While some of us have left behind the tried-and-true work horses of last generation’s console offerings to explore the nascent libraries of the current generation, this shouldn’t preclude anyone from revisiting (or discovering) some great titles from those older systems. In fact, if you are a lady or gentleman with an appetite for “nouveau retro” gaming, you definitely owe it yourself to get on board and check out the sexy-ass titles that have made our list.
21. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3 Exlusive)
Perhaps one of the most gorgeous games to grace any console, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (NNK) is, essentially, a living Studio Ghibli cartoon. Sanctioned by famed directory Hayao Miyazaki, NNK follows the exploits of young Oliver who, following the death of his mother, has traveled to another world in an attempt to find that world’s version of her. What follows is an incredibly nuanced, impeccably scored and just all-around excellent adventure. Also of interest is the fighting system; Oliver does not necessarily fight his enemies directly. Adding another layer to the adventure, battling can be accomplished by capturing familiars, Pokemon-like creatures native to the new world. Each one has their own stats and abilities which you train up directly. This is a game that is worthy of multiple play-throughs and is easily worth the price of admission!
22. Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- (PS3, Xbox 360)
As a long time fan, I have an extreme bias for this series. But, even if I didn’t, I would definitely recommend Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- (GGXS) to any fighting game enthusiast. Featuring outrageous designs, weapon based combat and a heavy rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack, GGXS has the kind of staying power that other fighters find enviable. It also features one of the most compelling story modes in the genre. As an added bonus, the game allows for cross-generational gameplay. This means you’ll have a chance to whoop on current-gen contenders from the comfort of your old system. There’s no reason not to pick this one up (unless you hate fun, that is)!
23. Resident Evil 6 (PS3, Xbox 360)
The Resident Evil (RE) series has gotten quite a bit of heat for taking a departure from its survival horror roots. While that is largely true, I prefer to consider that the series has made a transition from survival horror to action horror. Taken on that premise, Resident Evil 6 (RE6) provides a fun and kinetic romp through RE’s ever expanding (and some what disjointed) mythology. RE6 brings with it the kind of cinematics and set pieces that six-plus successful entries have afforded it and allows you to bring a friend along for the ride. While it’s not high art, it is a good time that is heavy on the action.
24. L.A. Noire (PS3, Xbox 360)
When Rockstar, the studio behind the massively popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, announced it would be developing a neo-noir detective story, the gaming world rubbed its hands in collective excitement. And while the final game was not perfect, most agreed that this was an outstanding effort by the famed developer. Rockstar delivered an action adventure game in the same vein as it’s older cousin, GTA, in which players guide protagonist Cole Phelps as he rises through the ranks from uniformed patrolman to a member of a number of police department bureaus. Along the way, we are treated to stunning car chases, respectably engrossing case files and an ambitious, if not entirely logical, moral narrative. Like a TV series that is slow to build, it may seem like not much is going on at first but, once you are hooked, you’re in for the long haul. It also features a start-studded cast of motion and voice actors that add a level of entertainment as they are revealed to the player throughout the course of the story. If you are serious about exploring last generation’s games, this is certainly one that should make your list.
25. Valkyria Chronicles (PS3 Exclusive)
This is probably one of my very favorite games released for the last generation of consoles. Taking place over a European-like setting in the grips of an expanding war, Valkyria Chronicles (VC) really pushed the boundaries of what was being done with controllable anime visuals. VC delivered a tactical role playing experience that is pretty darn amazing even by today’s standards. Like any good role playing game worth its salt, specifically when speaking about a JRPG, it also provides a compelling cast of characters that help to deliver a story that is equal parts adventure, comedy and heartbreak. The connection you form with your teammates not only propels the narrative, but also creates an emotional attachment that adds gravitas to your every action. Its great story, lovable characters and beautiful presentation beg multiple playthroughs and it is an outstanding addition to any library.26. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (PS3, Xbox 360)
The second chapter in High Moon Studios’ inspired take on The Transformers line of video games, Transfromers: Fall of Cybertron (T:Foc) is everything its successor was–only better. Players control a number of different Transformers (from either the Autobot and Decepticon factions) in an attempt to exact cold hard third-person shooter vengeance upon their metallic brethren. Every character has a story-specific ability which can range from controlling a massive headquarters (Optimus Prime = Metroplex) to combining with teammates to form gestalt class warriors (Combaticons = Bruticus). For those of you who are fans, as I suspect many of you reading this now are, you also get to control Grimlock, a formidible warrior who transforms into a metallic T-rex! If that last bit didn’t grab you, there is nothing else I can say that will convince you to try this (also, we can’t be friends – ever)!
27. Tales of Vesperia (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Although last generation saw a number of great Tales games, few, with the possible exception of Tales of Graces f, really captured the spirit of the Tales series like Vesperia did. By consequence, this means that those familiar with the series know what to expect: a variation of the Linear Motion Battle System, a story involving two worlds, a colorful cast of characters, hilarious side conversations, and a whole bunch of great fun. It’s highly recommended for Tales fans and JRPG fans in general.
28. BlazBlue (Multiple Entires – PS3, Xbox 360)
The longtime spiritual successor to the Guilty Gear series, BlazBlue continues the tradition of bombastic rock soundtracks and larger than life characters. It is a traditional 2D fighter that provides fast-paced, weapon based action that takes place in a fictional world that features magic, high-technology and parallel dimensions. It’s easily one of my favorite fighters of the last generation and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
29. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
One of the earlier titles available for both the PS3 and Xbox 360, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (MUA2) shows its age a bit more than any of the other titles on this list. Based on plot elements taken from both the Secret Wars and Civil War comic book arcs, events that are currently being built-up to in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MUA2 is a cooperative 4-player adventure that allows players to take on the role of a number of beloved superheroes. These characters can be leveled up to increase their base abilities and attributes while the larger narrative of the story unfolds via series of missions and objectives culled from the pages of Marvel’s comics. While this is clearly geared at fans of the source material, even those only marginally acquainted with Marvel’s colorful cast of characters can find a lot to like here.
30. Zone of the Enders HD Collection (PS3, Xbox 360)
I’ll admit that this one is cheating a bit as, in reality, the Zone of the Enders (ZoE) series was a hack n’ slash/third person shooter originally released for the PS2. Taking place in the late 2100’s, ZoE focuses on the struggles of both a young colonist (Leo Steinbuck) and a former paramilitary soldier (Dingo Egrhet) as they pilot Jehuty, a powerful robot, over the course of an epic space opera. Told over the span of two main titles and several other side stories, ZoE series features pulse-pounding mecha fighting action, a great soundtrack, and awesome anime visuals. The HD collection features both of these main games in one tidy little package and, while not perfect recreations (they feel much slower), deliver a pretty glorious deal for newcomers.