The sci-fi genre is one of the most imaginative when it comes to fantasy settings in games, and these are some of the best space games out there.
The vastness of space is naturally prime fodder for video game scenarios, with the upcoming remake of Dead Space and StarCraft among others being some exciting examples of its prominence in the medium. In a way, it's the flip side of fantasy, and the sci-fi space setting is perfect for opening up endless gameplay and narrative possibilities.
As such, many of the highest-ranked games on Metacritic are based on it. Nintendo developed some of the most memorable games in the lucrative Super Mario franchise, while Xbox giant Halo made its mark on the industry.
Starcraft II: Wings Of Liberty - 93 (PC, 82 Reviews)
In the real-time strategy genre, Blizzard's StarCraft games are often held in high regard. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the sequel 12 years in the making, is a sci-fi space-set game featuring characters from three factions: Terrans, Zergs and Protoss, with the former being the focus of the main game's story and DLC expansions dedicated to the latter two.
The main story tells the story of Jim Raynor inspiring a group of rebel soldiers to fight against the tyrannical rule of the Dominion of Terra. StarCraft 2 Is Just Like Its Predecessor Thanks to its layered and strategic combat, while building on the strengths of the first game. Likewise, reviews gave high marks to the beautiful storytelling.
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic - 94 (Xbox)
BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic is often cited as one of the greatest Star Wars games of all time, and is widely regarded as one of the deepest role-playing games of its time. Likewise, it's equally hailed as one of the best-written Star Wars stories overall.
Taking place in a saga continuity far from the mainline Disney canon, Knights of the Old Republic takes place thousands of years before the events of The Phantom Menace. It sees Darth Malak leading the revived Sith Empire to turn the tide of war against the Galactic Republic, with players taking on the role of an amnesiac Force user. The game is incredibly rewarding in terms of player choice and customization.
Halo 3 - 94 (Xbox 360, 86 Reviews)
Bungie's Halo series was a landmark series of games for its time, pushing the boundaries of what the first-person shooter genre could do in single-player and multiplayer. It's not just another shooter whose campaign merely sets the stage for monotonous online modes, and Halo 3 is a climactic end The original Bungie trilogy.
Halo 3 also features an exciting story mode and equally engaging co-op play that sees The Master Chief, Arbiter, and co-op. Take part in a raging interstellar war between the UNSC, the Covenant, and face everyone's impending doom in the form of a flood. The game easily cemented its place as one of the best Xbox exclusives.
Portal 2 - 95 (Xbox 360, 66 Reviews)
The most sci-fi themed entry in Valve's iconic video game IP, Portal 2 has been hailed as one of the best puzzle-platformers of all time. In addition to having some of the funniest and most thought-provoking puzzle elements in the genre, it also has a gripping story filled with grand revelations and clever dark humor.
The player fills in the position of Chell, who wakes up imprisoned in the Aperture Science Facility and tries to escape with the guidance of the robot Whitley. These adventures eventually and naturally lead the story to space, and the game itself has been praised for using space in the level design to make the most of Portal 2's unique puzzles.
Halo 2 - 95 (Xbox, 91 Reviews)
Halo 2 meets the demanding requirements of any thriving media franchise: a film that can compete with its ancestors. Like the original, Halo 2 has been praised for building on the foundations of co-op and online multiplayer that make for a thoroughly addictive experience.
Set about a month after the end of Combat Evolved, the player follows the Master Chief on the UNSC side and Arbiter on the Covenant side in parallel campaigns. Halo 2's online component could be the tipping point for raising the bar for multiplayer gaming.
Mass Effect 2 - 96 (Xbox 360, 98 Reviews)
For BioWare, Mass Effect 2 was another huge success, and another highlight of its greatest franchise in gaming history. It became one of the most critically acclaimed sci-fi RPGs to date, successfully blending mechanics from several genres. It begins shortly after the end of the first game and is possibly one of the most gripping cooldowns in video games.
Players then assume the role of Commander Shepard as they attempt to assemble an all-star team across the galaxy to fight a doomsday threat known as The Collector. Like any good role-playing game, Mass Effect 2 stands out for its players as a result of building characters and various stories, engaging in third-person combat, and some of the best Narrative/character writing in main and side questlines.
Halo: Combat Evolved - 97 (Xbox, 68 Reviews)
Bungie's Halo: Combat Evolved was the game that started it all, kicking off a revolution in the first-person shooter genre in mainstream gaming. The iconic Master Chief and the game itself essentially became the face of the Xbox brand in the process.
It begins with the aforementioned surviving Spartan soldiers fighting with the UNSC against the alien Covenant, which attacks humanity on the grounds of religious persecution. While Halo 2 was a turning point and 3 was probably the series' best, Combat Evolved was one of the most influential games, paving the way for the FPS genre to achieve what they have now.
Metroid Prime - 97 (GameCube, 70 Reviews)
For all the high-end space sci-fi games that have appeared on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC gaming systems, Nintendo also has a large number of such games in its backlog. Developed by Retro Studios and published by Nintendo, Metroid Prime has earned its title as one of the gaming giant's best titles.
It is still considered the best game in the series today even in some fan circles, and the game Brilliantly uses its sci-fi/space setting and alien influences to create something memorable. Players play as Samus Aran, a galactic bounty hunter from a first-person perspective, go to the planet Tallon IV to fight space pirates and conduct a series of biological experiments in a rather eerie, claustrophobic environment.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - 97 (Nintendo Wii, 87 Reviews)
On a lighter note, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a truly amazing and addictive fun space-themed game. Considered by many long-time fans of the series to be the best game in the Super Mario franchise, the game is incredibly imaginative with the possibilities of the platforming genre.
Likewise, the game has stunning presentation and overall production quality, with a masterful combination of art style and galactic setting, including a powerful musical score. Especially in retrospect, the game managed to live up to the success of its predecessor and push the technological boundaries of the Nintendo Wii.
Super Mario Galaxy - 97 (Nintendo Wii, 73 Reviews)
When it comes to the elite level of the mainline Super Mario games, titles such as the original Galaxy with its direct sequel and the Nintendo 64's pioneering Super Mario 64 are also in the discussion.
The game sets exciting new standards For the iconic, long-running platforming franchise, using the outer space setting serves as a beautiful artistic basis and a way to infuse platformers with a new sense of freedom. It has garnered plenty of praise for its clever level design and colorful implementation of boss fights and gravity mechanics.