Summer brings with it the opportunity to do what we couldn't during the semester. We might choose to relax, or go on an adventure, or stay home and get cozy with a book. I plan to do a lot of things, but the one I'm looking forward to the most is dusting off one or two old favorites from my Games folder.
Many of these titles are definitely not the most recent in their respective franchises, but all the same, these next items are little gems of the gaming world. If you want to get invested in an adventure all of its own, I recommend trying one or two of these.
1. Age of Empires II (1999)
Better than the original, and far superior to the sequel AoE III, The Age of Kings continues to be a franchise favorite. Choose from a long list of civilizations ranging from the Britons to the Saracens to the Japanese, and get going on your path to glory and world domination. Invest in buildings to advance your culture, and recruit soldiers to go fight your battles. The real-time game play is sometimes difficult to keep up with, so you'd better hone your strategy fast to survive against up to seven other factions that want you dead!
2. The Saboteur (2009)
Think of a cross between GTA and Assassin's Creed. Then set the game in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. The Saboteur is all you need for an open world freestyle game. It has all the vehicles from the era, all the weapons you need to blow tanks out of their tracks and blimps out of the sky. You play as Sean Devlin, a cutthroat Irishman who joins up with the French Resistance. Your task is to take down a Nazi commander responsible for killing your best friend. With a vendetta such as this, why not take down as many Nazis as you can along the way?
3. Star Wars: Jedi Academy (2003)
One of the more underrated Star Wars games, this installment of the franchise trains you as Jaden Korr, a newly recruited Padawan of the New Jedi Order. Set between the events of "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens," you learn under the semi-watchful eye of Master Kyle Katarn. Some missions see you working with a partner, others are solo, and all of them are efforts to destroy the remnants of the Empire. For such a dated game, there is fantastic lightsaber action, the graphics are decent and the enemies are powerful. Watch some gameplay videos if you need some extra convincing, but I promise the game is worth the price!
4. Dragon Age II (2011)
Looking for a game with endless variations? In this action-packed world of magic, swords and shields, you have total control of the storyline. Every decision in a conversation, every quest you decide not to do, has unknown consequences. Maybe an ally will desert you, maybe you'll strike up a romance with the pirate, maybe you'll become an enemy of the state. It's all in your hands. Choose your class, equip your weapon, upgrade your traits and attack skills, then get going on the adventure!
5. Sid Meier's Civilization III (2001)
This turn-based game of world domination is so good I haven't felt the need to play the more recent installments. Choose from a selection of the world's greatest cultures, and help them advance through the ages to become the dominant superpower. In this game, you must assert yourself from the beginning in order to contend with other fast-expanding opponents. Develop technologies and play politics with rival governments. It's an older game, but there is so much to explore.
6. Hitman: Blood Money (2006)
If you thought Contracts was good, the world of the silent assassin gets even more blood-soaked. Blood Money features a totally new storyline, new weapons and upgrades and enough ammo to get to your target by whatever means necessary. Stay hidden in the shadows and tread lightly, or go on a guns blazing rampage through the henchmen to get to the villain. However you decide to play, Blood Money is an intense third person game of death and deceit.
7. Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)
Conquering the world is one thing; conquering the galaxy is quite another. Build your fleet, recruit your units and travel from planet to planet to fight against your enemy. Visit Geonosis or Hoth. Do battle in the snow or desert. Hijack vehicles, capture territory and annihilate your adversaries across the galaxy. This third person open world shooter is bound to have you coming back for more.
8. Guild Wars (2005)
Guild Wars 2 is decent, but the original is just amazing. This medieval fantasy MMORPG game takes place across three continents in four installments. Create your own characters, choose their professions, equip them with your choice weapons and send them off to fulfill their destinies. Fight the vicious Charr in their Homelands, the pulsating Afflicted in Kaineng City and the dark servants of Abbadon in the Realm of Torment. Explore the entire map, complete every quest and ally with every hero in order to defeat evil.