Heavy Rain followed up on Indigo Prophecy with a better storyline more rooted in reality, and it featured a few compelling characters with depth rarely seen in gaming. Its branching paths allowed you to kill off characters and gave your actions greater weight than one might expect for a gaming storyline. It was visually groundbreaking when it first hit shelves in 2010, and its visuals and mostly-solid acting have held up marvelously.
A departure from past entries in the series, GTAIV had a much more serious demeanor. It’s largely considered the best crime-drama within the game-space, and at the time, was easily the best-looking open-world game in existence. Players likely wont forget the first time they set foot in Liberty city; we know we wont. Though it has since been topped by none other than Grand Theft Auto V, GTAIV set the standard for this generation’s open-world games, and its influence will likely be seen for generations to come.
Before Platinum Games released Vanquish or Metal Gear Rising, there was the edgy and over the top title, Bayonetta. The premise of the game was fairly simple; she was a witch trying to fight off those pesky angels. Needless to say, the story wasn’t that great, but the gameplay really stood out. In what would later become their M.O., Bayonetta combined gruesome over the top violence, with an easy to grasp combat system. This, along with the delightfully absurd situations (like fighting enemies on a rocket), makes Bayonetta one of the most unforgettable games this generation.
Flower was one of the first games that showcased what the Sixaxis could do to benefit gamers. By moving the controller around, you were able to ride gusts of wind through six very different stages in an experience that no one who undertook it will forget. With gorgeous visuals, a relaxing soundtrack, and a very subdued style, Flower managed to stand out not only when it was released, but years later as well. Nearly five years after its initial release, Flower remains one of the best reasons to own a PS3.
Burnout feeds gamers inner speed demons as only Burnout can. Being the fifth entry in the Burnout series, Criterion Games made sure that Burnout Paradise was more than worthy of the franchise. Burnout Paradise takes you through the aptly named Paradise City giving players an open world to explore and race through. And while racing is fun, sometimes you just want to create as much vehicular mayhem as possible, which Burnout Paradise can offer as well as many different types of events that only serve to make a fun game even more so.
The drama behind Fez was never as interesting as the game itself, despite hogging all the press. If all Fez did was turn the 2D platformer on its head by allowing you to rotate the stages for a different perspective it would be notable, and the charm of its world is certainly memorable as well, but it’s the puzzles that truly earn the game its spot on the list. What starts out as a cute little platformer slowly transforms into something much trickier, filled with brain-bending puzzles and cryptograms that won’t let you go until you’ve broken them open by pounding them with your skull.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 brought back everything that made SMG work and added Yoshi to the mix. While his controls took some time to get used to, he winds up working fairly well. It’s hard to believe it took until 2010 to play as him in a 3D world, the wait was worth it – and he wound up adding nearly the same kind of whimsy to this game as he did in his debut nearly two decades before.
Bastion is one of the few games of the past console generation that anyone can enjoy. It is simple enough for the casual crowd to appreciate it, but has enough depth and quality that even the most hardcore of RPG aficionados can’t help but fall in love. The presentation far surpasses that of most big budget titles, and the game is both beautiful to look at and has some of the best voice acting ever featured in a game. Without a doubt Bastion is one of the best games to come out in the past several years, and needs to be experienced for the amazing story and presentation alone. The outstanding action RPG mechanics behind them are just icing on an already delicious cake.
While the quality in the single player campaign slipped noticeably in comparison to Assassin’s Creed II, what Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has that its predecessor lacked is an absolutely amazing multiplayer mode. Sneaking around in crowds of NPCs to find the other player characters was amazingly entertaining and massively addicting, and remains one of the best and most unique multiplayer modes of the entire generation of games. The single player mode was no slouch either, stuffed so full of content that you could almost see the seams bursting. It was great to finally see Ezio settle his score with the Borgias, and even better the settle the score with the jerk who snuck up on you in multiplayer.
Looking back, it is hard to determine if I enjoyed LIMBO more as an experience or an actual game. The puzzles are certainly clever and despite the minimalistic approach to gameplay, there are an impressive amount of great ideas and set pieces. More impressive, however, is the phenomenal atmosphere and how well designed everything is, from the music to the visuals to the layout. The entire spider chase segment from the first half of the game still haunts me, and LIMBO manages to capture the essence of feeling small and powerless in a big scary world. While short, every single moment was memorable and it left you wanting to stay in LIMBO for just a bit longer.
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