Top 5 Video Games of Recent Times

Trenton Pitlik

Video games can either be an excellent way to unwind with some friends, something to compete at the highest level to, or even a way to express one’s creativity in ways that couldn’t be done in the real world. Since the 1970’s when arcade games came out in full, video games have been an important part of young people’s culture, especially in the more well-off countries. There is a multi-billion dollar industry today surrounding video games, with big title after big title competing for the most sales and title of Game of the Year. That said, what are the top five games in recent memory? At Mount Vernon High School, students responded to a survey giving their own opinions.

Valorant Gameplay

#5 Valorant

Starting the list at #5 is Valorant, Riot Games’ first branch out from their hit game League of Legends since the company’s inception. Valorant is a two team shootout where one team is defending two to three bombsites. To defend, they can set up temporary walls and smokescreens, hold tight angles that give them the advantage when a hostile crosses their site, or give up a site completely and play for the retake. When this occurs, the attacking team will get to freely plant the bomb and the defending team will have 45 seconds to eliminate the hostiles and defuse the bomb. It sounds very much like your basic format of game that has been fairly successful throughout the years. Whether it is CS:GO, Call of Duty’s search and destroy, or any other game using this format, it has always been a solid game, but nothing in the top regions of the gaming world. So what pushes Valorant over the edge? It would have to be the different champions providing a plethora of skills to spice the game up. These skills and abilities allow for more defined roles within the game, as well as creating more team play and creativity. In the standard format of this type of game, it grows very stale very quickly because of how long the Search and Destroy format has been around. All the creators can do is add a new gun or map, but do that incorrectly and players may leave the game rather than join. However, with the ability to add champions as well as the former, everything can be balanced out, and no one pick is too overpowered because the characters are designed to counter each other. Additionally, although the different champions are the make or break factor of the game, the gunplay is all very smooth. A senior, Brady Siders, stated “I really like how the different maps make different champions stronger or weaker. It really balances out the game when the top champions are better or worse than each other depending on what map you’re playing.” Brady Siders will be playing Valorant for a college team next year, so clearly people want to play the game and it has a competitive scene. Whether you want to chill and have a good time with your friends or lock in for some ranked gameplay, Valorant is a good choice for any mood.

#4 Hades

Hades Boss Fight

Following that at #4 is Hades, a hack and slash type dungeon escape game where the player controls Zagreus, Hades son, as they try to fight through hordes of the undead to reach the overworld. The most important aspect of the game is the gameplay. A hack and slash game with choppy game play could never be a good game, but Hades’ gameplay is beyond smooth. Players can use a combination of their main weapon attacks, as well as a special attack, a dash attack, and a magic attack to clear through the waves of enemies that Hades is sending to stop his son from escaping. To assist the young demigod, the Olympians who have discovered his existence recently send boon to the underworld imbued with their power. When Zagreus picks up a boon, the player can choose between three powers offered within the boon. Also, when entering a chamber players may have a choice between two boons, so they have to choose carefully what they want based on their playstyle. Maybe more passive players using the bow weapon would like a poison debuff for their long range shots — Dionysus would be the pick for them. Or maybe they want to use the sword weapon’s special to its fullest potential — Posiedon would be the boon to shoot for. The different weapons also provide a great change up for players wanting to try a new style. The player can choose between six different weapons to battle out of the underworld with, and each of those weapons have four different special abilities to pick between before a run is started. One special ability could buff your special while another is good for magic damage. Also, while most hack and slashes are just that, Hades gives the player extensive lore, delving into Greek mythology and also providing the player with the opportunity to develop friendships with the NPC’s both in and outside of runs. The story doesn’t just stop when you beat the game as well. Because of his underworld blood, Zagreus can’t stay in the overworld for more than a few minutes, so even as he clears the final boss over and over, he can only enjoy his freedom for a few minutes before being taken back to the underworld. Hades is an excellent, easy to understand game to enjoy casually when your friends are offline.

