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Games that defined this generation


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1 hour ago, Nick R said:

 

 

 

I haven't played or seen much of either of them, but the impression I get is that PUBG popularised battle royale multiplayer, and Fortnite refined it with slicker presentation, more cosmetics to purchase, and the Carlton dance.

 

Fortnite out and out copied PUBG, made it family friendly and monetised it to high heaven. I don't think it's a particularly refined game, infact it's a bit of a mess of design, but it certainly is the zeitgeist of the last few years and definitely defines the generation. 

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PUBG and Fortnite and the like aside, I think this genre was mostly defined by:

 

- Games providing more player agency (just compare Metal Gear Solid 4 to The Phantom Pain, Bioshock to Prey, Hitman Absolution to Hitman 2016/2 and Skyward Sword to BotW)

 

- The return of AA (publishers like Focus and THQ are basically build on it)

 

- The massive commercial and critical success of Japanese devs (Nintendo, From Software and Capcom all broke records)

 

- VR making a splash with titles like Lone Echo, Astro Bot, Beat Sabre, Blood and Truth, and Alyx

 

- Indies become even more ambitious, both in terms of design and graphics

 

- Game Pass and the rise of digital

 

- Sony's massive success with SP games

 

- Shooters escaping the CoD template with games like PUBG, Titanfall (2) and DOOM (Eternal)

 

- The massive success of non-violent MP games like Rocket League and Fall Guys

 

Personal GotG: Bloodborne

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An interesting question, here is a partial list, maybe I will get a chance to elaborate/expand at some point:

 

Pokemon Go

Fortnite

Destiny

Overwatch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Metal Gear Solid 5

Death Stranding

Rocket League

FIFA series

Breath of the Wild

Red Dead Redemption 2

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

No Man's Sky

 

I've only played 5 of these games and of those only personally enjoyed 3 of them.

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3 hours ago, Gabe said:

It feels like this has been the generation of the remaster more than anything.


Remasters and identical franchise sequels. It used to be just FIFA that sold the same game reskinned every year, then COD joined in, then all Ubisoft games lead by Ass Creed. Now most triple A games are just some old game with a fresh coat of paint and no desire whatsoever to explore new ideas.

 

3 hours ago, Nick R said:

 

 

 

I haven't played or seen much of either of them, but the impression I get is that PUBG popularised battle royale multiplayer, and Fortnite refined it with slicker presentation, more cosmetics to purchase, and the Carlton dance.

 

Fortnite is one of the laziest clones I’ve ever seen, and adds nothing except the building mechanics from the game it was built on top of, and layer after layer of predatory, cynical monetisation. It didn’t refine any of PUBG’s mechanics, just copied them. The only reason it became such a big hit is that it’s free so it was an easy entry point into the current hot genre. PUBG’s monetisation and updates were also really badly managed.

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For me:

 

Alien:Isolation - Didn't think they'd pull off a game with a single enemy and capture the spirit of Alien. They did.

 

Bloodborne - Loved the aggression risk/reward mechanic.

 

MGSV - Best open world game I've played. A real sandbox that rewards the player for thinking on the fly.

 

PSVR -This above all else as it showed it now works and made things fresh again. The most exciting ten minutes this gen was starting REVII and making my way into the house. Astonishing.

 

Mario Odyssey - Pure Nintendo joy.

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I've only played stuff on PS4 and PC, so that limits my options, but I'm another in the VR camp.

 

Astrobot and Beat Saber are perhaps the stand-outs - Astrobot as the first properly jaw-dropping VR moment I had, and Beat Saber for it's use of the Move controllers (a game with no button presses - just wafting your sabers around like a boss - a game where I will strike poses because it just feels too good not to). I've also put loads of hours into No Man's Sky, and love Wipeout and Rez in VR to bits. Also, Statik stands out as a really smart bit of design - so wonderfully tactile.

 

I'd agree with No Man's Sky as an example of maintenance being integral to the experience (although I'd like to have tried it in its original state - I know some people like it more, and some elements appeal to me...)

 

On the PC side I'd have to run with Flight Simulator for the stuff it's doing, and how gorgeous it looks on high-end rigs. Looks a bit less-good on my machine, and I've not actually played it a vast amount, but it's definitely a wonderful thing.

