With the current generation now drawing to a close, each member of the VideoGamer.com team share their own games of the generation. For the sake of making them struggle, they've been restricted to picking just three…
Editor's Note: The generation was classed as PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. If we included handhelds, these lists would never have been finished…
Dragon Age: Origins
A lot of people raise their eyebrows when I mention Dragon Age: Origins as one of my highlights this generation, but the impact it had on me - as ridiculous as it may sound - was huge. Before it was released, every trailer I saw made me think BioWare was heading for disaster. It didn't look particularly nice compared to other games that were coming out at the time, there wasn't a great amount of hype for it, and then there was this:
In a flash I'd dismissed the first Dragon Age as a sure misstep.
As it turned out, it was one of my favourite games I've ever played. Essentially KOTOR but with a fantasy setting, Origins still managed what few RPGs do now. Its narrative - which was excellent anyway - was integrated near perfectly with the choices it asked you to make; you felt directly responsible for both the fate of your character and those around you.
These decisions, too, carried serious weight. They weren't wishy washy 'Well, which direction would you like to head next?', but genuine conundrums that left me staring at my television as I tried to figure out what the right move to make was. Even then, BioWare usually ensured whatever choice you made didn't pan out like you assumed it would.
A genuine triumph.
Batman: Arkham City
A constant criticism thrown at the Arkham games is: 'If Batman wasn't in it they wouldn't be as good'. Arguably the most redundant statement in the history of mankind - the clue is in the damn name of the game - it's also the reason why Arkham City is so good. If you're a bit weird like I am, it's the Batman simulator you've always dreamed of.
As much as I enjoyed Asylum, City's open world made you feel like the Dark Knight. If you chose to just glide around the environment, dropping in on hoodlums to keep crime off the streets, there was every opportunity - should your brain allow it - to separate from your real self and step into Batman's boots.
It sounds insane, but I'd wager that was exactly the type of sensation Rocksteady was going for. No one had dared place Batman in such a position before, the previous games opting for weird spin-off vibes that featured characters such as Sin Tzu. It's well-known fact that no one cares about Sin Tzu...
Arkham City was also drowning in nods and winks that were purposefully placed in order to fuel the fires of Bat-fanatics the world over. At the top of this list (and on par with Hush) was discovering the crime scene where Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. Complete with the perfect musical score and Batman dropping to one knee, it remains my favourite moment of this generation. I can't even think of what would be able to top it.
Red Dead Redemption
Aside from having the benefit of focusing on cowboys (who doesn't like cowboys?), Red Dead Redemption is one of the most accomplished games of the generation. With characters who are incredibly well thought out and deep, and an ending that could very well be the best in all of video gaming, it's one of the finest open world titles I've ever played.
Maybe even more so than GTA 5 - a highlight in its own right - Red Dead seemed to be a coming together of all Rockstar's ideas, executed to a level that was unparalleled. John Marston in particular is evidence of this, a character so incredibly compelling and, for lack of a better term, 'real', you can't help but relate to him on some level.
It's one of those games that sticks in your memory long after you've finished it, too. Naughty Dog's The Last Of Us was painfully close to making the cut for the same reason, but the impact Red Dead Reaction has both throughout and after its (real) end credits always hits hard. Throw in that it completely toyed around with its template thanks to Undead Nightmare, and it's a masterful piece of work; for me, Rockstar's best.
Notable Mentions: Gears of War trilogy, LA Noire, Heavy Rain, Guitar Hero: Metallica, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Last Of Us, Batman: Arkham Asylum, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Mario Galaxy, Fallout 3, Mass Effect 2, The Walking Dead, Call of Duty 2, BioShock Infinite, Mirror's Edge, Left 4 Dead.