6. Spec Ops: The Line
This game might have my favorite story ever that belongs to a third-person shooter, taking place sometime after a high number of sandstorms have hit Dubai, leaving the city a complete ghost town. However, after a while an SOS signal is launched, and a team composed of 4 soldiers is sent to answer the call.
Cruising through a scene depicted of an apocalyptic movie, you manage to find people alive struggling to survive, but though you consider yourself as a savior, the locals think of you as a terrorist due to the bloodshed you cause trying to reach them. Up until the very last moment of the game’s story you are forced to make morale choices starting with as simple as ‘Who do you think the bad guy is’, up to and deciding your very own fate.
Gameplay and Features
The game uses basic tactical shooter systems as covering behind any wall, rock, crate, etc., the possibility to guide your team to perform various offensive and defensive tasks, run’n’slide to cover and so on. There are several types of enemies, with clothing/armor and behavior typical to their weaponry.
You will have your typical assault rifle guys that tend to shoot and cover, a distant sniper that likes to leave big holes inside you, the big-armored lmg’ers and then you have the ambushing mad guys that wield knives, and they can be really troublesome when you are under fire.
Maps and Weapons
The player gets to use a wide variety of weapons: From those based on lead to pure explosives. Several types of pistols, machine guns, sub-machine guns, rifles, and even sniper rifles, grenade and rocket launchers will be available for you to unleash mayhem amongst those you consider enemies.
As previously mentioned, the whole story takes place in the sand-flooded city of Dubai. Buildings buried in sand, wrecked or abandoned vehicles taking the place of population instead of the humans that used to inhabit the city. And even a stranded yacht will play an important role when you try to defend your behind.
The skyscrapers offer a doomsday-like, lifeless view of what’s left of the once oil-rich city, feeling like a complete ghost town except for those 2-3 snipers that take aim at you. Symbolic graffiti painted on the walls sending horrifying messages about the city’s murderous past. The developers were careful enough to plant lots of details throughout the game, in the moments where you have no enemy to fight.
– Possibly one of the best dramatic stories ever placed in a third-person shooter game.
– Cool graphics
– Gorgeous fight scenes both on the ground and in the air
– The morale choices can affect the player in real life. (Just a mood change, nothing serious)
– Variety of weapons, the ability to use 2 of them at any time.
– Some of the fights were a bit too hard, serious reattempts with the blind hope of getting that bit of luck needed to pass the fighting stage.
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Steam Store Page: Click Here
Similar Games: Freedom Fighters, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Series, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
5. Portal 2
The second title from the innovating puzzle game, Portal, made by Valve might have one of the greatest antagonists in the history of gaming, right there with Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3. In Portal the objective of the game is easy, cross from point A to B, preferably alive and defeat the evil boss. Following the story of the first game, after you defeated GLaDOS, you are placed into a room, where you’re sent into a reaaalllyyy long sleep.
Waking up after Nine, nine, nine, nine, nine, nine … nine days . You are greeted by a funny little robot with a British accent named Wheatley. He’s supposed to get you out of that room, alive, but does a terrible job at it. Once you get out, you get the Portal gun and continue from where you left off last time.
Gameplay and Features
As in Portal 1, the portal gun is the innovative thing: a weapon that is capable of shooting 2 portals – one serving as the entry portal, and the other one as an exit portal (Yes, I said the word ‘portal’ so many times because the game is about portals!). In the sequel, you are introduced to 4 sorts of gels that will help you solve the puzzles. There’s the Repulsion gel that allows any object or being (that means you), to bounce of it like on a trampoline.
Second in the line is the Propulsion Gel that allows, as aforementioned, everything movable, to increase the object’s velocity while reducing the friction – feeling a bit like having nitrous on ice. Conversion gel is the 3rd gel that allows the user to fire his portal gun at surfaces that were previously unable to be used on. The 4th is the Cleansing gel which, as the name says, it cleans any other kind of gel, returning the surface to its default properties.
Another feature that adds more variety to the puzzles is the Hard Light Bridge, a platform made of natural sunlight beamed from the surface. It can act both as a bridge or a shield from almost anything, like turrets or hazardous materials.
