As a gamer, I’ve grown a lot in the last few years, mainly thanks to all of the writing and reading I’ve done thanks to Entertainment Buddha. I’ve learned to not judge games before I play them, and learned to absorb and process multiple different types of opinions on every game. Take, for example, Overwatch, which until pretty recently, I thought was the lamest, most boring idea for a game. Only a handful of game types, multiplayer only, no split-screen, sounded like a waste of money to me. Of course, eventually when pretty much the entire internet loves something, I have to swallow my pride and try it. I have to say that I was wrong about Overwatch, it’s a fantastic game, I love all of the characters, I love the arcade modes that change every few days, and I love that it’s given me something to obsess over.
The point is, it’s not necessarily that I love playing it, even though I do, it’s the experience of playing with others and laughing and having a great time. Getting to know all of the characters and watching all of the shorts for each of them makes me love them even more, and it’s something I really recommend to everyone. It’s the experiences in gaming that makes them so great and memorable, and while everyone experiences things differently, it can’t be denied that some experiences are just plain necessary. This doesn’t mean that the game is good or bad or action-packed or slow-paced, it just means that as a gamer, at some point, you should just try it and see how it makes you feel. This list, of course, is entirely my opinion, and likely not the opinion of everyone that reads it, but I hope that you see something here that sounds interesting and end up trying it! Or that you can recommend something to me, or us here at Entertainment Buddha!
*Games on this list are from the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, and Wii U, and I’m not including remasters/re-releases of games from previous generations, and are in no specific order, since I want you to experience them all!
10) Monster Hunter 4 or Generations (Nintendo 3DS)
Monster Hunter is a game series that I stumbled upon way back when I had a PSP in 2006. I wasn’t very good at it back then and nobody else I knew had it, so I sorta dismissed it as some random game I had found. When I found out about the hype for MH4 on the 3DS a few years ago, I was surprised, I had no idea that Monster Hunter had become a big thing. I picked it up and was blown away by all of the new equipment, monsters, abilities, areas, items, etc. that it had since the last time I’d played. This was made all the better by having friends in college that actually played it, and hunting monsters together was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had with handheld gaming. Co-operating with each other to constantly try to slow down and trap the monster and whittle away its health is a blast. Getting new supplies to make new armor resembling monsters you’ve defeated is a badass feeling. Constantly getting better equipment to fight stronger monsters is a satisfying progression system, too. If you and your buddies have 3DS’s and haven’t played a Monster Hunter game yet, now is the time before Monster Hunter World comes out next yet. I promise, you won’t have a more fun, exciting co-op experience with handheld gaming, and you’ll be saying “one more hunt” over and over again!
9) Super Smash Bros. 4 (Wii U)
I would also include the 3DS version of the game, but let’s be real, the one that everyone cares about is the Wii U version. Smash Bros. has always been about crowding around the TV and beating the shit out of your friends, and Smash 4 is the best way to do that. Now yes, I know, there are those that are hardcore about Melee and say it’s the best and Fox only/no items/ Final Destination, and so on and so forth. Good on ya, mate, carry on with that.
There’s something to be said about a game that is so accessible to everyone, only comes out once every 6-7 years, and makes basically everyone hyped. Everyone’s got their favorite character, their favorite map, and you could sit around with a group of people and play over and over for hours. Changing the rules here and there or switching it up with 8-player smash, which, by the way, is one of the most batshit things in any Smash game ever. Although it doesn’t have the lengthy campaign that the previous game had, it’s still a great game to experience! Grab a group of friends and start kicking the shit out of each other, and make sure the carpet is nice and soft for when controllers start flying.
8) Inside (PS4, Xbox One)
Inside is a weird game, man, but it is just so damn good. It’s a good example of having puzzles that are just perfectly difficult and creative enough to make you think and be satisfied when you complete each one. Of course, the puzzles really aren’t what I remember about Inside, it’s the strange, haunting, and unique as hell story. None of it is really told to you, you sort of see it unfold, and some things are just implied, and you could likely just google whatever you were confused on. That’s something that I kind of like about the game though, because I’m so invested in the game that I want to go out of my way to learn more about what goes over my head. The visuals are such a great mix of somber, scary, and beautiful all at the same time, and the game is just a joy to sit down and play. Drawing your own conclusion and then hearing what other people thought about it is great and an example of what I mentioned earlier. Absorbing other opinions and discussing the story is a blast and great geeky dinner conversation.
