On November 15th and 22nd respectively, the current generation of consoles as we know it will change forever. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One may get off to a slow start, but they are poised to do big things in the years ahead.
Before we officially usher in the next generation of consoles, we decided to compose a list of standout games from this generation that we feel are worth playing. So without further ado, here are our picks on 30 Current Gen games that you should play.
When Irrational Games released the original BioShock way back in August of 2007, I was absolutely floored by the concept of a first-person shooter filled with RPG elements. Ken Levine’s masterful storytelling about a 1960’s underwater city called Rapture provided several twists and turns while remaining beautifully crafted from beginning to end. In addition to the engaging narrative, the character’s ability to unleash new powers by injecting himself with plasmids kept the gameplay fun and wildly addictive. Prior to this game’s release, I didn’t own an Xbox 360 console and I’m proud to say that this title convinced me to make the purchase. These are all the concrete reasons why BioShock is definitely one game you should experience before it’s too late.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
For as far back as I can remember, video games based on the Caped Crusader have not always been well received by both critics and fans alike. However, this trend changed dramatically when Rocksteady Studios released Batman Arkham Asylum back in August of 2009. The story focused on Batman being trapped in Arkham for a night and having to face off against all of the adversaries he had put there. The game featured the same voice actors behind the popular Batman Animated Series television show. In addition to providing a great story and cast, the combat aesthetics were top notch and most games today still borrow from these mechanics. Lastly, Arkham Asylum also made use of a Detective mode system that allowed Batman to investigate scenarios before engaging in them. These are just a few of the reasons why Arkham Asylum is indeed one of the most critically acclaimed titles in the Batman franchise.
Assassin’s Creed II
Ubisoft’s highly popular Assassin’s Creed series has maintained its stance as one of this generation’s newest IP's. While I’m not a fan of this franchise having annual releases, I’ll be the first to admit that I greatly enjoyed all that Assassin’s Creed II had to offer. Set during the Italian Renaissance era, Assassin’s Creed II explored the trials and tribulations of Ezio Auditore de Firenze as he becomes the latest assassin in this storyline. The use of this time period along with improvements to gameplay aesthetics makes this one of the best games in the franchise so far. In addition to this, Ezio is still the most popular character among many fans and it’s easy to see why with a game as exciting as this one.
Red Dead Redemption
While Grand Theft Auto V continues to make billions long after it’s release, many will be quick to remember that for a long time Rockstar Games was known primarily as the company that only makes GTA games. This all changed when they released Red Dead Redemption back in May of 2010. Rockstar San Diego’s open world story about a former outlaw named John Marston had all the makings of a classic Western straight out of Hollywood. With a huge map to explore and a precision based dead eye shooting system, Red Dead proved that Rockstar was capable of making plenty of other games besides Grand Theft Auto.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Many games have gone under the radar this generation, particularly ones that deserved more praise. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is usually well received by most of those who play it, but unfortunately it seems to be a forgettable game. So what made me choose it for this list? Well if you think about some of the most memorable single player games of this generation (Mass Effect and Metal Gear Solid for example), they're highly praised for their approach to storytelling and dialogue. I personally think that Deus Ex: Human Resolution does this better than most of these games, but is perhaps a let down because of its complicated and technical setting. The game throws tough choices at the player, and Eidos Montreal knows how to make them count.
As someone who never played the original Deus Ex games, I'm justified in saying that if you give this game a chance it will impress you, more so than some of the more popular IP's out there.
Bethesda are renowned for their ability to put players in beautiful worlds, rich with lore. If you enjoy story driven experiences then Skyrim might not be for you. But if you enjoy losing yourself in expansive realms, and building the ultimate hero then this game will provide hours of exciting adventure. When it comes to The Elder Scrolls games, you get what you put in. And with Skyrim, the sky is the limit - unless you mod the game, then there is literally no limit.
