With the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X looming large on the horizon, we should take a moment to remember the games that have represented the best of console gaming in the last seven years.
In my opinion, here are the three best games to have graced our consoles in this generation. Remember, this is only my opinion, so feel free to share which games meant the most to you in the comments below.
Sony’s Santa Monica studio took their beloved franchise into the unknown with God of War, plucking Kratos out of the Greek mythos and plunging him into the world of the Norse Gods.
This leap could’ve easily backfired, but it was executed to perfection and gave Kratos’ character a new lease of life.
God of War really gave you a good bang for your buck, with each and every part of the game feeling meticulously designed and cared about. All of the accessible areas of the game were unique and made traversing the world a real pleasure, which in turn gave the player a real incentive to explore it to its full extent.
The combat was all that we had hoped that it would be and more. Of course, the franchise staples of guts and gore were present, and the boss battles were as epic as ever, with all the grandeur that the Norse Gods deserve. The implementation of a shield added some variety and gave the player the option to approach each fight a little differently. Furthermore, the use of both Kratos’ Leviathan Axe and the Blades of Chaos allowed for a deep and fulfilling combat system that was both complex and sufficiently intuitive.
However, when all of those components were combined with such a well-paced, believable and gripping story, it became a generation-defining game. The character arcs of both Kratos and Atreus are full of ups and downs, but none of them felt forced or rushed. Every single aspect of the story truly felt meaningful, not one piece of dialogue felt like filler.
Many games that have the hype of God of War fall dismally short of their expectations; not this time. They were surpassed, spectacularly. Well done, Sony Santa Monica.
Potentially my favourite game of all time, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt epitomises attention to detail in all ways. Every cave, NPC, side quest and more is immaculately designed. Similarly to God of War, every playable area from Novigrad to Skellige is completely unique, but all are a pleasure to explore in their own ways.
The main quest is a joy as you would expect, but what really stands out is the quality of the side quests throughout the game. I have played through this game three times, including all of its DLCs, and I can’t recall one unimaginative or boring side quest. This dedication to writing hundreds of hours of quality content is testament to the labours of CD Projekt Red.
We have talked about attention to detail, but something that stands out throughout the game is the decision, for the most part, to stick to the characters and rules laid down by Andrej Sapkowski in the novels that make up the game’s source material. This creates a world that is consistent with its laws and limitations and whose characters have deeply rooted strengths and weaknesses; you won’t find any Mary Sues here.
When all of this is put together, it builds an incredible high fantasy world of magic and monsters that also retains its believability in pretty much every aspect, something that is very difficult to achieve.
Many games these days maintain the illusion of choice, but The Witcher 3 does more than that; the main quest and both DLCs include multiple outcomes decided by the player’s choices throughout the story. More than that, however, the fate of kings, NPCs and wars rest on the player’s shoulders, with hundreds of choices resting at your feet. Each choice you make dictates the shape of the world come the end of the game.
Sure, occasionally the combat – and Roach – can feel buggy, and that can be frustrating. Although at the end of the day, those are very minor blips on such a fantastic overall product. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a living and breathing world that deserves to have hundreds of hours poured into it. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Back in 2010 the original Red Dead Redemption hit our screens and took a firm place in many of our hearts. It was then a long eight-year wait until the sequel finally arrived. Months and years of hope and expectations all came to a head, and it was well worth the wait.
Red Dead Redemption II is a truly gorgeous game with a strong set of characters and a memorable story. It comes with all of the production quality that you would expect from a Rockstar game; fantastic voice acting and a great score helped to a create blockbuster atmosphere.
Quality of writing is something that massively influences my enjoyment of games, as you may have noticed, and Red Dead Redemption II is no exception. Rockstar’s story is a real rollercoaster ride, and the twists and turns in the narrative allow the major characters to develop personalities, grow together or drift apart. The decisions that drive these changes in the characters gradually happen over the course of the game, meaning that the conclusion to the story feels natural and real.
Again, the open world is a real working and living world, in which towns and their populace have their needs and requirements and become more than just quest givers scattered aimlessly throughout the map. Some of the random encounters are incredible and provide an incentive to explore the game’s many environments. I mean, who would want to miss seeing a KKK member accidentally setting himself on fire whilst trying to set a giant cross ablaze?
The gunslinging is brilliant, with the quick-draw feature making you the fastest draw in the West, and the dead eye system turning you into the ultimate cowboy badass. There is also a nice variety of weapons in the game, with a large amount of customisation available.
So, there you have it, those are my three favourite games of this console generation. Think you can convince me otherwise? Let me know down below.