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HomeAi in GamingFall 2023 video games worth buying: Alan Wake 2, Spider-Man 2, more

Fall 2023 video games worth buying: Alan Wake 2, Spider-Man 2, more

With Black Friday right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to refill your gaming coffers. Here are a few recent games worth putting down some cash for, and a few older, similar (and cheaper) titles worth checking out. (The following prices were current as of press time and reflect Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s official storefronts. Prices may be cheaper elsewhere.)

Alan Wake 2

Price: $59.99

Rating: M for Mature for blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, strong language

Available on: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Fans of Remedy Entertainment’s 2010 Alan Wake have been waiting a long time for a proper sequel. Now, 13 years later, Alan Wake 2 is here — and it was worth the wait. Leaning into its survival horror genre, AW2 brings back the best of the original game — terrific writing, stellar cinematics (particularly the live-action scenes), haunting environments — and amps it all up to a pulse-pounding crescendo. Fans of the Resident Evil remakes will find plenty to love here; it’s obvious where the sequel got much of its graphical, menu, weapon and setting inspiration. And if you’re eager for a horrifyingly mesmerizing story, replete with interesting twists, AW2 has that in spades. Unlike the first game, survival is much tougher this time around (you’ll likely have to scrounge for ammo and healing items, something that wasn’t really an issue in AW1), and it shows in the difficulty. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying this truly worthwhile sequel.

Like Alan Wake 2: Control

Price: $29.99 (though I’d recommend getting the Ultimate Edition for $10 more so you can enjoy the amazing AWE expansion)

Rating: M for Mature for blood, strong language, violence

Available on: PlayStation 5/4, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One, Switch, PC

Control, Remedy’s 2019 game set in the same universe as Alan Wake, is a master class in writing and pacing. You follow Jesse Faden, the new director of the Federal Bureau of Control, as she explores the Escher-like, paranormal Oldest House. From the brutalist architecture to the game’s brilliant use of color and shadow (particularly shades of red), Control is a beauty to play through. But it’s the stories, both major and minor, that shine brightest. Even with less-than-ideal controls, you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny to find text, audio and visual logs, each painting a vivid background of the world around you. Jesse’s quest to rid the house of the otherworldly Hiss entities, and to learn more about the Oldest House and its inhabitants, is well worth your time.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Price: $69.99

Rating: T for Teen for blood, drug reference, mild language, violence

Available on: PlayStation 5

The first Marvel’s Spider-Man was one of my favorite games of 2018: Along with being just a fun time throughout, it portrayed a stunningly human Peter Parker and treated him with nuance and honesty. And let’s not forget the web-slinging: Few games come anywhere close to making map traversal as satisfying as Spider-Man. With the sequel, we get all that — and much, much more. There’s a larger world to explore, a second primary character (Miles Morales, who returns from the first game and the spinoff game bearing his name), the introduction of memorable villains (Kraven the Hunter, Venom) and, once again, a humanizing story — one that centers on the trauma of grief — that anchors it all.

Like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: inFamous: Second Son

Price: $19.99 (also available for free with PlayStation Plus subscription)

Rating: T for Teen for blood, drug reference, language, sexual themes, violence

Available on: PlayStation 4/5

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think Sucker Punch’s inFamous: Second Son gets enough love. This 2014 stand-alone sequel to inFamous 2 introduces us to new protagonist Delsin Rowe, a superhuman (called Conduits or bioterrorists here, depending on who you’re talking to) capable of absorbing other Conduits’ abilities and delivering all the snark. But while Second Son’s story is serviceable, that’s not why you’ll want to play this game: It’s the open world of this stunningly realized Seattle that will hold your attention. Your playground is detailed and massive — and highly destructible, which pairs quite nicely with Delsin’s chaotic powers. This is an open-world superhero action game worth your time.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Price: $59.99

Rating: E for Everyone for mild fantasy violence

Available on: Switch

Sometimes I look at a new Nintendo release and just sigh. (It’s you, Pokémon. I’m sighing because of you.) But then the company just knocks it out of the park with something like Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which is just that: wonderful. From Elephant Mario to the vivid levels to the clever Wonder Effects, the latest 2D Mario platformer is simply a joy to play, with enough challenge for veteran fans without being overwhelming for newcomers. (And kudos to Nintendo, which has long looked skeptically at online multiplayer features for its games, for making a major title playable with friends online.)

Like Super Mario Bros. Wonder: It Takes Two

Price: $39.99 (also available for free with EA Play subscription)

Rating: T for Teen for animated blood, comic mischief, fantasy violence, language

Available on: PlayStation 5/4, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One, Switch, PC

It Takes Two by developer Hazelight may be my favorite co-op game — ever. It Takes Two is, simply put, genius: The 2021 game is a wacky, colorful platformer that has you and a co-player controlling a husband and wife heading toward divorce. But before everything goes sideways, the couple becomes miniaturized and has to work together to get things back to normal. (Note: This is a mandatory co-op game. You can’t play it by yourself; there’s no AI partner and no online matchmaking.) It Takes Two’s gameplay mechanics are wildly creative, forcing the players to think outside the box to progress. When the credits roll, you’ll feel supremely accomplished for all the puzzles you solved with your co-op partner, and there’s no better feeling than that.

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Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.
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