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6 Best Video Games From Last Generation

Andy Gause |
December 1, 2013 | 11:21 a.m. PST

Contributor

After eight years, the Xbox 360 and PS3 are now obsolete. (Flickr/L Hollis Photography)
After eight years, the Xbox 360 and PS3 are now obsolete. (Flickr/L Hollis Photography)

As we close the curtain on this past generation (and kickstart the next generation), I think it's time to revisit some of the most stimulating, memorable, and down-right entertaining experiences last gen had to offer. If you haven't experienced the games on this list, do yourself a favor and pick them up for cheap online.

The games are listed in no particular order and I've decided to limit it to one game per franchise.

 

Bioshock

Ken Levine and his team at 2K Boston (now known as Irrational Games) shook the gaming landscape in 2007 with the release of this first-person shooter Bioshock. The game is set in the shattered underwater utopia of Rapture, a crumbling paradise build upon Ayn Rand objectivism that was both equally mesmerizing and terrifying.

A spirtual successor to the masterful System Shock, the game gave gamers magical powers known as plasmids which allowed them to shock, burn, or sting the frenzied enemies that roamed the errie halls. However, the true challenge of the game were the Big Daddies, hulking, drill-wielding mini bosses challenging you to make the first move.

The game dealt with issues of choice, ambition, and power in a mature, subtle way. This year's follow-up, Bioshock: Infinite, was equally thought-provoking and unique, but it was the first game in the series that was the thinking gamer's most cherished experience this generation.

 

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Some may prefer Naughty Dog's recent dystopian masterpiece The Last of Us for its emotional-wrenching story. However, 2009's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, in my opinion, was the company's best game this generation. This cinematic third-person action game captures the adventurous spirit of the Indiana Jones films, while forging its own path with an engaging love triangle and awe-inspiring set piecs.

The game follows dashing adventurer Nathan Drake as he travels the globe in search of treasure. Along the way, the gamer fights Yetis in snow-capped Himalayas, scurries through lush villages, and in the most memorable level this generation, traverses a moving train. Add in an extensive multiplayer suite that highlighted Naughty Dog's engineering prowess and you have the best console exclusive this generation.

SEE ALSO:  Gamer Roulette - Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review

 

Super Mario Galaxy

Many consider this hugely popular Wii platformer to be the best 3D Mario game of all time - ranking it alongside classics like Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Bros 3. That statement alone should demonstrate the outrageously high quality of Super Mario Galaxy.

The concept is simple: Bowser has taken the perpetually in distress damel Peach and the chubby red plumber must take his precise platforming into the cosmos to save her. The game's impeccable level design and unparalleled sense of joy elevate it to the top of the Wii's library.

 

Portal

The award for biggest surprise this generation has to go to the original Portal. Originally conceived as a thesis project, Portal was packed in as an 'extra' alongside the highly anticipated Team Fortress 2 (and the entire Half-Life 2 series) in Valve's Orange Box. Clocking in at under five hours and with only one speaking character (if you don't count the adorable turrets), Portal does more with less. The game centers on a speechless test subject named Chell who must survive a sterile test chamber using only a portal gun.

The game makes a lasting impact through its deviously clever puzzles and hilarious dialogue, proving that games don't need big set pieces to be memorable. Who would have guessed that one of the most beloved characters of last generation would be a sarcastic disembodied female voice? Or that the most popular song of the console generation is a electronic ukelele song about survival and sweet, sweet cake?

 

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

The Call of Duty series has gotten a bad rep for its annual iterations and 'refinement over innovation' attitude. However, it would be a disservice to ignore the impact the first game in the Modern Warfare series had on the industry. At the time, most first person shooters were set in WWII. In fact, the first games in the series of this generation took place in the Second World War. But Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare took the series and with it the rest of the industry, out of the past and into the present.

The game set a new precedent with its bombastic, cinematic level design, addictive multiplayer systems and fast-paced gameplay. Several of the single player levels, like the sinking battleship and ghillie suit sniper level, stand as hallmarks of the generation. Many gamers still can't break their addiction to multiplayer and that burst of dopamine that floods the brain every time you get one level closer towards prestige.

 

Mass Effect 2

The first Mass Effect may have been more revolutionary and Mass Effect 3 was certainly larger in scale, but it was Mass Effect 2 that hit the sweet spot for Bioware's science fiction role playing series. In this entry, Commander Shepard was tasked with gathering a squad for the mysterious Illusive Man for a suicide mission against the invading reapers.

SEE ALSO: The Fan's Effect On Mass Effect

The game refined the first entry's clunky combat into a more visceral and immediate experience, while keeping Bioware's role-playing roots intact. The roster of memorable characters in this game is deep: from the logical and surprisingly musical scientist Mordin, to the volatile criminal Jack, and the stoic archangel assassin Thane. The player's connection with these complex, well-realized squad mates was the strongest in any game this generation.

 

Honorable Mentions: The Last of Us, GTAV, Gears of War, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, Braid, Journey, The Walking Dead.

Do you agree with this list? What games defined this generation for you? What games do you think people will discuss about when they look back on this generation in twenty years?

Contact Andy at [email protected]. Or follow him on Twitter here.

 



 

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