Four Unmissable Games — Personal Favorites

Graphic+depicts+Jacket+from+%22Hotline+Miami%22+and+a+Tyrannosaurus+Rex+from+%22The+Isle.%22

Sophia Maybin

Graphic depicts Jacket from “Hotline Miami” and a Tyrannosaurus Rex from “The Isle.”

Over the lockdown, I found multiple new hobbies for myself with things like cooking, writing, taking care of plants; but, what I really found an interest in was video games. I’d never considered them before because I never had that kind of time, but because of quarantine, that all changed. Without further ado, here are some of the games that I truly enjoyed.

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is an indie top-down shooter developed by Dennaton Games, Devolver Digital, and Abstraction. The game takes place in 1989, where the player goes through the game as a character named “Jacket,” inspired by his iconic varsity jacket. The player picks up and responds to mysterious calls that tell him to go on various killings. It’s up to the player to uncover the story, and figure out exactly who is leaving those messages.

This is by far my favorite game that I’ve ever played. The developers picked the 80’s theme and stuck with it. The soundtrack and look of the game reflect the decade extremely well, and the gameplay is immersive and super fun.

I could go on forever about the soundtrack. The strong baselines and techno riffs that the various songs have make playing the game fun. It’s one of the first video game soundtracks that I listen to on a regular basis. (Here’s the link, if anyone’s interested.) “Paris” by M|O|O|N and “Le Perv” by Carpenter Brut are personal favorites of mine.

The gameplay itself is extremely fast. As the player progresses, new challenges are introduced. Plans have to become more flexible. There’s not enough time to think about dying, because as soon as the player is shot, they’re being thrown back into the game immediately. Hotline Miami is not a game that’s easy to get good at, at least not at first. The player has to constantly be aware of what’s around them, and be able to think on their feet.

The Story is also well done. Despite it being an 8-bit game, I found myself feeling bad for the pixels on screen. Jacket, despite not saying a single word throughout the entire game, is an endearing character.

After learning the lore of both Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami: Wrong Number, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. The story itself is a tragedy and doesn’t have a happy ending, but it was masterfully told.

I’ve replayed this game over and over again, and it never gets old. It is rated as mature due to the substance abuse, violence, and overall explicit content. I personally didn’t have a problem with any of the in-game content because it was in 10 pixels max.

Hades

Hades is a rogue-like game developed by an indie company called Supergiant Games. It is based off of Greek mythology and does it justice. The art, soundtrack, story, and gameplay are all expertly done.

Let me start out by saying that making every character in this game attractive was a brilliant marketing move. 65 percent of the reason I was interested in the first place was because of the character designs; all of them are eye-candy. The art style in general is wonderful to look at, with bold lines and a coherent color scheme.

The soundtrack is made up of string instruments, and combines classical elements with rock. Fighting a boss in this game is a joyride because of the guitar riff that the player slashes along to.

As for gameplay, this game is ridiculously fun. It’s a very easy game to get good at, yet every time the player battles out of the underworld, there’s something new to challenge them. Each run is different because the abilities, called “boons” in-game, change every time. It’s up to the player to choose their build. Dying in this game is no big deal, in fact it’s beneficial at times. Certain elements of the story can only be advanced once the player dies.

Zagreus, the main character, is lovable and snarky. His motivations and interactions with the other characters keep the story moving. The voice acting for all of the characters is immaculate; each character feels tangible and as if they’re talking directly to the player.

Although I haven’t finished the game yet, I love it to bits. I recommend it for anyone who thinks they’re bad at video games, as well as people who play all kinds of things. It has something for everyone, whether it’s beautiful art, a good story, or addicting gameplay.

The Isle

The Isle is a multiplayer dinosaur game made by Afterthought LLC. In this game the player gets to choose the kind of dinosaur they want to be, and has to survive in an environment designed to kill them.

I used to be a huge Isle junkie when I played it over the summer. I remember spending hours at a time growing my dinosaur and trying to get better at combat. Despite it being out for years, The Isle is still in beta. Yet, that does not diminish its quality at all. I’ll only be talking about the Legacy version of the game, not Evrima.

The graphics are amazing. My computer can’t handle the graphic settings at “epic” for long, but the glimpses I got were breathtaking. The landscapes and foliage are rendered with love, as well as the dinosaurs.

The gameplay is glitchy at times. That aspect of it didn’t stop me from playing it for days on end. It’s not as big of a deal as long as the player isn’t in combat. Other than that, it’s immersive and feels very natural. The player has to keep track of stats like stamina, hunger, and thirst. Because it’s a multiplayer game with real people on both ends, the situations change every time. The servers I play on are welcoming and fun environments, so every session I’ve played has been enjoyable.

The best advice I have for this game is to make friends. It becomes ten times more enjoyable when you have people to mess around with in-game. However, I don’t play this game as much anymore. It is the first real game I ever played on my computer and it will always have a permanent spot in my heart.

Valorant

Valorant is a highly competitive multiplayer first person shooter(FPS) made by RIOT games. In this adrenaline-driven game, the player is put into a team of five people who have to either plant or defuse a bomb called a “spike.” With a roster of playable characters called “agents” each with their own unique abilities, the game is full of exciting plays and satisfying gun fights.

The game is often referred to as the child of CS:GO and Overwatch, and it is. I haven’t played the two titles before, but from what I’ve heard, Valorant combines the most thrilling aspects of both games.

The main appeal of the game is its gameplay. The graphics of the game are light on the computer yet easily understandable and they don’t take away anything from the playing experience. Each gun and agent has its own perks, and in order to become good at the game they’re necessary to learn. Every map that the players fight on has its own twists and turns too, leading to new challenges every time.

The community was not something I expected. I was fully prepared for a toxic, bass boosted lobby like COD is notorious for. That is the opposite of what happened. Most of the players I talked to through comms were nice people. I have several clips of us doing stupid stuff during rounds or cracking jokes. There are toxic players, but all I had to do was mute them. Overall, Valorant’s community is a big part of why I enjoyed the game so much.

I don’t play this game much at all, but not because it’s bad. It does rely on the competitive aspect a lot, and solo-queuing into a competitive game isn’t that enjoyable. Multiplayer games don’t hit as hard for me as single player games with interactive storylines do. This game is loads of fun, and for anyone who plays FPS games I highly recommend it. Not to mention it’s free!

I’ve played other, smaller games too, but these were the ones I wanted to talk about the most. All of these games have brought me joy at one point or another, and hopefully they’ll do that for someone else out there, too.