GammaSquad’s 50 Greatest Console Games Of The Past Generation (#50 – 41)

In just a little over two weeks all three major console makers will all have new machines on the market, which means it’s finally time to bid a fond farewell to seventh generation consoles. Sure, a few more current gen (soon to be last gen) games are still on the way, but the era of the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii is rapidly drawing to a close.

Before the next generation kicks off in earnest, we here at GammaSquad thought we’d take a look at some of the best games of this past generation. These are the games you might want to pop in one more time before you upgrade, or perhaps search the bargain bins for if you’re planning on waiting on the next generation for a while…

Note: This list only covers console games — no PC-only titles or handheld games. New handhelds come out on a different schedule than consoles, and the PC doesn’t really have “generations” per se, so neither really fit with the “best games of the past generation” scope of this series.

50) Grand Theft Auto IV

Wait, what? What’s GTAIV doing down at #50 you ask? Well, first off, any spot on this should be considered an honor dammit. Secondly, yes, Grand Theft Auto IV pushed the sandbox game forward in a number of ways, but it’s main plot and missions were a bit of a drag. GTAIV was a solid start, but Rockstar would produce better, more entertaining open world games later in the generation.

49) Assassin’s Creed II

Don’t expect too many Assassin’s Creed games on this list, in fact Assassin’s Creed II was the only one to make the cut. Ubisoft has an unfortunate history big promises and so-so execution when it comes to the Assassin’s Creed series, but Assassin’s Creed II hit upon a solid middle ground, fixing many of the limitations and annoyances of first Assassin’s Creed, without succumbing to the overambition and messiness of later titles in the series.

48) Rayman Origins

Rayman made a return to 2D platforming late in this generation, and the results were surprisingly great. Not only did Rayman Origins’ 2D art look fantastic, but Rayman’s new fast-paced platforming style finally set him apart from rivals Mario and Sonic.

47) Prototype

Really, Prototype makes this list for two reasons — delivering on Renegade’s Hulk games in a vivid anti-heroic way, and for the clever final twist straight out of Swamp Thing. It was like playing a mid-’90s grim and gritty comic book, but actually fun.

46) Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3’s story, about a frat douche turned native warrior, is pretty questionable, but the gameplay, relentlessly driven by upgrades, and with a wide-open world that let you either storm in guns blazing or sneak around with mines and a machete, made for a tense and fun game.

45) Dead Rising

Dead Rising was one of the first games to really make the case for upgrading to seventh generation consoles (specifically the Xbox 360). Sure, the game’s structure could be rather annoying at times, but its massive hoards of zombies were something that had never before been possible.

44) Mass Effect 2

It can be kind of hard to separate the three games in BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy, but if we had to, we’d say Mass Effect 2 was the best of the bunch. It cleaned up a lot of the clunkiness of the original Mass Effect and managed to avoid driving half the fanbase into a white-hot killrage like the third game. That’s a win in our books.

43) Metroid: Other M

Metroid fans are pretty split on the merits of Metroid: Other M, but in our opinion this was the best Metroid title released this past generation. Sure, its story was goofy (and maybe even a bit sexist) but Other M’s gameplay was smooth as butter and felt more authentically Metroid than the first-person Metroid Prime series.

42) InFamous 2

Mixing together a look at post-Katrina New Orleans with the electric superhero action that made the first one sing, InFamous 2 was a great open-world game. But, more importantly, it was a great superhero game.

41) Bayonetta

Pre-release most of the attention paid to Bayonetta was for its eyebrow-raising sexiness (the game stars an oddly proportioned witch with a penchant for thrusting her crotch at the camera and wearing clothes made out of her own hair) but thankfully once the game arrived at least some of the conversation turned to how damn well it played. Bayonetta may be a little squicky in some ways, but it’s also probably the best action-combat game of its generation.

That’s it for today! Dan will have numbers 40 through 31 tomorrow. What do you folks think? What would be in your top 50? What games do you predict will appear further up GammaSquad’s list?