Weekend Conversation: What's The Last Game That Really Captivated You?

By Mark Delaney, 1 month ago
We've all played games that we liked or even loved, but sometimes games are capable of taking our appreciation to rarely experienced heights beyond almost anything else we've played. This weekend, we're asking you what the last game you played was which truly took over your free time and likely even your thoughts when you were away from the game. Which game most recently had you so wrapped up in it that it became an obsession? We asked around the TA digital offices to get a few opinions to kick off the conversation but then we leave it up to you. What's the last game you played that really captivated you?

KCD 3

Every once in a while, a developer that no one has ever heard of suddenly makes waves with a new title, and Warhorse Studios is one of them. I've never been interested in "hardcore" mechanics or challenging survival aspects, yet I adore what Kingdom Come: Deliverance is built upon. It brings the history of Bohemia to life with the story of a blacksmith's son, while being completely free of the fantasy aspect that so many other games rely on. On one hand, it's incredibly demanding with a wide learning curve for even the most experienced RPG fan. On the other, it's both beautiful and comprehensive, with little to no limits on what a player can accomplish.

Henry is the kind of protagonist that nobody would ask for; he's incompetent and charming only because of his awkward demeanor. Yet his story is amusing because it's so relatable. He struggles with everyday aspects of the medieval lifestyle, from learning to read and other mundane skills, to fending off enemies that are far beyond his level of expertise. And it's not just immersive either. It offers a shocking amount of freedom as well. You'll be charged with a seemingly simple task, only to find yourself faced with countless possibilities on how to solve it. Whether it means going in with your sword raised, or just slipping poison into a wine glass later on. Return to the village once the quest is finished, and suddenly, the locals will know your name, praising your efforts. Little details like this are what attracted me to the title to begin with, and they remain my favorite part of the game. Kingdom Come clearly isn't for everyone, but I personally feel that Warhorse Studios accomplished something special with it. There's nothing quite like it as of today, and it's a perfect game to explore over time. - Nicole

Destiny Titan Vault of Glass skin 3

When Destiny released in 2014 it made history as the biggest new franchise launch of all time. I didn’t buy into the hype, but the open beta and a free digital upgrade deal tempted me to buy it on release. Little did I know that it would become the most important title in my gaming career. Destiny delivered satisfying gameplay at a basic level, with gunplay that felt good and space magic powers that were fun to use. Moreover, the game was designed so that powers could be used more frequently when playing with other people, thereby amplifying the fun factor. It delivered at a higher level too, with highly structured raids that required real teamwork to overcome their challenges. I quickly became hooked on raiding, and this forced me to confront a more personal challenge.

I have social anxiety. Some days are easier than others, but overall it makes it harder to get involved in group activities and make friends. It’s easier to motivate myself to get involved if I enjoy an activity, and it’s easier to manage my anxiety if the activity has some structure. Destiny’s raids gave me the structure and satisfaction I needed, and over time my social growth overtook my growth as a raider. I spent around 3,000 hours playing Destiny and had a lot of fun doing so. Along the way, I developed some real friendships and gained the confidence to become involved in leading group activities. Destiny had many faults, but I credit Bungie with making a game that was great for social play. - Lucy

Ethan

I had a tough time choosing a game because “captivated” is such a strong word, and it isn’t often that a game reaches that level of enjoyment for me. However, the last game to captivate me was, without a doubt, God of War. Having played through the entire franchise, I was eager to see what over-the-top violent adventure Kratos would be going on as an old, angry parent. To my surprise, the game far exceeded my expectations, especially with its brilliant world-building, addicting combat system, and engaging character-focused narrative. God of War gave Kratos character development that I didn’t think was possible at this point in the series, and it made me genuinely root for this father-son duo as I journeyed through the Norse realms for hours on end. - Ethan

Red Dead Redemption 2

I'll spare some of you any more pirate chatter and go for the more obvious (and chronologically accurate) choice. Rockstar's award-winning western epic Red Dead Redemption 2 somehow exceeded my high expectations. I understand lots of people can't get into it because of the sim aspects like eating to stay well and maintaining your horse's condition, and I completely agree that the controls can be clunky and frustrating. But I also feel it's true that no game has ever done better character work, and lately, as I've gone back to 100% it — inspired by my current binge of HBO's Deadwood — I'm now seriously wondering if it's the best game I've ever played.

Arthur Morgan is a character that will stay with me forever, and I recall just how skeptical I was of his merits in the years leading up to launch. He's just one of so many great characters, each of them regularly competing to steal every scene they're in. The result is the most captivated by a game's story I've probably ever been. I was captivated by Red Dead in 2010, I was again in 2018, and it's a series that is never too far from the forefront of my gaming brain because of how it respects its audience with writing on par with some of the best stories in the world. - Mark

Now you tell us. What's the last game you played that really captivated you?
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is the host of the community game club TA Playlist. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his family. He almost never writes in the third person.