At last we have arrived. You came, you played, you voted. Here's the list we've all been waiting for. ladies and gents, I give you the Dealspwn Community Top Ten Games of Last-Gen!
NB. We've added in the vote tallies for this one so you can see just how close things were. Games ranked 1st got 30 pts, 2nd had 29 pts etc.
What we said: Through masterful writing, some of the best voice acting that this industry has ever seen,and moody soundscapes and a strikingly emotive and communicative art style, The Walking Dead provided the storytelling experience of the year with five superbly wrought episodes that forced us to make hard choices time and time again, and care more about a bunch of virtual characters than many of us do about things here in the real world.
What we said: Bethesda have managed to meet, and perhaps exceed, the expectations placed upon the fifth entry in the series. With so much freedom to play the role you wish to, and a huge area to explore, those looking for a deep medieval fantasy experience will get their money’s worth with this one. As far as we're concerned, Skyrim is the pinnacle of the RPG genre.Click here to read more...
Top twenty, here we come! A minimalist marvel, multiplayer magnificence, Adam Jensen, and Rockstar's magnum opus await.
What we said: Borderlands 2's ultimate triumph lies with its personality. Its demented, crass, brash and brilliant personality. Like the best loot-driven games, you'll come for the loot and levels, but you'll stay because you're having so much damn fun. And because you'll want to kick Handsome Jack square in the Butt Stallion. We wanted more. We wanted bigger. We wanted better, brasher, bolder andbadasser. Borderlands 2 takes care of business. -9/10
What we said: Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a triumph of open-ended gameplay, impeccable level design and the realisation of a believable, authentic universe. Its scant flaws are thrown into sharp relief by the exceptional quality of the overall experience, and Human Revolution is as good as we could possibly want from a prequel to an epic series. We have no doubt that its successor has the potential to be the best game of all time.
Oh, wait. It already is. - 9/10
Only thirty games to go, and today's countdown of quality sees us celebrating the exploits of everyone's favourite plumber, a masterclass from Valve, a zombie lick from an AI director, and The Best Game of the Generation.
What we said: If Lord of the Rings had a bucket of gore tipped over it, it'd probably look like this. Exciting, engaging and thoroughly entertaining, BioWare have done it again. Probably the best RPG since Mass Effect, which isn't surprising really. - 9/10
What we said: Valve turn a mini-project into a triple-A winner and show that big budgets and big ideas aren't mutually exclusive once again. Whether playing on your own or with a friend, the quality simply shines through unerringly. Funny, fiendish and fantastic, Portal 2 is an utter triumph. - 10/10Click here to read more...
Into the top forty, and today we have some super-slick TPS gunplay for you, a zombie apocalypse, Death incarnate, and somehow...somehow... Nico Bellic.
What we said: Vanquish is a fantastically cool action game that is an absolute blast from start to finish that does what the great games do: make you feel like an absolute badass. I can forgive the grey/silver visuals, but marks have to be deducted for the short length. You should play this game as soon as possible though and hope for a sequel. - 9/10
What we said: Dishonored is, quite frankly, Bethesda's watercooler game of 2012 - the game that all should be talking about come the year's end, with no two narrative anecdotes the same. It does better than simply revive the stealth genre, it makes us wonder why the hell it went away in the first place. Arkane have delivered a blank canvas in Corvo Attano, with a commendably mature approach to player freedom that asks much of you, and delivers ultimate gameplay satisfaction in return. Nothing short of astonishing. - 9/10Click here to read more...
Well, we've had a peek at the bottom fifty, but now comes the moment of truth. Which games have you, our dear readers voted into the Top 50 Games of Last Generation?
To begin with, let's kick things off with an angry god, a couple of cracking Bethesda titles, and some expensive plastic peripherals.
What we said: There's the painstaking attention to detail, the enormously impressive world-building, filled with endless reams of lore and depth. Bethesda haven't crafted a game, they've fashioned a fantastical world in which you can immerse yourself and become anyone you want to be: hero, villain, thief, champion. A feast for the eyes and ears, you'll step into Oblivion and never want to leave.
What we said: Crackdown is an explosive, open-ended experience packed with fun to be had and things to be blown up. It's overflowing with possibilities, but lacking in real game-defining objectives. The missions stagnate quickly, and if it weren't for the plentiful distractions like Orbs and whatnot, Crackdown might not score as high. However, it coasts on its merits as a true exponent of the fun!Click here to read more...
