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Editorial

Winter is Here: Five Games to Play Until Game of Thrones Returns

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Game of Thrones

After a fantastic seventh season that greatly improved upon the somewhat lacklustre sixth, Game of Thrones is once more on hiatus.

Now that everyone must wait until Summer 2018 (or possibly even as late as 2019) for the next series, OnlySP has decided that the best thing for everyone is to offer a list of the best video games to scratch that Game of Thrones itch as they wait.

Read on for the top five games to fill the time until the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones arrives.

Telltale’s Game of Thrones

Possibly the most obvious game for this list, Telltale’s Game of Thrones takes the high-risk intrigue and moral conundrums of the show and forces the player make the tough decisions, choosing who lives and who dies with Telltale’s trademark high-stakes gameplay.

Plot-wise, players take control of various members of the Forrester family as they spread throughout the societies of Westeros, interacting with many characters from the TV show and acting behind the scenes of many big events from the series. The aim of the game is obviously to keep the central characters alive for as long as possible, but, given the source material, the members of House Forrester will not be long for this world.

However, as engrossing as this game is, players should expect disappointment. The final episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones was released two years ago and, although fans of the game are holding out for another season, a Telltale representative recently stated that Game of Thrones Season Two will remain “on hold” as the studio develops its other series, including Minecraft: Story Mode, Batman, and The Wolf Among Us.

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The Witcher 3

For those unfamiliar with The Witcher series, players take the role of Geralt of Rivia, a professional witcher (that is, a magically-enhanced monster hunter), who travels through his war-torn countryside taking quests and solving problems. Imagine playing as a vastly prettier Sandor Clegane as he solves crimes, slaughters a wide variety of monsters, and sleeps with beautiful women.

The game is full of the loaded moral conundrums that make Game of Thrones so thrilling. Geralt will need to figure out how each problem can be solved to everyone’s benefit, but will have to constantly gauge who can be trusted and who must be killed for the greater good. Additionally, the developers have included tastefully high amounts of nudity for players to enjoy, to the extent that Geralt and his lady-love Yennifer are introduced in a bath scene while stark naked.

The Witcher 3 is widely regarded as one of the greatest open-world games in video game history, with over a hundred hours of gameplay to tide fans over until the next season of Game of Thrones. Additionally, the game has two prequels to enjoy, a tie-in card game coming out later this year, and an extensive series of books and short stories that provided the inspiration for the series.

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Dishonored 2

While players have the option of controlling  skull-masked assassin Corvo Attano in Dishonored 2, perhaps the most Game of Thrones-like thing to do is to take the role of  Empress Emily Kaldwin, a deposed royal who loses everything and must flee her homeland, enacting brutal and colourful assassinations upon those who betrayed her.

Players will not find another game that comes as close to the experience of being Arya Stark, and, like Arya, they will have a useful (though small) sword to cut up enemies and will even gain a modicum of magical powers to assist in their quest. While players will have to wait until Dishonored: Death of the Outsider to steal faces, Dishonored 2 allows the ability to create doubles of Emily to confuse enemies, use ghost hands to tear people’s limbs off, or create a floating crystal to mesmerise targets while the character sneaks up for the kill.

Overall, Dishonored 2 is a very entertaining game that gives players the option to neutralise targets in a variety of ways or kill the same individuals over and over until satisfied that justice is done.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Almost no list of fantasy video games can be complete without The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which has been a monolith in the open-world genre since its release in 2011.

Set in the land of Skyrim during a period of civil unrest, players take the role of the Dragonborn, a former prisoner destined to kill—rather than birth—dragons. However, various jobs are also available, including working as a mage, fisherman, assassin, and even a drug dealer, making the protagonist both an integral and dynamic part of Skyrim’s society.

The character is built up from nothing to do almost anything players would want to do in Westeros, as well as be whichever Game of Thrones character they want, including taking the Skyrim version of the Iron Throne and becoming the High Queen or King of Skyrim.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a great game that gives players the freedom to become whatever they desire in one of the most beloved fantasy titles of the past decade, especially after the remastered special edition came out in 2016, exponentially improving on the graphics and gameplay.

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Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II is the perfect game for people who want to take a bird’s eye view of an empire in a state of constant political conflict. Set within the real world in medieval times, players become a member of an aristocratic family and set out to do whatever they please, as the game does not offer a fixed goal to work towards.

Players may begin plots to kill their fathers, invade enemy countries to get land, or make alliances with other leaders to secure power. Crusader Kings II is a more politically minded version of Age of Empires and allows users to enact their own plot to become the sovereign of their chosen nation.

Furthermore, Crusader Kings II has no end, with players able to hypothetically go on forever as the game engineers conflicts and new characters to throw a spanner into their natural playstyle. In fact, one of the reasons Crusader Kings II is superior to Game of Thrones is that, unlike the television series, the game does not even have a conclusion, nor even a hiatus. Players can keep the game going forever, and will not be left on the edge of their seats for a whole year waiting for the resolution of a cliff-hanger.

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A former stand-up comedian, YouTube vlogger, game developer, and, currently, a video game journalist for OnlySP, Marley Hannan entertains a vast range of interests including Dungeons and Dragons, Neil Gaiman, and really, really good video games.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in May 2019

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May

May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.

RAGE 2

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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