This article is going to be slightly different. Myself (Joey) and Marshall have decided to put our heads together and ask ourselves the question – what have been our favourite games this generation? With the upcoming release of the Xbox Series X, we feel it is only right to look back over the past seven years and come up with a list of ten games that we would consider some of the best.
A few details of how this article is going to work:
- The list is in no particular order.
- We have both picked games to go on the list (five each).
- The list is comprised of games that we think are some of the best, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily reviewed the best.
- Finally, this list is not only compromised of exclusive titles for two reasons:
- We genuinely cannot think of 10 exclusives that we really enjoyed to fill the list.
- Xbox games are technically no longer exclusive due to releasing on PC also.
Joey’s top five of the generation
Battlefield 4 was the first game I got on my Xbox One back in 2013-14. Myself, Marshall and our friend Kane would spend a number of evenings on this title. It was groundbreaking at the time as when Battlefield 3 launched on Xbox 360, it did not support 64-player multiplayer where number 4 did. For me, this was the last Battlefield game that would consume countless hours of my time, from Xbox One to PC. The changes made in Hardline, Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 5 have really moved the series down in my estimations and I don’t see them backtracking any time soon. It was the attachments, the weapons and the heavy focus on squad gameplay that made this so brilliant. Years after release you could still go back and find a decent sized player-base due tot he game being on EA Access. In fact, you can still find games on the PC version now. One final note, this game saved the Xbox One launch for me, but I wonder about the Series X Launch?
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag was one of the first games out on the Xbox One. It also released on the previous generation but the consoles couldn’t quite handle the game and give you the experience you really deserved. I remember sinking hours into the Caribbean here, discovering little islands here and there, expanding the name of Edward Kenway. It was mentioned in our previous post on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, this is our favourite Assassin’s Creed game. For many reasons, the gameplay, the colourful graphics and the interesting character of Kenway. If I had to go back now and play this, I would. It is definitely worth the time if you are looking for an interesting, adventurous story. This game may also be the last we see of the traditional AC formula that many fans know and love, which is a great shame as I don’t think any of the other titles will be able to hold their own against this one.
Hours upon hours sunk into this game. Apex Legends, for me, was the first interesting battle royale game to have a prominent presence on consoles. Yes, Fortnite had been around and there is no arguing it, that game changed a genre and made it what it is today. However, the third-person wasn’t for me and what Apex brought to the table was speed, interesting mechanics like respawns, and a competitive experience for me and my friends. Of course, this game has eventually dropped off a little with the release of Warzone, but the times that I spent on this game were an incredible way to see out towards the end of the Xbox One cycle. The character abilities brought some new flavour and many different ways to play. I probably at this point wouldn’t go back to play the game, but it still did something for me at the time, it actually gave me a reason to play my Xbox as there wasn’t anything else on there that I really wanted to play. All-in-all, Apex Legends is a great example of a flavoursome formula in the BR genre, I wish it well.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
Ah yes, the game that everyone wants to just be re-released this year because of their disappointment of Cold War. Modern Warfare, to many including us here, is possibly the greatest instalment of the Infinity Ward line of games. Sure, fans reminisce over Modern Warfare 2 or Call of Duty 4, but there is no denying how good this game is as a shooter. The gunsmith brought a change which makes no one want to go back to the old ways of doing things. The business model means free content updates throughout the year because almost everyone is going to buy the battlepass anyway. Let’s put it’s popularity this way, the game released 1 year ago today (happy birthday!) and has since sold 30 million copies worldwide. As I said previously, the game in the summer was making $2000 a minute. Sure, this game was not for everyone, but most people who played it enjoyed it. If it wasn’t for the constant updates pushing the game to take up the space equivalent to a small server room, it would be regarded even higher. The times I have spent on this game, including Warzone have been incredible and that is why this game belongs here in this list. You may not agree with this one, but for us, it’s staying. What about Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War? Maybe that game will become as popular – read our thoughts on the recent beta here.
Halo 5: Guardians
One thing that must be said – for almost everyone this game does not belong on this list. Halo 5: Guardians is possibly the most controversial entry into the series to date. Moving the series away slightly from the much loved formula of games gone by. The game, if anything, shocked us on release but I gave my fair bit of time to it. The story was so-so, but the gameplay did in-fact feel smooth and responsive to the point where it almost didn’t feel like Halo at all. Multiplayer was good fun in the beginning, but it became the sort of game where if you stopped playing it for a week, your skill-cap would drastically drop-off. Here’s the thing, the reason this game possibly belongs on our list is this – many of us bought the console for this game. We had recently had Halo 4 on the 360 and were sorely disappointed with the 5 hour story mode – but we know the saga wasn’t finished (it still isn’t). It really is the controversial game of this list because in many accounts, it isn’t necessarily an incredible game – but it is a game that shown what the series could do – even if you didn’t want it. I love the Chief, he’s one of my favourite all-time video game characters and that is another reason for this game being here, the story of the series as a whole brings this game forward. Do I long for the games in the series to play like Halo 2 & 3, to a degree, yes. Which is OK, but that will never happen – Halo 5: Guardians is it’s own beast in it’s own right. The competitive edge that multiplayer had at the time was interesting and engaging. More than anything, if I could only change one thing about this game, and many will disagree with this – I would go back to the Halo 3 online ranking system. I loved that it almost pushed you into different modes to progress through the ranks.
