Monday, February 3, 2014

Top 10 games of the last console generation (from a largely PS3 perspective)

The PS3/Xbox 360 generation has come and gone. Personally, I never thought it would, but it did. I guess this means I'm officially old now that I've seen 3 generations come and go. Anyway, as we go into the era of the PS4 and Xbox One, I take a look back at the games from the last generation that I liked the most. Keep in mind, this is only my opinion, and while most of these games have been critically well received, your opinion might differ. Another disclaimer before we start: I had a PS3, so some of these titles are inevitably going to be Sony exclusives. These are also games I've played at the time of writing (so don't be too butthurt that "Sleeping Dogs" is on this list, and "Grand Theft Auto V" isn't). Also, they're not in any particular order from best to worst or vice versa.

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: When it comes to story, I don't think any other game I've ever played has even come close. "Drake's Deception" was pretty darn good, but it didn't have as much of the same emotional oomph as "Among Thieves." The scenery, the sense of scale, and especially the gameplay. Forget Spider-Man, Drake does everything a spider can. Naughty Dog really put themselves at the top of the industry with this title. Not that they were ever shabby, but it's a far cry from the days of "Crash Bandicoot."

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops: "Modern Warfare" was the one that put the series on the map. "Modern Warfare 2" made it even bigger in scale. However, "Black Ops" is the name that most people probably associate most with the franchise. Out of the many many entries in the series, this particular one probably boasts the most balance in its multiplayer, the mainstay of the franchise. It also has the best campaign and story.

3. Far Cry 3: Admittedly, I only picked this one up fairly recently and on PC because of a recent Steam sale. I've been blown away by just about everything. The tropical island setting (which I particularly like a lot because it resembles actual islands I've been to in my family's native Philippines), the hunting aspect and the overall realism. It takes open world games to a new level. Seriously, I just can't get enough. But arguably the thing I like the most is the protagonist. Jason Brody is not that much different from me or you. He's basically a spoiled college kid who ends up becoming a hardened killer because it's literally the only way he'll survive. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to the spoiled or even college kid part. The point is, he's really easy to relate to in the sense that he's not like a faceless run-of-the-mill special forces soldier you see in so many games or any of those other over-the-top action game stereotypes.

4. Batman: Arkham City: If you've read the section of my review of "Arkham Origins" where I give its predecessor a heaping praise, this speaks for itself. No other game has so deftly captured the experience of being the Dark Knight himself. The movie-worthy story didn't hurt, either.

5. Killzone 3: I could easily put "Killzone 2" on this list because that's what put the series on the map. However, 3 took everything that 2 did and made it even better. The graphics on 3 were better, the mutiplayer felt more balanced, and the whole "do or die" feel of the story made it an overall better experience than its predecessor. The brutal melee feature was icing on the cake. Seriously, you can't just swing a knife at someone in real life and hope it KOs them in one hit. Play "Killzone 3" and try the brutal melee. That's more or less what might happen up close.

6. Sleeping Dogs: Arguably more of a sleeper hit that might not be worthy of this list, but I'm putting it on here anyway. Other than "Far Cry 3," this title boasts one of the best stories of any open world games I've ever played. The fact that I played it less than a year after I went to Hong Kong in real life for my cousin's wedding certainly helped me appreciate it. Finally, imagine playing "Grand Theft Auto" with a protagonist who has the skill set of Bruce Lee and a combat engine similar to the "Batman: Arkham" games. And yes, you also get to use a variety of guns. This game is just awesome.

7. Tomb Raider: Although it takes a page out of the "Uncharted" series, this Lara Croft origin story manages to hold its own. The plot twist involving the storms is a bit silly, but this game manages to take one of gaming's biggest icons and make her into a more realistic character who is easier to relate to. It's kind of like Far Cry 3 in that sense, except Lara Croft was already a pop culture icon.

8. Mortal Kombat: I'm only referring to the 2011 reboot. Other than a weird part of my college years in which I consider Scorpion my alter-ego, this game is awesome. It boasts some of the tightest controls of any fighting game I've played, although it caters heavily to people who actually take the time to memorize combos. But where it really shines is the fatalities. Good lord, need I say more. This isn't an exaggeration when I say that it might just be the most violent video game of all time. I'm a bit desensitized, but more sensitive viewers might get nightmares from some of the creative and sick ways that people get killed in this game.

9. Bioshock: Infinite: I should probably include the original game instead of this entry, but seeing as I haven't played it yet, that wouldn't exactly be right. I'll just say that a lot of what made "Infinite" great probably made the first "Bioshock" really awesome when it came out in 2007. The themes and the story are just an acid trip that will make you question a lot of things. The gameplay is just awesome too.

10. God of War 3: This entire series is rage personified. Sometimes you've just had a bad day and want to take your anger out on the world. This series lets you do just that. It's obviously not as ground breaking as the first in the series, but it does bring Kratos from standard definition into high definition. The results are staggering. The only thing I can compare the violence to is "Mortal Kombat." This might not be the cup of tea for some gamers, but let's be honest. Playing as a one-man-army who ends up destroying all of Greek Mythology never gets old.

That's all folks. Let the butthurt begin (unless you read the disclaimers).

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