What We’re Playing This Week – Happy St. Patrick’s Day Edition

 

Jake Rushing – Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild (Switch), Super Bomberman R  (Switch), Fire Emblem Heroes (Mobile), Xenogears (PS1)

This week, I’ll continue to play my Switch games just for the sake of writing a review for the console. Although Zelda is sucking me in. I can’t help myself! I’ll have to test the capabilities of portable play vs TV play and see for myself.

I have yet to enjoy the online services that Switch offers, so I’ll play Super Bomberman R to test out what the online play is like.

Of course, i was drawn back into Fire Emblem Heroes again so I’ll play some of that action while i have time.

I’ll try and not stay away from Xenogears for too long so I’ll play a bit of that for this week.

 

Sean Willis – Commander Keen (PC/RPi, source port), Zelda Breath of the Wild (Wii U)

I’ve been playing with a Raspberry Pi 3, trying to get a nice setup together for games and other useful things. I realize now I should have bought a fan for it to overclock it but I never planed to play Dreamcast games using an old Dreamcast emulator anyway. Sides I found Commander Genius a source port of the Commander Keen games, including unofficial episodes and some extra features like four player support. I used to play the fourth one a lot as a kid and it was the closest we had to the mario series on PC at the time and it had its own style for platforming. Instead of lethal weapons the game was rather PC with a stun gun but it give a bit of strategy as enemies would take up space on the map and ammo was always limited. I’ve yet to play it with four players using this source port but I wonder how difficult the camera issues would be to get used to as it only ties the camera to one player at a time with an alternating switch button. Nostalgia though it was a fun series for sure that I guess not everyone knows about anymore.

I borrowed a copy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as I was skeptical Nintendo would make a good open world game without making the actual content really small. I find myself shield surfing too much and climbing too much instead of handling the main quest. Though I still wish the main quests where larger or just had more of them in general as just the five (including the final fight with ganon) sounds really small on paper. However the game has surprisingly more depth if you search around and talk to everyone. Rewarding exploration more than the main quest which I guess it’s okay. When I compare it to Zelda 2 which had a different structure than the first game I start to appreciate it more. Though the brittle weapons are a pain sometimes and I’d love to repair some of my favorites which is a weird oversight. I guess they expect the player to get the best weapons like the master sword of which I hear doesn’t break soooo I guess Link is just too hard on regular weapons? That kinda makes sense and I do like the strategy with constantly broken weapons, though I wish they hinted and joked about the problem rather than acting like its normal but eh, can’t complain I have fun with it. Slow downs are also pretty light on the Wii U so its not bad at all. I’d have loved to play it on Switch in a semi portable fashion but I think I’ll get my own copy of the Wii U version while I wait for the Switch price to come down. Really wish I only had to buy one version for both consoles, double purchases makes less sense. Maybe there will be a double pack deal somewhere for when I eventually get a Switch, maybe, price is just too high for me and I can play Zelda BotW on Wii U so I guess I have less reason to get one anyway.

 

Terry Randolph – Overwatch, Horizon:Zero Dawn (PlayStation 4)

Overwatch, a year after being released, tons of awesome seasonal/event-specific content, and three competitive seasons under your belt, I’m hooked in for Season 4 of competitive play. It’s amazing to see how punishing, and rewarding, competitive matchmaking can get. After getting an SR rating of 2115 from placement matches, I lost one match and tied in another. My SR dropped down to 2004. The next match I played had us win a very close game (in an awesome reverse sweep 3-2) and brought me back up to 2080. Every match has a lot of weight to either send you on a SR hot streak, or send you plummeting down into the bottom. Essentially, every match feels significant and weighted, and that’s what makes it so addictive. Seeing how hard it is to climb, I can only hope I’ll be able to get into Diamond. That said, I love Zenyatta and Lucio (but got to add a DPS and tank to my list).

However, Horizon: Zero Dawn is shaping up to be that game that keeps me drawn in and away from playing Overwatch as much as I’d used to play. Gameplay can be difficult, but exciting. The world is breathtaking gorgeous (thank you 4K tv!), and it’s an open world experience that doesn’t feel so empty!  Aloy’s venture is one that’s difficult to not get sucked into, and with an easy, exceptional crafting system and interesting dialogue choice mechanic, the experience is very immersive!  I’m not that far into the story, but from how it’s shaping up it is becoming my early favorite for my game of the year for 2017.

 

Isaac Smith – Breath of the Wild, The Swapper, Nuclear Throne: On a blustery day, I woke up, drank black coffee, paid some bills, took out the trash, scheduled a doctor’s appointment, and did some grocery shopping. And then, to offset all of the adulting I had to do, I went out and bought a Wii U and Breath of the Wild. No regrets. In the several days I’ve had it, I can say that it’s a conscious break from the Zelda formula (but that’s no news to anyone following its development). I’ll also say that it initially worried me in its lack of Zelda-ness, but there’s neither a shortage of recurring characters, nor the delightfully engrossing puzzle-solving adventures that are the hallmark of the series. I’ll do a more in-depth review later (just like every other person who owns the game at this point), but I’m remaining optimistic about the new things this game has to offer.

No gaming diet would be complete without a healthy helping of indie games, however, so I’m working my way through a 2D puzzle platformer called “The Swapper.” I’ve been really impressed thus far, both with the gameplay and with the juicy morsels of plot and backstory scattered throughout an immersive yet lonely environment. They manage to give outlines and sketches of what’s happening without sounding purposefully vague (I’m looking at you, Hyper Light Drifter).
To cap it all off, whenever I get tired of the slow pace of open world Zelda or zen puzzles, I unwind with a quick death or two in Nuclear Throne. Victory is but a fleeting illusion in the desolate post-apocalyptic murderfest. Fun!

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