The Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U generation is entering its fourth year. Developers have used these consoles to transport us to the prehistoric jungles of our ancestors, the deep reaches of space, and worlds filled with magic and adventure. No matter what kind of games you like to play, these consoles have something that will provide hours of entertainment. In celebration of this generation, the hosts of Weekly Games Chat gathered over Labor Day weekend and hashed out a list of their top 10 games of this generation so far.
How the List was DeterminedEach host provided their own top 10 games of this generation so far. The only stipulations for titles were that they had to be originally released on one of the three current consoles and could not be a remaster or a collection of classic games. For example, Ratchet and Clank, which is a reimaging of the original game, could be on the list. GTA V, which was ported from Xbox 360 and PS3, could not be on the list. Once the lists were finalized, each game was assigned a numerical value. The top game on each list received ten points, the second game received nine points, continuing down to the tenth game which received one point. We added everyone’s scores together, which produced our official top ten list. To be clear, this isn’t a list of what will be considered as a critical review of the generation. It is simply three friends presenting their honest thoughts on what games have grabbed them so far this generation. Consider it a primer for our own personal biases. And now here is Weekly Games Chat’s Official Top Ten Games of the Generation, so far:9. Doom (tie)Everyone panicked this May when word got out that review copies of Id Software’s new Doom game would not be provided to game journalists prior to the game’s release. Those fears though were quickly put to bed though as players found a game that was true not just to the classic series, but a tribute to the gameplay that had made Id Software famous over the past twenty five years. Instead of ducking behind cover, Doom encourages players to run at full speed towards danger, shooting everything in your path and never once hesitating to use your chainsaw. The forces of hell have never looked as menacing, nor as pleasing to destroy.9. Destiny (tie)Destiny was one of the most hyped and anticipated games ever made and for good reason. Bungie’s track record had become legendary due to the success of Halo. While itmay have seem at first the hype for the game wasn’t warranted, it was clear Destiny’s gameplay was solid and could provide a basis for something much greater. The following fall, Bungie released the Rise of Iron expansion, and with it came universal praise from critics and fans of the series. Simply put, there is no other shooter that provides the raid experience found in Destiny’s endgame and the quest for the perfect gun and accompanying gear has kept guardians constantly scouring the deserts of Mars, the jungle of Venus and dead surface of the Moon for every mote of light.8. Wolfenstein: The New OrderIt’s safe to say that Wolfenstein: The New Order took everyone by surprise in May 2014. Demos of the game had gotten a mixed reception as the initial level of the game felt dull and basic in design. However, when critics and fans finally got full copies of the game, they were surprised to see that Machine Games had managed to pull off one of the best video game resurrections since Metroid Prime. Wolfenstein gave players something that only a handful of FPS games have managed in past couple of years: provide an excellent campaign that features an excellent narrative in addition to its awesome gameplay. Fans of Amazon’s Man in The High Castle will feel right at home.7. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s EndNothing in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End feels cheap. The game looks and runs like a billion dollars. The voice acting may be the best in the series (which is saying something). Most importantly, every emotional moment in the game is earned. Unlike previous games where Nate’s questionable antics are quickly dismissed, Naughty Dog forces the main protagonist to finally face the effect his actions have upon the ones he loves. The tension, coupled with an excellent pirate mystery that will make any Goonies’ fan proud, guides players all the way to what can only be described as one of most satisfying conclusions for a gaming franchise.6. OverwatchSome people doubted Blizzard when they announced that they were creating a competitive team based FPS game from the fallen ashes of their cancelled MMO, Titan. Those people are fools. With Overwatch, Blizzard shows once again they may be the best gaming studio in the world. Understanding that many gamers have tired of the grim setting found in shooters like Call of Duty, Overwatch offers players a world bursting with bright colors and chalk full of witty personality. Each character looks like it was made by a Pixar team, and Blizzard has even provided background stories that would make the animation studio proud. Instead of focusing on the kill to death ratio of each player, Overwatch highlights those who help their team win by providing heals or shielding fellow teammates from damage. Simply being a