Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Rockstar raised the bar for what can be accomplished in terms of visuals with this 2011 crime story.
Developed in conjunction with Team Bondi, L.A Noire revolutionised motion capture in video games which brought highly realistic graphics for character’s expressions and movements. This coupled with a captivating noir styled storyline that adapts depending on how you interrogate suspects helped the game to sell over 5 million copies.
The ending left a lot open with potential for a sequel so don’t be surprised to see Rockstar produce a follow-up to L.A Noire in the next couple of years.
Classic Rockstar as they released a game about education which included a fair bit of violence and general anarchy. Smashing.
Coined Canis Canem Edit in several regions, Bully was released to fanfare back in 2006 for the PS2. By putting you in the shoes of Jimmy Hopkins, dumped in a boarding school by his mother and stepfather, you can beat back the bullies of Bullworth Academy and explore a vast open world.
As is the case with many Rockstar releases, the controversy surrounding Bully only acted as a promotional tool and helped the game to become an instant hit that just missed out on our top 3.
3. Max Payne
It might come as a surprise that this is so high on the list but considering how Max Payne helped to shape the style of many third person shooting games for years to come, its position is definitely warranted.
No other game has quite topped the satisfaction of leaping through the air in slow-motion and dispatching swathes of enemies quite like the original did back in 2001. Popping pills has never been more addictive than since Pac-Man first started the habit with the pulp-noir style world of disgruntled NYPD Detective Max Payne also making a huge impact on modern pop culture.
Two sequels and a terrible film later, the original in the series is still as fun to play today as it was over a decade ago.
2. Red Dead Redemption
Saddling up to explore the Wild West had never been quite as wonderfully realised until the release of the second instalment of Red Dead in 2010.
Red Dead Redemption puts you in the spurs of John Marston: a legendary outlaw who’s trying to put his past as a ruddy rotten egg behind him. After being blackmailed by shady government officials, he’s forced back into the world that he had vowed to escape for good.
Featuring one of the best storylines to ever be taken from pencil to pixels, RDR is an essential game released for the last generation of home consoles and is a serious contender for a spot on a list for the best games of all time. A huge sandbox world with rewarding gameplay, the ending had many a man weeping like a child and is a completely unforgettable experience.
In fact, I’m going to boot it up again right now and hogtie some varmints before leaving them to die on train tracks.
1. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
The chicken or the egg? Return of the Jedi or King? San Andreas or Vice City?
It’s a hard task to choose one entry in the phenomenal Grand Theft Auto series as the best but thanks to how San Andreas squeezed every bit of life out of the Playstation 2 and delivered more playability than maybe even GTA V can offer, it claims the number 1 spot with a little help from a jetpack or two.
Ridiculous, violent and often hilarious, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas placed a marker for what you can accomplish with a videogame that has arguably not been emulated since. Marry this with a compelling story with themes of family and betrayal and you have yourself the best game for the Playstation 2 and eventually, the original Xbox.
The game has seen a new lease of life since it was released on the PC as there are so many mods available to enjoy. It was still popular even during the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, some four years after San Andreas’ initial launch.
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