We all weighed in on some of our favourite games and highlights from the sixth generation of video game consoles, and now it's time for the Top 50 Games of Last Generation. We opted for democracy over psychic octopuses or Foucauldian pendulums and each writer submitted a top 30, with the resulting entries shuffled into some semblance of critical order by our fuzzy-topped overlord.
The results have been surprising in some cases, and perhaps less so elsewhere. Indeed, there was only one game that appeared in absolutely everyone's list. But you'll have to wait until Friday for that as we begin our countdown of excellence at #50, and work our way up to the pinnacle of this generation.
What we said: Fallout: New Vegas is an epic adventure, simply overflowing with content. If you lost yourself in Fallout 3, gobbled up all the DLC and then loaded up a brand new game, New Vegas is for you. Hook, line and sinker. It's built on aging tech that often rears its ugly head, but it can also offer moments of startling beauty.
What we said: If you prefer your heroics to come with, well, heroics, look elsewhere on the shelf and detractors will no doubt write it off as a Fallout / Bioshock / Half-Life 2 hybrid. If though you like your games genuinely disturbing, thoughtful and intensely creepy, this is brilliant stuff. And hell, if you’re going to make a medley of three games you could do a lot worse than those, right?
What we said: Deliciously tight mechanics, combined with a fine balance between scripted setpieces and player-driven action deliver an immaculately paced piece that grabs hold and never let's go. It might not prove transcendental, but it points towards a future of great promise for the franchise. Simply outstanding.
What we said: The Noir-based adventure Team Bondi has created may not be perfect, but it is a wonderful and dark experience that rises above the blemishes it exhibits. The investigations and interrogations are put to a well-crafted backdrop of 1940’s Los Angeles, and the MotionScan technology moves past that of a gimmick and helps reflect some fantastic performances by the cast. If you can get past some clunky control issues and slow pacing, you’re in for a real treat with this one.
What we said: Well paced, superbly written, and boasting some of the best visual and audio work of this generation, Naughty Dog have once again produced a fine game. This is linear blockbuster gaming at its best, and it dazzles the senses. even if the form disappoints the mind a little given the genre.
What we said: Super Meat Boy is technically perfect, providing instantly responsive controls, precise analogue control and a realistic sense of momentum. Players have everything they need to complete each level in spectacular style... so when you fail, you've only got yourself to blame. This removes most of the frustration factor, turning what could have been a miserable grind into a compulsive quest for self improvement. Just buy it already.
44. Dead Space
What we said: Dead Space is good, scary fun, choc-full of jumpy moments, grotesque monster designs and more gore than an 80s Sam Raimi movie. It's classic survival-horror, and deeply atmospheric. Try and imagine what would happen if Event Horizon and Doom got stuck in a blender with Resident Evil and System Shock 2. Stop imagining that, it's disgusting. Definitely one to play with the lights off, just remember that spare set of underwear!
43. Rainbow Six Vegas
What we said: Boasting smart gameplay, smart weapons, smart AI (both friendly and enemy), a smart cover system, and a wealth of smart innovations, Rainbow Six Vegas stormed the ramparts of Generation Seven in emphatic fashion, delivering an astounding FPS experience and one of the best multiplayer shooter experiences of the 00s.
42. Metal Gear Solid 4
What we said: Was it cutscene heavy? Yes. Was the plot convoluted to hell? Absolutely. But even in the face of some of the biggest criticisms with the series in general, what Kojima and his team delivered with Guns Of The Patriots was the perfect tribute to everything that had come before it, wrapping up the story of Solid Snake and his fight against the La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo. Its multplayer component didn’t live up to expectations, but on the flip side the single-player gave us a Metal Gear vs Metal Gear battle of epic proportions, as well as *that* crawl to the finish line. In short, it was utterly unmissable for both Metal Gear and Playstation fans, making its place on our list a much deserved one.
41. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
What we said: Just before it followed Rock Band into multi-instrumental awesomeness, Guitar Hero ditched oppressive timing windows for a more liberal approach - instead punishing your fingers with swathes of complex solos but making you feel like a proper axe-wielding titan. With probably the best setlist to grace a music game, boasting a wireless guitar so you could do kickjumps off of your sofa, and introducing guitar battles with Slash and the Devil, this was the pinnacle of Guitar Hero's magnificence.
As always, objectivity and critical absolutes are mythological concepts, so do get stuck into the debate in the comments box below. These are simply the results we came up with, and we're always keen to know yours! Stay tuned, same time tomorrow, for 40-31.