While I really love board games, RPGs, card games, etc, I also like to play video games on my Xbox One. So what games am I playing right now, you ask? Well here is the run down!
1 – Elite Dangerous
I really love space games. I also love sandbox games. Elite Dangerous is both! You have the entire galaxy to fly around in, over 4 billion solar systems. You can outfit a ship for exploring (I own an Asp Explorer for that purpose) and fly out into unknown space, discovering whatever you find there.
You can also build ships for trading (I have a Python for that), piracy, bounty hunting, mining, etc. Absolute freedom. You can play for 5 minutes or 5 hours and not run into another real human. Or, you can stay inside the populated “bubble” (about 300 or so light years in diameter around Sol) and then you will run into plenty of other players. Hint: someone of them are going to attack you just for fun–that’s the “Dangerous” part of the game.
And super fun is dropping your Surface Recon Vehicle (SRV) onto a planet or moon and jamming around looking for stuff to mine. If you want, you can spend the entire game roaming around just a few planets–or you can travel the 27,000 lightyears to the center of the galaxy. It’s your choice. Make the game whatever you want of it. There is a subtle story in the background (which I think is about to get even better with an alien invasion of the galaxy) and players can take part in community missions to further the story.
Elite Dangerous is also a spaceship sim. You can use a landing computer, but really the game is much more fun without it. The first time I tried to land on a space station (think of a giant rotating 12-sided die with a small slit on side that ships fly in and out of) I smashed against the outside of the station. The next few times I tried to land I wiped out everything in sight. But once you get the hang of flying (and landing!) your ship, the things that you can do with the flight simulator part of the game is quite awesome (e.g. flying through rings of asteroids).
Last hint: watch out for the white dwarf stars–they will trap you in their gravity well and not let go. I hate those White Dwarfs!
2 – Minecraft
Okay, everybody plays this game so I really don’t need to say much about it. Gigantic, open sandbox where you can play in survival mode or creative mode. You can dig up ore, build gigantic structures, or just walk around and fall into lava. Whatever you want to do, Minecraft lets you do it. Playing Minecraft is also like putting together Legos or doing a jigsaw puzzle–its strangely meditative. And again, a game that you can play for 5 minutes or 5 hours based on how much free time you have. I have a wife and two kids, so I think you are getting the gist that I like games that don’t have long, complicated missions or lack “save” points, because I am never sure how much time I have got to play games. Minecraft can be played by all ages–so if for some reason you have been living under a rock and haven’t yet tried Minecraft, you really need to run, not walk, to your console and download it today. Tell Mojang/Microsoft that Neal sent you.
3 – Fallout Shelter
It’s a sim based on the popular Fallout series of games. You have to manage food, water, and power for your vault dwellers while avoiding numerous dangers: fires, radroaches, deathclaws, etc. You can even re-name all your dwellers (here is a hint: I have renamed all 200 of mine and their names are not fit for prime time, I won’t put any examples here, you never know if a kid might be reading this blog!). Anyway, you can send your dwellers on missions outside the vault to collect valuable weapons, armor and crafting junk. Again, another game that you can save at any point and play at your own pace. Oh, and the dwellers say the most hilarious things, so be sure to zoom in on them and eavesdrop their conversations.
4 – Star Wars Battlefront
Okay, everybody likes Star Wars. So what could be more cool than running around in a MMoG fighting battles on Endor, Hoth, the Death Star, etc? I personally like the Battle Squadron multiplayer–it’s space ship battle in X-wings, Tie Fighters, etc. Literally, I have not run across another player better than me in the sky–I am a killer, particularly in a Tie Interceptor (i.e. Darth’s Vader vehicle). Anyway, back on the ground you can fight battles from the movies and even find “Hero Pick Ups” to become Luke, Darth, Chewy, Han, Leia, Greedo, Boba Fett, Jyn, etc. It’s not an overly detailed or exact shooter simulation, but then again it’s not suppose to be. It’s Star Wars–and that’s where the fun is. If you ever wanted to operate a gigantic AT-AT and blast those pesky rebels into oblivion or go stomping around in a Chicken Walker (AT-ST) and crushing the rebellion under your metallic feet, this game is for you. Trust me–nothing more fun than squishing rebels!
5 – Dead or Alive 5 Last Round
When I feel like some simple one-on-one combat, it’s DOA5LR that I turn to. Quick battles, tons of outfits for the guys and gals of DOA, and the difficulty can be customized from absurdly easy (i.e. the AI characters rarely attack and defend) to ridiculously hard (i.e. good luck even getting in a single hit) and everything in between. It’s fun and mindless.
Till next time, Make Mine Marvel!