7th Gen Favourite Games
  • Well, with 7th gen gaming all but toast now, and a few posts about this very topic, I figured we might as well have at it. Post your favourite games from last generation. Given enough turnout, I will calculate a favourites list, but I really don't know that there are enough posters to make it matter. Some ground rules:

    -You must have a ranked list in order for your votes to count towards the final tally. I will not place any restriction on how long your list is because you should knock your socks off and post what you want. I figure the final favourites will be a top 5 or so, but please post more.

    -Last gen games include games that were released for:
    -Playstation 3
    -Xbox 360
    -Wii
    -DS
    -PSP
    -PC from November 22, 2005, to November 14, 2013

    Please explain why you chose the games you did, any favuorite memories, and the like. Also feel free to post as many as you would like.

    GO!
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • There are many games I want to mention, and many games I have sitting on my shelf untouched or barely experienced (Fallout 3, Tomb Raider, Dark Souls 2, Rayman Legends, and XCOM). Many of those games could drastically alter this list, but for now, here's my top 20.

    20. Bioshock Infinite

    Columbia,
    Elisabeth, and the infinite loop; all are reasons for why it’s on the list, but
    there are many other reasons why it’s just barely on this list. Comparatively
    the mechanics and structure are not as refined as the original Bioshock, and
    its conceit is not as infectious. The tone and aesthetic pull this game out of
    what could have been fps mediocrity and firmly supplanted it as one of the more
    memorable gaming experiences of the last generation.



     



    19. Outland



    No real
    story to be told, no great drama, no character study, just pure game design.
    This game relied on none of the modern trappings that sell most games. It didn’t
    sell you on a vast, expansive world. It didn’t give you the most visually
    stimulating experience on the market. Outland gave you platforming, and boss
    battles. That’s it, and that is all you needed. Metroid Ikaruga as our founders
    called it is one of the most engaging gameplay experiences of the last
    generation, and shame on those of you that never played it.



     



    18. Journey



    Games
    as art is a conversation that will never end; in many respects we are still
    trying to define what art in general is. With that said: ThatGameCompany had
    set out on multiple occasions to (in their eyes) validate the artistic merits
    of this medium we have all grown with, and this is their best work yet. I
    remember each experience I had with this game; the first time I was lead
    through this world, and the multitude of times I led others through it. An
    unspoken bond was created as the vicious animosity that was forged by the
    advent of internet anonymity dissipated and that feeling of compassion and camaraderie
    is something I’ll never forget.



     



    17. Saints Row The Third



    Some
    may be thinking: “What the fuck?!” My retort: This was the single most
    unexpected gaming experience of the last generation. I purchased this game due
    to the rave reviews the now defunct NoobToob podcast gave its predecessor.
    Based on their acclaim I was anticipating a fun, juvenile ride in an expansive
    world that would last 20+ hours; I got that, and I also received a stark
    sardonic commentary on many of the current affairs going on in America today.
    It not only poked fun at modern pop culture, materialism, and the male gaze,
    but it also went after the overt militarization of our police and the Orwellian
    nature of varying administrations. Some may see it as completely off base or so
    over the top that its irreparable, but having not expected that kind of tone I
    was left utterly speechless. I didn’t played Grand Theft Auto V, and I don’t
    feel like I need to.



    16. inFamous



    I
    bought this for the Uncharted 2 multiplayer beta, expected very little from it,
    and ended up being completely immersed in it. The powers, the upgrades, the
    karma; what more could you really want? It has a great “villain” too. I played
    through both the good and evil, and while the choices were often devoid of any
    real ambiguity, the reaction from the civilians and subsequent rise or decline
    of the city based on your actions made everything you did feel like it actually
    mattered. Playing as a hero, doing everything I could to help people and being
    adulated was truly uplifting. Compound a great “villain”, someone who actually
    had a plan, true motivation made this game even more memorable. Being a hero, a
    good person is about more than just powers, it’s what you do and the sacrifices
    you’re willing to make.



     



    15. Darksiders

    You
    know what? God of War 3 was mediocre and Zelda outside of handheld releases has
    been really lackluster over the years. That’s okay though, because in 2010 we
    were given Darksiders and that game filled both voids. This game is a slow
    burn, which to some is a detriment, but as I progressed I become more and more
    invested in what has clearly been one of the better gaming experiences in my
    life. If you looked through my comics and novels you’ll clearly see I am one
    for mythology, esoteric, and the occult. This game has some aspects of those
    things, nothing heavy handed, but a design and conceit that comes from those
    particular wheelhouses. Add in some nice puzzle solving and really good boss
    fights, and you have a pretty stellar game.



     



    14. Deus Ex Human Revolution



    Blade
    Runner is one of my all time favorite films, and this world is very much
    inspired by it. What does it mean to be human? Do we have any freedom? Do the
    choices we make really matter, or are well simply cogs in a machine? The game
    wasn’t a profound piece or dissertation on those questions, but it was one that
    asked them. You could play this game as most modern gamers would, run and gun,
    or you could put yourself at a total disadvantage; it’s your choice (or is it?).
    Its one failing was its use of obligatory boss fights. A game built around
    choice should have found a way around that, but I digress, most everything else
    was wonderful.



