Krikket posted on her five favourite game series after seeing a tweet doing the rounds asking the same. She thought it a great blog post prompt — and so do I. Except even after almost the entirety of the day thinking about it, I’m not certain at all that I can lock down a top five!

I have a number of ideas, and perhaps that might be the best criteria. The things that come top of mind when thinking about what the best five might be. But even so, I’m almost certain I’ll wake up tomorrow, or a few days from now and suddenly curse as I think of what a horrible mistake I made in omitting something that in retrospect is glaringly obvious.

So in no particular order — except for the fact I’ll start with the two where I directly overlap with Krikket — here we go!

The Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I don’t go back as far as some do with TES; I played a demo of Arena I suppose — but I can’t really claim a love for the series until TES III: Morrowind. But when I fell; I fell hard. It consumed countless hours of my gaming time. Not just in playing, but in hunting down and experiencing a range of amazing mods for the game. Some gameplay changes, some additional story content, some total conversions even.

I’m not 100% sure this is true, but I think Morrowind was the first game where I experienced the power of mods to this degree and it became a feature I loved about games (including the then-future TES titles) ever since.

Oooh; actually — Doom TC’s were probably my first. Not quite on the same modding scale as here perhaps; but then again, playing Aliens in it? Pretty amazing. :D

Civilisation

Civilisation IV — probably the entry I spent the most time with overall.

Sometime in my teens, I managed to somehow convince my mother to get me a CD-ROM and soundcard upgrade for my PC.

I got a Genuine CreativeLabs SoundBlaster 16 with 2x Speed CD-ROM drive in a bundle. Said bundle included a fairly substantial number of games – Ultima 8, Wing Commander II, Strike Commander, Syndicate (!!) and more.

One of those titles was Civilisation. I ignored it at first. It looked boring. City stuff? Top down graphics? Eiw. No thank-you. I’ll go back flying a spaceship thank-you.

Couldn’t tell you what ultimately led me to try Civilisation out despite those impressions. Possibly I’d simply gone through everything else to the point of satisfaction already?

Whatever the reason was, I’m glad I did. Because I found an experience I loved more than I ever would have anticipated from the outside looking in, and I’ve followed the series ever since.

XCOM

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

For this one, I do explicitly mean the rebooted XCOM series starting with XCOM: Enemy Unknown rather than the original X-COM series. I never played the latter, so Firaxis’ rebooted series was my personal entry point.

I thrashed the ever loving bejeebus out of both main game entries though, and their expansions. While I’m still a little skeptical about the upcoming XCOM: Chimera Squad, I’m still pretty dang keen to give it a go.

I just mostly hope that we get another mainline entry announced soon. Bring on XCOM 3!

Dark Souls

Dark Souls III

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time — it may not surprise you to find that more often than not, I don’t finish the games I start.

I had a really rough start with my entry to the Dark Souls games. It looked like I wasn’t even going to get through the tutorial let alone the entire game.

I was convinced the controls were shit, the game was shit, and that the whole thing could just go burn in a lake of fire.

Fortunately, I got over it on a subsequent attempt to get into the game. And while it certainly wasn’t a story of love at first sight; it has been an enduring one — and one that got me past my usual proclivity towards jumping from games to instead finishing all three entries, start to finish, at least once in full. I’ve probably put the most hours of all into Dark Souls III as it’s the easiest of them to get multiplayer going in but I’d be honestly pretty hard pressed to pick a favourite over all.


Those four come relatively easily.

But the last? Oh boy.

Is it Final Fantasy? Dragon Age…? Nah; I loved the first one… But the next two. *sigh*

Mass Effect is certainly a potential; despite the disappointing end.

Warcraft? Command and Conquer? Just Cause?

Oh wow. No. I got it. Just flicked over to my ‘Favourites’ list in Steam. *face palm* There is, in fact, one clear answer to this for me after all.


