It’s hard to tell what game got the best gameplay if there are different genres. For this article, I choose games of different genres that perfectly represent how the gameplay of their genre should be. Some of the gameplay already got changed or improved in the last years since the games releases. Some better, some worst.
My first example is God of War. Wow! The game perfected the hack n’ slash oriented action genre. The buttons are well assigned to the controller and fighting hundreds of enemies is a true challenge and needs lots of concentration on the highest difficulty setting. Early titles like Flade to Black or Legacy of Kain did that well before, but bad button assignment and camera moving problems ruined most of the gameplay.
Command and Conquer is a good example for easy and simplified handling of units in RTS games. There are not many buttons or special keys needed to give commands. If I compare CnC to later real-time strategy releases, then these games just good too much of commands. For example Activison’s Dark Reign in which the player got a special menue to define the AI of own units overwhelmed the player. Revolutionary, yes. But bad executed.
System Shock 2 in terms of character movement. Many early first-person shooters always had the same buttons for sidestep, turning, crouching. But Shock2 also invented leaning in modern gaming. Not just left and right. Even lean forward got introduced. I liked that addition, simply because it felt realistic. Shock2’s predecessor from 1994 already got leaning, but didn’t worked so well, since many buttons were needed for ordinary movement without a mouse-support like in todays FPS games.
Well, these are my examples of games with best gameplay. Please have in mind that I picked the games by my very own desire.