Best of 7th Gen: #7-Rayman Legends

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

My experience with the Rayman series was pretty minimal before they brought the limbless hero back in his two-dimensional form, but I quickly fell in love. The resurgence of 2D platformers over the last decade has brought about some real gems, but none were better than Rayman Origins and its sequel Legends. This is top of the line platforming and level design married to art direction and visuals that remain among the finest in gaming even years later Continue reading

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Best of 7th Gen: #8-Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

It had been years since Sly 3 released when we found out there would be a new entry in the franchise coming to the PlayStation 3. As a big fan of the series, I was ecstatic to see the thieving raccoon and his band of animal pals returning. Yet I couldn’t help but be slightly apprehensive since the game would feature a developer switch which gaming history had taught me to be wary about. Thankfully, these worries were unfounded. Not only did new developer Sanzaru Games deliver a worthy addition to the series, they managed to beat Sucker Punch at their own game giving us the best Sly game yet Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #9-Portal 2

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

Puzzle-focused adventure games have become rarer over the years. In general, the 7th generation of consoles pushed games in a more action-oriented direction. Even the revival of old-school point-and-click adventure games headed away from puzzles in favor of a greater focus on narrative and choice. So it is with wide-open arms I welcomed Portal to the gaming world Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #10-Super Mario Galaxy 2

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

In 1996, gamers were blown away by Mario’s first foray into three dimensions. It was certainly quite the sight to see him moving in 3D space after years of seeing him run and jump along 2D planes. The game’s use of the analog stick (or perhaps the Nintendo 64’s in general) was a revolutionary one that would change the industry forever. And yet for me – and this may seem blasphemous – Super Mario 64 just isn’t what I imagined from Mario in 3D. The Mario I grew up on was about linear platforming assault courses. Mario 64 is a good game in its own right, but it was more open than I expected, a bit more slanted towards exploration and adventure than I’d hoped, and not the point A to point B tests of my platforming prowess that I coveted. Fortunately that is exactly the direction Nintendo went with the Galaxy series and I finally got the 3D Mario game I’d always dreamed of Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #11-Assassin’s Creed II

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

A new entry in almost every series featured on this list would garner some excitement from me ranging from “Oh my god I need that game right now” to “I will definitely play that”… except for this one. Yearly Assassin’s Creed sequels following the second game, including the particularly disastrous third numbered entry in 2012, led to the worst case of franchise fatigue I have experienced since the Tony Hawk series was run into the ground back in the PS2 days and left me with little interest in Ubisoft’s flagship series going forward. That is quite the shame because with Assassin’s Creed II coming in at number 11 on this list, it is clear that once upon a time it showed the ability to be a top-tier gaming experience Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #12-Ninja Gaiden Sigma

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

The last home console I didn’t own was the original Xbox. While it had a number of quality exclusives, there was none I coveted more than Ninja Gaiden. I grew up playing the original games on the NES and Team Ninja’s reboot looked like my kind of game. So I was thrilled to see the news that it would be rereleased for my shiny new PS3 a few years later Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #13-Mario Kart Wii

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

Before Mario Kart 8 sped onto the scene last year and lapped the rest of the series, my favorite Mario Kart was the Wii entry. This isn’t a particularly popular choice, but Mario Kart Wii was the first game in the franchise to really tick all the boxes for things most important to me in the long-running arcade racing series Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #14-Castle Crashers

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

Castle Crashers is like one of those classic beat ‘em ups you used to feed your quarters to in the arcades as a youngster, but designed for the modern console era. It follows that same gameplay template where you are moving along and mixing it up with baddies from that familiar point of view, but it feels more fleshed out here which makes for a much more complete game. The result is the genre’s crowning achievement and my favorite of the new brand of smaller downloadable titles that the seventh generation’s increased online connectivity ushered in Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #15-New Super Mario Bros. Wii

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

I couldn’t have been more excited by the prospect of New Super Mario Bros. At the time it released in 2006, I was left somewhat unimpressed by Mario’s two forays into the third dimension. They just weren’t what I imagined Mario to be in 3D. So a return to what made me fall in love with the mustachioed plumber, classic 2D platforming, was an idea I could really get behind. But once I got beyond the sheer excitement of Mario’s sidescrolling revival, I realized the game just wasn’t up to the series standards. Luckily Nintendo’s second stab at this New series on the Wii would deliver a game worthy of the franchise’s legacy Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: My Top 7 Handheld Games

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

I decided to leave handheld games out of my Best of 7th Gen Countdown partly to remove one more difficulty from creating the list and partly because of the slightly different run times of the handheld generations. That isn’t to say there wasn’t plenty to love on handhelds last gen. With two great systems in the PSP and DS, it is actually my favorite generation for portable games. With handheld gaming in decline, that fact might never change. But it means there are plenty of excellent games to choose from. Here are my top seven games among them (I decided to stick to my one game per series rule for this too) Continue reading