So Nintendo has officially halted production of the Wii, and the new console incarnations from Sony and Microsoft will be released to the masses in the very near future, so I figure now would be a good time to do a list of my favorite games of the generation. Keep in mind that I'm a regular dude and don't have the time or money to play every game that gets released, so if there's something that I don't have on here that you think should be, it's likely that I just haven't gotten around to playing it yet. Not going to go into a ton of detail, just doing this for fun, and will hopefully spark a good amount of conversation from the community.
Top 5 Xbox 360 Exclusives
1. Gears of War 3 - I'm a sucker for Horde mode, Beast mode was a nice addition, and it's stupid, mindless fun playing online with your buddies.
2. Alan Wake - Fantastic story, had some good scare moments, and excellent musical cues.
3. Left 4 Dead 2- New weapons, new environments, new enemies, improves upon the original in almost every way. Only downside, less Bill than I'd like.
4. Dead Rising - Bought this game with my 360, ridiculously campy, and I'm still a fan of most zombie games.
5. Crackdown - The best superhero game of the generation that doesn't have the word 'Batman' in the title.
Top 5 PS3 Exclusives
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - Brings the series full-circle, love the story enough that the crazy-long cutscenes didn't bother me, epic final battle, and the reason I bought a PS3 to begin with.
2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Amazing setpieces, great humor, fantastic platforming sections. Enemies are still bullet sponges but the combat never gets monotonous for me.
3. Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds - Been a diehard fan since the original PSone games, and I hate golf. Lack of cartoony characters make it take a step down from the PS2 titles.
4. 3D Dot Game Heroes - The only Legend of Zelda game that I've ever finished. I never tire of videogame in-jokes, easy to learn combat, fun dungeon designs.
5. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time - The first R&C game I ever played, immediately went back and played Tools of Destruction. Ratchet gameplay is everything long time fans expect, and the Clank sections make for some great puzzle platforming.
Top 5 Wii Exclusives
1. Super Mario Galaxy - Possibly my favorite game of the generation. Got all 120 stars, lost all the data when my Wii crashed, got all 120 stars again and didn't regret one second. Best 3D Mario game there is.
2. New Super Mario Bros. Wii - Super Mario World is my favorite game of all-time, and this game gives me all the same types of feels that SMW did. Not to mention that the final showdown is Bowser is probably the best of anyMario game.
3. A Boy and His Blob - Everything about this game makes me feel like a kid again. The art is beautiful and whimsical, simply platforming that never feels too easy or too difficult, and there's a freaking 'hug' button.
4. Donkey Kong Country Returns - I love difficult platformers, and certain levels in this one had me nearly pulling my hair out, but I still finished the game in three sessions, and loved it enough to purchase it again on 3DS.
5. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles - I'm still a huge Resident Evil fan pre-RE6, and this on-rails shooter was nothing more than a love letter to old school fans. Won't blow you away, but still tons of fun.
Top 5 DS Exclusives
1. Picross 3D - Simply put, this game is 3 1/2 years old and I'm still playing it consistently.
2. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - The first turn-based RPG I've ever completed, fantastic localization, fun story and gameplay.
3. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future - Great puzzles as always, but no one plays Layton for the puzzles, you play for the story, and this story is the best of the series, truly heart-wrenching.
4. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors - The combination of Jim Sterling's 10/10 review (edit: it totally wasn't Jim Sterling, and totally was Tony Ponce) and the urging of my buddy Luke caused me pre-order this game, and I certainly didn't regret it. Never before had I been that blown away by a game's story.
5. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia - One of 3 Castlevania games on the DS, and this one is my favorite. Not being confined to a single castle and being able to travel to several locations at will, combined with the classic Metroid-style gameplay made for a top-notch title.
Top 10 Multi-Platform Games
1. Borderlands 2 - I've written about why I love Borderlands before...and then I did it again. So just read those.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Even if you've never played it, you've heard of it, and if you haven't played it. play it. First Elder Scrolls game I played, spent nearly two months playing this game, and this game only.
3. Prince of Persia (2008) - Incredible art with a great fantasy world, coupled with challenging yet very enjoyable platforming. Combat is a bit lackluster, but doesn't take away from the overall magic of the game.
4. Bioshock - An atypical FPS, spliced with a smidgen of survival-horror, with the best world you're going to find in a game of this generation. Plasmids made for interesting and dynamic encounters, and the story is top notch. Docked points for the weak last hour of the game.
5. Portal 2 - Mind-bending puzzles, with three of the most amazing characters in gaming (Cave Johnson is likely my favorite character not named Mario). Took everything that was great about the original and stretched it out into an extensive adventure, with an additional co-op mode that was worth the cost of the game alone.
6. Far Cry 3 - Open-world, RPG, first-person shooter, with the option to play stealthily. Add in a couple villains that you truly hate and a variety of different missions to keep you from getting bored, and you have a truly great genre-mashing game.
7. Tomb Raider - Perfectly paced and never overstayed its welcome. The Lara Croft origin story certainly saw her getting the crap kicked out of her on more than one occasion, but by the end she's practically Arnold in Commando. Pseudo open-world with lots of great visuals and satisfying combat.
8. Batman: Arkham City - The best hand-to-hand combat you'll find, enemies that are legitimately dangerous, and tons of side missions. Lots of challenges and collectibles if that's your thing. You can get lost in Arkham City for days.
9. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - The combat is a straight rip of God of War, but I love God of War combat, so this was right up my alley. An interesting, separate timeline than the one we already know, its biggest problem is the fact that it's about 8 hours longer than it needed to be.
10. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - The best of the series in my opinion. Opted to go for one large open city rather than several smaller ones which helped with immersion. Assassin recruiting was a welcome diversion from the main story, and the multiplayer was way better than anyone expected it to be.
Top 5 Downloadable Games
1. The Walking Dead - I've never been shocked by a game as consistently as I was with the Walking Dead series, especially with Episode 3. Kudos to Telltale for making one of the most lovable characters of all-time.
2. Trials HD - I still find myself returning to this one time and time again. Brutally difficult, but a checkpoint system that'll leave you wanting to keep trying. Only reason I chose this instead of Evolution is because I spent more time on the original.
3. Mark of the Ninja - 2D stealth executed to perfection. Easy to play, difficult to master, but New Game+ gives you a reason to try.
4. Bit Trip Runner 2 - Every bit as charming as the original, but with added difficulty modes, lots of unlockables, and plenty of reasons to replay levels. Checkpoint system makes it easier on more casual players.
5. Super Meat Boy - One of the hardest platformers of all-time, but never unfair, you always knew that death was your own fault. Tons of collectibles, secret levels, unlockable characters, and the ability to skip levels if they seem insurmountable.
Top 5 Call of Duty Games
Tied for 1. Call of Duty 2/Call of Duty 3/Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare/Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2/Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3/Call of Duty: Black Ops/Call of Duty Black Ops II
Most Underrated Game
Shadows of the Damned - So it's sort of a horror/comedy, third-person shooter, but turns into a construction paper 2D shooter at times, has a great Evil Dead homage, a great sidekick, fun weapons, and plays like modern Resident Evil titles. When you read all that, it shouldn't be a surprise that it was a concoction from the minds of Shinji Mikami and Suda. It's an absolute shame this game didn't sell more than it did.