The trouble with the gaming industry is that they keep pumping out fantastic games one after another. How do we know which of these games are the best? Gamers above the age of 30, who have real world responsibilities, only see a massive backlog build up and grow. Aged gamers understand that we can’t just pick up a game and see how it goes. We can’t afford to have our time wasted (looking at you, Fallout 76). We all understand that gaming is a commitment. Understanding a game’s mechanics and getting invested in the story and world is a major part of the experience. So, here is a list of the 4 best PC games for older adults to enjoy in 2019. You’ll notice that this list is a rather short one. That is because our agenda is to reduce that backlog, not add to it.
We understand that anyone who has been fully keeping up with the latest games is not looking for reviews, they can get those anywhere. We’re talking about recommendations with the express purpose of understanding and empathizing with the shortage of time available for gaming. Ours (and above) is a generation less worried about RGB and liquid cooling and more about the gaming experience itself. Nobody wants to spend what little time they can spare playing something with no narrative pay off (ala Far Cry 5), or to get into something that is unplayable if you haven’t followed the series. So our criteria is about immersion, story and replay value. That said, let’s get started.
Note: This review does not cover sports or multiplayer games because they would just pad out the word count and not give you anything you don’t already know. FIFA, Madden, WWE, Tekken, Apex Legends, PUBG, Fortnite (we imagine it’s not exclusively full of children) aren’t relying on our advocacy.
1. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
If you remember Assassin’s Creed coming out in 2009 with one sequel after another until the franchise merged into the same iteration on loop, then you remember giving up on the series somewhere around Assassin’s Creed Unity. However, Ubisoft realized the formula was getting stale and switched things up with Assassin’s Creed Origins (aso highly recommended). This brought in a new combat system, a fantastic RPG implementation and a massive world with side-quests galore and most importantly a new, self-contained story that doesn’t require 3 sequels to wrap up (ala Assassins Creed II).
Story – Good
In Assassin’s Creed games, it does not make sense to give away any part of the story that isn’t already included in the trailers as you risk spoiling your experience. Know that there are multiple endings and outcomes (as is the case with most RPGs) and they are great payoffs to the choices you make and the story escalates well enough to keep you emotionally invested in the choices you make.
Gameplay – RPG, Combat, Repetition, all good.
You have a whole open world of Ancient Greece, references to famous historical figures (something they’ve retained from the older games), history buffs will enjoy the real-time events with a touch of fantasy on how historic events rolled out.. There is also a fair bit of seafaring that help break up the monotony of RPG grinds. After the first few missions, you’ll have figured the whole thing out, then it’s all about how this experience affects you.
Game Length – 20-100+ hours
If you stick to story only, you’re looking at maybe 20-30 hours of gameplay. Well thought out RPG games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey have very high replay value (as there is a lot to do), some people prefer not to continue with a game after the main storyline concludes. However, if you are a completionist looking to get 100% achievements, it will be hundreds of hours before you can successfully finish the entire game.
2. Darksiders III
Darksiders was THQ’s surprise hit that, despite its success, could not save THQ from going belly up a year later. It was very unique for when it came out in an age where stories used to stretched out over multiple sequels ala Call of Duty Modern Warfare trilogy, Assassins Creed 1,2 (its own sequels) and 3, Darksiders came out as a Hack and Slash adventure games that told you a complete story within one game. What’s more is that the first one still ended on a cliffhanger and still had room for sequels/prequels (more on that in the story section) Which brings us to Darksiders III.
Story – Simple, but fun
Each Darksider game is about one of the 4 Horsemen of the apocalypse (even though this game’s protagonist is clearly a woman). Darksiders III tells the story of Fury, an angry lady dealing with the armies of heaven and hell while trying to capture/defeat living embodiments of the seven deadly sins.
This game is a prequel to the original Darksiders. It tells you the story of the events that took place between the first and second act of the first game. If you consider the standalone story of Darksiders III, it’s an interesting tale with a decent plot that continues to thicken as events continue to unfurl. Darksiders III borrows a page from Prince of Persia Warrior Within, where the there is a possible secret ending.
Even though it is a cog in franchise, it is equally enjoyable as a solitary gaming venture.
Gameplay – Your typical hack and slash
Darksiders III depicts a semi-open apocalyptic world that becomes increasingly accessible as you upgrade yourself. The combat evolves as you learn more things and you can unlock new weapons and combos. You can also upgrade your weapons/armors/character and the game throws in some increasingly challenging puzzle solving in between combat sequences to keep things interesting.
Game Length – 20-30+ hours
Darksiders games have always been longer as there is simply a lot to do. There are a few side-quests and unlocks thrown in, but even if you ignore them, the core game still makes it a worthwhile venture. Which is why we recommend it, as this kind of investment makes sense if you are going to learn new worlds, characters and plots as future sequels will be informed by this particular experience.
3. Hitman 2
The Hitman franchise has undergone a revival since Hitman Absolution with the first one coming out episodically in late 2016 (then titled Hitman Season 1) and Hitman 2 coming out in late 2018 (this time, all-at-once).
