Reliving my single days through a weekend of binge gaming
February 23, 2016 8:46 AM   Subscribe

My husband and kid are taking off for a weekend and for the first time in over 6 years I have a weekend to myself. The plan is to binge play a game while they are away in a hedonistic reliving my old WoW days. I am looking for a game that I can play either on my PS3 or WiiU that is an RPG. Basically, my googling has resulted in too many options and I am having a lot of trouble narrowing it down. Specifics of what I am looking for within.

What I'm looking for:
- fantasy RPG (I'd prefer to attack beasties, not other humans whose only mistake was existing)
- Solid main story/quest that is really immersive. For example, back when I played WoW I would get so into the game that I would totally lose track of time and would overlook my base human needs (eating, drinking, peeing).
- a clear "I HAVE BEATEN THE GAME" endpoint.
- not too scary (I'm a wussy, so no horror stuff. Zombies are DEFINITELY OUT.)
- Super fun, but not stupid easy. I'd prefer it to be at least somewhat challenging.
- Must be on the PS3 or WiiU. I am not open to PC games.
- EASILY OBTAINED. Nothing super rare or super expensive. I only have 2 weeks to get this game in hand, and I will likely have to order it online from
- works as a stand alone (ie. Will the story be lost on me if I have no knowledge of the games that preceded it?)
- single player

Would be nice:
- I get to save the world
- customizable character (character classes, appearance, etc)
- different results based upon the choices I made, character I develop, etc.
- I'd prefer it if it didn't have a ton of cursing in case my kid wants to play it later on.

Games I'm currently considering:
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Diablo 3
- Kingdom Hearts 2
- Final Fantasy 14

Past games I loved:
- Myst/Riven
- World of Warcraft
- Minecraft
- daBlob2
- NiNoKuni: Wrath of the White Witch
posted by PuppetMcSockerson to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (27 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
posted by sparklemotion at 8:57 AM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2, and Dragon Age: Inquisition are right up your alley! The later games follow on events from earlier games but can be enjoyed on their own. Origins is the most world-savey and choice-heavy and also has a great expansion called Awakenings.
posted by ejs at 8:58 AM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: dragon age dragon age dragon age do it do the thing do it

DA2 could be finished in a weekend if you don't care too much about eating or sleeping. Inquisition is a much bigger time investment. DA:O is doable if you cheat a little with the wiki for certain area maps.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

Skyrim.... always. Happy gaming!
posted by lunastellasol at 9:06 AM on February 23, 2016

Best answer: Yeah, I think you've answered your own question: Dragon Age: Origins. Character customization, world-saving, interesting characters,'s all there. FWIW, I'm a pretty thorough player and my first playthrough of DAO took ~40 hours, and there were days where that's ALL I did from the time my kid went to school until he got home...and then I'd wait until everyone was in bed and go back for more. IIRC I think I spent about the same amount of time on DA2, but Inquisition clocked in at something like 100+ hours.


(As for Skyrim -- it's great, I'm actually playing it at the moment, but it's really, really sandboxy and maybe not quite as story-driven as the Dragon Age games. I mean, there's a story there, and you can save the world, but there's also a metric ton of other crap to run around and do, so it's very easy to get distracted.)
posted by Janta at 9:09 AM on February 23, 2016

Just as a leavening voice: The PS3 port of Dragon Age: Origins is a pretty bad one. Graphics are not great, framerate is not great, and there are some serious load times.

The Skyrim port is somewhat better (after they patched it) but the main quest isn't that hot and there isn't as much of a "big ending". It's more a game if you want to explore the world. I definitely lost a LOT more time to Skyrim (160 hours across PS3 and PC) but it's more my kind of game.

If you change your mind on fantasy vs other, I feel like the actual answer to this question is Mass Effect 2. Although that may be a bit shootier than you'd like.

