Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #7: My Favourite Fantasy Video Games

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post! Thank you to Kritika, who participated in the last Fantasy Friday!

Today I want to talk about: my favourite fantasy video games.

Along with reading, gaming is another one of my big hobbies (and a major time suck!). As you can see from my Steam profile, I have way too many unfinished games. But those I actually have finished – well they were definitely worth my time, and probably yours too. So I’d like to share with you today some of the best fantasy themed video games that I’ve played. This also ties in nicely with another video game themed post I have planned for next week, and another one that me and the lovely Paola are writing together. Oh, and just a note: there will be no Final Fantasy on this list. I’ve never gotten along with that particular series… So without further ado:

The Dragon Age series

dragonage

Platform: PC & Mac, XBox 360, Playstation 3

I won’t say much about these games, because Paola and I will be discussing them soon. In fact I’ll say nothing. Apart from they’re amazing. And you should play them. Also that’s my Warden above!

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

wind waker

Platform: Nintendo Gamecube

I first played this game when I was about 16, as my boyfriend at the time had just gotten a Wii, so gave me his Gamecube. This is probably the game that got me back into adventure-RPGs again – it is absolutely beautiful with its cell-shaded graphics and fantastic soundtrack composed by Koji Kondo. Don’t let the word RPG put you off though – that side of this particular game is very simplified. It’s so fun just to be able to sail around the seas, discover hidden islands and collect ALL THE THINGS!

Tales of Symphonia

tales of symphonia

Platform: Nintendo Gamecube

The first big RPG that I ACTUALLY finished, Tales of Symphonia is one of my absolute favourite games ever. An incredibly detailed and at some times complex Japanese RPG, it hosted a whole array of varied characters including my first video game crush: Kratos Aurion.

Kratos_stats

I have a thing for redheads, okay?! And his voice is beautiful… But, ahem. Another favourite character is Sheena Fujibayashi, a warrior with a tough exterior, but a sad past. She’s also voiced by Jennifer Hale, the same actress who provides the voice of female Commander Shepard in Mass Effect, which equals awesome. My usual team consisted of Lloyd (the main protagonist), Kratos (where I could use him), Raine and either Sheena or Presea. Sorry to all the other characters but… just no. Regal was the most useless, I found. There is also a sequel for the Wii, which I own but haven’t finished. It just doesn’t compare to the first!

The Elder Scrolls series

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3

If you haven’t heard of the Elder Scrolls series, I would be quite shocked. Sprawling, open-ended RPGs, they are incredibly detailed and allow the player to do exactly as they want, when they want. One aspect I really love about games is if they have a sandbox quality to them, meaning the world is open and completely free for the player to explore: and the Elder Scrolls games definitely are. You can build your character as you want – pick a couple of skills and specialise in them, or work on all the different weapon and armour types, as well as magic. If you wanted, you could even just become a trader, gathering items in the wild and selling them on. For example, in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I collected garlic. And kept it in a display case in my castle. Because I could. Then it all disappeared – I still blame the servant. The rules are totally up to you, and quests are entirely optional. Skyrim is the only game I play with headphones in, because it’s so immersive. But more on that in next week’s post! Oh, and those are my Skyrim characters above.

Orcs Must Die! 2

orcs must die

Platform: PC, XBox 360

A strategic defense game with a fantasy theme, Orcs Must Die! 2 is a perfect game to play with a friend – co-op mode is just so much fun, and it’s really satisfying to see all your traps working together to take out the evil orcs! It gets pretty challenging though, especially when the ogres and dragons decide to join together…

Lord of the Rings Online

212500_screenshots_2012-12-30_00001

Platform: PC, Mac

Okay, perhaps this is no longer a favourite game of mine, I kind of tired of it. But it really is a brilliantly crafted version of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, with such an amazing attention to detail. Travel to the Trollshaws and find the stone trolls, climb to the top of Weathertop and find Gandalf’s rune carved into a rock, visit the Green Dragon for a pint – as a Tolkien nerd this game is an absolute delight, and the creators are clearly incredibly passionate about his work too. So many hidden gems! I stopped playing in about July/August 2013, and if anyone is interested I was on the Withywindle server. I had quite a few characters – Isolde (85 Hobbit Hunter), Rinn (85 Human Minstrel), Ailis (56? Human Captain), Lunathien (38 Elf Rune-keeper), Inarra (33 Hobbit Warden) and a low level Hobbit Burglar that I’ve totally forgotten the name of. Plus I had a hobbit house, which was the best thing EVER (you can see it in the screenshot above).

