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Video Games for the non-Gamer 
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Post Video Games for the non-Gamer
Hello Reelviews peeps.

As some of you know, I'm blessed with a job I love that consumes an enormous amount of my time. I love it and I wouldn't change it. However, there are those little windows of time when I have a few moments to myself.

I was recently given an XBox 360 and I'm thinking of games to buy. I've never been a gamer... the extent of my gaming has been Madden, screwing around with the old GTA, etc. I did play Thief on the PC and enjoyed that a lot.

What I know of my taste: I'm not into a totally straight-RPG or anything turn-based. I enjoy strategy board games but I don't know if that enjoyment translates into this sort of gaming. I am intrigued by Skyrim, not by Mass Effect, if that makes sense. I'm not into simply collecting stuff/exchanging dialogue. That said, I don't want straight-laced action either... Call of Duty is fine enough playing against friends, but I do find the single-player campaign a bit dull. I do like the FPS-style, but prefer something a bit more intriguing and interesting (but again, not something who's only enjoyment is found in leveling up).

So I ask you, dear gaming friends... what do you recommend? As I said, I'm not the type who has the time or desire to only play in 6-hour sessions, so I want something fairly immersive but that can be put down (again, I'm intrigued by Skyrim because I've heard it's pretty open in how it lets you interact with it's world). But I'm open to hearing about anything anyone loves. Fire away! Any ideas are much appreciated. Doesn't need to be new or old... just good. Thanks!


Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:41 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
I would personally recommend Alpha Protocol, i'm not usually big on RPGs(the Elder Scrolls series does absolutely nothing for me) but this one really kept my attention, it combines a traditional RPG system with third-person shooter mechanics and works pretty well.


Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:57 pm
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Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
The first name that leaps into my head is Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It is sort of an action-RPG that isn't solely focused on leveling up (though there is that aspect as well) or solely focused on gung-ho action either. The game just gives you a specific set of objectives and allows you the freedom to approach it in any manner you wish. You can go in guns blazing or you can choose a more subtle approach with sneaking about or you can choose to subvert their gaze by hacking into security cameras and all that jazz. In-between all that, you get to level up your guy and earn points that you can choose to spend on any skill you want - Stealth oriented, hacking oriented, or improving your aim if you're playing an action-style. But this aspect isn't really as confusing as in any similar game; it is present in its most basic format so that you can improve your skillset, you're never going to spend hours wondering where to allocate your points or something like that. I played it and chose to be a completely silent guy so much so that I didn't kill anyone throughout the entire game (apart from the crappy boss fights).

The reason the game is so outstanding is the story and the world it takes place in. The dystopian world the game takes place in is really unique and the story is also really well though-out (though if you've seen Surrogates, you might have a vague deja vu). There are elements of it that are predictable and a few twists lack any real surprise, but for the most part, it is an incredibly well-written game that actually made me wonder about the future of our world and how dependent on technology we are.

I am going to stop there, otherwise I am going to end up sounding like someone straight out of the Eidos Marketing Division. Seriously though, I think you should give it a try. From what I've read about your tastes, it seems like a pretty decent fit. There are negatives like silly, stupid bossfights, but the positives far outweigh them. And except for a few story-critical missions, most of them can be completed in one small sitting. And the large story missions have enough checkpoints in them that you can come back when you like (I am like you in the sense that I don't have time to play long sessions).

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Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:04 pm
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Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
I second Human Revolution, it's one of the best games i've ever played, Skyrim can kiss my ass, Deus Ex is 100 times better.


Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:21 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
I'm not sure if this is quite what you're looking for, but the Burnout series is a pretty good time killer while still being easy to put down. Plus: crashing shit is baller.


Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:35 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Shade wrote:
I do like the FPS-style, but prefer something a bit more intriguing and interesting (but again, not something who's only enjoyment is found in leveling up).


The game that immediately jumped to mind when I read this is Bioshock, which might be my favorite game of the past several years. I love games that immerse you completely in their worlds, and Bioshock has one of the best worlds ever: a decaying underwater city. It's a FPS, but it relies more on incredible atmosphere and tension than on relentless action. Plus, it has a little thematic heft to it as well, which is always a nice bonus. Dead Space is another standout that offers a similar kind of experience. At this point, both can be found for a relatively cheap price.

The two recent Batman games, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, are also well worth checking out, if you have any interest.

Are you considering subscribing to Xbox Live? I ask because there are a few downloadable titles that are worth your attention. I'm thinking specifically of Braid and Limbo, both of which have been referenced frequently in the ongoing "games are art" discussion. Even if you don't feel the need to keep the subscription going, it would be worth trying it out for a month in order to download these titles.


Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:33 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Shade wrote:
Hello Reelviews peeps.

As some of you know, I'm blessed with a job I love that consumes an enormous amount of my time. I love it and I wouldn't change it. However, there are those little windows of time when I have a few moments to myself.

I was recently given an XBox 360 and I'm thinking of games to buy. I've never been a gamer... the extent of my gaming has been Madden, screwing around with the old GTA, etc. I did play Thief on the PC and enjoyed that a lot.

What I know of my taste: I'm not into a totally straight-RPG or anything turn-based. I enjoy strategy board games but I don't know if that enjoyment translates into this sort of gaming. I am intrigued by Skyrim, not by Mass Effect, if that makes sense. I'm not into simply collecting stuff/exchanging dialogue. That said, I don't want straight-laced action either... Call of Duty is fine enough playing against friends, but I do find the single-player campaign a bit dull. I do like the FPS-style, but prefer something a bit more intriguing and interesting (but again, not something who's only enjoyment is found in leveling up).

So I ask you, dear gaming friends... what do you recommend? As I said, I'm not the type who has the time or desire to only play in 6-hour sessions, so I want something fairly immersive but that can be put down (again, I'm intrigued by Skyrim because I've heard it's pretty open in how it lets you interact with it's world). But I'm open to hearing about anything anyone loves. Fire away! Any ideas are much appreciated. Doesn't need to be new or old... just good. Thanks!

Might I recommend this little game called Diablo III? Blizzard as a company is good for making games that are accessible to the casual, as exemplified by the institution known as World of Warcraft. I recommend it because it is an easy game to stop and start on a frequent basis, though it may prove to be difficult to stop once you start.


Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:22 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Might I recommend this little game called Diablo III? Blizzard as a company is good for making games that are accessible to the casual, as exemplified by the institution known as World of Warcraft. I recommend it because it is an easy game to stop and start on a frequent basis, though it may prove to be difficult to stop once you start.


Wondered if someone would mention this... I have to be honest and say that I don't like the top-down view or the click-and-kill action in that I want more control... is that an accurate assessment? I know the cutscenes are gorgeous, but is it a good-looking or immersive game otherwise?

Blonde Almond wrote:
The game that immediately jumped to mind when I read this is Bioshock, which might be my favorite game of the past several years. I love games that immerse you completely in their worlds, and Bioshock has one of the best worlds ever: a decaying underwater city. It's a FPS, but it relies more on incredible atmosphere and tension than on relentless action. Plus, it has a little thematic heft to it as well, which is always a nice bonus. Dead Space is another standout that offers a similar kind of experience. At this point, both can be found for a relatively cheap price.

The two recent Batman games, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, are also well worth checking out, if you have any interest.


Hmm... most interested in Bioshock. Would you recommend it over the sequel?

Balaji Sivaraman wrote:
The first name that leaps into my head is Deus Ex: Human Revolution.


I've also heard good things about this and am very intrigued... do you feel the game does multiple elements well? I'm sure it's not the best shooter, for example, but do you feel like each way to go about beating the challenges has some depth to it?


Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:41 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Shade wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Might I recommend this little game called Diablo III? Blizzard as a company is good for making games that are accessible to the casual, as exemplified by the institution known as World of Warcraft. I recommend it because it is an easy game to stop and start on a frequent basis, though it may prove to be difficult to stop once you start.


Wondered if someone would mention this... I have to be honest and say that I don't like the top-down view or the click-and-kill action in that I want more control... is that an accurate assessment? I know the cutscenes are gorgeous, but is it a good-looking or immersive game otherwise?

The control system in D3 is excellent- if your concern is the ability to see everything from the isometric 3rd-person perspective, have no fear, as the sight lines are crystal clear. The fact that terrain features will go transparent when you enter them seamlessly is a large reason for this. Not to mention that nearly everything can be done easily with keyboard and mouse, with mouse handling movement as well as combat. Being able to make your character do things is not an issue in the game.


Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:51 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Shade wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
The game that immediately jumped to mind when I read this is Bioshock, which might be my favorite game of the past several years. I love games that immerse you completely in their worlds, and Bioshock has one of the best worlds ever: a decaying underwater city. It's a FPS, but it relies more on incredible atmosphere and tension than on relentless action. Plus, it has a little thematic heft to it as well, which is always a nice bonus. Dead Space is another standout that offers a similar kind of experience. At this point, both can be found for a relatively cheap price.

The two recent Batman games, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, are also well worth checking out, if you have any interest.


Hmm... most interested in Bioshock. Would you recommend it over the sequel?


The sequel is solid, but it's mostly more of the same. It doesn't have quite the same "wow" factor as the original. But if you play the first one and enjoy it, then I would certainly recommend continuing forward.

