During this time of year new game releases are few and far between so I’ve found myself looking toward old games to fill my time. However the mad man inside me will often spot one game and think “oh, that’s part of a trilogy.. let’s do the whole thing!”. Although the chances of me actually going through said entire trilogy are pretty slim, it did lead me to thinking about all the gaming trilogies that float my boat. Of course this meant I did a top 10 in my head and now I’m sharing it with you gorgeous people, so here it is!
As always you can check out the video version of this list if you prefer in the link below..
Before anybody kicks off that Mass Effect isn’t higher on the list, there’s a good reason for it! I’ve only actually played half of 1 and a bit of 3. However I know the impact and quality of this trilogy so I had to include it. Plus let’s be honest, if I left it off I’d have thousands of crazy Mass Effect fans at my door with pitchforks and I don’t want that, my wife would kill me before the rabid fans would! I do fully intend to play the upcoming legendary edition so watch this space! Space.. get it? Moving swiftly on!
I’m a massive fan of all five Devil May Cry games and the original three sit nicely together as a cool PS2 trilogy which are now available on the Switch as well. I highly recommend picking up this action packed hack ‘n’ slash trilogy on the Switch as I had a hell of a time jumping back into the underworld with everybody’s favourite demon slaying silver fox and so will you. Admittedly these games would have probably made it into the top 5 of this list if DMC 2 wasn’t y’know.. a bit shite.
Nobody can deny the impact that the Halo trilogy has had on gaming. Although the modern day Forerunner trilogy is hardly setting the world on fire, the original Reclaimer Saga was no doubt a massive system seller for the Xbox and deservedly holds its place as one of the best video game trilogies of all time. It’s a little further down for me given I only ever had an interest in the campaigns and would rarely play online but the story was good enough to keep it in my top 10.
Okay I know this one isn’t really a proper trilogy in terms of a continuous story, hell outside of a few exceptions such as Lazlow Jones we don’t even get the same characters back. Having said that there’s no denying that these three PS2 titles go in hand in hand and defines a generation of Grand Theft Auto games as they were the first ones to go full 3D open world and changed the industry forever. One of these three are rarely spoken about without the other two being bought up. GTA is one of (if not) the most successful video game franchises in the world and GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas is a major reason why.
Although Kratos is all grown up now and living his best life in a new Norse mythology setting, we can’t forget his Greek routes and where he came from. Admittedly the mindless violence of these first three games in the series may not have aged gracefully but that doesn’t take away from how stupidly fun they were. Even better they all follow on from one another almost instantaneously so you can’t really go back and play one without playing the entire trilogy for the story to make sense. If that doesn’t make for a good trilogy then I don’t know what does!
Still the gold standard of stealth games, the first three Metal Gear Solid titles each had a gigantic impact on the industry as well as working as a cool little trilogy, even if the timeline is a bit all over the place (Basically play 3 first). The first game blew our collective minds with Psycho Mantis smashing the fourth wall to read our damn memory cards followed by MGS 2 treating our eyeballs to what I believed to be the best looking game of all time up to that point before MGS 3 had us eating snakes to stay alive.. also it was just a badass culmination of everything Hideo Kojima and Konami had learnt in their previous outings. When every game in a trilogy is a contender for GOTY then you can’t really deny it a place in the top 5 on this list.
I often wonder if this trilogy was ever meant to be intentional or whether the huge success of Ezio Auditore as the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed 2 led Unisoft to tell his entire story in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Revelations before moving onto Assassin’s Creed 3. Either way I’m glad they did because this run of games was nothing short of outstanding and the undeniable highlight of Creed games on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The fact that this trilogy is currently sold as a pack and is played by millions still to this day says a lot about how great the Ezio trilogy was.
Even though Nathan Drake’s story is told over four games rather than three, there’s still a feeling that the first three stand separate to the fourth due to them being some of the biggest exclusives to grace the PS3 and Uncharted 4 just feeling like a slightly more serious story than the others. And that’s what’s special about this trilogy, it’s easy and fun. Going back to the reason I started this list and it was to find something to play during a quiet period. Now unless this period of time is about 6 months, most these trilogies won’t actually be doable for the average Joe. However Uncharted games are notably fast paced and relatively short so if you’re not fussed about hunting for all the treasures and going for Platinum then you could probably beat this trilogy in about 20 hours which will be appealing for most.
Without spoiling the top spot I want to say that I really struggled to separate these two trilogies into what was first and what was second. That’s down to the Bioshock trilogy being absolutely outstanding from beginning to end. Sure Bioshock 2 might not feel as iconic as the original but that was still a really fun experience. Infinite was a brave reinvention that geniusly manages to tie into the first two and the first game is still my favourite FPS of all time. In a world where most FPS stories are only there to serve the online experience, Bioshock goes the other way and puts story and atmosphere before anything else. Sure the gameplay may not have held up as well as you might think over the years but exploring the dark and creepy underwater city of Rapture and the bright and colourful Columbia along with their combined story full of twists and turns still makes these games a must play.
Before we move on, if you want more Bioshock goodness then make sure to check out Luke’s article going up on the website tomorrow where he gets hyped for the rumoured Bioshock 4 by asking “What’s the best Bioshock game?” Pretty much everyone here at Respawning got involved with this one so trust me when I say you don’t want to miss out!
It was a close call but the Arkham trilogy just had to take the number 1 spot. When I first started thinking about all this I couldn’t get the Arkham games out my head as they have everything I want from a trilogy. Each game improves the brilliant “it actually feels like I’m Batman” style of gameplay and the story works perfectly as a trilogy while still being fantastic stories in their own right. Each of the three games have something unique about them that makes them stand out from the others. Asylum has the best atmosphere of the trilogy as being stuck on a prison island full of insane super villains is the closest the series gets to being full horror (and I love a bit of horror with my batman stories) while Arkham City gives the player more freedom and a real taste of Gotham City, making it arguably the most traditional feeling Batman game in the trilogy. Arkham Knight then does a great job at making you feel like a truly unstoppable Dark Knight by giving us access to the Batmobile whenever we want, making it the most chaotic and action packed of the trilogy.
I’d really regret it if I didn’t mention the Joker in all of this. Maybe the reason that the Arkham trilogy just about beats Bioshock for me is that is has my favourite story arc for a villain in any game I’ve ever played. Mark Hamill has of course had more than his fair share of legendary performances as this character but his three appearances in Arkham is right up there as one of my favourites and helps the Batman Arkham Trilogy become my favourite of all time.
So there you have it, my top 10 favourite video game trilogies. Did I mention your favourite or is there something obvious I’m missing? Let me know your top 10 in the comments or by hitting us up on twitter @RespawningUK.