And the honorable mention goes to…

Bastion

Bastion

Platform: PC, Mac, XBox 360

I haven’t played that much of this one which is why it’s an honorable mention at the moment. But what I have played, I’ve really enjoyed – not to mention it’s an absolutely gorgeous game with hand-painted graphics.

Do you play video games? What are some of your favourite fantasy themed ones?

32 thoughts on “Fantasy Friday #7: My Favourite Fantasy Video Games”

  1. Ooh, Lord of the Rings Online – I played that one for years. It’s a nice game in the way that you also mention that it’s full of little details that make lore nerds very excited. I think I stopped playing even earlier than you – in the beginning of 2013 maybe. I played on the old EU server (Laurelin) and had a few max level characters I think, a runekeeper and a guardian, maybe someone else… Hobbit homes were awesome, though I think the housing system in the game was, yeah… best not talked about. It’s such a pretty game but maybe not the most interesting one if we talk about the combat and the quests, which is why I got bored too (and moved to Dungeons & Dragons Online, cos you know, gotta have an MMO in your life).

    Ahh, memories. My other favourite games of all time are Baldur’s Gate II, Heroes of Might and Magic all numbers, and Diablo II (I allow a little laughing there but nothin’ better than a little bit of mindless hack’n’slashing after a very stressful week at work :)).

    1. Ah Laurelin – was that a RP one? And yes… the housing system, apart from the fact that you could buy a hobbit house, was pretty rubbish =(

      Definitely pretty, but definitely not highly original in terms of quests. And the… uh I forgot the name now. The little challenges you could do for traits, like kill X of Y or whatever. I may have just downloaded Neverwinter so I’ll give that a try sometime soon (just made my char and did the tutorial, but now I have to go back to work).

      What were your favourite areas? I LOVED hanging around in the Shire, of course, and Evendim was my favourite questing map. Angmar and Moria were THE WORST. I ALWAYS got lost in Moria, even after taking several characters through there. Rohan was pretty awesome – did you leave just before it came out? I can’t remember when it was now… actually I think it was the end of 2012? Warbands were EPIC to begin with, then we kept doing them every day and they got dull. Me and a few friends also farmed Library and School of Tham Mirdain for stuff for First Age Weapons, the drop rates were ATROCIOUS.

      I have to say, I’ve always heard good things about those game series, but I’ve never played any of them!

      1. Yeah, we were on RP server, so had to have more or less lore-appropriate names. Lots of people got reported and there was lots of drama. I agree that virtue system was (is) so… unnecessary, outdated, grindy. Otherwise it doesn’t really matter I guess, but I used to raid with my alliance quite a bit at some point, so then there were requirements on equipment and numbers.

        Shire! Evendim is sooo pretty, isn’t it. Bree-land was also very cosy 🙂 I don’t know how about you, but I always liked wandering around the beginner areas the most 🙂 I had a kin member who used to make new low level characters like once a month just so he could experience beginner areas, hehe 🙂 The music is also very good and appropriate. Haha, I was the same in Moria, this 3D system was so confusing. Always had to have a kin member or a friend with me, though in the end I started remembering some nooks and corners already… that must have been after like 20th time in the area or so :)) Many people don’t like Angmar, but I always found it strangely/dangerously beautiful. Well maybe not the acid puddle area… But the… what was it… where that hidden… Gath Forthnir, around there it was nice. And how pretty was Forochel? With all the Finnish details (*cough* not biased at all 🙂 )

        I saw Rohan and it was pretty, and I agree Warbands were lotsa fun! Though at first when the area was introduced it was quite heavy on my computer (I play on laptop – a very decent one, but not *that* decent) and lagged a lot, but they improved that a bit later.

        First age weapon was so unlikely to get that I never really even tried, figured if it comes my way then it comes. Otherwise the problem in LOTRO was exactly that so much of loot is so random, you can do one thing a 100 times and still not be sure if you get the item that you are after.

        I’ve never heard of Neverwinter, but just checked from Wikipedia and it seems interesting, I’ll look into it.

      2. And ZOMG sorry about the wall of text! I guess I don’t really have anyone to talk about video games on daily basis 🙂

      3. Oh gosh yeah I remember reading the forums with people complaining about the names. Even on the non-RP servers – people complaining about pop culture references and stupid names, as well as offensive ones (which obviously got changed). My elf’s surname was Baratheon at one point (because she was black of hair ;D), so I bet some people didn’t like that…

        I maxed out virtues on my Hunter, it was horrible. And I got quite far with them on my Minstrel though. But seriously, all that work for one extra stat? Blehhhh.