#3 Apex Legends

Apex Legends Pre-game Scenery Shot

Right back to PVP after that at #3, Apex Legends. Apex Legends is one in a long line of battle royales that have been released recently. It was developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA. What sets Apex apart from all the other big name battle royales being released is (similar to Valorant) the different playable Legends that allow for different team compositions. There are four main categories of Legends to mix and match into a team: offensive, defensive, recon, and support. Offensive and defensive and fairly self-explanatory. Recon legends are generally characters with the ability to gather information from a range or can easily take high ground due to one of their abilities. Support legends are more interesting, because they are the legends that don’t fit with any of these three categories. For example, Lifeline and Loba, two support legends, have completely different kits and roles on the team. Lifeline can drop a care package containing loot, deploy a drone that gives health to the team, and revive two players at once. Loba, on the other hand, can see loot through walls, throw her bracelet to teleport a distance, and throw a black market down where all the loot in a certain area becomes accessible to Loba and her team. Very different legends, but both supports all the same. Henry Steine, a senior, quoted “I prefer to play pathfinder because I like to play aggressive and it gives me a lot of options to enter and leave fights quickly.” Pathfinder is a recon legend that uses a grappling hook to fly in and out of fights quickly and can also deploy a zip line for quick team repositioning. Something else that allows Apex to stand above the other battle royals is the variety of maps available to play at any given time. There are always four maps rotating every two hours in casual games: King’s Canyon, World’s Edge, Olympus, and Storm Point. Each of these maps have different terrain that call for unique teams of legends to have the best possible chance of winning. King’s Canyon is very spread out with large areas between buildings. This could call for something like Wraith or Ash, who’s ultimates specialize in crossing large areas quickly without the possibility of being shot. World’s Edge is more compact with lots of buildings, but also generally has large cliffs dividing the buildings. This map might call for something like a Caustic or Wattson to control buildings, as well as a Valkyrie to fly above those cliffs that prevent rotations otherwise. Additionally, the weapons and weapon play in the game are very smooth, with a plethora of weapons being viable at all times. Respawn is very careful to make different guns strong for different patches while also keeping certain guns strong at all times for beginners. For example, last patch the L-star, an energy LMG, was extremely strong when you got an upgraded extended mag to put on it. This gun was heavily nerfed, but then the Volt, an energy SMG, was buffed enough that it became a care package weapon, where it still is this patch. Apart from these two weapons, the Flatline and the R-301 have been staple weapons since the game’s inception. These ARs haven’t been touched ever and they will most likely always be staple weapons for casual players or players who are just starting. The very clean movement along with the weapons, characters and maps all make for a very good game to play with your friends.


Elden Ring In-game Scenery Shot

At the runner up spot is Elden Ring. If you are involved in the gaming community at all you can’t go anywhere without hearing about Elden Ring right now. FromSoftware’s latest delve into a Souls-type game has easily been their greatest. It has been out barely a month and it is already rated 3rd best game ever released. Elden Ring, as stated earlier, is a Souls-type boss fighting game, this time in an open world setting. To start, the bosses obviously have to be good in a boss-rush game. Elden Ring absolutely delivers on this front, with over 80 unique bosses all with their own movesets and patterns to memorize. Each and every boss provides a different challenge, whether it has long combos that build up debuffs with every attack it hits or it shows it’s attack early but holds it for a while, therefore creating an air of uncertainty of when the player is supposed to dodge. There are too many different types of bosses to list all of their attacks off. Another factor pushing this game to the top is the scenery. Everywhere you look, every single place that you can see in this game, is somewhere you can go. There is no area that is just a texture. As soon as the player walks out of the cave they start in, they can see a giant glowing tree, a snowy mountaintop, a volcano, and a castle all off in the distance. None of these places were rendered in for showiness; each and every one is an area that you will most likely explore at some point in your adventure. Personally, when I saw the tree, my first thoughts were something along the lines of ‘Oh wow, that’s some really cool scenery.’ There were smaller versions of this tree all over the map, so I figured that tree was an untouchable object that probably contributed somehow to the lore of the game. I never would have guessed that there would be four main story bosses around and in that tree. The third area that Elden Ring presents masterfully is within its combat. As with all FromSoftware games, the player collects souls/runes from all the enemies and bosses they defeat to upgrade their character. The five main stats that the player will allocate their to are strength, dexterity, intelligence, faith, and arcane. Strength in the stat for a heavy weapon, primarily dealing physical damage and trying to break your opponents stance. Dexterity focuses more on mobility, with dexterity based weapons often having a movement based skill. Intelligence is the stat to upgrade for magic damage weapons, be it staffs for spells or swords with split physical/magic damage. Faith and arcane stats are more diverse in damage types, because they are stats more focused on buffing and debuffing different elements. One paragraph isn’t enough to go into every detail explaining why Elden Ring is a great game, but this is definitely a game to purchase if you enjoy a good challenge, a great story, and a beautiful game.