     



    13. Dead Space



     You
    will be afraid, I know I was. I distinctly remember sitting at a Meijer staring at
    a case trying to choose between Far Cry 2 and Dead Space. I chose Far Cry 2;
    that was dumb, I’m well aware. Eventually I ended up purchasing Dead Space on a
    later date, and holy shit was that some great UI. Yes the game is genuinely terrifying,
    but that’s only the tipping point of its immersion. Visceral completely pulls
    you into their game by stripping away all the tradition design aspects we’ve
    come accustomed to. Obligatory health bar sitting somewhere on the screen?
    Visceral said “Fuck that” and actually incorporated it into the characters
    suit. Everything you interact with is actually part of the world, not some aberration
    that pops up for your convenience. I wish other game designers had that kind of
    ingenuity.



     



    12. Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time



     Sadly
    they’re continuing the series, but with this game it felt like a departure and
    true goodbye. We’ve uncovered Clanks history, and the bond between Lombax and
    machine is now stronger than ever; they finally know their place in the world.
    Between Ratchets planet hopping, arena fighting, and general platforming there
    isn’t much more you could ask for, but Insomniac is not content with just that
    and so they have fun and challenging time puzzles with Clank. Going back and
    forth between the two, seeing their stories unfold, and eventually returning to
    each other was a really fun experience. Sometimes that’s all a game really
    needs to be.



     



    11. Uncharted Drakes Fortune



     Disregarding
    a few handheld games, this was my onset to the last generation. I was without a
    modern console, and having been listening to the podcast for a little over half
    a year I decided it was time for me to join the modern generation of games and
    see what I was missing. Having listened to nearly every episode of the podcast
    I found that I tended to like similar kinds of games as Tobin, and considering
    his sheer adoration of Uncharted I decided to make it the first game I’d play
    and bought it when I purchased my PS3. I was not disappointed. It was fun,
    intense, captivating, awe-inspiring, and more. I was riveted, like a phoenix
    rising from the ashes I was invested in games and the culture all over again,
    and it started here.



     



    10. Demon’s Souls



     You
    know what’s scarier than Necromorphs? Losing all of your souls. I had no
    interest in purchasing this game after hearing everyone recanting their horrifying
    experiences. It just sounded so antiquated. I’m no masochist, so why would I
    want to venture off into a world designed to punish my every mistake? The
    answer: credibility. This niche experience was quickly becoming a badge of
    honor, and one I wanted to wear. I was not going to let my trepidations get the
    better of me. I slowly slogged my way through, learning every way I could die
    and constantly succeeding where I had failed just a few moments prior. All the
    same risks would be involved, but the rewards were always worth it. My fears
    began to fade and I noticed the shortcuts, the tricks, the hints, everything
    that made my experience all the better. I didn’t just beat this game, I grew
    with it, and that’s what really counts.



     



    9. The Last of Us



    Ellie.
    I can think of a hundred beautiful and profound things to say about this game.
    Its use of violence as part of its storytelling, the subtle elements of design,
    the thoughtful design of its multiplayer component and how they actually
    managed to make it distinct from every other shooter on the market. I could
    comment on its sound design, the score, and general writing, but Ellie is the
    main thing that matters. If I ever have a daughter, her name will be Ellie, and
    it will be for the character in this game. She is so full of life, so courageous,
    and has the biggest heart. As I was playing I not only began to understand
    Joel, but in a way I felt that I was becoming him. I felt protective of Ellie,
    wanted to do everything I could to make her safe, and felt willing to do almost
    anything to those who would (or did) hurt her. In a world so bleak and devoid
    of humanity, Ellie is the Last of Us; a shining example of whom we use to be
    and what we always should have been.



     



    8. Rayman Origins



     Very
    rarely do I come across an experience in any art form that makes me feel like I’m
    a kid again, but this did just that. Beautiful cell shaded art, perfect level
    design, and crisp, clean platforming from beginning to end. The sound track was
    exceptional, particularly in the water levels. It was everything I remembered
    from when I was a little boy. Mario, Donkey Kong, and Sonic all came rushing
    back through my mind in some way. It’s nice to know these kinds of games still
    have their place because I wouldn’t be a gamer without them.



     



    7. Ni No Kuni



     Level 5
    strikes again, and this time with an assist from the renowned Studio Ghibli. I
    expected great things, and it delivered in more ways than I had hoped. It was a
    long, fulfilling experience with every trite aspect of RPG’s that I could
    imagine (and I mean that in the best way). My team consisted of a bard, mage,
    and thief. My main fighting force was an array of monsters I collected and
    evolved over the course of the game. I eventually tamed a Dragon that would
    allow me to travel on his back on around the world. The main villains of the
    game were a Dark Genie and Dark Spirit. Many of these things are the bread and
    butter of Level 5 game design, and those are the things I love most about them.
    The gameplay is solid. The setting is beautiful and expansive. The lore is
    surprisingly deep, and the amount of side work given will keep you busy long
    after you’ve beaten the game. I can never have enough Level 5 in my life.



