10. Portal 2
Portal 2, part of the award-winning franchise created and published by Valve, is an innovative puzzle game with new elements called portals, which, fired by a special gun at white walls, allows the player to use them for either passing through them, at which point he teleports from one to another or to send objects and enemies through them. Physical laws like gravity applies to them, so you can catch speed if you fall through the portals.
You are Chel, a mute test subject that has been awoken after a long time by a funny little spherical robot called Wheatley. After he manages to move your cabin in a rather horrifying way, you’re forced once more to go through test rooms with the help of your ole faithful Portal Gun in an attempt to escape the huge place you’re currently into. For the more detailed review on the game, visit “Top 10 Story-Driven Games”
9. Fallout: New Vegas
“War… war never changes.”
An almost 20 year old franchise continues with a new sequel named ‘New Vegas’. You are a courier that had the bad fortune of delivering an item that brought you a bullet in the head as payment. Found by a self-aware robot, you’re brought to the medic that lived in a nearby city, where you end up bandaged and taken care of until you recover. The first thing you do when you wake up is to choose your character looks, traits.
The traits consist in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L mechanic where you receive a certain amount of points that allows you to boost any of the attributes: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. Each trait will influence your character in a different way from being able to carry more items without having to slow down, to finding better weaponry or more money, etc.
New Vegas happens in the post-nuked Las Vegas and its surroundings, and your well-being depends on how well you communicate with the factions. You can choose your friends and enemies or you can try to kill them all. Besides potential human enemies you will also face gigantic mutant creatures like Radscorpions and Deathclaws or human mutants like Ghouls and Super Mutants.
For the more detailed article on the game, visit ‘Top 10 Open-World Games’.
8. Batman: Arkham City
The second game in the Batman: Arkham series, it takes place few years after the ending of its prequel ‘Arkham Island’. The mayor of Gotham has decided to transform a part of the city in a jail where the worst of the worst criminals will be harbored. For an unknown reason, Bruce Wayne is also captured and sent into Arkham City.
After receiving the suit, sent by his butler, Alfred, the greatest detective overhears that a great experiment will take place soon and he is the main component of it. The main mission becomes to see who sent him here and discover what the experiment consists of.
As Batman you have a rather large arsenal of non-lethal weapons, from the legendary batarangs to smoke nades, and batclaws. For most of the time a decrypter will be used to unlock gates and analyze radio frequencies. Since we’re talking about a master of stealth and silent kills, the game provides a lot of ways to hide or to stay out of sight as well as silent takedowns. Other devices used by Batman are either used once or twice if they’re fancy or more often but without the need of the player to launch the action.
Bruce can use his Spy Vision which is pretty much an X-ray vision with orange elements as things he can intereact with: Enemies, fire extinguishers, electrical boards and so on. The annoying thing about Batman is that he calls his butler to tell him the news but then, he stills comes with a suggestion by himself rendering the dialogue quite useless. Would’ve been better in my opinion to rather talk to himself.
But Arkham City doesn’t give you just one character to play with. Whenever Bats is in a tight situation or even unconscious it will switch to none other than Selina Kyle, the Catwoman. Selina with her own set of attacks and gadgets. Kitty’s x-ray vision is called the Thief Vision and provides a dark orange hue instead of the bright blue Bruce has. At least this one doesn’t have anyone to talk with on the comm.
Batman: Arkham City focuses mostly on brawling when it comes to fights, but some of it feels quite off when the character looks like he slides on ice to hit the next enemy. The fighting system also contains a counter-attack for those that are close to hit you. You can see which one is going to by an icon above their head.
Gadgets like batarang, batclaw and a few more can be used in the battle to leave you room for breathing and will even be rewarded with bonus experience for using various gadgets in your fights. Another way to receive bonus xp is by making fighting combos but they need to be well planned, because they expire quickly if there’s no one around to hit. The gathered experience can be used to upgrade your armor against melee and bullet weapons and new attack moves which are explained when you acquire them.
Besides the story mission, the player can find side missions either in form of training or through telephone booths or other ways. He can also find Riddler’s trophies that need to be collected, but some of them won’t be reachable in the beginning, the need to return after you gathered the needed gadgets being obvious. The gathered trophies will reveal new challenge maps, concept arts and more, which can be accessed from the game’s main menu.
Overall, Batman: Arkham City presents a quite good story, difficult puzzles, some difficult fights, lots of DC Universe villains and Selina Kyle as an alternative character to play with.
7. Cave Story
Cave Story is a 16-bit 2D side-scrolling shooter game with various RPG elements like weapon levels, key item gathering and so on. You play as a nameless robot boy that has no recollection of how he ended up in the cave you wake up in. Your first task is to find a weapon to protect yourself with from the various enemies you find right with the first step made out of the small cave. After that, you try to find out who you are and where you come from.
Even though the game is 2D, the field of view is extended, allowing the player to plan his attacks and moves against the enemies and bosses. Each boss in this game has an unique offensive pattern as well as model, soundtrack and sounds. The normal enemies themselves are no less threatening, from happy-looking jellies to ghosts, frogs, flying insects and even one immortal being that fortunately doesn’t come after you, but will kill you instantly if you’re in his path.
Similar to the Pokémon series (the early generations from Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Advanced), sometimes exploration will be needed in order to continue the story. Most of the story is continued from the safe zone; the safe zone is also used to teleport to hostile maps. The player can find hidden places throughout some of the maps that will give some key items that, despite their categorization, aren’t completely necessary to finish the story but can deeply alter it.
While most of the weapons are found through chests, some of them can be received by trading some of those you already have or in one case from a dead ally. Each weapon has 3 levels and can be upgraded by collecting some pick-ups that can be obtained from dead enemies. Each enemy and boss will drop a certain amount of crystals. You can lose progress on weapons by getting hit by enemies.
It is not necessary to kill the enemies with the weapons you want to upgrade. You can kill them with a certain weapon then gather the crystals while wearing the weapon you wish to upgrade. Besides losing weapon progress when getting hit, you will also lose health. Each enemy and boss deals a certain amount of damage. Health can be recuperated at any checkpoint area from the station that contains a heart icon.
You can also upgrade the amount of health points by finding health capsules which can expand the health bar by 3 to 5 points. The save areas are rather scattered on the maps, only 2 can be found on each of them. There is no autosave so don’t forget to save when you find one of those, it might prove very useful.
Reason why this indie was picked even if it’s old, is that, besides the fact it has been composed by only one guy, the depth and dramatism of the story can squeeze out a few tears or at least feel sorry for what happens in it from almost any player. Also the soundtrack is extremely well made and some of them quite catchy.