Which video game classics did I miss the last three years?
November 20, 2009 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I intend to make this weekend a gaming weekend. I haven't played video games in a long time. At least not as seriously as I used to. Do you have any suggestions?

I have a brand new iMac and an Xbox 360. I do not have a copy of Windows on my Mac yet but could theoretically use Boot Camp to install Windows XP on a partition of the hard drive. So don't feel limited to Mac only games svp.

In the past my favorite games have been Baldurs Gate II, Arcanum, Battlefield 1942, Deus Ex and Tony Hawk II.

I was addicted to World of a Warcraft for a while. I like stories and character progression. I like games with original themes (e.g. Psychonauts).

It seems like the only games I've played the last year or two years have been: Grand Theft Auto IV, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Skate, Soul Calibur IV. All on the Xbox. All of them very casually, although I did end up finishing all except Bioshock (which was good, but not relaxing, with all the dark rooms and scary things).

I am downloading the free 2 week trial of Eve Online right now, but I'd rather not get crazy about an MMORPG anymore. While my time in the World of Warcraft was wonderful, the whole game remains a slot machine with a nice interface.

No racing and sports please with the exception of snowboard/skateboard.

Who has suggestions for me?
posted by wolfr to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (40 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Dragon Age: Origins. If you like storyline-based games, you'll love this one! It's for Windows, so you'll need a partition, but it's worth it.
posted by biochemist at 11:06 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

im seconding dragon age origins. i actually had to spoiler myself for the ending so that i'd actually get into work with some SLEEP instead of staying up all night playing it all the time. seriously and crazily addictive.
posted by raw sugar at 11:14 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

What about Fable II? It has a story and character progression, a solid visual feel, and can be played in a surprisingly short amount of time. It came out last October so you probably missed it.
posted by Mizu at 11:19 AM on November 20, 2009

Dragon age! And left for dead 2, if theres the possibility of co-op. Its oh so good. Ummm, not relaxing tho, more of one long scream of "help meeeeeeeee"
posted by stillnocturnal at 11:21 AM on November 20, 2009

I also came here to recommend Fable 2, but Mizu beat me to it.

I will say though, that although it "can be played in a surprisingly short amount of time", there are a TON of sidequests that can easily keep you busy for days and days and days. So it can be played for a surprisingly long amount of time.
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:22 AM on November 20, 2009

Seconding Dragon Age (the 360 port is servicable, but the PC version is far superior) as well as Mass Effect. If you stick to the extremely well-designed plot missions (and skip a lot of the filler sidequests) you can easily beat it in a weekend.
posted by Oktober at 11:23 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're an Xbox Live Gold Member you can download Episode 1 of Fable 2 for free, to see if you like it before you buy. I tried it, and discovered I didn't like it very much. Close call, because I loved Fable 1 and would almost certainly have bought Fable 2 otherwise.
posted by joelhunt at 11:38 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Dragon Age will eat up your life for a while, but it's a fantastic game (definitely recommend PC version). More than a few folks out in the ether are calling it the spiritual successor of Baldur's Gate 2, for what that's worth. I uh..I'll admit that I never got very far in BG2, despite adoring Planescape Torment, which was based on the same engine, and Neverwinter Nights, but Dragon Age had me hooked from the get-go. Really can't recommend the game enough.
posted by ashirys at 11:38 AM on November 20, 2009

Oktober, did you actually beat Dragon Age in a weekend? I've been playing the main storyline for ~45 hours, and am only 20% of the way through the game. I wouldn't consider anything I've seen "filler", either.
posted by ellF at 11:38 AM on November 20, 2009

Dragon Age is really good. I'm like 30 hours in and am only maybe 3/5ths through the main plot.

For more a pick-up-and-play option, try Borderlands. It's a shooter with rpg elements, very addictive, and very easy to pick up and play. Setting is vaguely Fallout 3 meets Firefly. Surprise hit of the season.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:39 AM on November 20, 2009

ellF, I meant that about Mass Effect. The uniquely designed story mission planets were great, but a lot of the side missions were just the same planet with the same boxy installation cut and paste over and over. Do the plot missions, get the Bring Down the Sky DLC, do the moon quest and then hit the endgame. You've got a great, 12 hour RPG right there.

I've got DA:O on the backburner right now, I've got so many games to play.
posted by Oktober at 11:57 AM on November 20, 2009

Seconding Borderlands. Definitely has a great, unique 'vibe' to it. Would also recommend DA:O (I only have experience with the 360 version). Good stuff.

