Lest we forget the best the PS3 and Xbox 360 bestowed upon us…
Biblical. That’s the word of the moment. Biblical. The release of the Xbox One and the PS4 is going to be, say it with me, biblical. This time it ‘aint floods that are comin’, it’s video games. Fill your ark with snacks and energy drinks because we’re going to be in this for the long haul.
But this shiny new Pantheon of video game mythology shouldn’t blind us to the bounty we’re being left by the Gods of old – the soon to be obsolete gen had some absolutely stunning titles in its day and we’re here to make sure those proud ol’ warhorses don’t get lost to the mists of memory. Here are each of our most fondly remembered titles, along with some of our fondest memories. The N3rdabl3 writers are proud to present you with…
The Walking Dead – Jess Wilson
When I was asked to think of my favourite game from this generation, there were a few that came to mind. But this one just had to be it for me: The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead game is based, in essence, around one surely simple question – “What would you do?”. But this game and simple do not go hand in hand; in fact they walk beside one another giving each other dead arms. For me it was all about the story. You’re given trickles of information about your character through other characters and your responses to questions, so it’s down to you and your decisions as to how much or little you’ll find out. The way characters react to you is up to you; you can be busy making friends with everyone (my personal choice) or just get on with surviving. There are so many twists and turns in the story that you’ll never be prepared for what comes next, even if you think you are. The overall plot will leave you gaping in awe or shouting “what!?” at the TV, but by no means in a bad way. I was never too sure what was going to happen next and the emotional connection I had with the characters in the game was bordering on the insane. I’ve never really felt that kind of emotion towards a game before. I cried! I know, I know, pathetic. But if you’ve played it I know you at least came close. It’s a tense game, and I absolutely loved it. I could go on forever about it but in all honesty I hardly found a fault, aside from having to wait in-between episodes, (seriously infuriating) but now that the full game is available, even that’s no longer an issue. For me it was the game’s ability to be tense and zombie-action filled but to still make me feel emotional and able to really connect with it on a whole new level that makes it my favourite game of the current generation.
Tales of Graces F – Brian B
December 2010, the US. Namco decide to give us a break from the never ending cycle of Call of Duty releases we were living through and treat us to one of the best JRPG’s going. I was bored with the repetitive monotony of the usual shooters – I was looking for a fresh start with a new title and, really, a new genre of games. When I saw screen shots and videos of the up and coming Namco masterpiece I knew I needed to give it a shot.
When I got it home on the release day I popped it into my Playstation and was immediately immersed in the art style of Mutsumi Inomata. The cell shading was beautiful and the characters were very nicely done – Everything ran so smoothly on the PS3, from combat to the cinematics. The story was intriguing and the wonderful free-flow battle system was probably one of the best around, incredibly intuitive. Magic spells were gorgeous, and the transitions from exploring the world to heading into battle were the smoothest I’d ever seen. Another aspect I really enjoyed was the comic relief after each battle that served to calm the mood after the tense fights. The fluidity of the entire game from start to finish was great – everything about the game was fresh and new and shined a new light on JRPG’s for the PS3. Thank you to Namco for the brilliant masterpiece that is Tales of Graces F and keep them coming.
Demon’s Souls – James Hoare
In 2009 in Japan and North America and in 2010 in Europe, From Software brought true fear and terror to the PS3 masses. Demon’s Souls players rose from the depths and killed people over and over and over and over again in their quest for the best loot and the most impressive positions on the leader boards. Hailed by critics for its difficult but not uninviting game play and sporting a free to explore non-linear world, for me this one stands out above all other games of this past generation. Not for its popularity, not for its difficulty, but for the quality of the deep world hidden with its dark chambers and twisting caverns.
Demon’s Souls was augmented with not only an amazingly innovative multiplayer system where you saw ghostly images of fellow players and the ability to leave clues on the ground in messages for others, be they helpful or otherwise and player vs player competitive combat where you would invade the world of another player in the hope to kill them. With these in its possession the game was welded into
my disk tray for over 4 months. It was all I would play. I slept ate and drank thinking about its world. Thinking where I could go to upgrade my trusty swords. Developing deep strategies for taking out different kinds of players. Even sitting down in lectures writing out little maps from memory to aid me in taking down the Dragon God on new game +7.
Demon’s Souls did something that no other game this generation, not even its spiritual successor Dark Souls, did to me. It invaded my head. Taking over every aspect of my life and helping me develop not only as a gamer but as a human being. While everyone else was running around getting drunk and catching the latest STD I was having 45 minute running battles with invaders and dropping in to assist other high levelled players in epic boss fights. This was never too hard and never too easy. Making that delicate balancing act that challenges your ability and helps it to grow. To me, this was the generations pinnacle, its greatest triumph. Lets hope From Software can do it again with Dark Souls 2!
Tony Hawk’s Project 8 – Hayley
I don’t even have to think for a second what my favourite game from this generation of consoles is, I know instantly that my heart will forever belong to Tony Hawk’s Project 8. I’m a huge fan of the skating world so I was obviously pretty giddy about being able to play as some of my favourite professional skaters, it’s fun and simple!