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One of the biggest oddities about this topic is Red Dead Redemption 2, which is pretty comfortably the highest selling new AAA game of this generation (although Mario Kart is up there if you add in its Wii U sales). And yet I would struggle to consider it particularly defining of this generation - not because its not top tier but because it seems to exist in this strange dimension outside of the rest of the industry. 

 

I simultaneously think its one of the greatest things I’ve ever played while also wondering if I’d put it in my top ten games for this period. I don’t see anything in it that other developers are going to copy or mimic.
 

I guess this is because it really doesn’t do anything new as far as ‘gameplay’ goes. What’s makes it unique is a kind of weird obsessive attention to detail and willingness to go in very un-video gamey plot directions that can only be achieved through infinite time and money plus exorbitant crunch.
 

It seems totally singular. I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like it ever again.

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One thing no-ones mentioned is the whole digital CCG boom was this gen - Hearthstone was after the gen launched in 2014 and led to a whole host of imitators.

 

In fact I'd say there's been little recognition of some of the trends that defined the generation beyond the most-recent one (Battle Royale), like what about those couple of years where everyone was making hero shooters based on Overwatch?

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1 hour ago, Flanders said:

One of the biggest oddities about this topic is Red Dead Redemption 2, which is pretty comfortably the highest selling new AAA game of this generation (although Mario Kart is up there if you add in its Wii U sales). And yet I would struggle to consider it particularly defining of this generation - not because its not top tier but because it seems to exist in this strange dimension outside of the rest of the industry. 

 

I simultaneously think its one of the greatest things I’ve ever played while also wondering if I’d put it in my top ten games for this period. I don’t see anything in it that other developers are going to copy or mimic.
 

I guess this is because it really doesn’t do anything new as far as ‘gameplay’ goes. What’s makes it unique is a kind of weird obsessive attention to detail and willingness to go in very un-video gamey plot directions that can only be achieved through infinite time and money plus exorbitant crunch.
 

It seems totally singular. I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like it ever again.


I think it’s difficult for it to influence other games because nobody else can work with budgets or timescales as long as Rockstar do. But I also think it sold a lot not because of any actual qualities it has but because it’s the only game from them this gen and it’s the follow up to GTA, a ridiculously popular game. It occupies the same space as COD and FIFA, where casual players buy it in droves, but it’s unlikely to be the kind of thing developers or journalists are that bothered by because in terms of gameplay it’s so generic and played out. 

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8 hours ago, RubberJohnny said:

One thing no-ones mentioned is the whole digital CCG boom was this gen - Hearthstone was after the gen launched in 2014 and led to a whole host of imitators.

 

In fact I'd say there's been little recognition of some of the trends that defined the generation beyond the most-recent one (Battle Royale), like what about those couple of years where everyone was making hero shooters based on Overwatch?

 

I mean, I mentioned it. And Overwatch. Are you blocking me RubberJohnny :( Oh no. What have I done.

 

Hearthstone isn't an innovator. It was the first to truly popularise in a digital form the style of games we've been playing in paper since 1993. It took a while for WOTC to mobilise and get MTG Arena going but it's revolutionised Magic and many of the digital aspects are bleeding back into paper play in terms of card design and the meta. MTG Online had existed for years though, as had the Pokemon TCG game online. Hearthstone was the first to realise you need to make it look good and properly multi-platform to engage a wider audience than just hardcore TCG/CCG players. 

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16 hours ago, Broker said:

Fortnite is one of the laziest clones I’ve ever seen, and adds nothing except the building mechanics from the game it was built on top of, and layer after layer of predatory, cynical monetisation. It didn’t refine any of PUBG’s mechanics, just copied them. The only reason it became such a big hit is that it’s free so it was an easy entry point into the current hot genre. PUBG’s monetisation and updates were also really badly managed.


Nothing except building mechanics seems like a pretty massive addition that very much changes the flow of the game. Especially when compared to the differences between most games in the same genres.

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22 minutes ago, thesnwmn said:


Nothing except building mechanics seems like a pretty massive addition that very much changes the flow of the game. Especially when compared to the differences between most games in the same genres.

To be fair,  they didn't really add them to the game so much as they were already present when they added the parts they copied from pubg.

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It has to be Fortnite. Not only for becoming a huge phenomenon out of nowhere, and defining a genre that did not (to my knowledge) exist before this gen. But also for doing so as a free-to-play game with cross-platform gaming.

 

Sure, other games did these things before. But as a package Fortnite is the slickest I have seen.