7) Bloodborne or Dark Souls III (PS4)
It was a tough choice between Bloodborne and Dark Souls III, since they’re quite similar, and one is console exclusive. I would say, if you have a PS4, make it Bloodborne, and if you have an Xbox One or PC, then obviously Dark Souls III. These games have such good, refined gameplay and game mechanics, not so mention insanely immersive game worlds and lore. The music that pretty much is reserved for boss fights is fantastic at setting to mood. Enemies aren’t scary because of how they look, but because everything could kill you with ease, and ruin your only chance of leveling up or buying anything.
The lore isn’t hidden, per se, but it isn’t fed to you directly, it’s peppered throughout the game in item descriptions, enemy designs, and dialogue. Even the difficulty comes down to trial and error for the most part, learning enemy attack patterns, weaknesses, etc. People may say that these kinds of games are “too hard” or “unfair”, but in all honesty, they are anything but that. The fact that people have beaten these games with no weapons, or blind, or with a Guitar Hero controller goes to show that you just gotta keep trying. Speedruns for these games are like watching Olympic ice skaters or gymnasts, it’s truly a marvel to witness. I know that the difficulty of the games are intimidating, but please don’t let it stop you from playing either of these games if you’re capable. The first time through is just as great of an experience as the second, third, fourth, and so on!
6) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
This game needs no introduction, seriously, if you haven’t heard of this game, you’ve been living under a damn rock. It’s considered one of the greatest RPGs ever made by pretty much anyone that’s ever played it. Immersive story, characters, gameplay, music, and even the expansions, it’s no wonder that pretty much everyone likes it. The game’s length is subjective, you could just go right through the main story, which would still take you a long-ass time. Playing the game with all of the side-quests and hunts and everything will take you multiple hundreds of hours. I think that’s the best way to experience the game, honestly, and why I put it on the list, because you could just keep playing this game, doing everything there is to do. It’s one of the most immersive experiences that I can think of in gaming today, and even if you haven’t played the other games in the series, it really doesn’t matter. Do yourself a favor and at least try this game today, I only wish I had this back in high school when I really had the free time to devote to it!
P.S. It was between this, and Breath of the Wild, but this is more widely available, and frankly has more content, it’s nothing personal, this is just a better fit on this list.
5) Just Cause 3 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Just Cause 3 will never win any awards for storytelling, that, I can promise you. The only character that really has any redeeming qualities is Rico Rodriguez himself as the main character, and that’s only because of his sexy voice, one liners, and impeccable ass muscles. What makes Just Cause 3 a fantastic experience is the level of destruction that you can cause to enemy bases. You’ve got rocket launchers, air strikes, fighter jets, attack helicopters, sticky bombs, remote-controlled explosives, and so, SO much more. Honestly, the fun in the game hardly even comes from the main story missions, it just comes from blowing up bases. You unlock more weapons and vehicles the more bases that you blow up, so you’ve constantly got reason to keep going! The DLC for the game makes it even better because it turns your wing suit into a machine gun and rocket-equipped jetpack. The second DLC gives you access to giant mechs that can jump, emit EMP blast, throw objects with telekineses, and basically just blow shit up. I think everyone should get out their destructive tendencies somehow, and Just Cause 3 is one of the best ways to do it.
4) Mario Kart 8 (Wii U, Nintendo Switch)
Mario Kart, much like Smash Bros. is a Nintendo staple, and brings people together in ways normally not possible. I wish that I had a Mario Party game to put on this list, but there hasn’t really been a good one in a long time. Mario Kart 8 is best experienced on the Switch, if we’re being honest, but regardless of which version you play, you’re likely going to have a pretty similar experience. Again, it’s best played with friends, and it’s even more easy to get into than Smash, with less skill required. Of course, it might be even more frustrating, since a lot of things, like the items that you get can just be lucky grabs. Could be unlucky though, if you’re in first and someone gets a certain blue item (oh, god, the flashbacks).
