Are your favourite franchises better or worse this generation?


What this generation brought:

Multi-directional gravity, a little bit of waggle, an orchestral score

How the overall package compares:

There’s a certain impossibility about the core Mario series. We accept that any multi-sequeled property (and is there any other kind now?) will become nose-bothering dump within two to three games, yet after 24 years Mario is still defined by his improvement and evolution with each new release. 


With the Gamecube’s Super Mario Sunshine though, we hit the first blip in the plumber's career. While still undoubtedly better than most 3D platformers, it lacked the freshness, originality and excitement we now expect from a new Mario game and, thanks to FLUDD, at times it didn’t even feel like a Mario game at all. Most displeasing.


Super Mario Galaxy isn’t just an improvement. It’s one of the best games in history. Built around one clever idea explored in all those inventive ways only Nintendo can do, it also brings the best of 2D Mario along for the ride and completely reinvents the platformer in the process. It’s huge. It’s beautiful. It’ll warm your heart like hot mulled wine and blow your mind like a 12-guage. And the power of Koji Kondo’s musical expertise combined with a real orchestra is stunning enough to make mountains weep.

Throw in New Super Mario Bros. on the DS (but maybe not the messy follow-up) and this is one of Mario's best generations yet.

When the Awesometer says Mario is best:


What this generation brought:

Four-player co-op, real-time map customisation, a noir detective story, excessive hype

How the overall package compares:

Halo popularised slick and accessible FPS on consoles. Halo 2 popularised slick and accessible online gameplay on consoles. Having already broken ground like a kid chewing on pebbles breaks teeth, was there anywhere else for Halo to go on the 360? Yes. But was it all good? No.


While those unconvinced by the ways of Master Chief brushed off Halo 3 as merely Halo 2 with better graphics (and on some level that’s understandable), the third game did a hell of a lot in terms of Bungie’s continued bestowing of hot, sticky love upon its community. Along with uploadable gameplay videos and file sharing, we got real-time multiplayer level editing by way of Bungie’s pioneering Forge tools, and what was already a simmering community exploded.


Although things were beginning to get a little stale by the time of ODST’s arrival, its non-linear, noirish take on Halo’s storytelling – not to mention its amazingly moody score – managed to freshen things up, as did Firefight, Bungie’s take on Gears of War 2’s Horde mode. And then there was Halo Wars, but mercifully we’ve left that ‘til last and are running out of space to discuss it, because it was a load of old…

When the Awesometer says Halo is best: 


Prince of Persia

What this generation brought:

Beautiful, painting-style graphics, more open environments, a total inability to die

How the overall package compares:

The total reboot of a much-loved franchise is a prospect in equal parts terrifying and exciting. When the much-loved franchise is one that revels in hardcore perfection as deeply as the Prince of Persia Sands of Time trilogy? And when the word “accessible” is bandied about? It’s mostly that former emotion.


Over the course of its three games, last-gen’s PoP nailed it all. Complex, do-or-die platforming blended perfectly with deep, flowing, improvisational combat and a damnably clever time manipulation mechanic, and despite each game’s faults there was rightfully much rejoicing.


While the new Prince of Persia did a lot of great new things – the more open world afforded by the Assassin’s Creed engine and the new emphasis on tense, one-on-one combat in particular – it also turned a series you’d once felt proud to master into one that frequently felt like it was playing itself. Although we’re all for accessibility, there’s such a thing as a game being too friendly. And as for the new protagonist’s hateful Jock of Persia persona? Excuuuuse me, Princess…

When the Awesometer says Prince of Persia is best: 



  • 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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