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Codin's Recommended Vidya Gaimes, Redux Redux [Still being updated]

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Codin's Recommended Vidya Gaimes, Redux Redux [Still being updated]

Posted July 4th, 2016 at 1:12 PM by Sir Codin
Updated July 4th, 2016 at 5:36 PM by Sir Codin

Below are a list of video games that kick so much ass that I'd recommend them to anyone who wants to have good taste. Separated by types of games:

Open World Sandbox:

- Mount & Blade:
You roam around the countryside populated by Teutonics, Vikings, Mongolians, etc. building an army, fighting in (somewhat) realistic medieval style warfare. Allows you to do anything with what you build up: declare loyalty to a lord, fight bandits, conquer a kingdom, marry a prince/princess to become the ruler of a kingdom, be a bounty hunter, pillage or help villages, participate in tournaments, be a landlord, build an army of mercenaries to fight for whoever can afford you, or some combination of any or all of the above. Has an extremely strong modding community that gives you anything from combat overhauls to completely new settings (even sci-fi).

- Grand Theft Auto: Despite being a game that obnoxious wannabe gangsters flock to on Xbox Live, GTA is still a damn good series due to the incredible detail of the worlds and the sheer amount of crap you can do in them, especially San Andreas. Depending on the game, you can manipulate stock markets, boost cars, mess with local authorities in creative ways, engage in mayhem, or even just take a car ride and enjoy the sights. The newer games also have a very versatile set of physics to increase the fun factor of the mayhem. Beware of GTA Online, though. Fun game, terrible community, lack of moderators makes it a hit-or-miss, but also gives you more muk to do, especially with a game-mode editor.

- Minecraft: With a randomly generated overwold that can be eight times larger than that of IRL Earth itself, you will never lack for exploration. Also includes tons of fun stuff to do with building and mining, creating elaborate contraptions, making pixel art out of mined blocks, recreating real-life environments and countries (one of the world records for Minecraft was someone making a 1:1 accurate representation of the entire country of Denmark), and general tomfoolery with friends online.

- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
This game is more of an open world action game instead of being an RPG like it's predecessors, but it's still a damn fun open world for you to explore and do stuff in. Has a gigantic modding community that can make the game millions of times better then the developers ever could and of course the setting is delightfully Norse. The mods give even more overhaul than with Mount & Blade.

Strategy Games:

- Age of Empires: The first RTS game I ever really got into, it includes creating and advancing a civilization out of the Stone Age and into the glories annals of becoming an Empire. Very easy for newcomers to the RTS genre to get into.

- Civilization V:
I just recently got into Civilization with this game, so I don't have much to add right now, but damn is it a nice relaxing strategy game. Mostly because this one actually has a tutorial to help newcomers (the last Civ game I tried, 3, didn't have one).

- Fire Emblem:
Got into this with Awakening. Since then, I've tried only a couple of other games so far, but every one I've tried has kept me greatly entertained thanks to battles that often punish you hard for your mistakes (especially if you aren't playing on Casual with the newer games) and force you to carefully consider your next move. It's like Chess, except more colorful and with a good story and waifu selection.

- Plants vs Zombies:
Excellent and quirky tower defense game; defend your house from zombies using mutated plants. Wide variety of plants to choose from and many different game modes.

Simulation Games:

- Democracy 3:
Basically revolves around you being elected president/prime minister/etc. of a country and you use whatever you can to bring it to prosperity - or at least make things decent enough that you get re-elected for another term. You can utilize political or social methods from all ends of the political spectrum to accomplish this: you could turn the United States into a communist/socialist utopia or you could turn Germany or the United Kingdom into a free market ultra-capitalist society with lax gun laws. The choice is up to you and so are the consequences of your decisions.

