It takes a lot more than mindless bullet storms and regurgitated one-liners to establish a memorable video game saga. In fact, it takes much, much more, to the point of having so many award-winning and innovative ideas, that the series itself just becomes an anthology of encyclopaedias on its own accord. However, very few developers manage to file so much as a piece of parchment these days, let alone a whole book fit for a library.
There's a fine line between legendary and lackluster, and many tend to gravitate more towards the latter when it comes to crafting video game sagas. Obtaining the former, on the other hand, isn't something that comes around all that often. These five sagas, however, have gone on to beat the odds and prove themselves as the top dogs in the food chain, providing more material than most bog-standard collections on the market.
5. Tomb Raider (2013+)
Long before Square Enix boarded the reins and took over the reboot, Lara Croft was regarded as one of the most recognizable female protagonists in all of the known gaming world. So, rebooting the series in 2013 meant that its popularity was already at an all-time high. But that, of course, meant Square also had some pretty big shoes to fill. Fortunately, the faction managed to maintain its reputation over its three legendary tales, Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Over the course of the three epic tales, the legendary explorer retold her earliest memories, from being an unknown archaeologist, to a born survivor with a knack for unearthing some of the world's biggest secrets. However, with an unhinged cult or notorious mercenary always hot on her heels during each and every expedition, the truth seeker was forced to step up and become not only a beaming light beneath her father's shadow — but an all-round weapon, built with all the qualities to stand tall as a dominant force fit to shuffle mountains.
4. Uncharted (1-4)
Uncharted is as vigorous as it is daring. So filled with breathtaking and mind-blowing adventures is it, that it has often sat on par with the likes of Lara Croft and her many exploits. Nathan Drake, being a streetwise and curious seeker with a heart for myths and lore, was the perfect carrier for such a bombastic series full of epic verses and outrageous plotlines.
From lost cities to barren wastelands, scorching deserts to frozen mountaintops, Uncharted span an entire voyage of rags, riches, and treasures beyond belief. Action, adventure, close-knit characters, and an epic tale of mystery and intrigue, all compressed into an ideal saga fit for PlayStation's hall of fame. PlayStation fan or not, there's no ignoring the textbook perfection that was the Uncharted saga.
3. Gears of War (1-3)
Before Gears of War shifted away from the acclaimed Delta squad and swapped out the character roster, the series was regarded as one of the greatest third-person shooter platforms in the industry. Introducing a whole new world with Marcus, Dom, and the Delta team at the forefront of the experience, Gears of War set the new benchmark in the genre. Over a decade later, and its reputation remains fastened to the apex of the action world.
From the dark and dreary cell of a war torn capital to the blood-soaked nexus of an underground tunnel, Gears told the tale of a war deemed unwinnable. With the odds against them from day one, the small unit of COG veterans looked to beat the bookies and turn the tide, using bullets and brawn to reclaim the remnants of civilization. As a result, an epic tale was born, as was one of the greatest action sagas in the gaming industry.
Not many video game sagas can weave nearly ten chapters together into one giant thread and somehow keep its original player base on tenterhooks. Halo, on the other hand, has done exactly that, with games dating way back to 2001. Even to this day, loyal fans linger on the hopes of seeing the series develop another arc to add to its spiralling collection of spin-off twigs and interconnecting branches.
Master Chief has become something of a global phenomenon over the the last two decades. Combined with the intergalactic feud that sparked a whole franchise into ignition, Halo has ushered in a next-level world unlike anything else in the industry. With heartfelt emotions, riveting cinematics, and epic gameplay, the saga has made itself known as an unstoppable force against all the known elements. Now, whether you stand by the Xbox division or not is irrelevant. The point is, you need to set aside time to delve into the beloved chronicles of Master Chief and Halo, because it's worth every second.
1. Mass Effect (1-3)
It takes a lot more than a few optional choices to make a player feel front and center in a video game. In fact, in order to achieve such a thing, it requires a choice at every crossroads, with the ability to approach them in any way shape or form. Mass Effect, thankfully, captures just that, and then some. From the moment you submerge into Shepard's boots aboard the iconic SSV Normandy, you're immediately thrown into an avalanche of drama. Three instalments later, and that very avalanche surpassed sub zero temperatures, with more twists, turns, and mind-boggling scenarios than you could dare shake a stick at.
Partly the reason why Mass Effect has attained such global recognition is because of its movie-like quality. Not in the traditional sense, of course, but more in the way it plays. It's an asset to the action-adventure genre, and one that will continue to amass hype by the boatload. Now, if that isn't more the reason to play it, we don't know what is. Heck, you can play it for the fourteenth time and still find something fresh. New Game+? Absolutely.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our five legendary sagas? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.