Welp. Here we are! Those brand new consoles are here. TODAY for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 on November 12th!! Anyway, we decided to really stump our team with our next and final question just as the new consoles drop (Please, don’t drop your new console).

“What was the best overall game that  you played on this, soon to be old, generation?”

This is how they all answered:

Allen S.
Editorials and Reviews Manager/ Collector of Achievements

Choice: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

This was a tough choice. I was tempted to just put Apex Legends because it’s had the most staying power with me. I play it nearly every day for at least six hours. Then I thought about how amazing Gears 5 was and how it set the stage for a great turn in the franchise. I also thought about how Last of Us 2 told a great story full of tragedy on various scales that I really need to go back and finish. How Resident Evil 7 changed an entire franchise for the better and even influenced the remakes of past games.

I think the one game that sticks maybe a little more at least for me is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It respectfully put the struggles and horrors of a mental illness while balancing a combat system that was just hard enough to want to learn but not so easy that hardcore fans of games like Dark Souls would complain. Well, complain too much anyway. I loved experiencing Senua’s journey to literal hell as she tried to overcome all the obstacles in front of her. Combat felt great, it was rewarding to nail the timing of incoming attacks and then counter it with a visceral finishing blow. The puzzles were smart, the lore of the world felt really fleshed out.

The audio of the voices in Senua’s head is a great mark in engineering. I was more than a little freaked to have voices moving around inside my headphones. Changing sides, saying horrible things, usually, it’s just my own voice doing that. I love this game even if I did have to switch to playing it without headphones because the voices were triggering panic attacks. I really want Microsoft and Ninja Theory to do well with the follow-up set to launch pretty soon on Xbox Series X.

Christopher T.
Staff Writer/I’m moving to Saturn or maybe one of its moons

Choice: Observation

I thought picking a game to reign supreme for this generation would be more difficult than it was, but I narrowed it down to three quite quickly. Two indie and a single AAA vied for my decree of the greatest game of the generation, Observation, Ghostrunner, and Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain. While The Phantom Pain was the best Metal Gear Solid game for its gameplay, the main missions were quite repetitive, which is why I spent most of my time in free roam wreaking havoc. It’s not surprising my choice would be an indie game as the AAA space has stagnated for several generations of consoles, however, both Observation and Ghostrunner are fantastic and I can only choose one.

While I think Ghostrunner is a fantastic game and is my highest scored review, Observation will be a game that can be enjoyed by a wider range of people and something I can jump into whenever the mood takes me. Ghostrunner, while still riding high in my thoughts, will eventually grow tiresome and annoying as the difficulty rivals Sekiro. When compared to Ghost Runner, Observation’s graphics are not as polished and animations are somewhat wonky, however, the story had me so engrossed I had to complete the game in a single session.

I keep trying to second guess myself on my answer but every time I really think about it, Observation is such a good game, I am constantly recommending it to friends who want to get into gaming; because it’s fun and captivating as well as easy to understand. Observation, until you reach the end, is a very slow-paced and calming game despite what the story would have players believe. I’ve been partaking in pop culture for so long that game endings have become predictable, but with Observation, it leads players towards a single direction then hits the players with a twist that is intriguing and satisfying. Everyone should experience Observation at least once.

Amanda G.
Community Development Team/Toss a Coin to Your Witcher is playing in my head

Choice: Horizon Zero Dawn

This was tough. Looking back at seven years’ worth of games? There were so many greats. Gears 5. Uncharted 4. Rise of the Tomb Raider. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Metro Exodus. I could go on. But, after drinking coffee and staring at my library for both my PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there was only one choice.

Horizon Zero Dawn was a big jump for Guerrilla Games. If you look at their studio pedigree, you’ll see shooters. I mean, that’s not a bad thing. They’re the minds behind the Killzone series that began back in 2004, which has six games to its name across the PlayStation 2, PSP, PlayStation 3, and 4.

