Aaron Neuwirth is a Senior Writer for Rant. Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google+.

15. Journey (2012)

‘Journey’ is likely the simplest game on this list in terms of gameplay and setup, but it is still an incredibly beautiful and emotional journey. As a figure in a red cloak, your objective was to reach the peak of a mountain in the distance, but getting there was a stunning challenge. Between the wonderful art design and the moving soundtrack, this PlayStation 3 game was an experience unlike any other.

‘Journey’ is likely the simplest game on this list in terms of gameplay and setup, but it is still an incredibly beautiful and emotional journey. As a figure in a red cloak, your objective was to reach the peak of a mountain in the distance, but getting there was a stunning challenge. Between the wonderful art design and the moving soundtrack, this PlayStation 3 game was an experience unlike any other.

14. Burnout 3: Takedown (2004)

There are deeper racing games out there, but few deliver the same kind of metal-on-metal fun that ‘Burnout 3’ had to offer. This is a game that creates an exhilarating sense of speed and allows for pulse-pounding moments that either lead to victory or insane car crashes. There would be a couple more entries in this series before Criterion Games would go on to develop entries in the ‘Need For Speed’ franchise, but ‘Burnout 3’ was a true highlight.

There are deeper racing games out there, but few deliver the same kind of metal-on-metal fun that ‘Burnout 3’ had to offer. This is a game that creates an exhilarating sense of speed and allows for pulse-pounding moments that either lead to victory or insane car crashes. There would be a couple more entries in this series before Criterion Games would go on to develop entries in the ‘Need For Speed’ franchise, but ‘Burnout 3’ was a true highlight.

13. Super Mario Galaxy (2007)

‘Super Mario Galaxy’ is widely regarded as one of the best games for the Nintendo Wii for good reason. This was not only ‘Super Mario’ finally coming over to the Wii, it was a game that raised the bar for the console’s utilization. There is so much innovation that comes from developers taking what is unique about the Wii experience and focusing it on a ‘Mario’ game, that the payoff was nothing short of terrific. It’s a lively and colorful experience that is fun for everyone looking for it.

‘Super Mario Galaxy’ is widely regarded as one of the best games for the Nintendo Wii for good reason. This was not only ‘Super Mario’ finally coming over to the Wii, it was a game that raised the bar for the console’s utilization. There is so much innovation that comes from developers taking what is unique about the Wii experience and focusing it on a ‘Mario’ game, that the payoff was nothing short of terrific. It’s a lively and colorful experience that is fun for everyone looking for it.

12. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)

After realizing there were only so many ways to make a World War II game, Infinite Ward developed a whole new ‘Call of Duty’ experience that easily won over audiences. The story plays like a blockbuster action film that you were dropped into and taking the fight online meant investing hours into the experience. This was the game that pushed ‘Call Of Duty’ to the big leagues and that has paid off greatly.

After realizing there were only so many ways to make a World War II game, Infinite Ward developed a whole new ‘Call of Duty’ experience that easily won over audiences. The story plays like a blockbuster action film that you were dropped into and taking the fight online meant investing hours into the experience. This was the game that pushed ‘Call Of Duty’ to the big leagues and that has paid off greatly.

11. Fallout 3 (2008)

Bethesda Game Studios made one of the ultimate post-apocalyptic experiences with this open-world RPG. Then environments, sound design and character-leveling system all combined to make for one great game that is generally touted as one of the best ever made.

Bethesda Game Studios made one of the ultimate post-apocalyptic experiences with this open-world RPG. Then environments, sound design and character-leveling system all combined to make for one great game that is generally touted as one of the best ever made.

10. Half-Life 2 (2004)

While everyone continues to wait for Valve to announce ‘Half-Life 3’, ‘Half-Life 2’ continues to stand as a rightfully acclaimed first-person shooter. The physics-based puzzles would be expanded on in another game also rightfully on this list, but advanced work involving the AI, graphics, animation and narrative were superb. The gravity gun is also one of the best weapons in all of video games.

