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Top 11 New Series/Franchises This Generation

written by Shaun McCracken

This Top 11 is all about the "now". We're going over the Top 11 franchises/series that have been started within this current generation. So, what is included this generation? Everything from the Dreamcast to the Xbox, basically games on "next-gen" platfroms from 1999-now. Now, you might be saying "wait, the Dreamcast isn't with this current crop of consoles". Technically, it was, but everything fell apart for Sega fast. But I thought it would be fair to count series/franchises that started on the Dreamcast. Also, the franchise has to be NEW to this generation, which means spinoffs, sequels, etc. will not be counted. Finally, there must be at least two games in the series.

  1. 11- Splinter Cell series (Ubisoft): Splinter Cell made it's first debut on the Xbox in 2002, and became one of the most successful games on the system. Of course, seeing how well it sold, it moved on to the other two consoles, and saw a sequel in 2004. Splinter Cell has pretty much become the new Metal Gear Solid, but with a little more emphaisis on realism and stealth. It's also one of the more polished games to appear on consoles, especially on the Xbox, where it uses every bit of it's technology to look impressive.

  2. 10- NBA Street series (EA): NBA Street was a logical game on EA's part, because it's an easier and more accessible sports game to get into than say NBA Live, and because of that, almost anyone can get into it and have a good time. It's also a "spirtual" successor to the classic arcade sports games such as NBA Jam, which was something many gamers were waiting to see for a long time.

  3. 9- Halo series (Microsoft): This is the game that made the Xbox. If it were not for Halo, the Xbox probably wouldn't have taken off like it did. It was the "killer app" for the time (although Project Gotham allured me more), and it's sequel is one of the most hotly anticipated games for 2004. Definitley one of the most successful franchises for this generation, and a series that made a name for a console.

  4. 8- Rallisport Challenge series (Microsoft): If there was one thing Microsoft has proven on it's console debut is that it has as many great racing games as Sony's system does. One thing we didn't expect from them though was to make one of the best rally racing games ever made, especially when Rallisport was their first rally game ever. It's going to be hard to try and top this series not only when it comes to visual quality, but also ease of use.

  5. 7- Viewtiful Joe series (Capcom): Who knew that the one Capcom game that people didn't pay a lot of attention to in 2003 emerged as one of the best games of that year. While the design had many old school snesibillities, it was combined some great visual style that few games this generation has been able to match. A sequel is due for 2004 which promises even more of what we loved in the first game.

  6. 6- Super Monkey Ball series (Sega): Definitley one of the biggest sleeper hits this generation, Super Monkey Ball was one of the most fun and addictive games on the Gamecube on it's launch. The premise is very simple, guide a ball through a maze to the finish line. But pulling this off is a much bigger task as this game has some of the most demented and plain-ass hard stages ever to be seen in a video game. Of course, if the main game is too much to handle, you can go for the great number of party games that are fun alone or with multiple people. By far, these two games have offered some great replay value.

  7. 5- Jet Grind Radio series (Sega): The Jet Grind Radio series is one of the most inventive series that has come along in a long time. One of the first games to not only benefit from the use of cel-shading, but also pull it off convincingly. It's kind of hard to describe what exactally these games are. Is it an extreme sport title, an action title, or something else completely? Whatever it is, if you have a Dreamcast or an Xbox, it's best to play any version right away, if you haven't done so. Oh, there's also a GBA version, too.

  8. 4- Frequency/Amplitude Music series (Sony): Although these games have two different titles, they are a part of a series of music games developed by Harmonix for the PS2. We have seen music games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Um Jammer Lammy, but Frequency and Amplitude are something different. They combine puzzle and action elements along with a lively visual style set to real music from real artists. In a way, it's almost like you're playing the music rather than just playing a game, and with multiple ways of completing a stage, the song will sound different than it did the last time. These games are inventive, smart and just plain fun. If you thought the PS2's library was full of generic titles, you haven't played Frequency or Amplitude.

  9. 3- Project Gotham Racing series (Microsoft): The Project Gotham series began it's life on the Dreamcast under the name Metropolis Street Racer. All three games have changed the way racing is done in videogames. Rather than just race for top position, you need to drive with style and grace. Project Gotham is also all about driving a wide assortment of cars in detailed real-world series. Project Gotham 2 is by far the best game in the series, as well as one of the best racing games made and one of the best looking video games ever made.

  10. 2- SSX series (EA): Who knew that this game would be the best launch title for the PS2 system, as well as emerge as the best snowboarding series ever made. The SSX franchise does a lot of things right: provide accessible gameplay, have a wide assortment of tricks and provide a great deal of gameplay variety. But it's also really fun and hard to put down. The latest installment, SSX3, has changed the way snowboard games are played with a more free-roaming atmosphere and some real tight gameplay.

  11. 1- Burnout series (Acclaim, then EA): There has not been one series that has come into it's own and evolved more than the Burnout series. It all started in 2001, as the first installment of Burnout was an arcade racing game with a gimmick of some of the more realistic car crashes for it's time. Few people really took notice of this game (myslef included), and many just shrugged this off as "another" racing game. Burnout 2 really improved the first game by offering more events, better graphics and an all new crash mode, which proved to be the most addictive part of the game. Many critics praised Burnout 2, but it had a hard time finding an audience due to Acclaims crappy marketing skills. After Acclaim lost the Burnout series in 2004 to EA, the series has finally gotten the recognition it deserves. And the third Burnout game turns out to be the most evolved and polished game in the series, as well as one of the best reviewed games in 2004. In just one generation, the Burnout series has evolved within each installment, and has slowly made a name for itself in the racing genre. It's also bringing back a sub-genre that seems to be dying out these days, which is why the Burnout series is most deserving of the #1 spot on the list.

    Well, I'm done. The list was over. I hope we had fun today, but if you didn't, I really don't care. You probably don't care that my fingers are tired either. Really, you're sounding like a selfish bastard right now. Of course, I'm joking (or am I?). If you haven't done so, why not check out past top 11 lists as they're ever so entertaining. Now, if you'll exuse me, I need to drop the kids off at the pool, if you know what I mean.

    And that was inappropriate.