With one new console released and more on the horizon, it’s time to look back at the greatest video games of this generation. These games delivered experiences like no other, pushing the industry to new heights with fresh standards of excellence and innovation. This list will be released in two parts—check back next week for numbers five through one! Have games that you think should be on here? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Let the flame wars begin!
Let’s start with a rather under-appreciated game. The first AAA shooter for the Playstation 3, Resistance takes place in an alternate history where WWII never happened. In 1949 an alien virus emerges from Russia, turning people into creatures called the Chimera. Mainland Europe falls within weeks, while Britain struggles to resist the onslaught. Players take the boots of US Army Sargent Nathan Hale, the only documented human to wake up after being infected by the virus. As Hale fights to liberate England from the Chimeran attack, the virus rages inside him, turning him into a monster from within.
Though it does not innovate first-person shooters in any drastic fashion, Resistance epitomizes the merits of the genre. Inventive weapons provide countless ways to approach the alien hordes, and stunning environments bring a sense of both awe and terror to exploration. These perfectly tuned elements, paired with one of the best stories ever to grace the industry, create what is arguably the best shooter of the generation.
Who would have thought a funny-looking indie experiment would become one of the most popular games of all time? Hailed as a marvel of social gaming, Minecraft has amassed an online community some fifteen million strong. Players explore a sandbox world, building and saving creations for other people to explore. The game’s simple yet deep mechanics allow players to construct massive worlds, such as scale replicas of the Death Star or the entire region of Pokémon. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect is that the game’s world is almost entirely user generated—though the developers include a short story mode, players’ creations fuel the community by providing a continuous stream of new content. While previous games have explored user-creation mechanics (some to great success), none can rival Minecraft’s ubiquity, making it one of the most important game innovations to date.
Less of a game and more of an interactive drama, Heavy Rain marked the first major step toward bridging the gap between video games and movies. A blockbuster-like thriller with adult themes, the game places the player in control of four people as they race to stop a serial killer. Unlike most story-driven games, Heavy Rain does away with the concept of failure. The story evolves according to the player’s decisions, adjusting as the player forges her own path through the killer’s trail. Every action counts—the fate of the characters and the killer’s next victim rests in the player’s hands, leading her to weigh each decision carefully. Heavy Rain’s six endings comprise one of the most compelling video game experiences to date, blurring the line between traditional gaming and interactive motion pictures.
Shooters such as Call of Duty may dominate today’s charts, but this blast from the past captures the glory of gaming’s classic genre: the platformer. Developed under legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario Galaxy places players in control of the iconic Mario as he jumps across the galaxy in pursuit of Princess Peach. Each planet brims with personality, some drawing inspiration from classic titles and others introducing new puzzles and mechanics. The game’s vibrant colors and brilliant use of gravity come together to create one of the most memorable games in history, not to mention the most critically acclaimed game of all time. Accessible to both casual and hardcore players, Nintendo’s instant classic returns platforming to its former splendor and reminds us why Mario stands as the most famous video game character in the world.
Role-playing games (RPGs) have always held a special place in gamers’ hearts. Like choose-your-own-adventure books, these games allow players to shape their character according to their fancy. But as fun as traditional RPGs may be, characters never fully embody the player’s personality, instead showing a tweaked version of the developer’s vision. Mass Effect shatters these barriers by allowing players to sculpt their character from start to finish. Everything from the protagonist’s personality to physical appearance can be customized, turning the story into an adventure of the player’s choosing. Want to construct a team of alien outcasts? Go for it. Have a creepy romantic interest in one of your companions? You can do that, too. Though Mass Effect does not innovate in terms of gameplay (some reviewers have described its mechanics as disappointing compared to the rest of the game), it brings RPGs to new heights with its brilliant customization and dynamic story-telling.
Page: 1 2
So what do you guys think so far? Which games should top this list? Am I a total idiot? I’m guessing you guys will have some pretty passionate opinions! Share your thoughts in the comments section below! As always, please like, share, or reblog this post if you enjoy it. Be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for new content every Wednesday! IT’S FREE! Click here for numbers 5 through 1!
Other related articles:
Comment question of the week
Which games should top this list?