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The Top 7... Best new franchises of this generation

3 – BioShock

Why it’s better than the rest: BioShock can't be shoehorned into any single genre – it's part shooter, part survival horror, part roleplaying, part strategy, part puzzler and, depending how far you're willing to stretch the definition, possibly even part adventure game. There's lots of blood, lots of violence, lots of intense combat, lots of memorable music and lots of pretty graphics.

What makes BioShock so special, so groundbreaking and so clearly one of the greatest new franchises of this generation, however, are the things that can't be bulleted on the back of a box. The atmosphere, which dripped with enough carefully designed detail to convince you not only that an underwater city exists, but also that it's the most terrifying place on the planet. The characters, who spoke with eloquence and intelligence, and who battled with deep philosophies as well as deadly ammunitions. The story, which dared to subvert both the player's and the medium's clichéd expectations.


Above: Utterly gripping from beginning to end

Legacy: BioShock took what many developers might have considered a risk – assuming that today's gamers are mature and thoughtful, fully capable of appreciating bizarre, complex and morally ambiguous ideas in the midst of all that frenzied action. The fact that the first entry succeeded critically and commercially, justifying a sequel two years later and a spiritual prequel two years from now, has arguably given the rest of the industry more courage and conviction to experiment as well. If more developers took cues from this example of daring design, the games industry would be a better place as a whole.


2 – Uncharted

Why it’s better than the rest: Like Assassin’s Creed II, the Uncharted series is proof that a game’s charm and wit can be just as important as its action – and Uncharted offers the best of all three, as well as some of the most impressive visuals on any platform. Like Tomb Raider with more heart (and roughly 150 percent more screwball repartee), Uncharted centers on Nathan Drake, a smart-assed treasure hunter whose greatest talents include recruiting interesting companions and being able to survive when hopelessly outmatched. Constantly under attack from mercenaries, monsters and gigantic, puzzle-like traps, he’s almost as much fun to watch as he is to control, as he finds ways to entertainingly freak out while expertly leaping and shooting his way through one desperate situation after another.

Uncharted wouldn’t be the same without Drake’s in-over-his-head charm, but it’d still be pretty awesome. Every level is a memorable set-piece, covering terrain that ranges from lush jungles to bombed-out cities to Tibetan mountains, and almost every puzzle is unique. Also, the environmental puzzle-solving is balanced out with Gears of War-style firefights (which could get kind of sloggy in the first game, but still) and occasional battles against tanks and helicopter gunships. So far, Uncharted has been fantastic, and we’re eager to see where it takes us next.

Legacy: While the PlayStation 3 has had no shortage of exclusive games – including the first Uncharted – it wasn’t until Uncharted 2 that it had an immediate first-party hit that was beloved by critics and sold like crazy. More than any other game before it, Uncharted 2 really showed off what Sony’s system could do, and elevated the PS3 from beleaguered third-place underdog to a must-have for serious gamers.

It also knocked Lara Croft back off her perch just as she was starting to reclaim it, which even these days is not an unimpressive feat.

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109 comments

  • sleepyMexican45 - August 13, 2011 10:08 p.m.

    dead space instead of Assassins Creed.
  • 19Pakk99 - November 14, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    Fishow753 ... I agree. It was neither a good shooter nor a good RPG. And what was up with the (spoiler alert!) giant Terminator at the end? The game suddenly became the final stage of a Sonic game! Poor.
  • Sukharevskaya - November 11, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    Great list, except Left 4 Dead shouldn't be on here and Mass Effect shouldn't be first. Other than that heck yes!
  • philipshaw - November 10, 2010 11:18 p.m.

    I couldn't agree more with the Top 3, can't wait for ME2 to come out on PS3
  • Sy87 - November 10, 2010 7:09 p.m.

    I like how the trilogy franchises are starting and ending on the same console. A lot less fuss for gamers.
  • FanofSaiyan - November 10, 2010 5:43 a.m.

