Five Video Game Series I Love

Today is one of those days where I woke up and knew that I didn’t make any significant progress in any games the night before. I knew I didn’t have any concrete MTG brews lying around in drafts, and I hadn’t purchased anything worth talking about, be it hardware or software. As such, I did the rounds and found a new trending thing in the blogosphere. Credit has been given to Krikket for starting the idea, and because I didn’t have something else to write about today, I thank you.

I have more than five series that I can easily name that have had big influences on my life and gaming habits. The most memorable have stuck with me over the many real world changes I’ve experienced, and are still being produced today. There are a ton of alternatives I could have picked as well, because gaming has been a thing for the entirety of my earthly existence. As such, I’ll list out some honorable mentions here before we get onto my official list of five, though I must admit that I’m combining some game series into one pick, and you’ll see why as we go.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Final Fantasy. I love Final Fantasy 7, and have played almost every game in the series, but very few to completion. I’m currently playing the FF7 Remake, but I don’t think I can really count the series as a whole.
  2. Shining Series. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent playing Shining Force 1 & 2, and I played through them both within the last 5 years and they’re still good. I also enjoyed Shining in the Darkness. I realize there are other entries in the series though and I have never played them so I didn’t feel I could include.
  3. Phantasy Star. IV is one of my absolute favorite JRPGs of all time. III was great to a lesser degree. II was hard to play. The first game was pretty terrible to retroactively play. There are also online versions I haven’t played so again I omitted this series.
  4. Half-Life. So obviously 1 & 2 are classics. The mods they spawned were epic. I never played the other episodes for #2, and I have no interest in the new VR Alyx game. Give me Half-Life 3 and we’ll see if I can put you on the list.
  5. Souls Series. Though not all entirely related, I own Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1, 2 & 3 and Bloodborne. I am interested in Sekiro and the new game that is in development. However, I’ve only completed Demon’s Souls, and I didn’t even really deep dive to do everything you could have done. I still want to finish the others, but they take some serious dedication that I hadn’t been willing to give. Perhaps I should get on that during this time of isolation.

The Picks (in no particular order):

1. Wolfenstein/DOOM/Quake

I’m combining these three series because they all have iD Software all over them. They might as well be the same games too, in their own way. Obviously the newer DOOM and Wolfenstein games have a handle on the narrative over the top portion of the FPS genre, while Quake has brought amazing competitive multiplayer to the masses for two decades. While there are individual titles in each series that I haven’t played, I have played and completed most of the above that are referenced, and I have always loved their style of game. As such, they are separate series that do different things, but at the core these are all part of the same design core. Love it.

2. Resident Evil

I have been playing Resident Evil since the original game came out on Playstation. Despite the games making their way over to other platforms, I have always stayed true to playing these games on the Playstation systems because they felt at home there. Either way, I did own various copies of the core games over the years, and did end up buying the collector’s edition of 6, which packed in download codes for the prior games, so I technically own a copy of them all between my PS3/4. I obviously recently wrote about completing the RE3 remake, and had finished the RE2 remake the year prior. I believe it was only a couple of years before that I was completing 7. Whatever the case, this series is still one of my favorites to date, and though some of the individual games don’t hold the same place in my heart, overall the series has been a fun ride.

3. Street Fighter

Street Fighter is one of those games that came out of nowhere when I was a kid, and I lapped it up. Admittedly I didn’t play the original in arcades, but I discovered the sequel in arcades and soon enough it was at home on my SEGA Genesis. I was hooked, and would come to play every major game in the series, along with many of the derivative games that would come from Capcom themselves (Darkstalkers, Marvel vs Capcom, Capcom vs. SNK, etc). I’ve enjoyed most, though some more than others. The most recent main series release, Street Fighter V, is currently installed on my PS4 along with the 30th Anniversary Collection that has multiple iterations of the first through third games. I think I own a copy of IV on my PS3 as well, so I think I own most of the library. The only major thing the series suffers from for me is that the older ones are still great, but only really fun to play while sitting next to your opponent. I have found that I don’t care for online play as much as I would have thought, but I also don’t have the time to hone my skills like I once did. That doesn’t stop me from playing them from time to time though. Overall it’s my favorite fighting game series of all time.

4. The Elder Scrolls

As much as I wanted to lump Fallout into this selection as well, I find that I’ve only really enjoyed Fallout 4 (though still planning to give 76 another go) and to a lesser extent New Vegas. I didn’t like 3. I don’t really remember 1 or 2 and I don’t have the patience to go back. But The Elder Scrolls stand on their own. The first game was never on my radar, but I do recall either seeing the box for Daggerfall on a shelf or reading about the game in a magazine. Whatever the case I never played it. My Dad introduced me to Morrowind, and I played it a bit but it was big and sprawling and I had no direction and at the time I didn’t want that. I played a pirated (gasp!) copy of Oblivion, but didn’t get into far enough to really have much to write home about. Then came along Skyrim, and I was absolutely in love. I played the hell out of this game, just like many others who really got into the series at this point in time. I bought the expansions and completed everything I could. Got the platinum trophy to boot. Really wanted to get into modding the game once I had the revamped version but everything I did made the game break and well maybe mods aren’t for me. I should probably just play through it again anyway on PC just to see how much better it could look. Regardless I had a blast with it and can’t wait for 6, though I really hope they don’t pull the same shit they did with Fallout 76. Finally, they sort of made the jump to the MMO world with The Elder Scrolls Online, and though it’s one of the best looking MMOs to come out in recent memory, it unfortunately has always felt hollow when I’ve played it. I know plenty of people who have fun with it still, but I just don’t see it ever clicking for me.