While everyone continues to wait for Valve to announce ‘Half-Life 3’, ‘Half-Life 2’ continues to stand as a rightfully acclaimed first-person shooter. The physics-based puzzles would be expanded on in another game also rightfully on this list, but advanced work involving the AI, graphics, animation and narrative were superb. The gravity gun is also one of the best weapons in all of video games.

9. Mass Effect 2 (2010)

Featuring improved gameplay to go along with the stellar narrative, character work and art design, ‘Mass Effect 2’ was a massive success. The way you build Commander Shepard meant playing through a game you could feel emotionally invested in. It didn’t hurt that the game was so wonderfully realized, easily standing as the peak of the series.

Featuring improved gameplay to go along with the stellar narrative, character work and art design, ‘Mass Effect 2’ was a massive success. The way you build Commander Shepard meant playing through a game you could feel emotionally invested in. It didn’t hurt that the game was so wonderfully realized, easily standing as the peak of the series.

8. God Of War (2005)

The sequels may have refined and improved the series overall, but ‘God of War’ kicked off with a bang by throwing you into the role of Kratos, a powerful Spartan seeking revenge against Ares. Taking on the multiheaded Hydra, the world quickly introduced you to the over-the-top theatrics and devastating combos you would take part in. The epic gameplay is matched by a gripping story that has a lot of fun with Greek myth while taking plenty of advantage of what the PlayStation 2 was capable of.

The sequels may have refined and improved the series overall, but ‘God of War’ kicked off with a bang by throwing you into the role of Kratos, a powerful Spartan seeking revenge against Ares. Taking on the multiheaded Hydra, the world quickly introduced you to the over-the-top theatrics and devastating combos you would take part in. The epic gameplay is matched by a gripping story that has a lot of fun with Greek myth while taking plenty of advantage of what the PlayStation 2 was capable of.

7. BioShock (2007)

One could go back and forth between this game and ‘BioShock Infinite’, but the original introduced players to the world of Rapture. Matched with a thick horror atmosphere, the game design in ‘BioShock’ is pretty spectacular. The steampunk influence in the weapon and character models only further advanced what there was to appreciate about this game. It is only fitting that the story served the game as well and ‘BioShock’ goes all in on delivering plenty of twists and turns.

One could go back and forth between this game and ‘BioShock Infinite’, but the original introduced players to the world of Rapture. Matched with a thick horror atmosphere, the game design in ‘BioShock’ is pretty spectacular. The steampunk influence in the weapon and character models only further advanced what there was to appreciate about this game. It is only fitting that the story served the game as well and ‘BioShock’ goes all in on delivering plenty of twists and turns.

6. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)

Given the amount of time Hideo Kojima invests in every ‘Metal Gear’ game, the release of ‘MGS3: Snake Eater’ was a big event. Allowing the players to take on the role of Big Boss was all kinds of exciting. Throwing in new camouflage and self-repair systems was a nice touch, but this is still the stealth-action game that players love. The story is incredibly intricate and the wild characters introduced only add to another fantastic trip through the world of ‘Metal Gear’.

Given the amount of time Hideo Kojima invests in every ‘Metal Gear’ game, the release of ‘MGS3: Snake Eater’ was a big event. Allowing the players to take on the role of Big Boss was all kinds of exciting. Throwing in new camouflage and self-repair systems was a nice touch, but this is still the stealth-action game that players love. The story is incredibly intricate and the wild characters introduced only add to another fantastic trip through the world of ‘Metal Gear’.

5. Portal 2 (2011)

Valve Corporation made a sleeper success out of the short game ‘Portal’, found in their ‘Orange Box’ release, but ‘Portal 2’ was a huge step forward. Taking what worked about the first game, this sequel had a longer and stronger narrative, with plenty of new challenges. It is full of humor and amazing creativity in how to play a puzzle game in the style of a first-person shooter.

