Weekend Hot Topic: Best current generation video game

Readers discuss their favourite games of the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 generation, from Returnal to Resident Evil Village.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Cubby and since there are so few current gen exclusives included cross-gen titles that are also on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Despite the relative lack of choice, even two years into the new generation, most people were impressed by the overall quality of games, with Elden Ring and Returnal being particularly popular.

Night and day
My game of the current generation is Guardians Of The Galaxy. But why would that be when there are other, more obvious contenders?

I have an Xbox Series S on the TV in the living room, where I do most of my gaming, as well as the old Xbox One upstairs in the bedroom, for when my partner is watching her programs and I can escape and play something.

I started plating Guardians Of The Galaxy on the Xbox Series S and was having a blast, so when my partner wanted to watch Grand Designs it was far too tempting to continue my game on the Xbone. It was then that I noticed in real terms the difference of the current generation. The graphics had gone from a clear image to a blurry one. The sound had changed from flawless to cutting out (was this a bug on the old console?). Playing on the old console just wasn’t the same. I’d done the same thing with Psychonauts 2 and aside from longer loading times there wasn’t much of a difference.

What it showed me was games aren’t going to be cross-gen forever. I’m looking forward to what they may become and how letting go of the previous generation will free them.

Do remasters count?
I haven’t reached Elden Ring or Lego Star Wars yet but, in my limited experience, my favourite game of the gen (Xbox) is a toss-up between Hitman 3 and the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

Sure I’ve played Halo Infinite (campaign) but each tedious boss battle sent my interest dwindling to the point where I know I’m near the end but just cannot be bothered dealing with Escharum.

Honourable mention to Star Wars: Squadrons (although I don’t have a clue what I’m doing or where my fighter is pointing!) and Forza Horizon 5 (shiny).
FoximusPrime81 (gamertag/NN ID/Twitter)

Award winner
This is an easy one for me – by far my favourite game of this gen has to be Returnal. I thought maybe Elden Ring would take the top spot, but having gone back to Returnal after the update, I’ve fallen in love with it all over again.

Returnal is the complete package for me, a nail-biting rollercoaster ride of a game, with the best shooting ever and an intriguing story to boot. The guns are pheromonal, each one feeling totally different, but very satisfying to use.

It’s also probably the most next gen experience from a game so far. Not for its graphics, but how it ‘feels’; the instant loading, super smooth and tight gameplay, one of the best uses of haptic feedback so far, and the exemplary 3D sound design all combine to make a game that just feels light years ahead of everything else. It really wouldn’t be the same game on PlayStation 4, which I don’t think can be said of many other games released so far.

All in all, it’s not just one of the best games this gen, but one of my favourite games of all time. Can’t wait for whatever Housemarque do next!

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Game of the forever
Favourite game of the current generation? Has to be Elden Ring on my PlayStation 5. Not only the best current game but for me quite possibly the best game ever made, and I personally think it’s the best game of the Soulsbourne series of games.

There are so many good things about it: the open world, the horse riding, the secret areas, the combat – the list goes on and on. It’s one of the few games I have ever played where I started a new game straight after finishing it the first time and in total I’ve spent about 150 hours on it so far.
Ian Davis

Quality over quantity
Some say there is a dearth of games with the current gen. What’s on offer is excellent though.

Returnal was a great starting game on my PlayStation 5. Enjoyed it so much I decided to invest time in getting platinum. I even managed to kill Phrike on the first encounter.

I loved the roguelike elements but had to cheat in the end, with the cloud save storage, as I felt those drones on the third level so unfair.

Nobody seems to be giving Rainbow Six Extraction any love on these pages. Such a fun cooperative game. Feels like an action take on the missions in XCOM, although it’s nothing like XCOM (would love to see a mix up of Rainbow Six Extraction action and XCOM base strategy). Cooperation is so important in this game, and a good mix of operatives. I have put 210 hours in this game and find it has that just one more go pull to its gameplay. Approaching platinum on this one.

I could go on with Gran Turismo 7 and Crusader Kings. Although the next gen wasn’t a massive leap in graphics, the games seem to play so much better. Reading about 60fps I thought, so what? But the difference in racers and shooters is transformative.

I quit Metro Exodus on PS4 Pro then tried it on a friend’s PlayStation 5 on a non-HDTV and the increase in frame rate made it a joy to play; the ray-tracing was great also. It felt completely overhauled. I have since played it to completion.

There may be a limited library of games out there, but what’s on offer is so good. I couldn’t name just one game.
Vaughan (Tiddleydwarf – PSN ID)

Two of the best
My favourite game of the generation so far is a toss-up between It Takes Two and The Forgotten City. I think I had more fun with It Takes Two, which is just an absolute joy to play from start to finish. Which is all the more remarkable given how long the game is (surprisingly long).

But The Forgotten City deserves a shout too, for being perhaps the best written game I’ve ever come across. I was really impressed with how everyone is like a main character, as they all have a place in the world and have relationships with other characters which mean something in the overall narrative. A really impressive game from a storytelling perspective.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

A winning generation
Admittedly I’ve not played too many of the current generation of games but taking that into consideration I’ll still say that Resident Evil Village and Returnal are my top plays, and probably Elden Ring eventually.

For Resi Village it was the sheer fun and over the top main antagonists, which are basically pretty much all of them! The obvious ones being the Dimitrescu family with Bela, Daniela, and Cassandra and their matriarchal godly leader the Mother Miranda, along also with Karl Heisenberg’s amusing whit.

All of the above plus the drop dead beautiful gothic and industrial locations and madcap story is what Resident Evil is all about. Returnal is about the absorbing gameplay and a very deep mystery to work out, which succeeds in every way.

One game brings lore and insane gameplay and the other is a super biotechnological gothic masterpiece, with raw gunplay and locations to really get stuck into. Village has such a classic imaginative and beautiful eldritch game world to soak up it hurts my senses!

To me the current generation is a win even if there’s now a longer wait between big games. But hey, that’s where the indie games market will always come in handy.

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

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