Compared to the prequel, the story in Portal 2 is a lot bigger and funnier with some nice plot twists. New characters make their appearance in the game like Wheatley and Cave Johnson, the (former) CEO of Aperture Laboratories (The company in which you forcefully work as a tester) and old ones like the wonderful and deadly Turrets. I cannot add more to this without spoiling the story so we’ll skip directly to Pros and Cons:
– Innovating puzzle gameplay
– Extremely good voice-acting
– Gorgeous soundtracks
– Antagonist is full of sarcasm and snotty comments
– There won’t be any more sequels to it.
4. Borderlands 2
With this game, I concluded a secondary and smaller Top list, that of my 3 most favorite antagonists in games. Five years after the story developed in the prequel, a new malevolent entity rises over the planet of Pandora that threatens to destroy the wild equilibrium. You start as one of 6 Vault Hunters that went on a train, crashed by the master villain’s robotic helpers.
You regain consciousness due to a little yellow metallic box that was talking to himself, digging through the dead corpses around you. Once you get up, the little CL4P-TP (or going by the locally designated name Claptrap) starts teaching you how to loot off of dead bodies and how to walk short distances in order to bring the game’s antagonist, Handsome Jack, to Pandoran’s way of Justice (a.k.a death).
The other basic things like shooting everything that attacks you (Read: anything that’s not in the safe cities) will have to rely on what you already know about the subject in question.
Gameplay and Features
As with the first Borderlands, the game is an almost perfect combination of Diablo 2 and the FPS genre. Killing thousands of enemies and looting them for weapons, ammo and other items – then selling those things in order to buy better weapons and items. NPC Vendors outside the safe zones are replaced with vending machines. Options like storing any kind of item in the bank for later use is available, as well as a shared loot system in which you can place up to 4 items, connect with any other character, and share them.
Besides the aforementioned options, there are some other good things compared to the first installment of the series: You can duel with any of your buddies that are in the same gameroom with you, for newly purchased or looted stuff, as well as money, or you can just trade them without the fear of getting scammed (if you play with strangers).
Also the elemental damages have been reworked and a new element has been added that acts like a damage booster. Elemental types are: Fire, Shock, Corrosive, Explosive and Slag. You can now drift with the vehicles in the game as well as getting a new tanky vehicle for you to enjoy.
Item skins, weapon reloading and behavior types have also been reworked to look more unique according to each manufacturer. But not everything is pink (at least in my opinion) in this installment – as some features, more or less needed, were removed like the falling damage or the ability to see who picked up which weapon and what rarity it was.
The gameplay is pretty much like any modern shooter, except the fact that each of the bazillion guns feels and play differently, with some of them having extremely unique behaviors (we’ll cover that up on the next segment). As mentioned above you have the ability to drive vehicles, and you can also drift with them by pressing a key.
While the drifting feature is easy to learn it can prove itself a hard challenge to master effectively. Since the game has Diablo II as his grandpa there will be tons of looting to do, with dozens of types of chests ranging from the normal futuristic treasure chests, up to lockers and toilets.
As we are used to, once your health depletes you don’t immediately die, but go into ‘Fight for your life’ mode, which has been improved in this sequel. The ‘Fight for your life’ mode gives you a second chance to keep up the shooting spree by murdering any enemy that has the misfortune of standing in front of your crosshairs.
The improvement over the first game is that now you can crawl (or run, depending on your character) in order to have a chance to reach an enemy that has gone into hiding compared to being immobile in the first Borderlands.
Weapons, Maps and Enemies
There is a huge range of items to loot, since everything you can find is actually an item built from random parts. There are several categories of weapons, including: SMG’s, Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Pistols, Revolvers and so on, which are split into rarities from Very Common to Legendaries.
In Borderlands 2, each legendary item, be it weapon, shield or anything else, has a unique behavior trait. For example: The Infinity Pistol shoots infinite bullets without the need to recharge or have its ammo depleted. The Bee Shield allows the player to shoot damage boosted bullets until he takes damage from an enemy.
My favorite, The Duke Nukem Rocket Launcher, creates a mushroom nuke upon detonation. As noticed above, the game will have various Easter eggs from a multitude of other games. But, besides the Duke Nukem, I will not spoil any other weapon or Easter egg. It should be noted as well that though usually the legendaries have unique traits, they are not the only ones.
