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DISCLAIMER: Obviously, these games are going to have been chosen through some degree of bias, because it would be impossible to have done so without playing, enjoying, and experiencing their stories and impact. Therefore, I will try to make it clear that I do not mean to ruin entire games for you, and I most certainly do mean to show you ten incredible journeys that you all may or may not have taken as well, and that you certainly should if ever given the opportunity or chance to. You may not agree with some of my choices, which is perfectly acceptable- but I ask that you at least respect them to some degree, and give me as much feedback as you see fit to do so upon them, with thoughts, responses, etcetera. Now, without further ado, and in no particular order, I begin my brief overview of ten magnificent games of this console, handheld, and PC generation...
Demon's Souls (PS3)
Before there was Dark Souls, there was a little old game called Demon's Souls on the Playstation 3, which proved to be a tough challenger to many conventional RPGs and adventure games alike. Four and a half years later and another game later with a third game on the way for the series, and I'd say that this hardcore little adventure has set itself up quite nicely. From the brutal difficulty and the environmental dangers to the awe-inspiring setpieces and boss battles, Demon's Souls is a must-play experience for all who think they are up to a challenge, who have a PS3, and who may have tried Dark Souls as well. Wanna see it's roots? Well, you'll be in for a treat and sure cult classic...
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
If you thought Skyward Sword was the best Zelda game of the Wii generation, then you're partly right. Both Skyward Sword and its predecessor Twilight Princess are nearly perfect games in terms of design, environment, enemies, graphical overtone, and characters. While the game followed a little bit darker tone than most other Zelda games have, since Majora's Mask anyway, it also had some of the brightest and most vivid dungeon layouts for a Link adventure too. From Arbiter's Grounds to Snowpeak Ruins- players saw more variations in terrain than most other Zelda games combined. All in all, Twilight Princess was a welcome warmup to Skyward Sword later, and just as good or better than its future brother as well. If you're a Wii owner looking for a cheap and very enjoyable game, then Twilight Princess is the action-adventure way to go...
Mass Effect (Multi)
Mass Effect 1 may have started off an even bigger and better sequel wagon a rolling, but we often overlook the fact that the first game itself was also quite amazing in its own way. As the next official big-time Bioware RPG and space odyssey, Mass Effect had some big shoes to fill after the likes of Knights of the Old Republic, and it sure did do quite a well-done job as well. It retained all of the elements of an RPG, including condition details, equipment and items inventories, and weapons as well. Combine these essential elements with an excellent narrative-driven sojourn across several galaxies, and a vast variety of creatures and alien species along the way, and you've gotten yourself quite the winner. While it is not nearly the best game in the trilogy in and of itself, this is of course the spark that ignited the fire that has spread around the world(s) just as the reaper threat has throughout the games. Treat yourself to a dish best served warm, and not a cold, revenge story like red dead Redemption, which is equally great.
Mirror's Edge (Multi)
This one should be a little more self explanatory than the other three may have been for a few of you fans and fanboys out there. Mirror's Edge has certainly defined an entire genre's worth of entertainment and frustration with it's timeless freerunning and slowing time mechanics. The controls are even more responsive than an Assassin's Creed game is in terms of movement and locomotion, and certainly works well on either console or the PC that you play it on. With a pretty intense story, a fast-paced campaign and competitive leaderboard worldwide, and incredible graphics for a 2008 game, Mirror's Edge is an excellent if flawed classic.
Condemned: Criminal Origins (Multi)
Condmened: Criminal Origins is the first person horror-action title that sparked the surprise sequel and could have been a really good trilogy if not for the end of the second game. The first game had tons of detective scenes like a grisly version of Joker's screwy messes in Arkham Asylum, and also a fair amount of violence and tense encounters of the...fourth? kind. While I do admit, the story is somewhat of an abomination, and the graphics weren't anything extremely impressive for the time as were those of great titles such as FEAR, the game has a solid basis in exploration, collection, and combat encounters- and is really quite a chilling experience as well.