     



    6. infamous 2



    The
    goal of any sequel is to build on what worked and fix what didn’t, and this
    game did exactly that. I was enthralled when this game released, doing
    everything I could until I got the platinum trophy. It wasn’t my first platinum
    mind you, but it was one of the quicker ones I’ve gotten. This game was
    intense, the cityscape was varied, and the powers really made you feel like a
    God. The game had a similar blueprint in regards to enemies and power
    progression as its predecessor, but SuckerPunch managed to perfect those
    blueprints to a point in which you had little to complain about. It was a huge
    leap, and was only made better by the focus on the relationship between Cole
    and Zeke. Like its predecessor this game is all about the choices you make, and
    those choices drive the relationship of these two characters. In the end, you
    either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.



     



    5. Dark Souls



     The
    more I think about this game, the more I appreciate it, and the higher it goes
    on my list. Having played Demon’s Souls I didn’t have the dread going into this
    game. I knew what to expect, understood the consequences of my actions, and for
    that managed to get so much more out of it. I understood how to summon other
    players, and knew where to look if I wanted to join someone else’s game. I was
    more patient with boss battles than I was with Demon’s Souls because I knew
    they were patterns I had to learn, not soul stealers I had to be concerned
    with. I was more methodical, and therefore more ingrained in the overall
    setting, lore, and design. I kept my distance from Demon’s Souls fearing the
    consequences, but with Dark Souls I was far more willing to dive right in.



     



    4. Dragon Age: Origins



    The
    plight of the Grey Wardens is one I won’t soon forget. Betrayed by those who
    they swore to protect, facing off against all forms of adversity, and
    eventually saving all of Ferelden; that is their story. I say “their” not
    because I had a cast of Grey Wardens but because I played through multiple Origins
    and experienced different adventures, friendships, romances, and deaths
    throughout. In my initial game I ventured off as a noble white male, someone I
    could somewhat relate. I devoted myself to being the most upstanding Grey
    Warden, building a team that would trust me and help me slay the beast. In my
    second game I was a female Elvin mage. I was the very worst in the eyes of
    Ferelden, completely untrustworthy, a monster that would destroy them all. The
    citizens felt this way even though I did every good deed imaginable, but I was
    not judged for what I did, but rather for how I looked and what I could do.
    Other experiences soon followed, and through those varying experiences I felt
    as if I was playing an entirely new game almost every time. I recall Bioware
    selling this as a single player MMO, and considering the amount of time I put
    into this, that advertisement was correct.



     



    3. Bioshock



     “A man
    lives, a slave obeys.” Those words are forever trapped in my mind. Compelling,
    erudite, sublime; those words encapsulate the experience that is Bioshock.
    Often video games are granted artistic merit due to visual design, but Bioshock
    stand head and shoulders above most other games for its storytelling and
    characterizations. This is one of the few games I can think of in which the
    writing came first, but somehow nothing else suffered. The aesthetic was
    breathtaking, with some of the best water effects of that time, and a city that
    stilled resonates in the mind of gamers everywhere. Simply put, for those of
    you who haven’t, would you kindly play Bioshock?



     



    2. Super Mario Galaxy 2



     Joy,
    this video game is pure joy. From its flawless design to bounciful soundtrack,
    it is the single greatest Mario game ever made and possibly Nintendo’s crowning
    achievement. This game not only expounded upon the brilliance that was Super
    Mario Galaxy, but recalled level design and imagery from the twenty plus years
    of Mario. They take you from the most complex worlds to the most absurdly
    simple of levels, showcasing their remarkable design each and every time. They
    have a seemingly endless number of ways to make what appears to be simple
    jumping into one of the most intoxicating gaming experience ever produced. I
    could not wipe the smile off of my face.



     



    1. Uncharted 2 Among Thieves



    Minimalism
    and spectacle are two words that come to mind when I think of this game. You
    come for the show, the falling building, gun fight on the train, and giant city
    of gold. However, you will return for all those little things they do: the lack
    of load times, the conversations that are always in context to the event at
    hand, and the perfect placement of every checkpoint. You will replay the game
    to uncover every possible avenue to beating your opponents, such as climbing
    over rooftops, incapacitating them from behind, or maybe even punching them
    directly in the face. As you return, you’ll find yourself falling for the charm
    of each protagonist, and despising the antagonist(s) you face. This game taught
    me a lot about what I like and look for in a game. It mixed varying aspects of
    this medium that I appreciate, from storytelling, to character development, to
    level design, overall design, and much more. 
    Oh yeah, and who doesn’t love a game of cat and mouse? 


  • Bioshock

    Fallout 3

    Uncharted 2 and Last of Us would make the top five, along with maybe Skyrim or Xcom, but all of those fall pretty far below the top two.
  • Its is truly hard to pick just one :
    Bioshock
    Mass effect
    Portal
    Minecraft
    Killing floor
    Fallout 3
    Dark soul
    Yakuza 3
    Super mario galaxy 1

    I would probaly pick Fallout 3.. I just loveeee everyhing about that game.
  • Really difficult to pick one.

