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  1. #1
    Moderator alms's Avatar
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    What are the Must Plays of the last 5 years?

    And I don't mean "people who are into strategy game ought not miss this title", I mean games that everyone should play because they're so good they transcend the boundaries of their respective genres, mechanics, shortcomings or whatever else.

    Milestones, game changers, or truly outstanding games that tower above their, albeit very good, peers; imagine you're talking to someone who's just discovered games exist and has to catch up on the very best gaming has to offer in a limited time.

    Let's not be fiscal about the 5 years, if it's 6 or 7, maybe 8 even?, it should still be OK as UX and graphical fidelity aren't that far behind that they put off prospective players. It's more to avoid those revered classics whose names people have heard too many times and probably aren't going to play anyway don't come up again and again.

    So, fire away, Mr Hivemind, gimme your best shot.
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    homeworld remastered, reflex, black closet, eventual mods and possibly a nulooking glass game from the future.

    oh aand Shadow of the colossus and possibly a new blendo game.
    Last edited by Wenz; 23-05-2016 at 02:56 AM.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Matt_W's Avatar
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    Minecraft is an obvious answer, for the simple reason that for many younger kids (my own included) it was their first introduction to games in last 5 years. And it remains seminal.

    I'd say Portal 2 is unparalleled for how slick the interface is and how easy it is to slide into the gameplay.

    Gone Home, I think, is a good stand in for what the indie game scene is trying to do, and represents more of what is possible with the medium.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    And I don't mean "people who are into strategy game ought not miss this title", I mean games that everyone should play because they're so good they transcend the boundaries of their respective genres, mechanics, shortcomings or whatever else.
    I would maintain that there is no such thing. Individual tastes vary much, much too widely for there to be anything so universal. Case in point, I would dispute just about every answer in this thread so far. If you want further evidence, look no further than trjp's "games everyone else seems to love that suck" thread.

    You can talk about games which are tremendously important, pushing the medium in new directions or introducing new ideas, but that's not the same thing as being good and I'm not sure that just because a game is important that necessarily means everyone should play it.
    Last edited by vinraith; 23-05-2016 at 04:04 AM.

  5. #5
    Network Hub gordianblot's Avatar
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    Gone Home, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Her Story, Transistor, Journey.

    I don't think any of those really changed gaming but they're really good and some of them happened to have came in on big waves of change. There's Gone Home and walking simulators, showing that a game can just be a place. Her Story is part of the whole "look back to look forward" mentality we've seen. Journey is how we're going to be looking at multiplayer/singleplayer.

  6. #6
    Moderator Anthile's Avatar
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    Dark Souls: Arguably rekindled the interest in hardcore-oriented games coupled with innovative multiplayer elements. Also notable for its minimalist storytelling and exposition.
    Gone Home: Established walking simulators in the mainstream, spawning many poorly thought out imitators. One could argue it's an immersive sim not only with all the fat trimmed but also losing most of the muscle as well. I guess that leaves only the marrow.
    The Walking Dead: Pretty much the same story as Gone Home - adventure gaming boiled down to the bare essentials. No puzzles, only huge moral dilemmas. This is a game that asks who you are in the dark and not your opinion on combining rubber chickens with ziplines.
    Minecraft: It's fucking Minecraft.
    Kentucky Route Zero: I don't know how to explain the appeal of this game properly. It may seem like an adventure game on the surface but it's so much more than that - or less. It defies all conventions of what a game should be like and creates its own plane of existence.
    Shardlight: From the previous entries one could assume adventure gaming is dead but it couldn't be further from the truth. Wadjet Eye have developed and published quite a few fantastic adventure games over the last couple of years that rival those of the glory days of Lucas Arts. Shardlight might just be the best of them.
    Dishonored: Arguably the best immersive sim of the last couple years.
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  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node Henke's Avatar
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    I mostly agree with Matt_W and Anthile's lists. Also I'd add FTL and The Last Of Us. Possibly also Fez and Hotline Miami.

    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    imagine you're talking to someone who's just discovered games exist and has to catch up on the very best gaming has to offer in a limited time.


    I'd also have them play Far Cry 4, simply because it's representative of The Ubigame (and open world action games of our time) as a whole, and the best of that bunch.
    Last edited by Henke; 23-05-2016 at 06:58 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    I would maintain that there is no such thing. Individual tastes vary much, much too widely for there to be anything so universal. Case in point, I would dispute just about every answer in this thread so far. If you want further evidence, look no further than trjp's "games everyone else seems to love that suck" thread.

    You can talk about games which are tremendously important, pushing the medium in new directions or introducing new ideas, but that's not the same thing as being good and I'm not sure that just because a game is important, that necessarily means everyone should play it.
    I have to agree with you here. I struggle to come up with something that has universal appeal. If you hate a certain genre, even the best of the lot isn't likely to sway your opinion. I shall try a bit harder though.
    Resident graphics snob.

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  9. #9
    Network Hub spoken_starfish's Avatar
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    Crusader Kings 2 - Paradox are really the big deal in strategy at the moment and Crusader Kings 2 is their most distinctive offering. The best story generator since Dwarf Fortress.


    Dishonored - My pick of the first-person experiences of the last 5 years. The “do it your way” approach to design seems to finally have some traction right now. Great visuals and world-building.


    FTL - Roguelike-likes are a huge thing in the indie world and FTL is my personal favourite. Will have staying influence. See also: Spelunky.


    Invisible Inc - Turn-based strategy has made a comeback in recent years thanks to XCOM but I included this game because it does more to push the genre in a new direction. Really smart, tight design.


    Minecraft - This is the first game I had to put on this list. No other game hits so many of the trends that have shaped this decade: early access, retro visuals, procedural generation, survival/crafting, user-generated content, etc. It also is a fun and compelling game unlike anything else despite the imitators.


    The Stanley Parable - My pick of the of the walking sims. Self-reflexivity is a bit of a thing in games since Bioshock and this is delivers it in a very funny way.


    Shadow of Mordor - Represents both the ubi-open world model and arkham/assassin’s creed style fighting system. Also has the nemesis system which gives it a unique flavour.


    Games that should probably be on there but that I haven’t played: DayZ, Dark Souls

  10. #10
    Vector Jams O'Donnell's Avatar
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    The hard part is that for a game to truly be recommendable to everyone it needs to be pretty damned accessible. Also, it's pretty damning that most of the things I can think of turn out to be older than five years, but here's some:

    Dungeons of Dredmor: I'm not hardcore enough for true roguelikes, but Dredmor was the perfect intro to the genre. Great sense of humour too. If only Gaslamp would hurry up with Clockwork Empires.

    XCOM: No need to say anything other than I'm surprised it's not already been mentioned.

    I want to second FTL, though I think success is too much down to luck, and Invisible Inc.
    Last edited by Jams O'Donnell; 25-05-2016 at 03:32 PM.

  11. #11
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    DARK SOULS



    Kentucky Route Zero: I don't know how to explain the appeal of this game properly. It may seem like an adventure game on the surface but it's so much more than that - or less. It defies all conventions of what a game should be like and creates its own plane of existence.
    Seconded. KR0 is really something special.

  12. #12
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    Kerbal Space Program

    It's a freakin' educational game. "Let's make trigonometry, orbital mechanics, and logarithmic functions fun!"

    By setting out not to teach but to entertain it does both in a way that escapes many entertainment games and most educational games.

    In sci-fi films 30 years from now, when one spaceship wants to move closer to another spaceship, they will do so with at least some nod to orbital mechanics and not simply point toward their target and accelerate - this will be due to their writers and directors playing KSP in their youth.

    And yet to classify it as an educational game for kids is such a disservice - it's one of the very few games out there which will appeal to and entertain 8 year olds as easily as 80 year olds. (85 year olds are all Orbiter nerds)

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    I would maintain that there is no such thing. Individual tastes vary much, much too widely for there to be anything so universal. Case in point, I would dispute just about every answer in this thread so far. If you want further evidence, look no further than trjp's "games everyone else seems to love that suck" thread.

    You can talk about games which are tremendously important, pushing the medium in new directions or introducing new ideas, but that's not the same thing as being good and I'm not sure that just because a game is important that necessarily means everyone should play it.
    I completely agree but still, stuff like lg/id/ ion storm games will be influential for 50+ years no matter what, I'm just going to mention some of the best stuff people can find atm. We can dispute stuff if you want
    Last edited by Wenz; 23-05-2016 at 09:49 AM.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    DOTA or League of Legends- I think these are unquestionably and objectively the most important games in this era, opening up mulitplayer gaming from being a hobby into becoming something incomprehensibly massive and capable of rivaling established, multi million dollar sport franchises. Other games have basically just got more technologically advanced, but these have created something else entirely by focusing on accessibility, a free to play, in-game purchases model and cultivating a culture of entertainment and community.

