The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles
The Shivering Isles expansion may technically be DLC, but the expansion was more stuffed with content than most regular games. Giving players an excuse to return to 2006’s Oblivion, the Shivering Isles allowed players to enter a new area in the form of a realm of madness ruled by the godlike Daedric prince Sheogorath.
With over 30 hours worth of content, the Shivering Isles featured a new land to explore, new characters to meet, quests to complete, weapons to find, and monsters to defeat. The game also introduced us to one of the most fun characters from the series, Sheogorath, who’s mania is both amusing and terrifying. Shivering Isles set the benchmark for DLC in a time when such a concept was still finding its place in the gaming landscape. Not only did it succeed in breathing new life into the original game, it also became the sort of DLC gamers think of when we imagine worthwhile DLC that gives plenty of bang for our buck.
By the Summer of 2007, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 were the new kids on the block with both boasting powerful new technology. The race was on between Microsoft and Sony and both were eager to get impressive new games (preferrably exclusively) on their respective consoles. Originally released on the Xbox 360 and PC, BioShock was one of the first big hits for Microsoft.
Set in an underwater city during the 1960’s, BioShock allows players to explore the creepy, dilapidated world of Rapture while they try and figure out what went wrong and how to get out, all while trying to avoid the deadly Big Daddies. The city of Rapture itself is a joy to explore and although BioShock is essentially an action game, the haunting atmosphere gives the game a feel of a horror title at times. The game’s plot is absolutely top tier and the end reveals a twist that had our jaws hit the floor when all was revealed. The BioShock series has had two more installments since the original that have cemented the series as a modern classic. Publisher 2K has stated that a new BioShock game is in the early stages and we look forward to seeing what’s in store. Now, would you kindly read on?
The Tony Hawk Skateboarding games had a great run in the ’90s and early ’00s. By 2007, the series was on hiatus and fans were left wondering how they were supposed to live out their dreams of being able to skateboard without all the scraped knees and broken bones. Luckily, EA not only came to our aid with Skate, but also brought along a new gaming mechanic which allowed Skate to bring something new to a genre previously dominated by Mr. Hawk.
In Skate, players perform tricks by flicking the left analogue stick in different ways to pull off tricks. Not only did this separate Skate from the Tony Hawk games but it also made players feel like harder tricks actually required more skill to land. Flicking the thumb stick felt akin to flicking a real board under your feet and, coupled with great graphics and physics, the game proved to be a huge hit. Two more Skate games followed and fans have been hounding EA to make a fourth game. The only reason EA wouldn’t make Skate 4 at this point is if the company decided it just couldn’t stand earning loads of money.
As mentioned earlier, both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 were eager to get ahead of one another and attract players to their console. If there’s one game that really attracted users to team Xbox, it was Halo 3. Given the staggering success of the first two Halo games, and the cliff-hanger ending of the second, Halo 3 was hugely anticipated. For many younger fans, it was their first introduction to what a hype train is and it would be fair to say that even the most hardcore Sony supporters were looking over at Halo 3 with envious eyes.
Fortunately, Halo 3’s developer, Bungie, delivered and Halo 3 received critical acclaim from both critics and players. The amount of pressure on the game was astounding but Halo 3 managed to pull it off seemingly without breaking a sweat. Not only did the game give Master Chief a worthy send off (no one knew at the time he’d be pulled out of retirement by Microsoft for two more games) but it also delivered one of the best online multiplayer experiences available. Players could team up to take on the game’s campaign together, and they could also jump into frantic online games that saw intense fire fights and amazing feats of skill.
It’s also worth mentioning the game’s brilliant Forge mode, which allows players to use game assets to create their own maps. This resulted in some fantastic maps which became famous among the Halo community and were every bit as fun as the maps created by the developers. The Halo series has continued to thrive but Halo 3 marks a very special time in the series’ history when it seemed like the whole world was rooting for Master Chief.
The Witcher series has become a huge hitter in the gaming industry, but the original Witcher game proves that, as Nathan Drake would say, greatness often comes from small beginnings, but more on that later. Today CD Projekt RED may be a household name among RPG players, but back in 2007, no one had heard of them. The Witcher was a humble but solid first entry in the series and allowed the studio to slowly but surely build up a fan base as each game became bigger and better.
