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A few weeks back, GIO blogger born4this posted a blog about his favorite games from this generation of consoles. In the comments, I told him that I agreed with his list, but didn't know what to pick for my own favorites. I said, "Perhaps I need to write my own blog on the subject...". He replied to said comment encouraging me to do so.
Now it has been a month and a half, and I've finally decided what my favorite games of this generation are, so I can now rip-off borrow accept Born4This' challenge.
Now, I give you my top 11 favorite games from this generation. Why top 11? Because I like to go one step further. (Rip-offs in this blog: 2.)
As a side note: I will be counting games in a series as one game, but talking about every game in said series.
#11 - Batman: Arkham Asylum
After seeing the movie The Dark Knight, Batman easily sky-rocketed to my second favorite superhero, so I couldn't wait until Arkham Asylum was released. Thankfully, the game lived up to the hype, providing an excellent environment and atmosphere, a fantastic combat system, and just an overall fun game.
According to most critics, this was the first game to make you feel like the Caped Crusader. When you play Arkham Asylum, you feel swift, strong, and almost unstoppable. That is, until you screw up, step out of the shadows and get riddled with bullets...
#10 - Donkey Kong Country Returns
Back when I was a young lad, I would play the original Donkey Kong Country nearly every day. Despite the game's incredible difficulty and not-so-tight platforming controls, I loved the game with my little heart. Flash-forward many years, and we have a better, and even harder follow up to what was one of my cherished childhood memories.
Donkey Kong Country is hard as nails and doesn't hold back, especially in the later levels. Sure you can get up to four hearts and there are checkpoints, but you'll all the help you can get with this game. Believe me, this game is brutal. However brutal it may be though, it's such a satisfying and relieving moment once you get past the section that was causing you trouble. And if any of you will accept a tip from yours truly: wear gloves while playing this. Your hands will cramp and possibly blister otherwise. You can see my review of Donkey Kong Country Returns here.
#9 - Dead Rising
The original Dead Rising was a fun, but incredibly flawed game. The second game, while fixing most of it's predecessor's flaws, was still flawed in its own right. That said, it's hard to not look past the problems of a game when said game allows you to chop zombies in half with a lightsaber, mow them down with chainsaws taped to a dirt bike, and spit in their faces.
I'll be honest, I never played much of the first Dead Rising. As much as I loved the idea, the execution was a bit too flawed for my liking, and it was way too hard for me. The second game was still difficult, but I feel it did a much better job of easing you into dangerous situations. Not to mention the characters and story were much more relatable in the second game. You can see my review of Dead Rising 2 here.
#8 - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
This may come as a shock to you, but Metal Gear Solid 4 was the first Metal Gear Solid game that I played all the way through and thoroughly enjoyed. I had played the third game before, and it just never clicked with me for some reason. After playing the demo for MGS 4, I was instantly hooked for some reason, and I felt like I needed to play it. Once I did play it, I could easily see why people loved this series so much.
Metal Gear Solid 4 was almost like an interactive movie. It was lengthy, exhilarating, and epic. Not only that, but the story was easy enough to follow and figure out with only playing the third MGS. Even though this was technically my first Metal Gear game, I still felt a connection to the characters and what they were going through. Once I finished the game, I wanted to stand up and applaud Konami and Hideo Kojima for their excellent work.
#7 - Braid
Oh man, where to begin with Braid. First of all, just look at that screenshot. Isn't the artwork just beautiful? Secondly, take a listen to this song from Braid's soundtrack. Magnificent, is it not?
As fun as Braid's time bending puzzle gameplay is, it's the experience of the game that's the most enjoyable. While using time in ways you never thought possible, you're hearing amazing music, seeing amazing visuals, and wondering just who the princess is and why she left Tim in the first place. While the story may not seem that deep necessarily, there are plenty of ways to look at it. Of course, I can't spoil anything here, so go play Braid for yourself if you have yet to do so. If I had to pick a game to show off as art, it would be this one.
#6 - Portal
The game that launched a thousand memes. And for good reason too, Portal deserves all the credit it seems to get. The first game revolved around two characters, lab-rat (not literally) Chell and dictator-like robot woman GlaDOS. In the short time you spent in Portal, you learned just how sinister GlaDOS was, and just how scary the thought of cake could be. The gameplay itself was something innovative and fun; something we'd never seen in a video game before. It made players think in different ways than they normally would in a first person game.
When the second game rolled around, it took what the first game did right, added some more cool stuff, and cranked the awesome meter to eleven. It also threw in a few new characters, who add a ton of diversity in personality and dialogue to an already fantastic game. If the writing and characters in Portal 2 don't make you laugh, you must have no sense of humor at all. You can see my review of Portal 2 here.
