Written by Aidan Falk, Dyllan Rodrigues-Miller, Nate Bentley // Edited by Andrew Busch // Illustrations by Andrew Busch
An editor, a let’s play-er, and an artist all talk favorite games for a second round of Choose Wisely! Read through and feel free to talk about your favorites with us!
AIDAN FALK: THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT
To choose a favorite game from my libraries of plastic cases and downloadable content seemed nearly impossible upon first request. Should I choose Pokémon, my first ever game and the series that I have certainly invested the most time in (still going strong with Sun)? Perhaps one of my other favorite Nintendo classics such as Legend of Zelda or Fire Emblem? Should I try to be hip, choosing one of my favorite old-school games like Baldur’s Gate 2? Planescape Torment? Or should I go for something a little more recent such as Elder Scrolls Oblivion or Mass Effect? Each of these games and so many others have profoundly effected me as a gamer and, more often than not, as a person. It seemed almost a betrayal to label just one as “The Favorite” but since that’s what I needed to do, I decided to establish some clear criteria to make it a bit easier.
To be crowned my favorite, a game needed to have a compelling story and immersive world. It needed to have complex characters with writing/voice acting to make them truly come alive. And it needed to combine all these aspects with fluid and interesting character creation and game play. I wanted a game that never left me disengaged, whether I was in the midst of long conversation cut-scenes or sorting through the loot in my inventory. And as I proceeded to measure each of the games above under these more definite standards, I began to find each somehow lacking. Either the story, the characters, or the gameplay just could not reach what I was looking for. It was going to take an extraordinary game to encompass such a wide range of options.
Luckily, I had spent my last quarter of school sinking over 100 hours into just such a game. I am, of course, talking about Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Now, anyone reading this who knows me well is probably thinking, “you just wanted to be drawn with swords and a six pack.” Well, I can’t say that you’re wrong, but I will insist that there is more to it. Witcher 3 is the most highly integrated game I have ever played. Its world is as expansive as it is immersive. Its characters are as complex in writing as in design. Its stories span the entirety of the emotional spectrum ranging from darkly terrifying, to poignantly compassionate, to laugh-out-loud hilarious. Witcher 3 never compromises any one aspect of its game for another, instead opting to sprint at full speed in every direction at once. And amazingly it succeeds in doing this without making its players feeling either overwhelmed or left behind.
There is too much I would like to dive into in matters of gameplay and story to cover here, so I’m going to keep this blurb focused on the man who sits at straight in the center of my love for the game, Geralt. Geralt, the protagonist of the Witcher series, is a monster hunter for a job but spends his spare time deciding the fates of gangs, bandit groups, and even entire nations. And on top of all this, Geralt still somehow has time to be the most attractive man in all of “The Continent.” But Geralt is more than these titles. He is compassionate and complex, tough but sensitive, and wickedly good at card games. Or at least, this is who my Geralt is. Because the genius of Geralt, and Witcher 3 as a whole, is its multiplicity. Just as I fell in love with the Geralt of my game, anyone playing will find their own version of Geralt and his story in the massive sandbox of the Witcher world. Witcher is a game that I firmly believe will be loved by anyone who thinks of themselves as a gamer. They complexity of the story, characters, and world, put together with seamlessly integrated game mechanics constitutes not only what I consider my favorite game but what I believe to be one of the best games ever made.
DYLLAN RODRIGUES-MILLER: SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE
Choosing a favorite game is deceivingly difficult! I weighed a lot of my options, from games I have just recently played to games that I played when I was a kid, from games I could play over and over again to games where that first playthrough is something I still think about. I also considered all of the sandbox games that I adore! This task was quite daunting, trust me.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my favorite game is Super Mario Sunshine. Why? More like why not? What isn’t there to love about this game? It’s simple enough so I could play it when I was like 7 and not get confused (thanks Nintendo for always having our backs on that one), it’s got enough levels to keep you busy for hours on end, and the visuals still hold up however many years later. I moved my GameCube from Houston up here to Chicago JUST so I could play Super Mario Sunshine. I could turn it on right now and find things to do and bonus levels to complete! I wish it were possible for Nintendo to make new DLC for it so I could play it on and on until I’m physically unable to play anymore.
I’ve always loved Nintendo games because they were difficult in ways that challenged your intellect and dexterity, and Super Mario Sunshine was right up my alley as a not-so-social kid who loved having things to occupy her mind and hands. It was also the first game I ever beat by myself, so of course it has a very special place in my heart. There’s nothing like beating a game on your own, and I say this as someone who used to use GameFaqs more often than not (yes, I realize this can anger some people, but we can talk more about why I felt the need to rely on GameFaqs later). But man, when I beat that game I felt like I could do just about anything. I didn’t feel that good again until I beat The Witness and then went immediately down a spiraling hole of anger because WOW I HATE THE ENDING OF THE WITNESS SO FUCKING MUCH but that’s a different story for a different day.
Super Mario Sunshine, you’ll always be my number one. And The Sims will be a very close second.
NATE BENTLEY: RAINBOW 6 SIEGE
What do you think about when you are told, slow, tactical, and just damn fun? I think about Rainbow Six Siege, it is probably one of my favorite games, and I cannot get enough of it. To start off Rainbow Six Siege is the most current installment of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six franchise. While this game does not have a story, like all of the other previous games, it being a purely multiplayer game is surprisingly enjoyable experience. I have several hundred hours on this game because I have been playing since launch, and through every rage filled death, and fantastic ace, I have had such a blast with this game.
The game works with a personal 5 vs. 5 competitive gameplay, it pits attackers versus defenders in first to 3 for casual play or first to 4 in ranked. Ranked is different than casual, there are more regular rounds and extra overtime rounds, it also records your kill death ratio and win loss ratio, while casual does not. There are also three game modes. The first is Secure Area, in which one team must secure a room that has a biohazard container inside it Then there is Hostage, where defenders defend the hostage while attackers rescue the hostage. Lastly there is Bomb, where there are two bombs in two separate rooms and the defenders must protect the bombs from the attackers who are trying to defuse the bombs with a defuser. If the defuser is planted the defenders must disable it to win the round. These modes make for intense situations and the single life system will get your adrenaline pumping.
Even though the game modes do not look particularly different, one of the most unique things about Siege is that there are many operators to choose from that are each equipped with a special ability or gadget. For example one of the defenders in the game, Valkyrie, has deployable cameras called Black Eyes. This is an especially useful gadget because she can place these anywhere to spy on the enemy as they enter into the building, and in Siege information is everything. At the same time, there are operators like Hibana and Thermite that are built specifically for taking down barriers causing even the most secure defenses to feel unsafe.
Another aspect that sets Siege apart from other games is its mechanics and feel. The game relies heavily on information through sound, movements and actions can be heard somewhat realistically, for example if someone is running they will sound like a stomping elephant. But if they are walking more slowly you can hear intricacies like the sound of their gun as they move or footsteps. Operators also make distinct noises when using gadgets so sound queues become extremely important in this game. This is one reason why Siege is slow and methodical. Listening and distinguishing between sounds can mean life or death and can help you perfectly time a flank or an ability use that will set back your attackers and make you a hero.
A good Siege match is also dependent on a good communicating team, without communication and callouts, the team will lose indefinitely. From all of the good moments I have had in Siege they are much more enjoyable when playing with friends, we laugh, and rage together, but most of all we enjoy the game together. Rainbow Six Siege is a game about teamwork and strategy, it is slow, tactical, and just plain damn fun. It is a must buy for me and for anyone looking for a breath of fresh air from fast paced first person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty.