In video games, increasing your Field of View allows you to see more of the virtual world around you. The articles here will springboard off of these virtual worlds to encourage you to increase your F.O.V. in real life. From the biggest news in the industry, to reviews, to articles digging a little deeper to explore the messages within the world's most popular medium.
At the time of writing this, we right in the midst of the COVID-19 kerfuffle, and there’s a ton of people who are stuck at home a lot more than usual. Some are working from home. Some can’t work and are just home. Some are kids and teens off from school. Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services are struggling to keep up with the bandwidth demands, meaning people are desperate for something to do. We here at NEEERD Media are here to help!
In this series of articles, we’re going to take a look at my (Adam’s) personal recommendations of 20 (-ish…I cheated a bit) video games well worth the time in checking out. This is not a list of all time favourites, or what I would consider the all time greatest (yes, I delineate the two). Those will each probably have their own lists somewhere down the line. I made sure to keep in mind games on a variety of platforms, and for a variety of ages.
This is part 4 out of 4 in this series of articles. If you missed the first 3 parts, be sure to go back and check them out as well. The list is alphabetical, so reading order doesn't particularly matter.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
© 2019 – Electronic Arts
There have been a lot of Star Wars games over the years. Some have been incredible, like the old Battlefront games. Some have been pretty terrible, like as Super Bombad Racing. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm, a lot of people wondered what this would mean for Star Wars games, especially in the wake of highly anticipated projects like 1313 being cancelled outright. Then, there came more nerves once news came out that EA, a notoriously hit or miss publisher, had acquired exclusive rights to develop game with the Star Wars IP. Then came the first Battlefront from DICE, which, though certainly not perfect (why remove any narrative component from a narrative-focused franchise!?), it was generally fun, well constructed, and visually stunning! Then a wave of cancellations, the Battlefront 2 monetization controversy, and assorted other troubles hit, not to mention some other serious misfires from other EA games. So by the time the renowned developers Respawn announced a new single-player, story-driven Star Wars game, fans were…nervous. Then they kept so much under wraps for so long, and only released more details in a very short window before release. What we saw looked great, but we were still nervous. Then it finally came out. And it. Was. Worth. The. Wait. Is it perfect? No, of course not. At launch especially there were definitely some bugs and technical hiccups to deal with. However, I would stand by the claim that it is the best single-player Star Wars game ever made. Great story, set just a few years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Great characters. Awesome nods to the established universe, while also adding its own unique contributions. The combat and gameplay are super fun and deep, making you actually stop and think verses the usual hack-and-slash lightsaber fare. Even the lowest-level enemies can kill you if you’re not careful. Despite the publisher’s obvious lack of faith and enthusiasm around the title, the developers lovingly crafted a fun, engaging, and authentically Star Wars experience that is well worth your time.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
© 2018 – Nintendo
I mentioned in my recommendation for the new Doom titles the simple joys, amidst stressful times, of unleashing some violence and carnage. Now, if you’re looking for a similar outlet as that, but aren’t too keen on the level of brutality and gore that Doom offers, then I offer up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for your consideration. Smash has always been not only a top-tier fighting game, but also a celebration of gaming itself. And nowhere has that been more true than with Ultimate, which brings the signature gameplay perfection together with updated visuals, a ton of maps, and literally every character ever to be featured in the history of Smash, along with some exciting new additions from Nintendo and beyond. The DLC fighters have only continued to expand the roster into new and exciting territory, with characters like Joker from the (at the time) Playstation exclusive Persona 5. What makes this a perfect game while you’re stuck at home? Well, first of all, it’s pretty much a perfect game. Second of all, it’s as good as couch multiplayer gets, and while there’s definitely some co-op options, there’s also the golden opportunity to beat up your family members without anyone actually getting hurt! Plus, the single-player ‘campaign’ is not only creative, and challenging, but it’s also long. So between that and the endless variety afforded by the highly customizable multiplayer experience, you will literally never run out of things to do in the game. The online component is still pretty shaky, which detracts from the experience a bit. But overall, Smash Ultimate is one of the best games available for the Switch, and definitely sits comfortably on the ‘must have’ list of games on the platform.
Super Mario Maker 2
© 2019 – Nintendo
Speaking of infinitely replayable Nintendo ‘must-have’ games, here’s Super Mario Maker 2. Fun single player campaign to help you learn about all the basics of the game? Check. Ability to create and share your own Mario levels set in a bunch of iconic Mario styles, from the original on to more modern 3D offerings? Check. Infinite number of creations ranging from the cute and creative, to the punishingly difficult, shared by people online for you to attempt? Check. Co-op play? Check. Slopes? Check, check, and check! It is literally impossible to run out of things to do in Super Mario Maker 2. If you get tired of just simply making individual levels, why not try your hand at designing a whole game start to finish? 8 worlds, ten levels each, with a mid-boss and a final boss. Go on. Try it. I mean, why not? You’ve got the time, right?