Marshall’s top 5 of the generation
Gears of War: Ultimate
A completely remastered version of Gears of War, what’s more to say? The series home to the best shotgun in all of video game history, the Gnasher. Wall bouncing, pop shotting, strafing, emergency hole shutting frantic action. Granted, I didn’t play the campaign as I’ve played it way too many times before, it was all about the multiplayer for me. The multiplayer is enough though, Gears of War: Ultimate has the best MP in the series hands down. I think this is due to bullets always going in the middle of the screen like the old days. Duos and Annex were my go to modes, if you came across me and Underdomed in a duos lobby chances are you were getting spitroasted on the ground by us. The new gears iterations just haven’t been doing it for me as much as they could, and I think one of the main reasons for that is the lack of Locust. What’s up with the swarm? I think they might have hired Stevie Wonder as art director when they designed them. Bland, they all look the same.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro was a well needed change from the normal FromSoftware formula. Granted, it did take a lot from the Dark Souls games, but the new combat completely overhauled the way you play. Bloodborne added a slightly more aggressive playstyle with the earning back health mechanic, but the posture system in Sekiro meant you were always in your oppenents face. I’ve seen the combat compared to a dance, and honestly I think that’s a great comparison. Having to time every parry, jump, dodge and strike to perfection, learning an extra step of your foe with every defeat. The rush of dopamine you get when you beat a boss that’s been kicking your ass for a few hours is unparalleled in the industry. Sekiro is the only FromSoftware game I have 100% finished with all achievements/trophies. You have to play through around 4 or 5 times to achieve this, and it never gets boring. Ok, maybe it does when you have to farm for exp/gold to unlock all the abilities but that’s it. A few of my friends quit the game before they understood the combat (Joey included), and all I can say to them is they are missing out. When the combat clicks in your head and you start timing everything perfectly, you feel unstoppable. This isn’t due to you just outlevelling areas, it’s because you learned. That rewarding feeling of overcoming an obstacle due to actual skill and not cheese, you just can’t beat it. Bosses here are incredible, you’re in for an O faced surprise with The Guardian Ape, and hours of torture with The Demon of Hatred.
Ahh Rocket League, what a fun and near friendship ruining experience. There’s something about the beautiful game of football that will always be steeped in emotion. Add rocket propelled cars that can fly to the mix and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success. You start off barely even being able to hit the ball, but put the effort and time in, and you’ll be pulling off flying goals/saves in no time. The feeling you get when pulling off one of these feats is akin to clutching in a game of COD or beating that boss in Dark Souls that’s been slamming your skull in to the dirt for a couple of rage filled nights. Sarcastic in game responses like ‘nice shot!’ and ‘what a save! will never get old or unfunny. Having put a couple hundred hours into it, and many a night spent saying “Ok just one more” (we all know how that goes) I can safely say it is in my top games of the generation.
Dark Souls 3
I was hooked from the moment the cinematic trailer dropped. The setting and theme of the Dark Souls franchise is enough to give me a rock on, FromSoftware really know how to get me going. Dark Souls 3 was the first Dark Souls I completed actually, the first instance where I ‘got gud’. I’ve later went on to complete 1 and 2, which has it’s shortcomings sure but it’s not without its charm. I don’t understand all the flak it gets. This series will kick your ass into the ground if you let it, but persevere and overcome and I can guarantee you there’s no better feeling in gaming than beating a FromSoft game. The inclusion of Weapon Arts was cool but I didn’t really use them that much, the soundtrack as always was God-tier, and most of the bosses were crazy hard. I still have nightmares about Nameless King and Soul of Cinder. High Lord Wolnir can do one though, as can Yhorm the Giant.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Our final journey with Geralt of Rivia, and what a journey it’s been. Everything in this game is perfect to me, the story, characters, gameplay, sidequests, music. I really got a huge chub on for The Witcher series after playing through this game, buying all the books and reading all the lore. Everyone knows Witcher comes from Poland, and me and Joey even went on a holiday there thanks in part to Witcher. I think a game having the capacity to draw me in to complete it three times, when it takes around 80 hours to finish each go is telling in and of itself of the quality. Geralt is one of the most badass, likeable and interesting protagonists I’ve played as, and even though the world is filled with magic and monsters, it still feels so real due to the writing and themes. You can get extremely emotionally attached to the characters, with the possibility to even feel something for side quest NPCs that you meet for a fraction of the time you’ll put in to the game. This is a testament to the writing, CDPR knocked it out of the park with this release, and it’s even home to the best DLC I’ve ever played; Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine, which I go in to further detail about in this article.
So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with our list of games? Why not let us know.
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