Computer Roleplaying Games

- Planescape Torment:
Possibly the best story ever told in any video game ever. You start off as an immortal, amnesiac heavily-scarred, zombie-looking dude and you're given only a few tattoos on your shoulders to give you a clue on how to discover your past and why you are like this. Notable for the fantastic story, the numerous ways you can shape your character's personality and roleplay, the incredibly quirky party companions/NPCs, extremely memorable villains (they're so well written it's actually kind of a stretch to even call them "villains"), the completely alien world[s] you can explore, and the phenomenal music. The game is heavily reliant on text, though, but the story is so interesting you'll quickly get over it. The game is also notable for completely butchering or outright avoiding common Dungeons & Dragons/Fantasy RPG stereotypes and cliches. Finally, it remains to this day the absolute best way to get introduced into the Planescape campaign setting for the actual tabletop RPG Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

- System Shock 2:
A fun combination of an action RPG, a survival horror, and a FPS. System Shock 2 provides addictive gameplay, an RPG system that gives a nice variety of builds, a compelling sci-fi setting based around an incredibly memorable rouge A.I. who can also double as a dominatrix (and you WILL be tempted to submit to her), and extremely fun music for cyberpunk fans.

- Baldur's Gate:
This is where Bioware got their big break long before they started going to the gutter with Mass Effect. Superb real-time-with-pause combat system, user interface, enemy encounter, and character development design that remains to this day the absolute best adaptation of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition into computer game form. The second game is way better than the first and is considered to be one of the greatest computer fantasy RPGs of all time, if nothing else than because of a deliciously evil and cunning villain voiced by David Warner. You're basically a guy who's been born with incredible latent power that gets more tapped into as the series goes on, complete with all the consequences and attention that this power gives you. Boasts a tremendous amount of fun, zany, and memorable party companions that you can choose from and many different classes from the Dungeons & Dragons game to build your character with. So much content as well, with many familiar D&D enemies to challenge yourself with and a myriad of quests and sidequests that have superb writing quality at best and mediocre at worst. This is the pinnacle of Bioware's game-making and it's not even a contest.

- Fallout (1 & 2):
Before Bethesda got their hands on this series, Fallout was known as a brilliantly written turn-based isometric cRPG with an incredible array of character builds with it's SPECIAL system to determine your strengths and weaknesses as you survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland 80 years after a resource war that resulted in humanity nuking each other into oblivion. Mutants, raiders, cultists, dystopian local governments, and pop culture references abound, complete with well-told stories, interactive questlines, an elegant turn-based combat system, and an open world boasting a mix of 1950's pulp sci-fi aesthetic and heavy metal/punk rock adrenaline junkie stuff right out of Mad Max. Replete with gray and gray morality; most of the time the "villains" have many sympathetic qualities and good reasons for doing the things they do, despite their morally ambiguous methods. Most good guys aren't clean slates either. Despite the grimdark setting, the games overall are very noblebright with a series-long theme of rebuilding after the apocalypse and humanity overall making an effort to learn from it's mistakes.

- Icewind Dale:
Basically what Baldur's Gate would be like if you had full-party creation/customization, a nice frozen north setting in the Forgotten Realms, copious amounts of combat, and dungeon-crawling abound. Whereas Planescape focused on story more than combat and Baldur's Gate focused equally on story and combat, Icewind Dale is more combat than story. It's damn good for creating different character builds, guiding them through a decently written adventure and see how well they perform in combat. Icewind Dale 2 is notable for being the only Infinity Engine game to not use AD&D 2nd Edition as it's gameplay base; it used AD&D 3rd Edition.

- Neverwinter Nights:
Although the title makes it sound like a porno, NWN was notable for being the very first 3D Dungeons & Dragons video game. The first game still has a huge modding community that has created many fun mods, mostly adaptations of classic D&D adventure modules like Temple of Elemental Evil and Tomb of Horrors. Neverwinter Nights 2 is notable for having a mediocre original campaign followed up by Mask Of The Betrayer, an expansion that is considered by many to be the best written RPG since Planescape: Torment.

