Sure, the PS3 and Xbox 360 are still alive, but with the PS4 and Xbox One now in people’s homes (yours hopefully) it’s time for the NGB team reveal their top 10 games of the generation.
It wasn’t an easy process, much deliberation took place, but the team placed their votes and an eventual top 10 was reached. I know you’re all eager to know what’s in our top 5, but we’ll kick things off with some honourable mentions and reveal positions 10-6. Here we go…
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Nick – Skyrim had its faults like any other game, but few games engrossed me and opened up a whole world of possibilities in the same way Bethesda’s epic masterpiece did. If games are an escape from life, to something new and intriguing, then traversing the expansive world of Skyrim is up there with the very best of them; even more so if considering all those arrows in knees.
Deborah – The world is vast indeed, which means lots of fun discovering hidden places, learning lore and doing whatever you please. Of course there is the main story which is interesting to unravel but away from all that is a world begging to be explored and quite a beautiful one it is too. What I love about Skyrim is the freedom to create any character I like. You can dip your hand into many pots or you can specialise in one or two. Magic is my favourite! The dragons are magnificent and huge and learning the dragon language shouting “Fus Ro Dah” can be fun. With added content the tale is expanded and I love how I can now even create my own home, or just have a mess around. After all the fun though I enjoy continuing with the story.
Richard – Arguably the cutest game of this generation of consoles, its endless creativity and possibilities made it a must have game.
Nick – I loaded up a community level on the original LBP that some guy had designed. He’d made a calculator from handbuilt logic switches and triggers that worked with string and respawning blocks. Little Big Planet wasn’t fantastic for its frustrating platforming, but because it put the tools in our hands and let us make it fantastic in spite of itself. Little Big Planet 2 refined that experience and showed us all how mind-bogglingly smart and creative some people on this Earth really are, then ripped a good portion of my life away with the hope of having me join in.
Adrian – With such an extroverted and larger than life main character, and with its tongue firmly in cheek, it’s easy to not take Bayonetta that seriously. But it really, really deserves to be. It’s the finest 3D brawler that’s ever been made, and the biggest problem that can be levied at it is the dampener it’s put on every other game in the genre since.
Aaron – Another genre that is all but sinking into the abyss was revived with the emergence of Bayonetta. As if mirroring the complexity of Dark Souls, Bayonetta offers a title with so much hidden depth the likes we haven’t seen since Devil May Cry 3. It’s wasn’t without it’s problems, but it more than made up for it with character.
Gears of War series
Aryel – The original Gears of War is seen by many as the definitive grub shooting experience of this generation but it is the sequel which featured the then original Horde mode. The co-operative mode has since given birth to a swarm of copy cats, none of which have come close to replicating the fun I had with Gears 2.
Nick – It was fair to say I was a late comer to this generation after fervently holding out for the long awaited PlayStation 3. So my first next gen experience came with Gears of War after I’d finally buckled and grabbed it bundled with an Xbox 360 – and what a revelation. Not everything released before it had really captured the imagination and spirit of the gen, but Gears of War deserves a place here for not only fulfilling that notion, but spawning a multiplayer that has lasted its entirety.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Aaron – The end of Solid Snake! This game hit when Kojima was beginning to acknowledge the might of the western developer and it shows. Mechanics changed, graphical fidelity improved, animations were outstanding, but the Kojima charm remained intact. Definitely, one of the best of the series from a man whose only equal is Shigeru Miyamoto, so I don’t begrudge him a long cutscene or two.
Ben – An enormous piece of fan service, if nothing else, this was Kojima’s love letter to the series. Thematically, it felt like a finale, and the jump back to the 60s for the follow ups proved that Solid Snake’s story is over, and with some style.
Asim – An epic ending to Solid Snake’s story that even made Raiden look cool! It remains one of the best looking games on the PS3 with stunning stealth gameplay and the usual Kojima outside-of-the-box, crazy moments. Oh and who can (spoilers) forget the return to Shadow Moses. Mind blown. Damn, just talking about it makes me want to load it up again and finish it for the 6th or 7th time. Yeah, I’ve lost count!
10TH PLACE – DARK SOULS AND PORTAL SERIES
Adrian – Whilst I deliberated many of my choices here, top of the table was an instant and obvious choice. Meticulously and masterfully designed to the nth degree, classic and yet revolutionary all at the same time, Dark Souls is the perfect answer to the frustrations of this generation. No holding of hands, and instead an open and convincing world where the player’s intrigue is naturally built up and maintained by a ruthless yet fair challenge. It’s nigh on perfect.
Aaron – Dark Souls attention to detail is unfathomable. It may not have the intricate script of GTA or the humongous scope of Skyrim, but it more than makes up for it in mechanics and depth. There is so much rammed into this epic adventure that should you tackle it unaided you would not find everything there was to offer for months on end. It oozes the care and attention bestowed upon it by its creators and should be tried by all, even if you poke your eyes out in frustration after the first hour.
