Take the "Why'd I Buy This?" Challenge
With so many of the same type of games coming out, it’s easy to fall into a rut where every new game seems stale and boring: like you’ve played it all before. I’ve found the best cure for this is to take the “why’d I buy this?” challenge. How it works is simple. Buy a game that is drastically different from what you’d normally play. I’ve done this a few times to great success. It all started a few years ago when I had the bright idea to play Dead Space. I had previously stayed away from horror games because I like being able to sleep at night. But I challenged myself to play Dead Space because it’s something different. Once I had started playing, I realized two things. 1) This isn’t scary at all. 2) It’s actually really really good. Upon the realization that action horror games can be enjoyable, I took a look at the Resident Evil series and now I’m a fan of that too. Whodathunkit?
Another example for why this challenge is great is the racing game MXGP2 (motocross). What convinced me to buy this I don’t know since I always thought racing games grounded in realism looked boring. (I prefer the kind of games that feel like you’re breaking the sound barrier.)
Now starting out with MXGP2 was rough. I knew nothing and I mean nothing about the sport. Or how to ride a motorcycle. But after a couple hours of fumbling with the controls, I was able to get the hang of it (with the most basic control scheme on the easiest difficulty). And it’s fun! I’ve been slowing improving and have been bumping up the difficult and going for more manual controls. Suddenly realistic racing games don’t seem so boring anymore. In fact, this game offers a lot of replay ability as I strive to get better and better. As such, I’ve got my eye on the upcoming Gran Turismo as well, which is a game series I had previously written off years ago.
Most of the games I’ve been playing over the past couple years have not been giant releases. In fact, it seems like whatever the biggest release currently is, I’m playing something completely different and having a wonderful time.
So if the “why’d I buy this?” challenge appeals to you, here’s a list of some games in the less than $30 price range to check out. (I’m focusing on cheaper games as the challenge is less fun when dumping $60 on a game you think you might hate and then you do end up hating it.)
If You Think FPS = CoD:
1) Hard Reset Redux (PS4, Xbox One, PC) (pictured)
The story makes no sense, but dashing around firing electricity at the robots charging at your face is a great time.
2) Shadow Warrior (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
This game provides a satisfying mix of sword and gun combat. The boss battles are pretty blah but the overall game is an over the top mess of action and South Park humor.
3) Resistance 3 (PS3)
While the first two games are fine, the third entry is really when the creative juices were flowing and the combat the most fun and satisfying. Creative weapons and a well paced story make this one of the best FPS games for the PS3. (It’s a shame the series was dropped afterwards.)
If You Think Racing Games Look Boring:
1) Trackmania Turbo (PS4, Xbox One, PC) (pictured)
This game was made by mad geniuses. It’s easily one of the most creative games I’ve ever played. It’s very difficult but also addicting. If you’re the achiever type, this would be a great game to try.
2) FAST Racing Neo (Wii U)/ Wipeout 2048 (PS3/Vita)
Both are futuristic racing games where you basically race around in a rocket ship. FRN is straight racing while Wipeout has combat as well.
3) Split/Second (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The premise is you’re a stunt driver for a TV show. By racing well and drifting you fill up a meter that can then be used to trigger explosions and crashes to take out other racers.
If You Always Thought JPRGs Looked Dumb:
1) Persona 3 (PS2, PSP/Vita) (pictured)
While a lot of games try to focus on big giant grandiose themes of importance and monumental blah, Persona 3 would rather focus on the inner workings of a person.
2) Tales of Xillia (PS3)
Okay so the first half is slow, but the enjoyable characters get you through it. Once you hit the second half, you’re in for one of the best stories in the genre with tons of plot twists and a satisfying ending.
3) Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (PS3/Vita)
Do you like lovable characters? If so, play this game. No other game has made it harder for me to pick a stand out favorite character than this one.
If You’ve Never Bothered with Artsy Games:
1) Journey (PS4, PS3)
It’s beautiful. It’s an allegory for life. The experience of playing it is so difficult to describe I won’t even bother. It’s an hour of your life. Maybe two. Three tops. Just play it.
2) Flower (PS4, PS3)
A wonderful example of a therapy game. It’s simple and easy but also beautiful and relaxing. Great for when you’re having a rough time and just want something peaceful to help you relax.
3) The Unfinished Swan (PS4, PS3, Vita)
A clever game that really sells on its core concept. The world is without color. Throw paint everywhere to reveal it. It’s simple but satisfying. Also, the story turns into something special that stuck with me long after I finished it.
If You Think Game Storylines Mostly Suck:
1) Bioshock (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)
My personal favorite game storyline ever. It couldn’t be any other form of media. The story works only as a game as it is as much a commentary on society and Objectivism as it is on game structure and player agency.
2) Dark Souls (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The world itself is the story. Despite being a world that is falling apart and filled with the undead, it is perhaps one of the most fully realized worlds in gaming. The lore is vague and it’s really up to you to piece together the plot for yourself.
3) The Wolf Among Us (PS4, Xbox One, Vita, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Many of Tell Tale’s adventure games would be worth trying, but I personally enjoy The Wolf Among Us the best. It’s fun piecing the mystery together and the ending ties things up nicely while still giving you one last puzzle to figure out on your own.
Have you tried the challenge? Post how it went in the comments!