Do you want to get into videogames but you are not sure how? Are you intimidated by almost 50 years of videogame history which you feel you are supposed to know? If you are looking for a beginner’s guide to games you can start playing immediately, without prior knowledge of the videogame scene, my Student Retro Guide (SRG)is made for you.
Put on your rose tinted glasses and peer back with me into the misty and easily forgotten videogame past. In this first edition of SRG I’ll be recommending time friendly and wallet conscious games that will be genuine treats after those stressful deadlines. All you will need this week is a Playstation 2, either digging one out from your attic or by loggin on to Amazon and purchasing one for around £30.
Resident Evil 4 – Capcom
Recommended Version – Playstation 2
Resident Evil 4 is THE definitive videogame, and you owe it to yourself to play this 16-hour adventure filled with tense horror and over the top action.
Resident Evil 4 is all about the catharsis to be had from toppling bosses twice your size and suplexing cultists wielding crossbows. Gameplay is entirely focused on tight and precise combat against infected enemies, with the occasional puzzle thrown in to offer the player room to relax and breathe. Resi 4 marked a departure from the fixed camera and slow moving zombies of earlier games, instead giving you an over-the-shoulder view and throwing waves of still-intelligent humans whose infection makes them work together to try and kill you. It’s genuinely tense stuff, and your first encounter with enemies like the chainsaw wielding Dr. Salvador will have you on the edge of your seat.
This is all wrapped in a gloriously camp B-Movie story, oozing style and intrigue right from the moment you press New Game. You play as Leon. S Kennedy, sent into rural Europe to save the president’s kidnapped daughter from a group of crazed cultists bent on taking over the world.
Don’t be put off by the 4 in the title: Resident Evil is not a story-heavy franchise and I recommend starting with 4 and then working your way back as far as you care to go. The preferred version is the Playstation 2 edition, featuring a plethora of extra content to sink our teeth into once the main campaign is over. The fancy, special edition box seen above will cost only £8 in CEX, so there really is no excuse not to go out and experience one of videogames’ finest.
Beyond Good and Evil – Ubisoft
Recommended Version – Playstation 2
Beyond Good and Evil is without doubt one of the most intriguing and interesting games I have ever played. You play as female reporter Jade in her quest to expose a nefarious government-level conspiracy, all the while trying to figure out why your planet is under attack from an evil alien force named ‘the DomZ’. This is done by infiltrating a number of secretive locations and photographing evidence of the government’s involvement with the alien invasion.
Gameplay is a mix of explorations and sneaking, with a strong emphasis on taking photographs of absolutely everything around you. In addition to fighting with pictures, Jade will also end up brawling with a variety of aliens and hulking soldiers in power armour. The combat system is fairly simple and only requires you to mash the attack button and dodge at the right time, making it an easy entry for newcomers to the gaming scene. Beyond Good and Evil makes up for this simple combat with its gripping stealth episodes. Some of your enemies are so powerful that the best course of action is to sneak around and avoid them entirely, making these sections incredibly tense. It all blends together seamlessly, making you feel like an ace reporter on a mission to uncover the biggest story of your life.
There is a bustling town to explore, hidden locations teeming with treasure, and a lighthouse home that may well be one of the most relaxing and cosy places in any videogame. The characters that inhabit this world are a mix of humans and anthropomorphic animals, with your sidekick taking the form of a loud-mouthed pig named Peyj. All the relationships you form throughout your adventure feel meaningful and important, eliciting real emotion as you really grow to care about Jade’s friends and the story arcs they go through.The music is also fantastic and fits perfectly with those moments were you are simply exploring the semi-open world and snapping pics of the local fauna and flora.
Again I recommend the Playstation 2 version of Beyond Good and Evil, which will only cost you £2.50 for a used copy in CEX. The Nintendo Gamecube version goes for upwards of £20 so it’s only recommended for hard core collectors.
For years now the developers have been teasing us with the possibility of a sequel (final release might be closer than you think), so there really isn’t a better time to play this cult classic.
More follows in the next instalment of Alex Carrara’s Student Retro Guide to Videogames.