- Princess Maker 2:
Don't be fooled by the girly name or aesthetics; Princess Maker 2 is a complex and deep roleplaying game where you develop your adopted daughter into her role in the world as the game progresses her age from 10 to 18 years old. You can turn her into a warrior, a mage, a merchant, a noble, a cook, a prostitute, a genuine princess, a thief...there are many possible ways your little daughter can end up based on what classes you make her take throughout her life, what kinds of people you make her talk to, what kinds of jobs you make her do, who you decide can talk to her/court her, and it's even influenced by how much she even likes you as a father/mother.

Modern RPGs:

- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
These two RPG games using the d20 roleplaying system are some of the best Star Wars games ever made. While KotOR 1 is a well-written game that has many of the classic feels of the original trilogy of Star Wars movies, KotOR 2 is notable for being very intelligently written (especially once you've installed the mod that restores the cut content) and a huge deconstruction of many of the stereotypes of Star Wars, featuring more morally ambiguous characters as opposed to Star Wars' usual schtick of having badass villains and virgin-type good guys. Avoid the MMO "The Old Republic;" massive disappointment compared to these games.

- The Witcher:
Delicious and well-written grimdark fantasy game based around a genetically enhanced warrior. Features huge C&C, apathetic characters, and tits.

- Dark Souls:
Stellar action-RPG series notable for it's difficulty, well-built worlds, engaging online play, memorable bosses and battles, steep learning curve, moody grimdark atmosphere, compelling story, characters, and lore, and finally for it's huge emphasis on exploration to gather up all of it's large amount of content. Just be prepared to DIE...a LOT. Also noted for it's ability to evoke RAGE QUIT amongst gamers who are too used to modern casual gaming, making it a necessary evil so we can return to the days of gaming's former glory of weeding out undesirables with challenging gameplay.

- Bloodborne:
Same as Dark Souls, except replace it with more fast-paced combat and Lovecraftian overtones.

- Fallout: New Vegas:
Forget the games Bethesda is making, this is a true successor to the original Fallout games of '97 & '98. Taking many cues from Van Buren (which was the original Fallout 3 before Black Isle went out of business), the game is basically Fallout 3's FPS/RPG hybrid gameplay (improved) mixed with the brilliant writing and moral ambiguity of the first two Fallout games provided by Obsidian Entertainment - a company made up of former Black Isle/Interplay employees (and therefore clearly knew Fallout better than Bethesda). Incredible base game mixed with phenomenally written DLC and a nice wide open 3D sandbox world based in the post-apocalyptic version of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas of the Mojave Desert in the Southwest United States.

- Knights of Pen and Paper +1
A traditional turn-based computer RPG with a bit of a twist: it uses the aesthetics and attitutes of people actually playing a tabletop RPG, like the roleplaying wizard/paladin who's part of an acting class or the min-maxing powergaming fighter who is pursuing a law degree. The healing/buff items are even based off of common neckbeard footstuffs, like pizza, cheetos, and cornbread. A decent RPG that is very entertaining for poking fun at common TRPG stereotypes.

First Person Shooters that are actually good (shocking, I know)

THE Classic First Person Shooter of the 90's and possibly of all time. You have of course played it, right? If you haven't, play it right now. If this series doesn't convince you that First Person Shooters are sometimes worth playing, then no series will. It revolves around a badass space marine working for an ethically ambiguous corporation whose teleportation experiments have accidentally ripped open a portal to Hell and demons are killing everyone; so grab a big f***ing gun and kill back. The modding community (who prefer to call their creations "WADs") is still largely active even to this day and the WADs are extremely variant. The series has had two good attempts at modernization: DOOM 3 (2004), which was slower paced and had a more survival horror blend and recently DOOM 2016 (aka DOOM 4) that was released recently, which showcased the new id Tech 6 engine, had optimal performance even on consoles, and returned to the series' more gung-ho adrenaline pumping fast-paced brutal combat that took a few cues from the popular BRUTAL DOOM wad for the classic Doom games. Also, read the Doom comic (you know the one)'s awesome and it is guaranteed to make you a black metal rip & tear fanatic and a 12.0 on a 10.0 scale of badness with a headful of mad and a fistful of vertebrae.

