I’ve been at university for a month now, and since I don’t have my own television at home, I couldn’t bring my Xbox. The withdrawal is rapidly building up, so as a way to get my gaming fix, and probably torture myself a bit, I thought I’d share my favourite games. Now be warned, these are all relatively contemporary games, as I’m not much into nostalgia gaming, but I love them all the same and highly recommend them.
I have a love-hate relationship with Sims, the third one especially. I have a great many memories of hours spent playing with the Goth family on Sims 2, and I loved the PS2 version, so when Sims 3 came out naturally I was very excited. I saved up and spent £24.99 on it (which is still a lot of money in my eyes, but for 13 y/o me it was a small fortune). I got it home and spent several hours installing it and then spent the next few weeks on it constantly. The Exchange where you could effectively download free content was awesome and even without expansion packs, I was totally addicted. But then it happened. It stopped working – countless glitches occurred and even after re-installing, trying different computers, even buying a new version of the game, I had to give up. To this day I still sometimes try and play, but there are always glitches. I did, however, make an adorable lesbian couple who I’m kind of in love with.
Fourth Place: Mirror’s Edge (2008)
Why it’s awesome: the mind-blowing design, ingenious plot, BAMF female protagonist, great controls
I discovered Mirror’s Edge one day on internet explorer, and spent an hour or so finishing the 2D demo version online, so when years later (2012) I discovered there was a console version I was desperate to play it. The following year I finally got to, and saved up for a second-hand Xbox just for that game. I’ve now completed it countless times and each time I’m stunned by the high-quality graphics – for the surroundings, not the characters so much – and how smooth the controls are, considering it was released in 2008. It’s so nice to see a strong, independent female protagonist, and even more so one of colour. And surprisingly (*sarcasm*) it hasn’t put off all the male gamers, which is apparently why there are so few female protagonists in games. This would be higher up on my list, quite possibly even two or one, except for the fact there’s no open-world feature. The city is so well animated and so exciting, it always surprises and upsets me that there’s no option to explore post-credits (as for example the Assassin’s Creed games offer). The only thing about this franchise I’m unhappy with is that Mirror’s Edge 2, the prequel showing Faith’s backstory, is only going to be released on PS4 and Xbox One.
I had this game on my wish list after playing the PS2 version and enjoying it, and it actually took me several months after receiving it before playing it. But when I did… oh my god. The graphics alone, are insane. They’re so realistic that in the cutscenes you completely forget you’re playing a game, and just feel in this world or like you’re watching a film. The re-design of Lara (or prequel Lara, I suppose, as this is her origin story) is wonderful too. It has the classic ponytail etc. but she’s not wearing some skimpy impractical outfit, and she’s not got perfect hair and make-up, she looks realistic. I was so pleased they re-told the origin story like this as I was unfamiliar with it, and now I hope they re-make the other games in this same style. I haven’t re-played this game because it gets addicting and it’s so emotional and takes a lot of playing time, but just getting the stills for this post made me obsessed with it again. I cannot recommend this game enough, it’s like 9/10 in every category.
This was the first Assassin’s Creed game I ever played, and it got me so hooked that I’m saving up now for the entire collection. I was outright shocked by the amazing graphics, and the open-world play. This is the game that made me angry and disappointed if a game doesn’t have open-world play. I immediately liked AC3 because it featured Boston, and when I first played this I’d just returned from a holiday to Boston and had fallen in love with the city. This game just encapsulates so many different places and times – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, the Mohawk Village, the giant Frontier and all it’s fields, mountains and lakes… – and you get so into simply exploring that half the time you forget about the missions. This is one of those games that has so many side-quests and places to explore and people to discover that even when you finish the main storyline there’s tens of hours of gameplay left. I myself admit to enjoying just wandering around the huge cities and frontier, more than I enjoyed the actual main quests. Even just the different seasons that pass, and seeing the cities and places as time progresses, it shows how much time the designers must have put into this game. I will never be over how well-made the in-game world is.
First Place: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
Why it’s number one: classic AC graphic genius, beautiful music, so many side-quests, awesome cutscenes etc. etc. etc.
This. Fucking. Game. Ohmygod. First of all, repeat everything I said that was awesome about AC3, but multiply it. The graphic for this game are just as beautiful and realistic, and the music is even better. I was lucky enough to visit Florence and Rome in 2013, so playing this was so much fun (as with AC3) being in those cities in the past. The moments when you’re up on the Colosseum are breathtaking and the amount of open-world-ness is just as awesome as 3. Brotherhood features less locations to explore, but for me I preferred this as AC3 begins to feel slightly overwhelming as I’m one of those people who wants to explore and know every single inch of an in-game world. Another feature of Brotherhood that I adored was the re-building Rome aspect. It felt Sims-ish where you had to purchase business, and earn money and you gain achievements as you go. I really enjoyed that, and the added-in feature of recruiting assassins was awesome (I particularly approved that they included recruiting women), and made some fights a lot easier – though whether you use the extra help or not is optional. The amount of side quests in Brotherhood was even more than 3, and months after completing the game I’m still going around doing little missions or discovering new places. Just playing the game and parkour-ing around fighting soldiers is an awesome use of time, in my opinion.
I hope you liked my list and go off to discover or re-play all these games, I honestly can’t recommend them enough! What’re some of your favourite games? Especially Assassin’s Creed, which should I play next?