A new generation will soon be upon us. Both Sony and Microsoft have been doing some heavy hinting, and next fall we'll be able to get our hands on next-gen systems. With that confirmed, there's only one thing left to do: wax nostalgic on the current generation before it becomes "last-gen."
What better way to accomplish that than by assembling a list of the top 10 best games of the first full year of current-gen? Having just transitioned over to the new consoles at the tail end of 2013, many developers weren't yet ready to release anything strictly for the new systems yet, so this list contains a lot of last-gen remasters along with some cross-gen releases.
10 Dragon Age: Inquisition (Metascore: 89)
After a year filled with remasters and re-issued editions of games that had already come out during the previous generation, BioWare finally blessed PS4 and Xbox One gamers with a title just for them…well, not really. Still, it was, at least, a title they hadn’t already played before.
Players would take on the role of the Inquisitor, a being with the ability to close breaches connecting the mystical Fade to their homeland, a land unleashing demons on the world. The game featured a large cast of compelling characters and beautiful lands to explore, so, despite other problematic issues like lackluster combat and dull quest design, it’s no surprise it got an 89.
9 Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (Metascore: 90)
In a sea of indie games trying so hard to differentiate themselves, DrinkBox’s Guacamelee stands out without ever even playing the game itself. It’s a Metroidvania in a 2D world where players take on the role of Juan, a masked luchador who has to battle against an evil skeleton to save his girlfriend from being sacrificed in a ritual to unite the worlds of the living and the dead.
That story sounds insanely awesome, but the brawler gameplay is just as unique. Players get to explore a beautiful world that gradually expands as they gain new upgrades, and it even offers the opportunity to play through the entire game with a buddy.
8 Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition (Metascore: 90)
The Diablo series is easily one of the most beloved of Blizzard’s many popular series, with the second installment pulling in players for over a decade before the company finally decided to release the third installment in 2012.
The hack and slash title hit some rough spots early on thanks to a few missteps thanks to an auction house where players could spend real money, but, by the time console gamers received the title in 2014 as Diablo III – Ultimate Evil Edition, all of those issues had long been smoothed over. All that remained was classic, addicting Diablo gameplay, leading to a pretty sweet 90 on Metacritic for the game.
7 Fez (Metacritic: 90)
Phil Fish may be a polarizing figure who dropped off the map some time back at this point, but his work on the incredibly beloved Fez still remains. Despite releasing two years previously for the Xbox 360, the game remained just as popular when it launched on current generation systems, scoring a 90 on Metacritic.
A beautiful pixel art game, Fez was a puzzle-platformer starring Gomez, a being wearing a red fez who learns his 2D world is actually one of four planes making up the 3D world. Gomez travels through these worlds to collect cubes that will help bring his world back to normal.
6 Rayman Legends (Metascore: 90)
Michel Ancel and Ubisoft Montpellier had a hit on their hands with the release of their 2013 title Rayman Legends. So it made sense that, rather than allowing the end of last-gen to get in the way of what their game could do, they re-released it for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One the following year, with Metacritic giving it a solid 90.
In addition to playing amazingly, Rayman Legends is a massive wellspring of new content for players to enjoy, featuring over 120 levels to finish and 700 Teensies in the game to collect. This can be done either through single-player or with three additional friends in four-player local co-op, meaning this game works as a party game too.
5 Dark Souls II (Metascore: 90)
One of the most fascinating changes that occurred between the end of last gen and the start of this one has been the rise of From Software as a developer. For ages, they were simply known as the developer pumping out Armored Core games. But, as the stories of their Souls games’ legendary difficulty began to spread, so did the popularity of their games grow.
Despite Dark Souls II not being the most popular of those titles, it still managed to score a 90 thanks to it maintaining the series’ reputation of punishing difficulty in a new world of undead knights and destroyed kingdoms.
4 Bayonetta 2 (Metascore: 91)
After the cult classic that was the first Bayonetta, it felt obvious that Platinum Games was going to go for a sequel. The only problem was, the game hadn’t sold well enough to Sony or Microsoft to consider it worth the money to invest in a sequel.
Enter Nintendo, who hooked Platinum up with the funding to bring the time witch to their Wii U platform for a new installment. Featuring more over-the-top action alongside some new techniques and a neat new two-player mode, Bayonetta 2 won over character action fans everywhere and landed an incredibly impressive 91 rating. Hopefully, Bayonetta 3 will pull off the same thing when it launches on Switch.
3 Super Smash Bros. For Wii U (Metascore: 92)
Nintendo had some incredibly well-designed titles for the Wii U from Splatoon and Super Mario 3D World to Super Smash Bros. Wii U. After a disappointing entry on the Wii—tripping will forever be an inexcusable mechanic—Sakurai and Sora Ltd. worked together to create a new game that improved on what fans loved about the franchise and gave them a massive roster.
Smash Bros Wii U boasts an impressive 50+ member roster, pulling from both their own titles and classic gaming franchises like Final Fantasy, Mega Man, Street Fighter, and more. It’s no surprise the game scored its 92 rating.
2 The Last of Us Remastered (Metascore: 92)
The Last of Us was a fantastic title that capped off Sony’s PlayStation 3 era back in 2013, selling millions of copies, receiving multiple Game of the Year awards, and getting an incredibly high 95 on Metacritic.
But, with next-gen game development taking more time than anyone could have expected and no backward compatibility for their prior system, it’s no surprise they went ahead and released a remastered version the following year for PlayStation 4. The already beautiful Naughty Dog game received several graphical upgrades, making Joel and Ellie’s journey through a post-apocalyptic United States all the more haunting and beautiful.
1 Grand Theft Auto V (Metascore: 97)
Coming in at the top of the list, unsurprisingly, is Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V. Boasting an insane score of 97, it’s really no surprise considering this game’s sold 110 million copies and has been one of the top ten best selling games every month since it released.
It’s often the first title bought when users buy a new system, probably due to just how much value players can get out of it. The main story is long enough as it is, and, thanks to the booming GTA Online community, there’s always something new to do in the city of Los Santos well after players are done with the adventures of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin.