This generation has blessed the world with some of the industry’s best games yet, and the guys at Game-Modo have each chosen two games that they believe have made this generation of games great.
Call of duty
This was an easy choice to make. Let’s face it, we was all amazed at the beach landings in the first Call of Duty on PlayStation. The graphics at the time were nothing like that of today’s consoles but our minds filled in the gaps and you were practically there, ducking and weaving the waves of bullets whizzing past. This first game has spawned an impressive list of follow on titles and with global sales topping the billions of dollars…that’s right billions…with a fanbase that stretches around the world, Call of Duty has to be a game that has defined this generation of gaming. It will probably define another generation in the future too as it doesnt look like its going to come to an end anytime soon. In fact, Call of Duty has more than met the criteria when I look at what has defined a generation of gaming when we look at the generations of gamers that are playing it. With gamers in their teens through to gamers in their thirties, this game has touched a demographic of people with decades between them and brought them all to one place – the battlefield.
Okay so just to make myself clear, I’m not actually giving the honour of ‘Defining game of a Generation’ to Kinect Adventures but more to the actual Kinect camera. Adventures just happens to be the flagship launch title for the device. The Kinect is a revolution in controlling games and has defined how developers of hardware, like Microsoft, and developers of software for the Xbox 360 and future consoles are looking to bring entertainment into your home. For decades we were clinging to control pads and tapping away at keyboards in the usual fashion and now there is controller-free gaming with voice and actual gamer recognition. If you would have said this was going to happen 10 years ago you would have been laughed at all the way to the loony bin but it’s here, now, and waiting for you to jump around like a kangaroo on Red Bull then share it on the internet! Unfortunately it’s not all as good as it sounds though. Kinect is flawed. With the acre or so space you need to effectively play in, I can’t say thank you enough to Nyko for the fish eye lens which makes the game space more releastic for those of us that live in UK size homes, and not the mansions that are splashed over the advertisements for Kinect. Also the lag is something that makes me really deflate when playing some of the games. The camera that was showcased by Microsoft at E3 a few years ago was pretty much lag free perfection – but it was a different model with its own CPU that was later removed as a cost saving exercise. Screw you, Microsoft. Who are you to decide how much money I want to spend on a console peripheral? If gamers wanted it, they’d buy it no matter the cost. I’d rather spend more to get what I saw than pay less for a dumb version of it, and Peter Molenuex should be shot for playing his part in the big lie that was Milo. However, back to the positives. Kinect 2 should fix all these issues, I hope. The future of controller-free gaming is here and its only going to develop even further. With the leaked Microsoft document of the road map for the entertainment division on the world wide web illustrating 3D glasses with augmented reality, how far can these developers really take it? I for one am along for the ride (whatever it costs – you hear me Microsoft !?!) Kinect has defined a new generation in gaming, but the next generation of related devices will define much more.
Halo 3 helped reconstruct how games were developed on consoles and the amount of focus that has been put on the online feature. Granted, the online feature originated on PCs and the last gen of consoles, but on consoles it felt like just an added feature and not a key component like it felt on Halo 3 and since. The online in Halo is so much more than just go and score more than others. It added a ranking system so when someone say that you were a five star general they know you’re “boss”. Franchises like CoD and Battlefield among others have expanded on what Halo started with adding more customization and unlocks, and it truly seems like developers focus about 80% – 90% of their staff on the online feature. Which if done correctly, is not a bad thing like it would have been in last gen.
While it wasn’t the first to use actual actors or motion capture technology in video games it sure pushes it to new heights. Motion capture has been a big part on this gen not only for the visuals but also to improve actual game play. In Heavy Rain they made a point of showing off just how great they use the tech by doing a ton of facial close-up while talking and also keeping the camera close to the character while walking or running around. FPS games have also taken advantage of the advances in the technology. FPS’s have benefitted a great deal because mocap has been used to get a much more accurate placement of the weapons and a more accurate flow of movement between free running and aiming. Developers have also used mocap in fighting games for the movement of the characters body for a more realistic look for both attacking and taking hits.