Nick – I hate this game. Portal 2 is almost vindictive in the way it treats you for playing it well; Stephen Merchant is annoyingly quick witted as a robot with feelings; the puzzles make you wonder how you manage to dress yourself in the mornings, and it’s right up there with the most entertaining games I’ve played this gen. So as I said, I hate this game, and I say that with great fondness.
Richard – Simple, clever and at times, hilarious. Hard to beat the reward of working out one of the many complex puzzles.
Ben – No cake jokes from me, just the recognition that Portal changed so much. The relationship between the player and Glados was fantastic, and the puzzles got downright devious!
9TH PLACE – FIFA 09
Aryel – EA stole a march on Konami this generation, a completley new engine impressed in 08 and set the pace in 09 with 360 dribbling. FIFA 09 felt like a real leap forward and is the game that made many change alleigence from PES.
Adam – Even now FIFA 09 is remembered fondly by many football gaming fans. It’s no surprise as EA SPORTS produced a truly fantastic footballing experience. The series has definitely grown stronger since, but FIFA 09 provided that much needed change of direction.
Charles – I usually avoid putting titles such as FIFA into a “best of” list because there are so many of the damn things, but FIFA 09 is another game changer for me. I used to play PES but FIFA 09 took football games in a new direction with better gameplay and generally an all out better experience.
8TH PLACE – SUPER MARIO GALAXY SERIES
Adrian – Having never been particularly enamoured with any of Mario’s 3D outings before, Nintendo slipping this masterpiece out for the Wii’s launch was the surprise to end all surprises for me. Simultaneously it proved the Wii’s capability to produce beautiful visuals in the right hands, and the plausibility of the Wiimote + nunchuck combo as an immersive control mechanism, and all whilst delivering revolutionary new standards of Nintendo’s already legendary platforming magic.
Aaron – Whilst its older sibling innovated and brought new life to the old plumber by literally turning level design on its head. Its younger counterpart took things even further with quirky power-ups, outrageous level design and a charm yet to be found on any other Wii title.
7TH PLACE – RED DEAD REDEMPTION AND ASSASSIN’S CREED SERIES
Aryel – A completely original title from a developer that is so good at creating that open world experience. Red Dead captures the best bits from our favorite Western films and ties them together into a compelling gaming package.
Nick – I remember thinking ‘cool, a GTA game in the wild west’; Red Dead Redemption is far, far more than that. Uncluttered, focused and presented impeccably, Rockstar created a smooth, consistently brilliant experience throughout all game modes that housed interesting characters and a ton of memorable moments. Rockstar are kings at open-world action titles, but this game was the one that showed me they were more than just a single franchise, and one that’ll remind me of this generation of gaming in the same ways Mario 64 and Final Fantasy VII did in the past.
Gari – While the first game in the series laid a marker, it was only when Assassins Creed II hit that the series had well and truly took off. Engaging and exciting, the second installment evolved the series with its fantastic setting and a brilliant story involving main protagonist Ezio. Alongside a world that had an abundance of tasks to complete, Assassins Creed II is still (for me) the pinnacle of the series so far.
Asim – The first game laid the foundations and the second built on them, but it was only with the release of Brotherhood that Ubisoft delivered the complete, almost perfect, Assassin’s Creed experience. Ezio was cemented as truly great lead character, one that is now sorely missed, and the gameplay struck an almost perfect balance between stealth and action. With so much to do and see, I spent over 50 hours with this wonderful game and enjoyed every single second.
6TH PLACE – JOURNEY
Nick – For a game that genuinely left me something long after I finished playing, Journey needs to have a mention. It may not be the technical marvel that other titles might have been this generation, but it offered unanimity and isolation, then by the end left you with a deep sense of camaraderie and achievement that no other game I’ve ever played has equaled. Journey is a stunning experience, one I’ll never forget.
Gari – Journey is an experience like no other. Gorgeous, with beautiful premise make it one of the most outstanding titles of this generation. The online co-op is so unique, executed so elegantly with stunning results. Simply superb.
Adrian – A fleetingly brief and yet utterly moving experience. A triumph in thorough and yet subtle design ethics, it’s hard to imagine anyone not falling entirely in love after spending a breathtaking few hours in its company.
Asim – I feel bad voting for Journey as my 2nd best game of the generation. That might sound crazy, but it’s a testament to just how damn good it is. The mechanics and premise of the game are so simple, but they’re executed with such brilliance that the resulting experience will leave you utterly breathless. Sure, it’s short, but the journey that you go on (no pun intended) will stay with you forever. I certainly won’t forget it. The visuals, music and subtle introduction of co-op… Oh man, it’s just amazing. I blame the other guys for it not getting a higher position!