Before I dive right into my top 10 games I would like to start out by saying this list is being made prior to the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 which will almost certainly make the top five. So if you happen to be reading this in a year or two then understand that is why it was excluded. However, I first find it necessary to first briefly touch on some honorable mentions that just missed out on a spot but are still deserving of recognition.
The game closest to sneaking on my list would have to be Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. This game may not have been as widely enjoyed by a mass audience, but that doesn’t diminish its quality. Hellblade masterfully demonstrates what it is like to deal with and experience psychological troubles like many today have to struggle with in regards to their mental illnesses. The never ending anxiety and fear brought into perspective by details like the game’s perma-death feature, as well as the lighting, and relentless sounds of voices in Senua’s head exemplify an unforgettable experience.
The other game that I’m willing to bet many feel should be on this list is Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. This game was an unbelievable revival for what had become a series growing more stale with every lack luster release. Ubisoft had previously been unable to match the magic captured early on in the series. With its release Odyssey became the best game of the series since Brotherhood which was released all of the way back in 2010. Now seeing the potential that Valhalla is carrying up to its release coming in November it is clear to see that Ubisoft has righted the ship and are clear on where they want to go with future Assassin’s Creed games.
10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege earns its spot in my top 10 games from this generation simply because of its prolonged and unmatched success as an esport. Following a miraculous recovery from what was a disastrous initial launch of the game Rainbow Six Siege quickly established itself as a leading esport for the industry. The game has had its share of problems as well as game breaking glitches, but overall Ubisoft has done right by the community by giving continued technical support and listening to the community in regard to buffing or debuffing the operators in the game and appropriately balancing them. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege became one of the first streamlined esports that was as easily accessible to console gamers as it was to the more hardcore and competitive PC gaming community ignoring what Call of Duty has already done.
9. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Shadow of Mordor nearly missed out on my list simply because I thought it had released at the tail end of last generation, but after looking into games for my list I learned that it was one of the first games to come out for this generation all of the way back in 2014. What a way to help kick off this era too winning Game of the Year from the Game Developer’s Choice Awards. The game’s tree-like hierarchy system that allowed you to hunt down uruk leaders was a very unique inclusion that helped to quickly set it apart. Additionally, Shadow of Mordor’s combat, even while surrounded by hoards of enemies was flawless, and it kept the player feeling remarkably powerful while never taking away the very real fear of death throughout the game.
8. Detroit Become Human
Quantic Dream has proven in the past to be the master of the interactive story games. These developers set the standard high with their highly successful serial killer drama Heavy Rain that released back on the PS3. Detroit Become Human definitely lives up to fans’ expectations and fills that interactive story void that few games have been able to fill since. Additionally, the immense amount of possible playable outcomes for this game is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The diversity of choices available, all weighing on every decision players make, is really something to be acknowledged. Not only that, but Detroit Become Human really shows the hyper realistic visual potential that can be achieved in video games and what players may soon see become the new normal.
7. Ghost of Tsushima
In my opinion, the samurai are the most under utilized historical warriors in gaming up to this point, and Ghost of Tsushima delivers an unforgettable samurai experience. No matter what you think about this game it is undeniably the most beautiful and vibrant to come out this generation. It really set the standard for what players are expected to see in future games. Sucker Punch did an unbelievable job mastering the ways of displaying various weather conditions in the game, as well as their perfect depiction of the natural lighting from the sun. The combat system will also surely stand the test of time. The fluidity of such a complex, yet simple combat system is truly remarkable. The implementation of the four different fight stances really keeps the player involved in the technical aspects of samurai sword fighting. Similar to Shadow of Mordor players feel the power behind their blade in Ghost of Tsushima without losing touch of the consequences that come when they make mistakes in battle.
6. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Insomniac’s Spider-Man was one of the most fun games for me to play through and I’d put it up against most of the games on this list in that regard. I’m not sure if it was the brilliant combat or the casual web swinging through New York City that really did it for me, but as far as superhero games go this one takes the cake. Fans of the Arkham series may not be okay with me saying that, but this game is just that good. That is not to say that those Batman games suck entirely either because that is not true so don’t @ me. This game does what few superhero games have been able to do before, and that is delivering on the experience of being a superhero, but at the same time not losing the significance of the character that is the man behind the mask.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is my only Nintendo Switch game to make this list, and that is because this game is truly a masterpiece. In my opinion, it is solely responsible for granting the Switch the ability to outsell the Xbox One this generation, now that’s an achievement. It brings new life to a highly regarded classic series that is deeply adored by so many. This game puts meaning behind the words “open world”. So much so that as soon as you begin the game you have the freedom to walk right into what is meant to be the final boss and fight him. While that may not be a well advised decision the fact that it is a possibility is remarkable. Nearly every object you come across is able to be interacted with in some way. You can spend your time endlessly experimenting with the world and everything within it. It helps that the world itself is one of the most beautiful you’ve ever seen. Nintendo goes to great depths to ensure that their world is perfect. This game will make any aging fan of the series feel like a kid again and surely will help attract a new generation of supporters.
4. Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar isn’t necessarily a company known for their story telling ability. However, with their release of RDR2 we must give some praise where it is due, because the story mode in this game is an unbelievably detailed, emotional, double-crossing, (insert adjective here) experience like no other. The open world is also very noteworthy. Exceptionally well polished and much more varied in landscape than its predecessor. There is also so much more left to explore in the world after you finish the intensive story. Once you’re finished there are few, if any limits to what a lonesome outlaw can do with their freedom. This is one of the most anticipated aspects of any Rockstar game and RDR2 certainly upholds expectations.
3. Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata may be the most memorably unique gaming experience I’ve ever had. Up to this point I hadn’t dabbled in many JRPGs and not for any particular reason, I just never had one catch my eye like this game. It doesn’t take long for anyone playing to realize that this game was going to be different. It hits you from the very beginning in the first fight. Players bounce from borderline arcade-ish, two dimensional, Galaxian style combat mechanics to a third person action scene similar to what you could see in the colossal fights of the original God of War trilogy, and I can’t say that the game gets any more normal after that point. The story was filled with nonsensical enemies, wildly spontaneous events, and enough outcomes to fill up the alphabet. The game never led me to a dull experience I’ll put it that way. Nier: Automata is a game that must first be experienced before one could understand any aspect of it explained secondhand.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 may have the best cast of characters of any RPG I’ve played. Each one is so well deeply developed that players can easily feel like they’ve known these character their entire lives. Like many I was new to the series coming into this game, but that didn’t hurt my experience at all. There is truly so many things to do in this game that it is initially quite overwhelming. It has much more quality content depth to it as well. What I mean by that is normally with games like The Witcher you get a lot of filler content, side quests, etc. just to make the experience last longer, and the tasks tend to be of much lower quality hurting the overall of the game. In this game however, CD Projekt Red did an amazing job of avoiding the filler content for the sake of making the game longer, and just developed quality substance that added to the game overall really making for one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had.
1. Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of my favorite games of all time. It’s in my top 3 that I’ve ever played. Not only does this game deliver with a mesmerizing open world, but the story is so deep and well told that you become instantly hooked from the very beginning of the journey. The creatures that you come face to face with in this game are a thing of beauty in and of themselves, so deeply considered all of the way down to the finest of details. This makes combating each creature every time to be a unique and thrilling experience. Aloy is such an amazing character to live through as well. Her development throughout the story is a hypnotizing experience, you just can’t help but fall in love with the character. Every aspect of Horizon Zero Dawn, all of the way down to the unexpected twist towards the end of the story revealing what actually happened to the world and why makes this game unforgettable, and one that will stick with you forever.