Basically, every item that has Red Text on its Stats Card has some kind of unique trait. If you are not sure what the text means or what the weapon does, you can search it on google and an explanation will be offered.
The maps are in an open area style, though you may encounter a bit too many invisible walls which strips the pleasure of attempting to scale small cliffs or high places, interconnected through gateways. Unlike the prequel, Borderlands 2 offers a huge variety of landscapes, from the frozen hell you wake up into, to exotic oases and a futuristic city.
Enemies befitting every type of landscape, be it animal or human and sometimes even annoying robots will take their chance at claiming your life. Each important enemy, usually revealed through a short cutscene has a chance of dropping a weapon that has red text on it. You will get to fight the omnipresent skags, bandits and psychos with their badass relatives, bots of all kinds, tentacled worms called threshers and my favorites: the stalkers, a fast animal that has the ability of going invisible both on radar and in front of you.
Some of the bosses have a low spawn chance or a series of tasks it is needed to be performed in order to bring them to the field or even create them (For example the Varkid Badass), making the grind for their legendary items much more tedious and annoying, but it can bring a good few more hours of gameplay for those perfectionistic gamer types.
Borderlands contains a high number of expansions including new story, missions, cosmetics and extremely hard bosses (known in-game as Raid Bosses, which can give a new type of rarity weapon called Seraphs. It also adds 2 new playable characters alongside the 4 that came with the vanilla version, adding new ways to play through the story and have fun.
Borderlands 2’s Playable Characters:
As we were used to from the first game, you can choose one of the 4 characters available to play as. Each of the characters have a journal tape that can be played from the moment you take control of your character, which will quickly brief you about your past. Each player has his own skill tree, preference of weapons, play styles and special skill.
The first on the list is the Commander Axton, an ex-military gone rogue. His focus is on Assault Rifles and, as his special skill, uses an automated turret which later, through the skill tree, can protect you with a shield or shoot with mini-nukes.
Following under Axton, is Zer0, an unknown marksman, completely mysterious, his whole body covered by an aerodynamic suit and class-specific helmet who enjoys talking in poetry rhymes. His main class of weapons are the snipers, and his ability to go invisible, for a limited amount of time, allows him to get close and personal with his katana for surprise sneak-attacks.
My second favorite playable character is Maia, a siren that has the ability to Phaselock enemies. The Phaselock consists in immobilizing enemies in the air, allowing you and your teammates to shoot them down without any problems. Though it won’t work on everyone, the big bosses will only take damage from her special power. She enjoys elemental weapons, especially SMG’s.
The last but not least from the vanilla characters is Salvador, a perverted midget (from what you’ll see by taking a peek at the wanted posters) that can hold any 2 weapons in his hands as his special skill. He enjoys explosive weapons: Any Torgue manufactured weapon or rocket launchers.
Following through the order of apparition in DLC’s is Gaige, a cute steampunk teenager that has a floating robot as her sidekick and special skill. She prefers damage power over accuracy, claiming that ‘Accuracy is overrated anyway’.
The sixth character is somewhat a surprising one and my favorite in the whole Borderlands series. Krieg, a badass psycho that escaped from Hyperion’s testing labs, has a grim past and chooses to become a Vault Hunter and in the meantime also hunt for those that hurt him. I can only imagine his satisfaction when you finally put down the game’s antagonist.
Special Warning for those that will choose to play him: He is not for the faint of heart, the amount of blood you will see caused by him is enough to cover the whole planet in a reddish hue. Though he is difficult at the beginning he can become extremely overpowered at later levels (Around lv 30) managing to clear out whole missions and maps without dying once.
– A huge amount of hours can be lost in playing the game
– A well-deployed story that can and almost certainly will make you hate the antagonist
– Six well-defined playable characters
– Some Easter eggs
– An almost infinite amount of weapons to be found
– The lack of fall damage like in Borderlands 1
– The high amount of invisible walls
– The high chance of the enemy to go hiding when he leaves you in ‘Fight for your life’ mode.
Genre: First-Person Shooter, Action, Role-playing
Publisher: 2K Games
Price: 19.99 $/€
Similar Games: Borderlands, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas.