Image: Vicarious Visions, IGDB

Replaying the old favourites this summer

With summer comes the usual video game void. All we have are trailers for games coming out in November and December to capitalise on the Christmas gift sales. During this drought of new content and excessive free time (for students anyway) I often find myself replaying old favourites of mine. Here are a few of them.

Red Faction: Guerilla will forever be a game I return to. You play as a resistance fighter on Mars, fighting an oppressive military sent from Earth to oppress and exploit the workers. The unique selling point of this game is the ability to blow up everything bar the terrain. Every manmade office, tower, and bridge is fair game. There’s just something satisfying about blowing up every single thing in sight. It never seems to get old. With a remaster just out, the game looks gorgeous and there’s no need to go rummaging around for your old consoles.

Spore is another game I find myself binging for a week straight and then not touching for another year. Made by Maxis, the creators of the Sims, you start by controlling a small organism in the ocean of a strange planet. You claw your way out of the primordial ooze and work your way through the evolution of your species adding limbs, claws, feathers and many other objects as you take your creature from pond scum through a tribal phase and finally become a species advanced enough for interstellar travel. It’s fun designing your creatures and choosing if they’ll be aggressive or friendly if the cities will focus on trade or war and if you’ll preach gospel across the galaxy or simply stare down your opponents with huge space guns.

There’s just something satisfying about blowing up every single thing in sight. It never seems to get old

I return to Dishonored most summers due to the sheer versatility of the gameplay. You take on the role of a framed royal protector turned assassin, as you hunt down the traitors who murdered your Queen and stole her daughter. You can choose to play the game as a ruthless killing machine, leaving destruction and death in your wake or you can play it without alerting a single enemy to your presence. You can also choose from a large assortment of magical abilities or just stick to experimental weapons and traps. Throw in a fantastic art style (think Borderlands and Telltale games) and coming back to stab people and dispose of their bodies by summoning a mischief (yes that is the actual term for a group of rats, how adorable) of flesh-hungry rats to devour their corpse is way more fun than twiddling my thumbs till the winter game season.

So far all the games I’ve mentioned are designed to be played in numerous ways thus increasing their replayability by their very nature but games I will never get rid of and always take with me wherever I move are Naughty Dog games. I have the remaster of the Jak and Daxter trilogy and all the Crash Bandicoot games on virtual console. Also all of the Uncharted games and The Last of Us. These are all linear games and I know I may be a bit of a Naughty Dog fanboy but I can’t help but fall in love with the characters of these games every single time I play them. Daxter is such a brilliant trash talker it’s impossible not to love him, Drake and Scully seem witty even on a sixth or seventh playthrough and Joel and Ellie’s story will always bring a tear to my eyes. These games were a huge part of my growing up and for that reason, I will always come back to them.

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