Reader Discussion: What Games Are Essential Must-Plays From the Last Generation of Consoles?


Like most people who enjoy video games, my backlog is insane. It’s jam-packed, and has been since the Gamecube/Xbox/PS2 era. Over the years I’ve made some tough decisions on which games to pass up, and I think I’ve abated my collection down to a reasonable enough size.. or at least that’s what I’m telling myself as I eye up a few missed opportunities on Amazon.

So now that we’re fully in to the current generation of consoles, which Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii games do you consider essential must-plays? Maybe your friend just got an Xbox One, but missed out on the 360 era. What games do you recommend to them?

For me, I’d start with obvious games like the Mass Effect trilogy, BioshockBorderlands, and Skyrim, but there are also a lot of great indie titles that I feel shouldn’t be missed as well. Games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, LIMBO (which, yes, can be played on Xbox One currently, and is on its way to PS4), Super Meat Boy, and Braid helped define last generation’s indie scene. The Wii is also loaded with exclusive games like Super Mario Galaxy, Skyward Sword, and Xenoblade Chronicles, which may have been overlooked altogether; purely based on the console they appeared on.

So let’s hear it. What’s on your list?

Bio Card Brad

Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling news, reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and an on again/off again WoW player that blasphemously favors consoles over PC. As a Marylander, he naturally puts Old Bay on everything, loves the Orioles, drives aggressively, and says “son” too much. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.


  1. You’ve already said Mass Effect (WHEEE), so I’ll just add Dragon Age.
    I’m ridiculously narrow in my choice of games, but have I loved every minute I’ve been playing them.

  2. Sandbox: red dead redemption
    RPG: skyrim/fallout
    Story driven: heavy rain

    There’s so many more but they are must plays imo

  3. x360/ps3 – kingdoms of amalur, enslaved, catherine
    x360 – viva pinata
    ps3 – valkyria chronicles
    wii – no more heroes & the last story

    1. My girlfriend was obsessed with Amalur when she played it on PS3, so today I picked it up on 360 to give it a whirl. Looks pretty amazing.

      I also felt The Last Story was the best of the three Operation Rainfall Wii RPGs. Great cast and really solid combat once you switch it over to manual.

  4. ~Xenoblade Chronicles
    ~Last Story and Pandora’s tower (For their beautiful British voice acting :3)
    ~Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
    ~Fragile Dreams (kinda made no sense but a very cute and weird game!)
    ~Tales of Graces
    ~Tales of Xillia and it’s sequel
    ~Heavy Rain
    ~Mass Effect trilogy (duh!)
    ~Project Diva F and F2nd
    ~Eternal Sonata (Frustating at so many times but good if you like music and good character designs. Oh, and Chopain!)

    Those will do, I swear I’ve forgotten someone…ach well. ^_^

    1. You’re the 2nd person so far to list Heavy Rain, and I don’t know what it was about it, but I really, really dislike David Cage games. Heavy Rain, Indigo Prophecy, Beyond Two Souls.. none of them. Maybe I need to give Heavy Rain a second chance or something lol.

      SH Shattered Memories was FANTASTIC. Very underrated in the survival horror department. Of your list, I haven’t touched a Project Diva game, although I like rhythm stuff, and I’m not too big in to the Tales series.

      1. I think Heavy Rain was accepted with fuzzy memories of Fahrenheit – the first David Cage game we ever played, it was such a strange game – but yeah, I wasn’t too keen on Beyond: Two souls -_-”
        Project Diva is awesome! 😀 well, more so if you like Vocaloid ^_^
        And the Tales series is great! Although I’ve only played three titles I still consider myself a fan! :3

      2. I’ve tried to get in to Tales of various occasions, but as someone who isn’t a fan of anime really, I find it hard to get invested in its story. Vesperia was probably the one I enjoyed the most.

  5. Honestly, over the years I’ve found a lot of must plays aren’t the obvious ones. Some big games I’ve enjoyed weren’t super hyped, or given the greatest scores of all time. Some even fell more under cult status. So I think I’ve got a healthy mix to put here.

    Binary Domain. Yes. Binary Domain. It’s far from a perfect game, but it’s good enough that action fans should still experience it. Sega put out a good Gears clone, that nobody paid much attention to. It even has a cool story (well until the third act when it goes off a cliff). I would say that the now defunct GRIN’s reimagining of Bionic Commando is a very similar situation to me. An above average action game, that didn’t get a lot of attention.

    American McGee’s Alice: Madness returns was another really good game. It continues the story of the first game, and goes into themes you don’t think it might. Until it does. It is a little long, but it has a wonderfully bleak, and bright world at the same time. Again, maybe not the perfectionism that some crave, but if you can play games that aren’t all 10/10 fare I think you should check it out.