Obviously there are more than five good games out there that should be discussed for this list. For example, League of Legends (LoL), Riot Games’ only other game released at this point. Also a fantastically designed PvP game, albeit not a shooter. LoL is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game with over 150 characters, with about 5-6 new characters being released a year for the past 11 years. The game is still patched bi-weekly, so the same champion is never the strongest for more than a month or so. Because of this, the game has stayed very successful over its long lifespan. However, the thing holding this game back behind its newer company partner is none other than the player base itself. Team based multiplayer games require good communication and a balanced team of offense and defense. However, LoL has managed to accrue the most widely renowned toxic player base of any multiplayer game in recent history. Seldom will a game ever be played without a player quitting, slinging slurs at their own team or the enemy, or purposely feeding the opposite team gold and resources to make the game unplayable for their own team. For this reason alone, the game isn’t able to crack the top 5.


Next in the honorable mentions is Terraria, almost certainly a familiar game title to many high school and college aged people. Terraria is a single or multiplayer game that revolves around gathering materials, building a base, and killing bosses. The end goal of the game is to beat the Moon Lord, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be your objective. If a player just wants to relax and create a nice looking structure, they can do just that. This game also has the benefit of allowing different characters to traverse different worlds, so if you have a character with building materials you want in a certain world, you can easily join said world with your other character, leave items in a chest, and rejoin with your desired character. Unfortunately, the game is rather old and while a better game in this style hasn’t necessarily been created, it’s age and the fact that the studio behind it, Re-Logic, has moved to developing a new game, meaning it will never again be updated, means that this game can’t break into the top 5.


The final honorable mention is Lost Ark, a relatively unknown title to most. The game was released about a month before Elden Ring. However, it doesn’t have the prestigious FromSoftware name backing it, and it is a much more niche game experience than what Elden Ring provides. Lost Ark is an MMORPG with a massive open world, one of the biggest in recent releases. The goal is to play through the story while collecting as many items to buff your armor and damage output as possible. There are boss fights, but rather than requiring meticulous dodges and looking for minuscule windows to deal damage, they require a group of people to all help out to take it down. The game provides 6 base classes which then evolve into multiple subclasses, so there are many different ways to play the game. Overall, what this game needs to break into the top 5 is more time. It is new and relatively unknown, but still provides an engaging story line, excellent combat, and is free for anyone to play.


Minecraft In-game Scenery Shot

Now at #1 is a game even people who don’t play games have heard about – Minecraft. The number 2 game, Elden Ring, is an excellent game, and is objectively better than this top game in almost every front. What Elden Ring lacks is two (albeit rather minor) things. After getting the seven or so endings in Elden Ring, you’ve probably done everything there is to do in the game, so there isn’t much point replaying after that. Additionally, Elden Ring is extremely difficult, with certain bosses having the possibility to take hours on end to defeat without the use of summons. The top game, Minecraft, has no such drawbacks. It’s an infinite world survival type game where the goal is just that; survive. No convoluted plot line, no fighting other people. Your only goal is to build what you want and do as you please while not dying. You go throughout your world, gathering resources to craft items that improve your quality of life so it becomes easier to build structures. Additionally, you can try to complete all the achievements in the game, which there are a plethora of. The game is endlessly replayable because every infinite world is randomly generated, so every time a new world is loaded up it’s a new experience. Every biome visited is a new adventure, a chance at new materials, and new scenery. However, you have to be careful when exploring after the sun sets. All sorts of different mobs will spawn at night to try and ruin your progress and make you lose your materials. Taking one isn’t very tough, but without good equipment three or four can become quite the challenge. However, the mobs don’t have to be a problem for you. If you are just looking for a casual experience, building, crafting, gathering and mining, you can set the game to peaceful mode to get rid of the mobs all together. However, on the flip side, if you desire an even harder challenge, the game can be set to hardcore mode. In this setting, if you die the world can no longer be played on. One arrow from a skeleton near a pit of lava, one unfortunate slip up near a cliff, and all your hard work could be removed in an instant. The difficulty modes make for a game that anyone and everyone can enjoy, regardless of what kind of experience you are looking for. Another factor giving this game endless replayability is the fact that, with the right specs on your computer, there are thousands of mod and texture packs that can enhance the game, make it more difficult, add items, and create hundreds of more hours of things to do. The game is a classic, absolutely timeless. It’s been around for so long and will stay around for so much longer. The game is still updated a few times a year, and people are creating their own mod packs and texture packs every day. There are servers that have been running for years on end and still find themselves packed to capacity. Minecraft is a game that will not die for a long time, if ever. To put it in the words of senior Leo Appleton, “It is and will always be one of the greatest games. It’ll take a long time for another game to outlive Minecraft and outdo the enjoyment so many have gotten from it.”