Top 20 “Must Play” Games of this Generation.

Posted November 12, 2013 by Robert Steltenpohl in Nerdy Bits

With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One releasing in a matter of weeks, I took it upon myself to make a list of games that you should play before then. I know what you’re thinking; it’s another list ranking games. No! That is not what I am doing. I am making a list of games that, in some form, progressed gaming. When I chose to make this list, I had to make some criteria. So here’s mine:

1)   The game was innovative in some fashion. Whether it was gameplay, story, or doing something really well.

2)   It had to be transcendent. The game had to be one that I could look back 5-10 years from now and say; “I can see this game in present games.”

3)   The game didn’t have to be a Game of the Year winner. Just because a game doesn’t win an award, doesn’t mean it didn’t progress gaming or set up the next best thing.

This list is in no specific order.


1) Bioshock series


“Would you kindly” play these games. This series have given us some the best stories ever told in gaming. I know that Bioshock 2 isn’t that great and I agree with you. However, Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite tell two of the greatest stories ever. The first person shooter had been used mainly for multiplayer (Halo and COD) and just a fun experience. These games took it to another level and I couldn’t be happier with them. Remember, “It’s not about where but when.”


2) Mass Effect 2



This game had me from the opening cinematic. The story, the gameplay, the shipbuilding, and the relationships came together to make one of the best games ever made. This game launched us into space and gave us an amazing story about a soldier, who never believed in a losing fight. The first and third of this series are really good games, but it was two that “perfected” the gameplay and got rid of the boring parts of the first entry.


3) Uncharted 2



Do you like Indiana Jones? Do you like Michael Bay movies? Then this is right up your alley. Nathan Drake is courageous, witty, and perfectly voice acted by Nolan North. Each game sends you on some quest for treasure, while giving you a great story and fantastic character development.


4) Last of Us



If you haven’t heard of this game then you live under a rock. If you haven’t played this game yet then you really need to question your gaming priorities. This game doesn’t tell a new story. We’ve been told zombie-esque stories a thousand times now. However, this is different by the way they tell it. The world doesn’t progress the story. The characters do. This game should have actors, writers, and directors up for Oscar nominations. It might be the best game of this generation. It is definitely one I recommend to play first on this list.


5) Heavy Rain



Quantic Dream really out did themselves with this game. The journey of 4 characters that intertwines and gives us a story that pulls at every emotion we have. It doesn’t give us the most depth in gameplay, but it’s the narrative that guides this amazing story.


6) Assassin’s Creed 2



Ezio Auditore might be your favorite Assassin. The reason is because this game was the game changer. It perfected the gameplay of it’s predecessor and gave us a true open world game that had a stellar story and a character that the world loves.


7) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2


In my opinion, this is the best game that Infinity Ward ever made. The story was epic and full of mouth dropping moments. The multiplayer was excellent. It could be called this gen’s Goldeneye. This game opened up brand new avenues for First Person Shooters and online gaming.




100 plus hours. That’s all I have to say. The best of the Elder Scroll series and one of the best open world RPG’s ever made.


9) Super Paper Mario



The Wii didn’t make much of an appearance on this list but this game definitely deserves the spot. This game took the motion controls of the Wii, the Mario platform gaming we love, and added some incredible 3d-esque puzzles to give us one of the best games on the Wii. The story was a bit more complex than “oh my princess is kidnapped by a Godzilla’s mini-me.” The Green Thunder was a fantastic device in the game and I highly recommend it.


10) Super Mario Galaxy



This might be the best Mario game since Super Mario 64. The star collecting, the goombas, and different abilities made us remember why we love Mario. It was great to have such an amazing game on the Wii. This is one of the brightest spots of the console’s run. A must play.


11) Arkham City



Who doesn’t love Batman? Heck, even Joker loves Batman. This game gave us an amazing comic book story and made us feel like our favorite Caped Crusader. The combat system is why this game makes the list. The combos, the counters, and the grappling hooks gave us such an amazing experience. I have never played a game where I actually felt like the embodiment of Batman. It’s an amazing Bat-time on your favorite Bat-channel.


12) The Walking Dead


Yes. The Walking Dead. This game told us a gut-wrenching story that took us on a journey following Clementine and Lee. The gameplay is point and click but the narrative guided a story that cannot be compared. If this story doesn’t make you tear up just a little then you really have no soul.


13) Borderlands 2


Imagine Call of Duty (First person shooter) mixed with Diablo (massive amounts of looting) and then you have Borderlands 2. The story and dialogue is fun and zany. It’s tough and it’s a game that takes full advantage of multiplayer co-op. You can even sit down on the couch with your buddies and play this game. It’s a great time for any gamer.


14) Grand Theft Auto 4 and 5


Perfected Sandbox game anyone? These games are the epitome of what a fun time is all about. Heists, streetcar racing, and tennis? Oh yes and tennis. No list can be made without putting these games on it. There is always something to do or to achieve. It’s a lot like Skyrim, but with guns, cars, and vulgarity. Even if they aren’t your type of game, I recommend giving one of these two a shot.


15) Street Fighter 4


This list couldn’t be made without at least one fighting game. Street Fighter 4 took the childhood classic, added some gorgeous visuals, and gave us a complex fighter that can only be duplicated now.


16) Guacamelee



Welcome Back platformers! This game is a mixture of old school Mario and God of War. It’s funny dialogue driven and is an absolute blast to play. This game gave me a reason to believe in the Vita and that platformers can be fun again.


17) Portal 2



This might be one of the funniest and most fun puzzle game I have ever played. Glados will make you laugh and the puzzles will make your nose bleed. It’s all set as a first person shooter with a portal gun. All gamers of all ages will appreciate and love this game.


18) Metal Gear Solid 4



This game follows the soldier, the legend, Snake. Twenty-one years ago we were introduced to our hero. The game was gorgeous. The graphics were breathtaking. The gameplay was exactly what MGS players wanted and more. The game holds a place in many gamer’s hearts and is argued the best of this generation.


19) Fifa 12



This is the best sports game of this generation. Yeah, I said it. The fluid gameplay, the atmosphere, the visuals were flawless (for it’s time.) The addition of the Ultimate Team makes this sports game one of the best ever made.


20) Gears of War 3



This Xbox exclusive was the back bone of third person shooters. It’s story was on the line of good to great. The multiplayer is where this game shines. The modes were perfected by this game and it blossomed into an addicting, fun experience. There is nothing better than fighting off hordes of aliens for hours on end with your friends.


Honorable Mention: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dark Souls, Dragon Age Origins, Infamous, Alan Wake, and Battlefield 3


Give me your top 20 in the comments below!

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About the Author

Robert Steltenpohl

I'm a teacher from Georgia. I love sports, video games, comics, and movies. I think the Bioshock series tells the best story ever in video games.