The greatest game of the PS3 generation?

As mentioned, I recently finished Bioshock Infinite. I’ve seen a lot of reviews call either it or the Last of Us the “best game of this generation”, no doubt referring to the PS4/XBone (yes, I’m going there, like everyone else) coming up this holiday season. It’s been seven years and eight years since the PS3 and XBox 360 were released, respectively. Is Bioshock Infinite the very best game in that span?

I’m not sure. There are certainly other games I personally have enjoyed (not the least of which is the original Bioshock). I’ve decided to do a top ten list and, after a break, will discuss why I’ve placed Bioshock Infinite where I have. Console games only; I’m leaving off sports games, even though I play them a lot, simply because they belong in a class of their own.

Honorable mentions: Saints Row 2 (didn’t want two games on the list in the series), Worms, Lemmings (same company, nice HD remakes), God of War series (fun for a few days, but little staying power), Star Wars: Force Unleashed (huge fun, if sometimes frustrating; both are worth picking up), Dead Rising 2 (which I got for free!), Heavy Rain (good for a playthrough or two, but the actual gameplay kind of sucks) the original Bioshock (if I had a top 11, this would be #11)

10. LA: Noire — The first of three Rockstar games. Heavy Rain had a better story, GTA IV had better gameplay, but LA: Noire is a great mix of the two and deserves to go in the middle. Also, my first platinum trophy!

9. GTA IV (plus expansions) — If I’d never played Saints Row, I’d never know what I was missing. Gritty, realistic gunplay, but GTA just takes itself a bit too seriously these days. Niko didn’t connect with me as a character, the way Cole Phelps or John Marsten did.

8. Saints Row 3 — I don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun playing a game, just pure unadulterated fun, than when I’ve played this series. The side missions in 3 were just plain better (Insurance Fraud is a personal favorite, and it’s done better in 3).

7. inFamous/inFamous 2 — Brilliant games, both of them. Gripping story, great gameplay (I’ve personally beaten inFamous some five times). Gameplay is much better in the second, which has a tighter feel.

6. Arkham Asylum/Arkham City — I’d have platinums on both if not for the challenges. You feel like Batman, and there is no way that can possibly be a bad thing. Good use of villains from all over the rogue’s gallery, not just the memorable ones.

5. The Uncharted series — If not for the uber-zombies in the first two games, it’d probably be top three. Great balance of gameplay and story, all the characters are likeable, surprisingly light and funny.

4. The Assassin’s Creed series —  As a whole, the Assassin’s Creed series couples a superb storyline, with actual historical research, that spans a long time. It does stealth better than just about any other game apart from the Deus Ex series. (I’d say it’s just ahead of Metal Gear Solid 4 — too many gadgets — and on par with the Thief Series). Combat is fluid and satisfying. A lot of excellent characters and tremendous replay value. As a series, it may be one of the best in gaming, at least to me. Assassin’s Creed III drags down the average a tiny bit, with lots of bugs and a thoroughly unlikeable main character. (On the flipside, it has the best combat in the series).  The block puzzles in Revelations were stupid, too.

3. Metal Gear Solid 4 — For a long time, this was my favorite PS3 game ever. The entire Metal Gear Solid series is terrific (note that I’ve not played the most recent one or MGS3, but I have seen the entirety of MGS3 over a spring break with another person playing) and 4 is the best of it. It’s the oldest game on this list, and I sadly don’t have a copy right now, but it was pure genius.

2. Red Dead Redemption (+ Undead Nightmare) — Westerns don’t get a lot of love these days. (The remake of True Grit was superb and a worthy exception.) Only the criminally underrated Gun springs to mind among video games (along with Red Dead Revolver, which I’ve never played). A great central character, awesome supporting cast, breathtaking score. Good balance between being challenging but not impossible. Undead Nightmare was a fun little addition, too, well worth the extra cash.

1. Bioshock Infinite — More after the break, but for now, better in every respect than the original. Elizabeth may be the single most captivating character ever brought to a video game screen. As a single game, Bioshock Infinite is better than any one installment of Assassin’s Creed. If I were to rehash my favorite games of all time (and didn’t have series on it), I’m not sure any Assassin’s Creed would appear apart from possibly Assassin’s Creed II. Bioshock Infinite would. Ultimately, the question I asked was “Greatest Game”, and so I have to make Bioshock Infinite #1.

Warning: Ahead there be spoilers. I’m going to be talking about Bioshock Infinite’s plot, including the ending and how it connects to Bioshock the original. Seriously. Don’t click more if you don’t want to know or don’t already know.

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Outsourcing Done Right

I’ve joked about doing this before:  hire somebody to do my job for 20% of the price and then pocket the rest.

The one part of this which surprised me was the discussion about how clean the guy’s code was.  Normally, when you outsource development, the end result is a horrible mish-mash of copy-pasted garbage.  So whoever this guy hired apparently did a great job.