    From a personal perspective:

    Far Cry 2 is the only FPS which has tried to offer more to the genre than just newer/more graphic means of shooting people since Half Life, tending towards expansion and spontaneity whereas HL delivered a tightly controlled experience. RAGE and Wolfenstein the New Order are its bastard offspring in respect to its frenzied firefights, and both excellent too, but Far Cry 2 is the best game out for andrenal FPS violence, an experience oscillating between patient, studious hunstmanship and outright panic attack. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is unparalleled as a pure, old school, arcade shoot 'em up. The most Doom game of the era.

    On a similar note, Mafia II is the only open world sandbox game (on PC at least, Red Dead Redemption manages it just as well) which tried to deliver the sense of playing through a slow burn, well plotted novel, and has probably the finest sense of pacing out of any narrative game in this era. Most people were too focused on just wanting another GTA clone to notice though and bitched about that instead because people are idiots. It's a different genre, but Bastion was also as narratively compelling and expertly plotted. Like Mafia II, it uses all the game's mechanics to slowly reveal a far bigger context that is utterly compelling and innovative in delivery. I would love to squeeze New Vegas in here for a similar reason, and in terms of narrative ingenuity it absolutley merits it, but the fact is that without heavy modding, which requires hours of investment, its technologically too compromised to really suggest in good faith.

    Before playing it I would have anticpated the Witcher series would fit in that narrative section above, but instead The Witcher 3 gets its own section because it has outright broken the AAA genre. In relation to comparative budget, depth, presentation, polish, size, ambition and realisation of concept, pound for pound there is absolutely nothing that can touch it, and no evidence that anyone even has the capacity to begin to try and emulate something similar at present. It's Coppola's Godfather in the early seventies. You really want to know what games can offer in regards to offering storytelling and an evocative experience, the sort of thing that can rival a great book or film? This is it.

    Dark Souls for being a best seller unrepentant in regards to its attitude towards intimidation, difficulty and accessibility, at a point when one most games were falling over themselves to be as ingratiatingly simple and undaunting to the player as possible. A whole raft of games have followed that would never have seen the light of day otherwise. Like the Strokes around the early 00's and what their arrival did to save rock music in the charts. I have mixed feelings for both them and DS, but both were incredibly important for their popular impact on the health of their respective mediums.

    Endless Legend
    does many things differently which are great, but it gets a mention for being the only strategy game I'm aware of where the developers have made a continued focus on making the AI work with the game's mechanics and posses it's own personality. That's genuinely revolutionary for this time period and not something seen since Alpha Centauri.

    Crusader Kings II for creating an incredible, and incredibly popular roleplay generator in spite of having a UI which less accessible and rewarding than Microsoft Excel

    Amnesia: The Dark Descent for evolving the "Walk around without killing people and interact with things" genreNot must plays, but just as important:

    Any number of remakes, redeuxs, most sequels, or fan service crowd funded games
    At first these seemed like great fun, and many of them are, but the continuous green flagging of these I think points to the fact that, aside from the examples above, PC Gaming is in a similar spot to Hollywood right now, and indeed mainstream culture in general. The above examples and their ilk are your Iggy Pops and Bowies and Princes-something trying to do something unashamedly different. But they are nonetheless obvious outliers in a sea of competent but bland franchises, sequels, and overtures to nostalgia and the monied audience who pine for it. It seems lost on them that, if as children/young adults the market had shared similar tastes as they now posess, then all they would ever have played would have been reiteratons of Pac Man and Pong.

    Notable absence: Any MMO. Ten years ago, I think everyone would predict that would be where gaming was at. Instead it peaked fast and has been downhill all the way since.
    Last edited by sonson; 23-05-2016 at 11:49 AM.
    Do we put that on a game that says that there are people falling out of windows and when they hit the ground we kill them and we say that is a Fallout and they are falling out of cars

  15. #15
    Obscure Node Catsiel's Avatar
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    League of Legends.

    Mount and Blade: Warband.

    Skyrim.