The Witcher

The Witcher 3

The Witcher 1 was based on a heavily modified version of the Aurora engine. The Bioware game engine that drove Neverwinter Nights (not the MMO from Perfect World!). I was *heavily* into NWN1 for many years. I played DnD sessions online with it. I played on persistent worlds that other modders made. I was incredibly impressed with the CoPaP initiative (Confederation of Planes and Planets) — an extension made by the community which allowed player data to ‘travel’ from one hosted game server to another; essentially allowing for MMO scale worlds to be created in NWN where each shard contained a part of the overall world.

Heck, I even went on to host and create worlds as part of a guild project, where we endeavoured to replicate the release cycle of Asheron’s Call — in that we would have monthly drops of new content to the server, adding to an ongoing world story.

I mention all this, because it was in the midst of all this that I first heard about CD Projekt’s Witcher project. I remember seeing the screenshots and frankly being incredibly impressed that they’d managed such visual fidelity out of Neverwinter Night’s engine.

I had assumed (incorrectly) that being based on this engine; it would be a free addon/mod to the game as most everything else released outside of the main expansions was.

When I found out that this was not the case, I turned up my nose initially.

So I didn’t come to The Witcher until relatively late. It was after the enhanced edition had been released. I don’t even recall now how I ended up with a copy of the game.

But I’m so glad I did.

The depth of story telling and ability to quite dramatically shift the course of The Witcher games even in the earlier releases was a revelation. The Witcher 3 seems a near perfection of their art.

At this point I’m willing to throw my money at essentially anything CD Projekt Red chooses to work on, as they have earned a very high degree of trust from me.


One Last Request

Krikket had one last request in her post. For us to make a suggestion of just a single title to pick-up and try.

The Witcher 3 might’ve been my starting point for her, except that Krikket already has it on her list of games to tackle in 2020.

Civilisation and The Elder Scrolls are shared between our lists already.

So my recommendation might come a little left field; I don’t know for sure Krikket would enjoy it (or even that she hasn’t already tried the series at some point!) — but here we go:

XCOM 2.

Particularly great, is customising soldier appearances and names to bring your friends into the game. xD

Unfortunately; it still isn’t the cheapest title to pick-up outside of a sale. But the length of enjoyment one can garner from the title (assuming it ends up being up your alley!) is pretty incredible; and that’s even before you start adding mods to the picture!


This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!



Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

16 Comments

Tipa · April 23, 2020 at 1:12 am

XCOM-2 is amazing. Great recommendation. The Witcher 3 is also on my list to pick up — I’ve never played the games, but I have watched the TV series and read one of the books, so I think I am finally ready for the game.

I wonder what my five favorite game series would be… there’s one obvious selection, but I think this could be a post of its own.

    Naithin · April 23, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Looking forward to seeing your list as well then, Tipa! :D

    If you haven’t played any of the Witcher games to date, I think I’d just recommend jumping straight into three. The first two games certainly aren’t bad, but I suppose it will depend largely on your tolerance for game mechanics and design philosophies now many years past their prime.

Dale Hooper · April 23, 2020 at 1:24 am

“I was convinced the controls were shit, the game was shit, and that the whole thing could just go burn in a lake of fire.”

I feel you there with Dark Souls… I think these are potentially still my thoughts, I got a good way through number one (Really cannot remember if I finished it) and just left with those impressions. Maybe I should just own up and give them a proper chance. Sigh, here comes the rage…

    Naithin · April 23, 2020 at 9:14 am

    A lot of my initial issues with Dark Souls II (my entry point, given it was the first ‘proper’ release for PC) were that I’d not really played any sort of ‘precision’ third-person character game with a controller before. Given the choice, I’d always use Mouse+KB in such a situation. So picking up a controller for it was something of a nightmare.

    Then layer on top of that I went off in directions not really intended for a new player — and it all compounded into a, ‘Yeah? Well screw you too!’ feeling about the game. xD

    I eventually went back after coming across a walkthrough for the game and playing alongside it. I essentially used a walkthrough from start to finish of Dark Souls II, and that was really the push I needed personally, to stick with it. From there I’ve gone back and played Dark Souls III and later Dark Souls I without such heavy assistance after becoming more comfortable with it all. :)

    So! If you’re going to give it a go, I seriously recommend considering doing the same for your entry of choice. FightinCowboy has a good number of full 100% walkthroughs for each of the entries.

    On the other hand, if you try and find it still just isn’t for you — that’s all good too.

      Dale Hooper · April 23, 2020 at 11:30 pm

      You know, I really think they wll be games that I’d love. I just think I allowed my first impressions to taint my entire outlook on it. My epereience was the same, I’d venture into an area that clearly wasn’t for me, die repeatedly and get stuborn and blame the game. :’)

      I think I actually subscribe to fightingcowboy too, so I may take your advice to do that. Maybe time for me to actually beat them, I do love a good challenge too. I play and love enough ‘Souls-like’ games that I should actually see why they were so influential.

      I guess it is time to get stuck in! Bioshock 2 first though :D

        Naithin · April 24, 2020 at 1:37 am

        Looking forward to hearing how you go with it! :D

Krikket · April 23, 2020 at 2:36 am

I already own XCom 2 apparently, but no expansion!

    Naithin · April 23, 2020 at 9:22 am

    :D

    The War of the Chosen expansion is very good, but there is absolutely no problem (and in fact; I probably even recommend) starting with the vanilla experience. The expansion and some of the DLCs add to the difficulty overall, so getting in there on the vanilla experience (which can already be challenging!!) is probably a pretty good idea.

Paeroka · April 23, 2020 at 4:44 am

I see that all three of us agree on Civilization. :D I don’t even remember my first thought or impression. I just vaguely remember being introduced to it by my husband. And that was part IV of the series.

    Naithin · April 23, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Despite the fact I do tend to move to the latest iteration of the game as they come out fairly quickly; I think IV might still be my favourite. Not least of all reasons though being purely sentimental. Played many, many hours with friends online in various modes and setups.

    One City Challenge + Raging Barbarians was one particular ‘favourite’ (I, personally, did not enjoy OCC very much :P) but it still ended up creating a good number of stories and memories.

    Then there were the legacy/inheritance games, I got quite into those for a while! If unfamiliar; it’s where one player plays for some number of turns (generally 10-20 turns) and then sends the savegame onto the next person to play. They do their 10-20 turns, and pass onto the next. By the time you get it back as the first player, things may have moved on pretty far — and then based on the work of others, you take your next 10-20 turns. :)

    It’s pretty fun way to play!!

      Paeroka · April 23, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      I didn’t like the stacks of doom. But that’s the only real “problem” I remember with the game. With VI, I really like the districts-system. It also makes it easier for me to specialize cities and remember what I chose where. ;)

DeiSophia · April 23, 2020 at 10:11 am

You’re not missing out too much by not having played Arena or Daggerfall. While Daggerfall may be the largest of the Elder Scrolls games it’s also terribly buggy. Morrowind is a far more accessible starting point.

    Naithin · April 23, 2020 at 10:24 am

    I went back and tried to get into Daggerfall a time or two; but aye — I never got terribly far with it. Sure it’s the biggest, but it seemed the emptiest too. I don’t at all fault their ambition with the game, but I certainly preferred the later titles as a way to spend time. :)

Five Favorite Game Series – I'm Not Squishy · April 25, 2020 at 4:26 am

[…] topic has been traveling around the various blogs I follow this week. Krikket, Naithin, Paeroka,  and Roger have all shared their favorite […]

To the Series Born | The Ancient Gaming Noob · April 26, 2020 at 6:15 am

[…] Time to Loot […]

My Five Favourite Game Series – Mailvaltar · May 4, 2020 at 5:16 am

[…] Naithin, Telwyn, Endalia, Izlain and others have already done so, now I’ll have a crack at it. Late […]

Comments are closed.