End of a Generation – The Best of the Wii, Xbox 360, and the PS3

Here we are, internet. The next post I make will be a review of the Playstation 4, meaning that it’s time to look back at all of the great entertainment we’ve gotten throughout the last eight years since the Xbox 360 launched. I figured I would try to showcase as many games as I could and give little awards as I go along to highlight what I see as the shining stars of the current generation.

I shouldn’t have to say this on a personal blog, but these are only my opinions
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1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Awards

– Best Launch Title (Runner up – Resistance Fall of Man)

With all of the current talk about launch titles with the PS4 and the Xbox One, it’s important to look back at exactly how poor the launches of the PS3 and Xbox 360 were with Resistance Fall of Man, and Kameo (Possibly Call of Duty 2) being the front runners. However, things were a bit better on the Nintendo side because they launched with a new Zelda game. Now I realize that this game was released simultaneously for the Gamecube and Wii, but it still counts as a launch title. Boasting a massive 3D Zelda adventure, no other launch title even began to approach the epicness of Twilight Princess. Even though I would consider it one of the weaker Zelda’s made in the Ocarina of Time style, it was still the standout for all hardcore gamers when the last generation kicked off.

Midna made this game.
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2. Bioshock

Awards 

– Best Environments (Runner up – The Last of Us)

– Best Twist (Runner up – Bioshock Infinite)

– Best Single Player Shooter (Runner up – Far Cry 3)

While Twilight Princess was a wonderful game, it wasn’t the first great next gen game. This title is held by the original Bioshock. Released first on the Xbox 360, Bioshock showed the world exactly how great this generation could be. Set in the stunning underwater city of Rapture, Bioshock told a story full of interesting characters and unforgettable twists. They managed to tie all of this around a good shooter. Other single player shooters like Far Cry 3 managed to get better shooting mechanics in place, but Bioshock did the impossible by making a shooting game a far more intellectual affair than it had ever been on consoles.

What does the slave do?
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3. Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare

Awards

– Best Multiplayer Shooter (Runner up – Battlefield 4)

– Series Run into the Ground by Yearly Instalments (Runner up – Assassin’s Creed)

The way multiplayer works is that it generally gets incrementally better, meaning that Modern Warfare does not currently have the best online shooting. However, I’m choosing to highlight it for such because it completely changed the gaming landscape and sparked off the shooter frenzy that we see today. Equally as influential as Golden Eye and Halo before it, Modern Warfare modernized (Pun!) the first person shooter industry, and has led to innumerable imitators.

It’s like Ghosts but slightly different.
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4. Bayonetta

Awards

– Best Action Game (Runner up -Castlevania Lords of Shadow)

Bayonetta was not only the best action game of the current gen, but I would hold it out as the best action game ever made by a substantial margin. Building on the incredible lineage of Devil May Cry 3, Bayonetta provided us with one of the most unique games ever made, tempered with a combat system so good and addicting that more people should run out to buy Wii Us just so they’ll be able to play the sequel. This game alone is enough for me to consider Platinum Games one of the best studios out there right now.

Why aren’t you playing it right now?
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5. Rayman Legends

Awards

– Best Platformer (Runner up – Super Mario Galaxy 2)

Platforming is a genre that took off halfway through the generation when indie games became more popular and with them came the retro craze. However, the two best games made are still big studio releases. Rayman Legends is one of the best platformers ever made, and even though it was slated as a next gen title with the Wii U, it’s launch on the 360 and PS3 make me feel a little better about placing it here. Rayman Origins was already a very good game, but Ubisoft went above and beyond for Legends and created something very special.

But, if you can, get it for the Wii U or Vita.
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6. Fallout New Vegas

Awards

– Best Open World Game (Runner up – Grand Theft Auto V)

– Best Open World RPG (Runner up – Skyrim)

Fallout 3 was amazing. Skyrim was huge and refined. But neither of these games even began to approach Fallout New Vegas. To put it simply – New Vegas had character. It oozed out of every carefully crafted character, every article of clothing and every quest. Where Skyrim had lifeless characters, New Vegas’s came alive. It’s buggy nature prevented many from enjoying it, but New Vegas is easily the standard by which I now judge every open world RPG, and even every open world game.

Bugs be damned, this is the best it gets until Bethesda lets Obsidian try again.
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7. Dead Space

Awards

– Best Horror Game (Runner up – Silent Hill Downpour)

Dead Space has fallen as a series, with Dead Space 3 being scary primarily because of the microtransactions than any real horror design. However, at the time, Dead Space had everything and more. It combined Alien and Event Horizon to remarkable effect. Not to be a horror game with useless controls like Siren or Silent Hill, Dead Space built off of the award-winning formula of Resident Evil 4, crafting a Resident Evil game better than either of 4’s successors.

