Finally, we made it to the top 20 – and these are some fantastic games. I don’t think anyone can argue with us about them, although you all probably will anyway. But we don’t mind – they still made us happy during this gaming generation. As usual, the disclaimer is in place; this list isn’t based on scores, sales or metrics, just on our discussions, bickering and threats against each others’ loved ones.
20 – Dragon Age: Origins (PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3)
Reviving Western RPGs, Dragon Age: Origins had a huge impact on this generation of gaming. Using the signature Bioware dialogue wheels, alternate endings and the fact that your choices matter, DA: O marked a resurgence in Western styled RPGs, particularly in the fantasy genre.
Filled with detailed environments, Dragon Age: Origins was filled with choices. Right from the beginning you could choose your race, starting point, gender and class – all of which would have a direct impact on your gameplay experience. Throughout the game you were forced to make difficult decision, again changing the course of the game. In this way, DA: O empowered gamers and created an immersive experience.
Telling an expansive story in a large world, DA: O set the stage for a new franchise. With a range of characters who are destined to reappear in future iterations of the series, DA: O felt like a beautiful first step in a new direction. It has Morrigan – need I say more?
19 – Sleeping Dogs (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Some people believe that open-world, sandbox games are all the same. They are all just clones of GTA and don’t bring anything new to the table. They could not be more wrong in the case of Sleeping Dogs. Yes, it is an open-world sandbox game, but that’s just about where the similarities with other games of its genre end. Sleeping Dogs revived the genre and introduced gamers to a whole new kind of environment with varied and extensive gameplay. Plus, it brought Square Enix back into people’s good books, at least for a while.
Based in Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs tells the story of Shen, an undercover cop infiltrating the Triads (Son On Yee). Filled with mixed languages (yup, there is Cantonese thrown in with the English), local foods and environments and plenty of martial arts, Sleeping Dogs explores an intriguing story filled with fantastic and believable characters. Oh, and there’s racing. And shooting.
One of the best gameplay experiences we’ve had, Sleeping Dogs is something of an undiscovered gem this generation. It is a must-play for anyone who likes open-world sandbox games, or games with a fantastic story, or games with realistic characters, or games with detailed and living environments. Sleeping Dogs brings so much to the table and doesn’t disappoint. If you still haven’t given it a shot, you really need to.
18 – Assassin’s Creed Trilogy (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Ah, the games that made people want to run up the sides of buildings and use hidden blades to kill everyone. Assassin’s Creed brought a whole new kind of gameplay to the mix. Offering a combination of stealth and action, the Assassin’s Creed trilogy made historical games cool again. It also popularized what we see in most games now – adding crafting, base building and entirely new forms of gameplay mixed in with your action-adventure game.
Ostensibly, the Assassin’s Creed trilogy is about Desmond – a modern-day barman with incredible ancestors. However, the memorable parts of the games have nothing to do with modern times. No, the games land this position on the list because of the beautiful and realistic environments, the varied gameplay and range of characters. Each iteration brought something new to the table, adding in elements that gave the player a reason to play for hours on end.
Without Altair, Ezio and even Connor, this generation of games would not be the same. Assassin’s Creed popularized parkour and gave conspiracy theories new credence. Really though, it made us want to scale tall buildings and dive into hay stacks.
17 – Street Fighter 4 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Towards the end of the first decade of the 2000s, fighting games were a relic of the past, left to rot in a bin with point ‘n click adventures and quirky duos. This was a genre that had seen its day and had thrown its last punch. A niche genre at best, attracting only diehard fans and gamers with grey hairs who remembered the good old days.
And then Street Fighter 4 burst onto the scene, resurrecting an entire genre of gaming. What makes Street Fighter 4 so high up on our list isn’t the fantastic visuals which still look magnificent today, or the constantly updated combat mechanics that kept the game balanced.
It’s that without Street Fighter 4, we would not have the various other fighting games that followed in the wake of that Hadouken. And for that, Street Fighter 4 has our eternal thanks. TIGER!
16 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Bethesda had left one hell of a stamp on gaming with the fourth Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, but nothing could prepare gamers for the world of Skyrim. It wasn’t just a technical masterpiece wrapped up in a catchy theme and a vast mythology that unfloded before eyes.
It was a game that just never ceased to offer something new, as the massive world before you was filled with hidden caves, camps and cities that were waiting for your touch of order or chaos. Plenty of games reckon that they can create a world in which your decisions matter, but Skyrim was one of the few such precious titles that lived up to the hype.
And in a world populated by giants, demons, bandits and deadly dragons, it was one hell of a ride.
15 – Mass Effect trilogy (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
When you look at games today, its easy to take for granted how far they’ve come. Operatic space battles, custom soldiers and choices that matter, these are the things that the Mass Effect trilogy pioneered. A cover-based shooter with space magic essentially, Bioware created a massive universe over three games, cosntantly exploring the mythology of a galaxy udner siege.
It’s the Star Wars saga of video games, a crusade that happens to be an entire trilogy long, and while it may have stumbled towards the finish line, Mass Effect proved that the journey was indeed far more important than the final destination.
14 – New Super Mario Bros Wii (Wii)
For the very first time, a Mario game allowed players to play together – at the same time, creating a game that was as much about co-operation as it was about giving grief to everyone else. Jumping on somebody’s head just as they go for a coin or power-up is a special thrill.
With the same sort of genius level deign you’d expect from any Mario game – and as the first side-scrolling Mario game to hit home consoles ins nearly twenty years, lived up to every expectation. It’s some of the most fun you can have with 3 other people.
13 – Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo 3DS)
Not every franchise has the staying power to survive multiple generations of consoles and sequels. Fire Emblem is one such series, that was struggling to remain relevant in a more cynical age of gaming. And when Awakening was announced, it was meant to be the final entry in that long-running series.
But it wasn’t going out with a whimper, but a bang. At its core, Fire Emblem is a tactical game that has you waging war and growing the skills of your troops. But the flowing CGI movies, the deep strategy elements and the emotional connections that you grow with your troops, who can easily fall on the battlefield thanks to a perma-death option, made this a game where your hours spent inside of it felt worth all that effort.
It’s an underrated title in a sea of big blockbusters, and worth picking up if you happen to own a 3DS.
12 – Journey (PS3)
There’s little we can, or really should say about Journey. It’s actually best experienced with as little knowledge about the game as is possible. Just know that it’s incredibly unique, and that the game understands intrinsic human emotion, knowing how people will react.
How walkling towards a hill (with a random person on the internet) is such an engaging, emotional and intimate experience is incredible in itself.
11 – N+ (Xbox 360, PSP, Nintendo DS)
N+, the “full game” release of flash ninja title N is sadistic. It will break you, and make you realise you’re terrible at games. And yet, it’s something you can’t help but keep coming back to it. You play as a nameless ninja who nimbly jumps past danger in his way through a thoroughly gray world, dying roughly once every 3 seconds. It’s as tough as it it addictive.
Throw in a set of seriously tricky co-op specific levels for up to four players, and you have a fantastic platformer that only the bravest of gamer is able to endure.[button link=”http://www.criticalhit.net/xbox-360/the-lazygamer-top-100-games-of-this-generation-1-10/”]You’ve made it, here are the top 10 games[/button]
Last Updated: December 22, 2013