Here in the United States of America, the 4th of July is a huge holiday that lots of people spend outside, eating hot dogs and potato chips, running through sprinklers, and doing stuff you see in music videos.
That’s cool and all, I guess. But what if you’re terrified of the sun and don’t trust the ingredient list on that hot dog package? Don’t make other plans. You’ve got plenty to do, and you don’t even have to stand up.
Here’s our list of five games worth checking out this 4th of July, jam packed with freedom and fireworks.
Red Faction Guerrilla
Red Faction: Guerrilla took a sharp left turn from its predecessors, stepping out of the first person view and into the third. Developer Volition kept the right parts intact, though: rebellion and destruction.
As Alex Mason, you must assist the Red Faction in overthrowing the Earth Defense Force, destroying their structures one strut at a time with rocket launchers, nanomachines, vehicles, mechs, and of course, a good ol’ sledgehammer.
Red Faction: Guerrilla took destruction to a level rarely seen since. The follow-up, Red Faction: Armageddon, couldn’t replicate the magic and, for some reason, didn’t even try. We haven’t seen anything quite like it following its 2009 release, and that makes it worth going back and checking out.
Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 has enjoyed a long tail on sales that games outside of the Nintendo library can only dream about. It came out five years ago but still sells well during sales and is talked about with some frequency by gamers.
Rico Rodriguez is tasked by The Agency with taking down a harsh dictator, freeing the island from his oppressive regime. Like Alex Mason, blowing up just about everything — even if it might belong to civilians — is the best way to achieve freedom. Just Cause has tons of room for inventive gameplay, though, thanks to Rico’s parachute and the infamous tether that lets him attach one object — say a fighter jet in midflight — to another — such as the ground — just to see what happens.
Open world games are all about freedom, but Just Cause 2 is all about freedom in every sense — freedom of play, freedom of movement, and of course, fighting to set the locals free. If you feel like it. Or just blow all their stuff up.
Even better, Just Cause 3 is mere months away:
Assassin’s Creed III
Assassin’s Creed III is one of the most maligned in the series, just behind Assassin’s Creed Unity and maybe a bit ahead of Revelations. Some of it is deserved — it launched with as many bugs as Unity, though on a better performing engine. But it has a lot to offer. Connor Kenway is a complicated character caught between lots of different worlds. He’s one of the few guys that isn’t just a European dude. He comes across as whiny, but he’s got plenty to be unhappy about.
This was the first Assassin’s Creed that brought tree-based traversal into the series as well.
Perhaps my favorite part, though, is the story. Assassin’s Creed III takes place right in the middle of the American Revolution. While it doesn’t follow history to the letter, it puts Connor in front of some of the best known individuals in the war and portrays them like actual, believable humans, rather than caricatures of heroes and villains.
Despite the bugs and the less charismatic hero, Assassin’s Creed III is one of the more interesting entries in the series, and there’s hardly a better fit for a 4th of July playthrough.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
A game about an alternate future where the Nazis win? Really.
What’s better than freeing America all over again and killing Nazis in the process? That’s Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Along the way you get a bunch of really interesting people fighting what seems like a hopeless resistance against a superpowered occupation force. Thankfully BJ Blazkowicz is part of the effort. Despite 14 years in a coma, his senses haven’t dulled a bit and soon he’s dual wielding machine guns.
Possibly the most badass moment in the game has BJ escaping from the compromised resistance base while his friend J stays back to distract the enemy soldiers by wailing out a mean version of The Star Spangled Banner. See if you can guess who that character is supposed to be.
Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2
Every 4th of July celebration should be capped off with fireworks. If you were expecting Fantavision when I promised fireworks, I’m sorry to disappoint you. If you want an awesome display of fireworks for the 4th, and don’t want to leave the house, you can’t do much better than the Xbox 360 title Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2.
What are some of your favorite games for this holiday weekend?