Here they are – the final 6 games of the Low Fat Gaming top 30 games of the generation. There have been some amazing games in the previous 24 and many more worthy titles have missed out. The last 6 could easily been named our favourite game of the last eight years. Only one gets that honour. Read on to find out. If you’ve missed any of the countdowns, you can see 30 to 25 here, 24 to 18 here, 17 to 13 here and 12 to 7 here. Enjoy the rest…
6. Batman Arkham series (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
The story; Batman Arkham Asylum came out of nowhere. It didn’t. Gamers knew it was coming but no-one had any hopes for it. There had never been a decent Batman game, so why should this be any different? How wrong we were. Arkham Asylum succeeded where many other games had failed; developers Rocksteady intrinsically understood what it meant to be The Batman – what his strengths and weaknesses were – and were intelligent enough to build a game around them. Stealth was king; heading headlong into brawls would often be a bad idea. The wiser option would be to wait in the shadows – access the situation before making your approach. Superbly designed, it took huge inspiration from Nintendo’s Metroid series, the Asylum itself was a joy to explore – full of detail and attention. The only blemish were the weak boss fights, though these were forgiven for the brilliance that proceeded them. The game was a hit and a sequel all but guaranteed. We didn’t have to wait long. Arkham City came just two years later – an open world title that managed to keep the tightness and focus off the previous title. The mantra was bigger and better; an extremely bold storyline that explored the psyche of Wayne and The Batman, improved mechanics, exploration and, yes, boss fights. It’s difficult to decide just which of the two Arkham games is the better; we didn’t expect much but we ended up with two of the finest games of the generation. We have high hopes for the soon to be released Arkham Origins but we await what Rocksteady do next with great interest.
5. Oblivion/Skyrim (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Oblivion was many a gamers first taste of what the current generation could do. Many gamers favourite moment of this generation was back in March 2006 when, after finally leaving the narrow, dark and cramped dungeon opening section of Oblivion, the player was greeted with pure freedom. A forest. A mountain. A lake. A city. You choose what you want to do next. While the Elder Scrolls series had always offered this, particularly with the PC and original Xbox-only Morrowind, Oblivion took the appeal to the mass market and succeeded where no game of this type had done so before. Gamers were hooked and excellent DLC followed. It wasn’t enough though. Players hankered for another Elder Scrolls adventure and the wait would last 5 years for the sequel, Skyrim. An unseen benefit from an extra-long generation (Bethesda surely didn’t think they’d make two Elder Scrolls titles in one generation!), Skyrim was, and still is, a marvel to behold – it’s hard to believe the same PS3s and Xbox 360s that ran Oblivion can play it (PCs, of course, have the benefit of being upgraded). Where Oblivion was all whites, greens and Lord of the Ring’s Minas Tirith-like, Skyrim was rough, coarse and much like A Game of Thrones Northern regions. With dragons. More cinematic and epic than its predecessor, Skyrim is seen by many to be the more accomplished title. However, the ever popular guild quests are arguably stronger in Oblivion. Both are brilliant.
4. Fallout 3/New Vegas (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
It’s fair to say, Bethesda were on top form this generation. As if bringing us two Elder Scrolls titles wasn’t enough, they even managed the mighty Fallout 3. One Fallout game wasn’t enough though, so, surprisingly, they passed the franchise on to Obsidian, made up of developers who worked on the original Fallout titles, who brought us the (arguably) even better Fallout: New Vegas. While some gamers favourite is the former or the latter, most are united in the fact that the two are stellar titles. Before its release, Fallout 3 was unfairly dismissed by some as “Oblivion with guns“. The beauty is, it mostly was. This isn’t a slight. As already discussed, Oblivion was already the finest game of the generation at that time – Bethesda took what they had learned and refined it. The lands surrounding Washington DC were undoubtedly a harrowing and unwelcome place but they live in the memory. Ask anyone who played it about Halfpenney Towers. You’ll get different stories but completely fond memories. New Vegas was a different beast. While still running on the, by now, slightly aging engine of Oblivion and Skyrim; New Vegas inserted a bizarre and dark humourous streak – missin from Fallout 3 but very familiar to veterans of the earlier Fallout titles. Obsidian were perfect for New Vegas. Excellent additions were crafted such as the conflicting factions in the Mohave Desert and a much improved companion mechanic. Both games boasted excellent DLC that extended the value of the existing game. In Fallout 3’s case, Bethesda listened to criticism of the games ending and rectified it; something the gaming world see again a few years later. We don’t know which is better – the team here at Low Fat Gaming is split 50/50 – but we all agree that you can’t go wrong with either. Now, give us Fallout 4!
