What’s this generation’s most critically acclaimed game series?

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Though it’s probably still far from over, this generation’s given us some of the very best in video games. New IP’s like Gears of War, Resistance and Uncharted have changed the way we perceive games – and helped push gaming in to the hearts and minds of a wider, more mainstream audience. Such is the impact these games have had that many of them have become whole franchises within a few short years.

Everybody has their favourite, but which is the most critically acclaimed franchise this generation?

To be included in this examination games have to be borne out of this generations of games – so it precludes established series like Mario, Zelda, Metal Gear and the like. They also have to be part of a series or franchise – so single games, excellent as they may be, aren’t eligible. Finally, they have to be retail, AAA titles on PC or home console; there is a plethora of wonderful downloadable, portable and indie titles that though worthy, would make the scope of this article unmanageable. You’ll so find that only numbered sequels were considered – which is why there’s no mention of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood or Revelations. 

What we’ve done is take this generations biggest and most beloved franchises and had a look at each game in the respective series’ Metacritic average – and then average them out to see which came out tops. For games that were released on multiple platforms, we’ve taken an average of the game across those platforms – which lowers the scores for games whose developers did lazy ports, but they deserve it for giving their customers a second-rate experience, right?

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Game First Sequel Threequel Average
Saint’s Row 81 78 84 81
Skate 86 85 80 84
Dance Central 82 86 * 84
Dragon Age 88 81 * 85
Crysis 84 85 * 85
Assassin’s Creed 80 89 * 85
The Witcher 81 88 * 85
Resistance 86 87 83 86
Left 4 Dead 89 89 * 89
Dead Space 88 89 * 89
Gears of War 91 93 91 91
Uncharted 88 96 92 92
Bioshock 95 88 * 92
Portal 90 95 * 93
Mass Effect 90 95 * 93
LittleBigPlanet 95 91 * 93

Yes, they’re in order – meaning that there’s a tie; the franchises from this gen that have garnered the highest critical praise this generation (so far) are Portal, Mass Effect and LittleBigPlanet – all of which are worthy of as many accolades that get thrown at them.

Of course, depending on how Mass Effect 3 – due this March – is received, it could just end up taking the top spot…something I wouldn’t personally be upset about. Interesting to note is that both Saint’s Row and Gears of War would have placed higher had their PC ports been better. We’ll keep this updated (especially when Mass Effect 3’s out) but if there are any great game franchises from this generation that you think we missed, let us know.

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[Props to Nick de Bruyne]

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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