It’s not too far away now! Can you feel it? The new consoles are just around the corner! November 10th for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 on November 12th. It’s so close you can smell the new console smell.

Anyway in a less creepy vibe, we decided to continue our “GAW Picks: Best of the Generation” articles with some Action-Adventure games. Action-adventures require many of the same gaming skills as straight-up action games, but also offer a storyline, numerous characters, an inventory system, dialogue, maybe some fantasy elements, and other features of adventure games.

So we went around and asked the crew, “What was your favorite Action Adventure game of this Generation?”

This is what they said:

John D.
Chief Operating Officer/Guy Who is Sad that Halloween is Over But Can’t Wait for Thanksgiving!

Choice: Red Dead Redemption II

Ok, this one was actually kind of tough for me. Not only were my top three contenders giant sandbox games but both were utterly satisfying to play. Obviously above you can see I chose Red Dead Redemption II. However, my other two choices were Far Cry 5 and Ghost of Tsushima. While all three of these games let me explore a beautiful landscape, completely immersed me in their stories, and had action scenes that got me excited, However, it was only Red Dead Redemption II that let me throw dynamite at the KKK!

I digress, RDR2 is the cowboy story of Arthur Morgan, while it may be a sequel game the story is actually the prequel to the first game. Confused yet? That’s ok. The game is fantastic and while many people say its GTA with horses. While that is kind of hilarious, it is only partially true. Arthur is a great character. Whether you play him as a heart-warming outlaw just trying to make the world a little better than how he originally acted or you continue to raise mayhem with Dutch, Arthur is well written and likable.

Yes, Far Cry 5 and Ghost of Tsushima had beautiful landscapes and wild moments, however, FC5 just misses the mark because I don’t get to learn much about the character I play, and Ghost of Tsushima is just too new and doesn’t represent a whole generation of consoles. So, with that, Red Dead Redemption II takes my choice. The game is an emotional roller coaster as well. It blends action and adventure very well from the upgrade system and supply selling to upgrade weapons, to having to brush your horse and feed it apples so it likes you and thus responds better in action scenes, to a moral system that makes you revered or feared. If you didn’t get to play this wonderful sequel, do you best to try it before you upgrade, you’ll be glad you did.

Nic S.
Senior Staff Writer/Wishes He Got That Xbox Fridge

Choice: Warframe

Listen, no one can tell me Warframe isn’t an action-adventure game because no one really knows what genre Warframe is. I’m not kidding. I have nearly 1000 hours in it and I still don’t know what to call it. Is it an MMO? Is it a looter shooter? It’s a weird, fantastic abomination of a game that is just so fascinating. Warframe kicked off the generation doing things that wouldn’t be adopted by the rest of the industry for about 5 years. It was one of the first free-to-play titles that weren’t a mobile port, and by nature of its frequent update cycle and transparent communication endeared itself to its fans. Year by year it has grown by what’s been termed, “free, but fair,” monetization. I personally never felt it was necessary to buy anything from Warframe, and only did so because I put so much time into the game I feel like Digital Extremes deserves it.

I should discuss the main draw of Warframe which is its moment to moment gameplay cycle. Your frame determines your abilities, like a class. You have your primary, secondary, and melee weapons. Each of which levels independently of the rest, and each of which can be modded to buff different aspects. Want a faster fire rate? Slap a speed trigger on your primary. Need to do more damage? Pressure point on your melee. Oh, each mod can also be leveled to buff their effects. Also, each weapon is meticulously crafted to provide a different experience, no matter which one you take (to an extent; a braton and a burston aren’t really THAT different). There’s everything from whips with razors, giant great swords, gross pustules you throw and they explode, and more. It’s nonsense how much game is there.

I totally forgot the biggest draw: it’s free. It boggles my mind how they’ve been able to be so successful for so long. Try it out and you might just get addicted. No other game makes you feel like an unstoppable badass like Warframe does. You can pin enemies to walls with a bow and split them in half with a giant ax. I exploded fools with my feet. It’s g**d*** satisfying as F***.

Amanda G.
Community Development Team/Almost Chose the Last Third of Uncharted 4

Choice: Rise of the Tomb Raider

I’ve always had fond memories of the Tomb Raider series. Games, and even the two Angelina Jolie movies. And the reboot in 2013? I drove through a North Dakota blizzard in a Dodge Stratus to pick up my Collector’s Edition for the Xbox 360. WORTH IT. This Lara was young. She wasn’t seasoned yet. And at that point in my life, I felt the same way.

In 2015, the sequel arrived. Rise of the Tomb Raider was incredible. I stayed up all night playing it, much to the chagrin of my husband. (He’s a Fallout 4 fan; they came out on the same day.) From the opening prologue and up to the final boss battle… I’m sitting here just staring at my computer screen trying to come up with the appropriate adjectives. (Just picture a big goofy smile.)

It’s also one of the best instances of showing the evolution of a character in my opinion. As I said above; in the first game of the reboot, Lara was very green. Then, she experienced the Hell that was Yamatai and its after-effects. Going through a major trauma like that changes a person, and writer Rhianna Pratchett dove into that head-on. You really see Lara’s thirst for adventure come through in Rise, and that change was supported by new gameplay mechanics. There were different types of collectibles to find, and you’d even learn new languages by discovering monoliths.

