I don’t know about my fellow gamers, but time flies, and it’s hard to believe the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are about a month away from releasing.
Until Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 are upon us, gamers’ thumbs are still hard at work on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, both of which have a wealth of games at the player’s disposal. In fact, it’s almost to the point where it’s overwhelming, but in an exalting way. What’s strange, but awesome at the same time is despite the next-gen consoles releasing next month, it seems people are still shelling out cash for a current-gen console as well.
Whether you’ve been with current-gen consoles since the beginning or you just recently purchased one, you’ve likely missed out on at least one amazing gaming experience this generation. I know there’s a plethora of titles in my library screaming to be played. That’s why my fellow Analog Addiction editors and I present you with our personal choices of games you absolutely, undoubtedly, definitely must play on current-gen platforms before the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release in the coming weeks.
Eric “Jalapeño” Pepper
While it’s tough to narrow down all of the great games this generation has offered to just one must-play title, I have to give my vote to Dead Space. Everything from the nearly perfect audio cues to the tension-filled exploration to the fantastic plot twists will sink its teeth into you and refuse to let go until you have finished the game.
Many fans will complain about how the series began to deviate from the horror genre with Dead Space 2 and without broaching that completely separate topic, this is a large reason why I am recommending the first title in the franchise. The game gives you a legitimate reason for every action you are performing, the protagonist Isaac Clarke is easy to relate to and the plot is prominent enough that you never lose track of why you’re out in the middle of space fighting your way through hordes of Necromorphs.
Even if you are not a fan of horror games, Dead Space is a must-play.
Jaime “Paco the Taco” Sifontes
There are really a lot of wonderful games this generation; too many to count even. But one game – or more appropriately, one trilogy – really stood out the most this generation. It was emotional, it was personal and it was absolutely brilliant. If not for that last bit at the end, I am certain that anyone of sound mind would agree that Mass Effect is hands-down the number one experience you must have from this console generation.
It is pure science fiction, pure adrenaline, and at times, pure emotion. It caters to your personality because it is your personality. It carries the weight of your choices like no game had before. It may not have been in the way many had liked, but it did so nonetheless. It created purpose in a fantastic world that could never truly exist outside a truly talented group of developer’s imaginations. Love, war, deception, and death – never had I become so invested in a story over the course of three games. I doubt it will happen in the same way again.
With an idea so well done, so well executed, it’s clear to me that anyone with a sound mind would owe to themselves to experience the entire Mass Effect trilogy.
Vlad “the Mad” Pintea
Anyone who even remotely knows my affiliation towards a specific era, will know that my answer is Red Dead Redemption.
Rockstar’s second take on the wild west is simply the best in the industry. From likeable characters such as John Marston, Bonnie MacFarlane, Nigel West Dickens, or Landon Ricketts, to a story that will keep you guessing until the very end, you will simply not want to put the controller down. Red Dead Redemption has everything you’d simply want from a Wild West themed game – even from one set in other periods: a lengthy story, lots of side missions (which, of course, include the era’s most favorite past-time activity – bounty hunting). In addition to this, other quests even feel like they’re games on their own – playing poker, blackjack, taming horses, dueling, hunting or even herding cattle back to farms while protecting them from outlaws. It’s simply one, huge game which always has something for you to enjoy.
Even if the multiplayer is essentially empty by now, know the single player is totally worth your time and money. Even now, after three years from its initial launch, Red Dead Redemption still remains my #1, all-time favorite game. Sure, others may be better – I’m in no way denying that – but because that wild era of gunslingers is so dear to me, not one other game made me replay it three consecutive times. Here’s hoping “Red Dead 3” will take its place!
Robbie Key “Blade”
I don’t think any of you realize how difficult this question is for me. There are so many games I have played this generation, but at the same time, there aren’t.
It’s somewhat ironic actually. My friends know I’m a huge gamer, and they always ask the simplest question with a wallop of a hard answer: “What’s your favorite game?” Every now and then though, I’ll get asked what my favorite Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game is, and while it’s still hard to answer, it’s much easier to boil down. My answer to this question, for this generation of course, has to be the Bioshock series.
Before I played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the game that fully pushed me into the gaming medium, the original Bioshock was the first game where my emotions were fully invested in its story and beautifully frightening world.
Once you find out the twist, and trust me, you won’t see it coming, you will become enraged as if it was you in the game. The protagonist Jack wasn’t the one put in the situation: I was. I was the one fearing for my life in the unknown underwater utopia of Rapture; I was the one who thought he was doing good deeds; I was the one brawling with Big Daddies to obtain powers I didn’t necessarily want to begin with. I wanted to serve a cold dish of revenge with a side of Plasmids to those who wronged me as if it were real life.
While it didn’t have the same emotional impact on me and some elements in the world do not coincide with the plot, Bioshock Infinite’s story, which is arguably better than the original title, had me pondering for weeks, something that doesn’t happen with plots whether it’s from a video game or not. I scoured the endless seas of the internet to read other people’s theories on the story. When I immediately followed up the story’s conclusion by diving into 1999 Mode (which is flipping hard I might add), the number of little things I noticed once I discovered Columbia’s secrets were astounding.
The Bioshock series proves at least two things: deep stories are possible through video games, and not all first-person shooters are copy-and-paste modern-day formulaic military titles. To top the icing on the story-telling cake, both games are visually drop-dead gorgeous.
I truly couldn’t ask for more from a series. If you for whatever reason haven’t picked up Bioshock or Bioshock Infinite, you still have a few weeks to play some of the best things to spawn from the current generation of gaming. Oh, and trust me when I say you’ll want to play the original first.
Have any games you think people should play before the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One unleash their next-gen fury? Let us know in the comments section below!
Robbie Key is a reviews & news editor for Analog Addiction, entertainment editor for the Pine Log newspaper at Stephen F. Austin State University, news editor for Worlds Factory and blogger for IGN. Follow his completely relevant Twitter updates, watch his awesomtacular YouTube videos, and view his LinkedIn profile.