Having worked reviewing games for Game Industry News for many years, I’ve played a lot of video games. Some were good, some were great, and some were dreadful. Many were just so-so. Given all the different types of games I’ve played and enjoyed over the years, it shouldn’t be hard for me to find something I like but it is.
Work vs. Play
When I get a game to review, that’s work. I review games fairly based on their merits for what they are. For example, I don’t expect a casual iPhone game to meet the same requirements as I would a massive open-world RPG on a game console.
When it comes to personal play time though, I’m very, very picky. I like a specific type of game. It must be open-world. I don’t like to be constrained to a single through line. I like side quests. I like wandering around looking for ingredients to craft with. I like collecting things. I like random encounters with strangers with interesting stories, and I like a good fight. I like games that have sneaking as part of combat. I like long range weapon options like sniper rifles or bows and arrows. Ideally, I like to build my own characters. And last but not least, I like a first person point of view. I find it more immersive than third person. There are some great third person games out there, but they aren’t my games. Then there are just my own weird hang ups. For example, I LOVED Mass Effect II, but can’t bring myself to even play MEIII. Why? Some of it is that I got spoiled for the ending because of all the controversy and now I don’t care to play because I know how it ends. The other stickler for me is I like to play by myself. I don’t like MMOs. If I want to hang out with people, I do that in real life. Game time is me time.
With all that in mind, the Elder Scrolls games (with the exception of the MMO version) are just about perfect. I love them so much I have the game maps for ESIV: Oblivion and ESV: Skyrim professionally framed on my living room wall. It’s not in anyway an exaggeration to say that I have played those two games for hundreds of hours. Here’s the Honest Trailer for Skyrim. It’s hilarious and sadly accurate in so many ways. So, so many.
Alas, even Elder Scrolls games can be played out and I have done so. This leaves me in a bit of a pickle.
Games are relaxing in an engaging way that television and movies just aren’t. When I’m in the mood to play, nothing else provides that kind reward. A few weeks ago, I bought Far Cry 3. It hit most of my must-haves and now I’m done with it. Okay, I’m technically 99% done with it. There is one skill and one trial I didn’t complete, but I doubt I’ll bother. Now I’m looking for the next thing. I picked up a used copy of Far Cry 4 and I’m contemplating getting the Witcher 3. I know I’ll like Far Cry 4 well enough, but since I just played FC3, I’d like a little break in between. The Witcher 3 is getting excellent reviews, but it’s a third person over the shoulder game, and I just don’t know that I’ll like it.
When does Elder Scrolls VI come out?