- Quake:
Similar to DOOM (helps they were made by the same company), the early Quake games remain to this day must-play 3D computer FPS games. The first game is mostly cyberpunk gothic horror with Lovecraftian vibes in it's environments and monster designs, complete with being difficult as all hell. The second game is significantly easier (not necessarily a bad thing), but is no less Metal, being about humanity fighting a race of cyborn aliens that make more of themselves by conquering other races throughout the galaxy and retrofitting them with cybernetics/forcing them into their hivemind against their will. Quake 3 is more of a multiplayer arena shooter that is so addictive that variations of it are still being played to this day.

- Duke Nukem:
A gloriously testosterone heavy DOOM clone based around a hyper-masculine titular character who shoots alien invaders while scoring hot chicks. Shamelessly offensive and anti-feminist, the series is known for it's popular quotes and memes and over-the-top shooter gameplay. Avoid the most recent game, Forever, though; it fell too flat with the jokes and memes and had slow gameplay inspired by more recent military shooters and tremendously stupid A.I. Tends to happen when a game spends 12 years in development hell.

- Crysis:
The first game only. The game engine is fantastic, the graphics are notorious for making your computer cry even in today's market, and most importantly: the sheer amount of mods that were made to complement the game's physics engine.

- Half-Life
The pinnacle of story-driven FPS. Just try playing the second without thinking of George Orwell. The Source engine's physics were so groundbreaking and versatile that eventually a sandbox/building program was made called Garry's Mod, which has resulted in all sorts of zany content getting created from machinima to elaborate Rube Goldberg machine's. Despite the content creation and modding community built around the game, the base of Half-Life is fantastic, with excellent combat, puzzle-solving, and very non-intrusive story-telling. Not to mention Half-Life 2's facial rig was so far ahead of it's time there are many games in today's AAA market that don't even come close.

Horror, Grimdark, and/or Mindrape

- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Possibly the most mindfock psychological horror game that best captures the image of HP Lovecraft's works. The game revolves around a postgraduate math student going to Rhode Island to investigate her grandfather's mysterious death and discovers the necronomicon, which shows the story of ancient gods plotting world domination and the efforts of many people throughout history trying to stop them, often getting horribly killed while trying. Features fourth-wall breaking 'sanity effects' and mindscrewy story, as well as decently scary monsters.

- Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Another decent attempt at a Lovecraftian horror video game, it's a first person game where you take control of some limey who lost his memory and finds himself running around an old castle where things get otherwordly. You can't defend yourself against the eldritch monsters, so your best bet is to run and hide. Despite numerous hack Let's Players running these kinds of games into the ground, it's actually a genuinely nerve-wracking game.

- Resident Evil (early games and 4):
The games that popularized the concept of survival horror, the early RE games (1 to Code: Veronica) are masterpieces of exploration and horror with the emphasis of trying to escape from scary situations with limited resources and defenses, with decent emphasis on puzzle-solving. The modern games in the series are more third-person action games that toned down the scariness in favor of gun action, although RE4 is a tremendously fun game regardless. That being said, the upcoming Resident Evil 7 is looking like Capcom is bringing the series back to it's survival horror roots with puzzle-solving and scares.

- Dead Space:
A Resident Evil 4-styled sci-fi horror game that revolves around you playing as an engineer and using power tools to kill reanimated ship crew members who've been taken over by an alien virus that reanimates and reconfigures dead tissue as a means of reproduction/food generation. Basically what would happen if you made a Resident Evil/System Shock game after watching the movie Event Horizon.