    While I agree that the list was good, I just have to ask why these games weren't mentioned: Crackdown, inFAMOUS, Mirror's Edge and Dead Rising. Before people criticize, inFAMOUS and Mirror's Edge are both franchises because sequels were announced for both of them (though for some reason NOBODY has new info. on Mirror's Edge 2!)... please GR, if you find out any info on Mirror's Edge 2 LET US KNOW!
  • michaelpreston - November 10, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    OKAMI? Guess it's not yet a franchise....:(
  • ComradeKhani - November 10, 2010 1:45 a.m.

    good call on all of these. especially mass effect, best game of all time :D
  • BoondockSaint54 - November 10, 2010 1:04 a.m.

    I gotta say I agree
  • Albireo6972 - November 10, 2010 12:03 a.m.

    Screw Mass Errect, that game was horrible, did not care for em one bit.
  • kmdeftones - November 9, 2010 10:55 p.m.

    Good list. My only disappointment is that Bioshock is a franchise. I loved the first one, but it had a finite end. Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed built a longer story into their first games, but Bioshock didn't (shouldn't) have anywhere to go. I will never play Bioshock 2 because of this. Having said that, I'm not sure what I would replace it with. @AncientCanada97 I agree with you. I really want to see where they take Dragon Age. I really liked most of the characters in the first one and I cared about the choices I made. I love Bioware!
  • Gkicker2 - November 9, 2010 10 p.m.

    I'm sure 3 Xbox 360 exclusives aren't going to make PS3 owners very happy. No Crackdown?? No Army of Two?? Just kidding... Thats a joke people!
  • InstantTitKill - November 9, 2010 9:40 p.m.

    I sure can't wait to hear them discuss this list on the next Tdar, I pretty much could not agree less with this list...
  • ColonelKc - November 9, 2010 8:47 p.m.

    Im not trying to be mean, but i dont like this list. Not one bit.
  • monsterhunter3rox - November 9, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    No more heroes is going to get a third game next generation.and mass effect has 2 games too
  • HitmanSB07 - November 9, 2010 5:37 p.m.

    Completely agree with the number one, one of the greatest franchises of all time.
  • babyhenchy1 - November 9, 2010 5:05 p.m.

    The only reason Bioshock didn't get here was because Bioshock 2 was a big disappointment for me. Still a good game but nowhere near as memorable as the first Bioshock.
  • babyhenchy1 - November 9, 2010 4:53 p.m.

    Mass Effect is one of my Top 3 franchises of all time along with Metroid and Metal Gear. The story is probably the best in gaming, the characters are so good, the universe so deep, and in Mass Effect 2 we had the same strengths plus excellent gameplay and design. Nearly all of these franchises deserves this list. My top 5 ( only franchises that have more than one game released) 5. Gears of War 4. Dead Space 3. Assassin’s Creed 2. Uncharted 1. Mass Effect Soon Portal will be on here too.
  • JADENkOTOR - November 9, 2010 4:27 p.m.

    @ Everyone who is stupid and didn't read the article including you digitaltheorpy and the guy above me: LAST GEN GAMES AREN'T ON THE LIST!!!! BEFORE YOU GET BUTTHURT LEARN HOW TO READ
  • Gahmah - November 9, 2010 4:10 p.m.

    I really have to disagree with mass effect, that second game was a pretty substantial letdown story wise, and overall interaction with equipment and things felt too shallow. I mean c'mon, roboskeleton? the other reapers all look the god damn same but humanity gets a robo-skeleton? Not to mention hardly anything really happened in the story, you recruited a few guys, you flew through one mysterious gate, you blew up a ship, the game is cool and rather fun, but I guess as a franchise for the decade is pretty alright. As much as I dislike saying this, I would say COD is a better franchise, don't settle for hackneyed stories like mass effect 2 if you're going to beat on heavy rain folks, it's hardly much better.

Showing 1-20 of 109 comments

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