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Chris’ Top Ten Games of the Generation

A part of our The Top Games of the 7th Generation of Video Games feature

Chris’ list of Top Ten Games of the Generation is filled with games he loves and will continue to play for years to come.

Chris Barnes

When it comes to choosing the best games of a generation, it’s not easy. There were a lot of games I played in the 7th generation; some were good, and some were bad. But there were a lot more than 10 games I really liked, and narrowing them down for this list was particularly difficult. There were a lot of games I wanted to put in but for one reason or another, they didn’t make the list. So, lets hurry up and get this over with before I change my mind and start adding different games to the list.

10. Saints Row: The Third

I was never a fan of the Saints Row franchise until I played Saints Row: The Third. Most games are written with serious or comedic stories, but Saints Row: The Third does both very well. The game tells as ridiculous a story as possible, making the game very fun. In my adventure through the game to take control of Steelport City, the Third Street Saints battled against luchadors, emo nerds, the army, and even zombies. The game’s open world allows the player to play the game any way they want, completing quests in any order. And as if Saints Row: The Third wasn’t already crazy enough, Burt Reynolds comes in as mayor of Steelport to make the game even more interesting.

I can see why people love this game so much. I wasn’t expecting a real life actor to come into the game, so I was totally shocked when Burt Reynolds showed up. Honestly, it totally fits with the mood and story of the game, and Burt Reynolds isn’t even the craziest thing the game has to offer! There’s a pimp in the game that uses an auto-tuned voice box named Zimos, a zombie outbreak, and the Third Street Saints even make a movie at the end of the game. Saints Row: The Third is always crazy, and always fun.

Saints Row 3 Zimos

9. Borderlands 2

Guns, guns, and more guns. That’s what the Borderlands series has to offer. Borderlands 2 has that, numerous quests, boss battles, new enemies, new locations, an interesting story, and strange characters that push the story. The vault hunters in Borderlands 2 are similar to the ones in the first game but offer different abilities. Speaking of which, the original vault hunters come back in cameo roles as they are all fighting against Handsome Jack.

The game’s antagonist, Handsome Jack, is a vein egotistical jackass who taunts the player all throughout the game. I liked the centralized villain of Handsome Jack. He kept the story focused and delivered a good amount of humor when he contacted the player to gloat. It’s hard to tell who is crazier, Handsome Jack or the lone Claptrap unit in the game that labels you its minion. I like the idea of a lone Claptrap being the most annoying thing on the planet. Borderlands 2 also throws new and interesting enemies into the game that are just as if not more dangerous than the enemies in the previous game. The locations in the game are different as well. The maps in the game are enormous, breaking down the different areas into zones players have to traverse to complete the game.

This is one of the main reasons I like the Borderlands franchise. There is just so much to do!  The number of quests in the game is staggering, along with the overabundance of weapons that are dropped by killing enemies, bought from vending machines, and acquired by opening chests. There is always something for a vault hunter to do on Pandora.

Borderlands 2

8. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

War has changed, and so has Solid Snake. Or shall I call him Old Grizzled Snake? Metal Gear Solid 4 picks up several years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 2 with a group calling themselves the Patriots trying to take over the world. Several characters make a return in this game including Raiden, who has become a cyborg ninja, Ocelot, who leads an army, and Vamp, who kicks Raiden’s ass again. I was happy Solid Snake made a come back as the game’s lead protagonist. The franchise wasn’t the same without him.

The Metal Gear franchise has always offered unique enemies that took some thought to defeat and Metal Gear Solid 4 was no different. The game, like its predecessors introduces four new bosses to battle at different points in the game. Each battle is unique and can be very difficult, which is one of the things I like about the game. The biggest change is the game’s camera moving from the traditional top down view to behind snake, giving the player a better view of the battlefield. Another addition to the game–and the most important one I think–is the use of Snake’s optical camouflage that changes color and patters depending on the surface Snake is up against. That’s one of the coolest features I have ever seen in a game. Metal Gear Solid 4 turned out to be bigger and badder than the previous game. There was more going on story wise and it all seemed to come together in the end with everyone trying to fulfill the Boss’s dream of world peace.

MGS 4

7. Portal 2

I have to put Portal 2 on this list for one simple reason: it’s a really great game. The portal mechanics alone are amazing and fun to use but couple that in with fantastic voice acting from Ellen McLain as GLaDOS, Stephen Merchant as Wheatley, and J. K. Simmons as Cave Johnson and you get one of the best games ever. The game’s humor and puzzles keep the player laughing as well as working hard to escape each test chamber in order to continue the story. Wheatley and GLaDOS do a great job in their respective rolls which end up taking a turn in the game, but I believe Cave Johnson steals the show with his journal entries. Especially the ones concerning his health and combustible lemons. Portal 2 has a lot of test chambers the player has to work their way through in order to escape.