Balaji Sivaraman wrote:
The first name that leaps into my head is Deus Ex: Human Revolution.


Shade wrote:
I've also heard good things about this and am very intrigued... do you feel the game does multiple elements well? I'm sure it's not the best shooter, for example, but do you feel like each way to go about beating the challenges has some depth to it?


Deus Ex: Human Revolution does allow for plenty of flexibility in completing objectives and advancing the game. I'm usually the type of player who'll go out of my way to kill everything, but for some reason I made it a goal with this game to make it through the whole thing without killing anyone, which provided a nice challenge. It's always a plus when a player gets multiple options for how they play through a game.


Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:13 pm
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Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
I would say the freedom is fairly relevant. For each situation, there are usually multiple paths and styles you can take. As you said, the action style is going to get really boring, really quick. I don't think it is going to be as satisfying as the other styles simply because I felt that the way the weapons are designed was not really conducive for that style. Apart from that, you can either choose to be a stealthy guy or you can choose to be a gadgety guy and use techniques like hacking into security cameras and all that. I wouldn't say both those styles are mutually exclusive since you are going to have to use both to get out of any particular situation, but you are going to be reliant on one (I was more of the hacking guy.)

For eg., there's a invisibility upgrade that can make you invisible for a few seconds. I thought that was useless and didn't upgrade it, until I got to a mission with lots of laser beams and realized that would've been really helpful to walk through them undetected. There are a variety of situations like that can be played out in any manner you want depending on the upgrades and arsenal you have. However, I will say that if you explore every nook and cranny of the game like I did, you are probably going to go through all the play styles within one playthrough itself, not that that's a bad thing.

Plus you have multiple paths within the same mission that you can explore to finish it in different ways. So, yes, there's a lot of freedom in how you choose to play the game, as well as in certain key choices that you make throughout the game. The latter will be a reflection of your character and how other's respond to him. This is not as profound as in, say, Mass Effect. But it still makes for some interesting conversation choices.

There I go again, sounding like an Eidos Marketing guy. But as Vex said, I think this is one of my favorite games of this generation. It really blew me away in how immersive it was. I would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Also, Bioshock is another great choice as well. My only gripe with that game was that, for what was primarily an FPS, the arsenal was relatively weak and uninteresting. The weapons didn't sound great and I never felt like I was holding a superior weapon towards the end of the game. However, the plasmids did more than make up for that and allowed for a lot of customization as well. Plus, the setting, the world and the story is easily amongst the top 3 of this generation. Though the much vaunted aspect of choosing to save/kill the Little Sisters didn't have that much of an effect on me as it apparently did on some people. Still, a really superior game. I still haven't really gotten into the sequel, but the first one was totally worth my time.

Another game I'd like to throw into the hat is The Orange Box. If you've never played a Half Life game before, then this package is worth it. You get Half Life 2, Episode One and Episode Two, as well as Portal which is easily one of the best games of all time. It is an FPS with no leveling aspect at all, but I would say it is another one of those games where you will just be blown away by how immersive the world and story is.

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This list... is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its margins lies the gulf.


Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:45 am
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Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Deus Ex is a good recommendation, also reminded me that I never quite finished it and really should go back because it was a decent story with some great gameplay.

Batman: Arkham Asylum & Arkham City are well worth checking out, simple combat system on the surface but rewarding if you choose to play with more advanced combo's. Great comic story and absolutely makes you feel like you're Batman - tons of gadgets (most can be used in combat) and beating down 10 thugs at once.

One that hasn't been suggested here yet is Red Dead Redemption which I truly believe was a masterpiece and easily one of the best games this generation of consoles. Good story, wonderful landscape to explore and tons to do that isn't just collecting junk that artificially pads most RPG games. Want to play some poker? Check. Want to duel with pistols on the street? Check. Want to play Five-Finger Fillet? Check. Want to don the Eastwood poncho and ride into town on a horse like a badass? Check.

I was in awe when you cross the border into Mexico with that Jose Gonzalez track playing, such a great, immersive game.


Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:02 pm
Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Why not sport games? You already like sports and you're looking for something that can be put down fairly easily. The NBA2K series is awesome (or it was until 2K6 which is the last one I played) and you can't go wrong with FIFA or Pro Evo Soccer.


Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:04 pm
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Post Re: Video Games for the non-Gamer
Skyrim is really, really great. It's very, very open-ended, and you can interact with the world in so many ways it's ridiculous. You don't have to play it in six-hour sessions, either; you can save it pretty much anywhere and pick up where you left off. But you should be aware that it is a massive, huge game.

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Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:57 pm
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