Mario Kart will probably go down in history as one of the most important videogame series in terms of local multiplayer. There’s a good chance that anyone who’s ever played a videogame has played Mario Kart as some point, it’s so damn popular! So many long nights have climaxed on Rainbow Road with tears, laughs, smiles, and screams. Play Mario Kart 8, you need to, everyone needs to, just do it.
3) Pokemon Sun and Moon (Nintendo 3DS)
Let’s be real here, everyone should play Pokemon at some point in their life, there is a reason that it’s lasted as long as it has. I only say Sun and Moon because it’s the latest entry in the series, and yes, there have been others on the 3DS, but Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are re-makes, and X and Y aren’t quite as good as these. Set in the Alola region, based on real-life Hawaii, and it’s a lovely departure from the past games, which had very same-y settings. There’s tons of cool new Pokemon, gameplay mechanics, and things to do outside of the main story. Learning strengths and weaknesses of different types, building a team that’s perfect for you, and really getting into strategies. The first time that you get to play through a Pokemon game is a magical experience, trying again and again to capture that legendary, beat that gym leader, or make it through the Elite Four, it’s amazing! Being able to take it anywhere you go is nice too, playing it on breaks at work, between classes, or just while you get your morning coffee! If you haven’t yet, try Pokemon Sun and Moon, or just any of them in general, it’s well worth your time.
2) NieR: Automata (PS4)
NieR: Automata just kind of came out of nowhere, for the most part. I say that, because even though it’s not the first game in the series, how many people do you know played NieR versus Automata? I had forgotten that it was even a game series until this one came out, and frankly, from what I can tell, that doesn’t matter. NieR: Automata is a weird game, I won’t lie, and I can see how people would dismiss it by just looking at it. You play as an android dressed like a French maid who wields giant swords and lances, and fights weird, round little robots that essentially made humanity go extinct.
Plot synopsis aside, the gameplay is smooth as butter, and combat feels fantastic, no matter what gameplay type you’re experiencing. There’s hack n slash combat, AfterBurner fight-jet combat, shoot em up sections, and side-scrolling platforming sections, and they’re all great. The story, in a broad sense, is a bit strange, but it’s got tons of twists and turns, and the character development and writing in this game is beautiful. All of the main characters get their turn in the spotlight at different points and it really just works. There’s serious emotional depth to be experienced, and one’s own morality to be questioned, it’s the videogame equivalent of a shakespearean tragedy. Don’t let the maid outfit deter you, seriously, just dive in head-first and try it.
1) Overwatch (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
I have to confess that until I tried Overwatch for the first time, I already assumed I wouldn’t like it. I don’t really love first-person shooters anymore, they’re redundant and boring to me. There are just too many great single-player games out there for me to waste my time playing match after match in Battlefield or Call of Duty. I never saw more than a handful of different maps in videos or anything, and the art just seemed so meh to me, I didn’t like it.
I finally made the attempt to play it, though, not too long ago, and I finally get what everyone is talking about. Pretty much every single character is a blast to at least try to play as, making modes like Mystery Heroes a blast to play. Every character has a unique backstory, and the cinematics that blizzard released for most of the characters are awesome. It’s nice to have some personality and tidbits of info behind your favorite hero, and “The Last Bastion” is something that I would love to see turned into a motion picture. I love thinking up new strategies for each character on each map in each mode, finding new and better ways to secure or defend objectives, and so on. Not to mention, the community is so freakin HUGE for this game, seriously, just walk down the street, I guarantee that you’ll bump into more than one Overwatch fan.
I might be making a pretty damning statement here, but I think that Overwatch might just be the greatest online multiplayer experience ever. With a statement like that, you must understand why it’s an experience that you MUST at least ATTEMPT to have. Don’t do what I didn’t, by writing the game off before you even try it, because you might just be surprised by how much you like it. Unlocking that skin you really want, getting the play of the game, getting your card upvoted, and teaming up with your buddies is all just so much fun. Play Overwatch. Just, please try it, and if you hate it, you can tell me how stupid I am, if you haven’t already at this point.
And that’s my list, like I said, I hope that at least one of you reads this, and sees something you haven’t played yet, and falls in love with a new game or series! Let me know what your list is or if your list is the same as mine and don’t forget to keep checking back here at Entertainment Buddha for all of your gaming news, reviews, and Top 10’s, like this one!
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