This can be done alone in single player or co-op with a friend. The co-op game has two drones, a round one and a oval one who are tasked with completing test chambers. I played this with a friend and liked it just as much as the single player game. The co-op test chambers offer the same array of difficulty as the single player ones and GLaDOS chimes in to offer her congratulations (or insults) when completed. But whether you’re playing co-op or single player, it’s a great game.

Portal 2

6. Alan Wake

There hasn’t been a good horror game in a long time until Alan Wake appeared. The game was about a writer who writes a story about an unknown writer who originally writes a story about the first writer. I know that sounds crazy but it’s all true. Alan Wake goes on vacation and while there, his wife disappears and he has to find her. To do this, Alan has to fight living shadows using a flashlight to weaken them and a gun to kill them. Although Alan Wake isn’t the scariest game on the market, it does do a good job at creating a frightening atmosphere.

The player only has three guns to choose from including a revolver, rifle, and shotgun. The tools are all light based weapons used to weaken the shadows. There’s the flashlight, flares, and flare gun to illuminate the dark. The entire game takes place at night as Alan must save his wife from the darkness. I like this game more than any other game in this genre because it has a simple control scheme, the voice work is excellent and the graphics look great for a game that takes place at night. Horror games need to be simple, tell a decent story and keep the gameplay simple. The story of Alan Wake isn’t simple by any stretch of the imagination, but it is good.

Alan Wake

5. Halo 4

I can’t deny how much better Halo 4 is compared to the other games in the series. The single player portion of the game was very well written, giving the Master Chief more dialogue. Bungie did a good job creating Halo, 343 Industries did a better job making Halo 4. The graphics look better than any of the previous games, and even though the gameplay stayed the same, the overall look and feel of the game was better. The campaign picks up a four years after the events of Halo 3 with the Master Chief aboard the Forward Unto Dawn. He is awakened by Cortana as the two approach a Forerunner instillation called Requiem. During the campaign, the game finally delves into the background of the Forerunners giving much need detail as to who they are and what they look like. The game also introduces a new group called Prometheans creating a new enemy for the Master Chief and humanity to fight. The game still has plenty of covenant baddies to shoot which is always a good thing.

As good as the single player was, I really liked the cinematic story of the Spartan Ops missions. Each week, Spartan Ops released new missions along with a new cinematic. There are 10 Spartan Ops cinematics altogether, telling a very cohesive story. I guess this will have to do since that Halo movie is probably never going to make it. This turned out to be my favorite part about Halo 4. Each one not only looked good but delivered a story that is worth watching. I’ve always been curious about the Forerunners and Halo 4 finally tells their story. The Spartan Ops game can be played alone but shouldn’t. It’s hoard mode but played with heavily armored Spartans. Each game also has specific objectives that need to be achieved rather than just surviving. The maps were always the same, but the new missions added some much needed diversity to the game. I’d much rather play Spartan Ops over the standard multiplayer any day.

We all know, I’m not the biggest multiplayer fan and I’ve never liked Halo’s multiplayer, until Halo 4 came out. I can’t quite put my finger on it but for some reason I actually liked multiplayer in Halo 4. I liked the weapons, the maps, and well; now that I think about it, I only played team death match on a specific map. Truthfully, I would still rather play Spartan Ops, but a quick game of death match won’t hurt.

Halo 4

4. The Last of Us

There hasn’t been a good survival horror game out in a long time. Fortunately, The Last of Us fills that void by creating one of the best story driven games around. Players take on the role of lead protagonist Joel as he must escort a young girl named Ellie across country to meet with a group calling themselves the fireflies. The story is written in a way that Joel doesn’t really care for Ellie at the beginning but by the end of the game, his attitude and the way he talks to her changes. The game goes out of its way to put Joel and Ellie in some desperate situation as they survive the onslaught of bandits and infected. later in the game, Ellie gets a weapon and will help Joel fight, she is never in any danger. This is also the case when trying to sneak past enemies, Ellie will never be spotted.

I really liked the design of the infected as players can see the different levels of fungal growth on infected individuals and the environment. Alone, the infected are easy to defeat. Unfortunately, the infected are almost never alone. If you see one, there’s always more you can’t see around the corner. Although the game lets Joel fight hand to hand with bandits, he’ll need a weapon against certain infected. In the game, it has been at least 20 years since the outbreak and players can see how nature is retaking the environment. The game offers a set path to follow as the two travel from city to city. Along the way, the two encounter numerous obstacles that require the use of weapons to get past.

One of the things the game does is give the player a limited amount of ammo and supplies. I never really had a problem with running out of ammo or supplies. The game may not offer a lot, but it does offer enough.

