From Part 1: [Beginning in 2005 with the launch of the Xbox 360 and continuing with the launch of the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii in 2006, the previous generation of the consoles was fraught with some of the most stellar titles of all time. With the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and the WiiU being somewhere in between), this generation is winding down to a close.
What a ride this has been. We saw the rise of indie game development and more prominent digital distribution of video games. Wireless controllers have become the standard, as well as entertainment features that became a standard for all gaming devices (Netflix, Youtube, etc). However, the real reflection needs to be on the games, as the quality has peaked yet again.
Disclaimer: I have not played everything, nothing on PC. As I will try to be objective, ultimately, this list will of course be comprised of my opinion. Because of the amount of games that this generation has had, I'm guaranteed to miss a couple of your favorites. That's what the comment section is for. Onward! Oh, and there may be some spoilers…]
5) Portal 2, 2011
The original Portal came in a package with other great titles from Valve. It was the greatest deal in gaming of all time. $60 for the critically acclaimed Half-life 2, Half-life 2: Episode 1, Half-life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. The original game had a decent story, great villain, and trademark highbrow humor. The gameplay was unlike anything gamers ever saw before. Armed with a portal gun, players create an entrance and exit hole and navigate from point A to point B.
The idea was simple but the game felt incomplete, as if there was more the developers could have done. Enter Portal 2. This game gave players everything Portal 1 had, plus more. There were gameplay enhancements and additional hazards and assets in the environment that contributed to the already addictive puzzle solving (“just one more room”). The story featured returning and additional characters and fleshed out the universe, in addition to the trademark humor returning.
The biggest addition was, and arguably the main reason it makes this list, is the cooperative play. Rather than the type of multiplayer that says, “it’s a one player mode that multiple people can play” or “here’s a room for you to shooter each other in,” Portal 2’s multiplayer was designed to REQUIRE teamwork and communication. Communication was key in navigating the levels, and it was the most rewarding multiplayer experience of the generation as far as I’m concerned. Try to play in the same room.
4) Red Dead Redemption, 2010
Though many will argue that Grand Theft Auto is Rockstar Games’ flagship franchise, but objectively speaking, it isn’t their greatest. Red Dead Redemption has everything players look for in a Grand Theft Auto title. The driving mechanics are top notch, the shooting is accessible and accurate, the immersive world is open for exploration, and the satire on American society is rampant. Not only does Red Dead Redemption have the greatest DLC pack of all time, and its aforementioned mechanics are the pinnacle of every game Rockstar has made, but what sets it above everything else Rockstar has done is its narrative.
Every Rockstar game is known for its story and John Marston’s is the best. The most complex protagonists’ stories can be summed up in one descriptive sentence: “He’s a man with a dark past who wants to escape it, but it comes back to find him and he gets sucked back into it.” This is the story of Niko Bellic from GTA IV, Carl Johnson from GTA: San Andreas, Michael Townley/DeSanta from GTA V, and John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. The difference between John and these guys is that his actions that are reminiscent of his dark past are not driven by his own wants. Mike, Niko, and CJ were willing to return to their dark pasts. In fact, they felt the need to. John is only returning because the US government is holding his family hostage. This is why Red Dead Redemption stands above the other Rockstar creations.
We're almost home ya'll! Stick around for part 5, which counts down to number 1!