What makes a great game? Is it length of story? Is it replayability? I think the key to a really great game is one that keeps sucking you back in even if you’ve played the thing to death. So here’s a list of Xbox games that just won’t quit…
Uninstalled more times than any other game on my Xbox, this is one of those games I always say “NEVER AGAIN” and swear I’ll never buy another DLC or story update. Until one becomes available and then it’s all aboard the hype train. CHOO-CHOO.
It’s the mix of sci-fi and fantasy that keeps me coming back for more and with the announcement of Shadowkeep in September, I’ve dutifully re-installed the whole game and started the grind all over again, voracious in my appetite for more powerful gear, and getting nothing but rocket launchers from RNGesus.
I don’t care though, I’ll merrily sink hours into strikes, PVP in the Crucible, heroic missions and every activity thrown my way. Then, after a couple of weeks of frantic grinding, it goes back to the bottom of the pile, but maybe this time I won’t completely delete it.
One thing that is very exciting is the much talked about divorce between Bungie and Activision and what it could mean for the franchise now that Bungie have struck out on their own course without anyone standing over them demanding DLC to make cash. The DLC up to Forsaken was sub-par at best; the maps were too small, the story too thin on the ground. Forsaken showed what they could do given the opportunity and I’m really hoping that Shadowkeep sucks me back in the way only Destiny 2 can.
I’m not sure what it is about Borderlands 2 – I mean, I know the dialogue off by heart, I’ve collected most of the guns, beaten the bosses and have most of the playable characters reaching towards the level 50 mark. I can’t put my finger on it.
Yes I can.
The characters, both playable and NPC, are endearing not only in the humour they bring but in their depth too. Listen closely to the dialogue of teenage explosives nuisance Tiny Tina, and in between the comedy missives you’ll hear genuinely heartbreaking discussions about the deaths of her family. Maybe I’m an old softy though and that’s why I find it so endearing.
You can get the full Handsome Collection on Xbox Game Pass at the moment and with all the the content coming thick and fast with multiple DLCs which could be games in their own right, and with Commander Lilith and The Fight For Sanctuary DLC which is a segue from Borderlands 2 into Borderlands 3 (and is also FREE to those who own The Handsome Collection and other upgrades), there’s always plenty to do when I jump back in.
It’s like hanging out with a dysfunctional group of friends.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
A game where you can build and furnish your own home, get married, raise children and be proficient at any number of jobs from being a blacksmith to baking sweet rolls? Don’t mind if I do!
In fact, one of my higher level characters has done all of these things after giving up adventuring to lead a nice quiet life. Gone are the days of flattening bandit camps with fireballs and wrestling dragons, it’s all about the days spent fishing and forging armour…
When I’m not spending time being Ye Olde Ned Flanders, I’m playing an Elven Assassin who spends all his time undertaking contracts given to him by the dark brotherhood. That’s the great thing about this game, you really don’t and shouldn’t spend all your time following the main storyline under pain of missing out on some truly fantastic world mechanics and storytelling from Bethesda.
I don’t know why I chose this game over Elder Scrolls Online, I think it’s because the MMO stylings of Online mean that you are often beholden to other players to undertake everything from dungeon crawls to crafting, whereas in Skyrim it’s down to the individual to make their own fun.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition
So you like loot eh? Me too, which is why I probably get hooked back into Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls every couple of months. I could blither for ages about the well executed storyline, but I won’t. You should play it for yourself – after all it was one of Geek.com‘s games to play before you die.
This hack and slash dungeon crawler is an excellent example of what can be achieved if a game is supported, not only with new content but with the addition of new characters – such as my favourite The Necromancer with his abilities that mainly involve corpses and their many uses from eating them to gain health back, to causing them to explode and shower the enemy with bits of bone like a particularly gory nail bomb.
Every few months a new season begins, bringing new challenges to be completed and with that comes new gear sets and therefore new builds. Basically the fun only stops when you stop having fun, and when that time comes there’s always Path of Exile (which is free to play) for your loot obsessed enjoyment.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt Red’s beautiful open world that is based on The Witcher series of fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski was always going to get a look in when it comes to games I come back to, especially the one where the DLC is just as good as the game. With both clocking in at over 40 hours play time per add-on, it makes them longer than most games.
The thing about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt isn’t just the sheer size, or depth of the lore, or that it’s just a damn beautiful game, the thing about this game is that it just works. For example, unlike many RPG based games the adding of points to skill trees actually does make a difference in allowing you to become the type of character that you want to be. Want to be potion based? Invest in that part of the skill tree. More combat oriented? Then invest in that instead. It’s no wonder the last few Assassin’s Creed games have borrowed quite heavily from The Witcher when it comes to character building.
One of the reasons I have used New Game + as soon as finishing the storyline, is there’s always something more to do. I think it’s the Blood and Wine DLC that takes you to a Mediterranean setting to hunt a vampire – whilst hunting you come across a way to use “mutations” to change how your powers work. It’s just one of many ways that The Witcher finds to keep the player occupied.
Even writing this piece has got me itching to dive back in and hunt some beasties.
So there we have it, 5 Xbox games that I just can’t walk away from. However, obviously, with the way the world is, you may have different tastes. Let me know in the comments below.