Last Of Us

3. Fallout 3

I didn’t think much of Fallout 3 until I played it. After those first few hours, I was hooked. The wasteland was huge; bigger than any game I ever played before. Not only was it dangerous and challenging but extremely fun as well. The Pip Boy 3000 was an awesome tool to use. Being able to pause gameplay and target enemy limbs was the coolest thing ever, especially when you’re being chased by 12 feral ghouls, two irradiated ghouls and you back up into three Mister Gutsy robots. In Fallout 3, everything is an enemy to the player, but also to the other inhabitants of the wasteland. I saw numerous creatures fighting one another while exploring..

Fallout 3 has some of the most dangerous enemies in a game and everything is mutated by radiation. Fallout 3 isn’t designed to be scary but the creatures found in the game are scary enough. The game takes place in Washington DC, so the player can visit several famous places like the Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Museum, and the White House, which I thought was really cool. Along with these location, there are also numerous vaults, subway tunnels, bunkers and other structures to visit in order to pick up side quests and gear. Fallout 3 has become one of my favorite RPGs and a game I will cherish for a long time.

Fallout 3

2. Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time

I’ve always loved the Ratchet & Clank franchise and I couldn’t wait to play the game on the PlayStation 3. I finally got my chance with Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, and I wasn’t disappointed. The franchise has created some iconic villains for the duo to fight against including Dr. Nefarious, Percival Tachyon, and Vendra Prog just to name few. This time around, Dr. Nefarious returns to take control of the galaxy by controlling the great clock, a giant clock in the center of the galaxy that controls time and space. It’s up to Ratchet and Clank to stop him.

The biggest addition to A Crack in Time was being able to manually fly to different planets in the galaxy and explore them to complete the game. Previous games had space travel but they weren’t as open as in A Crack in Time. This game allowed the player to travel to small planets and run around on the surface, similar to Super Mario Galaxy. The game also has larger planets which most of the game takes place on. Ratchet and Clank were split up in the previous game and spend most of A Crack in Time apart as Clank discovers his origins while Ratchet sets out to find him. Along the way, Ratchet comes across temporal anomalies that Clack has to fix at the great clock. The story in the series has always continued from the previous games and A Crack in Time picks up shortly after the events of Ratchet an Clank Future: Quest for Booty.

Ratchet acquires new weapons when the game starts, and no weapon is as useful as the The OmniWrench Millennium 12, Ratchet’s trusty wrench. But, in a jam and when faced with numerous enemies, weapons like the constructo pistol, groovitron glove, and plasma striker really come in handy. Each unique weapon has always had an interesting name and its own unique way of killing enemies. The groovitron for instance throws out a disco ball that forces enemies to dance while Ratchet whacks them with his wrench. The game has a lot of wacky things that make it great. The courageous Captain Quark is ultimately a coward but he manages to hold his own this time around as he ends up being Ratchet’s sidekick in A Crack in Time. In the end, Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time was one of my favorite games of the generation.

A Crack in Time

1. Mass Effect 3

Of all the games I have ever played, The Mass Effect franchise is by far the best and Mass Effect 3 along with all its DLC stands out as my favorite. In Mass Effect 3, the reapers have begun a full scale invasion and it’s up to Shepard to gather his crew, build the ultimate weapon, and save the galaxy. Through DLC, Bioware and of course EA tell the origins of the reapers. This is one of the most important parts of the game as it gives backstory to who the reapers are and why they purge the galaxy every 50,000 years. Another important piece of the story is the introduction of the last prothean, something that should have been in the game and not DLC. Regardless, the prothean story finally gives form to all the rumors and talk of the protheans. The characters talked about them for two games and we finally got to meet one.

Another thing I liked about this game in particular was the number of weapons the game had. Mass Effect 3 introduced new armor and weapons like the M-99 Saber to the franchise. Unlike most weapons, the M-99 is a single shot rifle that fires a powerful round that does a lot of damage. It turned out to be my favorite weapon even though it’s introduced late in the game. The thing that made Mass Effect 3 the best game of the generation is by far the story. It showed a level of desperation the characters will go through in order to get the galaxy ready to fight. Granted, the war is already in full swing, but there is a lot that needs to be done in order to fight back. Playing the game by itself without the DLC is fun and can be done but I don’t recommend it.

The specific DLC that players need to get the full experience is From Ashes, Leviathan, Omega, Citadel, and Extended Cut. Each new piece of DLC comes with a new weapon and a new story arc. Each story is different and brings a new perspective to the overall game. Mass Effect 3 should only be played with all the DLC so players can enjoy a complete story. And with this being the last hurrah for Commander Shepard, all the DLC also brings much needed closure to the story.

ME3

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  • Sean’s Top Ten Games of the Generation

    Published on December 26, 2013

    For Sean this generation is where video games began to finally rival films in terms of storytelling and Summer blockbuster spectacle – Sean’s Top Ten Games of the Generation.

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  • cody_blake

    No Skyrim?