They could have made another shooter after Killzone Shadow Fall, but they didn’t. Instead, they threw out their playbook and revealed a new IP in 2015; the game we’d come to know as Horizon Zero Dawn. Shooter? Nah. Open world RPG? Heck yes. An open-world RPG with MECHANICAL DINOSAURS? HECK YES.

And new IP’s are always a risk. Will players dig the world? Will they love or hate your protagonist? Aloy, the main character of Horizon was voiced by Ashly Burch. (Tiny Tina, Chloe Price, the list goes on.) I loved everything about her, from the animation side to Ashly’s performance. Combined with the world of Horizon? Guerrilla upgraded their game engine, Decima, and to this day it’s still one of the prettiest games I’ve ever played. Not to mention it’s diverse. The three tribes that populate the map are all different; there’s no way you’re going to confuse them with one another. Combat was fun, and the weapons and traps you’d have in your arsenal were as varied as the NPC’s that populated the world.

The main story of Horizon is much like a mystery. Aloy was cast out from the Nora tribe at birth for not having a mother, and the main core of the game is discovering who she is and where she came from. At the same time, you’re also unraveling the mystery of why the machines came to be and why they’re still here. I absolutely enjoyed the story, loved Aloy, loved the beautiful and diverse world, and I’m ecstatic there’s going to be a sequel next year! Horizon Forbidden West, here I come!

Robin G.
Sr. Editorial Writer/*looks at list* I have played, HOW many games this generation?!

Choice: DayZ

From 2013 till the year where we’re forced to stay indoors and play all the video games we can, this generation of games has been a wild one. It’s also been my favorite generation of games as well just due to the sheer scope of what’s been offered. Taking a moment (and my 15-point list that tortured me over the past 48-hours prior to writing this piece) to think about it, I have more than a dozen games that have amazed me: Doom Eternal for its sheer adrenaline pumping madness, PREY for its mind-bending multi-layers mechanics and world, The Last of Us Part II for its portrayal of vengeance and forgiveness, No Mans Sky for creating an entire universe and an example of perseverance through its passionate developers.

God of War, Control, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Life is Strange, Dishonoured 2, Fallout 4, and 76. Dying Light, Hitman 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: the list is as endless as it is worthy of the moniker of the greatest games of the generation. Then I suppose my choice is a strange one: a game that did not win Game of the Year or any sort of significant accolades, a game that sometimes frustrates me to delete only to reinstall it because of the memories I have created over the past 7 years and nearly 1700 hours of playing. Yes, seventeen-hundred-hours. That’s more than many of these games I’ve listed above, combined and then some. My choice for game of the generation felt like an entire generation of adventure, survival, betrayal, friendships, cult gatherings, and dance parties.

My choice for game of the generation is Bohemia Interactives DayZ.

Shocking? A little and totally understandable even I’m pretty surprised by my final decision especially when put up against the pedigree of the games that have come and gone. But when I think back at all the adventures, conversations around a fire, modded servers, cult sacrifices (yes, you heard me), tense firefights across entire cities, I can’t help but feel fully confident about my decision. DayZ is not a good “game”: it’s still in beta, development has slowed down, and has received a lot of critiques, and rightfully so. It’s a buggy piece of shit, but it’s MY buggy piece of shit that has given me more hours of enjoyment than any game has this generation. There’s something about the allure of being in a massive open-world and surviving a zombie apocalypse with other players, without your typical “gamification” in the form of large hovering gamer tags above people’s heads, every single mechanic explained, or any sort of forced handholding. You wake on a beach with nothing but the clothes on your back and the need to survive.