The Orange Box (Multi)
Okay, so technically this wouldn't count as one particular game, and the only one game that I would probably nominate from it for a defining role in gaming this generation would be Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (and Portal 2 if it counted, seeing as it's related to Portal... ;-) . Anyway, this one is even more of a no-brainer than some of these other games have been, I mean- three full games for the price of one? You can count me in. Even better, it combines the best of Valve's multiplayer offering, single-player campaigns, and ingenious physics based puzzles as well. I'd say that's a win-win, and the fact that it doesn't have as many glitches as Fallout 3 and Oblivion or Skyrim combined is also pretty great for a Valve game other than Left 4 Dead...
Bioshock 1 (Multi)
I must say, there's not really much that I can say Bioshock didn't do well with. I mean, it had an excellently crafted story and narrative driving force, it had ingenious combat tactics and offerings, and it also had one of the most memorable cast of characters and locations since System Shock 2, especially under the direction of Ken Levine (who worked on both projects). Sure, the sequel finally officially put you in the shoes of a Big Daddy, whereas the first only hints at some changes to your character's personality and features, but the second also had some more aesthetic mistakes than the first cared to attempt, luckily. I'd recommend this PC classic to anyone in terms of content, although the console versions are right behind it with graphics and enjoyability in my mind.
Batman: Arkham City (Multi)
Batman: Akrham Asylum is easily one of the most enjoyable experiences that I've had with any particular video game in the past couple of years. It had all of the action from Asylum and much, much more. In every way, this sequel upped the ante, and makes a name for itself as undoubtedly the best licensed video game of all time for Rocksteady and also the publishers at Warner with DC's Batman. With an all-star and studded cast or guest appearances from nearly every major player in the DC universe in relation to Batman, an excellent setting rife with action and conspiracy plots, and a brand-new direction for the Arkhamites in the world, Arkham City was an open roam romp that cannot be described enough in only one small paragraph. Honestly, the only thing left for you to do is actually play it yourself. It's readily available on both consoles and PC for an affordable price of about $20.00 or so...
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wiii)
I really can't even explain Xenoblade Chronicles to you, its that much of an enigma even to myself after having played it for countless hours one end, and several times through. Part of Project Rainfall (I believe it was titled), which had a sole purpose of bringing third party Japanese games to the United States and to the West in general, Xenoblade was joined by and quickly dwarfed the others in its almighty presence. Anyway, with its quite excellently written up story, the awesome Monster Hunter-esque exploration and combat, and the unique inventory and item selection process make it a real champion for Wii games. It also puts it up there with the two Zelda games of the generation and a few other spectacular titles as well. I can't explain it any more without thoroughly ruining your experience, so I'm gonna have to stop now...
Dead Space 1 (Multi)
Isaac Clarke has been through some really tough crap, and everything from his sanity to his body have been put in jeopardy at nearly every snaky twist and turn in his horrifying journey. While this may not be as stunning and over-the-top as the second and third installments of his terrifying adventures in space, it is in fact the game that started off the craze. Isaac was actually a vulnerable little grunt of a plumber in this particular title, and far from the badass, flamethrower-linecutter toting mofo that he is now. With it's sadistic mutilations of the player at every boss encounter several times over, it's so-called "mini-bosses", and it's saddening sob-story origin as well for the guy, you've got to feel as sorry for him as you do for yourself when subjecting the two of you to torture of the cruelest and most unusual kind... Truly, you'll love the game's jumps and scares- just whatever you do, don't play with the lights off and the audio up. Seriously.
The Honored Few that Nearly Made it... (Multi)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I'd like to thank everyone as usual for taking the time to read my blog, and hope that you will be sure to comment at your leisure with any of the feedback you might want to give to me, for good or ill. Any and all is appreciated certainly. I spent a lot of time writing this up, and deciding what games to choose- cult classics or otherwise, so here's to gaming this generation, and gaming for all future generations to come, whether its one more or a hundred more over. Good night folks.