Metal Gear Solid 4
If you've followed the events of the MGS timeline then Metal Gear Solid 4 is a big pay off. Kojima and his team have a talent for creating touching moments, and MGS4 is an emotional roller-coaster if you choose to follow its cut-scenes. I also rank its ending as one of the best this generation. If that wasn't enough, it's also a beautiful game considering it released earlier in the PS3's life-cycle. And the controls have been fixed to get rid of the annoyances from earlier games. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain may follow a different timeline, but it's still worth playing this game over so everything stays fresh in your mind.
Being a superhero is something that everyone dreams about at some point in their life. The likes of Spider-Man, Superman, Thor, Captain America, Batman and so many others have exploded at the box office in recent years - but these are all based off of long-running existing comic book properties. What about a new hero? Sucker Punch took that idea and explored it in ways I never really imagined were possible. Prior to the release of the inFAMOUS , if you told me it was possible to have a video game based on a hero (or anti-hero, depending on your preferences) that I had never heard of, but still love it, I'd think you were crazy. With so many different powers to level up and two very distinct paths to choose from, inFAMOUS has earned its right at the top of any list of best PlayStation 3 exclusives.
The Legend of Zelda is my favorite video game franchise of all-time. While The Elder Scrolls and the next entry on this list have both tried hard to steal that crown, I always keep coming back to Zelda and fall in love with it all over again. Thus, enter Darksiders: equal parts Four Horsemen, The Legend of Zelda and God of War, this recipe turns out to be perfect for one of the most entertaining and diverse group of games this generation. The first game, starring War, ended with one of the greatest cliffhangers in video game history and still gives me chills when I think about it to this day. Lots of games come out that involve the battle between Heaven and Hell, but few games truly dive into the intricacies of the characters, settings and events. I don’t want to go into too much more detail as not everyone has played this one, but you owe it to yourself to check it out!
Mass Effect 2
There are few entertainment properties - gaming or otherwise - that transcend the very mediums in which they take place. Properties like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and others have evolved to become not just stories, but entire universes of fiction and ideologies. Mass Effect 2 is not only like these properties, but I would argue that it is the most important science fiction universe ever created. Never before has a game allowed gamers to truly make decisions that mattered. Commander Shepard and I have been through some serious shit.
The second game was full of intense and monumental moments that defined my experiences as a gamer and as a person. In this universe, humans aren't the most powerful or most intelligent species, but are instead just another part of a story about collaboration and growth on an individual level. Hell, it was one of the first games that ever really made me cry…no regrets. Irrespective of the massive events that, at the end of the day, the things I remember most happened within the confines and conversations of the SS Normandy. Mass Effect 2 is a journey that explores humanity in ways no other game really has and it's one of the best games of this entire generation in my opinion, bar none. Thank you Bioware!
Uncharted 2 instantly improved upon the first game’s formula with a hell of an introduction. Drake wakes up, bloodied and beaten inside of a train. Drake painfully musters the strength to climb up the train only to become part of a decisive firefight. This sets the tone for how Uncharted will play out as a series. Where else the first game seemed chunky with its platforming and combat, Uncharted 2 seamlessly blends them together in a way that truly felt like an Indiana Jones movies.
No More Heroes
Suda 51 makes games that are technically flawed and will only appeal to a niche set of gamers; but if you’re going to try one, then you should start with No More Heroes. Travis Touchdown takes the lives of 10 assassins only for the promise of being number one and to have sex with the beautiful con-artist, Sylvia. Travis represents an exaggerated version of the stereotypical gamer that may hit close a little too home. While he may be a badass, he still practices lightsaber moves from videos, lives in a motel room full of Otaku decorations, and he goes to bed alone—making his asshole behavior seem oddly endearing. To participate in the ranked battles, he must earn up enough cash doing odd jobs so he can afford to play the game. It’s an excellent satire with fascinatingly bizarre boss characters, and you won’t be able to predict what happens in the story. I don’t mean to sound cliché, but you’re jaw may literally drop while playing this game.