Super Mario Galaxy
I have never really been the biggest Mario fan. I’ve played Mario games but never really felt its made me go wow until Super Mario Galaxy. For me this is not only one of the best Wii games but one of Nintendo’s greatest games ever. It’s a 3D platformer with style and no other 3D platformer comes close to what Nintendo have achieved with this game, some levels look almost HD quality on the Wii which is very impressive considering the Wii is not a HD console. Level designs are litrally out of this world, featuring some great hidden collectables and boss battles. What really makes Super Mario Galaxy something gamers should remember is just how amazing it controls and plays, Nintendo obviously paid a lot of attention to the many gameplay mechanics and the results are just superb, I would go as far to say this is the best game I have played this generation. Nintendo’s innovative use of the Wii motion controls is great and shows that they are still the kings of platformers. The best thing is Super Mario Galaxy 2 is just as good if not better. The reason I chose this as one of the games that shaped this generation for me is because I will always remember this gaming generation for this game, it made me relise just how special the Wii is and how you can never underestimate Nintendo’s great game making abilities.
Being creative is in my nature and I’ve always wanted to make things in games, so when LittleBigPlanet came along I was literally in my element. LittleBigPlanet looks like it has come out of a Monty Python episode, with its very interesting graphical take. This has to be one of PlayStation’s best franchises of this generation and for good reason also as its like the player can do anything with the game. At its heart little big planet is a platformer with a big element of creativity and it also lets you share you creations with a community of other creators which is super cool, this is a game with literally a never ending barrage of levels and creations. I rather like LittleBigPlanet 2 because you get a whole host of new level creation features and this time the developer spent more time on the story which is really fun.
This is probably a popular choice but it’s for obvious reasons. Portal was completely unique at the time and it was a short, relatively unknown game that was thrown out there and it took the world by storm. It is a highly intelligent game that gives you progressively harder challenges, teaching you how to solve hem and during this it makes you feel like you are learning something, like you are genuinely smart for working something out and very few games manage that sort of feeling especially while offering constant entertainment through some of the best humour I’ve ever heard in a game. This moves me neatly onto GLaDOS, the source of the brilliant dark humour in this game and one of the best video game characters ever. GLaDOS, while being out to kill you right from the start, is a very likeable character and this is for the simple reason that she is funny, she is constantly there but not intrusive (unless she’s trying to kill you of course!) and most of all, she’s got more emotion than most other video game characters and I certainly love her for that.
Playing Portal was also a breath of fresh air because It wasn’t just another FPS where you have to shoot every single thing that looks at you funny. Using your brain never felt so good and I wouldn’t have it
any other way. I would also be remiss if I wasn’t to mention Still Alive, one of the most memorable songs in gaming history and it made the ending of Portal that much sweeter.
Hearts of Iron 3
This is probably a fairly strange choice because few people have played any of the Hearts of Iron games. So why does a relatively unknown game get rated so high by me? A few reasons. Hearts of Iron offers the most in depth strategy I have ever encountered. From the base units to the whole army, navy, air force, politics and national infrastructure, you control everything and your decisions will make or break your current battle, the war or the country as a whole. Hearts of Iron is also truly open in what you can do (within gameplay constraints of course). Do you want to take over some small country and try to change history during WW2? Well, that is perfectly possible in Hearts of Iron. I personally had great fun turning Luxembourg into a baltic superstate and conquering a lot of Persia and south Russia.
I can still go back to Hearts of Iron at any time and still have as much fun playing it as ever before. Few games can claim to hold that and the reason is, every game is different. In one game Germany could fail to make any read headway into Russia while in another they can pressure them insanely. In one Spain can join the Axis while the other it could join the Allies. These things change and that is what makes HoI so repayable and the outstanding depth of this grand strategy game makes it all the more interesting.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
With players now enjoying Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, we have to consider what the first game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune has done not only for the PS3 but for adventure games in general. Sure, it’s similar in ways to the Tomb Raider series originally from the PS1, but what Uncharted has done for this generation is raise the bar both graphically and through its effective way of telling a story to make you feel as if you are participating in a blockbuster movie. Other third-person shooters now must look at the Uncharted games as a standard they want to surpass, and this is also why Uncharted has become such an influence in this generation.
Admittedly, I’ve never played Portal. I do own Portal 2, though, and the game is amazing. What is it classified as, a first-person puzzler? Whatever the case, the humor, the challenge, the sheer fun of creating portals, has made this game a generation-defining classic. With Portal 2 on the PS3, we not only get co-op play, but a Move pack in the form of DLC to be released this fall. I can’t wait.
Thanks for checking out what made this generation. What games have made this generation great for you?