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Video game franchises are an interesting concept. Usually starting with a gripping or intriguing first title in order to draw you in and continuously suck your hard-earned pennies from your pocket like a god damn Dyson, (other brands of Hoover are also available).
What’s that I hear you cry? “Stop being such a negative bastard. Game developers just want to make high-quality games around the same protagonist or environment.” Bollocks do they, you’d only have to look at Assassin’s Creed Unity to know that isn’t true... But I digress. Some game franchises have stood the test of time and escaped with only a few dents in their otherwise glimmering history.
With that in mind, here are the Top 5 Video Game Franchises.
5.Assassin’s Creed – Ubisoft
Yes, I know I singled out Unity in the intro and if you actually enjoyed that game, then you need to be sectioned. So, shut up and let me get on with this.
When the first Assassin’s Creed (AC) was released in 2007, the gaming community fell in love with Ubisoft’s newest project. It was a welcome breath of fresh air, but it was Assassin’s Creed 2 that really got people hooked and made AC a household name.
People were drawn in by the originality on offer, it’s incredibly engaging take on historical events and being able to take down hordes of enemies without ever being seen.
With the biggest draw of crowds being Ezio Auditoré’s story in AC 2, many gamers were eager for the second installment of his story which we were given in Brotherhood, which was a great game, but by the time Revelations rolled around, it felt like Ubisoft were flogging a dead horse, so to speak. I’m not saying it was a bad game but felt like more of the same and would have been better received if it was released as DLC, I mean if CD Projekt Red can do 20+ hour DLCs with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, then Ubisoft can do it with Assassin’s Creed too.
The franchise seems to be going back to its roots, literally, with the release of Origins, set in ancient Egypt, but whether it’s the Italian Renaissance or the English Industrial Revolution, fans will always relish the opportunity to explore some beautifully designed landscapes and lose themselves in the intertwining stories. Just wish I had one of those Men in Black memory erasers to get rid of Unity…
4. Final Fantasy – Square Enix
Perhaps one of, if not the most prominent RPG series around at this moment in time. The guys at Square Enix sure know how to make a high-quality game, most of the time.
Now while other reviews are like, “ooh can’t tell you what the best moments are, you’ll just have to play the games to find out.” F*ck that, I don’t have time for that shite, so for the rest of this paragraph there will be spoilers. With the original Final Fantasy being released in 1987, the franchise has given us some amazing and heart-wrenching moments, from Tidus’ farewell in Final Fantasy X, Kefka literally becoming God and destroying the world in Final Fantasy VI and the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII, which utterly destroyed my childhood, leaving me the cold, heartless monster I am today.
The series has been a bit hit and miss throughout its history, Final Fantasy XIII is the biggest let down of late, but when Square Enix hits, its more often than not a home run, releasing some of the best titles the genre has ever seen, Final Fantasy VII in particular.
The series has gotten rather convoluted of late, with so many releases in the same story, with each release telling a different part of said story. But it’s the action and more so the characters that drew people in initially and that keep them coming back for more, and as mentioned earlier, can leave you with some of the most vivid gaming memories ever.
3. Grand Theft Auto – Rockstar
Rockstar’s definitive 3rd person sandbox game has come a long way since the over-top camera angle of the first GTA game in 1997, which is evidently clear in the stunning graphics in GTV: V, which even though it was released in 2013, still commands its initial retail price. It seems the jump to next-gen wasn’t an issue for Rockstar, if anything, it made the game even better.
The series has released some of the most highly regarded titles in gaming and the introduction of GTA Online means that GTA: V has a massive, seemingly never-ending replay value to it, making the initial price of £50 more than worth it, even 5 years later.
But we haven’t been without our fair share of controversy, have we Rockstar? No, we haven’t. GTA San Andreas’ infamous “Hot Coffee Mod” mini-game caused quite a stir…Get it? No, you’re right, that was shit, I’ll see myself out… As I was saying. The mini-game re-opened that already tedious argument over the effect on children and the game was taken off shelves and re-issued with the mini-game patched. And as far as GTA: V is concerned? Take your pick. From promoting violence on women to the torture level, critics seem to have an unhealthy level if anger towards GTA and I know the perfect game for them to vent some of that anger… wait…
But in short, GTA has picked itself up from the criticisms, brushed itself down and continued to make quality games with ever title, god knows how much we’ve been pining for Red Dead Redemption 2, and once that has been released, we’ll start crazing out next fix of GTA goodness.
2. Mario – Nintendo
What? Only second? Yes. Now sit down or piss off.
Shigeru Miyamoto’s red overall wearing, Italian plumber entered the fray in 1981, as ‘Jump Man’ in Donkey Kong and hasn’t looked back since. He’s since gone on to become Nintendo’s poster boy and an icon of the gaming industry.
The iconic plumber has spanned many games and genres such as; Mario Kart, Mario and Luigi, Super Mario Bros. and Paper Mario, to name a few. He’s also tried his hand at Olympic/Winter Olympic games alongside his long-time rival Sonic.
To date, Mario has sold over half a billion copies worldwide. And from his early days rescuing princesses from castles to pitting his sporting prowess against Sonic at the Olympic games, Mario has dominated the games industry and continues to draw gamers of all ages to his games.
1. Pokémon – GameFreak/Nintendo
Few other games in the world have had such an influence on pop culture as Pokémon has. From the humble beginnings of Pokémon Red & Blue in 1996, which I still play occasionally in order to take another hit from the nostalgia needle, all the way up to the release of Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon late last year, the Pokémon franchise has become one of, if not the biggest game franchise in the world, with the mascot, Pikachu, being recognised worldwide.
The series has endured many changes over the years, including a very well received move to 3D, and still manages to stay in touch with its roots, whilst building on it with every release.
The love for this franchise goes beyond just the video games, with the Pokémon name spanning a TV series, countless movies, and a trading card game. We’ve all played these games or watched the show/movies at once in our lives and the love for the series never seems to waiver.
Very few games can boast the respect that Pokémon has earned over the years and definitely deserves to be recognised as one of the best franchises, not just in gaming history, but in general.