My favorite PS3 RPG is Dragon's Dogma, but that doesn't feature a main quest that's all that compelling. The combat is SO GOOD, though.


fantasy RPG (I'd prefer to attack beasties, not other humans whose only mistake was existing

Both Dragon Age and Skyrim feature lots of fighting actual people, despite being fantasy games.
posted by selfnoise at 9:14 AM on February 23, 2016

Response by poster: Re. Skyrim - I had considered Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Skyrim but I was worried they were too open ended and, like Janta suggested, not as story driven. I want a game where the story and main quest are the focus of the game, not an afterthought.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:17 AM on February 23, 2016

Best answer: Yeah, Dragon Age: Origins has a way better story than Skyrim. Skyrim is fun because of the giant open endedness, but if that's not what you're looking for then go DAO.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:20 AM on February 23, 2016

I was going to say Skyrim too, because it's the best game ever! IMHO But there's no end game point. I'd go for Dragon Age.
posted by patheral at 9:21 AM on February 23, 2016

Oh hey, here's an unusual suggestion for you: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It runs great on PS3. It's a little easy (I recommend playing on hard mode) but the combat is surprisingly compelling. Straightforward plot that I thought was quite decent. You can get really bogged down with the side quests so I'd recommend skipping most of them.

(I'm trying desperately to find you an alternative to DA:O. I respect that so many people dug it but man did I ever not enjoy that game. Also in terms of your wussitude it has buckets of blood. So much blood.)
posted by selfnoise at 9:25 AM on February 23, 2016

Response by poster: Also in terms of your wussitude it has buckets of blood. So much blood

Surprisingly, I'm fine with blood. Its the survival, tense, "must stay alive" thing I don't like. They make me way too anxious and frankly eff me up. Its the jump scares and the holy terror of things that used to be humans but are now corrupted and evil and scary looking and OMG THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL MEEEEEEEE. Beasts? Sure. No prob. Zombies? No. No no no no no. No. No no. No thank you.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:29 AM on February 23, 2016

Best answer: Skyrim is probably not what you want if you want a story-heavy game. The plot and characters are not particularly memorable, but if you want something about exploring an immersive fantasy world it's your ticket-- it's probably the closest to a single-player MMO in feel.

If you want lovable characters, epic plot, fantasy etc you DEFINITELY want a Dragon Age game. They're all pretty stand-alone, and different in a lot of ways; Origins is your more typical save-the-world RPG, 2 is a smaller, more original story that suffers a bit in execution but has great characters, and Inquisition (my personal fav, though I'd still recommend Origins first) is a bit less linear with a huge (mostly) open world combined with good characters and story. It does, however, clock it at 70+ hours. I think my playthrough ended up being more than 100. And I didn't even see everything. Unfortunately, the epilogue DLC for Inquisition is not available on PS3.

I'll also second Mass Effect 2 if you're open to sci-fi! One of the best RPGs ever.
posted by sonmi at 9:29 AM on February 23, 2016

Dragon Age has darkspawn which are basically zombies. You fight an epic ton of them. I'd Google them to see if it would be a turnoff.
posted by selfnoise at 9:32 AM on February 23, 2016

Oh and Skyrim has Draugr which I honestly thought were freakier.
posted by selfnoise at 9:36 AM on February 23, 2016

If the darkspawn are not too zombie like for you, I agree that Dragon Age: Origins is probably what you want. Another option to consider though is Kingdoms of Amalur. My wife is really into these games and I think that Amalur was her favourite after Fable III (which is XBOX only, unfortunately).

Personally, I always recommend Skyrim in these situations but, in addition to the things other people have brought up, it's basically zombies and skeletons all the time.
posted by 256 at 9:38 AM on February 23, 2016

Best answer: Dragon Age and its sequels are the best games of all time. ALL TIME. Seriously. I prefer Dragon Age 2, but I think I'm maybe a little in the minority in that? Anyway, they're all great choices. I can't really go back to games where the story DOESN'T change based on your choices after playing these. And customizing your character really makes it feel more personal, like it's actually YOU playing and not some random character. I find that the romance plotlines really add a lot to the story too, so if you have a particular romantic preference, like you want your character to be a guy who's interested in guys, maybe do a tiny bit of googling to see who your romance options are, because not all characters can romance all characters and it's sometimes a little hard to figure out in-game. (I mainly had this problem in DA: Inquisition, in the other two it's a little easier to figure out.)
posted by MsMolly at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dragon Age Origins is the best. It is not so scary because you have a party of people and they are more alert than I am. Plus the bad guys usually show up as red dots on the mini map so it's not so startling except sometimes there are spiders dropping from the ceiling. There's a setting (called persistent gore) to turn off the crazy amounts of blood in the actual game but not in the cut scenes.

