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Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Rockstar Studios]

Grand Theft Auto V

  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Developer: Rockstar Games

The team at Rockstar games decided to do something very unique, form three stories with three different characters. You play as a bank robber named Michael De Santa, a street gangster named Franklin Clinton, and a drug dealer/gunrunner named Trevor Philips. The stories seem like they’d be unconnected but each connects to the frame of the overall story. There is a corrupt government agency and powerful criminals forcing a lot of what we see in the cities of San Andreas or Los Santos.

Players will play in an open-world sector but can choose to play the game in the first OR third person. While the story sticks out pretty well for GTA V, it is the gameplay that really stands out. It’s a really fun experience that is addictive to play. The addition of GTA Online only made things even more addictive as you play alongside friends. The game is a giant success and still sells very well. That makes sense, as it truly is one of the greatest video games ever made.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Nintendo]

Mario Kart

  • Year of Release: 1992 (first one)
  • Developer: Nintendo Studios, Retro Studios, Bandai/Namco, Velan Studios

We should reference that this is more about the specific franchise, as it’s pretty much impossible to pick only one Mario Kart as the true “best” among them. We often discuss crossovers for television and movies, but Nintendo was the real first to properly do a crossover. They put all of their top characters in the Mario Kart world from Mario himself to Donkey Kong, the Koopas, Link, Toad, Princess Peach, Luigi, Wario, Bowser, and many, MANY more.

The characters you could play as will differ from game to game, so there are several that will not be available for all the games the way Mario or Luigi happens to be. Eventually, Nintendo sort of allowed the opportunity for creations or modding to take place, which allowed for some characters to pop up. Some fans included characters like Sonic in Mario Kart 8, for example. By doing this, fans could get what they wanted. Making an already fun game series even more entertaining.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Insomniac Games]

Marvel’s Spider-Man

  • Year of Release: 2018
  • Developer: Insomniac Games

When Sony announced a new Spider-Man game was coming years back, fans were unsure how it would work. However, we were put in awe during one E3 Expo in 2017 when Insomniac (the developer) released some game footage. By the time the game came out, it was already hyped up big time. With so many expectations, it would be hard to deliver. Yet Insomniac Games pulled it off. They ended up creating the best Spider-Man game ever.

While stories involving Spider-Man seem almost perfectly connected to the comics, it also differed enough to be its own thing too. Plus, players get to take on some of Spider-Man’s most notable villains. Peter Parker must balance his own life and protect his friends and family, all while being your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. He is pulled between two worlds, forcing him to make impossible choices. As the player, you feel for him through every single one of those. This game is truly “amazing.”

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment]

God of War

  • Year of Release: 2005
  • Developer: Santa Monica Studio

The original God of War was amazing and helped to set up a franchise that is now five games deep. We’re not even referencing all the extra or downloadable content they’ve given us too. When God of War came out in 2005, Sony was trying to put out proper PlayStation exclusives. God of War was a PS2 exclusive and sort of a test for them. They tried this before with games like Crash, but they weren’t successful in doing this very often. God of War gave them a huge exclusive franchise!

The story follows Kratos, a Spartan warrior who is at the service of the Greek gods and goddesses. Athena tasks Kratos to kill Ares, the “God of War” at the time. Ares was Kratos’ mentor but there is no love lost between them, as he tricked Kratos into killing his wife and daughter. Ares is now trying to take Athens away from Athena out of hatred for her, so Kratos must put an end to him before he can do it. The best way to do that is via “Pandora’s Box,” but this would set up several problems of its own.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via SEGA]

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

  • Year of Release: 1994
  • Developer: Sega Technical Institute

We might get crucified for writing it, but it’s true. Sonic’s third major title was likely its best. Due to Mario and others moving into 3D molds, SEGA was planning to do that with Sonic’s third game. Time constraints got in the way of that, pushing it back to being a 2D side-scroller. Due to its massive commercial success, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 finally helped SEGA stand out in the massive Nintendo shadow. This game follows both Sonic and Tails, as you get to play as both.

