As the long awaited PlayStation 5 is released this month, I thought I would combine my two biggest loves of video games and books for this month’s Top Five Friday feature! This post was inspired after reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea and her take on the best games for book lovers. Her list is filled with loads of great games! Some of which I would have included on my list but I wanted to try and offer something a little different.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
For lovers of: Fantasy, Mystery, Military Academy trope
Whilst I was reading The Poppy War I just couldn’t stop thinking about the similarities to Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which is one of my favourite games of 2019. This turn based strategy JRPG, is set in the fantasy world of Fódlan where you play as a mysterious young mercenary turned professor at the prestigious Garreg Mach Monastery, a military academy founded by the Church of Seiros.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a cast of brilliant characters which you can form strong bonds (and even relationships) with. It has a plot of war and magic and gods, that you can become very easily invested in and has different endings and routes you can take – meaning there are even more stories to discover on each replay of the game!
For those who have never played a strategy RPG before, this game is a great entry! The easy mode is very forgiving and the battles are based more on logic than video game skill.
Platforms: PC, PS4 , PS3
For lovers of: Fantasy, Choose Your Own Adventure, Chosen One trope
Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third installment in the Dragon Age series (a fantasy RPG series), I’ve chosen this one in particular as it is the only one I have played (as the other two games aren’t available on PS4), however if possible you should definitely check out the first two games too! Set in the region of Ferelden on the Thedas continent, a mysterious tear in the sky (called the “Breach”) is releasing demons into the world and needs to be closed. However, there seems to be only one person with the gift to do it…
Okay, so I know this series is mentioned by Morgenstern but I couldn’t not include this on my own list as it is one of my favourite games I’ve played. Not only can you make your own character (and not just aesthetically but race and class too) but the choices you make during the game actually matter. Whilst the game only has one ending and overarching plot, there are still other things that will change (and even have serious consequences) depending on different decisions you make.
Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One
For lovers of: Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Narrative Switch trope
Moving away from fantasy games, next up is Square Enix’s Nier Automata; a hack-and-slash (with some puzzle elements) JRPG. Nier Automata is set in the future where humans have fled Earth for the moon and androids and robots are at war on the abandoned planet. The androids are fighting for the humans to reclaim the Earth from the robots possession, however a lot has changed since the war first started.
Not only does this game have a beautiful dystopian setting where nature is reclaiming the cities (which is an aesthetic I personally love), but it has interesting characters and a deep plot. The narrative of this game is very interesting too, you begin the game as android 2B and spend the most time in this perspective. This allows the player to build a relationship with her and 9S and learn about the world and what happened. Then you have the ability to replay the first part of the game as 9S and more gaps in the story begin to be filled in. Without any spoilers, the narrative then changes again where you explore the world after the first part and constantly swap between the perspective of two characters.
I thought it was a brilliant way to tell the story and it even has 26 different endings! Before you panic, only four of them are considered ‘main’ endings with the rest just fun little add-ons which you may come across as you progress through the game.
Platforms: PS3, PS4
For lovers of: Magic Realism, Japanese Fiction, Teens vs. Evil Adults trope
Persona 5 is a modern take on the classic turn based, JRPG style. You play as a teen male who has just been kicked out of his house and school after being put on probation. After moving into the attic of a small cafe in Tokyo your life completely changes on your first day of school. After finding a mysterious app downloaded onto your phone you are transported to the ‘Metaverse’ where you take on a new persona. You, along with your friends, become the Phantom Thieves and you make it your goal to steal evil from the hearts of corrupted adults.
I just want to start off with, the cafe in this game is the one I was imagining throughout my time reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold. I think this game is great for those who love the magic realism of Japanese fiction or YA urban fantasy. The pacing of the game is very well done, with the game starting in the present day and then going back to where it started and how you got to this point. Not only is the game stylistically gorgeous, but it has a wonderful soundtrack and a brilliant plot filled with mysteries and revelations.
Also, the game’s attention to detail for it’s Tokyo setting is incredible and gives a pretty accurate portrayal of what parts of Tokyo is like. One of the settings you get to visit is Jinbōchō which is Tokyo’s book district, which is a must visit in game and in real life!
For lovers of: Action/Adventure, History, Back from the Dead trope
Uncharted 4 is the final game in the mainline Uncharted series, where you play as (ex) adventurer Nathan “Nate” Drake. Who has been tempted back into the world of treasure hunting by his brother, Sam, who he has believed to be dead for years. The treasure in question is the long-lost treasure of the infamous pirate, Henry Avery. Naturally their journey isn’t plain sailing with a rival treasure hunter, and his hired mercenaries, on their tail…
I’ve chosen this one in particular as it is my favourite of the series but they are all very similar so if you like one you’re most likely going to enjoy the rest of them! As most of these entries have been fantasy or RPGs, I wanted to add something different into the mix. The Uncharted series is renowned for its cinematic set pieces and compelling storytelling. The characters are all a lot of fun too and are well developed, especially Nate if you spend time with him throughout the series.
Have you played any of these games? Do you have any recommendations of your own? Let me know in the comments!
RPG: Role Playing Game
JRPG: Japanese Role Playing Game