While summer is the time the biggest blockbuster movies release, the opposite is usually true for video games. This year is no different. While there are a few exciting releases coming out in the months ahead, the majority of the year’s biggest games will be released in October and November. On the bright side, summer is an excellent time to catch up on old games and check out a few you missed. While there have been plenty of blockbuster AAA games released recently, the three games I’m going to recommend are ones that you may have missed out on.
The first game I’m recommending is easily the most mainstream friendly of the three. “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” is a 3-D action game that combines a bunch of other game ideas to produce something unique, fun and satisfying. In Lords of Shadow, Gabriel Belmont is on a quest to defeat the Lords of Shadow and in the process to resurrect his wife. The story may be kind of boring at times, but the locations you travel through are gorgeous to behold.
The combat in the game is similar to a “God of War” game and the nice mix of enemies works well with your varied abilities and tools. Gabriel eventually gains access to light and dark magic which when used in combat allows you to restore some of your life or deal increased damage respectively. While seemingly simplistic, you definitely need to manage your magic effectively and also master dodging and countering to succeed. The puzzles and “Uncharted” style platforming are a great break from the normal action, but it’s the insanely cool “Shadow of the Colossus” boss fights that steal the show. The game is pretty difficult and takes a few hours to get going, but the lengthy adventure is well worth checking out.
“Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors” or simply 999 is another game I recommend. 999 is a visual novel that released on the original DS last year, which means you can also play it on the new 3DS. While the term visual novel may not sound too exciting, rest assured 999 is a gripping tale.
After being kidnapped at home, the main character Junpei awakes onboard a large deserted ship that is beginning to sink. You are told you are going to be playing the “Nonary game” where your main objective is to navigate the ship to find the door marked with the number nine. Complicating matters are the fact that Junpei must work together with the eight other people participating. Should they fail to finish in nine hours, the ship will sink. Also, players who break the rules of the game will cause the bombs they ingested while unconscious to explode.
Yes there is a lot of reading in 999, but the stellar translation eases you right in and the characters are always more than what they appear. There is some gameplay present as well.
“Escape the room” puzzles are present the whole way through. Players must carefully examine surroundings and combine different objects to solve the puzzles. These are fun and usually straightforward enough not to be frustrating. If you don’t know much about a topic, your companions will often provide some insight to get you back on track. Equally interesting is choosing between the tough choices in the novel section. Characters can die if you are not careful and you will assuredly fail your first time through. There are six different endings, which gives 999 plenty of replay value.
The last game I’m going to recommend is the Xbox Live Indie Game “Cthulu Saves the World.” Yes, the game is as awesome as the title may lead you to believe. “Cthulu Saves the World” is a 16 bit-style JRPG. You take the role of Cthulu who in his moment of glory was stripped of his powers. Cthulu quickly discovers that the only way to restore his powers is to become a true hero and thus he sets out to save the world to ultimately destroy the world. The writing in this game is absolutely hilarious. Cthulu acts like a rock star and owns every conversation he is in. He also constantly breaks the fourth wall by talking with the narrator and developers. Even just the one-off characters are pretty memorable.
In addition, the game is also a solid lengthy RPG. While there are random battles, there is a set number of them in each location you visit. Afterward, you are free to explore to your heart’s content. One of the cool features in battles is the insanity system. Sometimes it is to your benefit to drive your opponents insane, while other times it is risky since they can become more powerful. Every fight, including boss fights, is interesting because with each passing turn your enemies become 10 percent stronger. Since you are always returned to full HP after each fight, the game can be quite difficult and never feels like a grind too. There are plenty of modes on top of the main quest, but the best part of all is the price tag which is only $3.