It was a great run. I don’t think there is any other generation of consoles that rank higher in my book. We have seen some amazing genre ground breaking games. Not to mention the revolution of incorporating movie and TV downloads, playing online with both friends and strangers across the world, free demo downloads of upcoming games, music, and picture sharing all wrapped up in one shiny little console box known as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and to a lesser extent the Nintendo Wii.
I will remember this generation with much love in my inner child gaming heart. All great things do come to an end and this is the end my friends. Sure we will see a few more titles in the next couple of years as these consoles get phased out, but these will be little brother ports of the real next generation versions for the most part. With the “next” generation already here, the time has come to finish my Top 30 Greatest Modern Games of this generation. Was a lot harder than I thought.
As always feel free to add to the list, disagree, or just share a game that you felt was truly special to you. So let’s get to it! You can check out part one here.
#15 Max Payne 3
Confession. I never played any of the previous Max Payne titles. My only knowledge of the franchise was the cool slow motion “matrix” style gunplay…and of course the Mark Wahlberg’s live action feature film.
I casually picked this game up during the slow season almost a year after it was released, having no idea I was about to play one of the best surprises of the current generation. What was really cool for me personally, was you didn’t have to of played any of the previous entries to catch up on the series history thanks to the awesome flashback scenes and dialogue recaps.
I truly felt that I was playing a brand new fresh chapter in the life of Max Payne as he struggled with his past while working as a hired bodyguard in South America that soon unfolded as one of the coolest plots of double-crossing and political corruption that I have ever seen in a video game. Developer Rockstar blew my mind with this sucker. The story, graphics, gameplay, and voice acting are right up there with the best in the industry. The real star of the game was Max Payne himself whose overall character and “1940’s style private investigator” dialogue/humor stole the show.
Needless to say, Max Payne 4 on the new generation of consoles will be on my preorder list for sure.
#14 Ghostbusters The Video Game
“We came…we saw…we kicked it’s ASS!”. Just hear me out. This game got a 8 out of 10 at GameInformer, so it wasn’t a masterpiece, nor was it garbage. The reason it made my top 30 is a simple one. It wasn’t due to the games graphics or gameplay (which were solid), it was because IT WAS THE GHOSTBUSTERS!
With the entire gang returning for a reunion of sorts. Fans have hoped for a part 3 ever since the last film hit the theatre’s in 1989. This game was the “part 3″ feature film we were never given. The entire cast returned to do the voice work in addition to Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler) and Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz) writing the script which took place just a few short years after Ghostbusters 2.
The voice acting and dialogue was hilarious. The game honestly felt like I was watching a Ghostbusters sequel. This game earned my top 30 for simply allowing me to put on a proton pack and hunt some ghost with the original iconic Ghostbusters that fans have immortalized since the original comedy wowed the world back in 1984.
Also worth mentioning, many games these days offer pre-order bonuses which usually are DLC or something gimmicky. Ghostbusters pre-orders gave gamers a very cool Ghostbusters t-shirt and a very surprising pre-recorded voice message launch reminder from none other than Dan Aykroyd himself!
#13 BioShock Infinte
Where do I begin? This was just a very special game that was nominated for many of the 2013 game of the year awards. A prequel of sorts to the original 2008 game of the year. I love games that offer the gamer something new and I think it is safe to say that a game that gives you a 1912 era backdrop, a former Pinkerton on a mission, and a cloud city pretty much delivers the goods.
Again, every box on the usual check list for a great game gets a firm check mark. Voice acting, graphics, plot, and lots of cool secret nods to the original are all present and accounted for. Some of the most gorgeous graphics I have seen in a first person adventure. Little advice for first time players: keep a dry wash rag near by, because you are going to have plenty of sweaty hands after surviving the intense gun fights in this 20-30 hour campaign.
#12 DC Injustice: Gods Among Us
Developer NetherRealm Studios absolutely nailed this one. A return to 2D fighter glory with lush interactive eye candy arenas that pay homage to the DC universe. Sure, 2008’s Mortal Kombat vs DC may have been the first modern DC fighter, but Injustice took that formula and multiplied it by one hundred to the fourth power.
Gamers and DC fans alike could finally play a DC fighter that gave little comic geek fantasy moments of fighting a Bane with Batman, taking on Deathstroke with Green Arrow, Green Lantern vs Sinestro…the “moments” of epic battles were endless. Also special thanks to NetherRealm for going over the top with the unexpected DLC. Which was more than just giving us more desired characters like Martian Manhunter or General Zod just to name a few, but the skin packs really went beyond the usual average skin packs we have seen across other fighter games. We got awesome live action film “Man Of Steel”, the animated “Flash: Paradox Lost” and the graphic novel classic “The Killing Joke”, skin packs in addition to so many more. Epic.
#11 Tomb Raider
Lara Croft is no rookie when it comes to the game industry. She was practically a household name in her early Playstation One day’s. The games, the live action movies, the boobies, she was a star. Then she disappeared , only to occasionally return with a comeback game that often fell short.
Then in 2013, developer Crystal Dynamics returned Lara Croft to her former glory with a fresh take on an origins story. It was a masterpiece. The only negative I can say, is that it is a shame she found her way as #11 on my top 30.
