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Are your favourite franchises better or worse this generation?

There’s nothing more exciting than a new console generation. And however much we bounce and squeal about the limitless possibilities of new game design upon each new launch, the thing we’re always most interested in is how much better our favourite old games are going to be this time around. But are they always?

We decided to take stock of just how much this generation has improved things – or not – by comparing the current editions of our favourite long-standing franchises to their crusty old predecessors. And just so that there can be no arguments, we’ve employed hard science, via GamesRadar’s patented Cross-Generational Video Game Awesometer, in order to attain an accurate summation of when things were best. Trust its readings. It never lies. It is science.


Resident Evil

What this generation brought:

Two-player co-op, twin-stick controls

How the overall package compares:

Resident Evil 4 was one of, if not the, defining action game of the last generation, so how on Earth was Resi 5 going to follow it up? Its predecessor reinvented both survival horror and third-person shooters, but with the likes of Gears of War having already done the latter again this time around, a new spin was going to be even harder to find.

The solution? Iteration rather than revolution. The current-gen Resident Evil is exactly what that description suggests; Resident Evil 4 with current-gen trappings. The basic gameplay is the same, but the visuals are amongst the best we’ve seen on our current machines. Throw in online co-op, a cover system, and a new, Gears-style, twin-stick-control option, and you’ve got everything expected from a modern day Resi. Perfect then? No, not quite.

The problem is that by adding a grab-bag of rival shooters’ conventions, Resident Evil’s formula began to feel diluted, even suffering a personality crisis at times. With feet now equally in the action and horror camps, Resident Evil 5 is a game that often doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. And given the even greater emphasis on action, fans of the earlier, pure horror games are now more alienated than ever. And it doesn’t help that in terms of gameplay and enemies, Chris and Sheva’s adventure sometimes sticks a little too closely to Leon’s for comfort.

When the Awesometer says Resident Evil is best: 

 


Grand Theft Auto

What this generation brought:

A seamless Liberty City, better writing and cinematic values than ever before, less madness, DLC

How the overall package compares:

It’s fair to say that Grand Theft Auto had a pretty good time last generation. Inventing the sandbox genre and expanding its development to giddy levels between GTA3, Vice City and San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto changed the scope of action games forever and provided some of the most ludicrous rollercoaster fun we’ve ever had.

It’s only natural that this generation’s Grand Theft Auto IV was more eagerly awaited than the second coming of Jesus, but your comparable enjoyment of it rather depends on what you want what from a GTA game. If you buy into Rockstar North’s intense love of crime cinema, its characters, story and vibrant sense of place make it the game you’ve dreamed of ever since you’ve had thumbs. If you’re more about skydiving, rocket packs and ram-raiding shopping centres in a tank, part IV’s more reserved approach is likely to leave you a little underwhelmed.

That said, the core GTA gameplay is noticeably improved, particularly in terms of gun combat, and the much-vaunted DLC expansions balance out the fun rather wonderfully thanks to The Ballad of Gay Tony’s stonkingly over-the-top excesses. But that’s only if you want to pay extra for the experience. And currently, only if you happen to own an Xbox 360.

When the Awesometer says Grand Theft Auto is best: 

 


Metal Gear Solid

What this generation brought:

An old man, an over-the-shoulder camera, more action, cooler camouflage, more variety, longer cutscenes

How the overall package compares:

During the last couple of generations the core Metal Gear Solid franchise improved with each and every instalment. Having created the stealth action genre with Metal Gear Solid in 1998, director Hideo Kojima then pushed video game storytelling to brand new excesses with his cinematic if protracted cutscenes and consistently experimental narrative devices. Loved and reviled in equal measure for exactly the same reasons, Metal Gear Solid is as distinctive and progressive a series as exists in gaming, but how did current-gen technology run with that identity?

 

Beautifully is how. Put Simply, Metal Gear Solid 4 is everything we hoped for from the marriage of Kojima’s throbbing avant garde brain and the PS3’s no-less-throbbing Cell processor. The visuals are still some of the best we’ve seen on the system, the smoother, more open game mechanics are a joy, and in terms of fan service, few sequels have ever given so much back to their long-term audience.

 

It’s possible to argue that the PS2’s MGS3 is objectively the best game in the series, but as a resolution to the story, a send-off for Snake and stunning calling card for the PlayStation 3, MGS4 can’t be beaten.

When the Awesometer says Metal Gear Solid is best: 

 

38 comments

  • venomman01 - January 10, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    ODST was a freaking waste of 60 bucks
  • TheTrooper424 - January 9, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    Ive been coming to this site weekly for the past three years to read your new articles but you guys have been slicking horrible and it goes to show with this article. GTA was way better back in the day and I highly disagree with a lot of your statements. Youve done it once again...thanks
  • AuthorityFigure - January 8, 2010 10:48 a.m.

    @The_Tingler @Nin10DOH @SausageLozenge Zelda is not HD - it doesn't qualify. You might as well be asking "Where's Double Dragon?"
  • AuthorityFigure - January 8, 2010 10:45 a.m.