guy who can pull off headshot means nothing if you don’t help your team win. Whereas Call of Duty and Battlefield provide the illusion of team combat, Overwatch is one of the only games on any console that actually delivers the experience.5. Rise of the Tomb RaiderIt’s easy to forget that the Uncharted series was originally inspired in part by the Tomb Raider series. That’s probably because it was clear that 2013’s relaunch of the series was in turn inspired by Uncharted. Rise of the Tomb Raider though feels like something entirely fresh and new to the action adventure genre. Its crafting system and open world hubs implore players to explore their surroundings. Not only are you rewarded with untold treasures, you’ll also discover some of the most breathtaking tombs Lara has ever explored.3. Mario Kart 8 (tie)The Wii U is not a console that will be remembered for its great plethora of online titles, but its best title, Mario Kart 8, is arguably one of the best online games on any console this generation. Mario Kart 8 is a love letter to the series, offering not only new tracks that have become instant classics in the Kart community, but also providing recreations ofsome of the best raceways from the whole series. Additionally, Nintendo has expanded the Kart universe to include some of best properties that don’t feature everyone’s favorite plumber, such as F-Zero, Animal Crossing, Excitebike and The Legend of Zelda. No game this generation manages to remind gamers of the power and allure of Nintendo than Mario Kart 8.3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (tie)Last fall, when fans finally got their hands on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, they knew regardless of what Konami was claiming publically, that this would be the last time Hideo Kojima would be in creative control of a Metal Gear game. Knowing this makes MGS: V even more bitter sweet, as it just may be the best entry in the series to date. The open world style of the game creates a plethora of new options to players as they attempt to stealthy accomplish hundreds of objectives. Additionally, the game gives players a new motivation to find non-lethal means to defeat their foes, as each enemy can be extracted from the battlefield and recruited into Big Boss’ Diamond Dog army. You even get to build your own freaking military base from a simple oil rig into a full out military complex. If MGS V is the true swan song for the series, Kojima definitely went out on a high note.2. Ori and the Blind ForestOri and the Blind Forest is a game that feeds on your emotions. Within five minutes of hitting the start button, you’ll find yourself balling as hard as the last time you watched a Pixar movie. Over the course of its eight hour campaign, your heart will be taken to the ringer multiple times as you watch little Ori attempt to save the forest he has called home. Emotion though isn’t the only reason why Ori is so high on this list. Its animation is simply stunning, looking more like an animated film from a Disney studio than a game. Additionally its mechanics, leveling system and world design are all top notch. These elements all cumulate into an experience that is simply the best Metriodvania game so far this generation.1. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
For years Bethesda has been the king of the open world RPG. Both Skyrim and Fallout 3 had been seen as the gold standard for the genre, to the point that folks were willing to forgive the game’s technical shortcomings because of their level of depth and exploration. Then last May CD Projekt Red released The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt and established the new bar for all contenders in the genre to complete against. Its 100 hour base story isn’t just good, it features some of the best stories found in any generation of gaming. Adding in the fact that each story features multiple branching paths that are determined by the choices of players, makes the game even more a technical accomplishment than some may realize. Additionally, the open kingdoms Novigrad and Skellige are breathtakingly beautiful, with each area feeling like it has its own distinct culture and appeal. The real star of the show though is Geralt of Rivia. Players are allowed to shape Geralt into the type of sword for hire they wish to be. He can be a cold soul that keeps his emotional distance from those who pay for his services. He can be a true hero that tells poor serfs to keep their coin, that his services are pro bono. The choice is yours and no matter what you choose, the decisions are rarely ever black and white. You can choose to make him a powerful mage, and deadly warrior or a cunning potions master. No one way is wrong as long as your choice ends with you striking a deadly blow to the monster before you. If you love RPG’s, if you love fantasy, or if you love great story writing, you owe it to yourself to make time for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. Christopher Lockard is a co-host of Weekly Games Chat. Subscribe to us in your favorite podcast app. New episodes are posted every Wednesday. If you have any comments, concerns or questions, you can reach Christopher and the rest of the Weekly Games Chat crew at firstname.lastname@example.org.