Yep, that's right. Thank you enormously to everyone who got involved with our Games of the Generation season, and thank you in particular to r3tract for suggesting a community list! The reception was so overwhelmingly awesome to our public vote that we figured we could run a Community Top 100 Games of Last-Gen rather than just fifty.
So here it is.
We kick off with the bottom 50, and there are definitely some surprises in here -- from both games I never thought would make a Top 100 to those that might have seemed a lock for the upper echelons of the chart.
But this is the glorious thing about democracy!
NB. Since most entrants ranked their lists, we decided to use those rankings to determine positioning. If your list wasn't ranked, then every game on it was given a score of 15 (the mean). Tiebreakers (those games with equal scores) were then positioned according to number of nominations.Click here to check out the Community Top 100 Games of Last-Gen #100-51 >>
I laughed the first time I saw this. This is impossible, I muttered silently to myself. Out of all of the games of the last seven years, are we really going to hand the title of Game of the Generation over to Call of Duty? Something must have gone wrong. My maths has been going steadily downhill for years, I must have simply gone awry with the voting tallies.
It seems ludicrous that Call of Duty should come anywhere near the top of this list. But there it is -- the only game to have received a nomination from everyone here at Dealspwn.
Of course, the incredulity stems from familiarity. Call of Duty is a biggest IP in the business. Along comes another game every twelve months with a bunch of marginal tweaks and changes -- surgery performed to justify annualisation, contravening the old adage that begins "if it ain't broke..." because, well, money. Call of Duty has become synonymous with stagnancy.
But it wasn't always this way. Whatever you might think of the franchise today, Call of Duty once stood for innovation and excellence thanks to one game in particular that rewrote the book on post-millennial first-person shooters. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare didn't just blow up and redefine a genre, it set the bar for multiplayer shooters going forward (a bar that still exists, undisturbed, to this day), it turned a day in November each following year into the biggest event in entertainment media, and it brought storytelling in our industry to our own front doors, rejecting the safety of fantastical lands, sci-fi imaginings and historical settings.Click here to read more...
Here we are, folks. The Top 10 Games of Last Generation. Well... the top nine. These are the games that (a really small sample of) democracy has chosen. When we look back on the past seven years, these are the games we'll remember -- the titles that will come to epitomise generation six, for us anyway.
We have multiplayer mainstays here, some of the finest storytelling to grace any medium, we have an indie smash hit that shook the industry to its very core and changed things forever, we have Rockstar's finest game of the generation (no GTA in sight), and two peerless RPGs fighting out to the very last. Welcome to the final countdown...
What we said: Whilst it might not be the groundbreaking FPS that the original was, doing away with the Epic Pistol, enormously expansive maps and the health bar amongst other things, Halo 3 is still an absolute triumph. The campaign is somewhat short, and there's the odd level of Flood trudging that slows the pace horrifically, but the AI, the music, the combat and the blockbuster credentials more than make up for it.
And then of course there's the multiplayer. Fast, frenetic and furious, at its worst you'll come across a bunch of 14 year old Americans who swear blindly, make offensive comments and clearly spend every free waking moment playing the game. But at its best, Halo 3's multiplayer is incredibly good fun with great server support, a reliable matchmaking system and an abundance of game types.
What we said: Irrational created the most memorable game world of the generation in Rapture, and left you to pick your way through its dilapidated bones, discovering its history at your own pace. The lack of direct choice (or the illusion of it) -- that is to say, the apparent absence of morality-driven narrative divergences -- didn't matter. Bioshock played with the nature of control and discovery, using exposition to give colour and depth to the horrors you'd witness, and then turning everything on its head.
Rarely have three words proved so absolutely devastating in any story across any medium. Bioshock isn't just a video game classic, it's a milestone in interactive fiction.Click here to read more...
Our countdown of the best games of last generation reaches the top twenty, and what an assortment of quality we have for you today. Rayman racks up his second (and truly deserved) appearance, as does a certain Italian murderer; we see the Wii's best offerings standing strong amongst super company; and a nine-year old girl steals our collective hearts.