Guitar Hero was an addicting game that hardcore players spent many hours mastering; however, it was limited in that it was two players and the expert difficulty may alienate some. Rock Band seemed to address every one of these criticisms, easing up on the difficulty to provide just enough of a challenge that was fun for any group of players. Players could start their own quartet with a guitarist, bassist, drummer, and lead singer. Everybody could fit a role regardless of musical experience, and everyone could play at the same time on different difficulty levels. If you have a friend who has plenty of Guitar Hero experience, then he or she could wield the axe. The friend with the least experience could play bass; however, this doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have some sort of challenge. Your offbeat, experimental friend could take reigns on the drums. And while no one wanted to be lead singer, someone would eventually give in after a few drinks. Like Guitar Hero, you’ll all look silly playing Rock Band, but you’ll have a damn good time doing so.
Gears of War
Before its release, who would of thought that the original Gears of War would have revolutionized third-person gameplay this generation? A game about body armor wearing tough guys fighting aliens seemed pretty shallow and unimaginative, but little did we know that it would become a bona fide hit and a system seller for the Xbox 360. The game perfected the cover mechanic introduced by kill.switch back in the PS2 era and set the standard for cover mechanics. Almost every TPS game for the next few years aimed to mimic the ease and fluidity of moving from cover to cover effortlessly. Gears of War was the reason I bought an Xbox 360 and was one of the main reasons why that console was dominant within the first few years. The game looked amazing and became one of the best franchises from this generation.
Call of Duty 4
Ever played a multiplayer game with perks and an online leveling system with kill streaks? You have Call of Duty 4 to thank for that. Infinity Ward truly changed the world of online multiplayer gaming with Modern Warfare and have created staples in the industry that I can't see being replaced anytime soon. The fast paced and addictive multiplayer made Call of Duty one of the biggest and most successful franchises in the world. Although the series has been overrun by 12 year old whiny children, the games continue to be played by virtually everyone. Each game is able to do this by retaining the addictive "can't put down" nature of the progressive leveling system. Who would have thought that keeping most of the weapons behind XP walls would actually make you want to play more? That's part of the genius behind this game and I still can't think of another multiplayer game that I'd rather play more of.
Grand Theft Auto IV
After the incredible success and popularity of Grand Theft Auto III (along with Vice City and San Andreas) nobody knew what to expect from Rockstar's first GTA game on the Xbox 360 and PS3. They took a more serious tone to the world and while the trademarked satire and humor remained, the world was much less crazy this time around. In a sans-jetpack world many people where disappointed with this new take on the franchise's tone, I believed that in GTA IV Rockstar created a game with the best world and most advanced storytelling than any of the previous games that came before it. Their take on New York was absolutely stunning and the world was amazing to travel around and be a part of. The multi-layered storyline involved amazing set pieces mixed with a tale of betrayal which had you juggling missions between friends and ultimately making tough decisions based on who to trust and who to double-cross. In my opinion only the polished experience of Grand Theft Auto V beats IV, but I still believe that the world of Liberty City beats Los Santos any day of the week.
Those who are fans of JRPG’s should look no further than this masterpiece. To date, this is by far my favorite game on the Xbox 360 and with good reason. From the creator of the Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi, comes a wonderfully designed world in which a mismatched group of immortals try to regain their forgotten memories. By venturing through the multitude of graphically inspiring locations, battling various creatures of different strengths with a combat system to rival the very best JRPG’s; and a musical score from the legendary Nobuo Uematsu, this title is one that diehard RPG fans should not miss and will entice those who are eager into the widely renowned genre of role playing games. If there is one game that you need to play, whether you are a fan of RPG’s or not, Lost Odyssey is definitely the right choice. The game delivers on so many levels and keeps you immersed in its world for an awfully long time.
