With the upcoming releases of games like The Crew, Destiny and The Division there is a lot of talk about titles that will change the landscape of gaming. So I thought to myself, “Tickles, you’ve seen a lot over the years. What are the biggest game changers that you’ve seen?”
Well here it is. My top ten game changers.
Mass Effect trilogy – Continuity.
Never before had we seen a game not only force us to make hard decisions but live with those same choices after the game had finished. The Mass Effect trilogy carries over almost every choice you make from the first game all the way to the poorly received conclusion in Mass Effect 3. Some of these decisions don’t have that much of an impact however one that stands out is a decision you make in the first game will see one of your crew die, if you have imported your save then either character can be in the second and third game depending on who you chose. The Mass Effect games have set a new standard for continuity and long lasting ramifications from the choices we make.
Resident Evil 4 – Action Horror
Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube blew the doors off the somewhat stale mess that the horror genre had become. Sure it had crazily over the top megalomaniac boss’ and the later part of the game had us fight and kill massive guys with chainguns, but it nailed every single second of it. The clunky tank controls and fixed camera we had grown used to disappeared and we were left with not only the model for horror games, but the schematics for most of the third person shooters that followed.
Left 4 Dead – Co-op Gameplay
Left 4 Dead completely changed the way cooperative games were made. This online co-op revamped the entire multiplayer experience by making you work as a team. I put a lot of time into L4D and have yet to see someone abandon the team to sprint ahead that didn’t end up getting munched by a Zombie or getting choked out by a Smoker. The moral of the story; don’t run off like a douchebag.
Ghost Recon – Realism
The original Ghost Recon has seen me throw my controller away in frustration more times than almost any other game. Until this point in first person shooters you generally had a health bar and could take a fair degree of punishment before dying. And then Ghost Recon came along with its ultra-realism that could easily see you emptying a whole magazine of ammo at an enemy and miss him with every single round. If you were ever lucky enough to take a hit and survive your soldier lost pretty much all of their effectiveness. A leg hit would see you limp along at a sniper inviting crawl, unable to run and an arm hit screwed with your accuracy. Ghost Recon ushered in a more realistic approach to shooters that can still be seen in games today.
Last of Us – Storytelling
Now I realise that The Last of Us is a relatively new game and it hasn’t had too much of an impact on games that have been released since its launch however I like to think that it has set a new standard in storytelling. Naughty Dog knocked it out of the park with this game and we can only hope that other developers have paid attention.
Metal Gear Solid – Stealth
Metal Gear Solid for the PS1 pretty much created the stealth genre single handed. For the first time the main focus of a game wasn’t on beating an enemy, shooting or hacking your way through to a boss fight, but to actively avoid combat. Take a minute and think back over every stealth game you have ever played…. It all started with MGS.
Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic – Morality system
We look at morality systems in games as a pretty standard mechanic these days, but back when KOTOR was released it wasn’t something that had been done before. If we look at the individual aspects of KOTOR, we can see that so much of it has been adopted and used elsewhere. Hell, the HUD and quickbars are a staple for almost every MMO I’ve ever played. Above all others though the morality system is the one that has been implemented en mass in pretty much every RPG that has been released since.
Halo Combat Evolved – First Person Shooters
Say what you will about the Halo franchise, but no one can argue that Halo Combat Evolved brought the FPS to consoles. There were plenty FPS’s that were out before Halo was released, but none have come close to having the same impact. The rechargeable shields, enemy types, vehicle combat and compelling story showed console gamers that shooters were the up and coming genre for us to spend our money on.
Grand Theft Auto 3 – Sandbox Games
When Grand Theft Auto 3 released I’ll admit, I was legally too young to play it (like that stopped anyone). It was the first sandbox game that was released that gave you such a spectacular level of freedom. You weren’t tied down to going from point A to point B, you could drive around doing whatever you liked, including, but not limited to, massacring police, robbing pedestrians, flying the dodo and sleeping with prostitutes. Never before had a game given players that level of choice and we can see its legacy in countless games.
Mortal Kombat – ESRB
Mortal Kombat was possibly the biggest game changer of all time. Prior to its launch video games were largely thought of as a toy for children. The brutal fighting game was well received but due to its incredible fatality mechanic it was deemed not suitable for children. And so the ESRB was born. No bigger impact has been made in the gaming industry than the game that brought regulation to the market.
That’s my top ten list. I hope you enjoyed reading it and if there’s anything you think deserves a place, then comment below.