        Oh no I loved it too! Bree was wonderful to just hang around in, always bumped into kinnies and friends there – plus there was the crazy cat lady house which was instantly labelled as my future home… I remember spending hours one evening with some kinnies, trying to work out how to get on the Prancing Pony roof after Bree was revamped (impossible, I think… it was possible before!), and also climbing onto the roofs and going into the voids below Bree, all these empty areas that apparently if we got stuck in, our characters could become corrupted. So I’m not sure why we risked it, haha…

        It was the first bit of Moria that I got completely lost in. I always used swift travel once I unlocked them, so I could never find it on foot. Some parts of it were easier to navigate – but the worst bit of Moria was the Foundations of Stone. Just no. No.

        I have to admit, I barely went to Forochel apart from the epics! I was VIP for the last 6 or 7 months of playing, and at that point had no characters at the right sort of level for Forochel – they were all too low or too high. I didn’t like how long it took to get anywhere there though.

        Library and School dropped 3 seals per run, and you needed something like 400 odd for a First Ager. So you can imagine how long it took… plus there were chances of gold gear. But we may have used an exploit towards the end (admittedly we did HUNDREDS of runs normally) which gave us 12-15 seals per run. We only used the exploit for about a week though (it took AGES to figure out) because then Turbine caught onto it…

        Neverwinter’s combat system actually involves aiming! Which is unusual for an MMO. I’m a Halfing Hunter on there, naturally 😉

        Also: I love wall of text comments! Especially about video games ;D

  2. A great short list. It’s interesting that most games that have to do with fantasy are mostly RPGs and adventure games with the occasional strategy thrown in there from time to time. I wanted to add some to this discussion but I have been a passionate gamer for more than 2 decades of my life and I’m having a hard time choosing just a few. So instead of naming games, I will mention some companies that in my opinion have undisputedly produced some of the finest fantasy games ever: Blizzard, Bioware/Black Isle, Bethesda.
    And I will just stop here for now! 🙂

    1. Thanks Antonis =D I definitely agree with those companies – although I’ve not played anything from Blizzard, some of my absolute favourites come from Bioware and Bethesda (as you can see from this list!)

  3. I love the Dragon Age games. I still fire up the trailer for the first one every once in awhile just to get a hit off the good feeling I have from playing that game. And I really enjoyed the second one too. More please!

    Elder Scrolls is amazing. I have been playing it slowly ever since its release. I have about half of the Dragonborn expansion to play and then I’ll be done with everything. So sad they are not putting out any new content, especially since the next release is multiplayer and I don’t have the time, or want to take the time, for the multiplayer experience. It has turned cold here again which makes me want to fire up Skyrim this weekend for a few more adventures.

    1. It’s not too long til Inquisition now! Although I don’t think I’ll be able to play it until I’ve finished my Masters =(

      Ooh, I don’t have Dragonborn. How is the dragon riding? I have the vampire one, completely forgotten the name, which I still need to finish. I beta tested Elder Scrolls Online a couple of weekends ago, and it was pretty good. Quite buggy at the time, obviously, but very typical of an ESO game. It was strange playing with so many other people though – I’m used to ESO games being quite ‘lonely’ in a way. Especially Skyrim, where I like my hunter and assassin to be lone rangers 😉

      Hehe, doesn’t Skyrim make you feel colder? ;D

      1. Skyrim does make me feel colder! But that is sort of fun when it is chilly out already.

        I haven’t done any dragon riding as you don’t get the final Bend Will shout until the final quest of the core storyline, and I’m not there yet.

      2. I just bought Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on Steam, and it’s really fun already! It’s reduced by quite a bit at the moment, if you’re interested =)

        Oh, I didn’t realise that! It would be more fun if you could ride them sooner, and do quests on them… did you ever play Drakan?

      3. I hadn’t even heard of Kingdoms of Amalur, but after watching the trailer and reading a few reviews I just bought in as a direct download onto the Xbox. Looks really fun. How am I going to get the novel I’m reading done this weekend now? Darn you!

        No, I didn’t play Drakan. I was doing a lot of PC gaming when it came out and remember playing the demo a bit. Not sure why I never got the game and played it.

      4. I saw it was cheap on Steam (and also recently added, I think), watched the trailer and was pretty much sold – a couple of reviews sealed the deal 😉 I’m glad you’ve bought it too, it’s been really fun so far! =D I like the combat system a lot. And I know, haha – I’ve totally mucked up my own plans too!

        I borrowed the game from my cousin I think, and he put it in god mode for me or something – I just remember it was amazing at the time, and perhaps the name stuck with me without me realising, as I only remembered that the character was called Rynn a couple of months ago!