The two must collect the Chaos Emeralds and stop Doctor Robotnik from relaunching the infamous Death Egg space station after it crash-lands on an island. The two head to the island only to find out that they are not the only speed demons around, as the mysterious Knuckles the Echidna shows up to lay traps for them the entire game. Ultimately, this is one of the greatest video games ever made and a massive success for SEGA. It is so popular, they re-released it several times now.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image from NetherRealm Studios]

Mortal Kombat 11

  • Year of Release: 2019
  • Developer: NetherRealm Studios

One could likely put many of the Mortal Kombat games on the greatest video games listing. Most are fun to play and great on gameplay. However, the best of them all has to be Mortal Kombat 11. During MK10, we saw that NetherRealm Studios decided to use a new engine and the game became beautiful to look at. Thus, by the time MK11 came out, they only improved upon this. On top of that, they decided to use figures from the entire Mortal Kombat series in an epic time-hopping storyline.

While it is true that the story is terrific on its own, the studio added yet another downloadable content story and MORE characters for players to play with after launch. The storyline technically does not have any main or lead character, as you play in chapters with several of MK’s biggest names from Johnny Cage and Liu Kang to Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Not just their present-day versions but also their past versions too! It’s most certainly one of the greatest video games ever made, hands down.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Rocksteady Games/WB Games]

Batman: Arkham Series

  • Year of Release: 2005
  • Developer: Rocksteady Games, WB Games, NetherRealm Studios

Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series of games are all impressive. It is hard to really pick one that stands out as the true best, as that would ignore the amazing stuff the others did. All three titles involve The Joker in some way while the third revolves around a Joker that is more psychological than physically present, as he dies in the second game. You not only battle against Joker and Harley Quinn, but you also get to go up against some of Batman’s greatest foes.

This includes villains like Two-Face, The Riddler, Penguin, Bane, Poison Ivy, Hugo Strange, Scarecrow, Black Mask, and many more. Plus, not only do you get to play as Batman himself, but also his long-time love interest, Catwoman. Along with his partner and friend, Nightwing. You even get the chance to play as Azreal, who Bruce sees as a potential replacement for him as the caped crusader. It’s really hard to hate a game when it’s so impressive and well-connected to comic book lore.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Hello Games]

No Man’s Sky

  • Year of Release: 2016
  • Developer: Hello Games

While No Man’s Sky had a horrible launch after being hyped up as the next big thing, Hello Games realized they needed to make things right. They could have moved on to another intellectual property and run with the money they earned from the initial sales. However, they worked to correct the game since its 2016 launch. This included fixing numerous bugs or problems in the game as well as adding new features on a regular basis. Now in their fifth year of operation, they have had had numerous mass updates that included major features.

Their last, Frontiers, involved overhauling how the gameplay was presented. On top of allowing you to essentially become the Mayor of your own village. Plus, every update they have put out has been 100% free. The rest of No Man’s Sky is survival-based with the ability to travel from solar system to solar system within one or more than 250 other galaxies. It’s endless and has now earned the mark as one of the greatest video games ever made. While originally launched as a PS exclusive, it is available on all major platforms. Players can even crossplay, regardless of what they are playing on too!

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Nintendo]

Super Mario 64

  • Year of Release: 1996
  • Developer: Nintendo

Super Mario 64 came out around the same time as the launch of the newer Nintendo 64 console in 1996. The two were meant to be heavily connected, hence the name of the game. While other Mario games had been mostly 2D in their mold, Super Mario 64 actually went toward the 3D route for the first time. This was massive for the time, as 3D gameplay like this was incredibly new and not common to see. The story-arc was pretty much the same as all other Mario games.

You beat the dragon and save the princess. Yet you also get to do a ton of other incredible things in what is essentially an open world that is heavily explorable for its time. Although, there is one section of the game where you can throw penguins off a cliff. Something we ALL did as kids. Only some of us became sociopaths due to this game. Overall, this game broke the mold and showed us what 3D gameplay could look like when done correctly, making it one of the greatest video games of all time.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Naughty Dog]

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

  • Year of Release: 2016
  • Developer: Naughty Dog (via Sony Interactive Entertainment)

When Sony moved into their last PS4 console, they wanted to launch it with a big exclusive like Uncharted. It just so happened that Naughty Dog wanted to give Nathan Drake the epic end that he deserved to cap off his story. They originally began working on it right after Uncharted 3 came out. Naughty Dog knew Sony’s new system would give them a chance to truly step into a new stratosphere. They certainly took their shot and succeeded. The story introduces Nathan’s brother, Sam, who is presumed dead. Overall, the story allows you to go back into the past to see how the younger Nathan got to where he is today.

