Eight to Consider: Games of Last Generation – Part Two

Well, I guess it’s finally time to lay the previous generation of games to rest. If you missed the first part of my list, you can check it out here. In it I discussed the first 10 of my top 20 favorite PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games.  So for what could be the final time I discuss them, I give to you 10 more games from last generation for your consideration.

10. Plants vs. Zombies

Platforms: PSN, XBLA, Microsoft Windows, OS X, iOS, Google Chrome, Nintendo DS, DSiWare, Bada, Android, Windows Phone, PlayStation Vita, BlackBerry Table OS, BlackBerry 10

Plants vs. Zombies is the perfect take on the tower defense game and the best game I’ve ever played in the genre. If you asked me to, I’d be hard pressed to find a flaw within it. Everything from level design and progression to the art and music is on point. It also features some of the most addictive gameplay I’ve ever had the joy of experiencing.  I’ve played Plants vs. Zombies to completion (multiple times) on no less than five different platforms and would gladly add to that list should another opportunity arise.

9. Mass Effect 3

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii U

Mass Effect 3 is a fantastic game that gets a lot of flack thanks to its lackluster ending.  While I agree that it wasn’t the best way to end such an amazing trilogy, it’s not nearly as bad as some people would lead you to believe.  It is still a great entry in the trilogy and has the best gameplay of the three games. It also introduced multiplayer for the first time in the series which, after my initial skepticism, I fell in love with. I spent somewhere around 165 hours with the multiplayer alone and had some great times with a couple of my friends playing.  While Mass Effect 3 isn’t the best game in the series, it’s still better than a vast majority of the games released last generation.

8. Borderlands

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X

In a world where so many shooters are trying to implement RPG elements and RPGs are trying to pander to shooter fans, Borderlands is one of the few games that actually gets both aspects right. The shooter gameplay feels great and the progression, skill trees, and loot system are some of the most satisfying of this past generation. On top of all of that, Borderlands is a genuinely funny, entertaining game that never takes itself too seriously. Whether you’re playing solo or with friends, there are hours and hours of enjoyment to be had here.

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Honorable Mentions

Fez | Gears of War II | Geometry Wars 2 | Guitar Hero III | A Kingdom for Keflings | Magic: The Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers (Series) | Mark of the Ninja | Mortal Kombat (2009) | Ratchet & Clank Future (Series) | Rogue Legacy |
Thomas was Alone | Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1

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7. Spelunky

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

If you’ve been a reader of the site for a while, you may already be aware of the love I have for Spelunky. It has quickly become one of my favorite games of all time. Much like Super Meat Boy, I’d consider it a modern day masterpiece. It’s not an easy game, by any means, so the first time I ever completed Hell I actually felt like I had accomplished something. It remains one of my proudest video game moments and thanks to that Spelunky is one of the few games I can actually claim to be at least decent at.

6. BioShock

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

BioShock was the first game I ever played on the Xbox 360 and after being away from games for a few years, it completely blew me away. I remember seeing the water for the first time; I almost lost my mind with how good it looked. After getting over the initial awe I felt, I soon found that not only was BioShock a beautiful game, but it was also a fantastic experience with a great story. I’ll also never forget my first encounter with a Big Daddy. Very few moments in my gaming career were that intense and horrifying.

5. Mass Effect 2

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Mass Effect 2 might be the perfect game. This is something I’ve been saying for years and I still stand by it. Mass Effect 2’s gameplay improvements over the original game are night and day. The combat is better so many times over and I would put it up against some of the best 3rd person action games. The skill system is streamlined and just felt much more user friendly. The various tech and biotic powers also all actually felt unique, as compared to the original game where many abilities felt a little too similar. Outside of gameplay, the story structure felt precise and was about as well paced as you can get. Mass Effect 2, also boasts the largest assortment of squad mates and introduced some of my personal favorites like Grunt, Jack, and Kasumi. If you played the original game and couldn’t get past its technical issues and never tried the sequel, you owe it to yourself to at least give Mass Effect 2 a try.

4. The Last of Us

Platforms: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

I was late to the party when it came to The Last of Us. I didn’t get to play it until well over a year after it was released, but boy was is worth the wait. I’ve never been a big fan of Naughty Dog’s other games, but The Last of Us was always a game that seemed to click with me from the first time I saw it. What’s even better is that it actually clicked with me when I played it. Right from the beginning and to the very end, it kept me interested and engaged. Very few games can live up to the type of hype that The Last of Us had, but it did and in some ways even surpassed my expectations.

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Great, Underrated Games of Last Generation
BioShock 2 | Bulletstorm
Dante’s Inferno | The Darkness II
Ghostbusters | Prince of Persia (2008)
Remember Me | X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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3. Dead Space

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Dead Space completely took me by surprise. I remember seeing it during E3 2008 and writing it off, but then the reviews started pouring in. After seeing the positive buzz surrounding it, I had to play it and it didn’t take long for me to completely fall in love with it. Well as much as you can fall in love with a game about blasting the limbs off of bizarre, deformed alien creatures. It remains the best survival horror game I’ve played in the last decade. Fantastic gameplay, wonderfully disturbing enemies, environments that make you dread what’s around the next corner, terrific sound design, great boss fights, and a sweet arsenal of unique weapons all combine to make Dead Space one of the best games you can play on Xbox 360 or PS3.

2. Fallout 3

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Fallout 3 was my first experience with the Fallout series and it was one hell of a place to start. Fallout 3 really lets you play in any way you want, from both a tactical and moral standpoint. Prefer to sneak around and kill creatures with your bare hands? You can do that. Feel like making your presence known by destroying an entire city with a nuclear bomb? Go for it. Want to be a complete dick and murder all the innocent people in a small settlement? You’re a demented bastard, but you can do that too. It’s a game all about choice and while the main story isn’t anything to write home about, the vast wasteland can offer you hundreds of hours of exploration. Set off in any one direction and you never know what you might find.

1. Mass Effect

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

That’s right, all three Mass Effect games in my top 10. I was originally going to include them all together, but I decided to differentiate between the three. The original Mass Effect has more than its fair share of issues and as a whole isn’t nearly the best game in the series, but it remains my favorite and I still play through it at least once a year. This is where it all began. This is where we were introduced to this incredible galaxy, where we got to know some of the best characters ever to grace a video game, and where we learned that the Reapers were real and were coming to wreak havoc. Mass Effect’s story is phenomenal and it was the first game I played that really felt like the choices I made had a long lasting impact. It’s also one of the few games that has connected with me on a personal level and actually made me care for the characters within it. It’s for those reasons that Mass Effect is my favorite game of last generation and one of my favorite games of all time.

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