    Fallout 3 or Oblivion. (I I suppose Skyrim too)

    It has been the gen that Bethesda Studios got Its claws into me big time. With their clunky engine but the ambition and scope of the games are ridiculous huge, so any little chinks In the gameplay I am able to completely overlook - mainly due to the worlds feeling alive and enormous as well as being the style of game i want to play. I have got into the hundreds of hours in oblivion a lot in different playthroughs. It must be the game I have put the most time into overall this gen.

    Mass Effect

    Dynamic storytelling that has emerged from companies like Bioware on last gen hardware really brought up the production value with great interactive cutscenes, stories and ways of storytelling through gameplay. Mass effect being a great example of this. (And DA. Especially origins)

    Civilization 5

    Not much to say, gets my vote for being the biggest time sponge. I have played a crazy amount and had so much fun. (Multiplayer will happilly dissolve half a day).

    CoD MW

    Was a great PC multiplayer game which allowed for dedicated servers and what i felt was the pinnacle of me enjoying multiplayer FPS games. Before they have been rehashed and kicked repeatedly out of the door.

    Minecraft

    I did not see the point at all until watching a youtuber (forgotten who ) and then it suddenly clicked that their was this survival and exploration element to this game. (As I naively assumed it was just lego) . Great multiplayer adventures and hours of single player cave-dwelling. Minecraft is probably one the biggest anomalies to occur ever in the history of gaming, one that managed to capture the imagination of almost evedrybody.

    Pokemon Soul Silver

    Nostalgia fest bringing pokemon Silver to the pseudo 3d world of the DS. With large improvement to the game mechanics. 

    Final Fantasy crisis core

    Again a nostalgia fest but with a different adventure, it was great having what felt like a largely spanned console game on PSP. It involved Iconic characters that i had all but forgotten, but wow.

    Assassins Creed 2

    Was an awesome game that was a second attempt to bring agile movement and climbing to last gen now including a serviceable story. The free roaming mechanics were pretty technically amazing (especially seeing them for the first time in AC1 ) fluid and worked almost flawlessly. Shame we have now become to slightly loath these mechanics as they get rehashed again and again.. There was a point when I absolutely loved AC, seems strange now. But i still think the free roaming was a bit of ( and still is ) a technical marvel, at the very least mildly impressive.


    This list is mainly based on the amount of hours of fun I had with a game. I thought that might be a mild way of assessing which game/s were my favourite but not completely accurate. I have played too many games I cannot conclusively remember my favourites or the games. 
    I think I can say my favourite game was Oblivion. Everything about that game captured my imagination in terms of this huge living world and freedom!. Fallout 3 then did the same thing once again and is in my opinion a better game @zebure I loved everything about that game too dude.
  • Max Payne 3

    -For its killer controls, and above all its deep irony; that a game about a vindictive, murderous man became an allegory for America's horrific neo-colonial history.


    Deadly Premonition

    -For its soul. A messy, shambling game that cares about the people and space it represents. Funny, strange and beautiful.


    Portal 2

    -For being an investigation of what a portal can be: from time, to space to inner space (memory). It envisions portals as more than simply a gameplay mechanic (as the first game did); something transformative.


    Super Hexagon

    -Not just for being just a perfect, simple (but also terribly difficult) game, this one is probably the only one in the entire medium that entranced me like a film by Belson or Brakhage.


    Papers Please

    -For being a modern classic in emergent storytelling, of offsetting human emotion with bureaucratic obligation. It is impossible for me to hate a game that is about feeling for other people.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • FIFA 05 to FIFA 13.
    Noobied by 2nutta27 Juic3
  • You are the literal worst, Ash.
    Noobied by 2AshGooner Juic3
  • Alan Wake
    Assassin's Creed 2
    Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    BioShock
    Burnout Paradise
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    Castle Crashers
    Crackdown
    Dead Space
    Deus Ex: Human Revolution
    Diablo III
    Dragon Age: Origins
    Fable II
    Fallout 3
    Fallout New Vegas
    FIFA 09
    FIFA 10
    Forza Motorsport 3
    Forza Motorsport 4
    Gears of War
    Gears of War 2
    Geometry Wars
    Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
    Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto V
    Halo 3
    Halo 3: ODST
    Left 4 Dead
    Lost Odyssey
    Mass Effect
    Mass Effect 2
    Minecraft
    Mortal Kombat
    Portal
    Portal 2
    Red Dead Redemption
    Rez HD
    Rock Band
    Rock Band 2
    Rock Band 3
    Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution
    Sid Meier's Civilization V
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    The Walking Dead
    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
    Wii Sports
    XCOM: Enemy Unknown
    Noobied by 18drawt
  • @amardilo Dude if they are just your favourite games ( most of which I agree with ) . How many fucking games do you play man? Or are you sensible like me and most others and dont waste their time on games which are likely to be bad or not to your taste etc. when they could be playing something great. I want you to write a paragraph for each game now and probably waste a lot of time, only joking, go and play some good games.

