7 Best Games of the 7th Generation: Mass Effect Trilogy

mass-effect-trilogy-headerLast week, when talking about Skyrim, I mentioned that a number of games outside the RPG genre incorporated elements of RPGs into their games. These included things like skill points, customization, inventory systems, questing, deep stories, dialogue tree and more of the classic RPG tricks.

This week’s entry into the 7 Best may have started life as being a bit more of an RPG than a third-person shooter but evolved into a third-person shooter that retained the strong influence of RPGs. Of course, if I boiled down the Mass Effect Trilogy to a series of gameplay mechanics and the evolution of the mechanics, I’d be missing the whole point of the franchise. Mass Effect’s strong suit and its claim to fame is the story.

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7 Best Games of the 7th Generation: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-headerIf there’s one genre of games that seemed to take of the last generation of consoles, it was the role-playing game. The RPG genre has been around for almost as long as video games thanks to the popularity of the pen-and-paper RPGs, like Dungeons and Dragons. It was really this generation that saw the proliferation of RPGs and the incorporation of RPG elements into a number of games in other genres.

At the top of the class in this generation is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The fifth entry into Bethesda’s hit action RPG series re-set the bar for Western RPGs thanks to gorgeous graphics, a spectacular soundtrack and seemingly limitless gameplay throughout the open world of Skyrim.

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7 Best Games of the 7th Generation: Rock Band

rock-band-headerWhen people think up games for lists such as out 7 best games of the 7th generation (or 7 For 7 for short), they think of game of the year winners or critically acclaimed blockbusters. But how many of these lists include games that were just wildly popular and genre redefining?

Rock Band was probably never really in contention for a major game of the year award but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a big game for the current console generation. The mark of a game being among the best isn’t just what the critics think but what the gamers think. I’m hard pressed to think of anyone who didn’t love playing Rock Band.

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7 Best Games of the 7th Generation: Uncharted 2: Among Theives

uncharted-2-headerAs the current console generation went on, games increasingly tried to be like interactive movies. The goal seemed to be to recreate the Hollywood experience but with you playing the starring role using a controller. While one could argue that Heavy Rain may have gotten the closest, no game captured the fun of the summer blockbuster while releasing a solid game quite like Naughty Dog.

Since today marks both the launch of the PlayStation 4 and our 7 For 7 series, I thought that it was only appropriate to kick off with the epic PlayStation 3 exclusive Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

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Are Triple-A Games An Endangered Species?

The last six months have been far from smooth sailing for the makers of the best of the best video games. Aspiring triple-A developer 38 Studios went bankrupt under the weight of poor business decisions and an underselling game. Irrational Studios is losing top staff as BioShock Infinite allegedly struggles to its spring 2013 release date. BioWare has faced gamer and critical backlash over its last three big games (Dragon Age 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3). Blizzard’s Diablo III has faced criticism over having to be always online (exacerbated by server issues during the first week after launch) and a poor endgame.

Sure, there are still game studios dedicated to putting out only the best games but some games are being crushed under high expectations. This begs the question if the so-called Triple-A game developers we have now are long for this world and if we’ll see any new developers rise in their place. Continue reading

LittleBigPlanet Karting Beta Impressions

Last weekend, United Front Games held the North American public beta test for their upcoming LittleBigPlanet Karting game. The LBP series is one of Sony’s anchor franchises on the PlayStation 3 and the game that epitomizes the “Play, Create, Share” brand/campaign that Sony championed with LBP’s launch. Now it makes the transition from platformer to racing game with developer Media Molecule being swapped for UFG who developed the critically acclaimed Play, Create, Share game ModNation Racers.

So how does the LittleBigPlanet Karting beta stack up to the rest of the LBP series and how is it shaping up ahead of its fall release? Continue reading

E3 2012: The Sony Outlook

While Sony is the second console manufacturer to have their big E3 press conference, thanks to Nintendo pre-show video presentation, they were really the final company to show off their wares. With Nintendo showing off the new Wii U, Microsoft showing off their new Smart Glass app and a massive $5.5 billion net loss their 2012 fiscal year (ending March 31, 2012), Sony was expected to make a splash at E3. Continue reading