XboxEra Presents: Games of the Generation

As a new generation begins to rise, let’s step back for a brief moment to celebrate seven years of creativity and community by recognizing your favorite games as voted on by the XboxEra community. We have counted all the votes!

In addition to your lists provided, our poll workers have gathered additional data to provide more insight.

Have you wondered which genre XboxEra prefers most? What about our favorite year for releases? Ever wonder if hindsight showed Metacritic got it right?

We’ll answer these questions and more and will conclude with our favorite games over the past 7 years.

When you are finished reading all the winners, please visit the interactive dashboards at Tableau Public with this link. All graphics shown below were taken from there and can be navigated using the tabs.

How Scoring Works

We asked XboxEra community members to provide their top 10 games of the 8th console generation. While the community here is certainly Xbox leaning, it should be no surprise that the community has favorites across all platforms.

Therefore all new games and remakes from the Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch developed between November 2013 and November 2020 were valid. Games were assigned a score based on their ranking from each community member.

A 1st place ranking would equal 10 points, a 2nd place ranking would be 9 and so on. Eventually every game voted on would receive a final score based on frequency and placement within each voting member’s list.

Brought to You From All Over the World

The gaming industry is currently in the midst of a worldwide boom. As new developers enter the industry and gamers have a lower barrier to sample new experiences due to services like Game Pass, it stands to reason that the XboxEra community spreads their love to developers across the globe. While United States developers still have a clear lead in terms of preference for the XboxEra community, we see countries like Japan and Poland becoming far more relevant this generation.

XboxEra’s Favorite Genres

The early days of Xbox were built on the backs of Halo. It would eventually also be known for it’s Western RPGs and racing games. It should be no surprise then to see that first-person shooters, western RPGs and racing games make up 3 out of the top 4 genres nearly two decades since the birth of Xbox. Open world action adventure games also rated highly.

XboxEra’s Favorite Year

When we totalled up all the votes and assigned them points based on ranking, 2018 was clearly your favorite year. This should come as no surprise as some of this generation’s biggest games such as God of War, Red Dead Redemption and Forza Horizon 4 released in 2018. There was a surprising amount of depth as well. 2015 came in second place second place however that year was carried by one game. More on that later….

When we break it down further, Xbox Era’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd place votes also lined up most with the year 2018. In contrast, 2019 didn’t release many games that scored within the upper echelon of your lists despite having some nice depth to the year.

Did the Critics Get it Right?

The question is often asked whether review scores matter. In general, the favorites of the XboxEra community and the mainstream critics lined up well. As seen below, the majority of highest placing votes went towards games that scored 80 or above. If the critics didn’t rank a game incredibly high, you didn’t either…with a few notable exceptions.

There were a few games that broke the rule. What we see below are games which averaged under 70 from Metacritic. The top three games in this category were Sea of Thieves, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and State of Decay 2. There was a sizable drop-off in scoring for other games in this bucket. Sea of the Thieves was the only one in this category to crack the Top 10 Games of the Generation list.

For games which scored between 70 and 79, the first Destiny performed best here. Most interesting was that the first Destiny outperformed Destiny 2 despite being 12 points lower in Metacritic score. In total, the cooperative online genre was where the community had the greatest disagreements with the professional reviewers.

Single Player or Multiplayer?

Over the years, the Xbox platform has been know as the place to go if you value multiplayer however when our sample of Xbox gamers looked back on the generation, the single player experiences were the ones they remembered most fondly.

Your Favorite Publishers

It should come as no surprise that the XboxEra voters greatly favored games published by Xbox Game Studios. Was it just more Halo, Gears and Forza? More on that in a minute. Most interesting is that the 2nd favorite publisher for the community is Sony.

Without further adieu, let’s recognize the Xbox Era Community’s Games of the Generation!

Fighting Game of the Generation – Killer Instinct

Xbox Era doesn’t play fighting games often but when they do, it’s mostly Killer Instinct.

Puzzle Game of the Generation – Inside

While puzzle games remain a niche genre for our audience, Inside’s conclusion will remain etched in the brains of many for generations to come. According to Xbox member FairyEmpire, it was “a haunting and memorable ride from start to finish, with an ending that will keep you discussing for long”. MiserablePerson said “its truly a perfectly paced vision that raises the bar for what video games can be.”

Action RPG of the Generation – Dark Souls 3

We may as well call this genre the From Software genre as they have taken all three of the top spots. Dark Souls 3 was the first Miyazaki game I’ve ever played and it turned me on to an entire genre. Bloodbourne had a similar impact on the Playstation 4 platform.

Looter Shooter of the Generation – Destiny

As mentioned before, Destiny was one of the outliers of the generation when matching votes compared to the Metacritic. Zappy summarizes it best by saying “Is it an objectively amazing game? Probably not. But I spent more time playing it than anything else and had more fun playing it than any other game.” Mirroring the rest of the community, Zappy also voted the original over Destiny 2.