What we said: It's effortlessly charming, fiendishly challenging, mechanically sublime, and stuffed with enough content to keep us coming back for more long into the winter months. It's a blast solo or with friends, whether you're playing together directly, or trying to best one another's scores in asynchronous fashion in the challenges. Put simply, Rayman Legends isn't just one of the best platformers we've seen in twenty years, but one of the very best games. Absolutely stunning.
What we said: There's never been anything quite like this before, including the first game. LBP2 is so much more now that gamers aren't limited to the platforming genre. The single player game is just a warm up that hopes to inspire you to create something amazing of your own. The user-generated game creations are where the real gold is to be found. It's not Media Molecule's game anymore, it's ours.Click here to read more...
Welcome back to our countdown of the best games of last generation! Today we have a list that includes one of the finest titles to ever grace the Wii, car crash brilliance, the return of a glorious strategy franchise, and An Amazing RPG From The Best Games Company Ever.
Late to the party? Don't worry, you can catch up with all of our Games of the Generation pieces from the last week of so right here.
What we said: Fans of both loot grinders and hectic shooters will be in seventh heaven with Borderlands and will be able to enjoy the experience solo and with other players. However, most others will need to seek out company in order to fully enjoy what it brings to the table. Either way, Borderlands is a capable FPS with simple and accessible MMO elements that will still be relevant many months down the line.
What we said: Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the best JRPGs ever made. In fact, it's probably one of the best roleplaying games of this generation - regardless of platform. Monolith Soft has made the genre relevant again, delivering depth and nuance without compromising fun or thrills. If you own a Wii, you owe it to yourself to play Xenoblade Chronicles. It's that simple.Click here to read more...
Acrobatic action titles? Check. Genre-defining third-person shooters? Oh yes. More plastic peripheral insanity? You bet! We're into the thirties in our countdown of the best games of last generation, and there are more surprises in store. Were you besotted with Bayonetta? Rabid about Rayman? Bonkers for Bad Company? Let us know what you make of thing in the box below.
Also, if you're yet to check out #50-41, click here to do so now!
What we said: Bayonetta herself might well split opinion - can a strong willed, intensely capable female figure who defies manipulation be taken seriously when she's being manipulated into some of the most suggestive poses this side of Spearmint Rhino's front doors? - but it's incredibly hard to argue against action this stylishly accessible and deceptively deep. Sexy, self-referential, slick and stylish, Bayonetta is an excellent action title to kick off 2010, dodging accusation of being derivative with one of the most finely tuned, and fun to play, combat engines seen in video gaming.
What we said: Rayman Origins is mechanically brilliant, perfectly-paced and drop-dead gorgeous, but can you put a price on happiness?
Probably not. But we've got a score for it. - 10/10Click here to read more...
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?Click here to read more...
We're coming to the end of the Staff Picks part of our Best of Generation season (the Top 50 runs next week), but let's take a moment to look forward. We've celebrated some of the finest titles and moments from the past seven years or so, but how has that shaped our vision of the future? Ladies and gents, it's time to get stuck into our personal hopes and wishes for this next generation of games consoles...
I've said it before a thousand times, but just once more for the road: graphics mean nothing without the gameplay to back it up. Given the choice, you'll find me playing an innovative boutique or indie title rather than a shiny AAA shooter. All day long. This new generation promises devastatingly handsome games, but also needs to push forward in terms of systemic, dynamic worlds to explore, advanced AI, bigger contiguous playgrounds and genuinely new things to see and do.
I'm reminded of the beginning of Generation 6, when I first played Rainbow Six: Vegas and Gears Of War and thought, “wow, this is the start of something amazing.” It was to some extent, but sadly, business is business. In a strive to conform to focus testing and market forces, we saw any number of games apeing the biggest hitters, rather than running with new and unique ideas – to the extent where it was occasionally difficult to find a major new IP that didn't resemble a cover-based shooter or, erm, Call Of Duty a while ago. All too often, we saw the biggest studios iterate rather than innovate, falling back rather than pushing forward.
Don't get me wrong, the PC and emergent console download marketplaces have stalwartly delivered bountiful new and interesting games to enjoy; revolutionary experiences to sink our teeth into. We've definitely enjoyed plenty of exceptional triple-A titles too, many of which have attempted to push boundaries. And that's what I want from the next console generation: a desire to push the envelope, to push those boundaries even further in gameplay terms.
