This Generation's "It's So Good It Hurts"
I must apologize. In looking at the title, one might expect something more than a generic "favorite games of the generation so far" article but in fact, that's exactly what this is. I typically try to be a bit more original and/or thoughtful with the weekly editorial but I dunno...maybe it's the heat.
Well, at the very least, I don't have a generic title. That's something. But anyway, here are my top 5:
I really ahd to think long and hard over the fifth and final spot in my lineup. It was sort of a toss-up between Sucker Punch's crazy entertaining game, Rockstar's excellent Grand Theft Auto IV (not in the mood for GTAIV haters, so keep it to yourselves, please), and Ubisoft's awesome Assassin's Creed II. The odd part is, I'd say both of the latter two are better overall games in terms of quality but in the end, I had to go with the "funnest;" the one that had this strange, semi-addictive hold on me when I was playing. I certainly didn't expect it, but it happened. It's not perfect but it's the epitome of "fun," in my humble opinion.
4. God of War III
I'm not the biggest fan of hack 'n slashers but this game is so amazing, it's impossible not to love it. As usual, we get a God of War that's so goddamn polished and refined, it's painful...but it's a blissful, "oh my God, this is incredible" sort of pain. From the epic, memorable boss battles to the nigh-on flawless combat, GoWIII is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. I really can't think of anything about this game that can even be considered "average;" the graphics, gameplay, control, presentation, relative depth...it's all just top-notch quality. It begs the question: is it truly one of the greatest franchises of all time? Gotta say yes.
3. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
It has been almost two years since I played it last but that fuzzy memory is still there. People can pick out the holes in the plot all they wish, and I freely admit it needed some professional storyline refinement but even so, it remains a step in the right direction for the industry. Kojima only does greatness. It should be his own personal motto. Upon finishing, the entire experience stayed with me for an extra long time, and that's the mark of what I like to call an "impactful" game. It's not just about the story or the cinematics or the gameplay or the graphics; it's about everything coming together in one unbelievable package.
2. Heavy Rain
Talk about memorable. I saved the best two for last and Quantic Dream's highly fulfilling project definitely gave the #1 game a run for its money. With a beautifully constructed storyline and an undeniably human appeal rarely - if ever - seen in video games, Heavy Rain has successfully branded itself on my heart. For the very first time, I really, actually, truly cared about the characters I controlled, and furthermore, tension on the screen translated to true-blue tension in me. I went through the game five times for the different results and endings, but I almost didn't want to see what happened if I let Madison get sliced up...it just felt wrong. How many games really make you feel this way?
1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
This defines "so good it hurts" better than anything. It's the closest I've ever felt to playing an action movie; every last facet of this production just plain shines. From the Hollywood-caliber voice acting to the mind-blowing visuals to the almost perfect control and combat mechanics, Uncharted 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. It represents the pinnacle of what this industry is currently capable of and that's that. Just officially announce the third entry and I'll start getting excited immediately. I'm not even sure Naughty Dog fully grasps what they've managed to produce...
There have been a lot of great games this generation. My other favorites include Killzone 2, Assassin's Creed II, Bioshock 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Gears of War 2, Joe Danger, Flower, Lost Odyssey, Resistance 2, Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Red Dead Redemption, echochrome and Wipeout HD. And of course, more great stuff to come.
7/16/2010 Ben Dutka