While the team wanted to bring in several characters from the past, they made Nate’s relationship with Elena the central story arc. Where the two discuss the one last adventure Nate must go on. Victor Sullivan and Drake must find Henry Avery’s treasure, and due to the issues that could happen if they do not, Drake cannot fail. He’d have to succeed or die trying. Either way, this is a thief’s end! Naughty Dog truly gave us one of the greatest video games one could ever play. They truly ended Drake’s story in the style the character deserved in Uncharted 4.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Guerilla Games]

Horizon Zero Dawn

  • Year of Release: 2017
  • Developer: Guerrilla Games

When Horizon Zero Dawn came out, no one really thought much of it. The announcement trailer made it look good and gameplay mechanics certainly made it seem like fun. Yet few people knew what to think. Then, we played it. Once everyone got their hands on this game, they began to quickly realize how amazing the story is. Plus, we’re playing in a massive open world where there is something to do or come across seemingly every few seconds of playtime. This world might be overrun by machines, but this society seems to be almost pre-historic.

They make their own clothing and use weapons like a bow and arrow along with spears. Of course, players quickly find these are not your normal types of things and are equipped with impressive technology. You play as Aloy, a girl said to be “motherless.” While she does have one, she is not around. This matriarchal society assumes the motherless to be lesser, which forces Aloy to prove herself to everyone around. Can she do it? Plus, can she find out where she comes from and how this world came to be? You can find out for yourself in one of the greatest video games ever made.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Neversoft and Activision]

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

  • Year of Release: 2000
  • Developer: Neversoft/Activision

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a huge success with fans. During the 1990s, extreme sports began to grow into popularity so much that the video game industry took notice. Framing a game on the back of the most popular skateboarder on the planet, Neversoft developed an original game that is beloved today. Yet their second title that came out in 2000 really impressed people. It still holds up in its original form, but both the first and second games have since been re-released with updated graphics.

While the second game seemed, on its surface, like just another skateboarding game with updated graphics…that was not true. The team actually added more skateboarders to play as and added a new soundtrack. Both soundtracks are iconic among fans today. They also added a career mode, new tricks to perform, and customizable levels for players to have more control than ever before. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is not just one of the highest-rated sports games ever, it’s also one of the greatest video games ever made.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Sucker Punch Productions]

Ghost of Tsushima

  • Year of Release: 2020
  • Developer: Sucker Punch Productions

Ghost of Tsushima might be a newer game, but it has already become a critical success. This is likely thanks to the incredible action and realism the game brings in. This game offers a massive open-world environment that is absolutely stunning to behold. From the way the wind moves the grass to the way blood drips off swords, this entire game is gorgeous. The game centers around a samurai named Jin Sakai. Players are put right in the middle of one of the world’s most notable time periods and locations, Fuedal Japan in the late 1200s.

The Japanese are taken by surprise when Khotun Khan and his Mongol fleet invade the island of Tsushima. Jin and his uncle, Lord Shimura, lead the local samurai to take out the invaders. Yet the samurai are wiped out, save for Jin and his uncle. Now, Khan has Lord Shimura and he must be saved. Not thinking, Jin tries to save his uncle immediately without recovering only to run into a more powerful Khan who throws Jin off a bridge. Jin somehow survives, but very few know this. Now, he is a ghost moving around the island, where he recruits aid, and slowly takes out the Mongols.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Bungie]

Halo: Combat Evolved

  • Year of Release: 2001
  • Developer: Bungie (via Microsoft Game Studios)

Halo: Combat Evolved was the very first game in this now infamous X-Box series. Microsoft wanted to form a new console to get into the gaming business more, but they needed an exclusive to build alongside. This is where Halo came in. One could say that the success of this game helped to launch the X-Box system into the mainstream. Without its success, it’s hard to say if X-box would be in the position they are in today. Halo centers around Master Chief, a soldier born and bred to become an unstoppable powerhouse that gives humanity a fighting chance against alien beings.