3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Restarting one of the most revered franchises takes guts. Eidos Montreal has guts in abundance. Fans of the original Deus Ex are die hard (I’m one of them, the first feature on this very website was called Why Deus Ex Is The Greatest Game Of All Time) and every little change or update whilst Deus Ex: Human Revolution was in development was scrutinized in a way that not many games are. The pressure was on but we needn’t have worried. Human Revolution was a triumph. Eidos Montreal kept things simple – they kept what worked from the original and simply updated and refined it, whilst putting their own unique spin on it. Look at a screenshot from Human Revolution – it stands out. Since the 1980s, steam-punk has always had a cold look; the colour scheme full of browns, greys and blues. Not DE:HR. Gold is the order of the day; the design, a mixture of future tech and renaissance cool, is like nothing else and helps build an intriguing and moreish atmosphere. Gameplay wise, DE:HR gives you autonomy to choose the way you want to play by augmenting protagonist Adam Jensen (one of the generations better written) – be stealthy, be a talker or go in all guns blazing. It’s up to you. It’s easy to see how well thought of DE:HR is – look at any news story or Twitter feed that mentions the game or developers Eidos Montreal; people want another fix of Deus Ex. The franchise is in good hands and it’s number 3 on our list.
2. Mass Effect series (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
It’s isn’t a stretch to say Bioware’s Mass Effect series is the gaming generations Star Wars. An excellent main trilogy that has seen spin-offs in the realm of books and comics and shows no signs of slowing down. Mass Effect is a triumph – each game an improvement on the last but it’s unfair to judge them separately. Each stand alone game is a part of a great whole; a complete sci-fi saga where you take your unique Commander Shepard in an adventure against the odds. Your decisions – the friends you make, the comrades you loose, the relationships you forge – carry across the entire saga on a scale unseen and unheard of before. It was a risky design decision that surely caused Bioware many a headache; but they were entirely committed to it. Just as committed were the fans – which shows the love for the franchise. Mass Effect fans genuinely love the series, a love that can sometimes be vented in the wrong ways as seen by the furor caused by the trilogies ending. Bioware met them head on though, acknowledging the criticisms leveled against it and updating the ending to fill in the perceived holes. Final DLC, The Citadel, was a final love letter from the team to their fans – a touching denouement to an epic tale. You only have to see the sheer amount of Mass Effect cosplay, fan-fiction and art that exists online to see the impact the series has had on this generation. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Mass Effect and the original team (who have moved on to a new IP) but we’ll always have our Shepard and our adventure. Yours will be different, but just as special.
1. Red Dead Redemption (PS3, Xbox 360)
The best game of the generation is Rockstar’s magnum opus, Red Dead Redemption. A spiritual successor to PS2 and Xbox’s Red Dead Revolver, it was, like many games in our Top 30, a risk. An open world game set in the American old west – a setting that, historically, had never succeeded commercially in the gaming industry. The difference, though, is Rockstar. The gaming world is staggering. Huge and, in many places, completely barren and devoid of life it perfectly captures the feeling of the period.
Red Dead was set in 1911 – the old west and frontier was dying; the big government of the USA was rapidly enforcing its rule on the previously lawless frontiers and new technologies such as trains and cars and built up towns were on the rise. Enter John Marston. A dying breed; he encapsulates everything about the abundant changes the country was experiencing – he’s a relic, trying to find a place for himself and his family in this new world. He’s also one of the best written, acted and memorable characters in the history of gaming. It is a sorrowful and lonely place, but beautiful. Exploring the west on your horse, listening to the sparse yet astounding soundtrack, is an experience like no other. You want to investigate every sign of life you see; a lone farm, a wandering straggler, a tavern full of kindred spirits playing cards. Even a man who the online community is convinced is God; who meets John several times and foreshadows the games events. Some events they are too.
Red Dead’s ending is the stuff of legends – a unique and memorable full-stop to an already unforgettable game. It’s not just the single-player that shines. The multi-player is still excellent; posse up with you friends, do missions together or not – you can simply ride around and see the sights. It’s a mode that Rockstar are surely using as inspiration for the forthcoming GTA Online. Our treat didn’t end there – Rockstar followed up the main game with an industry defining piece of DLC – taking the world of Red Dead and infusing it with a Twilight Zone feel and zombie invasion. A departure, yes, but a stroke of genius.
Unfortunately, the game never saw the light of day on PC but it’s well worth picking up a console for. GTA V may surpass it, it may not, but Red Dead Redemption was Rockstar fully flexing their substantial creative muscle. It’s a truly special game and, in our humble opinion, the game of the generation.
Honourable mentions that just missed out: The Last Of Us (PS3), Left 4 Dead 2 (PC, Xbox 360), Forza Horizon (Xbox360), Halo 4 (Xbox 360), Guild Wars 2 (PC), Total War: Empire (PC), Heavy Rain (PS3), Crackdown (Xbox 360), Rock Band series (Xbox 360), Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii).
– Dave Green. Let him know you thoughts on the Top 30 @davidpgreen83
There you have it – the Top 30 and the 10 that almost made it. We’re not done yet though. Other the coming weeks, the team will be selecting their personal favourites and explaining why they feel they deserve to be on the list. You may agree. You may not. It’ll be interesting though. We also have a Top 10 Indie and digital-only list on the way; a place for some of the smaller, yet brilliant, titles to shine. We hope you enjoyed the countdown – let us know your thoughts in the comments below; how many of them have you played? Did you miss any and are going to go back to them? Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @lowfatgaming and like our Facebook page to join in on the debate.
Thanks for reading.