    This personality crisis that people accuse Resident Evil 5 of is laughable. This accusation only represents the players' unwillingness to move with the series. RE5 is an Opus of action gaming. Get your heads out of the past - it's unprofessional and short-sighted.
  • GoldenMe - January 7, 2010 2:01 a.m.

    Why, Sega, WHY!!!
  • Xeacons - January 6, 2010 6:17 p.m.

    It's always tough when a predecessor redefines a genre or series. If the sequel doesn't make every improvement the prequel does, it's "awful." Even if the sequel is every bit the former was, and little more, if it doesn't make the leaps and bounds its predecessor did, it's "terrible." I don't care. I still love it as long as it doesn't totally back slide.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - January 6, 2010 4:15 p.m.

    i wholefully disagree with GR saying that gta4 is better then the past gta's. i dont even understand it. san andreas and vice city were just so much more fun then 4 in everyway.
  • CAPST3R - January 6, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    I preferred the old ratchet and clank games. I've always loved the weapon upgrading. TOD spoilt this, so I haven't bought a R&C since. I want a downloadable bundle of R&C 1, 2, 3 and gladiator, with improved graphics. My first game was R&C, and what a bloody great game that was. By the way, did they ever make a sequel to that cartoon shooter for the PS2? It's name was a number, I think it was 13. That game was my first FPS.
  • The_Tingler - January 6, 2010 5:54 a.m.

    Sonic Rush was brilliant, a perfect Sonic game. I'm disappointed that you talked about Silent Hill and only mentioned Homecoming. What about Origins and, more importantly, Shattered Memories? And yes, where's Zelda? We've had three games so far this generation.
  • aion7 - January 6, 2010 5:48 a.m.

    Third Strike is superior to SF4 in every way. The music and graphics are better. The characters are more varied and interesting (my favorite characters in the Street Fighter universe are both only in SF3: Dudley and Q). There is no reward for doing badly in Third Strike (but there are still comebacks). Selectable supers adds variety and depth. Multiple super bars adds emphasis on strategic meter management and building. Universal overheads and teching make all characters playable at a high level. A smaller reversal window and no autocorrect make for a more offensive flow than SF4's Turtlefest of reversal dp FADC ultra. Despite how it may seem in this post, I still like SF4. In fact, I was just playing it at a tournament three days ago. It's a solid game, and I hope they fix it's unfortunately numerous problems in Super. I don't mean to sound like a snob here, but by focusing too much on making it accessible, they've made it into a worse game autocorrect, ultras and dp shortcuts are all present to even the odds between players that know what they are doing and players that don't. The fun with fighting games is being able to learn the game and improve. To know that what governs who wins are execution, reactions, knowledge and yomi.
  • JustTheBoBreaker - January 6, 2010 5:31 a.m.

    I had never played a Resident Evil game before 5 and I really didn't enjoy it. I agree with the author that it seems to employ many older gameplay elements with newer elements found in other next-gen games. I'm sure Resident Evil 4 was as good as everyone says, but 5 dissapointed me as a newcomer to the series
  • GameManiac - January 6, 2010 2:28 a.m.

    I can't agree more with Mario. Super Mario Galaxy is gaming gold. I find it very odd at how the needle for sonic was balanced between "then" and "now". I honestly wanted to see the needle pointing BOTTOM-left (considering how much better Sonic games were a few generations ago).
  • Defguru7777 - January 6, 2010 2:21 a.m.

    I agree with most on this list. And I hate to be the obligatory Halo fanboy, but Halo Wars really wasn't that bad.
  • DriveShaft - January 6, 2010 2:10 a.m.

    I think Mario's and Ratchet and Clank were better before, but at least finalyl a mention of RE5 being RE4 clone. Really, if you gave Leon steroids and gave him a vacation you have Resident Evil 5, both are still overrated.
  • spacemonkey086 - January 6, 2010 1:42 a.m.

    I like old school GTA and Metal Gear Solid
  • SausageLozenge - January 6, 2010 1:15 a.m.

    Where is Zelda? I LOVED Wind Waker. Twilight Princess was cool, but I miss toon Link.
  • Nin10DOH - January 5, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    um, i dont see Zelda. Shame on you guys otherwise pretty good article
  • Romination - January 5, 2010 11:48 p.m.

    this article is the biggest damn cop-out i may have ever read and seems to be fueled by saying 'well i guess its good still and people like it even though the old ones were good...'. Only ONE game was completely better, apparently. Glad you had the balls to do A franchise. Bah. I was hoping for a "games that don't deserve nostalgia" feel...
  • JosefMotley - January 5, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    TOTALLY agree about mario kart wii. it's so badly designed it's almost broken. just to check it wasn't my imagination i played the DS one again and was so shocked that an entire lap in first place wasn't constantly interrupted by like ten blue shells a minute. all they could have done is add an item switch like in smash bros so everyone can immediatley turn the blue shells and lightning off... but then again the only good tracks in mario kart wii are in the retro cups, so i'd still rather play it on DS or even gamecube. i have to say though that mario kart 64 is still easily the worst of the series.

Showing 1-20 of 38 comments

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