What We’re Playing This Week – May Flowers Edition

Ben Fitzgerald – Civilization IV (PC)


I don’t know what it is about Sid Meier’s Civilization games, but they are addictive as hell. Like, seriously, I’ll end up playing all night long till the sun rises and my girlfriend is mad at me. So I guess that’s actually kind of a problem…


I love the level of depth available in these Civilization games. I feel like I really need to start playing the game on higher difficulty levels so that the computer starts presenting me with deeper, richer tactical challenges. Or else, I should buy the game for some friends and engage in some sweet online multiplayer. Strategy games are really meant to be enjoyed with other human beings.


I really enjoyed the most recent round I played. I was situated in a fertile continent covered in rivers. The Ethiopian Empire pursued an aggressive expansionist approach that enabled me to quickly dominate the continent, covering the landscape in farmland that allowed my people to reproduce at a tremendous rate and isolating the Byzantines and the (shudder) Native American Empire before they could expand.


(Seriously, the Native American Empire? Who the hell thought that was a good idea? At least call them the Iroquois or the Six Nation empire. That wouldn’t be hideously offensive.)


Once my civilization reached an appropriate level of power, I systematically annihilated first the Byzantines and then the Sioux (leader was Sitting Bull, so I’ll pretend they were the Sioux). Then Kublai Khan made the mistake of settling on the land I conquered from Sitting Bull. So, naturally, I had to destroy him as well. Then I decided to go to war with Ramesses, who had a defensive pact with Saladin. Fighting a two-sided war on an enemy continent should have been suicide, but my treasury had over 80,000 gold, and I generated well over 1000 gold in tax revenue every turn. Those poor fools didn’t stand a chance against mighty Ethiopia.


Ah…Civilization IV...


Jake Rushing – This Is The Police (PC), Xenogears (PS1)


I am going to get back on Xenogears this week. I haven’t made any progress in a while. But man, I need to get to the end of the first disc before this week is over! Every moment in the game is enough to keep me going and I am motivated to play all of the games that I have collected for a long while. I am planning on finishing on what I have started. I am not going to beat the game this week, but hopefully in due time I will beat the game!


This Is This Police, on the other hand, I felt captivated by the fun resource management sim. I really like the pressure of helping getting rid of crime, while also being under pressure to appease the mafia and the mayor of the town. It is frustrating at times when I have encountered situations where I became short staffed on police officers and I couldn’t come to aid of citizens and getting staff cut down further by the major. There is no shortage of crooked people in the police department. I would want nothing more than to throw all of them under the bus. I have yet to find my name among police candidates, so cross my fingers and hope that I’ll find my name somewhere…


Terry Randolph – Persona 5 (PS4), Steins;Gate (PS Vita), Persona 4: Golden (PS Vita)


I am heavily addicted to Persona 5 — because it’s easily my Game of the Year. Persona 5 has me feeling like the game will end too soon already 18 hours in, and having completed 25% of the story. The gameplay is addicting with its mixture of heavy turn-based battle mechanics that require players paying critical attention to every detail that can be gleaned within battle. Focusing on finding enemy weaknesses rewards players with a chance to “negotiate” with a persona to join your team, give you an item or money. Make a mistake in battle, and your team can be vanquished in one turn. It’s a game that is challenging, and continues to provide that “high-risk, high-reward” gameplay the series in known for.


The social sim aspect of the game is also just as rewarding and addictive – how you decide to spend your time determines how you build your character’s stats as well as confidant relationships. The feeling of having limited time makes choices feel important and require you to weigh your options before you conduct an activity. For me personally, I’ve absolutely loved spending time with a select few of confidants while focusing on building up my social stats. Focusing on the specific characters has not only made a strong connection between my character and these characters, but have provided EXP boosts and life-saving abilities that have saved my life countless times. Plus, the characters are very easy to invest in — even if they suffer from perennial anime tropes.I have a few quips with the game (namely Morgana sometimes telling you how to spend your time), but overall I feel like this game has so many elements that are working at a high level to provide a comprehensive experience.


Goodbye competitive Overwatch, you are….well…not really missed for the time being.


That aside, I am also playing Steins;Gate since it was on sale during Japan’s “Golden Week” on the PlayStation Network. I absolutely adore the anime (Top 5 easily for me and I highly recommend watching it) and have heard the visual novel is a rare experience that is a must-own on the Vita (and yes, the Vita isn’t completely dead). Also, decided to start Persona 4: Golden on my PS Vita too since it was also on sale during the Golden Week.

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Benjamin Fitzgerald has been playing video games his entire life. An avid Star Trek fan, the first game he ever played was Interplay's "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary." He has many other interests as well, including writing music, cooking and spending time with his friends, including his best friend, Shadow.

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