This month marks the five year anniversary since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and so every week we’ll be releasing an article that celebrates the games of both last gen and this gen. This week we celebrate the games from last generation that made waves within the industry.
1. Gears of War (2006)
Gears of War revolutionized third person shooters. The ability to duck into cover, blind fire or hurdle over obstacles progressed this genre from messy fire fights to tactile skirmishes.
2. Wii Sports (2006)
The Wii took the world by storm with it’s revolutionary motion controls and mass consumer appeal. Wii Sports may have just been a tech demo, but it was so well loved it inspired countless other publishers to attempt their own version of it.
3. Bioshock (2007)
Not only is Bioshock still phenomenal to play, but it still stands tall as one of the best narrative driven shooters in history. It showed developers that you could still have the fast paced shooting of Doom but intertwine it with philosophical ideas and twist filled narratives.
4. Assassin’s Creed (2007)
Assassin’s Creed was one of last generation’s most influential action games. It was also one of the first games to popularize the idea of publishers having a flagship yearly franchise.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2007)
Most of us couldn’t imagine the world of video games without it’s annual Call of Duty entry. Yet there was a time when this series took the world by surprise. Modern Warfare began the cinematic, explosive campaigns we’ve grown accustomed to in shooters and the perk based multiplayer systems that dominate the industry today.
6. Halo 3 (2007)
Halo 3 concluded Xbox’s biggest exclusive franchise to date. Sure a new trilogy began a few years later, but after the cliffhanger of Halo 2, many were dying of anticipation to, ‘finish the fight.’
7. Braid (2008)
Braid is one of the most influential and important games of all time. It took us back to the 2D glory that the rest of the industry had forgotten and proved that small teams can still find massive success without the aid of a publisher. It also lead the way for the entire indie industry and most indie developers have Braid to thank for the current opportunities available.
8. Fallout 3 (2008)
Fallout 3 is one of the most successful reinventions of a franchise ever. It took the top-down isometric Fallout series and merged it with the scope and style of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. For many in the industry, this is the game that put Bethesda on the map.
9. Left 4 Dead (2008)
Can a purely multiplayer game find mainstream success? Left 4 Dead proved at a time when online console multiplayer player was ramping up, that yes, yes it can.
10. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
During a time when the Xbox 360 was hitting the peek of it’s popularity, PlayStation needed to show that they were still in the race. In steps Naughty Dog, blurring the lines between video game narratives and films.
11. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)
People forget that before Arkham Asylum, licensed games were generally terrible. Asylum not only broke this trend, but influenced the combat in countless action games for years to come and paved the way for success for games like 2018’s Spider-Man.
12. Mass Effect 2 (2010)
Mass Effect 2 made choices matter. The characters that joined your team weren’t just NPC’s, they were friends. The choices you made weren’t only life and death decisions but also carried over into the trilogy’s conclusion.
13. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)
Mario is arguably massively influential during every generation, and funnily enough they were last generation as well. Galaxy 2 like it’s predecessors find away to take the simple platforming the series popularized in the 80’s and rework it to still be just as charming and addictive in the current climate.
14. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (2011)
If Fallout 3 put Bethesda on the map among the games industry, Skyrim showed the whole world what this company was capable of. To this day Skyrim is an example of the breath and scope open worlds have to offer.
15. Dark Souls (2011)
It is rare for new genres to appear within the world of gaming. Although Demon Souls paved the way for the Souls-like genre, Dark Souls is where this niche truly found it’s global appeal.
16. Minecraft (2011)
After the success of Pokemon, few games have managed to turn a video game into an entire merchandise empire. Minecraft appeared from nowhere and did just that, with every toy store in the world boasting some form of Minecraft shirt, toy or collectible. Somehow Mojang managed to create Lego for a digital generation.
17. Portal 2 (2011)
Valve are not only one of the best developers in history, but besides Tetris they managed to create the best puzzle game of all time, Portal 2. It also helps that their ingenious puzzle game is hilarious from a story stand point.
18. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (2011)
Disney: Infinity, Starlink: Battle for Atlas and the high quality Amiibo range all stemmed from the original toys to life game, that in itself was an offshoot of one of PlayStation’s original mascots. It may have been a short lived genre, but it found massive success for a time.
19. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1 (2012)
Telltale games had been around a long time before The Walking Dead, and even though the game was smaller in scale, and marred by glitches, it moved gamers in ways they’d never been moved before. It showed the industry that writing was just as important as graphics or gameplay.
20. Journey (2012)
Journey may be a 2 hour indie game, with no dialogue or voice acting, yet it is one of the most moving tales in gaming. Journey took video games beyond entertainment and started the genuine discussion over whether certain games may be viewed as art.
21. Gone Home (2012)
Gone Home continued The Walking Dead’s crusade to show the importance of writing in games. It divided audiences. Some said that it was the beginning of a more narrative focused genre, while others mocked it for being nothing more than a ‘walking simulator.’
22. DOTA 2 (2013)
The MOBA genre is one that separated the gaming industry. Many traditional influencers and games media struggled to enjoy the concept, while an entire new audience of gamers adopted its complex systems and large rosters of heroes with ease.
23. Pokemon X and Y (2013)
X and Y are both a step forward for one of gaming’s most beloved series, but also a sign of Game Freak’s stubborn ways. It brought both new Pokemon and Kanto classics into a 3D space for the first time ever, but also showed that even after 20 years, very little needs to be added to a formula still selling in the millions.
24. The Last of Us (2013)
Naughty Dog cemented themselves as one of the industries most innovative and talented developers with The Last of Us. Never before has a story been told with so much gravity and humanity. This new I.P. created characters so real that the voice actors behind them shot to stardom.
25. Grand Theft Auto 5 (2013)
Rockstar made waves during the PlayStation 2 generation for popularizing the 3D open world genre. Last generation they did so again by setting the bar for what a realistic, dynamic and enjoyable open world should look like. Grand Theft Auto 5 isn’t just influencing today’s games but is still outselling them too, 5 years after release.