The game is better than that. There is nothing like playing a game with an ABC TV series “Lost” atmosphere, a vicious thunderstorm backdrop on a creepy jungle island. If this is what Crystal Dynamics can do on the current generation, I can’t wait to see what they do with Lara’s next adventure on the Xbox One and PS4.
Also, I want to point out what an amazing job voice actress Camilla Luddington did with the voice of a young and insecure Lara Croft.
#10 Far Cry 3
I admit, I jumped on the band wagon late with this one. When Far Cry 3 hit retail, it wasn’t no where in sight on my gaming radar. Then the national reviews and word of mouth began to spread like a wild brush fire. Far Cry 3 was a great game worthy of a GOTY nomination.
I said why not and picked it up….best gaming decision I made last year. Far Cry 3 was not only one of the most gorgeous first person adventures I have ever had the pleasure to push the start button on my controller for and it had not only one of the most charismatic villains I have ever feared in a game, but was one of the greatest sandboxes I have ever jumped in.
When the credits hit my TV screen, I did not want to leave, like a kid in a swimming pool at grandma’s house. When Jason Brody and his college buddies go on a tropical island vacation, they are having the time of their lives. Drunk and seductive woman at the night clubs, hang gliding, jet skiing, beautiful sandy beaches and orange sunsets. Oh and don’t forget the armed mercenaries who love to rape, torture and kidnap the islands tourist for ransom. The dangerous wildlife that is just as deadly, and oh ya the secret tribal friend or foe warriors who love to inject you against your will with hallucinogens.
I just want to say this, I have played many games with wildlife that allows the gamer to hunt and kill, but never have I literally feared for my life the way I did in Far Cry 3. The snakes, the tigers, the sharks, or something as simple as being eaten alive by a crocodile as I simply crossed a river. Far Cry 3 is one of those gems that I imagine I will be discussing at the old folks home in the year 2056 when the conversation of the “good ol days of gaming” come up.
#9 Draw: Call of Duty 4 & Battlefield 3
I know…I know. I am cheating. I’m sorry, all I can say is, “I know”. My reasoning for giving the two a draw is a simple one. They both revolutionized the benchmark for the “this is how it’s done” first person shooter genre. You can insult me, laugh at me, but for the love of AK-47’s and smoke grenades everywhere, please don’t make me choose between these two.
Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the first modern shooter that blew the door wide open on customizing weapon and gear loadouts, playing online with across the world, forming clans to go head to head with other clans, creative maps, and laughing so hard that your ribs hurt while cracking jokes with your microphone. Oh and let’s not forget the campaigns epic sniper suicide mission with that crazy bastard Captain Price!
My first thought after playing Battlefield 3, was that I just witnessed the evolution of the first person shooter. Every bullet you hear wasn’t some prerecorded battle soundtrack to simulate real war…those gun shots you heard were real gamers fighting for their lives. Tanks, Jets, Bikes, jeeps, boats, this game had it all.
The destructable environments weren’t just gimmicks either. Backed into a corner? No problem, RPG to the wall-problem solved. Can’t take out that pesky sniper in the abandoned building? No big deal, just turn the building into swiss cheese with your assault rife and watch the roof crumble on top of the sniper. Just when the yearly Call Of Duty was getting stale for me, Battlefield 3 was a breath of fresh air.
#8 God Of War 3
My first taste of experiencing Kratos and his greek mythology slasher was the HD classic bundle set from the PS2 era. Being a fan of greek mythology, I instantly fell in love with the franchise.
When God Of War 3 launched, I was ready for the wedding and the honeymoon. Gorgeous graphics, 60 frames per second bloody spartan action in epic set piece battles and finally being able to get my hands around Zeus’s neck. An instant classic. Long live Kratos, the one true God Of War!
#7 Batman Arkham City
I have made it no secret that Batman and his Gotham universe are my all-time favorite comicsverse. My inner 12-year-old subconscious really wants to crown this title as the greatest game of all time. Taking the formula of its predecessor and taking the bat off his leash and letting the Dark Knight run wild in Gotham’s new open world prison was one of my most memorable experiences of the modern generation for me.
The first time I popped in the game, I must have just stared at my TV for twenty minutes as I watched Batman sitting on a skyscraper ledge with GCPD helicopters flying in the background over a dark and cold night in Gotham City. No question, Batman Arkham City is the greatest superhero game ever made to date. Can’t wait to see what developer Rocksteady has planned for us on the next generation! In addition, this game will always hold a special place in my heart for it being Mark Hamill’s swan song voice acting the iconic Joker.
#6 Mass Effect 3
When Mass Effect 3 hit retail, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the games ending. I loved it. Really felt as if there was a real ending to Commander Shepard and his crew had a life moves on feel to it. The game’s masterpiece opening sequence never took a dip.
Most games will start off and end strong, but often suffer from a midway slump. Mass Effect 3 kept that controller tucked firmly in the grip of your hands and your mouth wide open with a “No Way” expression on gamers faces from the beginning to the very end. Bravo Bioware…bravo…what a masterpiece!