Survival Horror Game of the Generation – Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil not only scored best for survival horror game but also the highest for a single player focused remake. It’s also a testament of timeless game design. MiserablePerson said “This should be used as the template for survival”. As noted earlier, State of Decay 2 outperformed it’s Metacritic and gave Resident Evil 2 a run for it’s money.

Third Person Shooter of the Generation – Gears 5

Gears 5 runs away with this category while making the top 10 list. Mort speaks best for Gears fans by saying “this is the best Gears game….The story campaign was great, the gameplay as well. Loved all the new additions like Jack and the openess. PvE was great fun, with Horde and Escape being awesome. Hundreds of hours put into it is a first for me in this series.” Very few people at Xboxera thought Gears of War 4 was the better overall game.

It should also be noted that Quantum Break also scored highly. Daniel believed it “suffered from the awful XB1 launch and if it launched today it would receive much better praise.

Metroidvania Game of the Generation – Ori and the Will of the Wisps

For the 8th generation of consoles, we should rename this category to the Ori genre. CallMeCraig said “one of the most beautiful games ever made”. PhantomFox called it his “favorite platformer of all time”. Hypernova 474 claimed “it was an emotional roller coaster”. Sikamikanico called it “the perfect sequel”. With such platitudes, it should be no surprise that Ori Will of the Wisps was New IP of the generation and scores very highly in the overall ranks. More on that soon….

Action Adventure Game of the Generation – God of War

If Metroidvania’s now feel like the Ori gen, then we could consider calling this one the Sony Game gen. God of War runs away with this category but there are other games that gained notable points. Three of the top six games in this genre were published by Sony. An impressive feat coming from an Xbox leaning audience. Hellblade also made a strong impression and was the only non AAA developer to score highly in this genre.

Racing Game of the Generation – Forza Horizon 4

It’s not often that a game comes along and opens up a well established genre to an entirely new group of people. Forza Horizon over the 8th gen did exactly that. Mort summarizes it nicely by saying “I’m not a “car guy by any means….but this game… it’s just brilliant fun….I would never have thought I’d put hundreds of hours into a racing game, but there you go.” It should be noted that while Forza Horizon 4 outscores it’s predecessor’s significantly, the other’s still hold solid tallies. One interesting aspect when looking at the votes was Forza Motorsport 6 scored higher than it’s sequel which barely registered at all.

Western RPG of the Generation – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Every generation, we look forward to a handful of games that redefines it’s genre. For many people, The Witcher 3 accomplished that. The Witcher 3 often gets credited for having side missions that out-perform most games primary story missions. Xbox_Series from the community says it well “The hole in my heart that Bethesda had left behind with Fallout 4 was subsequently filled by one of the greatest RPGs of all time. The moral ambiguity of quests and attention to romance put it over the top.”

Open World Action Adventure Game of the Generation – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Talk about tough competition! Zelda reinvented itself while taking on a competitive genre and barely squeaks it out over Red Dead Redemption 2! CallMeCraig says it well “Nintendo breaths fresh air into the genre.” Bruno Costa said “Breath of the Wild is one of those rare masterpieces that redefine a whole genre in such a way that many games start to copy its formula right away.

Other notable games include one of the highest scoring new IPs of the gen in Horizon Zero Dawn. The Assassin’s Creed’s game design makeovers were also well received.

First Person Shooter of the Generation – Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo built the Xbox brand and first person shooters are still the go-to genre for a large part of the Xbox audience. This genre had the most games scoring at least 20 points or higher and contained one of the highest scoring new IPs behind only Ori. PhantomFox says of the MCC “One of the best collections in gaming. Always delightful to play the Halo campaigns again, and Halo 2 Anniversary is a great remaster of a great game.”

While Halo 5 was panned for it’s campaign, it received a lot of points due to it’s multiplayer. I consider it the most balanced competitive console multiplayer game of all time. Titanfall was one of the bright spots early in the Xbox One’s lifecycle.

The Final Countdown! Top 3 Xbox Era Games of the Generation!

#3 – Ori and the Will of the Wisps

#2 – Forza Horizon 4

#1 – The Witcher 3:

These three games are all fitting winners for this generation as they have re-set the bar and expanded the audiences for their respective genres. Below we can see where the rest of the upper echelon of the vote getters ranked as decided by the Xbox Era community.

How Did My List Stack Up!

Are you curious how well your favorite games compared to others? Were you hoping your favorites got their due from Metacritic and your gaming friends or do you value walking to the beat of your own drum? Before committing an answer to that question, take a look at the Xbox Era Games of the Generation dashboard right here! Click on the tabs at the top to take a look at dashboards used for this project and more. We look forward to your feedback and continuing to build things like this with you in the future! Happy next generation friends!

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