I played about 75 hours of Skyrim before I decided mid-quest I just couldn't handle another cave with creepy music and skeletons that would wake up suddenly so I just quit and never went back to it.
posted by carolr at 9:54 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, Skyrim is the obvious answer. Or even Oblivion. The Dragon Age games are also great, especially if you want (a lot) more character development.
posted by catatethebird at 10:07 AM on February 23, 2016

Love your idea. Can you just play Wow for the weekend? You can beat Diablo 3 in a weekend, no problem. I was super disappointed by D3 as a game. If I ever had a weekend to spend in this fashion, I would just go back to the one true love/time whole if Wow even though it has no endpoint of any kind ever.
posted by Kalmya at 10:21 AM on February 23, 2016

Best answer: Dragon Age forever. It is literally the best game series on the market right now. And you can pick it up pretty easily.
posted by corb at 10:38 AM on February 23, 2016

I definitely have heard that the Dragon Age Origins port to the PS3 isn't fantastic, but the game is awesome. Dragon Age II can stand on its own to an extent but I think both later games are more powerful/interesting when you have background on the world and the relationships between all the factions.
posted by clarinet at 10:44 AM on February 23, 2016

Response by poster: Can you just play Wow for the weekend?

I would, but I seriously developed a problem when I was playing WoW. I was playing way too much, ignoring not only my bodily needs but my various real world obligations and responsibilities. It was addition level stuff, I'm not kidding. So, yeah, no. Can't go down that road again. That is why I need a game with a set end point...

Well, I think people have me convinced to go with Dragon Age. Thanks so much everyone!!

And to those of you who said you're jealous.... yes, my plan for my by-myself time is pretty god damned awesome and I am so pumped. I have basically stopped gaming ever since I met my husband (aside from Minecraft and LEGO games with the kid) and I frankly miss it. A lot. When all this "Boys going away for the weekend" plan came out at first I was all "But... but.... I'll be alone!" but then I was like "wait a minute... I can crack out on a videogame...." and now I'm like "Dude, stay as loooooong as you waaaaaaaaaaaaaant. Have all the away boy weekends your hearts desire! WOO!". I actually may full on take a vacation day from work to truly max out on it. My husband (who is not even slightly a gamer and doesn't get the appeal) is more than a little disturbed at the enthusiasm I am displaying at my binge-videogame-playing-weekend plan, but I'm like "Whatev, n00b... I'm gonna LEEEEEROOOOOOY JENKINS this bitch!!!!!!"
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:48 AM on February 23, 2016 [14 favorites]

For what it's worth, I have also recently gotten back into PS3 gaming, and I've been picking up used copies of the games I missed over the years for $15 or less. I just got Dishonored for $1.99 (!) this weekend. Your local GameStop will have multiple copies of just about everything.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:56 AM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed Sacred 3
posted by lunastellasol at 10:58 AM on February 23, 2016

In totally different direction, I'd look at one of the Tales series. Lots of story - with actual endings, lots of beasties, no horror. Hubby and I have made some good weekend binge gaming on these.

I personally like Tales of Symphonia (was a PS2 but pretty sure there is a port) and Tales of Graces F. Vesperia was also good. Xillia and Zesteria were good, but not as enjoyable for me.

Happy gaming!
posted by MandaSayGrr at 11:48 AM on February 23, 2016

DA:Origins has programmable party behaviour and a very clear endpoint plus an actual story. I think it took me about 35 hours.

Diablo 3 has a very casual multiplayer format I actually like but you can play it solo. Not actually much of a story but it does have one. Does have an ending, I've only made it to act 4 but I think it's about 25 hours.

It's not fantasy but I have to punt for Mass Effect. If you play the adept it's almost like being a mage.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:44 PM on February 23, 2016

You may or may not enjoy Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. However, it is extremely long and sometimes frustrating, so it might not be the best fit for this situation. But in general it seems like it might be up your alley for other situations.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 1:32 AM on February 24, 2016

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