No matter the console you’re deciding to play with this Thanksgiving, let’s put aside the console wars to appreciate games that gave us a little bit more bang for our buck. In an era of gaming that focuses on producing DLCs for money, it’s unusual to have games that give us more hours of gameplay than our social life can handle, but that’s not always a bad thing.
It’s important to give thanks to games that keep us entertained till the crack of dawn, so as we gather round to give specific thanks to our titles, feel free to drop in on the comment section on what games you’d like to commend this Thanksgiving.
If there is a game that will always entertain me, in a teeth-grinding, hate yourself, destroy-your-ego kind of way, it’s Spelunky.
Being a very true-to-form Rogue-like, Spelunky throws you into every run at the game with the same three things: four bombs, four ropes, and four health. From there, everything is randomly generated, and as you traverse this insane action-platformer, you’re faced with crazy challenges, moments that are unique pretty much every time you play it, and some insanely challenging and ever-changing level design.
For me, that fact that every run I take in Spelunky produces something different, whether it be number of bombs, amount of health, or special items I pick up, the variance keeps me coming back. It is just all wrapped up in a supreme package of really tight, really solid gameplay.
As punishing and as cruel as it is, the challenge and idea that one day I may actually defeat this fell beast will have Spelunky squeezing playthroughs out of me for months and months to come.
Guild Wars 2
MMOs are generally considered an entire genre of games with no real concrete end; games with potential as far as any individual player can stomach the loot/dungeon/raid grind. Guild Wars 2 took that end game lull and, while not completely changing it, turned it into a consistent opportunity to introduce new content.
On many if their online ads for the game, Arena Net claims that the title has new DLC every two weeks. In a round about way, they’re right. Every two weeks introduces a new location, or a new set of quests and tasks in existing locations, for players to explore and play through. Sometimes theses are large portions of the world map previously unaccessible, other times they are new NPC’s and areas inside particular zones. It almost always becomes a showcase for the titles constantly growing and changing world that more often than not evolves based on direct player interactions. Each change hasn’t been as broad sweeping as a World of Warcraft expansion, but as a sum of its parts, the incremental additions are a unique and welcome ploy to keep my time firmly fastened to GW2.
Elder Scrolls is one of those franchises that has been known to suck the social life away from anyone who plays it, and the fifth installment Skyrim is no exception. I remember not going to school for two days straight so I could finish playing through the main quest. Even though my grades may have suffered at the time, my love for the fantasy realm of Skyrim was at an all time high on being a dragonborn warrior for my two day binge.
The main quest is enough for the game to be worth the price because of the countless hours that can be achieved through the one quest-series alone. From speaking to Paarthurnax, an elder dragon, to using different dragon shouts to journey through Skyrim, it sets a strong importance of what is essential to Skyrim while also giving the player unique abilities that help improve on the story and gameplay.
Although once you’re finished with the main storyline, there are plenty of adventures still waiting to be experienced. You’ll find yourself choosing sides in the civil war and joining secret alliances that gain you crazy new abilities. Some of these side quests can be argued to be better than the main quest, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say so because the same level focus went into making those different adventures special from one another. Relating back to some of the crazy abilities, my favorite was the power to become a werewolf, and I found myself raiding villages for fun. If being a canine isn’t your style, don’t sweat it, you could always join the Dark Brotherhood and become a lethal assassin.
You don’t even have to follow a certain quest to enjoy this game, you just have to explore. The amount of different environments and territories can be intimidating at first, but once you begin to take the time to learn the differences you’ll only want to keep exploring more. Skyrim leaves hours of gameplay at your disposal for you to make the most out of the experience you want to have.
ARMA 2 [DayZ]
If you’re looking for a game that has much more to offer than your average eight hour campaign, then Arma 2 is the game for you. Arma 2 isn’t your typical first person shooter, it’s a military simulator in which you will traverse miles of landscapes either by foot or vehicle. Like most first person shooters, Arma 2 isn’t really known for it’s single player campaign, the real gold is in its multiplayer, which luckily is modder friendly.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast you may have heard about the mod DayZ, which has taken the gaming world by storm. DayZ, a mod designed by Dean Hall for Arma 2, puts the players in a massive open world with limited supplies, no food or water and hundreds of zombies roaming the world ready to eat your brains. What makes DayZ so fun and great is how unique it is, you never feel safe. Fellow players online are also struggling to survive and whether you make the decision to team up with them or not could be a matter of life and death; trust no one. Will you risk running into town for supplies to heal yourself? Will you trust another player to team up with you? These are questions you will be asking yourself throughout your time with DayZ and trust me, you will have a blast.
Arma 2 is a fantastic game, one that is definitely worth a purchase if you have a pretty decent gaming rig. Hopefully in the future we will see this great series come to the consoles, it definitely has a unique feel about it, one that we rarely see compared to our typical shooters in this day and age. So, what are you waiting for?