5. Diablo

It took me some time to pick my 5th option, mainly because I managed to eliminate a few series in the honorable mention section above. At some point it clicked that I had obsessively played all of three games in the series at different points in my life. When the original released I was a younger teen that had plenty of time to play but ended up not playing too much due to having to use my Dad’s PC to play it. I do remember he got the Hellfire expansion that added the monk class as well, and I’m pretty sure I completed the game, but wasn’t aware of how much of a grind you could partake in after completing the main story. I discovered that facet of the game with it’s sequel. This one I was able to play on my own PC, and said PC was in my room and I was an older teenager with enough free time to play it for hour stretches. I truly loved it, but then there was a swathe of action RPG games that came from it and many of them seemed better than Diablo or the next best thing at least, but when I finally bought Diablo III I was in love all over again. I played it through quickly, played through the expansion after it released, played seasons, played hardcore, killed off more high level characters than I can count, and generally spent more hours on it than the other two combined. Diablo IV is in development and hopefully it has a smoother launch than it’s predecessor, but either way I’m sure there will be a point in the future where I play it and get sucked in once again.

So there it is. I’m sure I could go on and on about plenty of other titles and series, but I’ll call it done for now.

The Old Blood Complete

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood ended up being quite a bit shorter than the other two titles from MachineGames. Being a prequel to the events of The New Order, and only 8 chapters long, I had estimated that it would take me around 8 hours to complete — but I managed to finish it off this weekend after having spent just over 5 hours on it. As I said in my initial post on the game, it looks and plays much like the other Wolfenstein games from this company, but there are a couple of big differences.

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The first major difference is the inability to manually save, and despite there being frequent check points where the game is auto saved, you’ll still end up dying quite a bit — even on the normal difficulty. Some checkpoints are harder than others, and for the most part it’s a manageable difficulty but I did find it more challenging than The New Order and New Colossus. The other major difference is that this title is pretty story light. The other two games were very cinematic in look and feel, and while this game does have some cut scenes, there are very short and to the point. Everything is very short and to the point. Your mission here is to find out the location of Death’s Head’s hideout, and it takes the entirety of the game to do so. You’ll start by infiltrating Castle Wolfenstein, and eventually escape and fight your way through the nearby town of Wolfsburg and finish things off in the catacombs underneath the city’s graveyard. At some point Nazis start turning into Zombies and its a bit reminiscent of the DOOM games, culminating in a final fight against a huge mummy monster thing. You’re rescued by Fergus, and he will be your buddy through the next two games until his untimely demise in The New Colossus.

Overall it’s a short romp with less focus on story and more focus on killing Nazis. I enjoyed it, and it did fill in some story gaps from the overall epic. I’m very curious to see how things go in Youngblood, but we have to wait until next year to find out. That one being co-op is exciting, I’ll have to try and find a partner to play it, or perhaps pick it up on PS4 and play with my bff. One way or the other, my journey through this alternate timeline is complete for now, and I’m satisfied with the experience. I’d recommend all three Wolfenstein games highly, particularly if you enjoy killing Nazis in your spare time!

The Old Blood

You’ll have to pardon my absence over the last few days, I went on a mini-vacation for Independence Day to visit family and was pretty disconnected during that time. Just before we left, I finished off Wolfenstein II and was thrilled with the game. When I was nearing the end I got to talking with my lady and she was asking if there were any other Wolfenstein games out there, and aside from the original and older reboots, there was a lone game I had yet to play. Back in 2014, Wolfenstein: The New Order released and I played through that one, but when its prequel released in 2015, it was overlooked. The Old Blood is a prequel to The New Order, and thereby another game in the series that I hadn’t played and wanted to. It was still discounted via the Steam Summer Sale while we were having the conversation, so for $10 I would be able to complete my collection and potentially fill in some plot holes. I didn’t start it until we got back into town last night, but I can already tell it’s going to be enjoyable.

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What I have gathered so far, is that this game takes place in the 40’s, and at least starts in Germany. You’re still B.J., but you’re a younger version of him compared to the other games. In this timeline, you are facing the Nazi war machine head on, but the Allies are clearly losing the war. Continuing on, during the events of The New Order, the war is over and the Nazis control America. During The New Colossus, B.J. and co manage to start a revolution during the 1960’s and potentially start the downfall of the Nazi regime… we were teased with Youngblood during E3 this year, and that is supposed to take place during the 1980s and focuses on the twin daughters B.J.’s lady is carrying during The New Colossus. Perhaps then they will finally force the Germans out of America? Time will tell.

Back to The Old Blood. Thankfully because it is a prequel, playing it after the other two games hasn’t really affected the telling of the story. You’re undercover as a Nazi officer and entering into Castle Wolfenstein it seems. Much of the set design is reminiscent of the old Wolfenstein games we played decades ago, being a big sprawling castle and having a ton of Nazis inside to kill. There seems to be more puzzling portions, and you’ll gain some different abilities as compared to the other titles. One piece of equipment becomes a mainstay in your inventory – a big metal pipe. You can use it to climb walls, pry open doors, and most importantly stab people in their necks. Otherwise it’s a very similar game made by the same developers so you should feel right at home. I know I do. I’ve enjoyed the couple of chapters I’ve played through, but this does feel like a game I’ll complete faster than the others. At this time The New Order took about 10 hours, while The New Colossus took just under 9. I’m a couple hours into The Old Blood and on chapter 3 of 8 so I assume this one will clock in around 8 hours at this rate. Either way, still fun to be blasting Nazis and filling in story gaps.

I will report back once I’ve completed it, most likely by the end of the week if not sooner.