Great games to play with non-gamers (that isn’t Nintendo).

Gaming is increasingly becoming a more mainstream hobby but there are still those who, for whatever reason, don’t play games. Maybe you want to involve family members in your passion, kill time with a non-gaming friend or introduce a romantic interest into your world. With so many games out there, which are the best for introducing new players to games while being enjoyable for all parties involved?

I am only including multi-platform games here. All of them will also be focused on local play too rather than online.

Star Wars Battlefronts (04/05 versions)

Everybody knows of Star Wars, even if they aren’t a fan. This base knowledge combined with the simple concept of ‘shoot the other guys’ means that SW Battlefront is an easily accessible set of games to start with.

Splitscreen play means that you can play together, either on the same team or as opponents, while the multiple lives that players can have reduces the consequences of death. Even if you’re newby player isn’t great at shooting they can try to capture command points.

There are few opportunities for a player to get frustrated and there’s nothing complicated that needs remembering. Just run forwards guns blazing, get killed, rinse and repeat. Lots of fun for greenhorns and veterans alike.

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Rocket League

You can’t get much simpler a premise than two teams, two goals and a ball. It is what the majority of all sport is based upon. Take the ball and stick it in the other guy’s net. Simples.

Rocket League takes this concept and adds a fun physics to the design so players can spin through the air and drive along walls in their customisation RC cars. Even if you don’t like football or cars it is simple an addictively fun game. Easy to learn but hard to master gameplay fitted into bite-sized five minute matches means there’s never a chance to get bored.

It is also one of the few modern games that still allows splitscreen play in all modes. This ups the fun and is a business practice that we should all be supporting.

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers is an indie game where a single controller controls both central characters. It isn’t exactly designed to be a cooperative game, what with the idea of controlling two characters at once being a core part of the difficulty and problem solving, but it is set up in a way where two people can easily take half a controller each.

This cuts the difficulty but requires communication between each player. The game is rarely hectic and is very story driven so is a nice introduction to the medium if your new player appreciates narrative more than mechanics. It can be completed in one or two sittings and the simple act of two people trying to use the same controller can be a fun experience of itself.

Maybe not a game to play with friends to have a good time but Brothers is ideal for quieter times when you just want to bond.

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Marginalisation in games.

(Note – This is kinda political, although it isn’t. I am noting something that I have observed which is neither good nor bad. I try to present it in as balanced a way as I can, but that doesn’t mean much these days. The issues are complex and subjective.

Also, I might come across as defensive or entitled, but that isn’t my aim. I’ve come to terms with most of this, not through some sense of optimism but rather a looming nihilism.

Feel free to disagree but let’s keep it civil, eh?)

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Marginilisation in games is something that is being discussed more and more within the industry itself and the wider media sphere. Progressivism and diversity are big buzzwords that have been drawing a lot of emotions from both sides of a widening political divide. Is the media spin that gaming is still a straight white male environment hostile to other groups a fair representation though? Continue reading

Bethesda’s Creation Club – Are paid mods the future?

As a struggling writer pumping hours of hard work and passion into my craft, I can certainly understand wanting to get paid for that effort. I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t think that certain game modders release work to a high standard. Many games are near unplayable without mod patches while other games are given a wealth of post release content, often offering a better experience than what the developers managed, that keeps a game’s community thriving for years.

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Yet the topic of paying mod creators never fails to put people on edge. We can all remember the catastrophe that marked Bethesda’s fist attempt at monetising mods. In a rare win for consumers, two giant corporations backed down on making easy money due to how unpopular and flawed the system was. But now Bethesda has cut out Steam and is back for a second attempt. Continue reading

Dark Souls 2 – Is it really a souls game?

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Dark Souls 2 is an interesting game. It was the first ‘main-steam’ Souls game to release after DS1 rose to become a beloved title after its launch. Initially there was a consensus that it was a letdown. Now though the tide has turned and a large section of the fanbase will crucify anyone that criticises the game. I’ve watched Youtube videos that analyse the game with massive dislike bars just for explaining why they felt that it didn’t live up to its reputation while much of that fan hate has turned to Dark Souls 3.

I am a big fan of the original Dark Souls. It easily tops my list of favourite games. As such I was very excited to play the sequel. I didn’t expect it to quite live up to the first because, how could it? DS1 is like lightning in a bottle. The planets aligned and a damn near perfect game was released. The chances of another game living up to that was slim so I tempered my expectation. Hype is a gamer’s worst enemy after all. Continue reading

Nier Automata – Final Thoughts (Updated Review)

Image result for nier automataHaving had a few weeks to mull over Nier Automata since completing it and taking the time to read/watch several reviews, I’d like to layout my final thoughts on the game and offer a closing review that coves the game’s whole scope rather than my first impressions review. Obviously there are spoilers ahead.

I’m not planning to retread old grown. My more general thoughts haven changed so for mechanics and the like you can read though my original review here, and for my feelings after Ending E that cover a major theme of the game then you can check out this.

My original score for Nier Automata was an 8, which in my system is a god score. Too much hyperbole exists within reviews now with many looking at anything less than a 9 as somehow bad. But for me, some of my all time favourite games I would score as low as 7 because to me a score should include mechanics, scope, characters, story and enjoyment. Something that I absolutely loved could be clunky and sparse of content while something I personally hate could be a masterpiece. In my head, an 8 is a great game that I would recommend to everyone. Continue reading

Review – Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City DLC.

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The final ever piece of Dark Souls content has been release for a few weeks now, giving fans plenty of time to fight through the fresh terrors and study the obscure clues to piece together some semblance of lore. But how does this final bit of content compare with the grand legacy that the Dark Souls series has created?

Well, it is certainly more Dark Souls. The enemies, the level designs and everything else feel like they belong with the rest of the game. They got the tone right and produced more great content which is really all that most fans want. We got more weapons, spells and armour to play with and new challenges to overcome. And boy were there some challenges. Continue reading

Nier Automata – The beauty of ending E (Spoilers)

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I recently posted my review of Nier Automata after completing ending A. I have now completed the final main ending (E) and have some thoughts that I need to put to paper. I will be talking about ending E so you have been warned.

In my initial review my biggest issue was with the characters. I felt that they lacked depth. I can safely say that this was resolved as the game progressed, especially in the case of 9S. I got a lot of hours out of the game and fully recommend the game to everyone.

That isn’t what I want to write about today though. I want to write about a moment that made me surprisingly emotional. The game is filled with tragedy but it was the end credits for ending E that really it me in the feels.  Continue reading