A game about running, that can’t be fun can it? From the wonderful folks over at Dice comes a title about a traceur known as Faith. In a world thats under constant surveillance from the government, a series of runners are called into work to deliver messages outside of the government’s eye. As the game progresses, you see that this isn’t the only concern for Faith as she battles friends and foes alike. Unlike many other First-Person games, Mirror’s Edge takes a unique stance in regards the movement and general gameplay we’ve all become accustomed to. Accompanied by the vibrant color scheme and beautiful graphics, Mirror’s Edge has become one of my go-to games of the current generation. This stands out from the crowd mainly due to how different the game style is. A bright, expansive environment that you can traverse, yet all in first-person perspective. The ability to control Faith with her series of wall climbs and wall runs is something that I thoroughly enjoy and is definitely something that I would recommend to others.
Portal (Orange Box)
The puzzle game to define all puzzle games. Portal is one classic that Valve has definitely capitalized on. In a test environment, you are Chell, a subject for the psychotic mind of GLaDoS, a vastly intelligent robot with a devilish desire to place you in danger in every single chamber. Once you finally acquire your handheld portal device, you start to understand the logic behind all of the puzzles. By shooting a portal on one wall and another portal somewhere else, you can create a route in which you were otherwise unable to traverse. As the games slogan suggests, you more you play, the more you begin “thinking in portals” and become more aware of the many possibilities the handheld portal device provides. Some routes are obvious, some are not so much, but all of them are cleverly integrated. Not only this, but the storyline also has its merits. As far as puzzle games go, a plot isn’t really the key focus, yet Portal manages to grip you, and Chell’s desire to escape the compound becomes your desire too. There are not many games that can do that, but Portal is definitely one of them.
The Last Of Us
I was hesitant to put The Last Of Us on this list as the game is still relatively new. This list should be for games that have stood the test of time and still resonate with us many years after their release. But you know what, I’d be lying to myself if I said The Last Of Us wasn’t one of the best games I’ve played this entire generation! While it isn’t necessarily “fun” to play, Naughty Dog’s latest masterpiece provides a haunting and impactful experience that is rarely seen in video games. I’ve already written 1000-words worth of reasons why everyone should play this game. So, if you’re still on the fence it’s time to hop off and face the mutated!
It’s always great when a game manages to foster the creativity of its users. With the right community behind it, user generated content has the potential to infinitely expand a game’s shelf life as evidenced by the LittleBigPlanet series. LittleBigPlanet 2 is one of the few games that I return to at least once a month and the level of ingenuity exhibited by other players never ceases to amaze me! With this release, Media Molecule set out to transition LittleBigPlanet from a platform game to a platform for games and they did so in spectacular fashion. Whether you wish to craft your own works of art or simply enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor, LittleBigPlanet 2 is endless roller-coaster of creativity at its cutest!
Although Street Fighter IV kicked-off this generation’s fighting game resurgence, it was the 9th Mortal Kombat game that proved the genre could still produce Game Of The Year candidates. For over a decade the Mortal Kombat franchise had been spiraling towards irrelevancy thanks to an influx of bland new characters and questionable additions such as weapons and strafing. However with the release of 2011’s Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios effectively ripped the heads off their competitors and punched them in the balls with it! MK9 was a true return to form and just might be the best fighting game since Street Fighter II. Although it’s not a flawless victory, MK9 has quite easily earned its spot on this sacred list of ours. A fighting game that excels in the gameplay, story, graphics and sound department is an extremely rear thing but Mortal Kombat made it look all too easy.
In in the sandbox style genre of games, there are really only two dominate names that resonate with gamers. They are Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row. Any other sand-box style games that are released inevitably get compared to both GTA and Saints Row. Yet every once a game comes along and takes elements of the best out there to stylishly deliver something unique. Enter Sleeping Dogs, a Hong Kong crime drama that originally was part of the True Crime series, but later changed identity after being in development limbo for so long.