 

For the record, I played a few games and it is not really my thing, but I can see the appeal.

 

From a single player perspective, I would say The Witcher 3. It has become the benchmark against which all RPGs and adventure games seem to have been judged for the last few years, and likely will be for some time to come as, as Mario 64 was, and continues to be, for 3D platformers.

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Gave this a bit of thought over night and the only game I could think of that really had something beyond a bit of "next gen polish" was Forza Horizon 4. The dynamic weather and the effect it had on the game was the point where I went "that shows the power and potential of the system.

 

But, as someone else has said higher up, Game Pass has defined this generation for me. Having access to a massive library of games for not much has somewhat broadened my gaming horizons and I can't see going back to having to buy everything I want to try.

 

 

 

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So for me - and the way I personally defining "generation defining" which is something fresh that couldn't have been done before on old tech or tech that didn't exist in the public sphere. Also potential seismic things that were introduced that could have lasting impact. So I guess more about gaming as well as the games.

 

Things that will change gaming forever:-

 

Game Pass - Game subscription service? From a console manufacturer? AAA games released into the service day and date with their retail and digital release? Less than £10 a month? This would have sounded like a fantasy less than five years ago. Yet here we are. What MS have done here is staggering, a huge risk. This is the type of risk arguably only MS could take. Personally for me best thing that happened due to the way I play games these days. Great selection of pick up and play indie titles along with some heavy hitters to play should I get time. Oh actually perhaps the second best thing.... first they brought it to PC too. And the AAA releases.

 

Streaming - I think during this generation of consoles along with increases in broadband speed has seen the realisation that streaming games is a thing, it can work and is another option for consoleless gaming. MS again embracing this with x-Stream - cunningly wrapped into a gamepass sub and Google with its vision, Stadia, Who knows where this is going but investment is being made. It will be yet another option to reduce the barrier into gaming - especially as TVs are now mostly of the smart variety and the apps to support streaming a click away. Couple this with your favourite game controller. Steaming will be a thing. Not for everyone but for more casual gamers perhaps which lets face it console gaming was once targeted at.

 

Fortnite gaming model - Sell it free or cheap and then make your money from the DLC. This has always been around however this generation has seen this model become a thing. I only have to look at my son to see how this model is affecting the upcoming generation. He and most of his friends seem to be glued to this (Fortnite) spending most of their disposable income on DLC to play. I get it. Its a dynamic changing game where this always something new with your audience trapped in an eco-system. I expect more games to follow this model into the next generation or at lease more companies to attempt games along Fortnites model.

 

VR - Noted in my first post. Finally becomes "a thing" and its getting more popular thanks to it being more accessible through devices like Quest and barriers of entry in terms of costs coming down. Personally it was a gamechager for me this generation a generally added something to new to my pastime - racing games in particular hugely benefit from this and any other sim type games. From my perspective my final year project was in 3D spaces on the web (using VRML!!!!). That was some 20+ years ago (OMG!). Seeing this technology out there and cheap enough for everyone to access at the quality it is at is a staggering and almost a dream realised for me.

 

The Games

 

Half Life Alyx

One of the best demonstrations of how VR experiences should be done and what makes the game medium special. Staggering achievement in immersion. Played around an hour of this but waiting for my new graphics card to arrive so I can enjoy it fully! 

 

Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo once again showing how inventive it can be sublime level design and just so many great little touches. All runs on the Switch too which is a technical underdog this generation.

 

Astrobot

How do you make a platformer game in VR? As Mario 64 showed the way for making a platformer 3D this shows how to do it in VR. Staggering. 

 

Rez Infinite

VR shooter with trance music. A vision realised. 

 

So many wonderful indie games

This was a generation for me that brought the little games and indie companies back into the limelight. Games like Gris, Old Mans Journey, Human Fall Flat, Cuphead, Resogun. So many great little indie games. This seems to be a generation where the indie games have entertained me much more than the AAA titles much more creative and fun. Arguably like console gaming used to be I guess.