If I wrote about my many adventures through the lands of the fictional Chernarus where DayZ takes place, I think I would need to write a separate novel: this is not an exaggeration, the things I have seen and done allowed me to weave my own narrative filled with real, human characters because they were all real humans. One time I set-up a small camp on top of an apartment building which essentially turned into a roof-top disco where players danced, blasted music, and talked about their day. This evolved into what is essentially a robbery that I may or may not have initiated. Another time I was kidnapped by cults who worshipped a can of beans and drained me of all my blood. Once, I was part of a server-wide battle across the northern part of the map that lasted hours and ended in tragedy. We took pictures, we talked around some food, we laughed, we talked about life both in the game and outside of it. The latter especially is one of the reasons I chose DayZ: a game about surviving an apocalypse helped me survive my own in the form of anxiety, and depression.

(Trigger Warning: Anxiety, depression).

In mid-2014 I suffered severe anxiety that felt paralyzing: I refused to go outside or do much, I had just graduated university and felt lost in life and felt like I was always in survival mode. This caused the otherwise extroverted self to become a recluse who became distant. It’s strange then that a game about surviving a zombie apocalypse helped me work through my feelings of isolation while running across a virtual world on my own coming across other players, real-flesh and blood players in a virtual environment. It allowed me to interact with other people when I was in a place where I didn’t want to: it gave me comfort that both I and all of these other players had the same goal of survival in this shared virtual world regardless of what our real-life struggles were. I even ended up talking to other players about their own personal struggles: think of an internet help forum but instead, you just spent hours bonding through survival as you wrap. DayZ is not a game I play regularly as much anymore, but when I do it still gives me the same level of escapism, excitement, and memories of all the adventures I’ve had. It’s not the greatest story (because there isn’t one) but it’s the stories that I’ve crafted for myself; it’s not the best graphics, sound design, or mechanics, but it all comes together to paint a picture of an apocalypse that’s well worth experiencing.

DayZ is finally going into beta, but the survival battleground has shifted since 2014 | VentureBeat

Marc W.
Jr. Staff Writer/Still Logged More Hours This Generation than his Kids

Choice: Destiny 1/2

I came into this generation with my day-1 PS4 in hand and ready to rock. Bring on the games! Bring on the exclusives! Bring on… Kill Zone: Shadowfall? Whatever. As much of a train wreck that game ended up being, I can clearly remember how dazzled I was with the graphics upgrade and how smooth it played. Oh, those young, heady times. However, it prepared me for the next big step in my gaming life since I yearned to have my precious Halo but on Playstation. Killzone wasn’t it (and a good thing too, or else its maker Guerrilla Games wouldn’t have slid over into the amazing Horizon: Zero Dawn) but it was the first step towards what was.

Anyone who recalls my piece in the best games of the decade knows that Destiny 1 and 2 (it’s the same game and we all know it. The only reason a “2” ended up on it is because Activision likes money) were my top of the heap for a number of both personal and professional reasons, and it’s the same story here. I can honestly say I have never logged more hours on any game in history (with the possible exception of all forms of Tetris) as I have the Destiny franchise. The pedigree of Bungie proved to be as good as advertised. Halo‘s smooth, tight controls and fantastic game design was no fluke, and Destiny, for all of its over-hype, confusing narratives, mistake-laden first year, and songs by Paul McCartney, is everything I love, and it just keeps giving.

If you want to be a gamer these days, you need to understand that designers make mistakes. No Mans Sky proved that those mistakes could be learned from. Anthem proved that they can be just as easily brushed aside and forgotten. Destiny isn’t perfect. It has made a lot of mistakes. There are missteps in weapon balancing, or Guardian leveling, or the ungodly number of currencies a player needs to keep track of, but beneath it all is a tight FPS with amazing PvE and PvP, the best handling in its class (is this a car ad now?), and a background lore that is, once you really wade into it, enriching and deep and builds the world better than any game or franchise I have ever played, and even most fantasy or sci-fi books I’ve read. So now, on the eve of both Beyond Light and then my day-1 PS5, there is new hope, new adventures, and always Destiny. Eyes up, Guardian. I’ll see you starside.