    Just in general (not in reference to the comment above but it is relevant) there has been some amazing games this gen, and a lot of them! An I, for one, am thankful :)
    Noobied by 1amardilo
  • @8drawt

    I concur. That 20 I did, while satisfied with my choices, was hard to do. There are many other games that I loved from this past generation, and I've been thinking about adding to my list.

    Oh, and I too would like to see some reasons for why @amardilo picked those particular games. 
    Noobied by 1amardilo
  • @8drawt and @laphamking I used to spend a lot of time playing games last generation and I'd go after achievements too. This has now dropped a lot and I don't play nearly as much as I used to (now about 10-15 hours max a week). 

    The reason why I have a 50 game list was because I put everything I do into lists and charts (well not everything but I list to track a lot of things I do) so I had a 7th gen games list already done and just pasted it into here. Also last gen lasted about 8 years so getting a list of 50 was pretty easy. I think I could stretch it to 100 games if I thought about it a bit more :D

    I guess I could put some more details together on why those are on my list but that might take some time...
    Noobied by 18drawt
  • @amardiloIts a shame when real life takes over and reduces your playing time. But yeah totally agree that their was an incredible amount of games that were really good. And most you can pick up new for almost nothing. spend only a fiver and get an amazing game on 360 just purely as it is the not the latest bullshit being marketed.

    I have never been an achievement fiend but it does sound like fun competing with mates. I remember early NoobToob and Tobin and Yuzo were having a bit of achievement competition when they first got their 360s,really entertaining.
    Noobied by 1amardilo
  • Working on one of these, even though I feel like I've barely played a tenth of all the really good games out there.

    Really enjoying reading some of these detailed lists. Where's Magenta to tell us we should have been playing obscure Japanese robot RPGs the whole time?
  • Part 1: The Older Ones

    The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

    I have chosen to neglect a strict ranking, as I was getting hung up on doing so, but if there were to be a number 1, this would be a heavy contender. Straddling the streamlined nature of Skyrim with the weirdness and heavily dice roll basis of Morrowind, Oblivion is perhaps Bethesda’s most consistent and sprawling vision of what a fantasy world should be. If there’s one thing that might elevate this game over Morrowind and Skyrim, it’s the endearing quality of some of the quest lines. The Dark Brotherhood is a triumph; you feel sympathy for a leader of a guild of assassins as he is framed as a traitor and flayed alive, his guidance suddenly ripped from you and yourself now at the center of a conspiracy to bring the entire organization down, uncovering the darkest, most disturbing quest line of any TES game to date, and one that really probably meant it should never have gotten a T rating. But it’s not the only one that sticks with you; the uncompromising challenge of late Thieves Guild quests, having to memorize guard shifts, or scurrying past blind Elder Scrolls monks. The long slog for Mehrunes’ Razor, a brutal, twisting dungeon of enemies and traps and switchbacks. The twisted, darkly humorous Shivering Isles. This was a game that begged you to come back, to engross yourself in its despair, humour, and beauty. What better moment was there then stumbling out of the sewers in 2006, seeing a vast landscape of swaying, individual grass and trees, sunlight beams, and reflective water, and thinking “this entire world is now mine to explore.”

    Need for Speed: Most Wanted/Carbon

    I really didn't know how to count this. Most Wanted released for PS2, Gamecube, and GBA... but also DS and Xbox 360. Carbon released for every single console ever created and then some, including all 7th gen consoles and handhelds. They came out in late 2005, and late 2006, respectively. I've lumped them together here out of a "who knows" rule violation or non-violation. The important thing is that these were the best damn arcade racers I ever played, and the nighttime cityscape of Carbon, replete with drifting, racing, cops, and tuning, literally cost me days and days of endless driving. This was driving through an open world just for fun before the open worlds of Burnout and NFS got inundated with "content" every block, when we were expected to drive around town simply because it was fun. That made it that much harder to pull off, from a game dev standpoint, but when it was, it worked so, so well. These games were gloriously cheesy, fast, and accessible. But that’s what made them so good as racing games. 

    Neverwinter Nights 2

    Give Obsidian the D&D ruleset to play with and they will do so. The story was generic, but the cast of characters were definitely stronger than its precursor and the entire Forgotten Realms setting was more alive this time through. As was common with D&D games back then, the amount of options and ways to build your character and play them out meant it would take a ton of playthroughs to see every way to go through the game. Dungeon crawling was challenging and rewarding. Character banter was on point. It's very telling to go back to these games nowadays. From BG --> KOTOR --> NWN you can see the development path that set the stages for another group of games that will make this list, and whose gameplay was entirely derivative of these D&D games. NWN2 still stands as perhaps the most despair inducing and wonderfully party based game of last gen. And I haven’t even touched the mods…

    Ridge Racers 2 (PSP)

    This addition and the next addition will seem odd and I don't blame you, but there is one thing that elevated them to this high for me. That is, my sister and I literally played the shit out of them, together. Like, I knew every course in this game, mirrored, reversed, upside-down (doesn't exist but you get the point) and every which way like the back of my hand. I can't tell you how many car rides we spent, er, racing cars. If NFS was the Star Wars of arcade racing at the time, this was the LotR. The sense of speed and the way that one little mistake could throw you off was incredibly well done for such an arcade racer.

