect on some personal favorite games of mine from the last near decade of console gaming. More importantly, I’d love to hear what games you found the most enjoyable of this generation.
As with any list, there’s bound to be disagreements. I’ve been playing video games on and off since my pre-teens in the late 1980s and have had numerous consoles in my time. As a result, I never really understood the petty tribalism that goes on with disavowing a whole swath of games because they are exclusive to one machine or brand.
On the flip side of that argument though, I do have some gaming prejudices. I play games as an entertaining escape, not for competition. As a result I’m not a fan of multiplayer and avoid it where I can. So, a game to me lives and dies entirely on its single-player campaign story. I also have no affection whatsoever for sports games, Japanese RPGs, or first-person shooters with a military bent.
As a result some major franchises and games of the past decade – “Call of Duty,” “Battlefield,” “Final Fantasy,” “Crysis,” and the various FIFA & Madden games, hold zero interest for me despite my attempts to have a go at many of them. I’ve also shied away from the “Gears of War” series for that reason, though unlike the others I have briefly dabbled in it and enjoyed it enough that I intend to give the franchise a proper go in good time.
Also, despite my experience with previous generations, I’m in no way a hardcore gamer as I rarely have the time. As a result, there’s numerous acclaimed games that have interested me that I simply haven’t had the chance to get around to yet. That is probably why they aren’t listed below.
That list includes: “Borderlands 2,” “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow,” “Catherine,” “Dark Souls,” “Demon’s Souls,” “Deus Ex: Human Revolution,” “Dishonored,” “Dragon Age: Origins,” “Fallout 3,” “Far Cry 3,” “Hitman Absolution,” “L.A. Noire,” “Left 4 Dead,” “Metal Gear Solid 4,” “Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch,” “Outland,” “Red Dead Redemption,” “Skyrim,” “Sleeping Dogs,” and “The Walking Dead”.
As you can see, you could easily draw up a whole other list of great games just from the stuff I haven’t gotten around to playing yet. Of the numerous games I have played this generation though, here are my favorites:
20. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
While I’m not as crazy about “Star Wars” on film as practically every other film geek I know, for some reason I’ve been a big fan of the computer games ever since I played “Star Wars: Rebel Assault” a good twenty years ago. Though this received a mixed response upon release, I have to admit I’m still a big fan of it – from the powers available, to Sam Witwer’s Starkiller character, to the elaborate world stages (I particularly love the Cloud City level), and a decent storyline. The all too truncated sequel was a big letdown, but still – it’s a franchise I would’ve loved to have seen continue.
Some one-offs that I quite enjoyed include the beautiful “Flower,” the reboot of “Prince of Persia,” and the best of this gen’s “Halo” titles – “Halo 3”. “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West” surprised me with its scope and fun, while “Grand Theft Auto IV” was well made yet not a patch on “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” which I’d consider the best game of the previous console generation.
“Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction” and “Prey” boasted energy and ambition, “Burnout Revenge” and “Dead Rising” were just absolute blasts, “Braid” and “Papo & Yo” had inventiveness and heart, “Sonic Generations” was rich with warm nostalgia, and “Lost Planet” was more than the generic shooter you’d expect.
Also a big shout out has to go to the various HD collections of previous generation classics such as “Halo: Combat Evolved,” “God of War I & II,” “Half-Life 2,” “ICO/Shadow of the Colossus,” the “Prince of Persia” trilogy, “Okami,” “The Sega Mega Drive Collection” and the “Metal Gear Solid” and “Hitman” trilogies.
So what have been your favourite games of this generation? Please let me know in the comments below.