This generation I’ve had the pleasure of both the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Wii. At launch, I was gifted my Xbox 360 as a Christmas present with copies of Halo 3, Assassin’s Creed 1 and Viva Piñata, and then bought my Playstation 3 in a boxing day sale a few years after. I feel it’s only fitting with the next generation suddenly upon us that I do the inevitable categorisation of my favourite current-gen games from the past few years.
So, without further ado:
Spec-Ops: The Line
How many times do I need to talk about this game before everyone buys it? It was free on the Playstation Plus store a couple of months ago and still it seems that nobody has played it! One of the best character arcs I’ve ever seen in a video game, coupled with interesting mechanics unlike any shooter out there today, The Line will be remembered by those who played it as the most important shooter of this generation. I can’t say anymore about it without spoiling it, so just play it!
When Microsoft? When will we see Alan Wake 2? I need it now and I can’t fathom my disappointment that Remedy made no such announcement at E3 this year. Alan Wake 2 would have been a brilliant launch title for the Xbox One, and such an announcement might have even convinced me to pick up Microsoft’s Entertainment Hub at last. Alan Wake is thrilling, unnerving and full of mystery. Oh, and an honourable mention to dem forest graphics! Playing as a conflicted writer with interesting secrets, you must search for your missing wife in a quiet lakeside town which isn’t at all what it seems. Perhaps if Remedy took a page out of Telltale’s book and released the game in five separate chapters it would have sold more copies.
The Last Of Us
The only game to ever make me drop my controller in shock and horror. The Last of Us is a perfect example of what Naughty Dog can do when given free reign over a story. The Last of Us is worth buying a Playstation 3 just to play. There are so many individual moments which stand out in my mind when thinking about it, that writing about such a moving yet brutal game almost takes away from the experience. Joel and Ellie’s relationship is one of the most interesting in fiction, and the way the story takes apocalypse clichés and overcomes them so poignantly is a rarity in fiction today.
Red Dead Redemption
The best Rockstar game. It doesn’t suffer the same story or character problems as Grand Theft Auto V. It takes itself seriously to create an interesting character, and the wild west was so full of interesting moments that I found it increasingly difficult to finish the (equally as interesting) story campaign. John Marston’s story came to such a beautiful end that I could barely go on with exploring the open world once it was over, despite the excellent horse mechanics, the tense stand-offs and the incredible dead-eye shooting mechanic.
Fallout: New Vegas
No, not Skyrim, not Oblivion, and not Fallout 3. Whilst they’re all excellent games, I adored Fallout: New Vegas’s tongue-in-cheek tone. The twists and turns in the overarching storyline were much more interesting, and the war between the NCR and the Legion (while extremely similar to the Stormcloaks and the Imperials in The Elder Scrolls) were more entertaining and twisted than the Enclave in Fallout 3. The inclusion of a personal vendetta for your character made the whole experience more visceral too. Fingers crossed that Fallout 4 will be with us in the next couple of years.
Super Smash Bros Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Fable 2, Bulletstorm, Bioshock Infinite, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Assassin’s Creed 2, Mass Effect 2, Dead Space 1 & 2, Gears of War 1 & 2.