Top five video games that are keeping me sane while in quarantine

Wyatt Waud, Club Editor

If you’re anything like me, the governor’s stay at home order has come with a drastic rise in hours poured into video games. It’s something I’m a bit ashamed of, but let’s just say my gameplay time has at least doubled. When you’re putting that much time into gaming, it’s natural to grow tired of your go-to’s. In times like these, it can be helpful to have a few recommendations when you’re in need of new games to pour your heart and soul into. Here are the five video games keeping me sane in this time of isolation.

1. God of War (2018; M)

The 2018 God of War is hands-down my favorite video game of all time. It has everything you could want from an open world game: a captivating, emotional story; a vast open world filled with things to do; and combat that will bring a smile to your face every time you see an enemy. As hard as I try, I can never find something I dislike about this game. The visuals are absolutely stunning, from the grand views and forests of Midgard to the striking colors of the overgrown Alfheim to the grim, volcanic Muspelheim, this game’s multiple worlds provide endless hours of exploration. These realms are littered with side quests and missions and bosses for you to vanquish. On that same note, every battle feels like a real fight: there are so many aspects and combos you can use to beat the beasts that ail you on your journey. This combat system will be put to good use as you play through one of the most incredibly written and voiced stories in video game history. God of War’s was a game of the year very, which was very well deserved.

2. For Honor (2017; M)

For Honor is definitely not for everyone. A casual player who wants to pick up a controller and have a good time without committing to a game will do away with this game in an hour. But those with a lot of time on their hands (most of us, these days) and a competitive spirit will absolutely love this highly technical fighting game. The intricacies of combat and the wide variety of playable characters make it one of the most highly replayable games I’ve ever seen. Devoted players will find just how gratifying every hard-fought victory is, how infuriating it is to be thrown off a ledge and how incredible it feels to do it to someone else. The variety of characters makes experimenting to find your favorite an long and exciting process and ensures that every encounter with an opponent will be different. Though it has its overpowered characters that can make this game beyond frustrating, learning to overcome the lightning fast Orochi or the perpetually blocking Conqueror is a satisfying journey in and of itself. If you do decide to take the plunge and dive headfirst into For Honor, let me know, and we’ll play a few rounds. 

3. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014; M)

Nobody was expecting much from 2014’s Shadow of Mordor, an action game set in the Lord of the Rings universe where you play as an immortal Gondorian fighting against the forces of Sauron. When it was released, however, it blew the gaming community out of the water. This game, though not without some frustrating mechanics and some muddled story, had a few shining elements that won it the Game of the Year award. First is its combat. Though simple on its surface, the combat system in Shadow of Mordor incorporated the environment and enemies very well. In Shadow of Mordor, every boss has his own strengths and weaknesses. Whether it be fire, bees, or stealth attacks, every major enemy was enraged by one thing and terrified by another. This allowed you to seek out informants in the Dark Lord’s army and gain knowledge that would make your fights vastly easier. However, best part is yet to come; Shadow of Mordor introduced something called the nemesis system, in which the armies you try to destroy is constantly changing as a result of your attacks and infighting. When you killed a captain, another rose to take his place, and when a captain killed you, he grew even more powerful than before. This revolutionary element made Shadow of Mordor’s world feel dynamic and lived in, as if you were fighting a real army of orcs. This system is somewhat complicated, but in essence, it made Shadow of Mordor one for the history books.

4. EA UFC 3 (2018; T)

Before I picked this game up, I was a fan of neither sport games nor MMA. EA UFC 3 (and, admittedly, copious amounts of the Joe Rogan Podcast) has made me a fan of both. This game has its issues, as any game does; the submission system is virtually impossible to use, and the grappling can grow boring at times. But these problems, despite making up what should be half of the gameplay, don’t come up very often. What’s great about UFC 3 is how much control it allows you over your fighter’s striking. Every kick, punch, knee, elbow, duck and dodge is completely under your control. From the angle you hit from to the leg you kick with, your striking game is all yours. This makes getting good at UFC 3 an ongoing process and one that will keep you coming back for a very long time.

5. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (2017: E)

I know, I know, Animal Crossing on mobile sounds like an insult to the console version. However, it’s actually a great way to kill a few minutes. It’s nice to break up the monotony of quarantine by doing some virtual fishing or finding a few apples for an animal in need. It feels good to build relationships with those cute little creatures running around, and even better to craft an aesthetically genius campsite where you can host your anthropomorphic pants. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is relaxing and captivating, the perfect way to blow off some steam in stressful times. For a quick game you can pick up in a moment of boredom, Animal Crossing is perfect.