The Hitman games popped out of nowhere (as most great games do). 2000 was an year of experimentation, Deus Ex made a debut, as did Counter Strike. Monkey Island’s first 3D iteration came out and in between all of these, was Hitman Codename 47. The entire game can be compressed into, “You are an assassin, there’s your target, good luck”. Every subsequent game built on that idea (with Hitman Contracts just remaking missions from the first one for some reason) until we found Hitman Blood Money, which is regarded as one of the best stealth based shooters of all time.
Then, between the years 2008 and 2013 all games suddenly had to be edgy and gritty, regardless the source material. Hitman Absolution came out in all of this with a new formulaic story-centric mission. It was alright, but it was weirdly clinging onto both, its core ideology and whatever that generation’s weird fascination with grittiness was.
Fortunately, Hitman and Hitman 2 shaved off all that excess non-sense and went back to basics. “You’re an assassin, there’s your target, figure it out” and it is bordering perfection once more. Thousands of ways to assassinate some targets, be it in complete stealth or absolute chaos, the series is good again.
Story – You don’t need one to enjoy this game
Each mission is located in a different part of the world, with different cultures and people, giving you new interactions with each new location. Hitman games have a narrative thrown into the mix, but that has never been part of why we play these games. In fact, the two failed movies are evidence enough that stories have very little to do with this franchise.
There is a subplot involving another stealth assassin that play out a plot between each mission. However, if you choose to ignore the story altogether, your experience will not deteriorate, even marginally. Unlike Hitman (2016), which had fully rendered and animated cutscenes, Hitman 2 gives you cinemagraphs (or photographs with some animations) with voice overs. However, again, could even have thrown sock puppets on screen and it would not have affect the superb game in any way.
Gameplay – As variable as your gaming style
With each mission, you have a default arsenal of weapons to aid your assassinations that you can improve upon by playing the game and getting increasingly creative kills. This game can be as simple as a shooter and you need only to figure out where to point and click to see animated blood splatter, or you can take time to understand guard routes, camera locations, distractions, hidden weapons, body storage locations, hiding spots and which weapon works best in which situation and you’ll have an equally rewarding (but challenging) game. The game was intended to be played in stealth and you are treated to a lot of interesting smaller subplots/opportunities in each mission that really bring the characters to life.
Game Length – ~30-50 hours
Theoraticaly, you could finish this game in 3-4 hours in your first playthrough . However, these games aren’t designed to be played just once. The entire idea is to unlock new ways to carry out assassinations. This means better weapons, better disguises, different starting locations and more costumes. There are many small stories within each mission that you cannot experience in one go. This is why you play the missions again, discovering something new each time. With an additional payment, you could also unlock missions from Hitman season 1 within this game.
4. Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 is a fantastic standalone game. It takes everything people liked about the previous Devil May Cry games and creates a new experience. DMC 5 features the action of Devil May Cry 3, the multilayered story of Devil May Cry 4 and the ‘nothing’ of Devil May Cry 2. It also straight up ignores the short-lived edgy new reboot called DmC.
Devil May Cry was originally designed as a Resident Evil spinoff. However, Capcom soon realized they had the makings of a standalone game on their hands. They shoehorned in a story about a powerful devil escaped from hell named Sparda who married an Earth woman named Eva, who had sons named Dante (good guy) and Vergil (bad guy) who were part devil-part human bent on defeating monsters and avenging their mother’s death (oh yeah, she died) and that was as far as they got with the plot before Capcom said “dial it up a notch and ship it”. Original PlayStation 2 gamers will be hit with a lot of nostalgia for similarities.
Longtime fans of the series will notice that despite achieving ultra-realistic graphics, they haven’t been able to fix Trish’s hair, which in this age, seems like it must be a choice.
Story – It’s no Legacy of Kain, but it is entertaining
If time were not a factor, we’d advise playing at least Devil May Cry 3. Devil May Cry 5 quickly briefs you on any events you might need to familiarize yourself with as needed. However, the story is great as a standalone title as well, all the gaps start filling in with every level. The game features 3 playable characters, all of whose stories converge as the game goes on. The plot progresses well and the cutscenes appear in balance to the action. However, if you have played Devil May Cry 3, you’ll find some similarities between both games’ plots.
Gameplay – Lots of action, keeps improving with each replay
The game is a 20-leveled, hack and slash adventure game that you’ve to advance with each playthrough. You get three characters to play the story through, each with their own fighting style, upgrades and unlockables. Dante, being the main character of the story gets the most unlocks and upgrades. The game has secret rooms and hidden items to pick up. These unlocks might not even appear if you don’t look thoroughly enough.
Game Length – 5 hours – 50 hours
You cannot play this game once on easy mode and be done with it. If you want to enjoy the game as intended, then you need to replay with unlocks and upgrades. Once you end the game, you retain all upgrades with each subsequent gameplay. However, this isn’t an unfair advantage as the difficulty also goes up each time. At normal difficulty, you will take around 10-15 minutes per mission. At the highest difficulty, every single near unkillable creature you face can take your life away with a harsh breath.
The more you play, the better you get and more the challenges improve for you. It is designed for multiple replays and does not tax you for gaps between playthroughs.