To this day, people on social media still are arguing about the validity of this version of Lara Croft. Clamoring for a remake of the OG games. Not going to lie, that would be cool. But pushing down this Lara at the expense of that? No. Some argue that she’s weaker and not as interesting. I’d argue the exact opposite, and that’s a major credit to Rhianna Pratchett and Camilla Luddington (Lara’s mo-cap and VO actress in the reboot series).

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was okay. You could tell a different studio developed it, but that’s fine. Now that Crystal Dynamics has shipped Marvel’s Avengers, I’m hoping in a couple of years we can come back and see this Lara again – not as the one solving mysteries, but protecting the mysteries of the world.

Robin G.
Sr. Editorial Writer/Cried more times than he would like to admit during The Last of Us II

Choice: The Last of Us Part II

For those who know me well, I tend to take my time with video games even when I’m doing a review for it. I like to take my time, immerse myself in the world, and then appropriate, leave and write my thoughts or just think about what I’m playing or just go on with my day. This was not the case for The Last of Us Part II, a game so powerful and harrowing that it haunts me to this day. While I didn’t write the review for The Last of Us Part II for Gaming Access Weekly, I took note of every detail, every shocking gut-wrenching moment that kept with me months later. When the game came out, I must have taken 4 days to finish its 25-30 hour campaign: never in my life did I become so absorbed into a character’s turmoil like Ellie’s as she sought her vengeance across the ruins of Seattle.

This isn’t just me talking about why The Last of Us Part II is the best action-adventure game of the generation, It’s also a mini-review of the game: a game that I would give a perfect 10/10 to.

Spoilers for The Last of Us Part II

The first Last of Us was a fantastic, atmospheric dive into a post-apocalyptic world where most of humanity is wiped out by a nasty fungus that turns you into a monster that eats flesh. But the game wasn’t about finding a cure (well, not really), it was about the relationship between Joel and Ellie, the adoptive father-daughter duo that trekked across America in the hopes to find a cure through Ellie’s immunity to the disease. In the end, Joel could not sacrifice Ellie and instead does an inherently selfish, but inherently human thing: he kills anyone who tries to harm his daughter and leaves the facility that could have found a cure. It was a perfect ending that didn’t need a follow-up until I played The Last of Us Part II which became the perfect final chapter in this story of love and violence.

The Last of Us Part II stars Ellie, who’s now older and even more capable of surviving the apocalypse alongside Joel and a large community of survivors. After years of survival, Joel and Ellie discovered something new, a life, or the ability to build a new one for themselves. Unfortunately, this is shortlived as a group from Seattle wanders into their lives and brutally murders Joel in cold blood leaving Ellie broken physically, mentally, and emotionally. This not only triggered the harrowing tale of vengeance that the rest of the game explores but the controversy over the decisions that were made when handling Joel’s mortality. I was shocked as anyone else but then as the story went on and we found out why this happened, it made more and more sense. There was no good or evil in this world: Joel was not a hero but a man who realized that he would do anything to protect someone he loves. Even dying for them which he ultimately did.

Besides the astounding story by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us Part II is also one of the most brutal, emotionally draining games you will ever experience from a gameplay perspective. I’ve never physically felt ill tackling groups of enemies are Ellie rips through them in a level of realism that I’m not sure I’m fully fine with. But that I feel is the point of this game: not to hold your hand or give you a gold star and a pat on your shoulder, but to show us that violence and rage has a price on both ourselves and the ones we love apocalypse or not.

When a game makes me question what it means to be a person, what it means to play a video game and to experience a story, I believe that transcends a video-game past just an entertainment title you pay $79.99 CAD for. It becomes something far more intimate and lasting, making The Last of Us Part II the greatest action-adventure game I have played this generation.

Christopher T.
Staff Writer/If writing doesn’t work out I could always try parkour

Choice: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Action-Adventure is an extensive category when it comes to game genres, many old-school platformers could rightfully be classified in the style of action-adventure. As for action-adventure games from the soon to be retired generation of consoles, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a top contender for the best of the generation. Rise of the Tomb Raider greatly enhances the gameplay from the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, controls feel more fluid and responsive and the game as a whole is more fun to play and explore. Unfortunately, Rise of the Tomb Raider falls just shy of what I believe is the greatest action-adventure game of the generation.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst takes the top spot as it is the best rendition of a modern first-person action-adventure platformer. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a prequel to Mirror’s Edge, which was released on the seventh generation of consoles. While the original Mirror’s Edge was a cult classic, despite it needing quite a bit more polish as it could feel clunky, unintuitive, and uninteresting at times. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst fixes all the issues from the original, being the prequel to Mirrors Edge, players are given a very interesting and concise story of how Faith, the main character, and her cohorts begin their journey as runners.

Mirror’s Edge, while taking place in a city, was a very linear story experience. The developers for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst transformed the game into an open-world adventure whereas players progress they unlock more areas of the city. As they explore new and previous areas they can take on various side quests such as being a messenger, disrupting communications, and time-trials. Open worlds tend to have bad level design but Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has extremely well-crafted areas that give players a multitude of options of how to navigate to their objectives and escape authorities.

The music fits perfectly with the art design of the game and is one of my favorite scores released. Faith is an awesome protagonist who is well written and extremely well-voiced. The developers had the foresight to give players a boon for first-person action-adventure platforming games, the fact that I can see my character’s feet makes the gameplay so much more visceral and enjoyable.

These were our top Action-Adventure games! What did you think of the list? Tell us in the comment section below if there was anything you think needed to be on here!. Stay Tuned to Gaming Access Weekly for more of our countdown to the new generation!

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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.