Wouldn't it be nice if, when new games are announced, we find ourselves saying, “wow, that branching dialogue looks amazing,” or “whoa, that learning and evolving AI is really exciting” rather than just “gosh, doesn't that look pretty?” With luck, Project Spark and Watch Dogs are going to make this happen, and really be the start of something truly amazing.
Actually, scratch all that pretentious nonsense. Give me a decent Crackdown and Rainbow Six sequel and I'll be happy as Larry. Perhaps take a look at those RRPs while you're at it.Click here to read more...
The last console generation gave us all manner of things we now take for granted, including the concept of downloadable content.
For many gamers, DLC has become a dirty acronym. How could it not be? Too many unscrupulous publishers have used it as an excuse to withhold content to ransom, or make players shell out silly money for features that, a decade ago, were included in the price of admission.
It's a crying shame, though, because DLC is actually one of the best and most forward-thinking advances of the last eight years. When developers strive to create meaningful and worthwhile extra content, DLC can enhance, extend and enrich our games - if not our lives. So to that end, here are the ten most outstanding DLC packs and expansions of the previous generation... and why they set a superb example going into the new one.
Burnout Paradise had a legendary post-launch DLC campaign. From free motorbikes to zany hotseat multiplayer, one of the very best (the best? Discuss) racing games of the generation became even better over time.
Especially when Big Surf Island arrived. This massive new playground was wide, tall and rammed full of crazy stuff to do; keeping Paradise in our disc drives for months.Click here to read more...
In our penultimate roundtable considering the best and worst of the passing console generation, we take a look at some of our personal highlights from the last seven years.
Okay, I’m sure we can all agree that there have been some let-downs in regards to this particular topic, and yes, we’re still waiting for that Double Fine project, but the fact that over the last few years we as gamers have actively engaged with the crowdfunding of games is something that is absolutely a highlight for me. After all, thanks sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo we’ve had the chance to bring games to life that would have normally never have seen the light of day, or would have taken years to emerge in a much smaller capacity.
After all, what kind of publisher would have taken the risk on Chris Averline to make a new RPG? Who would have provided funds for Ragnar Tornquist to continue his critically acclaimed adventure series? Hell, who would have seriously considered giving $1 million dollars to Chris Roberts to make a space sim game, let alone $30 million? Of course, Project Eternity, Dreamfall Chapters, and Star Citizen are some of the more well-known success stories, but smaller games, such as the highly-addictive FTL: Faster Than Light, have been developed and gone on to make some serious money thanks to crowd-funding. The whole thing has also allowed many of us to directly converse with some of our heroes from the industry, both online and in person – something we never really would have had the chance to in such an open manner through a publisher.
But these are just the games – we’ve had hardware projects reach and exceed their goals through crowd-funding, the most notable of which being the utterly delicious Oculus Rift. Sure, other hardware hopefuls like the Ouya may have not reached their potential once in the hands of backers and consumers, but we’ve also had products like the GameStick and the Raspberry Pi providing cheap and exciting alternatives to big budget consoles. As this craze has shown, not every idea put forth with be a golden one, and at the end of the day it’s a rather big risk for everyone involved, but it has given gamers the chance to see games they desperately want being made with a great deal of openness, and that’s why it has been a highlight for me.Click here to read more...
It's not all been sunshine and roses this generation. These aren't our shouts for the worst games to be seen over the past seven years or so, but rather the most heartfelt disappointments. These are the games and the moments that really floored us with just how little they met our expectations. Expect controversy, and let us know your thoughts in the comments box at the end.
After the lacklustre effort that was GTA IV, I was surprised to see little genuine improvement for Rockstar’s latest offering. Yes, the world in GTA V is huge and often breathtakingly gorgeous. But why does living in it have to be such a bore?
I recently finished the story and I think the Pack Man mission sums up the game perfectly. I was forced to drive an articulated lorry for seven miles while listening to the boring characters bitch about their demented existences. Yet there was some late flair to the mission when I had to leap behind the wheel of one of the cars I was carrying on the lorry so I could use the Bond-esque weapons to take out the cops that had turned up for the last leg of the journey.
The latter part of the mission was great fun, but as we all know, most of the campaign missions involve samey commutes back and forth, getting your car stuck should you dare to take a shortcut, ferrying family members around, enduring some of the worst helicopter controls in existence, or maybe the good old wait-and-follow mission. Exciting it is not. For me the wait/fun ratio always seemed to be about 80/20.
