Before you read this blog, read my new Injustice review!
2013 marks the end of this console generation, as Sony and Microsoft will almost surely launch their next gen beasts onto the market by the end of November. The whole industry is just a totally different beast then it was in 2005 when I was eagerly awaiting the release of the XBOX 360. At that time there was nothing but excitement in the air as Microsoft boasted a stacked launch lineup and they were gunning for Sony by stealing their exclusives. Microsoft has since lost a lot of it's swagger, they no longer feel like that beast that wanted every game on it's system, and wanted nothing but great franchises to tear down Sony. No, now MS is more focused on living room entertainment then a video game system. I guess we'll see in a few weeks just how much different the next generation will be, I just hope Sony and MS remember the early adopters want nothing but awesome games and new experiences. And when I say new experiences, I don't mean Move or Kinect, I mean new IPs.
So, I'll leave all the b****ing about rumors for the forums and other bloggers, there's plenty of that already. I want to take this time and officially write my list of the top 10 games of this amazing generation. It's no easy feat, when you consider there's more quality A, AA and AAA games released this generation than ever before in a console life cycle. I played over 300 games, so I have a pretty damn big pool of quality games to choose from. I know there's some big games still to be played, but I'm pretty confident that this list is set. But hell, by December I'll forget about this blog and probably write another and call that official.
10. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Oblivion released pretty early in the 360 lifecycle, making any Sony fan pretty sad as this massive open world game is no where's on their consoles. Of course it went over later, but at the time it was a big deal. The game really blew me away, a player who hates 99% of all RPGs. It's just so fun to explore the world they created, just running to a mission and then finding a cave and losing a hour before you even realized it. I put easily 100 hours in Oblivion and I know there's stuff I haven't seen. I sadly haven't got very deep in Skyrim yet so maybe some day I'll replace IV with part V.
9. Rockband 2 - Rocking off the list is Harmonix's sequel to the Guitar Hero smashing franchise Rockband. It managed to take the awesome concept of playing with a band, and pushing it over the edge with amazing set lists, world tour and online modes. I played this game for hundreds of hours, having over 100 DLC songs to rock the hell out to. Any game that lets me play the Peace Sells album is pretty okay with me.
8. Halo Reach - Everyone knew that Bungie was leaving, it was one of the biggest news stories of the generation. Everyone also knew that Bungie had one more game to make, and holy balls did they go out on a high note. Halo Reach is the best things from all the Halo games, awesome story, awesome online, great level design and the best shooting around. If I somehow met someone who never played a Halo game, I'd tell them to play Reach first.
7. Gears of War - Hard choice between the first and third entry in the Gears of War saga, I went both ways but finally settled on the original. I chose this because how much it changed the industry, and it really set the 360 apart from Sony at the time. Gears looked insane when it came out, the detail in the level design was spectacular, and no one seen a third person game like it before. Like great games like MW, Mario or Metroid, it creates lots of followers. This game really helped MS in exclusives, as they love to put out Gears one year and Halo next to please the shooting fans. This story might be shallow but no one can ever chainsaw someone in half and not smile.
6. Batman: Arkham City - When Arkham Asylum released it of course blew everyone away because license games were not supposed to be AAA. I guess the memo got lost on the way to Rocksteady as they followed up with the perfect action adventure game. Arkham City really makes you feel like you are the Dark Knight, as you stalk the streets and buildings that are in the city. The bosses are awesome, the fighting is perfect, the graphics are impressive, the voice work is spot on and the fan service is outstanding. What does this mean? It means it's a must play game for anyone who enjoys action adventure games.
5. Bioshock - It's really hard when you get into the top 5. Bioshock is a must include in any list of best games, and most gamers would agree. Bioshock really proved that a first person shooter doesn't have to be set in a war to be interesting. They showed that atmosphere can be the most important, creating a moddy underworld that is begging to be explored. The story is so well written, and every new tidbit you uncover you just want to uncover more. Of course everyone knows of the ending now, but that really blew me away at the time. I remember just studying the Big Daddy for like ten minutes, just watching it guard the Little Sister, amazed that he didn't attack unless I made him. It just really makes you want more out of a shooter, and proved that people like to use their brain and see this stuff in a shooter.
4. Dead Space - Visceral were pretty unknown developers in 2008, having only released the alright Simpsons game and the Godfather game so far in the generation (biggest games before was the James Bond 007 games on PS2). But from the moment I saw Dead Space at E3 before it released I knew it was going to be amazing. There is just something perfect about a horror game on a ship with aliens, it's basically the best Aliens game we'll get. At the time giving you more ammo wasn't liked in survival games, but we forgave them for how fun it was to blow off limbs and curb stomp the enemies. It featured great scares, brutal deaths and good story, I hope Visceral can move on and create another amazing IP for next gen. Or just do Dante's Inferno 2?
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Okay, I'll admit the top 3 games in this list can be moved in any order. If I wrote this tomorrow I might of put Galaxy 2 into #1. I really didn't think this could be better than the first Galaxy, and what do ya know, I was effin wrong. There is just something damn special about riding Yoshi while going upside down around different planets. The bosses are perfect, the level design is THE best in any platformer EVER, and filled with enough charm to drop the Queen's panties.
2. Uncharted 2 - When I played this game, I really wasn't expecting much. The first Uncharted was solid, but I hated how you threw gernades and the level climbing wasn't too tight, but oh man is Uncharted 2 a great sequel. It has some of the best action you can look for, amazing voice acting, breath taking climbing and a lengthy campaign. I was so pleased it wasn't just an 8 hour romp, but a full meaty experience, with meaningful and well written characters. The females in the series aren't screaming babies who can't handle themselves, but strong confident women. This is one of most well rounded games you can find.
1. Assassin's Creed 2 - This is it, the single best sequel I have ever played. I couldn't even finish the first Assassin's Creed, and never went back to try again. Everything is better from the gameplay to the story to the combat, this game was the best experience you could find at the time. I love how you take control of Ezio from a young cocky man looking for some action, all the way up the grizzled assassin who is thirsting for revenge. This game really took that life long story and told it in a way we can grow with the characters. I loved all the secrets you can find, the amazing level design and the climbing, the combat..it's just all so perfect. It arrived at the perfect time, and it has always stuck with me.
5 Games I wish I could of included:
Guitar Hero 2
Saints Row 2
Call of Duty Black Ops (or CoD4)
Now, argue away at how wrong my choices are!