    Madworld is another one people should play. It’s a brawler on the Wii by Platinum. Ignored partially because it was on the Wii, and partially because admittedly, it isn’t particularly deep, it is fun. Plus like Bionic Commando you get to hear Steven Blum. Who makes Jack as gristly as he needs to be. It’s average. But that doesn’t have to mean bad.

    No More Heroes 1&2 are another couple of nice action games on the Wii. Suda 51 titles, they’re going to be similar to his other games in how they play. But there’s a lot of humor in them to be found. If you like these, then you might also enjoy Lollipop Chainsaw on the 360.

    The two Epic Mickey games were worth checking out too. At least on the Wii. The sequel doesn’t perform so hot on the other platforms. And again, not flawless games, Warren Spector gives Disney fans a lot of nostalgic stuff to love, a story on par with the Alice games with the first, a surprisingly ho-hum second one. But I enjoyed both. I’ll probably get a lot of boos for mentioning them (I swear they were like certain movies where half the people like them, and the other half can’t stand them.) But if you have an open mind give them a go.

    Dokapon Kingdom. This board game RPG came out on the PS2, and The Wii. You pretty much need to play it. One part is Monopoly, freeing towns from boss monsters, then gaining them the way you would Boardwalk, and Park Place upon doing so. The second are the zany spaces on the board right out of Mario Party. Then you have the Turn Based Rock/Paper/Scissors JRPG battles. It’s a lot of fun, and a must play.

    X-COM Enemy Unknown. A reboot of the classic TBS games, it isn’t quite as complex, but is still really good, and came to consoles in addition to the PC.

    Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. This just recently hit the systems nearing retirement, but it’s a must play PC game IMHO. It puts a new spin on the first person team based shooter with objectives. By placing it in a fictional setting during the Medieval period. Sure there’s the always fun standbys like Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch. But the Team Objective modes are a blast, and have you doing a lot of things you might feel squeamish about. In one map, the game’s villains are told they have to burn down a village, and kill civilians. In another they have to poison an aquifer. But the heroes sometimes also do dastardly things. Even if they do get to free prisoners, slaves, and kill a Tyrannical king. It’s also got some of the best melee combat of any action game. As well as a wealth of free content on the PC. There’s a standalone expansion pack, that isn’t as good as the base game. But you might want to try it if you like the idea of Nautical Pirates going up against Spartans, and Vikings.

    Bulletstorm. Another Steven Blum appearance here as a main character. It actually shares something else in common with Madworld, and that’s it’s focus on creatively killing bad guys in hilariously demented ways to advance. It’s also a really fast paced arcade shooter by the guys that gave us Painkiller. It doesn’t do much in the way of multiplayer. But if you want a straight up, fun to play shooting gallery check it out.

    Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams is another great game I will defend. A sequel to the Commodore 64 Mario clone, it redefines itself with a great Light/Dark mechanic, wonderful visuals, and amazing music by Chris Huelsbeck, and Machinae Supremacy. Plus Black Forest is still supporting it. If you want a great platformer that isn’t made by Nintendo, this is the one you should nab off of Steam/GoG/XBL/PSN it was also released on the Wii U as a downloadable game.

    Now if you mean must plays in the sense of highly regarded, sacred cows of yesteryear, then I would obviously point to a lot of Nintendo’s big games. Super Mario Galaxy 1&2, New Super Mario Bros. Mario Party, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Sin & Punishment 2, and The Metroid Prime Trilogy were just some of them.

    Obviously you have the Microsoft juggernauts with Halo, and Gears. Or Sony’s big guns like Last Of Us, and Uncharted.

    Then there were the big third party games. The Batman Arkham games. Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption, and GTA5. Some might throw Far Cry 3, Saints Row 2, The Metal Gears, Street Fighters, Mortal Kombats, Blazblues, Guilty Gears, Personas, Tales, the list goes on, and on.

    It’s really easy to remember all of the terrible, torturous games of yesteryear (Raven Squad, Ride To Hell) because there are so many. It’s also easy to remember most of the heavy hitters that you put on the “Missed it at launch but will play it” list. But there’s a lot of good stuff. Some of it obscure, and worth tracking down if you’re willing to look for it..

    1. Now THAT’s a reply! It’s definitely easier to name the big AAA titles, but some games just connect with its players on different levels. For me, I really, really loved Dante’s Inferno, although I can easily spot its flaws (wonky platforming, especially that Greed level). I’m also a huge SUDA 51 fan, so Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw, and No More Heroes are must-plays to me as well. Madworld is fun, simple, and surprisingly violent for a Wii game. Lots of fun to be had there. Alice: Madness Returns was one of my favorite games of 2011 =).

      Thanks for going in-depth!

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