Here’s part 2 of my personal gaming awards! You can find part 1 here. This post covers some of the games that really had me hooked for one reason or another. =)
It’s hard to pick from all the games that have given me a laugh over the years, but Psychonauts wins the awards due to its totally off-the-wall humor and overall crazy, colorful world. Taking place at a wacky summer camp for kids with psychic powers, the game is filled with hilarious characters and laugh-out-loud jokes. I love that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and some of the platforming adventures are funny in and of themselves. Psychonauts can be a challenging game at times, but this weird world from Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions is just so much fun to be in.
Game I’ve Replayed the Most:
Mass Effect 2
I almost said Dragon Age: Origins here, because I start a new replay of that game every year on my birthday. However, when it comes to sheer gameplay hours and actually finishing the game, I believe Mass Effect 2 just manages to take the cake.
Some say Mass Effect 2 is the weakest of the three games in the Mass Effect trilogy, because its main storyline consists of about three or four missions while the others are side quests to recruit characters and earn their loyalty. However, that’s exactly why I love this game so much, and why it’s so replayable to me.
Because of all the character-based missions, you fly all over the place to a diverse range of locations, spend time with all kinds of different people (and alien races), and get to know the Normandy crew more than ever. The streamlined combat is a nice change from the clunkiness of the first game, too… Oh, and this is the game where I get to romance Garrus. Combine that with some of the best missions and settings in the Mass Effect series, and you’ll see why I practically have ME2 memorized now.
Favorite Fantasy World:
Few fantasy worlds are as easy to get lost in as that of The Witcher games, based on a series of stories and novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. And I mean the good kind of lost. At first glance, the games have a traditional fantasy feel, with familiar races like elves populating the world — but then you get to some twists.
The world feels a little more Renaissance than medieval, and I love the seamless blend of high city culture, political scheming, and monsters in the wilderness. Even if the twists are not entirely unique, you can tell the writers of this world (mainly Sapkowski, but also the game writers) have put real thought and heart into every detail. There’s tension between elves and humans. There are also mages, which are women. And the main character is a witcher named Geralt, who is mutated from imbibing potions that have given him the ability to hunt monsters like no one else.
Game That Made Me Feel Like the Biggest Badass:
Batman: Arkham City
Because you get to be the Batman. This game is so addicting to me for a number of reasons… like the limited open-world setting of a crime-ridden city at night, the beat-em-up combat system that lets you create stellar combos, and the action-packed story featuring the Joker as the main enemy. But the best part is being Batman. I feel like such a badass when I can soar over the city, beat up bad guys, and use a huge arsenal of gadgets to investigate crimes.
A lot of video games give you some kind of powers or extra strength to make the game (and combat) exciting, but when you’re Batman, all of that is really justified.
Game That Blew My Mind:
I have played this game twice now, because its story is so wild, it takes some time to digest. (Don’t worry, no end-game spoilers here!) You start off being blasted to an idyllic city in the sky that’s steeped in religion and sunshine — but the protagonist Booker is trying to figure out what he’s doing there, while on a mission to rescue a young woman named Elizabeth. That is enough of a mystery… but multiple timelines and different versions of the world make the story even more intriguing.
That’s all I can say about it now. Just play it to the end to experience the mind-blowing finale that makes you see the game’s main characters in a new light.