#5 Red Dead Redemption
I have said it before and I will say it many times again, I love it when a game truly delivers a first time brand new experience. Enter Rockstar Games’ masterpiece, Read Dead Redemption.
An open-world spaghetti western that lets the gamer do and see everything that we love about western classic films. Ride horseback from the open frontier all the way down to El Mexico. Hunt, sit by the camp fire, rob trains and banks, go and explore the snowy mountains, escape lynch mobs and deputy posse’s through beautiful desert and river backdrops.
Not only was the open world and story brilliantly executed, but main character/hero John Marston was easily one of my favorite game characters from any generation that I have ever encountered. One of the most original endings and game soundtracks I have ever enjoyed. One of Rockstar’s best.
#4 The Last Of Us
In a lot of ways, this game should probably be number one on my list. No doubt about it, this isn’t “one of the most original” games I have ever played. It IS the most original game I have ever played. My main complaint? That this was a game and not a summer blockbuster film! Look up the word “masterpiece” in the dictionary and you will see a poster of Naughty Dogs’s The Last Of Us.
Over the course of the meaty campaign, you will be charged with joining one of the coolest game characters of this generation, Joel, on his journey to escort a young girl (Ellie) across an apocalyptic future of survival who may just hold the key to the worlds humanity. Only the Resident Evil series has made me just as cautious when pulling a trigger as you risk your odds of survival with your bullet inventory.
Also, it would be a crime to not mention the characters and the bonds you form as you make your way through the story. Every character (good or evil) leaves an emotional residue with you. I swear, I actually could have cried a few times. Every bullet, arrow, and cocktail bomb counts as you make your way across the country. I still get chills just thinking of the opening scene and main menu guitar music.
#3 Grand Theft Auto 5
The 2013 GOTY earns the number three spot and then some. If I had to sum this game up in one word? Overwhelming. From the epic crime saga campaign, the revolutionary “switch between 3 main characters” feature, and its addictive online, GTA5 just might be remembered as the greatest game of all time.
Epic and heart pounding bank heist, outrageous comedy and characters (specifically Trevor), and more side missions worthy of other games main story missions than I can count. There is PLENTY to keep you busy between high-speed ala Fast N Furious police chases, sky diving off mountains, play game of tennis/golf or just exploring every detailed corner of Los Santos.
Be ready to sink at least 70 hours into this sucker before you see the credits role. Usually when you beat a story game, the online is usually just an icing on the cake” bonus. Not with GTA5. I think it is very likely I will put twice as much time in the online game as I build MY EMPIRE and own Los Santos all for myself.
#2 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Partiots
The year was 2008 and Sony was no longer “king” of the console sales. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was killing Sony’s $599 Playstation 3. The 360 had more games, more exclusives, had a smoother online server, and was cheaper.
Metal Gear Solid 4 not only stepped in and single-handedly turned the tide for the PS3 console, but also gave MGS fans the greatest Metal Gear adventure to date. Everything about this game just oozed “polish”. Not only did this game deliver to long time fans, but it also brought in an entire new generation of fans who just had to see what all the hubbub was about.
Put this 2008 game side by side with any 2013 game, and MGS 4 will do more than hold its own. Very few characters are as captivating as Solid Snake and he does not let you down in this epic adventure. I never play games twice. That being said, I have played this game THREE TIMES over. It is that awesome. Thank you Hideo Kojima for giving me one of my all time favorite games…ever.
#1 Uncharted 2: Among Theives
Being a lover of great games, we often throw the word “masterpiece” around probably a bit too often. If there is one game that honestly hands down across the board earns that compliment, it would be Drakes sophomore adventure Uncharted 2: Among Thieves that truly makes Indiana Jones look like a fat kid licking an ice cream cone while waiting for the pizzeria to open on a Sunday morning.
Drake is the real deal. This game pushed the envelope and imagination of what an adventure game could be and do on the current generation. I had more first time experiences in this one game than I could say for most games combined. Anyone who remembers having a shoot out with a bunch of bad guys on the top-level penthouse of a hotel as the building is literally tipping over, with furniture flying out the window and the ground shifting all to hell beneath you will understand exactly what I am talking about.
If every game in my top 5 is a 10 out of 10…then Uncharted 2 is a 11 that has aged like a fine wine
Here is a list of games that got outstanding reviews, but sadly I did not get to either play, finish, could not fit in top 30, or was a next generation title that got a current gen port.
NBA 2K11 (for finally giving hoop fans the chance to relive Micheal Jordans greatest moments), Assassins Creed: Black Flag (again, giving gamers a new experience of sailing the open seas as a pirate), Splinter Cell: Black List (just like the Mass Effect series, Splinter Cell really did a fantastic job of letting me be a bad ass secret agent), Infamous 2 (an amazing game that should by all rights be on the top 30 list), Halo 4, Dead Rising, Fall Out 3, The Resistance Trilogy, Zelda: Skyward Sword, Donkey Kong, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Mortal Kombat, TMNT: Reshelled (a stunning return to the old school classic in colorful next-gen graphics), Resident Evil 6 (Leon’s Campaign), Batman Arkham Origins, Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron, Beyond Two Souls, WWE14, and Twisted Metal.