2017 was without a doubt a fantastic year for games, particularly on the PlayStation 4 and 2018 is off to a strong start. Sony is knocking it out of the park with exclusive after exclusive. But rather than focus on the big hyped games, I’d like to do introduce you to 7 games worth a second look.
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Borderlands 2 (PS4 Remaster)
This is the remaster of the PlayStation 3 original, Borderlands 2 is incredible it’s beautiful to look at with its fabulous cel-shaded look. It has a cast of insane characters it’s rude and silly and unashamedly mental. You can play as various different classes from Commandos with gun turrets to Sirens that trap people in balls of energy. In addition, you have the two DLC classes, the Psycho and the Mechromancer. The very different playstyles encourage multiple playthroughs. It can be played solo but you can play with three other people online or on a sofa using split-screen.
You can import your save from the PS3 to the PS4, so if you’ve got on old Borderlands 2 PS3 save knocking around somewhere you can pick up where you left off. It is loud, it is brash, it is stupid, with a GAZZILLION guns. Borderlands 2, without a doubt, has one of the best antagonists in gaming. Handsome Jack is crass and funny and violent and horrible, you will love and hate him. If you like for first-person shooters, if you like first-person shooters with RPG elements in them, if you like a cast of hilarious characters… If you just like FUN! Get this now!
Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together
This was one of the first PlayStation Plus games for the PlayStation 4 in January 2014. It looks all cute and lovely but it is, in fact, a hard as nails survival game. You have an ever-expanding cast of insane characters with their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses. You are dropped in the middle of a hostile environment with no tutorial no clue, you have to figure everything out for yourself and most importantly don’t die. However, this is a game in which you will die repeatedly over and over again. This doesn’t sound much fun but every single death will teach you something, you will learn more, so death is actually part of the cycle of learning within the game. As a result of each death, you will get better at the game.
At the start you will die on day four or five or six; then you might get to day 12; then you might get to day 20. Eventually, you’re on day 93-94, 100 and you’ve got farms, you’ve got fridges, you’ve got armour, you’ve got magic. DLC has added Land of the Giants and Shipwrecked, new environments and new challenges making it even harder! There is also a two-player cooperative, Don’t Starve Together, split screen or online. If you like survival games, if you like a steep challenge and a really steep learning curve, Don’t Starve is for you. Cute, Very funny and unremittingly hard, Don’t Starve is absolutely worth checking out.
Metro Last Light (PS4 Remaster)
Metro Last Light it’s set in a post-apocalyptic Russia and the protagonist is simply trying to get back home. There’s a subplot about the potential of saving the world by interacting with an alien. It’s a tightly scripted linear first-person shooter however, the levels themselves are not particularly linear encouraging you to approach them in different ways. It does have a very good stealth mechanic so there is the opportunity to stealth your way through some levels.
We’re talking post-apocalyptic so weapons look like they’ve been bolted together by bits and pieces and have some really eclectic ways of moving and working. Also, the graphics are stunning, the voice acting is excellent and the whole environment reeks of decay. You get a real sense of humanity on the edge of destruction. It has some nice political elements as well with different factions trying to survive in different ways. The monsters in the game look pretty gross, mutated rats, giant spiders all pretty nasty! Also, the human antagonists and partners have great character and care in their design. If you like first-person shooters and you like post-apocalyptic settings, this is an absolutely essential purchase.
Divinity Original Sin
This is a hardcore, turn-based, tactical role-playing game and so much more! You have 4 playable characters and their position on the field and how their skills interact with the environment is the key to success. This is not an easy RPG there is no grinding, there are no random encounters or respawning enemies to over-level your characters. You can’t do the normal RPG trope of ‘I’m feeling a bit under levelled for this, let’s go and stack a few levels so I can own that boss.’ That’s not going to happen so you have to be very mindful of how you approach encounters.