The game stands out by blending together some of the best parts of games like Saints Row and GTA, and mixes it with old school Martial Arts movie themes and action. Players take on the role of Detective Wei Shen and follow a story about trust, betrayal, honor, and the hard truths about Hong Kong’s underworld. The game not only has a deep combat system that makes many nods to old school Martial Arts movies, but also has a ton of unlockables and hidden easter eggs that would make any martial arts movie buff smile. The DLC only further enhances the fan service with huge nods to classic films like Enter the Dragon, Five Deadly Venoms, and many more. This is one title that will keep gamers busy long after they complete the main story, and is one of the better open-world games of this past generation.
Fire Emblem Awakening
When it comes to strategy RPGs, very few games can be newcomer-friendly without sacrificing the ability to be in-depth and challenging at the same time. Fire Emblem Awakening is one of those few titles that not only does this very well, but goes even further by offering up even more. Utilizing the 3DS StreetPass and SpotPass capabilities in some of the best ways possible, Fire Emblem Awakening always gives players reason to continue playing. Not only is there an interesting story that follows a colorful cast of characters, but there are plenty of hidden goodies and optional content to keep anyone busy for a long time.
SpotPass constantly gives players new items and armies to battle, recruit, and purchase gear from, offering endless new content for even the most experience of players. StreetPass allows players to share their armies and allow for an even more expanded end-game content that is constantly changing. There is a small multiplayer mode that allows Co-Op missions to be tackled and acquire more items and gear for use in the single player campaign. All of the DLC for the game provides great optional stories and extra outside the main game, which is radically different and really fun to experience. Those who take the leap into this great strategy RPG will find a deep and engaging game that is both welcoming to newcomers and rewarding to those who spend time with it. A definite must own for anyone with a Nintendo 3DS.
Catherine is the kind of game that may look similar to other anime style titles; but feels completely different than anything you may have played before. Made from the same team that created the Persona franchise over at Atlus, Catherine tells a story of love and faithfulness, while mixing in various elements of comedy and horror with an over the top puzzle-platformer action game. The core gameplay has players trying to ascend tower-like environments by pushing and pulling blocks and avoiding obstacles along the way, all while being pressured by a countdown clock.
The game has a deep meta-game that tells a very engaging and interesting story about Vincent and the trials he comes across when facing the reality of marriage with his girlfriend Katherine, and the seductive advances from the mysterious Catherine. Players can make decisions and interact with characters, as well as respond to text messages and play mini-games, that manipulate a karma meter that greatly influences not only the dialogue of the story sequences, but also the ending of the story in a variety of ways. There is also a local multiplayer that is both co-op and competitive that is a great offshoot from the main story, as well as leaderboards to show off the best times in each of the game’s levels. Catherine is one of the more successful unique titles of the generation that differentiates itself by offering players an experience unlike anything else. It is definitely a title worthy of being in anyone’s collection.
Heavenly Sword has been a big part of my life ever since I first played it. The game has been criticized over and over again for its short length and linear gameplay. However, these critics failed to see the game’s beauty. Heavenly Sword’s music, gameplay and, most importantly, its storyline have made it easily one of the better games I’ve played. Nitin Sawhney, composer of Heavenly Sword’s music, did a remarkable job at creating a wonderful ambience throughout the game. Seldom do you find yourself in a boss fight with serene, cultured music in the background. I was truly blown away by the poetry of the music in this game. I felt incredibly connected to the game because of it.
Moreover, the protagonist’s combat moves were gorgeous. Her sword movements were like a dance; it was mesmerizing. She spun, she flew, and she kicked ass.
The storyline was also very significant in this game. The protagonist, a woman named Nariko, faced gender discrimination in the worst possible way – from her family. Although the storyline involved fantastical creatures and exotic places, Nariko’s obstacle was very parallel to the women in the world today. Fortunately, Nariko had the strength to overcome this discrimination, and for that, Nariko is truly inspiring.
So uh... I’m just going to sit here and wait for the sequel.
When I received Killzone 2 as a gift, I brushed it off thinking it would be just another Call-of-Duty-type game.
Oh my stars, was I wrong.
