While the best games are up for debate between anyone, I personally have favorites. Having played a good portion of all the games that have come out this generation it has been a good 7 years. Many bad games have been released while tons of good ones have as well. These are pretty much the most memorable games of this generation for me. While there are many other amazing games these topped them all. For other games that I really remembered I will put an honorable mentions section at the bottom. This is my top ten favorites.
Why the second game? While the first revolutionized the genre the second game improved upon the first and made it nearly perfect. I spent dozens of hours on this game mastering every instrument (except vocals) and downloading dozens of songs. I had never had this much fun with a game that had peripherals before. While I played the hell out of Guitar Hero on PS2, Rock Band was another beast entirely. I played online, with family, and by myself, and still had a blast. There were songs here for everyone and the library was massive — even back then. While the graphics were lacking and the guitar controller was questionable nothing beat the drums. I mastered those and could probably be a good drummer today because of it. Rock Band 2 is probably the best rhythm game period since Guitar Hero.
What makes Dead Space so damn great? The horror. It brought back the genre after years of being in the toilet. Not only did the game look fantastic, but it had a revolutionary minimal HUD system and some of the creepiest monsters to grace this generation. The dismemberment system was also a lot of fun and gave a brand new strategy to third-person shooters. The story and lore were memorable, and did I mention it was scary? It gave you the sense of being alone and by yourself, that’s scarier than the monsters themselves. The game was just so much fun and had a lot of replay value. The controls felt good and it was just so fantastic.4
Why the first game? BioShock was revolutionary when it came to storytelling and atmosphere. It has the best game opening ever and is considered that by many gamers. The pacing was absolutely perfect and the plasmids were revolutionary for FPS games. You had to use the environment around you while you shoot guns. The lore and characters were so memorable and BioShock is one of the most quoted games of all time. I remember staying up all night to download this demo on Xbox 360 and was blown away. It changed the way I saw FPS games — what was the last FPS you played that made you feel that way? Now would you kindly go play this!
While the other 2 were better and improved upon the first game, this one introduced some of the best sci-fi lore since Star Wars. That’s one huge freaking feat. All the aliens, planets, story, characters, and everything that makes Mass Effect is one giant entity that is unforgettable. The mix of RPG and shooter gameplay was so awesome and the game looked amazing on Xbox 360 at the time. It helped boost sales for the console and RPG and shooter fans could both enjoy the game. It wasn’t just the shooting though, the storytelling and branching path choices that made BioWare famous were fully intact here. Many games copy Mass Effect’s dialog trees to this day. Mass Effect is the only game ever made where your save travels between multiple games.
Not only is this one of the most beautiful games ever made on PC it’s just downright fantastic. The atmosphere and lore behind The Witcher are rich and fun. Based on the excellent Polish books, The Witcher 2 improved on everything from the first game. The voice acting and characters were so wonderful and the quests were amazing. The Witcher 2 sat well with me because every little detail just blossomed. The crafting, traps, potion-making, and every town you went to were so wonderful.
Skyrim changed the way everyone sees open-world games. It was probably too ambitious for its own good. The game was just massive with so many quests and characters and even had its own dragon language. Skyrim is one of the most cosplayed, YouTubed, fan-drawn, and modded games ever created. There have been popular fans’ songs, controversial mods, and countless gaming community squabbles over it. I don’t remember it for the game that it solely was, but the modding community. Skyrim is one of the most beautiful games if you mod it correctly. The game was just so outdated when it shipped with countless bugs. While it was a great game at the core — the quests, characters, voice acting, weapons, armor, and countless loot — I remember it for the modding.
Portal is probably one of the most recognizable and played games today. It spawned a huge fan following from mods to YouTube fan videos. Countless people cosplay as Chell and there is so much merchandise out there for Portal. I remember it when it came to Xbox 360 in the form of The Orange Box. My computer couldn’t run it at the time, so this was super exciting. The story was fantastic, GlaDOS was memorable, and the gameplay was revolutionary and one of a kind. The puzzles were perfectly paced and the portals and Portal Gun itself were probably some of the most memorable parts. Don’t forget the college student that sued Valve over the portal tech that was used! That boosted the game sales even more.
Why another Bethesda game? Because they are the best Western RPGs to grace this generation. Fallout 3 was nearly perfect, it was deep, exciting, immersive, and huge. Not only did it revive the popular PC series, but it also became its own entity. Fallout 3 was unstoppable. Everyone played it, some loved it and some hated it. I remember this for the countless hours I spent on my Xbox 360. The main character was the wasteland itself and it sure was memorable. Exploring every nook and cranny was so addicting along with the amazing quests and many memorable locations. The story was fantastic and well-remembered thanks to the wonderful opening scene and the many choices you could make throughout the game.
This was the first game I played for this generation and it changed the way I see shooters today. Gears of War was revolutionary. Some claim it was a step back, but I don’t see how. The cover system is copied and used in every shooter today, the story and lore are fantastic and Delta Squad is some of the most memorable characters of this generation. The multiplayer was a huge selling point and it still played today. The graphics were outstanding and showed off the power of the Xbox 360 in its early years. While the later games were better, the first game holds a special place in my heart and on my (digital) shelf.
