Features & News

Team Talk: Games of the Generation

November 18, 2013, Author: Andy Buick

So here we are then folks, so close to the next generation of gaming you can almost touch it. Yet while I’m sure we’re all excited to see what the future brings, let’s allow ourselves some time to celebrate what has been an astounding era of gaming by discussing our favourite games of the Xbox 360/PS3 generation.

Matt Parker (News Editor)
Tough one this.

My choice is Hotline Miami. Bear with me, as this takes some justification.

For a start, it’s a simply amazing game where the audio, the visuals and the gameplay are all combined expertly. For me, the game is my favourite because it was the culmination of what ‘indie’ is nowadays. Indie titles are a legitimate, sought-after and exciting aspect of what home consoles now have to offer.

It showed that a game doesn’t have to cost millions of pounds to make, doesn’t need a giant team behind it, and doesn’t have to have a world-class PR firm plastering adverts on the TV.

It shows that consoles now don’t just offer indie titles a platform to run on, they give them a microphone, provide lighting and shout from the rooftops on their behalf. What’s more, this isn’t a flash in the pan. The next-generation of consoles looks to be making big moves for small games.

Sony has what seems like every indie developer under their wing. The PS4 and Vita will continue to give prime-time attention to these titles. The Xbox One is also aiming to give indies a shot at the big-time with its own initiative.

Hotline Miami was a fantastic title and proof that indie titles deserved everyone’s attention.

Hotline Miami nailed gameplay, audio and graphics into one tight, incredible package

Hotline Miami nailed gameplay, audio and graphics into one tight, incredible package

Phil Ubee (Contributor)
As a huge sports game fan it would be easy for me to hail one of the many big franchises as my game of the current generation. FIFA has brought us 11 v 11 online matches that run as smoothly as a single-player offline game, and Madden has given us the incredibly in-depth Connected Franchise Mode that is a true benchmark of what multiplayer gaming should be like.

Elsewhere, games like Red Dead Redemption and Far Cry 3 have pushed the technology of Xbox 360 and PS3 to their very limits with worlds that stretch as far as the eye can see, and beyond, immersing the gamer in the world they are playing like nothing we have seen before and setting a standard for the upcoming “next-gen” consoles.

For me, though, one game stands out that epitomises what this generation has been all about and has to win my vote. Coming into the Xbox 360/PS3 era it was safe to say I didn’t get on with first-person shooters. I never saw the appeal and had not enjoyed any I had played in an attempt to feel part of the crowd. This generation has been all about the FPS, so it was always going to be hard to continue my genre blackout. Having almost been forced to play Halo on Xbox I tried Halo 3, but again didn’t really enjoy it. Then a friend of mine swapped me his copy of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for my Halo 3 and I never looked back.

CoD has gone on to become a behemoth and I have since lost interest in the series because of many things the developers/publishers have done wrong since that epic outing back in 2007, but the original MW totally blew me away. I loved the single-player campaign and it remains one of only a very small number of titles I have gone back to after completion to play through again, ever! Graphically it was a huge step up in class to the type of thing I’d seen on the previous generation and the multiplayer was hugely addictive.

We may not care to admit it now, but Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare simply has to be the stand-out title of this generation.

Call Of Duty back when it was brilliant

Call Of Duty back when it was brilliant.

Trent Pyro (Staff Writer)
As you can imagine, I’ve found it impossible to choose one single game that sits at the top of my list this generation. From the epic Mass Effect series to the groundbreaking Assassin’s Creed saga, those of us who aren’t enthralled by the continuous stream of American teenage targets provided by Call of Duty have been absolutely spoilt with thrilling, engaging and life-changing stories over the last seven years. So I’ve decided to go with the game I think best illustrates why there’s no great need to upgrade on day one.

GTA V, for lack of a better word, is staggering. The city of Los Santos is likely the most living city ever rendered in a video-game. The characters and story are fantastic. The gameplay blends slick shooting, neat strategy, and breathless driving, and falls down in almost no areas. The online, despite its initial epic hiccups, has the potential to become something unique and special. I have full faith in Rockstar to continue to expand and support the game and to grow it into the crown jewel of this generation.

While Mass Effect has touched my heart more and Assassin’s Creed is nipping so closely at its heels for me it’s drawing blood, this is not about a series. This is about one game, and for me, no single game stands with as much technical achievement and brash prowess as Grand Theft Auto V.

GTA games have always been right at the top of gaming, but how on earth did Rockstar achieve this on PS3 and Xbox 360?!

GTA games have always been right at the top of gaming, but how on earth did Rockstar achieve this on PS3 and Xbox 360?

Neil Hickton (Podcast Host)
Throughout this generation I’ve been chasing some form of benign realism. Pushing graphics, A.I. and physics, but still providing a fun experience. Preferring deeply-rooted, character-driven stories.