It’s not particularly special in anyway but personally I’d say it’s the best title out of the Tony Hawk series, you know before it became ridiculously complicated, not to mention before the one that you could play using a skateboard controller (let’s not go there).
The main reason this game is my favourite is that it’s the first game I ever played on an Xbox 360, not to mention its also got a freaking incredible soundtrack – it’s got a little bit of everything I love.
Fallout 3 – Bryan Ruales
In the future when I look back at this gen of gaming there will be many games I will have fond memories of but one games rises above all other for me and that game is fallout 3. Developed by Bethesda game studios (can’t wait to see what they have for us in the future). The story of fallout 3 takes place in the year 2277, 200 years after a nuclear holocaust you start the game as a baby living inside vault 101 an underground fallout shelter that people crated before the war. Then on your 18th birthday everything goes wrong when you wake up to discover your father has left the vault and you must search for him in what’s left of Washington D.C. (now called the Capital Wasteland) and become the lone wonderer from vault 101.
There were few games at the time that gave you this much freedom – let’s start with the combat system, which included a scary-ass arsenal of weapons with which to set forth on your quest. You have your standard small arms pistols, rifles, assault, sniper and smgs. You’ve got your explosive – mines and grenades. Your heavy duty artillery, the mini guns, rockets and everyone’s favourite the fatman. Melee weapon can vary from a simple baseball bat, and the classic stick-with-a-nail-in-it to a high tech super sledge hammer and a sword that literally sets people on fire. When you level up you can upgrade these traits or others like medic, repair and even speech to help talk your way out of situations.
There are several things that set this game apart from any other cookie cutter shooter out there, the game can be played from either first or third person perspective, an innovative new feature which lets players choose whichever works better for them. The V.A.T.S or the vault-tech assisted targeting system which lets you pause your fight mid shot and aim for specific body parts, with hit percentages included. And you can see the shots fired sometimes in cool cinematic like bullet time or bullet cam.
And last, but very much not least, it even let me live out my childhood dream of Liam Neeson being my dad – what more could you want from a game.
This was one of the best open world titles of the generation – whilst I know it gets bashed quite frequently, this game showcases what a sequel should be – it’s bigger, better and improved. As a lot of people know the first Two Worlds was a complete disaster, although I did like it after the patches that were put into place, even if the frame rate did doggedly persist in its quest to be terrible. The sequel built upon the foundations of the first and fixed all the problems. This time the game was smooth and the detail in all the buildings and landscapes were a pleasure to look at. The character modules and the dialogue were still ridiculous, but if you like open world RPGs then you can’t go wrong with this hidden gem. The most impressive aspect of this game is the magic system, you can combine cards that you find or buy throughout the world which can result in some devastating effects. Just type Two worlds 2 spells into Youtube and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Another great feature is the fully fledged multiplayer where you can team up with eight of your friends in an eight chapter adventure, or challenge them to a duel or death match. There’s the innovatively unique village mode where you are the mayor of a small village and you have to manage and defend it from monsters (think the bastard baby of Sim City and Minecraft). If you haven’t played this game do it now – it’s absolutely worth having a go at this underrated gem.
Dragon Age: Origins – Robin
You can call me Robin, if you like. But I’d prefer it if you’d call me the Grey Warden, saviour of Ferelden. Dragon Age: Origins is one of those games that comes around once a generation that consumes your entire life – it is the very definition of immersion in video gaming and I adore it for that. It comes, I’ll add, with a word of warning for you all – do not get into this game if you have anything at all that you need to get done, because you won’t do it. If you’ve got pets, make sure somebody else is feeding them, because those puppies are going to starve through Bioware-related neglect. Once you’ve completed the game once, you will go back and complete it again, and again and again until all of the origins stories have been completed, all of the choices have been made and all of the sex scenes (of which there are many) have been witnessed.
As an RPG, it’s perfect. As a story, it’s perfect. As a platform for sequels to build off of, it evidently sucks because Dragon Age 2 was awful in about a dozen different ways, but ignore that and stick with the original and you won’t go wrong.
I think for me a strong case can be made for Assassin’s Creed II being the title that I regard as my fondest of what will soon be the old gen console. It’s the game that took a lot of hours from me but in return gave me a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside, it’s the game that was responsible for me starting my collection of Assassin’s Creed memorabilia. Really it was just a game that I loved to play, and that’s all anyone wants from their games now isn’t it?
The game saw the beginning of one of the greatest Assassin’s to ever grace the Brotherhood, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. From a 17 year old care free teen to a 65 year old legend, there was never a dull moment. But Assassin’s Creed II was for me the one, the way Ubisoft had captured the Renaissance was amazing and it has me interested even after playing the game. The game also had just the right amount of history in it to make it that little more believable, could there of been a hooded man in Florence looking for revenge over the death of his family? Assassin’s Creed II made it seem more than possible. AC2 was also the first game I ever got all the achievements for too so it holds a special place on my xbox dashboard. I think it’s safe to say no matter how many consoles come, we’ll all have a favourite from this generation that we’ll always remember.