      5. Oh yes, she was called Rynn. That seems like soooo long ago. I miss gaming on the PC. One of these days I’m going to spend the money to build a good gaming rig again. Until then I’m enjoying playing on the console.

        The combat system on shown on the trailers was one of the things I found most intriguing about this game. Thankfully it is taking forever to download, so I have a good excuse to get more reading done.

      6. It’s crazy how PC (and console) gaming has changed so much in such a short period. In my memory, the Drakan graphics were really good and amazingly detailed – but now when I look at screenshots they really weren’t! I guess they were good for that time, I don’t know.

        Yes, it’s nice to actually have to AIM at stuff, which means it’s not just click click click or button mashing, plus you have all these skills and things you can combine. I just played the game for 5 or 6 hours straight almost, uhhh whoops…

      7. I wish I could have played last night but it took so long to download, then I had company. I created my character this morning and will play some this afternoon before the Superbowl.

        I think it is fascinating how our minds work. Back when games like Drakan came out, the graphics looked great. We weren’t sitting there thinking, “these look okay”, instead they looked phenomenal. Now, compared to what we currently have, they are so bad. Crazy how that works.

  4. Wait, did you ever finish Windwaker? Because I loved loved loved the first half of the game; best dungeons in the series. But then it involved a whole lot of sailing to no where and I eventually gave up and quit.

    Years ago I played a lot of WoW, but Warcraft 3 is probably THE game I spend the most time playing, got very competitive indeed. Orcs must Die has always looked like a ton of fun to me as well, I just don’t have the PC to run it.

    1. I did indeed! A couple of times I believe, I was trying to collect everything for the Nintendo Gallery. And I liked the sailing, as long as the journey wasn’t crazy long – I know some of them were but mostly I enjoyed it, as I’d look around for little hidden things =)

      I’ve never played WoW (I’m kind of scared of getting addicted) or Warcraft, I have to say! And I didn’t think Orcs Must Die was too demanding?

  5. I’m glad you’ve mentioned Tales of Symphonia! It’s the first Tales game I played and still my favorite. I’m a big JRPG person so most of my fantasy-type favorites belong in that particular genre. One of which is Lunar: Silver Star Story and its sequel Eternal Blue. ❤

    1. Yay, another Tales fan! =D Who was normally in your team? And what ending did you get?

      I’ve not heard of Lunar, maybe I should look into that one. Although I only have a Wii console-wise, I’m much more of a PC gamer so I suppose it depends on platform.

      1. I tried to re-play it more recently, but I think it was during uni so it wasn’t really high on my list of priorities… Did you ever play the Symphonia sequel that was on Wii?

    1. Yay, I’m so glad you’re loving it! =D I haven’t clocked quite that many hours yet – 13 hours apparently – as a friend bought me Civ5 so I’ve been trying that out and it’s way more addictive than I realised. May play some more tonight though =)

  6. I LOVE THIS FEATURE EVEN MORE THAN I DID FIVE MINUTES AGO!!!!!

    ZELDA.

    Have you played other Zeldas? I haven’t replayed WW in soooo long. I would love too though!

    Have you played the FF games before?

    1. Teehee ❤

      I've played some of Twilight Princess and Phantom Hourglass but didn't finish them. I think I've also played some of Ocarina of Time… I never really had any consoles as a kid so I never got to play the early games when they were new. I even played Wind Waker late =(

      I've played quite a bit of VIII, some of X-2 and some of XII – didn't like any of them =/ Oh, and I had Chocobo Dungeon or Tales or something like that for Wii, which was quite fun but I never finished it and I don't have it any more. I've just never gotten along with that series.

  7. Better late than never!

    Ocarina was always my favourite, but each of them offer something awesome.

    Shame about FF, but each to their own. The series hasn’t reached the heights since Final Fnatasy X but I still love them. I don’t get much time to play these days. I listen to the soundtracks a TON though. ^__^

    1. That’s probably the one older game from the series that I definitely want to play through completely at some point.

      I have a friend who is completely OBSESSED with the series, I tease him by saying I don’t like it and he gets very defensive =P The music is gorgeous though ❤

  8. Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls and The Witcher are my three favorites. I always prefer an open gaming experience and being able to make decisions that affect the world around me.

    I am so excited for Inquisition!

    1. I have both The Witcher and The Witcher 2 – I have started The Witcher, but it felt a bit clunky? I kind of want to just play the second one, but I feel I should finish the first one before that…

      Yes, open gaming is definitely the best 🙂

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