    Tekken: Dark Resurrection (PSP)

    Maaaaaaaaybe cheating but YOLO. Same as above. Played so much with my sister. Made so much in-game money, customized every character, had dozens and dozens of battles with every character and hundreds with some. Super polished, 60FPS fighter game that made the perfect portable time. This is the last Tekken release that felt un-inundated and perfectly imperfectly balanced. The series has yet to reach the same height since then.

    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

    Has the single greatest level in the history of FPS games. Crawling through tall grass in the Pripyat ruins, making a long distance sniper shot, then defending yourself from henchman and attack dogs until the helicopter arrives. If every single FPS mission was this minimalist, intense, claustrophobic, and atmospheric, FPS games would be put on the same level as other genres. That CoD never went back and copied that mission is damming. That the series never quite hit the high again of 4, even though they continually pushed the envelope on multiplayer, even more so.

    Virtua Tennis WT and 3 (PSP)

    Halfway in between the wonderful debut on Dreamcast and the endless rehash of the more recent releases, this arcade tennis series hit its high point. Featuring an incredibly dense and replayable campaign in which you created a player, did skill challenges to level them up, and eventually progressed from 300 in the world to number 1 by playing in real life tournaments, this game sucked up a lot of time. Later matches against top 25 ranked AI were unforgiving and brutal. The skill challenges became tests of finesse, timing, and planning. The hours it took to master everything was more reminiscent of a sprawling JRPG than a sports game. If you could have your week 1 player play your 3 months later player, you’d run laps around your early days; blindfolded, and one handed. The progression of these games was incredibly fulfilling. And at their core was a simple, polished, wonderful game of tennis. Game, set, match.

    Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP)

    Mwahahahah I cheat again. I dare anyone to go out, pick up this game, either this port or the original, and without reading a single guide or helpful hint, beat it. If you can, you know your stuff. This is a game that drops you in the world, gives you a time limit, and then says “haha fuck you figure it out yourself.” But it’s so pretty, the platforming and combat so good, and the soundtrack so freaking invigorating that the big swords, heroic interludes, and frustrating difficulty all work together. It’s now very old-fashioned, but it’s one of the most underappreciated and unforgiving JRPGs of all time. 

    The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King – Expansions for WoW

    WoW itself came out a year too early to count, and MMOs are kind of weird to include in something like this, considering they continually exist over time. These two expansions were for a game that came out before the required time slot, but they also undoubtedly were released last gen and brought sweeping changes to the game. This was the high point of the MMO, before threading and boosting rendered the leveling experience obsolete, when mysteries were still uncovered every day, when Barrens chat was still Barrens chat, when class and race restrictions had meaning, and when the production values were still among the best of any MMO. I don’t know of a single game that will ever leave as big of an imprint on a generation of gamers as WoW did. It is the Goliath, the most successful game ever created, and one that made an entire year of my life a waiting game through class or work until I could log on again. Its scope at the time, its polish, its overwhelmingly superior design and scale made it the granddaddy of all MMOs. Its days are numbered now, but those who played it during its heyday witnessed something that might never ever exist in gaming again; the utter domination of an entire market by one incredible experience.

    Monster Hunter (series)

    Souls before Souls. Slow, timing based combat. Massive bosses. A super fast ramp up in difficulty. Deep, slow to uncover mechanics. Endless progression. Incredibly varied weapons and ways to play. These games require hundreds of hours if you want to uncover everything about them, and I’ll admit, sometimes, eating a bunch of food pre-battle and hoping you have everything you need buff and equipment-wise could test patience. But when you overcome it all and take down that one boss that is kicking your ass? Hell yeah.

    Metal Gear Solid IV

    If there is a better opening sequence in a game, I have yet to see it. “War, war has changed…” Snake growls to us, as the incredible battle sequence thrusts us into a war half human and half machine, something entirely sci-fi and entirely real, something that has aged all too well in a world now replete with drones and mechanized weaponry. MGS IV had a lot going on, interspersing ideas of tracking and loss of privacy (incredibly prescient) with its usual gaggle of poop jokes (…). As a game, it was unparalleled, featuring an incredibly replayable campaign whose UI and stealth and shooting mechanics all worked synchronously to deliver an endlessly intense experience, and featuring some of the best boss battles of any MGS game to date. And yet, amidst the technology, the machinery, and the cyborgs, the game ended with you fist-to-fist, trading blows against the setting sun, as two legends duked it out one last time. Fantastic.

    Rappelz

    You might be saying “GE, what? A slightly obscure F2P Korean MMO that came out relatively unhyped in 2006?” Yes, my friends. It is true. Rappelz shined because it did several things that many F2P games at the time did not:

    You didn’t need to pay to progress
    The leveling system was not locked down or utterly simplistic
    It looked damn good at the time

    It was a game that never expanded beyond its scope, making sure you were always playing with other people, and not questing through dead zones and areas that had been left behind. It constantly refreshed itself, and it featured a ton going on in terms of leveling and skilling up your characters. At a time when P2P was still the MMO norm, Rappelz managed to bring some sanity and welcoming attitude into the F2P market.

