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Video Game Recommendations


Searching for video games to play? Look no further! All of the games covered in this article are relatively old gems (no PS4 or Xbox games) that are for the most part cheap to purchase and easy to play.


Title: Tales of Vesperia

Franchise: “Tales of”

Release Date: Q3 2008

Platforms: Xbox 360

ESRB Rating: Teen


Tales of Vesperia is a favorite of mine, and the 10th game in the episodic “Tales of” franchise. It follows Yuri Lowell, a city boy searching for the true meaning of justice in the fantasy world of Terca Lumireis. Anyone who is not looking for something story-intensive should not pick up a Tales game, as they are all very cut scene heavy. That being said, the plot is well designed, typical of a JRPG, with a lone, young and brooding male protagonist gathering a small merry band of misfits and saving the world. However, during the moments in which the story is cliché, the characters themselves shine, as they are complex, realistic and relatable. The music is nothing special, characteristic of JRPGs with epic boss themes and over world map tracks. The graphics are a step up from those of its predecessor, “Tales of the Abyss,” with more colorful, sprawling environments. The character models, even so, have not been updated, and remain extremely cartoonish. The battle style is fun and fast paced. The difficulty is perfectly scaled for me when I made a point to do secret missions, but the combat level can be raised for an extra challenge, with, of course, extra reward. Equipment skills make it especially fun to collect weapons. The voice acting is also well done, with familiar names such as “Troy Baker” and “Julie Ann Taylor” taking lead roles. Another thing to expect of this game, and all “Tales” games, is that it is long; my playtime before starting the postgame was definitely well over 100 hours, possibly breaking 200 as well. The main story itself can be run through in about 50, but I chose to complete every side quest. The game’s replay value is relatively high, too, due to added perks the second time around, and the sheer amount of content, some of which is easy to miss. There is a reason that Vesperia put the “Tales” series on the map in America; it is a great, well rounded game and a perfect introduction to the JRPG genre for a newcomer.


My score: 85/100


Title: NieR

Franchise: Drakengard

Release Date: Q2 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3

ESRB Rating: Mature (for more information check


NieR is, in a word, amazing. I picked it up out of boredom, and as I played, it quickly became my favorite game. The story focuses on the eponymous protagonist, a middle-aged jack-of-all-trades trying desperately to care for his terminally ill daughter, Yonah, in a world ravaged by monsters and disease. The main “quest” of the game, as it were, is not terribly unique or interesting. However, as more characters are introduced and more information is revealed, it becomes clear that the plot is anything but usual. Already whole and heartrending, the story is also enhanced by a number of supplementary materials, translations of which can be found online. Aside from the protagonist being entirely atypical, the supporting characters are also easy to relate and become emotionally attached to. If you skip dialogue, this game probably will not be for you. The gameplay and combat itself may be engaging and dynamic enough to play through the end without indulging in the story, but the game’s finest points would be missed. Aside from the story and characters, another high point of the game is its music. It is classically inspired for the most part, and breathtakingly beautiful. It never becomes repetitive as some soundtracks do. In addition to great music, the voice acting is phenomenal. Jamieson Price, Liam O’Brien, Julie Ann Taylor, and especially Laura Bailey fit flawlessly into their roles, in part due to the dialogue’s quality and realism. The one mediocre point of the game is the graphics, which aren’t wholly terrible. All of the character models are middle-of-the-road, and the dull locations get boring especially quickly if you complete side quests, which entail running between the same few places multiple times. I ignored them for the most part as very few help to further the story. My playtime for a first complete run-through including all four endings was about 30 hours, which is probably an accurate time for anyone just playing through the main story. I would highly recommend NieR to anyone with $10-20 on their hands looking for a crossover JRPG/action RPG to play.


My score: 99/100


Title: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Release Date: Q3 2013

Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

ESRB Rating: Teen


“Brothers” is an innovative, genre-shattering experience that is both touching and aesthetically stunning. As a puzzle game, it follows two unnamed brothers from a small village who embark on a journey to save their ailing father using the waters of the “Tree of Life.” The storyline itself is nothing exquisite, remaining linear and parallel to the single task of the protagonists. The way the story is presented, without any understandable dialogue whatsoever, is a huge risk that paid off very well for Starbreeze Studios. A lack of names and words means that the specifics of the situation are trivial, and allow the player to more easily envision the bigger picture, and empathize with the characters. The young protagonists are very easy to become attached to, as they become progressively more fleshed out. Though “Brothers” may seem like an uplifting tale of two sons saving their father, it is really anything but. The sweeping, colorful environments and cartoonish character models betray the fact that the game becomes very dark very fast. The music is unique, incorporating a lot of Nordic folk elements. The gameplay is based on simple puzzles, and is unique because each brother is assigned to each side of the controller. Using each boy’s special talents is not particularly difficult, and although I enjoyed it, some may find the gameplay boring, easy, and slow. Playtime for “Brothers” ranges between 3 and 6 hours, and the game has little replay value, as there are no extra quests and few Easter eggs. The game definitely does not appeal to everyone, and if you are not sure whether you would like it, it would be best to wait for a sale, as it can drastically reduce the price of the game, regularly $15 (I bought mine for $3). “Brothers” is perfect for anyone looking for something leisurely, character driven, or somber, and is definitely worth the money!


My score: 97/100