If you havent played Mass Effect, play it. If you dig it, ME2 is coming early next year, IIRC.
posted by SeanMac at 11:58 AM on November 20, 2009

Just finished Dragon Age on PS3 a few nights ago. It was quite good, and the script and voice acting were especially well done, but I didn't think it was as amazing as some of the other commenters. The PC version is supposed to be better than the console versions, though, so go for it.

However, if you haven't played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion yet, that game should be the beginning and end of this post. It is unbelievably good and sucked up over 200 hours without any dragging or tedium. (The only reason I stopped playing was that I got enough equipment to become completely invisible, and the challenge sort of disappeared at that point, although I could have easily unequipped something.) As an added bonus, all of the expansion content comes bundled in a relatively cheap Game of the Year Edition.
posted by jalexc at 12:00 PM on November 20, 2009

Oh, and having finally started playing Fallout 3 after reading over and over that it's "Oblivion with guns," I'll note that they are similar, although Oblivion is obviously prettier and more appealing to people who prefer fantasyscapes over post-apocalyptic wastelands.
posted by jalexc at 12:03 PM on November 20, 2009

Civilization IV: Colonization...
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:07 PM on November 20, 2009

Borderlands Borderlands Borderlands!

Hit me up if you have Xbox Live. s/n there is craven1morhead.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:07 PM on November 20, 2009

Borderlands is great fun, a bit of Diablo mixed in with a relatively standard FPS, wrapped in a gorgeous cel-shaded graphics engine. I've put way more hours into it than I care to admit.
posted by Oktober at 12:10 PM on November 20, 2009

Brütal Legend is out now, from the same team that did Psychonauts. If you're a crazed Psychonauts fan like me, you'll play the 360 demo and instantly fall in love.

I'll second Mass Effect, which has the additional benefit of being available for download instantly from the 360 store (saving you a trip out to Best Buy---gotta make the most of your gaming weekend minutes!).
posted by aparrish at 12:12 PM on November 20, 2009

Plants vs. Zombies (PC)
Batman: Arkham Asylum (360)
Portal (PC)
Torchlight (PC)
Battlefield 1943 (PC or 360)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (PC or 360)
Dragon Age for sure, and Oblivion for sure!
posted by mattholomew at 12:13 PM on November 20, 2009

World of Goo is one of those games that is everything I like but nothing I've ever seen.
posted by eafarris at 12:17 PM on November 20, 2009

this list is heavy on Valve:
Left 4 Dead 1&2
Team Fortress 2 (best on pc)
posted by chalbe at 12:18 PM on November 20, 2009

ditto Dragon Age & Mass Effect.

Fable II is very well made but it's pretty easy to max out your attributes/equipment pretty far before the endgame and then it just becomes a slog without the upgrading carrot to push you along.

I had a horribly difficult time with Borderlands until I realized that you should play with the best guns you find and not the ones your class is supposed to specialize in. That made a huge difference in my experience of the game. Which is excellent if you're looking for a grindy diablo-type thing.
posted by juv3nal at 12:30 PM on November 20, 2009

In the shareware world, all of the following are worth at least a tryout:
Geneforge 4 & 5
Kill Monty
Neon Tango
Plants vs. Zombies
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:33 PM on November 20, 2009

If you want a Call of Duty, get MW2. But definitely get it for the XBOX! They're using console style matchmaking (complete with player-hosted games) on the PC version, which is just a terrible idea.
posted by Truthiness at 12:35 PM on November 20, 2009

the orange box. particularly portal, but the whole of the orange box is full of fun.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:42 PM on November 20, 2009

borderlands is still functionally broken. multiple character abilities are not working as intended, the gear stat info isn't displaying all of the attributes of your cool gear, multiple players are still reporting serious issues when playing online (up to and including the removal of all skill points & equipment permanently), and multiple quests are bugged to the point of inoperability. for starters.

hit the gearbox forums to watch the devs ignore us and refuse to discuss when patches for these gratuitous failures will be shipped. but hey, a sequel is a no brainer and there's DLC on the way! also, more than a couple easter eggs are in the game for curious adventurers!

somehow easter eggs made it into the game when basic functionality is still broken to the point that it's astounding the game passed the playtest stage.

i really, really, really wanted to like borderlands. i looked forward to it for literally years. i cannot in good conscience recommend it to anyone in its current state, though.
posted by radiosilents at 12:49 PM on November 20, 2009

Mind you, radiosilents is probably playing Borderlands on the PC. The vast majority of these issues have been fixed on the console versions. The 360 version is in fine shape (I'm on my second playthrough).
posted by Oktober at 1:15 PM on November 20, 2009