    Part 2 to follow later when I get around to it
  • Part 2: The Slightly Newer Ones

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

    Driven by a continued attempt to see the series more console friendly, Skyrim may frustrate with its clunky menus, the repetitive nature of dragon fights, and the engine that is now starting to show its age. But it also features the most in depth characters of any TES game yet, perhaps the most fun and sprawling dungeons, and a host of fantastic sights, from towering Daedric statues to the Aurora Borealis at night. Skyrim may continue the series in a direction older fans like me don't always agree with, but as a massively accomplished open world RPG, it still has few peers.

    Assassin’s Creed (Series)

    My specific favourites are 2, Brotherhood, and IV. For a series that has been criticized as being formulaic nowadays, I think we forget how much it expanded its scope and mechanics in the first half dozen or so games, particularly from 1-->2 and 3-->4. Before the games became a clusterfuck of map icons and Ubisoft store purchases and buggy PC releases, they were the children of the smooth and silky parkour from Prince of Persia, now interspersed in impressive and intriguing open world settings, and featuring a bit more combat and a lot more stealth. At its peak, there was nothing quite like endlessly flowing from one segment to another, getting your target, and executing a perfect escape. As a bonus? It has always treated women, and sex workers specifically, about as good as any game series to date.

    Souls Series

    My personal favourite is Demon’s Souls, and I would like to share a moment, if I may. After slogging through 1-1, I walked into my sister’s room and said “you have to see this game.” So she did. I showed her the notes and tips on the ground, the ghosts of recent deaths, the seamless online experience that seemed so groundbreaking at the time, and then, somehow, with palms sweaty, I made it through 1-2 at my first go, cheesing the spider boss at the end, no shame at all. We both exhaled deeply when it was over, knowing what death meant, knowing how on edge the game always put you, both sharing a moment in its intensity, neither of us talking or joking around for the entirety of the level.  The Souls games have never apologized for what they are, and they never should. They are frustrating, patience-testing, and supremely atmospheric. Are they perfect? Nah. Are they still exactly what they should be? Absolutely.

    Diablo 3

    If there has ever been a non-MMO game that has under gone as many significant changes, additions, and new content, I have not played it. Diablo 3 has become, over time, Diablo 4, completely incomparable to its controversial debut. What we have now is perhaps that most addicting and cromulent action/loot grind of all time, a game whose endless additions, perfect polish, and ever expanding difficulty make it impossible to go without playing for too long a time. Is it as dense or as atmospheric or as well written as many of the games on this list? No. But it would be right near the top for me, because co-opping through another season with Winsord, and the hundreds of hours this game has stolen from me were never not fun, even from day 1. There will be a true Diablo 4 someday, but to successfully iterate on the penultimate loot grind will be incredibly, incredibly difficult.

    Mass Effect (series)

    There are a lot of things to say about Mass Effect, and many have been said by people much smarter and more talented as writers than me. But to sum it up; take one part massive sci-fi environment, one part Bioware character banter and relationships, and one part thrilling production values, and you have what is perhaps the most majestic sci-fi experiment in gaming to date. There are so many things this series could have done better, and yet, there were so many ways this experience was completely unparalleled at the time. There has yet to be a sci-fi saga this large in scope and this intimidatingly realized; whose very existence had me mining for every conversation and sidequest, wanting to meet every character, wanting to see every planet, wanting to lose myself in its world for good, whose story simultaneously frustrated and engrossed me. Shepard’s saga may be over, but its legacy and the sheer entertainment it brought will never be forgotten.

    Dragon Age (series)

    Bioware’s other modern single player achievement, and one that underwent a serious period of lost direction. Origins was a throwback to NWN, a party based, pauseable tactical CRPG that felt like a modern take on early aughts successes. In its place came DA2, a more modern action RPG that attempted to bring in flashy combat and quicker fights into the world. To say it went over well with the fanbase would be folly. Inquisition is too recent to count, alas, but even still, Origins is my favourite of the series, as it thrust us into a ton of varied locations, presented a fantastically dark (but never seemingly over-the-top as much) fantasy world, perfectly channeled traditional CRPG mechanics made modern, and brought us one of the best characters of any game ever, in the wise-cracking, god-hating, tradition-blasting, mother-killing Morrigan.

    Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Speaking of Bioware, SWTOR is the game that will forever be known as the game that ruined MMOs for me. Why? Because this game’s story content and quest content is so incredibly, incredibly much better done than any MMO previous or since then. In fact, narratively, (hold your breath here folks) it is one of the single greatest games of all time. I said it! It’s a shame many KOTOR fans will overlook this because of its MMO nature. But did this game hit it out of the park. Its PvP was almost perpetually balanced and fun, its storyline was always a blast, and its production values were the best of any MMO since WoW first hit. This is, outside of KOTOR, an absolutely must play for Star Wars fans and right there with Mass Effect as a definitive sci-fi experience. I think everyone owes it to themselves to at least level a couple of characters through the campaign. Also notably, the post release support and content additions have been through the roof in number.