Though a little rough around the edges and not as expansive as other RPG’s of the day, such as The Elder Scrolls, The Witcher is still a very solid game that holds its own even today. The game’s atmospheric world pulls players into the boots of Geralt of Rivia, and its meaningful choices make you feel like you’re having a genuine impact on the world and the characters around you. It may not have the expansive world and shiny graphics of The Witcher 3, but the original Witcher is still a great entry in the franchise and certainly worth checking out if you enjoyed the Geralt’s latest adventure.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
“Fifty thousand people used to live here, now it’s a ghost town.” Has it seriously been so long since we first we first heard that iconic line? Has it really been a decade since Activision separated from the shooter herd and proved that it had what it takes to make some of the best first-person shooting experiences we’ve ever seen?
Not only did Modern Warfare feature a fantastic campaign (who can forget All Ghillied Up?), but it also had some of the best online multiplayer we’ve ever played. The maps were all varied, there were plenty of game modes to choose from, and unlocks occurred frequently enough to keep us hooked. Many of us spent countless hours tweaking our loadouts in order to have the most effect on the battlefield and earning killstreaks was a great way to keep the battles feeling hectic. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was remastered earlier this year but was only made available to those who bought the special edition of Infinite Warfare. Here’s hoping we’re all soon able to revisit this classic.
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy is arguably the best game available on the Nintendo Wii and is without question one of the best Mario games ever made. The Wii sold very well, but it didn’t have the hardware to have graphics that could compete with the likes of the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo proved that graphics aren’t everything with Super Mario Galaxy.
Don’t get us wrong, Super Mario Galaxy is a very pretty game, but its excellent gameplay is what really puts it in a league of its own. It may first appear to be a children’s game, but collecting everything and beating every stage was far from child’s play. The game cemented the Wii as a console capable of greatness and showed that, in the new generation, Nintendo still had it. All the while many Xbox, PlayStation, and PC gamers looked on in envy.
Since its debut, Assassin’s Creed has become one of the biggest gaming franchises around and has expanded into comics, books, toys, and even films. Rewind ten years and the Assassin’s Creed franchise was taking its first steps towards becoming the giant it is today.
It would be fair to say that the first Assassin’s Creed game didn’t exactly blow our minds and wasn’t much indication of how big the series would become. It was arguably Assassin’s Creed II which truly innovated, but the first game was still a lot of fun and lay the groundwork for the series’ future. The game introduced players to the idea of reliving an ancestor’s life via the mysterious Animus and showed us that history was the perfect playground for video games. Assassin’s Creed also boasted graphics that still hold up today and showed us just what the PS3 and Xbox 360 were capable of. Over the past decade, the franchise has taken us to many different places and periods through history and we look forward to seeing where our next adventure takes us.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
Like Assassin’s Creed, it’s hard to recall a time when Uncharted wasn’t one of the biggest gaming franchises around. Exclusive to the PlayStation, Uncharted’s Nathan Drake has become a modern icon of the gaming industry and the Uncharted series has become synonymous with high quality gaming.
Ten years ago, no one knew who Nathan Drake was and both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were still finding their feet. By 2007, Microsoft already had the excellent Gears of War on its side and Sony needed to give players a reason to go with the PlayStation 3. That reason came in the form of the roguish Nathan Drake. Not only did Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune feature gorgeous graphics and excellent gameplay, it also featured memorable characters, a gripping story, and a great blend of exploration, platforming, and gunplay. Several (excellent) games later, we’ve said goodbye to Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, but we’ll always remember our first introduction to him in Drake’s Fortune. Remember, greatness from small beginnings.
Back in 2007, you’d be hard pressed to find a decent RPG set in space. Sure, Oblivion had us covered when it came to fantasy role playing, but what about adventuring through the galaxy? Such a concept seemed difficult to pull of. Previous hardware would’ve had a difficult time loading up the cosmos to explore, but with the arrival of the PS3 and 360, BioWare was ready to boldly go where no developer had gone before.
Not only did Mass Effect allow players to explore galaxies that genuinely felt huge, but it also told a gripping story and introduced us to characters we’d become way too emotionally attached to (big shout out to Garrus and Liara). The game was a huge hit and was followed up by two more equally great sequels (never mind the ending to three) and now we’re eagerly awaiting the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda which is set to be released in early 2017.
There you have it, ten games that turn a decade old in 2017. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go and hide under a blanket until our fear of the relentless march of time passes.