Accompanied by an artificial intelligence named Cortana, he is able to face off with any being and stand a fighting chance. The Covenant inhabit Earth and other planets by 2552. They are an alien species that decide to start a religious war against humanity. The Spartan soldiers like Master Chief are the only ones able to match up with them, but there are too few in number. The Covenant eventually invade the planet Reach, which is used for scientific research and military activity, and destroy the colony. Chief exits the planet in time, only to come across a ringworld they crashland on. That is just how it begins!

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Nintendo]

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

  • Year of Release: 1998
  • Developer: Nintendo

Legend of Zelda games has always been fun to play. The real struggle is never IF it’ll be fun, but just how long it might take for people to beat it. Nintendo has never disappointed fans with the length of these games. Ocarina of Time was the fifth title in the already “legendary” series. What could they do for this game to make it stand out? First, they heavily improved the graphics system and put us into a 3D environment. Second, they introduced things many games use to this very day. That includes a target-lock system for combat as well as context-sensitive buttons.

Both are common for all 3D adventure games. In order to progress, Link has to learn how to play several songs on an ocarina. A simple premise, but an incredible experience. The story focuses on Link, who is on a quest to stop King Ganondorf. This forces him to travel through time and navigate various dungeons and even an overworld. To this day, Ocarina of Time is considered one of the greatest video games ever made. It also maintains one of the highest ratings for an adventure game in history.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Naughty Dog]

The Last of Us

  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

The Last of Us was made by Naughty Dog, the same studio behind Uncharted. Players can easily see the similarities within the gameplay, yet the stories could not be more different. Players will control Joel, a gifted smuggler who is given the task to get a teenage girl named Ellie into Canada. The post-apocalyptic United States is ravaged by zombie-like creatures. These are humans that became infected by a mutated fungus from the Cordyceps genus. It makes humans hostile and cannibalistic, making them a danger to everyone around them.

Joel sadly lost his daughter when fleeing a chaotic place where the infected have invaded. A soldier shot her, and now Joel sees Ellie almost as the daughter he lost and refuses to let anything happen to her. There are several relatively safe quarantine zones Joel and Ellie can stop at, but getting to each one across the U.S. is not an easy task. Ellie is special to all of this because they found that she has immunity to the infection. Thus, they need to get her to a science lab that can create a cure using her blood…or so we’re led to believe.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Bethesda Game Studios]

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

You’d be forgiven for not knowing that Skyrim is part of the Elder Scrolls franchise. Most just think of Skyrim as its own thing, unconnected to Elder Scrolls at all. This is an RPG game that allows you to pretty much create your own experience. The main story revolves around your character, nicknamed “The Dragonborn” to make life easier on NPCs. You’re on a quest to defeat the Dragon that has been prophesied to destroy the world, Alduin the World-Eater. The game takes place around 200 years after Oblivion in the land of Skyrim, hence the game title.

Within the game, your player must complete quests and improve your skills and abilities within an amazing open-world setting. Skyrim utilizes the amazing Creation Engine that was literally rebuilt just for the game. The game looks gorgeous and plays impressively, which allowed it to get critical praise for world and player design, as well as its combat system. While there have been some issues with the melee system among other things, nothing ever overshadowed its greatness. Overall, this is one of the greatest video games ever made and most critics tend to agree on that.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Nintendo]

Super Mario Bros. 3

  • Year of Release: 1990
  • Developer: Nintendo

Super Mario Bros. is a legendary franchise. In fact, it is so impressive that we might be committing gamer suicide by even attempting to pick the best game among the Super Mario Bros. series. However, if we are to pick the best of the bunch, most would say Super Mario Bros. 3 is the best one. Initially, this game was actually formed for the arcade before finally getting an NES release in 1990 and 1991 respectively.

In it, you get to play as both Mario and Luigi. Unlike in other games, you are not tasked to save Princess Peach. Rather, you must save Princess Toadstool. Yet the brothers must also save rulers from seven different kingdoms, and battle against Bowser or his children This is the first game to give Mario or Luigi the ability to fly or slide down slopes. The world map is very large for a game this old. It is was a challenging, fun game for fans and critics alike. This could be why it is STILL the third highest-selling Nintendo game of all time.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Naughty Dog]

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

  • Year of Release: 2009
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

We know, another Uncharted game? It might seem like a lot but Uncharted 2 truly stepped up and did some amazing things that we never saw beforehand. It takes place two years after the events of the first game. Nathan Drake partners with Chloe Frazer who seems to be a friend and foe at the same time. Yet the two have a romantic connection, which is made all the more awkward when Elena shows up. Drake and co. are in search of the Cintemani Stone and the infamous city of Shambhala. Yet a criminal group is on the search too, led by Zoran Lazarević.

They even use Drake to help them find everything, but he knows his fate is to die the moment he helps them find everything. Not only must he find it, but he must also take out all his foes too. Naughty Dog literally invented their own game engine to make this game because what they needed did not yet exist while they developed it. That allowed them to do motion capture to make every movement of the characters seem realistic, something that very few studios had ever done. The game’s beauty is notable and everything is overly elaborate. The storytelling is amazing too. This game is a non-stop thrill ride from the start!

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Rockstar Studios]

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • Year of Release: 2019
  • Developer: Rockstar Studios

In a prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead 2 follows the gang that John Marston hunts down in the first game. We find out what led to not only his departure from the gang but also why it seemed to dissolve as it did. You play as Arthur Morgan, who is not part of the first game for an obvious reason players find out later. The story flows through him, but do not be fooled…this is still a story about John Marston and the Van der Linde gang. Morgan was saved by Dutch Van der Linde when he was younger.

He stays with Dutch out of the feeling he owes him, allowing Arthur to become his right-hand man. However, a job in Blackwater goes bad and forces the gang to go on the run. They are being hunted down by the police of the day, the Pinkertons. Who will stop at nothing to end the gang. Arthur must find out what went wrong but also find out who Dutch truly is. Set in 1899, you’re put right in the middle of the Old West. The gameplay is phenomenal, the open-world is gorgeous, and there is always something to do. It is not hard to see why so many call it one of the greatest video games ever made.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via Nintendo]

Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

  • Year of Release: 2017
  • Developer: Nintendo

How do you sell a new console to the masses? According to Nintendo, you put one of the main exclusive titles out there but make sure it becomes one of the greatest video games ever made. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was going to happen, new console or not. Zelda developers heard fans when they said they wanted to see Link play in a much larger sandbox that differed from the rest in the series. Phew, Nintendo truly delivered on that. While you are given instruction and told what tasks need to be done, the direction you are given is minimal.

Nintendo allows you to explore this absolutely beautiful, breathtaking world freely. Developers overhauled the physics engine for the series, making sure each detail worked smoothly. The team even brought in Monolith Soft, who helped to design the landscapes and typography. The story takes place at the end of the Zelda timeline, with Link randomly waking up from a hundred-year slumber. He must save the Kingdom of Hyrule from its evil ruler, Calamity Ganon. The next installment in the Breath of the Wild series is due to come out in 2022.

Greatest Video Games Of The Console Era
[Image via CD Projekt Red]

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

  • Year of Release: 2015
  • Developer: CD Projekt Red

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is considered by all who played it as one of the single greatest video games they ever came across in their gaming life. It is so impactful that other games based their game on how the Witcher series handled things. That includes other popular IPs, such as the latter Assassins Creed series of games. Of course, the first two games are based on The Witcher novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski and the third is no different. Players are given a roleplaying game that sets them in the middle of a fantasy world based on Slavonic mythology.

You control Geralt of Rivia, a monster-slaying mercenary known as a Witcher. Geralt must do his job wherever he goes all while searching for his adopted daughter. She is on the run from the Wild Hunt, a motif used in folklore that connects to a “soul-raving” chase of some type. Geralt uses magic to help him on his mission as well as his sword-wielding skills. You’ll even get the chance to get to one of three endings, which will be based on how you played the game. Each choice truly matters as it’s all key to your narrative.

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our Sources:

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Nintendo

SEGA

Microsoft

Electronic Arts

Activision

Rockstar Studios

2K Games

Bethesda Game Studios

Naughty Dog

Sucker Punch Productions

Bungie

Xbox Game Studios

Retro Games

Hello Games

Rocksteady Games

WB Games

NetherRealm Studios

CD Projekt Red

Insomniac Games

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