The cast of characters is absolutely brilliant, there’s a lot of humour in the game there’s a sense of fun throughout. There are huge numbers of classes, weapon and magic types which means you can construct highly bespoke characters. You can take someone who is a heavy armour specialist and have them summoning spiders or shooting fireballs. There’s an interesting world to explore, the side quests can be serious but also can be incredibly stupid. I’ve got one at the moment that’s about a weresheep (yep!) There’s so much fun to be had in this game. It’s sprawling, it’s epic, it’s hard as nails, but if you like SRPGs this is really worth your time. Particularly as the sequel is coming to PS4 in August.
Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture
I adored this game when it came out it was so intriguing so interesting. It’s a walking simulator, however, that is not a problem when the game is beautiful and atmospheric with an interesting story to discover. It is one of the most graphically impressive games you can play with a perfect recreation of 1980s Great Britain. I was alive in Great Britain in the 1980s I remember it very well. You wander around a Shropshire village caller Yaughton and just like the Mary Celeste, everyone has disappeared. The central theme is discovering where everyone has gone and why there are these strange lights floating around. Interacting with these lights uncovers a very human story about how people deal with grief and loss.
It is beautifully voice-acted, the scripting is incredibly clever and it drives you to discover what happened. You want to learn more because you begin to care about the characters. The soundtrack for this game is stunning it gives the right atmosphere and emotion and is absolutely glorious. It’s a beautifully crafted clever game of exploration and discovery with beautiful graphics. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a compelling tale that is uplifting and tragic in equal measure. Therefore If you are interested in storytelling, character and atmosphere this is definitely one of those games worth a second look.
For my thoughts on the game check THIS video out.
The Wolf Among Us
The choice driven game from Telltale Games deals with fairy tale characters living in human guise in New York. You will interact with the Crooked Man, Toad from wind in the willows, Snow White Beauty and the Beast. They are all embroiled in a murder case that’s being investigated by The Big Bad Wolf. Despite its fairytale characters, it is profane and violent and deserves it’s 15 rating.
As with all telltale games you have choice-based narrative that will change the way in which the story unfolds. The Wolf Among Us is interesting because despite the fantastical setting it’s delivered with a sense of realism and character. This grounds the fantastical elements so you don’t feel a disconnect between gameplay and the gritty city it’s based in. The voice acting is uniformly excellent further grounding the characters and making you engage with them. My favourite is Toad from Wind in the Willows who is portrayed as a foul-mouthed cockney slum lord. If you’ve enjoyed other Telltale offerings and you haven’t tried out The Wolf Among us I would highly recommend. The sequel is being released in 2019 so now may be the ideal time to dive in.
Check out THIS video to get my view of the game.
Valkyria Chronicles (PS4 Remaster)
Valkyria Chronicles is set in an alternate version of Europe and an alternative version of the Second World War. The small province of Gallia has been invaded and they are trying to defend themselves and repel the invasion. However, instead of highly-trained crew-cut soldiers, you’ve got a cast of ordinary characters who are fighting to defend their homelands. They are school teachers, bakers, farmers and cabaret singers. These are ordinary people who have been driven into extraordinary circumstances to defence their homes. There is a beautiful humanity that runs throughout the compelling story.
Valkyria Chronicle is really an exploration of how war affects ordinary people. As with all RPGs there are different classes you have Scouts, Shock Troopers, Engineers, Lancers and Snipers. You will take anything between 7 and 12 units with you, so there are tactical decisions to make about deployment. Battles can take 45 minutes to an hour to complete and there is plenty of content to keep you busy. Between battles, you have an intelligent powerful story. The themes are compelling, ranging from racism and the horrors of war through to ethnic cleansing. If you haven’t played Valkyria Chronicles before I would strongly recommend you do. It remains one of my all-time favourite games it’s challenging, powerful and an effective account of the futility of war.
Games Worth a Second Look
So there’s my list of seven gems in my library that are definitely worth a second look. If you have any recommendations of your own please comment. If you would like to see 7 games I think do excellent Gameplay over glorious Graphics, the blog and video are here.
Thanks for reading and a very happy gaming week to you all.