While I spent over double the time in Skyrim, Oblivion was the first console game I spent over 100 hours on. I remember one day I played for 12 hours straight with very few breaks. This was the first real open-world game I ever played next to previous games like GTA, Okami, and Shadow of the Colossus. This was a whole new level. It was a living breathing world full of danger and adventure. I actually was so immersed I felt like I was in the game. The story was awesome, the characters were memorable, and the graphics were amazing at the time. In fact, Oblivion was built for the Xbox 360 from the ground up and was why the PC version had such problems. The Shivering Isles expansion was quite memorable with Sheogorath as the main man, he was a crack and the new flora was gorgeous. While there are other games, and not a single one is the best ever, Oblivion was the most memorable game for this generation for me (and probably millions of other gamers)
Alan Wake | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Story, Characters, Horror, Combat
Assassin’s Creed | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Open World Exploration, Assassinations
Assassin’s Creed II | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, New Time Period, Story, Characters, New Moves
Assassin’s Creed III | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: New Time Period, Graphics, Naval Battles, Multiplayer, New Area to Explore, New Features
Bastion | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, Story, Combat
Batman: Arkham Asylum | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: New Batman Reboot, Story, Characters, Combat, Exploration
Batman: Arkham City | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, New Area, Improved Everything, Continued Story, New Comic Characters
Bayonetta | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Sexy Protagonist, Fluid Combat, Enemies, Story
BioShock Infinite | System Played: PC | Why: Story, Characters, Combat, Graphics
Braid | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Time Travel, Story, Art, Clever Puzzles
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Multiplayer, Graphics, Gunplay
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Combat, Exploration, Story, Characters, Puzzles
Condemned: Criminal Origins | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Scares, Fantastic Melee Combat, Story
Dante’s Inferno | System Played: PS3 | Why: Graphics, Unique Setting, Story, Characters, Combat, Gore
The Darkness | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Darkness Powers, Atmosphere, Story
Darksiders II | System Played: PC | Why: Story, Characters, Graphics, Combat, Puzzles, Exploration
Dead Space 2 | System Played: PS3 | Why: Continued Story, More Scares, New Weapons and Enemies
Deus Ex: Human Revolution | System Played: PC | Why: Story, Choices, Graphics, Gameplay
DiRT | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Rally Simulation, Cars, Tracks
Dishonored | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, Story, Stealth Gameplay
DmC: Devi May Cry | System Played: PC | Why: DmC Reboot, New Story and Characters, Combat, To Spite the Haters
Dragon Age: Origins | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Story, Characters, Choices, Lore, Combat
Eternal Sonata | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Story, Graphics, Characters, Unique Fight System
Fable II | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Story, Characters, Graphics, Combat
Fallout: New Vegas | System Played: PC | Why: More Fallout, Story, Characters, Areas to Explore, New Features, Mods
Gears of War 2 | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Follow Up to Gears of War, Continued Story, More Guns and Enemies
Gears of War 3 | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Follow Up to Gears of War 2, Amazing Graphics, More Guns and Enemies
God of War III | System Played: PS3 | Why: Finale to Amazing Story, Fantastic Graphics, Better Combat, New Boss Fights
Grand Theft Auto IV | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Open World, Memorable Characters and Story
Guild Wars | System Played: PC | Why: No Subscription Fee, Fun By Yourself, The Loot
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: New Songs, Better Graphics, Character Editor, Online
Halo 3 | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Online, Gun Play
Heavenly Sword | System Played: PS3 | Why: Combat, Graphics, Story, Characters
Heavy Rain | System Played: PS3 | Why: Characters, Story, Graphics, Unique Gameplay
Journey | System Played: PS3 | Why: Graphics, Unique Gameplay, Story
Killzone 2 | System Played: PS3 | Why: Graphics, Guns, Online
Left 4 Dead | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Fast Zombies, Fast Action, Online Co-op
Left 4 Dead 2 | System Played: PC | Why: More Left 4 Dead, New Levels, New Zombies
Limbo | System Played: PC | Why: Art, Story, Platforming
Mafia II | System Played: PC | Why: Characters, Story, Nudity, Gameplay
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots | System Played: PS3 | Why: Graphics, Story, Stealth Gameplay
Metro: Last Light | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, Story, Characters, Guns, Atmosphere, Scares
Mirror’s Edge | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, First Person Parkour, Story
Mortal Kombat | System Played: PS3 | Why: 2D MK Reboot, X-Rays, New Fatalities, Multiplayer, Extras
No More Heroes | System Played: Wii | Why: Graphics, Story, Characters, Gore
Portal 2 | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, New Puzzles, and Features, Story, Characters
Prey | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Story, Combat
Red Dead Redemption | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Story, Characters, Exploration, Combat
Skate | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, New Control System, Realism, Not Tony Hawk
‘Splosion Man | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Smooth Controls, Humor, Challenging Platforming
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, Story, Deep Strategy
Super Meat Boy | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, Challenging Platforming, Humor
Super Mario Galaxy | System Played: Wii | Why: Graphics, Unique Gameplay
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter | System Played: Xbox 360 | Why: Graphics, Tactical Gameplay, Ghost Recon Reboot
Tomb Raider| System Played: PC | Why: Tomb Raider Reboot, Story, Characters, Fantastic Gameplay
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves | System Played: PS3 | Why: Graphics, Story, Characters, Cinematic Moments
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception | System Played: PS3 | Why: Graphics, Story, Characters, Cinematic Moments
WarioWare: Smooth Moves | System Played: Wii | Why: Unique Use of Motion Controls, Fun