I've been playing on PS3 and single player only so have not been afflicted by the vast majority of the things radiosilents mentions. I'm not positive but I think all the gun stats not showing properly is still an issue though.
posted by juv3nal at 1:17 PM on November 20, 2009

Yeah, later in the game you'll find guns/mods that seem to sell for exorbitant prices, it's likely because the fifth line of the description is cut off.
posted by Oktober at 1:24 PM on November 20, 2009

Oh, and PS, none of the "scavenger hunt" quests are really bugged, there's just always one piece that's very, very hard to find.
posted by Oktober at 1:25 PM on November 20, 2009

Yeah, the scavenger hunt quests suck, but not b/c they're buggy, it's just b/c the objective marker doesn't point you to each individual piece of the puzzle. I play the 360 version. The gun detail thing is a little annoying, but nothing more. I've heard a few reports of people losing character stats when playing online, but it sounds like the problem is rare, and will be fixed in the patch.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:29 PM on November 20, 2009

Actually, the PC version of Borderlands was patched a few days ago to fix the item detail limit and fix a few other issues. They still haven't resolved all the multiplayer connection issues, though, which is a shame: the game really shines in co-op -- which is a good reason to play it on the 360 at the moment, I suppose. It's got a lot of character and terrific art direction but is a little lacking in story.
posted by cjelli at 2:09 PM on November 20, 2009

Best answer: If you liked BF 1942, go pick up a copy of Battlefield 2142 cheap. It's still going strong. Also putting another nod in for Dragon Age, and for Left 4 Dead/L4D2, but that's better experienced if you have friends available to do the co-op.
posted by barc0001 at 2:09 PM on November 20, 2009

Just played through Modern Warfare 2 on 360. It is as short as the reviews say (campaign took me ~9hrs on normal, going slow) but it left me with the distinct feeling that I'd just played through an epic action movie, not a video game. Incredible if you like that sort of thing (and if you do, and haven't already played it, obviously MW 1 also, even first, as the story line in 2 will make more sense.)

Torchlight is supposed to be good, if you were/are a diablo fan.
posted by baserunner73 at 2:53 PM on November 20, 2009

wolfr, I am currently pretty active in Eve at the moment, although I am by no means a veteran player, nor do I have friends or external resources to draw on. However I have a host of knowledge I've come to over the past 4 months, much of which I feel could be pretty helpful to a new player. If you know other people who have been playing, just talk to them of course, but if you don't and you find yourself intrigued by the game and interested in subscribing, MeMail me about it.

Of course Eve is not the best candidate for an isolated weekend of gaming. For that, my suggestion is Morrowind, for the PC. They should have a cheap copy somewhere than includes both expansions. It was the predecessor of Oblivion, and imo what everybody should play first :) And absolutely perfect for a couple awesome days of gaming, esp. for the exalted BGII fan.
posted by flavor at 3:15 PM on November 20, 2009

Trials HD, for XBLA. You can download it and know pretty quickly if it's your kind of thing. If it is, there's a good chance you'll become obsessed.

If you like skate, there's a skate 2. I prefer the first one, though.
posted by box at 9:46 AM on November 21, 2009

I came here to tell you Dragon Age and Mass Effect and Brutal Legend, but I have been beaten to it! ah, well. Enjoy your weekend!
posted by oblique red at 3:23 PM on November 24, 2009

radiosilents is playing on the 360. as someone who sits on the couch while he plays, i can attest to these issues not being fixed. he'll try to give it another chance, play for an hour or so, and have to shut it off in frustration because a door didn't open, or he got stuck on a rock, or the bad guy didn't show up where he was supposed to.

the gun stats not displaying problem is really unforgivable. how did it even ship with that being the case?
posted by nadawi at 2:49 PM on November 25, 2009

just checked the GBX forum again : still no fixes for the PILES of issues in borderlands on consoles.

in a nutshell (and feel free to memail me if you'd like a full breakdown) :
the gear is not displaying all of the intended text, so you don't get to see the full list of abilities and attributes
multiple mission triggers are broken
multiple character abilities are not functioning as intended

yet somehow they found time for EASTER EGGS, DLC, and to announce that a sequel is "a no-brainer". THANKS, GEARBOX.
posted by radiosilents at 2:53 PM on November 25, 2009

Response by poster: For anyone checking up on this older thread (it's been a month):

* I had tons of fun with Dragon Age.
* Did not like Borderlands, too generic - Diablo style kiling.
* I beat Call of Duty Modern Warfare II and played some co-op with my roommate, pretty fun.

Should check out Mass Effect.
posted by wolfr at 2:15 PM on December 29, 2009

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