Top 10 Games of the Generation
Written Friday, November 29, 2013 By X360A Staff
After weeks of build-up, we’ve finally reached the last of our lists celebrating the very best of Xbox 360. Today, it’s the daddy of them all. As gamers around the world settle down to enjoy their shiny new Xbox Ones, we’re collating our favourite Xbox 360 games of all time.
This wasn’t an easy list to make. Just coming up with our individual top 10s was a struggle, but sorting everything into a collective list took hours of arguing. The process ultimately came down to deciding which of the games had the greatest impact on the generation, either by introducing brand new ideas or perfecting them. It also involved shouting. Lots of shouting.
So without any further waffle, here’s our Top 10 Games of the Generation. Make sure to tell us your picks in the comments below.
Starting life as Narbacular Drop, a freeware game developed by students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology, Portal is one of the most unique titles on this list, thanks to its titular, space-bending mechanic. Subsequently snapped up and fleshed out by Valve, it’s also one of the best.
Portal excels in every area, from the brain scrambling puzzles to the wonderfully executed story that reveals the truth behind of your test chambered prison. The star of the show is of course GLaDOS, the hilariously deranged AI taskmaster and pseudo-narrator. Her empty promises of cake may have spawned a million bad internet jokes, but she sure knows how to knock out a tune. Purer than its more convoluted sequel, Portal is perfection.
We thought Devil May Cry had pretty much perfected the entire hack and slash genre, then along came DMC director Hideki Kamiya and Platinum Games with a whole new frenetic proposition. A game in which you play as a bespectacled witch with a body suit comprised of possessed hair hardly sounds like a recipe for success, but Bayonetta worked in every conceivable way.
Punching players square in the balls with its insane, nonsensical story and hair-trigger (literally) action, Bayonetta as a game and as an uncompromising lead heroine is pure dynamite. Wielding a razor-edged katana and a pistol attached to each of her appendages, Bayonetta is a force to be reckoned with. Arguably, Bayonetta has never been bettered within its genre and remains the definitive hack and slasher, going far beyond what anyone expected.
Grand Theft Auto V
With every iteration, the Grand Theft Auto series gets more ambitious. Not content with creating one of the medium’s most believable worlds with GTA IV, Rockstar considerably upped the ante with GTA V by building its own satirical take on L.A. and the surrounding countryside. It’s beauty and scale is awe-inspiring.
Following the series’ previous, darker outing, GTA V ups the fun, making running riot around the street all the more enjoyable. It also managed to pull off a three protagonist structure that allowed the game to shake up the established mission types, while delivering a fantastic story of strained friendships, failing marriages and teddy bear sexy times. What a game.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
A brilliant blend of stealth, action, puzzles, gadgets, combat and storytelling, Arkham Asylum was a batarang in the face to everyone that expected yet another licensed flop. It not only defied the low expectations, but delivered an experience that can and does stand alongside the best games of this generation.
Tighter in scope than its open-world sequel, and arguably less ambitious, Asylum is nevertheless an altogether purer, more focused game that builds a memorably dark, twisted, confined location and fills it with goons to swoop down upon and iconic super villains to thwart. Holy gargoyles Batman, it’s good.
There’s no disputing that Mass Effect 2 and 3 were better games than Mass Effect 1, but the foundations laid by the original game sent tremors through the games industry. The combat wasn’t amazing and it was riddled with technical issues, but it was also a bold and ambitious title that told one hell of a story.
Giving you control of Commander Shepard, the galaxy’s human figurehead and last hope, Mass Effect pulled on your heartstrings and put you in the pressure cooker. Who did you save, Kaiden or Ashley? Do you kill Wrex or talk him down? These decisions impacted not just the game but a series that spanned a generation. Plus there’s still nothing this generation that parallels constantly cutting off the Council mid-debrief. Genius! Also, sex.
Assassin's Creed II
Taking the foundations of what was a strong concept and expanding it in every direction, Assassin's Creed II ended up defining the series. Throwing away the repetitious nature of the first game and replacing divisive protagonist Altair with the cocksure Ezio made complete, perfect sense, and carved out an iconic identity for Assassin's Creed. In fact, Ubisoft loved Ezio so much, he went on to star in a further two Assassin's Creed games.
A tale of revenge, Assassin's Creed II fully immerses you in the Renaissance period, transporting you to Florence, Venice, San Gimignano, Forli, Monteriggioni and the verdant Tuscan countryside, enveloping you in all of the art, political corruption and Machiavellian machinations of the time. It also enabled you to kill two bad guys simultaneously with dual hidden blades, had great puzzles, lost tombs to explore and more elements that mean it remains the greatest Assassin's Creed game ever made to date. Sorprendente!
Gears of War
When Gears of War landed on the Xbox 360 in November 2006, it was official, the next-generation of consoles had finally arrived. Until then there was a lot the Xbox 360 did right, but Gears of War marked the moment when people took a step back and said, “Fuck me! The future is bright!”
With stunning visuals and visceral, in-your-face combat, Gears of War is full of unforgettable moments and mechanics, from the perfect third-person cover mechanic, to the Lancer (this generation’s most iconic weapon), active reloads, and some truly spectacular scenes. Emergence Day 2006 was the birth of a classic franchise and the true beginning of the seventh generation.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
At one point the highest rated game on X360A (we gave it 99/100), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim remains the most expansive, technically impressive, beautiful, deep and immersive experience available on the Xbox 360. It’s just staggeringly good.
Whether you’re following the main questline, joining guilds, or just wandering off the beaten path, Skyrim is crammed full of stories both authored and emergent. That developer Bethesda is able to tie all of this together within one coherent game is testament to their expertise. You get the feeling that this is the experience they’ve been striving to make for the best part of two decades. Stunning.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
When Modern Warfare arrived the military FPS was in danger of stagnating. For years it had splashed around in the puddle of WWII, retracing the same tired settings and scenarios. And then Modern Warfare came along, delivering a spectacular, memorable campaign and a hugely addictive multiplayer.
These two elements went on to define what an FPS was during the generation, leading the way for an endless line of impersonators. Campaigns stuffed with explosive set-pieces, multiplayer modes overflowing with XP, perks and ranks - everyone tried it, very few equalled it. The series may have stagnated once more, but when Modern Warfare first came out it was a revelation.
While the original BioShock may have broken new ground in video game storytelling, for us its Infinite that did the most interesting things with the series’ core elements, delivering a brain-bending story with a cracking conclusion. There’s plenty we could write, but Dan communicated it flawlessly when he said...
“The best way to sum up BioShock Infinite is this: it can’t be faulted. At all. Not one bit. It’s not perfect, no, there’s no such thing as perfection, but it comes as close to perfection as you can get. BioShock Infinite is not only one of the best story-driven first-person games ever, it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played. Now, would you kindly go out and buy it.”
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