In the early years of the Xbox 360, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and Dead Rising became two of my favourite games. GRAW for me was a sudden step-up from what a shooter title used to be and made me feel I was part of a team. Dead Rising was an incredible premise, though being encapsulated in horrible time limits and unnecessarily evil gameplay lost it any crown.

Fable 2 was almost everything I wanted in a game; high adventure, magic, property and business management while keeping your ol’ ball and chain and dog happy. Then there was the nonsense story of Gears of War series and its fun multiplayer. The shouts of friends as their avatar’s head made that all-too-familiar pop and squish sound, or the frenzy as you managed to get in close and use the chainsaw on a rival. That murderous Nate Drake and those beautifully rendered adventure stories of the Uncharted series, harking back to childhood favourite movies. I give a cursory nod to CoD and Battlefield; they were fun, but ten year olds are still better than me on them. I have to mention Crackdown too, oh Crackdown.

However, the pinnacle of this generation for me has to be The Last of Us. Sure it had a few faults, but it was just simply divine to play and experience. So, in a heap of very enjoyable third and first-person action games, my game of this generation is The Last of Us. I would toast this generation for all the good times and sadly turn my back, but I feel it’s far from over just yet.

The Last Of Us is an incredible achievement. Stunning graphics, haunting music, brilliant gameplay, and one of the most emotional storylines you'll encounter in gaming

The Last Of Us is an incredible achievement. Stunning graphics, haunting music, brilliant gameplay, and one of the most emotional storylines you’ll encounter in gaming.

Neil Hughes (Site Manager)
To quote Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe”. In the vast regions of northern Tamriel, I have slain dragons in a place called Skyrim and answered to the name Dragonborn before securing the Amulet of Mara and settling down with a good woman.

I then awoke to find myself in the Wild West in the town of Armadillo, where I lived out my dream as a gunslinger in one of the most heart-wrenching and emotionally-fuelled games that I have ever played, but my choice of gun to deliver poetic justice in the final scene will be forever remembered.

The creepy underwater dystopia of Rapture saw me protecting the little sisters and avoiding the Big Daddies before finally gasping at the visually stunning floating air-city of Columbia to find a young woman called Elizabeth.

Once again, I found myself getting too emotionally attached to Lee and Clementine whilst battling a zombie apocalypse in Georgia before retiring to Los Santos with money from a life of crime.

I make no apologies for failing to select one game, but this is how my life in the golden era of gaming will be remembered.

Skyrim: somehow the word epic just doesn't do it justice

Skyrim: somehow the word ‘epic’ just doesn’t do it justice.

Andy Buick (Podcast Co-Host)
As we look over the precipice of another generation, reflecting on the PS3 and Xbox 360, we’ve been blessed with some incredible experiences. From the grand space opera of the Mass Effect trilogy, and Nathan Drake taking us through some rip-roaring high adventure in the Uncharted games, to the wonder and sheer emotion of the enigmatic and beautiful Journey. Assassin’s Creed 2 is my highlight of that series, with its amazing cities, and Ezio Auditore being possibly the most well-realised character of the generation. That isn’t my choice here though; that honour goes to The Last of Us.

This game for me embodied all the developments that have come with the current generation, took all of them and nigh-on perfected them. Here you had a perfectly paced story and game, set in a world you could believe in, characters that felt real and had flaws that coloured the whole experience, all wrapped up in a game that only rarely reminded you that it was one.

Any collectibles made perfect sense rather than being tacked on artificially; you scrounged for objects you would expect to find in that setting, and made things that you really would need, no object was superfluous. Sure this was slightly simplified, and yes, Joel’s “echo vision” took away some of that reality, but if you chose not to use it you had one of the most tense, engrossing experiences out there. Then there were the clickers, what an incredible design. They haunted my thoughts, as did the denouement, in a way no other game has.

James Sheppard (Sub-Editor)
Choose my favourite game of the generation? It wasn’t until I took a glance at the enormity of my game library and Raptr play history that I realised what a herculean task this was going to be.

There’s no doubt that this era of gaming has been an important one. Online multiplayer gaming has truly hit its stride on consoles, and for this we have fantastic titles like Halo 3 and Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to thank. I played the nuts off both of these, and with superbly refined game mechanics, well-realised tools and battlefields of war as well as persistent character generation, it’s no wonder.

The power of current-gen systems has also treated us to vast and beautiful gaming worlds. Who could forget super-jumping over the city fighting crims in Crackdown, or skydiving over tropical jungles in Just Cause? No series exemplifies the open-world genre more for me than The Elder Scrolls, however. Skyrim is the most recent example, having been raved about for the last couple of years (and with damn good reason), although Oblivion got there first. I’ll never forget escaping out of the sewer tunnels in the introduction to be greeted with an achingly stunning landscape to explore. It’s for this reason that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is my game of the generation.