The Uncharted Series
© 2016 – Naughty Dog
One thing we all tend to crave at one point or another in our lives, especially when we’ve been stuck indoors for any great length of time, is adventure. I think there’s a part of us all that dreams of venturing out across the globe, piecing together clues, dodging dastardly fiends or fighting our way through them in search of long lost treasure. It’s why things like Indianna Jones have always had an enduring charm and appeal. We also live in an age of cinematic blockbusters with spectacles on a scale unheard of on our screens prior. So the ultimate dream would be to take the adventure of Indianna Jones with the spectacle of a Hollywood blockbuster film, and put ourselves right in the centre of it. Man…wouldn’t that be something? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Uncharted series. For all but the most recent entry (which was a DLC that became a spinoff), you are put in the shoes of one of gaming’s most loveable rogues, Nathan Drake (impeccably voiced by the legend that is Nolan North). Nate has spent a large portion of his life, along with his mentor Sully, searching the globe for the lost treasures of his supposed ancestor, real-life historical figure Sir Francis Drake. Along with aspiring documentarian Elena, the first game starts by uncovering a new clue leading to Drake’s lost fortune (thus, the title Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune). The series launches from there from one stunning set piece to the next in a often hilarious, sometimes emotional, but always exhilarating adventure. In the tradition of games like Tomb Raider before it, you spend your time working your way through Nate’s story as he hunts for hidden treasures, solves puzzles, and guns down hoards of baddies. Beneath all the spectacle is a genuinely engrossing story, with extremely well-written and developed characters, and an absolutely stunning voice cast. Naughty Dog, the same developers behind The Last of Us, are absolute legends in the industry, with a pedigree of games matched only by the likes of Nintendo, Valve, or CD Projekt Red. The Uncharted games are pioneers in action gameplay and storytelling, as well as on a technical level in design and visuals (Uncharted 4 is, in my opinion, still the best looking game on the PS4…at least until the upcoming Ghost of Tsushima, or even more likely when Naughty Dog outdoes themselves with The Last of Us Part II). If you haven’t experienced the tale of Nathan Drake for yourself yet, go ahead and download The Nathan Drake Collection, which is a remastered collection of the first three entries in the franchise. And then get Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and experience what the PS4 is really capable of, while also closing out Drake’s story. Then treat yourself to the lovely little epilogue that is The Lost Legacy, starring one of my personal favourite characters in the franchise, Chloe, voiced by the ever-so-delightful Claudia Black. Uncharted is one of the premiere franchises in gaming history, and certainly sits atop an auspicious pile of Playstation exclusives. I highly recommend giving them a go!
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
© 2018 – IO Interactive
I know you’re a little confused. This list was supposed to be alphabetical, but the final entry start with an ‘H’ and immediately follows an entry that starts with ‘U’. No, I’m not illiterate, but as I was working on my final entry on this list I decided, for a variety of reasons that I won’t bother getting into, to make a last-minute substitution. So in this final slot stands the most recent entry in the longstanding Hitman franchise. Put very simply, this game is stupid, hilarious fun. The premise is very simple. You are a Hitman, serving largely on the side of the angels taking out some of the worst people the world has to offer. You enter a mission with a target, or targets, described in some way for you, as well as potentially another side objective or two, and then you get about the business of doing what a hitman does. From there, the game has a number of predetermined ‘opportunities’ of which you may avail yourself, but you don’t have to. Each level essentially serves as a large sandbox filled with a variety of toys for you to mix and match however and whenever you want to whatever over-the-top effect you desire. As you progress, you unlock a massive arsenal of gadgets and weapons that you can smuggle in with you, with everything from your typical firearm fare, to exploding rubber duckies, to a ninja throwing star, and just about anything in between. From using a giant fan to blast a scummy film director off of the roof of a skyscraper, to locking a whacko secret society/cult leader inside of a giant burning effigy, there’s an endless variety of ways to handle every situation. Each map comes with a variety and abundance of main mission challenges, as well as various remixes, ranging from bonus missions featuring unique side stories apart from the campaign, some of which offering radical changes and adjustments to the pre-existing maps, to Escalations, which are a series of missions that add additional victory conditions as you progress through them, to custom contracts, to timed ‘Elusive Targets’ that prove highly difficult and with a perma-fail condition to up the stakes above the norm. Whether you’re going through as a highly skilled and lethal spectre to achieve the ‘Silent Assassin’ rank, or if you’d prefer to run around in a giant pink flamingo mascot costume knocking everyone you can unconscious by whacking them with a large fish, there is no end to the variety this game affords. In addition to the second game’s levels and campaign, you can also get the entirety of the game’s predecessor, including all DLC and bonus content, with all of the visual, mechanical, and quality-of-life improvements of the second game, meaning you essential get two games in one. I’ve invested dozens of hours into this game, and still haven’t come close to experiencing all that it has to offer. The second game even includes some multiplayer offerings in the form of the cooperative ‘Sniper Assassin’ mode and the competitive ‘Ghost Mode.’ This is a super fun, super well designed romp that affords near endless replayability, as much challenge as you want, and a ton of laughs. It’s a personal favourite of mine, and a perfect way to cap off this list of game recommendations.