Since I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t write about druid changes or tree form for a while, I thought I’d make a completely non WoW-related post.
I’ve been a video game geek for a long time. In addition to WoW I still play a number of other games (although not as many as I’d like). There are a few games that I keep coming back to – games with fantastic story and gameplay that are still great despite aging graphics. I tend to go back and replay my favourites every few years and I thought I’d share them since they are older, weren’t terrible commercial successes, and a lot of people may be unaware of their existence. My video games tastes tend towards RPG/adventures. You won’t find any FPSs here.
Planescape: Torment (1999)
Best CRPG ever. Torment is a dark, story-driven RPG with excellent dialogue and some of the best writing I’ve seen in a video game. At the beginning of the game you wake up in a mortuary. You are the Nameless One, you have no memory and you cannot die. A floating skull comes along to give you the chant and help you escape. Throughout the game you run into all sorts of interesting characters, become stronger by reacquiring your memories and search for your lost mortality.
The game is very text-heavy, but it’s so well done and every aspect of the Planescape universe is so fascinating that it doesn’t weigh it down. Torment has the same top-down viewpoint as games like Bladur’s Gate or Icewind Dale, but it blows those games out of the water as far as immersiveness and characters go. Even minor NPCs are more fully fleshed out than most playable characters in other games.
If you’re into grindy, Diablo-style combat, you might not enjoy this game as much as me, because the focus is not on combat. Despite this, I think they do a decent job with it and the division of combat vs. story is good.
If you like story-based RPGs you should give this game a look. The only problem is that I have no idea where you can get it for a decent price. If you can find it, it’s worth it. Edit: Planescape Torment is now available on GoG.com! Go buy it!
Under a Killing Moon (1994)
This is an adventure game with a film noire atmosphere. You play Tex Murphy, a hard-boiled PI living in a post-apocalyptic future. Under a Killing Moon and its two sequels are the only games I’ve ever seen who manage to pull off the use of Full Motion video.
For me, this was adventure gaming at its best. I think I was maybe 12 when I played this game for the first time. Although I had been playing games like Super Mario Brothers, Wizardry and Sim City for a few years, it was games like Under a Killing Moon that made me fall in love with video games. I can’t say what exactly it was about it that thrilled me the first time I played it, but I’ve now gone back to play it at least 3-4 more times and it’s still doing it. The interface is intuitive, the characters and dialogue are great, the puzzles almost never fall into the adventure game trap of not making any frigging sense.
The look and feel of UaKM is different that any other game I’ve played. Both follow-up games are very good as well, in fact most people would argue that Pandora Directive is much better. I love them all, and they are available quite cheap at gog.com. I’ve still got my fingers crossed (12 years after the last game was released) that I’ll have a new Tex Murphy game to play one day.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (2004)
The game is set in White Wolf’s World of Darkness, and is a very atmospheric RPG. You start the game as a freshly sired vampire and need to navigate through an eternally dark Los Angeles, making friends and enemies, feeding on mortals, fighting foes and surviving vampire politics.
The character development is deep and allows you to shape your character to your liking. Would you rather charm someone into giving you what you need, steal it, or just smash their face in and take it? It’s up to you. You also get access to skills not usually associated with creatures of the night, such as computer hacking, lock-picking and use of firearms. Depending on which clan you belong to, you get different supernatural powers that will aid you in combat or quests.
This is by no means a perfect game, it does have some bugs along with a fair share of clipping isssues, but if you can look past these, it’s a lot of fun. There are also a number of unofficial patches and mods available. Vampire: The Masquerade is available through Steam. Tip: For the most fun game experience, play as a Malkavian.
What are your favorite games? If anyone knows any gems that are older or less well known, I’d love to hear about them.