Eight years. The generation that was is almost at an end, and what a generation it has been. It’s easy to forget just how good we’ve had it since the Xbox 360 appeared on our shelves back in 2005 but fear not; over the next week, we’ll guide you through the very best the last generation has had to offer on PC, Wii, Wii U, PS3 and Xbox 360.
There have been arguments, blood, sweat and tears to finalise the top 30, but here it is: the official Low Fat Gaming “Games Of The Generation”. A quick note, HD remakes and compilations are excluded (so no Orange Box) and, where possible, franchises have been grouped together – unless one entry stood out more than the others . These might not be the best games… but they are OUR favourites. Read on and enjoy, we start with our number 30 to 24…
30. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC)
Developed by Frictional Games and released in 2010, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is possibly the most intense gaming experience of all time – certainly in this generation. Taking horror to an unmatched level, Amnesia is an a first-person survival horror where your sanity is all important. You don’t even have access to weapons; if you’re spotted by the games horrifying enemies, running away and hiding is your only defence. A brave, unique PC-only title, Amnesia: The Dark Descent deserves a spot in our top 30.
29. Super Mario Galaxy series (Wii)
Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 are easily the best Wii games available. In fact, they’re the evidence that Nintendo can still reach the heights of old when it comes to innovation, immersion and fun. A true sequel to Mario 64 (GameCube’s very good Mario Sunshine was arguably more of the same), Galaxy was a tour de force from the Big N – which was then bettered with criminally under-performing Galaxy 2. If you’ve got access to a Wii, you owe it to yourself to pick this series up.
28. Dead Space (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
The original and best. It can be difficult to remember just how 2008’s Dead Space is, especially when the series lost its way with the confused threequel. Equally terrifying and slick, Dead Space pays homage to many of your favourite sci-fi yarns (Alien, Aliens, Event Horizon) and mixes it with Resident Evil 4 – with a twist. Strategic dismemberment of the relentless Necromorphs changed your approach to 3rd person shooters – wild shooting and headshots would do you no good here. The fact that this games sequel, Dead Space 2, is at its best when it directly calls back to the original is testament to its quality.
27. The Darkness (PS3, Xbox 360)
An underrated gem. Based on a little-known cult comic book and starring a mafia hitman possessed by a demonic entity gifting him supernatural abilities, Swedish developers Starbreeze crafted a surprisingly mature and touching tale of love and loss. A standout moment finds you paying a visit to your childhood sweetheart, Jenny. You can leave after the cutscene or, for the romantics, you can sit on the couch with her and watch an old black and white movie while she falls asleep in your arms. It’s the calm before the storm. The Darkness plays on duality throughout – for its themes of love and loyalty, it’s as much about vengeance and betrayal. Ultraviolent and incredibly grim, The Darkness is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on.
26. LA Noire (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
LA Noire is a game like no other. Objectively, it isn’t a very good game. There isn’t much to do in the open world of LA, the gameplay mechanics such as driving, shooting and melee fighting are incredibly weak and it’s simply not much of a challenge. It’s far more than the sum of its parts though, mainly due to the incredible facial technology and unparalleled performances from the games actors. While the story is a little hokey and derivative, LA Noire often succeeds at making you forget you are playing a game. It may well be the Emperors New Clothes, and it hasn’t aged as well as other Rockstar titles, but it IS a standout moment of the last generation. The games period setting and atmosphere are to die for and its production values are unmatched. Love it or hate it, you won’t forget about it.
25. Metro 2033 (PC, Xbox 360)
A cult classic. Like LA Noire above it, Metro 2033 fails on many levels – as a FPS it is simply below average in many aspects. Thankfully, it drips atmosphere – foreboding, unsettling, horrifying – and developers 4A Games built a world like no other. There’s a story around every corner, and, despite the grim reality of Metro 2033, you want to explore and uncover post-apocalyptic Russia’s secrets. 2013 saw the release of a polished sequel, Metro Last Light, which boasted improved gameplay mechanics and graphics – at the expense of the things that made the original so memorable. Proof, if proof was needed, that sometimes immersion is all we want in our favourite games.
– Dave Green. He’s on Twitter @davidpgreen83