It’s a tad early… there’s a Cyberpunk hole in my life that can only be filled by CD Project Red. I long for some Cyberpunky goodness, a role-playing game where I can finally have the ‘double E’ breasts and the 10 inch appendage I have always desired, nay deserved! But I’m here today to celebrate the lives and games of the soon to be departed Xbox One and PlayStation 4, a generation of excellence and a battle so one-sided Microsoft spent 7.5 billion to even the score. I am dedicating this article to the games that have tickled my adrenaline gland from 2013 to 2020. The death knell shalleth gong and CEX will become a graveyard of 8th generation consoles.

A disclaimer! I am no longer a big fan of open world games – please don’t march me to the gallows, but there will be no Horizon Zero Dawn, Death Stranding or The Witcher 3 – this is my list, my thoughts and my desires, though I am open to bribes so if you like Breath of the Wild that much I could be persuaded, as this list is so official it’ll render all other lists redundant.

5. Doom (2016)

I can’t tell you the satisfaction I got from shooting a demon in the face with a shotgun, especially the flying skeleton ones that look like a cross between Kelly-Ann Conway and Hellraiser. The balance is absolutely spot on, challenging but fair, fast and fluid, but weighty and impactful. Plus, that soundtrack! Though I usually prefer the melodies of a pop princess, there’s something about tearing through an enemy with a chainsaw to the sounds of an electric guitar that gets the blood pumping. The drawbacks of Doom really only come down to the boring storyline and lack of any characterisation of the protagonist, but if there’s any game that trumpets the gameplay over story argument it’s Doom. The Protagonist could be Amanda Holden and it would still be the most fun shooter of the generation. Call of Duty and Halo eat your heart out, in fact “Doomguy” would potentially eat their hearts out…

4. Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)

Now I may be biased because Tomb Raider is my favourite game series and we’re all a bit biased aren’t we, but Rise of the Tomb Raider is a really good game! And don’t you be bringing your Uncharted 4 arguments in here. Rise of the Tomb Raider is superior because you play a lot more than you watch – also I dropped 1 metre onto the ground once in Uncharted 4 and Drake died – come on, Lara got impaled in the first reboot and still managed to parkour like Crash bandicoot with a limp. 

Rise is one of my games of the generation because it truly balances its elements better than Tomb Raider (2013) and Shadow. Rise’s story is just about strong enough to keep you engaged, with a worthy antagonist in Ana, giving Lara an emotional pull lacking in the other games, in the hands of a better script writer it could have been truly outstanding. Rise combines excellent combat, ingenious side tombs, varied platforming, and beautiful graphics! The semi-open world exploration is a joy to navigate. If only Lara would lighten up a bit, but then again if I had that mullet, I’d be a broody bore too.

3. Resident Evil 2 (2019)

I love horror and I love Resident Evil, the reasons why are that the games are so stupid and ridiculous whilst at the same time making my testicles in retract in fear – I don’t know how they do it! Resident Evil 2 is the best of the bunch and it has managed to become a genre defining experiencing in two separate generations. This is a masterclass in how to remake an old game, it feels familiar and yet completely new at the same time. Resident Evil 2 doesn’t feel nostalgic, it feels fresh and innovative. Just when you think the game can’t throw anything else at you Mr X comes along and creates another layer of tension. By this point in the game my body is has gone into a state of living rigor mortis. It’s a shame Resident Evil 3 wasn’t a worthy follow up.  

2. The Last of Us Part 2 (2020)

This game stayed with me long after I finished playing it and I felt like I was playing it for 42 years. The Last of Us Part 2 is a long game, I clocked well over 30 hours and I played it all very quickly – a side effect to being under lockdown and furlough, so I probably burned myself out on it more than I would have under normal circumstances. But looking back on my time with it, no other games characters have sucked me into their morally grey hijinks like The Last of Us Part 2 and no other games story has left me so emotionally confused, sad, angry and yet at peace. There are those that hate this game and I can totally see why, Naughty Dog removed most of their Hollywood blockbuster cliché’s and gave us a gut wrenching narrative that is a hard pill to swallow – it’s difficult to talk about it without giving away plot points, but I was a shadow of my former self after playing it – which could have been the malnutrition from playing the game for 12 hours a day without stopping.

But within all this lies a great stealth horror game, it certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel with the gameplay, and I was feeling fatigued by the gameplay loop by the end. Yet the Last of Us Part 2 still manages to rise above it all, leaving me with only the desire to relive this magnificent game again. You can read my full review here.

1. Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2020)

Yes, this AAish AAA side scrolling platformer is my number 1 game of the generation. Why? Ori and the Will of the Wisps uses a hyper pigmented animation style that resembles brush strokes and to put it bluntly, it’s gorgeous. The world is alive, with bushes and shrubs reacting realistically as you brush past them – wildlife both friend and foe animate smoothly and have a real impact in the world around them. Controlling Ori is a delight, he is nimble and responsive – starting the game with only a simple jump and the ability to scale a wall, and yet the game is still able to provide clever challenges with the small amount of skills at your disposal. As the game continues and you unlock double jump, dig and boost (among many others) the platforming difficulty increases, challenging the player to chain multiple abilities in one sequence – it’s unforgiving but never unfair.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the greatest games of the generation. It’s a challenging, beautiful, enchanting, dangerous, near perfect side scrolling platformer, one that exceeds its predecessor in every way. It’s a must play. You can read my full review here

Honourable Mentions

Control (2019) Female Mick Hucknall uses psychic powers to make her office covid secure.
Halo 5 Guardians (2015) In space no one can hear you scream about how bad the single player is.
God of War (2018) Gordon Ramsey grows beard and starts using an axe to prepare meat.
Resident Evil 7 Deep south version of Australian soap Neighbours.
Alien Isolation Space Pterodactyl causes issues for Sigourney Weaver lookalike.
Hellblade Where’s your head at?

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