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Gabe

Games that get under your skin

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A couple of weeks ago I played through What Remains of Edith Finch and I loved it. And I can't stop thinking about it.

 

There was no singular moment that made the game for me (it may be heartless, but none of the individual stories really hit me emotionally) but as a whole there was just something so beautifully crafted in that house and environs. It was just an amazing, tragic and somber tale. I have thought about playing through it again, though I'm wary it might ruin the magic hold it has over me.

 

What has done it for you?

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System Shock 2.

 

Even now, some 20 years after the initial release it still looms large in my consciousness. The experience was so visceral that it has been burned into my brain in some way - to the point that I even have dreams about it from time to time (creeping through the MedSci block with only a wrench for self defence mostly).

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The Observer.

 

There's something about the claustrophobic hallways decked in decor from a 2000 AD strip. The depiction of its inhabitants, the whispers and unnerving score. It's all mega fucked.

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I found that everybody’s gone to rapture to have to got under my skin the first time I played through.  Seeing the story’s unfold some parts got to me esp being just a new father at the time  (the campsite story line ending esp)

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The first time I remember this was probably Ocarina of Time.  Characters, some open world ability, story, up to then, I'm not sure I'd played anything like it. I think the use of music helps me along too.

 

The original Bioshock did it too. The world, music etc. was perfect.

 

Perhaps an odd one? Portal. I loved the story and dialogue, the cake is a lie.

 

And finally, and most recently, Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The world is beautiful, the characters interesting and the story full of wonder and even more great characters, plus, those voice overs, and that soundtrack! Even typing this, I want to go home and get stuck in again.

 

 

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Hmm, maybe Bloodborne? It was the first time I made an effort to complete a game like that, and the world is packed with opportunities, reveals and mysteries. Each play session seemed to simultaneously answer old questions and offer up new ones, from deep ones like "what's the deal with the guys in the church" to more trivial issues like "how do I survive that damned poison swamp". Nearly every design aspect is fantastic - even if it is another take on "eldritch monstrosity" tropes - and there's so much to soak in and digest.

 

Also - to an extent - Persona 4. The plot is a lot more involving than 3 and the murder mystery setup always has you guessing and coming up with theories...Meanwhile. the various activities available at any given time give you a lot to think about, with several mini-story-arcs to check out via social links, various upgrades to unlock, jobs to apply for, fusions to discover, a few optional sidequests, and more. It was one of those games that had me getting through a bunch of notepaper just trying to keep track of the various things going on at any point in my playthrough.

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Alien Isolation. I never even played the main campaign, just started up the Nostromo mission, went under the floor and the Alien did a Dallas on me. Not played it since. 

 

It's fair to say the game got under my skin and straight into my bowels.

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Edith Finch was great and really excelled in making me care about the protagonist and their relatives; Last Days of June did this to a lesser extent. Bioshock's world building got under my skin so the subsequent sequels were always going to be a disappointment. I also really bought into the Fallout 3 experience. 

 

Increasingly I find that the sustained engagement in certain games can impact IRL. I went for a walk earlier  with my kids and there were a load of squirrels flitting around; I couldn't enjoy the autumnal romance of the scene. Instead I was considering whether I could get a perfect pelt from them. Too much RDR2. 

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A more recent one is Breath of the Wild, particularly because the game never outright says it, & just implies, a rare thing for a Zelda or Nintendo game.

 

Spoiler

The King & everyone else believed that all they needed to do is just repeat how things happened in the past, like a play or chess match.  Just put Link, Zelda the Guardians etc, in the right places & everything will just fall into place.  Zelda herself recognises on some level that this isn’t enough.  She needs to understand what’s going on instead of just following an ancient script, & she’s right.  If she had been allowed to study & gain Wisdom (her Triforce part, remember) she may have been able to discover the Guardian’s weakness to Ganon’s Power & prevent or undo their possession.

 

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Life is Strange. I don't think any other game before or since (even the prequel) have got me anywhere near that emotionally invested. Couldn't stop thinking about it constantly.

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It's probably an annoying answer, but Dark Souls became a complete obsession when I finally got into it. I was listening to Bonfireside Chat for each area after playing through them, watching YouTube videos exploring the world and characters, and generally not wanting to play anything else until I was done.

 

None of the other games in the series had quite the same effect on me. Not even Bloodborne.

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Mud2. 

 

Really got its hooks into me as me as a teenager. It’s almost impossible to explain why. Nutshell version is the fact it was a proper multiplayer experience, it’s world building was slow but amazing and it was impossible to cheat without learning things for yourself. 

 

(Edit- this was 1995ish)

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There have been a few in recent years that have done more than just entertain. Whether it's creating a connection with its characters or other players, challenging you to think differently, or making you think about what you're doing in the game.

 

The Last Guardian, Journey, The Witness and Celeste in particular.

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Fable 2 is a difficult one as I played it usually with my own dog sleeping on my lap whilst playing it. She passed not long after and now unfortunately have to keep my distance from it now. 

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59 minutes ago, Vin said:

Fable 2 is a difficult one as I played it usually with my own dog sleeping on my lap whilst playing it. She passed not long after and now unfortunately have to keep my distance from it now. 

 

Funny you should say that, Fable 2 is mine for similar reasons. I had a week of compassionate leave from work when one of my family members died, and I just coped with it by playing Fable 2 nonstop. That was the second time I'd bought the game - I'd played it once before and didn't like it. The second time it just clicked.

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Mass Effect. Came to it slightly late on 360 with the two disc classic version. Had never played any form of RPG before, but it sounded so exciting. Booted it up and played the first mission, found it too slow and gave up. Think I played that first mission about four times before I persevered. Even then, the first time I finished it I did the main missions and hardly any side quests. The final battle was irritatingly hard as my Shepard was relatively weak. However while playing I grew to love some of the characters and wanted to know more about them. So I started again.

 

This time I did everything, went to every planet, every asteroid, explored every point of interest and researched every character. Grew to love Garrus, Wrex, Liara and Tali. Found the game so much more rewarding and would talk about it with friends frequently. Couldn’t wait to get home from work to play it. Probably my favourite video game experience ever.

 

The next game I played was Half Life 2.

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@skondo has reminded me that Mass Effect 3 really hit me, especially after playing The Citadel DLC. For me that game worked because of the backdrop of the galactic war that gave an illusion of urgency (even though none of these types of games have a literal clock ticking away) and very real threats. It helped of course that I had grown attached to a number of characters over the course of the games (who were in ME3 as the team or had cameos) but even so I thought it was wonderful journey - with The Citadel being just a wonderful piece of entertainment.

 

I said in the thread at the time, the ending of the game really didn't bother me, despite the various (legitimate) problems with it, because it had been a spectacular journey.

 

Man, I want to play them all again, I wish Origin Access gave me all the DLC too, save me having to endure the load times on the 360!

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Inside because of the weirdness.

 

Dark Souls because of the lore.

 

The Witness because of the hidden lectures, but also because I couldn't stop seeing the connect-the-dot puzzles bloody everywhere for about a month after completing it.

 

And a slightly left-field one, but Machinarium has always struck a chord with me for some reason, mostly because of the art-style, perhaps. Out on Switch this week so may have to triple-dip.

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Fallout 3 was a weird one for me, on my second play through I just didn't want it to end, I'd done everything, been everywhere, done all the DLC, maxed my level but I still didn't want it to end. 

 

I'd find myself just wandering about the wasteland for countless hours knowing I'd been everywhere before but just not ready for the game to finish

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1 hour ago, CovisGod said:

Fallout 3 

Oh come now, Cov, we all know the game that really got you. I think you should regale our newer members with that tale. ;)

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