    GTA5.
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  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    - Crusader Kings II
    - To The Moon
    - Portal 2
    - Papers, Please
    - Hotline Miami
    - Skyrim
    - Kerbal Space Program
    - Minecraft
    - Any MOBA, just to see what this new genre's about.
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  17. #17
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    Minecraft - Obviously top of the list as it is massively successful, and is basically being played by a huge proportion of 8-14-year-old in the West (and outside). Most clones etc. have been awful and point-missing, and it's not being aped much by good designers yet, but when people who are 14 now, are 34... Well then the influence will likely be insane.

    Also it's kind of fun, at least for a while.

    Skyrim - Unavoidable. Whatever one thinks of it, it sold huge numbers, reaches people who aren't "gamers", and has unarguably been massively influential with game designers, who very often mention it when listing games that inspired them - even over the boos of various haters.

    A MOBA - LoL or DOTA2 or HotS - LoL is the one who made the genre big, but it doesn't severely matter which one plays. All are free. All make gigantic bonkers-money. All have player-bases in the many millions.

    Dark Souls - Well-discussed above. Doesn't really matter if it's actually Demon's Souls or Dark Souls II or III or Bloodborne, whichever it is, you'll get the effect (plus, they're all pretty good - II is probably the weakest). Destined to be more influential than it already has been, and significantly responsible to re-popularizing games where you die a lot.

    Dwarf Fortress - Not massively directly influential (though there are plenty of quasi-clones), but fascinating to play, and more importantly, responsible for influencing gaming culture in two ways - helping to re-popularize "losing is fun" (along with Dark Souls, CK2 and others), and helping to popularize the whole "Game as story" deal, wherein people make what happened in a game into a story and it's actually fun (unless you're 8rooks, in which case it makes you hate humanity).

    As noted, no MMOs really make this list - they're a genre in need of a rebirth. I feel like a The Sims game should be, but whilst Sims 3 was mega-huge, it was 2009, which is pushing it, and it's influence/importance is decreasing, I feel (Sims 4 is charming but way LESS daring and a solid step backwards to being more like a sequel to earlier Sims games than Sims 3 - seemingly entirely to let the game run on lower-end machines whilst looking cute).

    Lots of other good candidates mentioned by others, though I would argue against a few - XCOM is superceded by the universally superior XCOM2 and hasn't been very influential/important, and Shadow of the Colossus is from 2005 (!!!) and is already part of the design culture, with the games it influenced being influential, rather than it, itself, as it were.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EPICTHEFAIL's Avatar
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    Minecraft is an obvious choice, simply because of how immensely influential it has been. It's the game that started the whole survival sandbox fad, and honestly it's still the only one that's any good.

    Skyrim is still pretty much the apex of the sandbox genre, miles ahead of anything else apart from Witcher 3 (which lacks the sheer flexibility and potential for madness but makes up for it with far stronger storytelling).

    KSP, even if it is pretty much just Orbiter with an in-game rocket builder, deserves a spot just for making something as legendarily complicated and impenetrable as aerospace engineering and orbital mechanics not only accessible, but cool.

    The whole Soulsborne series, for demonstrating that an ARPG can be interesting and fun, and that videogame storytelling can be good (excellent, even) without leaning on the crutch of on non-interactive cutscenes, just by taking advantage of good level design and encouraging players' curiosity.

    Elite Dangerous - admittedly, I am a bit of an Elite fanboy, and it is still in a lot of respects a deeply flawed game, but I feel it still deserves the spot not just for resurrecting a dead-as-a-dodo genre, and for the sheer depth of immersion it offers, but also because it is one of the very few VR games that can stand on their own merits and are genuinely good games, rather than just amusing but ultimately vapid gimmick-ridden tech demos. Even with the issues it has (the list of which has been shrinking quite rapidly, thanks to some exceptional post-launch patching), I wholeheartedly believe taht it, and to a lesser extent the conspicuously non-existent Star Citizen, represent the way forward for MMOs as simulators rather than tedious, hyper-linear theme parks.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus BillButNotBen's Avatar
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    I don't add many games to the Favorites category in steam, so these are about the only ones from modern times. Half of them are probably outside the 5 years thing, but I think all of them would look absolutely fine now:

    Braid
    Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons
    Grow Home (this one is a bit lesser, but it's only 4-5 hours and I only just played it)
    Mirror's Edge (with the caveat that some strange people seem not to like it)
    Portal (and maybe Portal 2)
    The Walking Dead (season 1 at least)
    World of Goo

  20. #20
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    Binding of Isaac and Spelunky, to see how rogueloose got into our action games.

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