With the honourable mentions and positions 10-6 revealed, it’s time to reveal NGB’s top 5 games of this past generation.
It sounds so cliche, but this wasn’t easy at all. If you’re favourite didn’t make it in we’re sorry, but this is the list as voted for by the NGB team. Whatever you might think, it’s a pretty amazing top 5. Let’s get into the reveal shall we…
5TH PLACE – UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES (Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment)
Ben - If this list was based purely on the spectacle, Uncharted 2 would be top. As it stands, the other titles in this list provided me with longer term enjoyment, but Uncharted 2 remains an incredible piece of entertainment from Naughty Dog.
Gari - For me, this game was the pinnacle of this past generation of gaming. Along with its cinematic prowess and incredible storytelling, it was all bought together with a gorgeous graphical style that to this day remains one of the best looking titles on either the PS3 or Xbox 360. Not only did Uncharted 2 set the benchmark for quality in 2009, but 4 years on still holds its own.
Nick - Naughty Dog’s first foray on the PlayStation 3 got some high praise, but it wasn’t until the sequel hit that the franchise became a sure-fire system seller – playing out like a Saturday matinee movie, Uncharted 2 , for me, made action gaming feel relevant again. Naughty Dog’s influences may have been easily deduced, but what they and the Uncharted franchise became was largely thanks to the spectacle, and the near perfect execution of the genre that was Uncharted 2; they even taught Lara Croft a thing or two along the way.
Asim – The definitive third-person action of game of this past generation, Uncharted 2 was (and still is) an astounding piece of work from the folks at Naughty Dog. It pretty much set the standard for any other titles were released in the same genre after it. A couple of games came close, but none have managed to match or top it, even its follow-up. Jaw dropping visuals, great characters, a fantastic story and amazing set pieces, yeah, that’s Uncharted 2.
4TH PLACE – CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE (Developer: Infinity Ward | Publisher: Activision) AND BATMAN: ARKHAM SERIES (Developer: Rocksteady Games | Publisher: Warner Bros.)
Asim – Whether you love or hate what the series has become now, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare single-handedly redefined an entire genre, setting a new benchmark for first-person shooters on consoles and PC. The single player campaign was good, excellent in fact. I still remember playing the Ghillies in the Mist mission and being completely engrossed from beginning to end. That said, it’s multiplayer where Call of Duty had the biggest impact, spawning an innovative new XP system and the way you were rewarded from it. You were compelled to play for hours on end, and it’s testament to the quality of it that many games still use it or something similar now. Undoubtedly one of the games that defined the generation, not just first-person shooters.
Aryel – The best Call of Duty of the lot. Developed by Infinity Ward at the height of their power when the Call of Duty franchise did not feel like a regurgitated mess. Modern Warfare built on the success of Call of Duty 2 with an all new modern setting which featured an exciting campaign and irresistible multiplayer.
Charles - This was the first game I owned on the Xbox 360, and a total game changer. It set the foundation for all of the other titles in the FPS genre to build on. Not only was the multiplayer outstanding, the single player was not just about pointing and shooting. The story was bold and kept you interested right until the end.
Nick - If there was one title that helped define a generation, it’s certainly this one. As well as becoming a household name, a hot-topic for even non-gamers and spawning a new generation of angry, controller-flinging kids, Call of Duty 4 pioneered its own brand of face-melting single player gameplay and kept many glued to TVs for hours on end chasing achievements and glory online. It’s a game I still choose to play over the plethora of sequels because for me, Modern Warfare remains Call of Duty in its purest, most enjoyable form.
Ben - Changed the face of console shooters. Brought in so many new concepts, blew the WWII fatigue away with *THAT* nuke scene, and revolutionised online multiplayer. The legacy it’s left has put a sour taste in many mouths but for a brief time, Call of Duty was the most innovative title on the market.
Aaron - After years and years of shoddy Batman games we finally got one that stuck from the geniuses at Rocksteady Games. This game captures the essence of batman so well, that even menial collection quests were a joy to pursue. For me it earns it’s place over its younger counterparts not because it was necessarily a better game, but due to the impact of its arrival.
Gari - For me personally, this title came out of nowhere as I hadn’t heard a great deal about it, so once I purchased it I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. However, that’s exactly the reaction I got from Arkham Asylum. Open-world Batman with a fantastic story, stunning visuals and plenty to do. Batman: Arkham Asylum was and is still one of the best titles available on any platform of this generation. Breathtaking.
Asim – For me, a big Batman fan, the Arkham were an essentially a fanboy’s wet dream. No, really. While Arkham Asylum had the bigger impact, I regard as Arkham City as the better overall game. Gotham City felt more open and free, more alive even. There was plenty do and many villains to take down, resulting in me spending over 40 hours with the game doing literally everything. Never did it a feel like a chore, it just felt like I was Batman keeping Gotham City safe. Rocksteady got that right, the essence of what Batman is truly about. Huge shout out to Mark Hamill’s performance as the Joker too, unbelievably good.
Charles - Rocksteady not only saw a gap in the market, they delivered a truly epic representation of Batman that has sparked an excellent series of games. The combat system although simple was extremely rewarding and the balance between stealth and brawling was met really well.
Ben - Yes, Arkham City may have had the better mechanics, but Asylum had the tight pacing and structure down to a tee. Fantastic story-telling in an enclosed and claustrophobic environment made it the ultimate Batman game.