Tales of Vesperia – David
Ever since playing Tales of Eternia for the PS1, or Tales of Destiny II as it was known here in North America, I’ve loved the Tales of series. Then Tales of Symphonia game along on the Gamecube, and blew my mind all over again. Just when I thought the series couldn’t get any better, Namco Bandai dropped Tales of Vesperia in my lap. It was the best one-hundred and twenty hours of the previous generation.
The game’s protagonist, Yuri Lowell is the man. He is everything I want my main character to be in a game. His character is funny, has a sweet low hanging sheathed sword he carries around, and the number one thing– he got stuff done. (ToV Spoilers Ahead) You know those annoying villains in RPGs that just keep coming back? The ones where you yell at your TV “why didn’t you just kill him!” when he comes back for the umpteenth time and does something terrible to your party? Yeah, well Yuri actually does it, and it honestly made me like his character that much more. When it comes down to it I can’t recall many times
that an RPG character has actually murdered one of the villains. We’ve all seen the boss grasping for life as he falls lifeless to the ground after a vicious turn based battle, the building that crumbles around the boss as your heroes barely escape, or the boss that falls into some pit of lava to his death. Rarely do I recall a character actually approaching his enemy and killing him off in the dead of night knowing his allies would not be okay with it, but doing it because he knew it had to be done.
Another way ToV shines is the battle system. You play in a free roam area of map and can chain together the craziest of combos. I spent hours practising trying to get bigger, and bigger combo chains. It was a truly addicting, fast paced, and complex battle system.
Do yourself a favour – give it a try.
Bioshock – James
Bioshock was one of the most well-rounded console games I’ve ever encountered. The controls were simple but did everything you could ask for, the graphics were engaging and the storyline was one of the best I’ve ever encountered on a game. It had the ability to both scare and challenge a player and it struck the balance between action and horror perfectly.
The whole feel of the title had me hooked; the retro nature of many of the posters and splicing modules set the 1960’s theme perfectly. In fact the whole surroundings and setting of the game, Rapture, an underwater ‘utopia’ that went wrong and descended into civil war was an ingenious concept, only further strengthened when the final plot twist was revealed.
Getting so hooked on the game caused me to research some of its influences and discovered that the idea of self-interest and not allowing anything to stand in the way of progress is a theory devised by Ayn Rand and there are numerous references to the author within the game, most strongly within antagonist Andrew Ryan. References do not stop there though as Ayn Rand’s books include Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead, both of which have namesakes in the game with antogonists Atlas and Frank Fountain. As a bit of a politics nerd myself all of this rather pointless trivia impressed me and showed how much work went into the game – which just left me loving it even more.
The best part about gaming is having that game you can tie a story to. A game you not only remember playing, but you remember everything around playing it. The time of day, the buffalo flavored pretzel treats you were eating, and the grape soda washing it all down.
Halo 3? Gears of War? Crysis? Nope. No groundbreaking graphics, no Marty O’Donnell fueled soundtrack, no super-overcomplicated story, just simplicity, at its finest. Unequivocally the best game I have played during the current console generation. A story line that had so little information, yet grabbed me so intensely that it never let go. I can’t recall the last time I was glued to a TV over concern for a game. I couldn’t take my eyes off in fear of losing the main character. I was connected to him, he was me and I was him.
Ok enough beating around the bush with corny anecdotes, Limbo, is and will forever be the best game I’ve played in the current gen. It was a gem that will last in my gaming memory, and despite the short story, I still play today. Technically polished and fun, it allowed me to focus on the jarring giant spiders, the creepy nooses and generally terrifying environment is forever etched in my brain. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the character I was controlling having to live through something so weird and scary, and felt like a total wimp when I (along with my roommate and girlfriend – who had never watched me play a game before, a fact that speaks for itself to the entertainment value) jumped from something scary, and the little boy on screen didn’t move a muscle.
Taking that little boy on that journey is something that will forever be etched in my memory and no amount of cool looking dog-features, or real-time detail coming with the Xbox One and PS4 can ever take that away.
Mirror’s Edge – Aaron
Mirror’s Edge is probably the first and only First Person focused game that doesn’t involve a weapon – in fact it encourages you not to pick up the weapon of a fallen foe; partly down to how awkward it is to use, and how badly it restricts your movement.
The main gameplay concept in Mirror’s Edge is freerunning, you’ll find yourself leaping from skyscraper to skyscraper in order to escape. More often than not my heart was in my mouth whist trying to jump off a crane onto another building. The views are minimalist yet spectacular, and the entire level design is breathtaking.
The entire design of the game has been thought about, even down to Faith’s arm movements as you run, and when you look around you can occasionally see your feet – something missing from most First Person games.
Mirror’s Edge is definitely one of the best games of this generation of consoles. Here’s looking forward to the second.
Did we miss anything out? Did we include a title that doesn’t deserve to be here? No Call of Duty, no Arkham Asylum, no Mass Effect? Let us know in the comment box below.