Valve Corporation made a sleeper success out of the short game ‘Portal’, found in their ‘Orange Box’ release, but ‘Portal 2’ was a huge step forward. Taking what worked about the first game, this sequel had a longer and stronger narrative, with plenty of new challenges. It is full of humor and amazing creativity in how to play a puzzle game in the style of a first-person shooter.

4. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)

‘Uncharted’ was a fun adventure game that did a fine job of showing what the PlayStation 3 was capable of. The sequel was a massive increase in quality on every level. the visuals are stunning, the story is incredibly involving and the gameplay makes you feel like you’re in an ‘Indiana Jones’ movie. This is one of the best adventures you will ever go on in video games.

‘Uncharted’ was a fun adventure game that did a fine job of showing what the PlayStation 3 was capable of. The sequel was a massive increase in quality on every level. the visuals are stunning, the story is incredibly involving and the gameplay makes you feel like you’re in an ‘Indiana Jones’ movie. This is one of the best adventures you will ever go on in video games.

3. Red Dead Redemption (2010)

It was tempting to place one of Rockstar’s ‘Grand Theft Auto’ games on this list, but ‘Red Dead Redemption’ is such a fantastic experience that does plenty with what works in the ‘GTA’ series. The only difference is how ‘Redemption’ is set in the old west and takes complete advantage of how to make a killer western. It is fun to be a gunslinger taking on bounty hunter missions, but the real investment comes from the terrific story that is told. Rockstar has excelled in the writing department and this is a game that takes all of the studios talents and puts them to great use.

It was tempting to place one of Rockstar’s ‘Grand Theft Auto’ games on this list, but ‘Red Dead Redemption’ is such a fantastic experience that does plenty with what works in the ‘GTA’ series. The only difference is how ‘Redemption’ is set in the old west and takes complete advantage of how to make a killer western. It is fun to be a gunslinger taking on bounty hunter missions, but the real investment comes from the terrific story that is told. Rockstar has excelled in the writing department and this is a game that takes all of the studios talents and puts them to great use.

2. Shadow Of The Colossus (2005)

This game is brilliant. One huge world, 16 massive beings and it is just you and your horse determined to take them down. ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ is an epic gaming experience that requires little more than music and beautiful visuals to push you forward on your quest. Few things are more satisfying than finding the key to success in figuring out the weak spots in each colossus, but there is also a sense of sorrow after defeating each one. The game’s narrative becomes emotional in a clever sort of way, which is what makes it such an awesome representation of the medium.

This game is brilliant. One huge world, 16 massive beings and it is just you and your horse determined to take them down. ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ is an epic gaming experience that requires little more than music and beautiful visuals to push you forward on your quest. Few things are more satisfying than finding the key to success in figuring out the weak spots in each colossus, but there is also a sense of sorrow after defeating each one. The game’s narrative becomes emotional in a clever sort of way, which is what makes it such an awesome representation of the medium.

1. The Last Of Us (2013)

‘The Last Of Us’ is a game without issue. It delivers everything one wants in a video game and more. The graphics are spectacular, gameplay is fluid and the story is an emotional journey that leaves its mark. Many games on this list have great narratives, but ‘The Last Of Us’ has terrific performances from all the voice actors involved, combined with a setting that is unique and incredibly thrilling to be a part of. Whatever comes next, as far as being the next big thing in gaming, it has to do a lot to exceed what ‘The Last Of Us’ brought to the gaming world.

‘The Last Of Us’ is a game without issue. It delivers everything one wants in a video game and more. The graphics are spectacular, gameplay is fluid and the story is an emotional journey that leaves its mark. Many games on this list have great narratives, but ‘The Last Of Us’ has terrific performances from all the voice actors involved, combined with a setting that is unique and incredibly thrilling to be a part of. Whatever comes next, as far as being the next big thing in gaming, it has to do a lot to exceed what ‘The Last Of Us’ brought to the gaming world.

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