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After a recent discussion with two of the guys in the tattoo studio that I work at regarding the greatest games of all time, I got to thinking along the lines of the age old hypothetical question of “your desert island record”
If I happened to find myself stranded on a desert island, unable to ever leave and yet fortunate enough to find myself with a record player and an unlimited supply of electricity and nothing more serious to worry about. Just what would my desert island record be?
Or more to the point of the conversation with the guys, what would my desert island game be?
Now I can honestly say that after a very very long time pondering this (yes I do have way too much spare time on my hands) I simply could not narrow it down to just one game. So strap yourselves in ladies and gents, here comes my top five desert island games and why!
1. The Last of Us
For those of you not familiar; the last of us is a third person survival horror game that follows the story of Joel, a middle-aged man who has managed to survive the complete breakdown of society due to a viral outbreak that turns people into cannibalistic violent monsters due to a mutation of a fungus. Joel is tasked with smuggling a girl out of a safe zone in order to get her to a group of resistance fighters as she holds the key to the cure, and thus a journey across a desolate and dangerous America begins.
This game had me completely captivated from the moment I first played it. The beautifully crafted story is matched by smooth game-play and flawless visuals. The characters are deep and fleshed out in a way that is unmatched by other games inside and outside of the genre. The story is gripping and heart-warming at times whilst devastating at others (seriously I am not afraid to admit that I was close to tears within the first ten minutes).
I am a huge fan of this game for so many reasons, it is totally enjoyable to play, so much so that I have replayed the campaign several times and I expect to play it several more, which is the main reason it makes this list. It has so much replayability! with the campaign coming in at around 15-20 hours it is long enough that you can lose yourself in it without the need for an open world map or side quests. The story is simply enough to hold the focus and attention of the player. This game is a must for all gamers, serious and casual.
2. Final Fantasy X
Now I know before I start, people are probably staring at this in disgust and disbelief. Why would I choose this over all the other final fantasy games? People have such a love for 7, even 8 and 9 have a huge following but for me, X was sublime.
It follows the story of Tidus, a star Blitzball player from the super city Zanarkand, as he embarks on a quest to end the attacks on the world of Spira from the evil “Sin” a monster with seemingly unlimited power for destruction.
The story is exquisitely written and compelling, and the characters are excellent. The levelling system in this turn based strategy fantasy epic is in my opinion, the best levelling system of any game! It gives the player freedom to tailor the game to their style of play and thus makes the game even more entertaining.
Aside from the aforementioned pros the reason this game had to be on this list is the game-play time. If I am going to be stranded on a desert island for the rest of my life, I am going to need a game that I can pour hundreds of hours into, and this is just that game! I have been known to spend 100 hours plus just on levelling up a few of the characters, let alone completing the vast number of side quests, ultimate weapon and Armor crafting, and of course, mastering blitz ball.
In short Final Fantasy X is a classic that still holds up today and is a go to for me on a regular basis and therefore just has to be on my desert island five.
3. NHL 18
Ice Hockey is a huge passion of mine and has been for many years. I have always loved the NHL franchise and I get a huge amount of enjoyment from playing these kinds of games. With multiple modes such as ‘Be a GM’, ‘Be a Pro’ and a full roster of teams across multiple leagues, the game time on this title is practically endless. EA have nailed the formula for replayability which as I have already mentioned is a big plus for a desert island list. Graphically the game hasn’t changed all that much over recent years but that’s because the games were way ahead of their time. It plays smooth and is challenging enough to keep you enthralled but not overly frustrated.
The cherry on the top is of course the sense of achievement you get when you finally get to see your team lift the coveted Stanley Cup which is a feeling that never ever gets old and keeps this game dust free as it’s a go to regularly for me at home, and guarantees EAs’ NHL franchise a spot on my desert island list.
4. Resident Evil 6
There is a soft spot in my heart for pretty much all the games in the Resident Evil franchise for different reasons. The first three were ground-breaking in the genre and I have fond memories of playing them when I was younger. The story was fantastic, and I loved the survival aspect of each of them.
The fourth was a game changer, bringing in a new feel for the gameplay style but staying true to the atmosphere. Although with any growth and development there are always issues. At times the enemies felt like bullet sponges and the move away from the zombie to more of a parasite/host enemy was something I wasn’t crazy about.
The fifth instalment added the online co-op system and made obtaining weapons and ammo far too easy, which for me detracted from the survival horror feeling of the franchise. Moving the setting to the well-lit location of Africa was a jarring change from the gloomy and dark surroundings of the previous chapters of the Resident Evil story. Being able to see foes from afar detracted from the danger of the game and made it more of a point and shoot game.
The sixth game for me took the best from each and pulled them together into one mammoth adventure. The seven-campaign epic follows some of the franchises most loved and fleshed out characters as they return to the fray in an attempt to stop what could be the end of the world as we know it.
The story spans a number of locations from across the globe, ranging from tight claustrophobic tunnels in Eastern Europe, to winding back alleys and city streets in East Asia, all the way to Pacific North-West America. With each location there is a different feel within the horror genre. The look and feel of the game is dynamic and the story is gripping. It has replayability and enjoyment across the campaigns and an alternate ‘mercenaries’ mode that can easily while hours away.
This game is a true masterpiece that belongs on the shelf of any gamer, and is a must have on a desert island.
5. Diablo 3
The final addition to this list was a tough one for me to decide, did I go for a game that personally I enjoyed and felt like deserved a spot on a top five list? Should I have gone for another game based on replayability? or another story driven epic? Something that was stunning visually?
I finally settled on Diabo 3 because for me it was a combination of many of these things. The Dungeon crawling action RPG allows you to choose from one of a vast number of character classes including Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, Witch Doctor or Wizard and has some extras from later released DLC.
The depth of lore is vast and rich with familiar fantasy ideas that make the player feel at home in this world even if they haven’t played the previous instalments. The gameplay is easy to get to grips with and is accessible for all levels of gamer, and importantly looks and feels fantastic.
Its fun and challenging at times and keeps you hooked as you while away the hours effortlessly.
So that’s my five desert island games, it’s a list that is personal to me for my own reasons and I’m sure that some of you may disagree with some of the selections I have made. But I hope those of you reading this that haven’t given some of these games a look have been persuaded to check them out. I would love to hear from you on what you liked and what you disagreed with.
If you can think of a game that you feel should have made the list send me a message and let me know at [email protected]
Thanks for reading.