 

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Games that defined this generation...  Has to be The Last of Us 2.  I played the original and enjoyed it. I watched the reveal trailer in 2017 and it looked good. The hype built and built and I followed it via the rllmuk thread, more preview videos and started to understand that this game wasn't necessarily the game I wanted.  After reading pages of thread comments announcing that Amazon have despatched, someone got it a day early, Argos have got it and the excitement went through the roof.  Then, spooler alert, there was discussion of character development, guitar playing, rope animations, it seemed that everyone's comments were about everything but the gameplay. And that gameplay seemed much the same as the first game  , only with better graphics and cut scenes. Watching the game on YouTube showed me everything I needed to see, and I realised that, for me , this was a game that was much the same to watch as it was to play.  Then comments came about how the 30 hour run time was too repetitive, too long and the game got boring. For the first time I'd followed a game from announcement to release, loved the teases and tasters but by the time it came out I didn't want it, and further discussion on the forum showed I wasn't the only one.  By giving the player too much content it affected my view of the AAA gaming industry.  Why did they spend so much money creating a 30 hour game when they had all the ingredients to make an outstanding 10 hour game?  Why is more always seen as a good thing?  I don't have 30 hours to devote to one game in this world of unlimited choice. Why would I want to play a 30 hour long game, excluding everything else for the duration?

 

Last gen I was all over TLOU1  and really liked it.  This Gen for me has been defined by how many games I've been able to not buy and not have the feeling of missing out.  The irony is I must have played Mr Driller on Switch for more than 30 hours.  I do have the spare time, I just can't face these massive epic games any more, especially when the common opinion seems to be that the extra length is actually making the overall experience worse. For me, this feeling defined the generation.  The realisation that you can't play everything, there's too much of every thing, it's all too big, too impressive and these incredible interactive experiences are incredible but I don't feel I want to 'play' them like a traditional game. Last gen, TLOU2 would have been a midnight launch, day one.  Today, thanks to the discussion forum and Twitch and YouTube I was part of it, and I don't think I missed out on anything by not buying it. Does that make sense?

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The Last of Us 2 is a technical marvel. Lovely visuals and sound. I re-bought a PS4 to play this. Then I just couldn't. The story just didn't do it for me - revenge etc. The gratuitous violence. The wave after wave of killing stuff. Just got bored to be honest. And cared little about the story. Loved the first couple of hours or so though. Loved the first one so not sure why this didn't grab me. Think it was the premise of the game felt pretty mindless in the end. So the whole lot got sold again. Luckily made a couple of quid profit on it and it's going to a new GPU on the PC. 

 

I've had a few games like this this generation. Really looked forward to them and then just got turned off after playing them for a bit. Breath of the wild springs to mind. I so wanted to like this game did around 20 hours or so. It just never felt like a Zelda game IMHO - something like a hybrid between Skyrim with Link. The other was Red Dead Redemption 2. Technical masterpiece. Just don't like R* games. Just have to accept that and not buy any of them next time. Think it's the mission structure or the fact when I arrived at the camp and then had to go and do jobs to earn money kind of did it for me. Felt more like a job than a game.... :D Enjoyed the first couple or so hours though.

 

Think what I have to accept as I get older is that I don't like long games. In fact I've never really had long games in my life. Think the game I spent most time on ever was Elite on my C64 all those years ago exploring the galaxies.

 

80 hours on a single game? Ever? No. Not willing to invest the time. I have to many other things in my real life going on that I want to do. Probably 5 hours a week on gaming is my balance these days.

 

Why GamePass is perfect for me.

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I have a real bad attitude to Bloodborne because I'm so fucking shit at it.

 

It's the worst game I've played this generation on account of not playing previous types of the genre, getting caught up in the hype a few days before release, pre-ordering it and FUCKING HATING IT.

 

I HATE Bloodborne (I wish I didn't).

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Games that defined this generation

  • Star Wars Battlefront 2 (pride and accomplishment)
  • Sim City (always online)
  • Avengers A Game (please kill me)
  • Radical Heights (bandwagon simulator)
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I think Rocket League has a shout for the definitive game of the generation:

 

  • Launched on a subscription gaming service, digitally and has also been available long term on psnow and game pass.
  • Came from nowhere in terms of marketing and has turned a small, indie Dev in to a huge service company.
  • Used loot boxes early on, with crates opened with paid for keys.
  • Has constantly been updated over the years since release and its predecessor was in development for years to perfect the formula.
  • Has pursued the play anywhere approach and was the first game to offer cross play on console and PC.
  • Has a thriving esports scene, growing in strength all the time.
  • Is going free to play, with cosmetic item sales at the core of its business model. Have migrated to the epic store as their host platform.

Most, if not all, of the above have been key features of how gaming has changed this generation and Psyonix were either the first to implement many of them or were there in the first wave.

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