Adventure and/or Puzzle Games:

- The Dig:
LucasArts' attempt at a more serious point-and-click adventure game than their famous Monkey Island series. Three astronauts are trying to stop an asteroid from destroying earth, they go into the asteroid and discover that it's actually a starship/probe. It soon whisks them away to an alien world where the inhabitants have seemingly been extinct for millions of years, but their technology still remains. The rest of the game is centered around exploring this alien civilization while trying to discover a way to get back to earth. Has one of the best soundtracks ever.

- Portal:
You are given a gun that makes portals and you use it to solve puzzles while dealing with a rogue AI. Features golden humor, cubes, and cake.

- HuniePop:
Basically the result of someone playing Bejeweled and saying, "Hmm, you know what can make this more fun? Combining this with a Japanese Dating Sim/Hentai game." The rest is history. The characters are actually surprisingly likable and the erotic artwork is actually very well drawn. Plus, the Bejeweled style gameplay is surprisingly fun and addictive.

Classic Console/Handheld Games:

- The Legend of Zelda:
Action-adventure game that gives a focus on exploration, sometimes challenging combat, puzzle-solving, well-written stories and lore, and wonderful western fantasy environments based around a theme of battles between good & evil through the ages mixed with reincarnation. A good series to get into if you are looking for fantasy games that aren't RPGs.

- Castlevania:
Similar to Legend of Zelda, except more Gothic horror than medieval european fantasy with a focus on badass vampires, occult magic, and vampire hunters that range from manly flail-wielders to loli spirit shamans. The soundtracks are always extremely catchy and memorable. 2D is the way to go here, this series has constantly hit the polygon ceiling extremely hard.

- Pokemon:
The series that is the reason we are all on this site. Very addictive monster collection turn-based RPG with an emphasis on battle strategy of exploiting weaknesses inherent to the creatures you are fighting and the creatures you are fighting with. With hundreds of mons around nowadays, hundreds of moves, and 18 different elemental types, the games allow for an extremely versatile and creative team build that is just as variant as the type of people you can see playing these games. Attracts a wide audience of players from casual kiddy players attracted to the appearance of the creatures themselves to hardcore college-aged competitive powergamers who come up with ultimate team building strategies.

- Conker's Bad Fur Day:
This was "South Park: The Video Game" long before Stick Of Truth was even a thing. Hilariously zany black adult toilet humor, it is without a doubt the most deliciously offensive game RareWare has ever produced.

- GoldenEye / Perfect Dark:
Before Halo and Call Of Duty, these were the quintessential console FPS games. With fun, deep, and content rich multiplayer modes, these games are still played by split-screen nostalgiahags to this very day. GoldenEye 007 is still the more popular of the two, despite Perfect Dark being more story-driven, content-rich, and overall better in every way.

Shoot 'Em Ups (Shmups)

- Touhou:
A vertical shooter series created by a Japanese dude with a propensity for ingenious battle design, getting drunk, and making terrible artwork that confuses people as to whether the (gigantic cast of) characters are or are not lolis. Not the most complex or most difficult bullet hell games out there, but they've nonetheless gathered a tremendously large and kooky fanbase centered around the characters, the music, and numerous other fan-made creations. Occasionally you will also find fans who enjoy the games as well.

- Tyrian 2000:
A good MS-DOS vertical shooter that has pretty much about what you'd expect from the genre, but is also very customizable and has difficulty that can really sneak up on you when you least expect it. The music is extremely catchy, too.

- Radiant Silvergun / Ikaruga:
Two of Treasure Games' most well-known vertical shooters, these two games are tremendously difficult but very intuitive, with Ikaruga in particular having a simple yet elegant combat system designed around the colors of black and white to symbolize the polarity of the human soul.

- Lord of Thunder:
Extremely fun, addicting, and super METAL horizontal shooter based on magical suits of armor.

- Soldier Blade:
Relatively obscure vertical shooter that has a lot of difficult gameplay and numerous weapons.

- Mega Turrican:
Horizontal shooter based around a guy trying to rescue his waifu using a powerful battle suit.

- Contra III:
The pinnacle of the Contra games, fast-paced and uber testosterone alien killing abound.
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