3RD PLACE – GRAND THEFT AUTO V (Developer: Rockstar North | Publisher: Rockstar Games)
Deborah - The best game in the series by far, not even I could resist the shenanigans on offer here. A first in the series, the story is experienced through three characters, each with their own stories that all come together making for a great experience. The map is enormous, the biggest yet! I still haven’t explored it all. The great thing I love is you can do anything you like. Follow the main story, plan a heist or two or just cruise around in a car listening to the many radio stations on offer. I am a big fan of the GTA soundtracks. GTA Online adds to the fun with friends and the visuals are beautiful. Even photographers have taken to playing and capturing beautiful scenes using the in game phone and sharing around the world via the iFruit app, something I plan to spend time doing myself! The game is tremendous fun.
Adam - Grand Theft Auto V has it all, wonderful graphics and brilliant story-telling with deep, fun gameplay to match. Released at the end of this past generation, it sent out with a massive bang.
Gari - Rockstar are known for producing titles which scream quality and detail like no other. With GTA V, they achieved just that and more. This game shows how open-world titles should be done. Three main protagonists for the first time in the series? Not a problem for Rockstar. This stunning achievement will kept me busy for a very long time. Rockstar really pushed the PS3 and Xbox 360 hardware to the limits and produced yet another AAA title to be proud of.
Richard - A Rockstar masterpiece. A scary combination of brilliance and addictiveness.
Asim – An amazing achievement on the PS3 and Xbox 360, GTA V is without a doubt the best addition to the long-running series. A vibrant world packed with places to go, things to see and uniquely wonderful characters to meet. Oh and there are some fantastic story missions too. Amazing, just amazing.
Nico - The GTA franchise is already huge, but GTA V just blew everything away. Innovation, entertainment and iconic moments would sum up my GTA experience. Protagonists Michael, Franklin and Trevor are all so different that putting them together gives you every emotion you could imagine.
2ND PLACE – MASS EFFECT SERIES (Developer: BioWare | Publisher: Electronic Arts)
Aaron - It could be argued that the sequel to this title should be placed in my top ten instead, but without the originals bold step into the world of non linear storytelling, it would not have existed. More importantly, this title found itself firmly routed in the RPG genre with it’s many upgrades and customisations, something i sorely missed in its counterparts. It had that special something that let us know this was going to be a great series for the following years.
Adrian - Whilst Mass Effect 3 was far from the travesty that internet backlash would have you believe, the second outing for Commander Shepherd and the crew of the Normandy was the one that best epitomised what made the series great – solid action, engaging characters, dramatic storylines, and a whole heap of missions and approaches to make it all come to life.
Ben - I went in to Mass Effect 2 as a series noob. Created a dumb looking character because I thought I’d get bored two hours in. 50+ hours later and I was still going. Shame about the end of 3, but yeah, Mass Effect 2 was ace.
Charles - Quite simply this game is in my top 5 of all time and of the 3 in the series 1 was my favourite. I love the multiple paths you can take, the rewards for being especially Paragon or Renegade, the discussions sparked between me and fellow Mass Effect fans.
Nick - The Mass Effect series spawned 3 games that all did a great job bringing us an immersive, epic sci-fi role-playing game, but none more so than Mass Effect 2. From start to finish, the plot pacing, graphics and gameplay came together in tandem to create the pinnacle of the series’ apex. Not many games have equaled the depth of player character development and lasting appeal for multiple playthroughs, but even with that aside, looking back over the last generation, it’s hard not to include something that stands out so greatly in my eyes.
Deborah - Mass Effect’s story pulled me so far in I couldn’t escape. Faced with many hard decisions Mass Effect 3 sees the culmination of a very emotional journey. Throughout this game I was filled with joy, relief and at many times tears. Whilst sad to see this story end it still holds a place in my heart and imagination. With different endings available I can still enjoy it even now with a new experience. With a great story, voice cast and memorable characters it takes place at the top of my collection.
Nico - Even without playing the first two games I fell in love with the Mass Effect franchise. A universe filled with more than just humans, fighting and working together! Another game with a fantastic story, and amazing characters.
Asim – The entire series is amazing, but Mass Effect 2 stands out for me. It was the game I put several 100 hours into over three playthroughs. Why? Because I loved the universe and more importantly the characters that resided within. Gaming is partly about that element of escapism and during those hours I spent with the game, I felt like Commander Shepard, taking on the Reapers, building relationships with my crew and making those tough decisions. That is the best compliment I can pay it.
1ST PLACE – THE LAST OF US (Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment)
Nico - This is a game like no other. The story is the single greatest one I’ve ever come across in a game and the characters are built up in such a perfect way. It might sound strange, but The Last of Us also brought back fear that I hadn’t experienced from a game since the Resident Evil on the original PlayStation. The Last of Us is the best game to come out in 2013, and also quite possibly one of the best of the generation.
Gari - Naughty Dog does it again with what can only be described as a masterpiece in story-telling and character development. The Last of Us was one of the last AAA titles to appear on the PS3, and what a way to bow out of this generation. Stunning.
Aryel - Naughty Dog, that is all.
Adam - Another title from the last lap of current-gen, but quite possibly the best. Naughty Dog have a real talent in getting the best out of the hardware they work with. Where can they go on the PS4? Now that’s a question we all want to know the answer to!
Ben - It had to be really. One of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in any entertainment medium, and a technical miracle running on eight year old hardware! Amazing.
Asim – Just the opening of this masterpiece alone makes it my game of the generation. Not even I, one of the biggest supporters of our beloved medium thought a game could make me cry, but it damn well did. From that point on it just got better and better. The visuals, gameplay and story, everything just came together to a stunning conclusion. The Last of Us single-handedly shows everyone the power of games, and that they’re not just about shooting aliens in space or gangsters on a street. Not just the game of this past generation, one of the best games I have ever had the privilege of playing. Thanks, Naughty Dog.