Nic S.
Sr. Staff Writer/Still Stuck On The Path of Pain

Choice: Hollow Knight

This past generation was the generation of indie games for myself. It was the time of discovery and of experimentation. I played so many more games these last seven years than I did prior. A lot of them were bargain bin, student projects, or the like that I may see something there, but overall their only existence was to justify an easy thousand gamerscore, at least for me. But, then there were the diamonds; the (successful) crowd-funded gems which shined brighter than most games with massive budgets. Marketing may be nonexistent for them, but here they are with a fandom spread by diligence and word of mouth. Critical darlings which somehow flew under everyone’s radar until they were told. These are the few games which haunt me; those that stay on the periphery of my mind nearing constancy. Those that have either shaped my opinions or personality and granted breadth to my appreciation of the art of gaming. Three of these I have tattoos of. I have a list of several more. I daresay most if not all are and will be considered classics: Outer Wilds, Hyper Light Drifter, Enter the Gungeon, Ori and the Blind Forest, NieR: Automata, Warframe. 

Each are deserving of being in at least the conversation for Best Game of the Generation. But the one I just can’t put out of my mind, nearly two years after playing it is Hollow Knight. Created by a team of three, Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania through and through. In fact, it is the definitive Metroidvania by which all others must now be judged. Set against the backdrop of a forgotten kingdom of bugs, your little knight and his trusty nail set out to uncover the past, and right the wrongs. Composer Christopher Larkin’s score is haunting for each new zone and boss discovered, but memorable enough to warrant a spot on anyone’s playlist. Reminiscent of Dark Souls boss fights and areas, Hollow Knight makes clear its influences but expands in ways I had not expected. The idea of dropping currency upon death and having to retrieve it lest you die in the process and all is lost is a core Dark Souls design concept, but what if when you die you leave a shade that fights back? And to recover your currency/experience you must defeat a shade of yourself?

Even more than the challenge presented is the lore buried behind optional areas, optional endings, and optional bosses. Optional content which adds significant time and challenge to an already lengthy outing. Hollow Knight is a fully realized world that can take near 50 hours for everything at a price point at LAUNCH was $15. Throw in four free DLCs and you have one of the best values per time games available. It’s as deep as deepnest, and on occasion quite as frightful. Hollow Knight is a masterpiece and the best game of the last generation.

*Note: there was supposed to be a 5th DLC but developer Team Cherry kept adding too much content so they made it into the upcoming full sequel entitled Hollow Knight: Silksong. 

John D.
Chief Operating Officer/Excited for New Systems but Still Just Want to Play Pixel Games

Choice: NieR: Automata

Don’t @ me for this. Skyrim doesn’t count because that started on Xbox 360/PS3. Ghost of Tsushima is way too new. So, (throw my hands up) F#$k it. NieR: Automata wins for me. With over 111 hours on PC and about 60 more on each console that I bought it for (before it was free on Xbox Game Pass). It feels like the only game I played this generation. Byyye! Enjoy the new consoles!

There you have it, folks! another great list from your favorite writers here at Gaming Access Weekly! This has been the final write up for the GAW Picks!

What was your favorite game this Generation? Which console are you going with? Tell us in the comment section below!

Let’s try to enjoy another whole round of amazing games in the coming years!

Also, ICYMI, here are More Lists:

Best Action-Adventure
Best FPS
Best RPG
Best Fighting Game
Biggest Surprise

About The Author

John D
Chief Operating Officer

John Donadio a.k.a. SomeBeardy2Love is the COO here at GAW. He once had a show that he produced, wrote, and co-hosted called the Wide World of Games, you can probably find it on youtube. He is also a co-host on a podcast called Party Up! John is an Action-Adventurer, platformer, RPGer, and FPS kind of gamer. Quick to play any game that has magic, swordplay, and/or stealthy elements. If you can customize a character he is in it for the long haul or just give me your 2D platform and he's a happy camper. What else do you expect from a gamer with a beard and a bow tie tattoo? Seriously.