Horror fatigue kills the best of us, even Slenderman fell to it.
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8. Final Fantasy XIII

Awards

– Most Disappointing Game (Runner up – Resident Evil 6)

– Best Graphics (Runner up – Metal Gear Solid 4)

I like Final Fantasy XIII. Let me make that clear first and foremost. However, even a fan like me has to acknowledge that the game was disappointing. With all of the hype Square Enix had built around it, I find it hard to believe that it ever had a chance of not being disappointing. If you remember back then, Square was practically alleging that the game would cure cancer. When it was released, people found a story that may have been a little confusing for some, and a deary set of corridors with zero exploration for the first twenty hours of the story. I stand by that this is not an objectively bad game, but it was the biggest disappointment of the generation. All of that being said, this game is still really pretty to watch.

Lightning Returns on the other hand looks phenomenal despite its sketchy origins.
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9. Heavenly Sword

Awards

– Best Acting (Runner up – Mass Effect 2)

Never before early PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword did I realize the potential for acting in a video game. While the game was a fairly generic hack and slash story with an interesting premise, the acting elevated it to something I knew I needed to mention on the list. Andy Serkis’s King Bohan is the standout for the entire generation.

10. Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning 

Awards

– Worst Game (Runner up – Don’t Care)

There are far worse games than Kingdoms of Amalur out there, so it doesn’t deserve the title, but I’m giving it to it anyway. I didn’t play a single game this generation that bored me to nearly the extent that this game did. With combat so easy that a turtle could get bored in two seconds, and a story so overwhelmingly generic, Kingdoms of Amalur was a slog, and the worst kind of game.

It’s pretty – pretty goddamn boring.
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11. Little Big Planet

Awards

– Best New Series (Runner up – Mass Effect)

Many series got their start on next gen. Looking at games like Assassin’s Creed, it’s tough competition. However, Little Big Planet rose to the top with an ever evolving world and the amazing tool of player generated content. Others have tried to imitate it with varying success, but Little Big Planet has created a niche that I’ve very excited to see develop in the future.

There’s something really unwholesome about this image.
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12. Nier

Awards

– Best Music (Runner up – Final Fantasy XIII)

– Best Hidden Gem (Runner up – Journey)

Nier is a game that few play and fewer finish. At first glance, it isn’t a spectacular game with its ugly protagonist and basic hack and slash combat. However, nobody has truly played this game until they’ve cleared it twice. There’s a reason why its fans are vocal, and it’s because this is one of the most overlooked games this generation. The combat is simple, but it embodies dozens of different styles for bullet hell to hack and slash to basic JRPG. Then there’s the music. If you see a list of best video game music and a track from Nier doesn’t make the top five, that list is wrong plain and simple.

13. Dark Souls

Awards

– Best Western RPG (Runner up – Mass Effect 2)

– Best Use of Single Player Online (Runner up – Journey)

Dark Souls became a meme for a little while when an IGN article used the term ‘Winner Dark Souls’ when comparing Dark Souls and Skyrim. At the time, this was a silly boast since nothing was going to approach Skyrim. Well it proved prophetic because Dark Souls is so much better than Skyrim that putting them in the same category is an insult (Note – I’m batting around Skyrim a lot this article, but I do really like it. It’s just not at the top). Dark Souls provided a hard journey that was epic in the truest sense of the world. More detail and thought went into each area than whole other games. Which is why Dark Souls is not only the best WRPG, but also the second best game this generation.

And this was probably the easiest boss in the game.
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14. Xenoblade Chronicles

Awards

– Best Japanese RPG (Runner up – Final Fantasy XIII-2)

– Best Game (Runner up – Dark Souls)

– Best Story (Runner up – Bioshock Infinite)

I’ve said it before, and I can’t emphasize this enough – Xenoblade Chronicles is possibly the only game this generation that I would consider legendary, one to remember for all future generations in the same vein as Chrono Trigger, or Final Fantasy VI. Xenoblade Chronicles dwarfs every other game on this list for length, clocking in at over 100 hours easily if you DON’T do any side quests. If you try all of them, you can probably extend that to 500. And what’s truly amazing is that it’s 100 hours of gold. The story is amazing from beginning to end and it really pushes JRPGs to a completely new level. Even the combat reaches the gold standard by combining Final Fantasy XII’s basic MMO-style system and making increasing its depth and the strategy required considerably.

Bigger than you could ever imagine.
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And that’s it, internet, my top list of games from this generation, with a few low points thrown in for good measure. I’d like to say leave your favourite games and memories in the comments but I’ve been recently informed that the comments on blogger are crazy. So leave a comment if you can, and if you can’t then know that I’m trying to work something out.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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