#5 - Mirror's Edge
Aw yeah, now it's time for the really opinionated stuff. Mirror's Egde was, in my eyes, a fantastically executed and innovative game. In most first person games, developers try to avoid platforming to keep it easier and less frustrating, since most first person platforming fails. When DICE was making Mirror's Edge, they not only embraced first person platforming, they made it into a core element of the game.
Of course, I can understand why Mirror's Edge is disliked by some people. It was a fun game, sure, but it was a bit repetitive, a bit frustrating, and disjointed. However, for some reason of another, Mirror's Edge's parkour gameplay really clicked with me. There's just something about the sense of speed and adrenaline you get while playing that feels amazing.
#4 - Assassin's Creed
The first Assassin's Creed is a special game. The story and concept were done pretty well, but the gameplay definitely left something to be desired. Once you got halfway through the game, it become a repetitive chore to play. And I loved the first game. The second game on the other hand, takes the good from the first game and adds its own good things, making for a medley of good things.
Relatable characters, less repetition, better atmosphere, stuff that the first Assassin's Creed didn't do so well was fixed in the sequel, and it was fixed to 110%. Assassin's Creed 2 was a gigantic leap forward from the first game, and I cannot stress that enough. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, the third console game in the series, wasn't as big a leap forward, but was still a fantastic game. The story, gameplay, and feel of these games makes for a great experience that every gamer should play.
#3 - Left 4 Dead
I love Left 4 Dead for entirely different reasons than Dead Rising, even though both games are about killing zombies. In Left 4 Dead, the whole point of the game is to rely on your partner for help, and vice versa. When you play Left 4 Dead with a friend, it's a fun experience, not just for the co-op, but for the hilarity.
You may think it's a scary thought to be surrounded by thousands of starving flesh eaters, and in real life, it is indeed a scary thought. However, when you and your buddy are yelling back and forth to each other about who just startled the Witch, you can't help but laugh from how much fun you're having. If you play Left 4 Dead, you'll need a co-op partner to fully enjoy it. Trust me.
#2 - Alan Wake
One of the most underrated games of last year, Alan Wake was a cult hit that I absolutely fell in love with. The story, the characters and the atmosphere were phenomenal. While the gameplay was pretty basic, I could look past it due to the absolute brilliance of the terrifying town of Bright Falls.
I think the game really resonates with me because it's all about fighting the darkness, and I have a phobia of the darkness myself. Something about fighting off your fears really hit me, making Alan Wake one of my favorite games of all time.
And if you know me, the number one choice on my list is extremely obvious.
#1 - Mass Effect
Over the summer, due to constant nagging from friends and my own curiosity, I decided to finally check out the series everyone seemed to love so much, Mass Effect. Surprise, I loved it. This was the first RPG where I not only felt a connection to the character I was playing as, I felt like I was the character. The decisions you make and the paths you take do an incredible job of feeling like they have actual weight. The moral choices you make in Mass Effect actually feel like choices you'd be forced to make in the same situation.
The second game does exactly what the first game did right, does away with what it did wrong, and adds a layer of incredibleness that's hard to look past. While the second game may not be an RPG as much as it is an Action game, it's still a fantastic experience that you'd be crazy not to try. As of right now, Mass Effect 3 is my most anticipated game of the year. And Mass Effect 3 doesn't come out until next year.
Honorable Mentions - Fallout 3 and handheld games.
There's really not a lot to say about Fallout 3. It's just a fun Role-Playing Game and, while glitchy, has an abundant amount of things to do. I must have spent at least 50 hours in Fallout 3, and I haven't even played much of the DLC yet.
The only reason I didn't put this as one of my top 11 games is because it's hard to count handheld games as "this generation". It just feels odd to me to place a DS game, a system that's only as powerful as a Nintendo 64, among games like Mass Effect and Left 4 Dead.
That said, I love this series. It has everything a good game should, plus fantastically animated cutscenes and logic puzzles. As a fan of both animation and brain teasers, this is pretty much my dream game. You can see my review of Professor Layton and the Unwound Future here.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
If you aren't already a fan of Kingdom Hearts games, there's absolutely no way I can explain to you why this game is so good. While the gameplay itself is awesome, there are plenty of throwbacks to the older games, answered questions, and teasers for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts games that would just confuse people who haven't played the first and second games.
That said, if you haven't played the first game, you should definitely check it out. You can see my review of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep here.
Games that just missed the cut:
These are the games that I considered as my favorite, but thought that they didn't have as much impact on me as the others.
Uncharted, inFAMOUS, Skate, Limbo, Castle Crashers, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Red Dead Redemption, Marvel Pinball, Just Cause 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Super Meat Boy.
And that, my friends, is my list of my top eleven favorite video games of this generation. And it may be the longest blog I've ever written. But now, I am done.
If you have any thoughts, disagreements or compliments about my list, post them in the comments and I'll be happy to ignore them.