    Pokemon X/Y

    Featuring the largest change in foundational mechanics of any Pokemon game yet, X and Y were the first Pokemon games to feature fully polygonal graphics, and to integrate internet mechanics fully and comprehensively into a Pokemon game. The end result was one of the deepest and most polished Pokemon experiences to date, and one whose sheer number of content, social mechanics, and uplifting (and surprisingly political – not a joke) world made for a relaxing, enjoyable, and nostalgia inducing trip.

    Path of Exile

    Containing one of the most massive leveling systems of any game, ever, one whose scope and options are almost too large and overwhelming, and feeling like Diablo 2 ripped and placed into an MMO world, Path of Exile is a love letter to loot crawls, to uncompromising customization, to dark colour palettes and hopelessness and dark fantasy, made modern through the internet, and in many ways, what Diablo 2.5 would have or could have been.

    Dota 2

    Ah, DotA. Has there ever been a game in which you can get yelled at, called a dozen gay and racist slurs, sworn at a hundred times over, be utterly humiliated by your lack of skill, and come away, still, thinking, “my god that was fun and I will do better next time, fuck you all!?!?!?!?” Dota is a game of mixed emotions, notoriously salty players, complex and unforgiving mechanics, and through it all, a deeply rewarding multiplayer experience of close calls, fantastic plays, and… god damnit, will someone go fucking mid lane? And stop pinging the damn map, I get it. Christ.

    Final Fantasy XIII Saga

    I saved this for last intentionally. I still remember forking over $90 for the Bluray Japanese release of Advent Children all to play the Japanese version of the demo of XIII, way back in the day, and streaming it online for Noobtoobers, myself the standard bearer of Final Fantasy fandom here, wowed by the graphics and combat, excited about all the possibilities the full game would present. It was coming on the heels of XII, one of my favourite games of all time and one of the most comprehensive and intelligent JRPGs ever created.

    The XIII trilogy had its warts, and in one sense, it is a disappointment, the first Final Fantasy game perhaps ever to feature a host of times where you think “what if?” What if the game wasn’t as tunnel driven? What if the game didn’t continue to hamfist its own combat system by giving you only two characters to fight with? What if the game didn’t take you away from one plotline right as it got interesting? XIII-2 in many ways fixed the gameplay side of things, featuring a really cool time travel mechanic, and was probably the high point of the series for me, but alas, even still, narratively overburdened by its melodrama and the entire series’ love of awkward names and proper nouns, came apart a bit.

    And yet, I still came back to them. I put up with the issues and the what ifs because at the core of these games was a journey Square Enix really wanted us to take, one of forgiveness, familial bonds, and friendship at all costs. From Sazh’s story of personal heartbreak, to Lightning and Serah’s sisterly bond, Vanille’s bubbly narration and her and Fang’s friendship, this was a deeply personal story and one whose scope and world were simultaneously massive and small, sloppy and amateurish and yet personable, swept along by the riveting battle score and the CGI cutscenes. Where the series goes from here, and whatever XV is or becomes, people may not look on XIII as the first PS3 and 360 Final Fantasy experience they wanted, but it’s the one we all got, and for all of its what ifs, fantastical setting, and over-the-top scenarios, it remains unquestionably, undoubtedly, human.

    Noobied by 18drawt
  • I reserve the ability to add a game here or there that I have missed, but these are probably 95% done.
  • @GoodEnoughForMe My list would be incredibly similar to you, almost identical I would say. Particularly Oblivion, Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare  , Dragon Age series, Mass Effect series, Virtual Tennis 3 on PSP ( I spent half a holiday in Greece playing it), Pokemon X and Y, Skyrim and the Assassins Creed series. Oh shit and of course KOTOR.

    Your Description of Oblivion completely nails everything I feel for that game. I have so much nostalgia and respect for it. The Scale, the Questlines (such as the Dark Brotherhood you mentioned) was such a new and amazing experience for me in 2006. I have gone back to it countless times and you are perfectly right to say it is a great balance between Morrowind (too much dice rolling) and Skyrim which I agree, particularly in my feelings, Oblivion trumps.

    Dragon age origins also screamed scale and depth (without the open world) but with some great cutscenes and characters and just a feeling of epic fantasy (very much like Oblivion). Bioware have given us a lot of incredible games even on your list alone. Inquisition did do origins justice with an almost full open world (ammending for many of the mistakes in Dragon Age 2 ).

    Pokemon X any Y - Finally a full - fledged Pokemon adventure with Full 3d Models for pokemon in battles! Something I have been dreaming of since the black and white sprites of Pokemon Red and Blue. That alone is enough to cement just pure enjoyment from me. I bought a 3DS and the game day of.

    @GoodEnoughForMe I appreciate the time and effort you put into your post, I think you got almost all my favourite games in their with brilliant descriptions. Nice one dude!

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