I have a Wii-U pre-ordered and due to arrive this week. Then later in the month I’ve got a PS4 on the way.
What does that mean? That I’ve got too much disposable income for my own good? No, not at all. I don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t have kids, so I’m alright there.
What it really means is that it’s the end of an era. The next generation of gaming is upon us – even though the Wii-U has been out for a year – and it’s therefore time to look back at the best games of the last eight years since the Nintendo DS and Xbox 360 were unleashed upon the world in 2005.
The list will include any and all games released between then and now, and will therefore include the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS/3DS, Nintendo Wii, Mobile and PC gaming.
What you’ll notice is that the massive majority of these games are from the Xbox 360, and therefore you might wonder why I’m getting a PS4 as my proper next-gen console? Simple; the PS4 just looks a hell of a lot better. And that’s coming from someone who only ever used his PS3 for exclusive titles and Blu Rays.
Much like my other lists, I’ll finish each article with “One That Doesn’t Make The Cut”. These will usually be games I tried, but for whatever reason just couldn’t enjoy.
I should also point out that I haven’t played every single game released in the last generation, so don’t expect to see games like The Last of Us in there, and I’ll happily admit that series like Assassins Creed have just passed me by entirely.
What I do think though is that I haven’t missed any games out that I have played and have forgotten. Thanks to the Xbox Live website, I can go back and see every single game I’ve played on that under my profile, and I’ve also trawled through my PS3/Wii/DS collection to make sure I’ve considered everything.
#100 King Kong (Xbox 360 – 2005)
While not one of the best games to ever come out for the Xbox 360, King Kong was the game that launched the generation for me. My first 360 game and my first experience in seeing the machine’s graphic prowess, I recall King Kong being decent fun, but also an easy 1000 achievement points.
Lasting Appeal: This was a game that you’d play through one time and never return to it. As far as I can remember there wasn’t even anything extra to do in it beyond the initial storyline mode. That’s not to say it was poor, but if you bought the game today you’d probably feel a touch hard done by.
The current generation of gaming has had plenty of plus points, but one of the biggest downsides was that it tried to kill off the simple art of Offline Co-Op gaming. Or, to put it another way, it almost ended the idea that playing a game in the same room as other actual people was an option.
But one game that flew the flag for Offline Co-Op was Castle Crashers, a colourful and challenging 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up.
Lasting Appeal: Its greatest strength was also its greatest weakness. Not a game to be played on your own, if your friends weren’t interested in playing it, you were screwed. As such, I never actually finished it.
This might be one of the very last games I bought for the Wii, and while it was lovely to look at and played nicely, I did feel that it maybe lacked challenge.
But what it didn’t have in challenge, it certainly made up for in character.
Not worth the full price though.
#97 – Axel & Pixel (Xbox Live Arcade – 2009)
One of the most visually unique looking games I’ve ever played, Axel & Pixel was short and sweet.
A point and click adventure where Axel has to get from the left side of the screen to the right thanks to the player clicking on the correct options, it was charming and enjoyable from beginning to end.
Lasting Appeal: As I say, it’s a very short game, and that’s the main reason for it being so low on the list. Still fun though.
#96 – Backbreaker Vengeance (Xbox Live Arcade – 2011)
One game franchise that won’t be appearing on this list is the John Madden series. I just can’t get into American Football rules, and so if I play against anyone who knows what they are doing, I’m screwed.
But the concept of the sport appeals to me, and so that’s why I like Backbreaker Vengeance.
The simplicity of running with the ball and sliding and hurdling a variety of obstacles gave me exactly what I wanted out of an American Football game.
Limited, but fun.
Lasting Appeal: It’s the only game in this first installment that I would happily go back to now and play. And it’s perfect for turn-based games with your mates as well.
The general rule of thumb is that Official Tie-In Games are crap. Any game that comes out and is based on a recently released movie or TV show is more than likely going to be poor.
The obvious exceptions are the LEGO games but I’m not sure they count as they are their own genre.
Therefore the only exception I’ve found to this rule – apart from the aforementioned King Kong – is Toy Story 3, which I rented on a whim from LoveFilm and ended up enjoying.
I think the key to it was that it didn’t try to copy the movie, and became master of its own gaming destiny.
Lasting Appeal: Colourful and engaging, Toy Story 3 actually had plenty of life in it, as it had a Sandbox mode to play through after the main game. Delightful
I wrote a review of Food Run which you can read about here.
What I liked most about it was its cost effectiveness, mild challenge and charming visuals.
Considering Kirby’s Epic Yarn cost considerably more to make and to buy, that Food Run places higher than it is testament to its quality.
Lasting Appeal: It only takes a handful of hours to play through, but at the price it’s sold at, that’s fine.
Ok, so New Zealand Story is hardly a game of *this* generation, but the Nintendo DS port added its own twist and souped up the graphics, so I think it counts.
And hey, it gave me an opportunity to actually finish the game after all those years.
Lasting Appeal: Well…I’d forgotten about it entirely before doing my homework for this list, so “Not Much”.
#92 – Wii Fit (Nintendo Wii – 2008)
What a great way to use the Wii.
And if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t do much exercise out of the house, it was actually a masterstroke of a purchase.
The only thing that annoyed me about it was that it kept saying I was obese based on my height-to-weight ratio. It must just assume no gamers have muscle.
Lasting Appeal: Well technically, I could go back and get use out of it today if I wanted to. You could use it every day of your life and never get bored.
Limbo is another example of an XBLA game that offered the sort of unique visuals that you would probably never get from a commercially released game.
And it was actually bloody challenging too, but the fact that it had that “One More Go” appeal to it saw me through to the end.
Lasting Appeal: Once you complete it, you won’t go back, but you don’t need to.
And One That Doesn’t Make It…
The WWE Games
If you read by article on Why You Shouldn’t Buy WWE2k14, you’ll know why. If you haven’t, check it out here
Get Involved In The Debate
Stuart Reviews Stuff is a free entertainment blog. If you enjoyed this or any other article on the site, please consider taking a moment to Like the official Facebook page. You can do that by clicking like on the side panel, or visiting the site here
You can also follow me on twitter @sgmilne
Feel free to get involved in the debate.