Here’s a small backstory before we indulge in the wonder of Killzone 2: A while back, I decided to play a Call of Duty game to see what the fuss was all about. It’s not that I didn’t want to play Call of Duty, I just would have rather replayed Zelda’s The Wind Waker instead. I took home Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and found myself excited to play the game. I got myself prepared for the time of my life and popped the disc into the console. What the next couple of hours would teach me about FPS games would scar me forever.
The story was minimal, the characters were forgettable, and the gameplay was so redundant. I could not believe it. I knew beforehand that CoD was mainly dedicated to online gaming, but seriously? I was so traumatized. And so I became a pessimist to anything FPS-related.
Until, however, I was bored one day and decided to play Killzone 2. I’m not one to play online (I consider myself a rebel) so I clicked on the campaign mode and hoped for the best.
And that was when love happened. I could not believe how wonderful this game was. Killzone 2 dropped you in a surreal, melancholy world where you literally felt like you were on a mission. The grey tones, the weather, the music … never have I been so passionately involved in such an action-oriented game.
What’s simply amazing about Killzone 2 is the gameplay. This isn’t a simple shooting game. At one point in the game, I found myself in an intense situation where simple shoot-and-kill techniques just weren’t cutting it. It was then when I realized Killzone 2 was much more extravagant than I assumed. If you didn’t have a plan of attack, you were dead already. Although this was frustrating as shiz, it really made me appreciate the game even more.
I remember one time I spent an entire night playing Killzone 2. Afterwards, at 6am in the morning, I found myself sleep-deprived and hearing the sounds of Helghasts in my head. I swear it was legit. And kind of awesome. It was a memorable moment.
Folklore is one of those underrated video games that deserve so much more recognition than it gets. This action RPG takes the gamer into a truly enchanted, mysterious land that wraps you up in a creepy story about murder and a family’s past. If you enjoy the world of fantasy, this game is definitely for you. It’s a great rainy day game, in my opinion. Just yesterday while I watched the rainstorm from my room, I thought to myself, “Man, I really want to play Folklore right now.” Alas, my dreams were shattered when I realized I had other work to do.
Folklore isn’t a game for everyone. I introduced a friend to the game, and she was instantly turned off by the comic-style cut scenes. “It’s a lot of reading,” she said.
I decided to never see her ever again.
I kid, I kid. But I understood that Folklore was something more for the gamers who loved story-telling in a game. Even more, playing a game with two main protagonists was very interesting. Moreover, the use of sixaxis in the gameplay was absolutely phenomenal. My stars, was it phenomenal. Sucking up those Ids was so satisfying I couldn’t even describe it to you. If you ever hear a gamer say the PS3’s sixaxis was useless, you can be sure they have never played Folklore in their life. It’s okay if you pity them a little bit too.
Folklore’s story was incredible, and its gameplay was excellent. Unfortunately, I’ve found that not many gamers know of this game and because of that, it’s become a game I’ve only enjoyed on my own. If you ever get a chance to play Folklore, do it! You won’t be disappointed.
Remember the first time you stepped outside of Vault 101 and witnessed a post=apocalyptic Washington D.C. That magical moment is one I won't soon forget and still haven't. Fallout 3 is a massive game which leaves plenty of things to be discovered and seen well after the main story comes to a close. It also brought to life an idea I always wished would happen in a video game since I was around 12 years old which is "I wish there was a game that starts with you being a baby". Although that moment came and went rather quickly, it made the experience, the story, and you're character that much more personal.
I love dectective-crime solving stories. For this reason, it's no surprise that Team Bondi's L.A. Noire is an essential must play title of the current gen. Say what you will about the way it ended, to start the personal story of Detective Cole Phelps was never at the frontlines of what L.A. Noire was truly about. It was about crime solving and seeing through people's poker face to solve a crime. To achieve this Team Bondi captured the facial animation of the actors making LA Noire the closest you can get to being a detective in the 1950's.
This concludes our list on 30 Current Gen games that you should play. Do you agree or disagree with any of our picks? Can you think of any other games from this generation that should be on this list? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.