I recall an excellent car chase on a runway, with explosions everywhere as planes landed around me. After hours of boredom beforehand though, it seemed more exciting than it actually was. Compare GTA’s action-packed highlights with the likes of Uncharted or Call of Duty and it’s clearly lagging.
Rockstar are capable of much better. The world of Red Dead Redemption had so much more personality to it and felt like it was worth exploring. GTA V is just big, with a fraction of buildings having open doors and the landscape only acting as wildernesses to get stuck in if you wreck your car or find Trevor waking up there. There’s no excuse for the shoddy shooting either considering the fun we had with Max Payne 3 last year.
The story itself is one of Rockstar’s worst yet and this can largely be blamed on their mind-numbingly boring and stereotypical cast. The one-last-job guy with family problems, the mental guy (ok, he is funny at times) and the black guy that’s so above his criminal friends but is actually just another criminal. Isn’t it about time Rockstar came up with some fresh story ideas? Then we might avoid events like this horrible Sopranos/Boyz in the Hood/Heat casserole of nonsense that never sits right.
It’s sad to fall back on an old saying, but GTA V really is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Not the worst of the generation by a long stretch (hello Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines), but certainly my most disappointing.Click here to read more...
Yesterday's roundtable piece looked at our picks for the best games of the last generation, but there's a difference between games that we reckon have been the best, and games that are simply our favourites. Sometimes, as you'll see, they can certainly be one and the same, but for these picks it's all about games we've come back to time and time again, mainstays in disc trays, and comfort games we can keep returning to time and time again.
I'm cheating here, naming a series rather than a game, but the truth is that the Halo games have been the mainstay in my disc drive of this generation. I've bought every single one, and played them to death.
I never had an original Xbox, so Halo 3 was my introduction to the series, and indeed to my shiny new Xbox 360. I could talk for hours on the strength of that game's singleplayer component (a couple of Flood levels aside), but it was the multiplayer that truly grabbed me. I'd long been sceptical of online gaming on anything other than Counter-Strike or Unreal Tournament, and this was new territory.
But I never looked back.Click here to read more...
It's that time of year again, folks. A time for lists and top tens. A time of reflection, where we present our views on the games that have been and gone over the last twelve months.
Well, it's almost time for that.
Before we get into Game of the Year season, it's time for Game of the Generation. As the arrival of the PS4 and Xbox One finish what the Wii U started in ushering in the eighth console generation, it's time for us to take a moment and reflect on the best games, the most memorable moments, gaming highlights, and crushing disappointments of much of the last decade.
It's time we all got stuck in with some opinion-slinging and critical debate about the games of generation seven, and what better way to kick that off than by talking about the best games we've seen over the past seven years or so. But what does "best" mean, particularly in a medium of such diverse possibility? Well, that's what makes it fun. We have titles here that provided openness, agency, outstanding interactive fiction, sublime gameplay, and innovative, groundbreaking ideas and execution. Put simply, these are the games we feel defined the seventh console generation for us.
Take it away lads...
Of the many, many games I have played over the course of the generation, one comes up as a truly inspiring game-changer for me, and that is Mass Effect. In a time when RPGs were beginning to stagnate, and JRPGs weren’t quite delivery the same level of quality they had previously done, BioWare’s spiritual successor to KOTOR let me live out my futuristic dreams with my own version of Commander Shepard.
Its cast of characters, both heroes and villains, were some of the best I had come across, and the intrigue that was created as I discovered the truth behind Saren’s master plan was some of the best storytelling I had been able to directly affect. Making difficult (and some quite humorous) choices lead to some great water cooler moments that still get discussed to this day. You only have to say the word “Virmire” to instigate a barrage of anecdotes, each with their own unique take on a mission that changed everything.
It was also - perhaps most importantly, a new sci-fi property – something I had been craving for quite some time considering the last series of that kind I was truly invested in was Freespace. Other games that have come since then have arguably provided more of a sense of freedom, but the illusion of being able to explore the galaxy and visit different planets aboard the Normandy was mind-blowing.
As the now-infamous song goes – “You can fight like a Krogan, run like a leopard / But you’ll never be better than Commander Shepard.”Click here to read more...