The Queen of Action donimates the genre like she dominates her foes.
Bayonetta 2 makes our list as it is the pinnacle of the small, widely misunderstood, character action game genre. While the main improvements that revolutionized the genre were the dodge and Witch Time, both of which came into being with the original, Bayonetta 2 improved far too much from the iterative development philosophy of Platinum Games to not take this spot.
Your stance on Bayonetta's sexual nature aside, she is the undeniable ruler of the character action game genre. As of her first appearance, she has outclassed Dante, Vergil, and Ryu Hayabusa to claim the throne. Her second outing brings much smoother controls, handled QTEs far more gracefully, and has better cuing of incoming attacks. These improvements are to the point that the groundbreaking original is stiff and sluggish in comparison, even in the enhanced Wii U port.
Don't take my word for it. Do a play through of Bayonetta 2, then try playing through the amazing DMC4: Special Edition. You'll see how far Bayonetta 2 has raised the bar for the genre. Bonus: Bayonetta 2 comes packaged with the best version of the original, letting you feel for yourself how much better the sequel feels.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The wait was unbearable, the game incomplete, but the game play is all that mattered
The stealth genre is also a small one, with stealth often being an aspect shoehorned into generic action games. The last entry to this esteemed saga has done just the opposite, being a stealth game with superb action segments throughout. With its final incarnation Metal Gear fully embraces the action in Tactical Espionage Action.
You show me any other stealth or general action game, and I'll show you a game that isn't as good as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain's game play. There's no need to explain this one: if you get your hands on it, you'll know.
That's the list, so what do you think of it? Got your own entries to add? Want to come at me about Halo not being as important as GoldenEye 007? Let's take this to the comments section.
Have you ever played a game that's so good that it becomes a genre standard or just felt so good amazing in your hands that it ruined you for all other games of the type that came before it? That's what this brief list, presented in chronological order, is all about. Keep in mind that there are surely more of these games, and that there's a high probability that games that were important to you aren't going to be on this list.
Also, this list is restricted to console gaming, so keep that in mind while you start planning your retort.
Super Mario 64
Of course the most important 3D game ever made is on the list.
One of the earliest 3D platformers there is, and it nailed it perfectly right out of the gate. This entry actually applies to three dimensional games in general, not just platformers. Look at games from a similar time frame: Tomb Raider, Bubsy 3D, Croc, and Megaman Legends. Tank controls were essentially the best way to move about in 3D without an analog stick.
True, Super Mario 64 had an unfair advantage over its competition because the Nintendo 64's controller was designed specifically around the goals Nintendo had for this one game. Even then, however, the design of this groundbreaking release was well ahead of the time. If you enjoy any modern game with a twin stick setup, you have Super Mario 64 to thank for the advancement of analog controls and figuring out how a camera should work in 3D.
I can already hear the furious pounding of keys.
GoldenEye 007 is the most important console FPS ever made. You can argue for Halo all you want, but this is the first console FPS to not suck, perfecting the controls and multiplayer. This brought the FPS to the forefront on consoles. It also sold more than the original Halo. The only reason Bungie's shooter became as successful as it was is because GoldenEye 007 paved the way for it.
The game doesn't really hold up as well today, but that's to be expected. Going back to using C-buttons as a substitute for twin sticks is torturous at best, but at the time it was the best option available. Consoles had a monstrous leap in specs for the 6th generation and a second analog stick became the standard, so I would certainly hope FPS games have advanced since the N64 glory days.
Note: I'm aware there are dual controller schemes that allows for twin sticking, but good luck enjoying the game like that without being an AGDQ gamer.
Resident Evil 4
Who would have guessed faster, smarter, and coordinated zombies would be scarier?
Welcome to the title that killed the appeal of traditional zombies in video games. While it has its own set of limitations, like not being able to walk while aiming, Resident Evil 4 laid the ground work for every third person, over-the-shoulder game to come after it.
While an amazing game in its own right, it's still sad to see that it has killed off the traditional Resident Evil formula for good. Sure the there's the HD REmake games and an upcoming REmake for Resident Evil 2, but that's because nostalgia sells. For a little while at least. The modernized controls made the entirety of HD REmake laughably non-threatening. We'll see have to wait and see how true to the original the new RE2 is. There is no REmake of this one to port, so it has to be rebuilt from the ground up.