Top 5: Favorite Open-World Games

So here’s a story. I just started replaying Skyrim. The end.

Well, I didn’t say it’d be a very exciting story.

I’ll have more to say on Skyrim later this week, but for now, it’s worth revisiting this post I recently wrote for Virtual Bastion on my some of my favorite open-world games. Sans, Skyrim. But I already told you that story.


As much as I enjoyed my first trek through Mass Effect: Andromeda, the game left me a bit soured with regard to open-world games. Surely the feeling is only temporary, but as I search for something to take its place that’s not Borderlands 2 (so fun!), I find myself avoiding anything that resembles an open-world experience (even though Borderlands 2 does kinda, sorta fit that bill). The dilemma, though, lies in the fact that I’ve woven my way through some fantastic sandboxes in the past, so why not pick one to play again or for the first time? Why not choose an open-world game that gives players freedom, provides an excellent story and a beautiful (or beautifully dangerous) environment, along with substantial or unusual side quests that are worth pursuing? Once I started looking at my options, the floodgates opened. I eventually came up with many more than five…

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Top 5: Most Emotional Gaming Moments

There are games that challenge players as they attempt to get from point A to point B. There are games that challenge players to survive waves of multitudinous enemies. And then there are games that challenge players to connect emotionally with the events happening on-screen. Take what you will from my terrible oversimplification here, but when a game hits you right in all the feels, and sometimes unexpectedly so, it’s doing something right. This I discussed recently over on United We Game with this post, a rundown of some of my favorite emotional moments in gaming.


Image by Flickr user Beautiful Games (CC)Image by Flickr user Beautiful Games (CC)

I’ve never been one to get overly demonstrative with my games, but I was recently reminded of just how powerful a single event in a game can be. Whether it’s a moment that makes you laugh, makes you cry, or makes you scream out in joy or anger, great games have them.  Sometimes our reactions to them are severely personal. Other times they reflect inclusiveness and a sense of community. What’s bringing out this list from me, now, is the Mass Effect trilogy, which I recently completed (yay!). While I had played the three games at the times of their releases, not until now had I played them back to back. While doing so didn’t change any of my sentiments towards the games (they are all-time favorites), it did change the way I viewed the story of my Commander Shepard. The…

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What’s left to say about Xenoblade Chronicles other than play it?

Forgive the poor quality - I'm pretty sure that my hands were shaking uncontrollably.
Forgive the poor image quality – I’m pretty sure that my hands were shaking uncontrollably while trying to get this shot.

It happens every now and again. I sit down to write about a particular game, and with the blank page in front of me, I can’t think of a single damn word to say. The problem with writing about Xenoblade Chronicles at this moment is that I written about it before, more than once. First, there was that time here a couple years back when I started XC only to realize that there was no way in hell I was ever going to finish it.

Hey, how did that trip to Colony 9 go?

And then, earlier this year, I picked the game back up again, and it became the highlight of my year. Over the summer, I wrote about various aspects of the game in three different posts on United We Game.

If happiness is a battle system, then Xenoblade Chronicles makes me smile

It’s never too late to learn something new (in a video game)

Xenoblade Chronicles is over, and I’m…happy?

Continue reading “What’s left to say about Xenoblade Chronicles other than play it?”

If Happiness is a Battle System, then Xenoblade Chronicles Makes Me Smile

There are no two ways about it — since finishing DA: Inquisition, I’ve been OD’ing on Xenoblade Chronicles. At this point, it’s like heroin: the immediate and thrilling high of playing it far outweighs its later consequences. Recently on United We Game, I discussed one of the game’s most addictive aspects: its usual and wonderful battle system. Auto-attack, unique and easy to access abilities, and a brilliant cast of teammates are all I want from any game now.


Image by cary. It's mine, I tells ya! MINE! Image by cary. It’s mine, I tells ya! ALL MINE!

Though I might have conked out on my self-promise to complete Metroid Prime, I haven’t given up on a number of other challenges that persist in my backlog, one of which is finishing Xenoblade Chronicles. Long story short, back in 2013, I started Xenoblade Chronicles, only to give it up after realizing just how long it was. At 60+ hours just to beat the main story (and 100+ to complete everything), I simply didn’t have that kind of time to devote to a single game. This past February, a copy of the game wormed its way back into my life, and I couldn’t turn it away this time. I picked the game back up, right at my last save point from two years ago, a mere five hours into the game. I’m now just over 40 hours…

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Deleting the Fluff; Playing with Passion

I’ll admit it. For awhile there I was really into playing games on my tablet. I had lots of games from which to choose, and that number seemed to grow weekly every time I logged into Google Play. All it took was the re-introduction of Xenoblade Chronicles to make me take a long, hard look at the direction in which my gaming life was going. I covered this journey to redemption (or maybe “redemption”) in the following post for United We Game.


If I was placed under duress to name one amazing aspect of modern gaming, (because there are many) it would be accessibility. Simply put, one need not stray far from common technologies to access video games. They are available through consoles, desktops, laptops, streaming devices (i.e. Roku), tablets, and phones. And perhaps most importantly, a good many available games are FREE. Well…make that “free,” at least in some cases.

When I first got a phone that was capable for playing games, I loaded it to the brim with free fodder like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Same thing happened when I got my first tablet. Only with the tablet, I expanded my game gobbling to include paid titles as well as freemium games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. And I was happy. I was happy to have nothing less than…

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Hey, how did that trip to Colony 9 go?


…not so well.

Oh how I miss it too… (source)

Remember way back when I mentioned a little game I had started called Xenoblade Chronicles? No? Um…I, uh…well, awhile back on this here blog I made mention of this well-known, and now rare game. I rented the game after finishing The Last Story since I was still on a JRPG high. And things were going along well until…until…I learned much for my own good.

Continue reading “Hey, how did that trip to Colony 9 go?”