While not all the games we play here at Respawning are winners, some stand head and shoulders above the rest. This week I’m going to take a look back at four games I likely would never have played if it wasn’t for reviews or recommendations from those on the team.
Maneater – Stuart
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first with mine and Stuart’s game of 2020, Maneater. This was such an unexpected treat last summer, so much so that whenever I am asked to recommend a game to anyone I will usually have blurted out ‘MANEATER’ before they’ve finished asking the question.
Playing it off the back of the Bear’s Den episode at the beginning of August where our resident BigBear reviewed Maneater, I picked it up immediately and had one of the most pure fun experiences I have had with a game in recent memory. You don’t need me to dress this point up anymore than that. It’s a fun, comedic, dumb, colourful shark game which begins with you being bullied by alligators and ends with you devouring WHALES.
‘This game is brilliant. It had me enthralled from beginning to end, I played thirty plus hours without even realising’ – Stuart
The Sinking City – Lance
I bought the Necronomicon edition of The Sinking City months ago during a PlayStation Store sale with the intention of starting it immediately, but you know how it is, other games get in the way. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it as I have played other games by the developer, Frogwares, and wasn’t impressed by the overwhelming jank which they seem to wear on their sleeve like a badge of honour.
However, I am pleased to report that while there is some jank within The Sinking City, after just a couple of hours with it I am completely invested in the story and the profoundly interesting locale. I have read a number of short stories by H.P Lovecraft whose work inspired this title, and while horror isn’t a genre I typically associate with I am a huge admirer of how well Lovecraft conveys such gripping dread in his novels and the way that has translated across into this game.
At time of writing I am yet to solve any of the main mysteries surrounding The Sinking City, but as I am quite happy being swept along by the gameplay and mythos, even if the story ending winds up being lacklustre (unlikely) I will have enjoyed the journey to get there.
‘If you’re a fan of deep rich mysteries and tales of the occult, trust me, this game ticks all those boxes’ – Lance
DMC: Devil May Cry – Will
Despite my scepticism at the need for this game to exist (why did Devil May Cry of all things need a reboot?!) Will raving about how well the new style of combat flowed with the introduction of chain based weaponry, plus the insanely good soundtrack, convinced me to pick it up almost immediately. What followed would be an experience that led me to a decision I still stand by to this day; DMC: Devil May Cry is my favourite game of the entire PlayStation 3 generation.
I have played this game dozens of times on PS3 and Xbox One through its Definitive edition, and it’s one of those titles which stays as fresh and spectacular on the twelfth playthrough as it felt on my very first back in 2013. The designs of the enemies, weapons, environments and bosses all took that fun and original look from the existing Devil May Cry games and dramatically amplified them on all fronts into this bloody display of absolute perfection.
I asked Will for a quote for why people should play DMC but all I got back was ‘They should do it to help that little crippled boy. That I crippled’, so instead here’s him reminding me to buy it in 2013.
Ghost of Tsushima – Luke
I came so close to not bothering with this game as, like I said in my review, to be a samurai was never a fantasy for me growing up. I felt the promotional gameplay videos didn’t show off the experience in a way that appealed to me, and so as a result I was content to let the whole game just pass me by. That was until I watched Luke’s stream of the first hour or so of gameplay during Respawning’s drive to promote the game last July.
From the opening charge of the samurai down Komoda beach to meet the invading Mongol force, the massacre that followed, as well as the stunning graphics and sharp combat mechanics, I was awake at 6am the following morning (release day as Luke received his copy early) to pick up a copy of Ghost of Tsushima from my local Tesco so I could begin my own playthrough immediately.
The game isn’t perfect, but it is everything I wanted and more, and is an experience I might never have had if I didn’t stay up one evening to watch Luke’s stream.
‘People should experience Ghost of Tsushima because the opening act of the game is absolutely fantastic, and it’s also a masterclass in how to create a game that starts and ends perfectly’ – Luke
Have you played any of these games? What games might you have never played if someone hadn’t changed your perception of it? Let me know the answer to these in the comments or over on Twitter @RespawningUK as I’ll likely compile another list in the future for games recommended to me by readers. In the meantime thank you for reading and I’ll speak to you again next week.