I’m slightly torn on this current generation of games. I recognize the number of behemoths that have emerged, from the sequel realm, to the original IP’s. For some reason though, the overall fun factor when compared to any other generation, seems a bit meager. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I feel this way. It’s definitely not due to the over saturation of rhythm based titles, Call of Duty titles and other, mostly Activision milked franchises (I have a few of those on this very list). It seems as if the extra polygons and processor power didn’t replicate the kinds of games that feel ageless. Even the previous generation had a number of those, including Crazy Taxi, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Persona 4.
Whatever the case might be, there were still the standouts in this current generation, regardless of whether they feel as timeless as the previous generations. Lets take a look at my Top 25 Current Generation Games:
While I still view this as the weakest entry into the franchise (mostly due to the fact that it felt more like a shooter than RPG elements around a shooter), Mass Effect 2 is still a more than worthwhile title. Spanning two disc this time, Shepard’s journey starts with a shocking bang, and ends with another bang. A handful of new characters spiced things up, the visual and audio qualities took a boost, and it continued a franchise that I still find one of, if not my single favorite of this generation.
Up until this point in time, the Star Wars franchise has seen an upswing in its quality in terms of gaming releases. The Force Unleashed was no different, with a daring story (a secret apprentice of Darth Vader, with the events taking place between episodes III and IV) and an overall narrative solid enough to be represented as an actual movie installment. The only thing that really frustrated me was the camera controls, but everything else was packaged so well. With hidden lightsaber powerups, hidden alternate outfits, rather spacious stages and the unique premise of playing the role of a secret apprentice to Darth Vader, The Force Unleashed provided more than enough incentive to place its self in this list.
I may receive a ton of flak for including Shadowrun on this list (especially due to its rating). It’s understandable though, as this first/third person online only multiplayer game was nothing like the classic Shadowrun title on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. The online portion suffered from some pretty harsh lag spikes as well, but when it worked well, it was one of those satisfying multiplayer titles that had me hooked for a very long time. Each of the four races had their own perks, with skills that players could purchase between rounds, similar to how Counterstrike worked. It might have been one CTF fest, but the powers, races and action that went on were gripping and addicting, giving Shadowrun its placement in this list.
When I was preparing to go through with my 365//365 review project, I had purchased a PlayStation 3 with it in mind. Among the first crop of games purchased: Demon Souls, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The latter turned out to be one of those single player adventures that you could never forget, with suspense at every corner, dramatic moments placed at the most opportune moments, and gunplay that was definitely way ahead of what was offered in the first title. Even the multiplayer portion led to its own timesink. To this day, there are only a handful of games that have pulled off both a stellar single player and a worthwhile multiplayer game in one package, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves sits close to the top of this list.
My somewhat unfamiliarity with the Deus Ex franchise didn’t stop me from going head first into the third installment. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was one of those rare games that could pull off the choice of both stealth and action in the same game, with a commendable success. The story was engaging, upgrades the player earned helped shape Adam Jensen’s actions in a profound manner, and other than a few nagging issues (Jensen’s monotone voice work, difficulty spikes), it was a solid release all around. If you want a title that lets you choose between sneaking by enemies or taking them on in a shootout, Deus Ex: Human Revolution will more than satisfy those choices, and then some.