Don’t judge me. You knew this was coming, I literally said so in our podcast (Episode 42, the link’s at the bottom!) talking about our games of the generation. I could talk about this game for hours and still have more to say, so I’ll try to summarise all my favourite things as much as possible.
MMORPGs have a reputation wherein their story is normally a bit flimsy at best, however, Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t just break the mould, it completely reinvents it. With an incredible narrative which makes your specific character feel important, you are encouraged to follow the Main Scenario, not just for levelling your Jobs, but for the highs and lows and emotional moments that you normally expect from a mainline Final Fantasy title.
The fact you can be any/all of the available 17 main combat jobs on the one character means that there’s almost always something to be done. Plus there’s the ‘Limited Job’ Blue Mage, the eight crafters, and three gatherers. Honestly, you could play for thousands of hours and still not have done everything.
I love playing Paladin; being the great defensive behemoth of a tank is a really satisfying role. But I equally love playing Monk; as a fast-paced physical DPS, it’s great to not have to worry about Tank problems. Or even better is playing White Mage, so I can wind my friends up by not healing them. The choice is mine, and it continues to be mine. With just a click of a button, I’m ready to head into the next dungeon as a Dragoon.
The community surrounding this game is almost always a true pleasure to deal with. The kindest, funniest people can be found playing this game. Personally, I’ve made some true life-long friends by being in the right Free Company (player guild) at the right time.
If World of Warcraft created and defined the modern MMORPG, then Final Fantasy XIV has perfected it. A rich world, full of stories, lore and characters for you to fall in love with. Shadowbringers has also given us the best Final Fantasy villain we’ve ever had. Ever.
Marvel’s Spider-Man – 2018
I’ve gushed about this game plenty, but I’m happy to do so all over again. Insomniac’s Spider-Man was a game that many were worried about. It had been so long since the last “good” Spider-Man game, how would this set itself apart? Well, by making web-swinging amazing.
Add in Arkham-esque combat, clever gadgets, and stunning suits to unlock and you’ve got yourself a winner. I know it’s an overdone meme at this point, but this game really does make you feel like Batman Spider-Man.
Monster Hunter World and Iceborne – 2017
I’m sure it comes as a surprise to no-one that I’ve put Monster Hunter on this list. As a devout fan for over a decade, I was initially wary of the “dumbing down” of certain mechanics that World was promising, but I’d quickly discover those fears were for nothing.
Revamped attacks, clever uses of the environment, and a gorgeous coat of HD paint made Monster Hunter World stand out from the older entries in the franchise. It paid off too, quickly becoming Capcom’s best-selling game ever.
The Iceborne expansion added back some personal favourite monsters that were sorely missing from World’s initial roster.
With the heart of the franchise still beating hard for Monster Hunter World, Capcom did a fantastic job at making this the most accessible entry into the franchise ever, without sacrificing the challenge it was known for.
Divinity Original Sin 2 – 2017
Despite the mildly clunky name, Divinity Original Sin 2 is the best D&D game that never existed. Larien Studio’s meticulously crafted character building and levelling system make Divinity Original Sin 2 the best way to play a true table-top RPG without the table-top.
Great storytelling, fun and clever combat encounters, and a surprisingly flexible class system makes this a must-play for any D&D fans out there. So much so, Larien Studios have been entrusted to make the upcoming Baldur’s Gate 3, set in the D&D Universe that Divinity is clearly inspired from.
The ability to fight any NPC you come across is a great way to role-play that murder hobo you’ve always wanted to be. For a turn-based RPG, it really doesn’t get much more fun than Divinity Original Sin 2.
Ghost of Tsushima – 2020
It’s no secret that Sucker Punch’s most recent IP was initially met with scepticism and distrust, however, this gorgeous open world left almost everyone blown away by the quality that oozed out of Tsushima.
Since release, the game has received further updates and an entire multiplayer mode, making Ghost of Tsushima my pick for the 5th best game of the 8th(?) Generation.
Open world games largely defined this generation, and Ghost of Tsushima is the pinnacle of them.