What We’re Playing This Week – First of February Edition

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Marshall – Skyrim (Xbox 360), Killer7 (PS2): Between trying to get two history books published, working part-time at Dimple Records (the one on Arden if you fancy visiting me!), boxing lessons, getting my financial life together (including saving up for a car), Presidents Baseball work and other things, I suddenly realized I hadn’t sat down and done some gaming for pure fun in quite a bit. But with some things in life starting to click into place, I decided to finally get back in the swing of things, and fired up my 360 and PS2 earlier this week. My main “veg out” title is Skyrim, where I continue to wander in zig-zag fashion across Tamriel. It might be high time to tackle some of the GOTY expansions I got on disc two, but I’ll have to clear some space on my system for that.

On PS2, my other fix is the 2005 cult classic Killer7, which I’ve been immersed in since summer last year. The game had been etched into my brain a long time ago in the summer of 2009, when my cousin Kevin showed it to me, and I finally got my own copy last year. Now believe me when I say that if ever there were a game that defied a concise description, it’s this one. In short, you play as an assassin who has seven multiple personalities, all of which you can switch between during the game. The story entails deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Japan, but that’s tip of the iceberg at best in summing things up, as *everything* in this game is downright ineffable. The atmosphere is dark, yet not as nihilistic as it could be. The visuals are jarring, comprised of polygonal designs and abundance of shadows that create a surreal experience. My momentum playing it has only been broken occasionally by how frustratingly cryptic some of its puzzles can be, but that’s a minor complaint compared to everything the game does right. Altogether, Killer7 is an auteur classic the likes of which we’ll never see again, especially in today’s gaming industry. I’m certain I’ll be inducting it into the Last Token Gaming Hall of Fame one day, although it may take more than one playthrough to fully understand just what the hell is going on.  

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Ben Fitzgerald – Planescape: Torment, Diablo (PC)  – I have been on a serious gaming binge lately. I played through Ps:T once last year, but I felt like there were big chunks of the story that I missed out on for one reason or another, so I’m doing another playthrough. Honestly, I am once again struck by the quality of the writing and by the bizarre, engrossing setting – it remains a remarkable experience a second time around. I’ve played Diablo a bunch of times, and beat the whole game back in 2009 or 2010. It’s always a fun game to go back to and lay the beatdown. Funnily enough, the reason I started to play Diablo again is because the font Ps:T uses for “saving” and “loading” is the font Blizzard used for the in-game text, and it made me want to revisit Diablo.

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Terry Randolph – FallOut 4 (Xbox One), Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (Xbox One),  EA’s UFC 2 Closed Beta (Xbox One), Super Smash Bros. (Wii U), Five Night’s at Freddy’s 2 (PC) – I didn’t really take into account how difficult this whole playing through your Backlog could be. Sincerely, I thought a lot of the games were going to be easy to breeze through and I could get a lot of them knocked out. Truthfully, I’m finding myself falling more and more behind in my playing. However, that’s a great thing because I’m noticing how much more I’m exploring games that I have. This also is giving much more indepth looks at the mechanics, the design and intricacies of each game I’m playing. All of this is very apparent in both Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 and FallOut 4. Also, I should have some impression pieces on the newest characters added to Smash: Bayonetta and Corrin. Also, I plan on starting up some Let’s Plays within the month mixing some indie titles with major ones. It’s a very exciting year so far!

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Jake Rushing – Super Smash Bros (Wii U), Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (Game Boy) – This week, with the last of the Super Smash Bros fighters coming to play, I’m looking forward to downloading the characters and giving them a whirl. Hopefully I’ll adopt either one of the two, or Cloud as my third main for Super Smash Bros. Finally, I’m bent on completing my Gameboy backlog when I can (which I should have my own Backlog Challenge published relatively soon) so I’m going to start on that by finishing one of the games from my childhood, Kirby’s Dream Land 2.

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Isaac Smith – Braid (PC), Dungeons of Dredmor (PC) – If you’re wondering why Binding of Isaac isn’t on here, it’s because I finally finished the darn thing. I’m still playing it from time to time, but I’ve moved on. For now, I’m doing research for a piece that’ll be coming out later this month about deeply complex games. Dungeons of Dredmor has got to be on that list – it has thousands of items, quite a few different stats, damage types and resistances. Not to mention, there are 40 or 50 different skills you can pick at the start of your (probably ultimately fatal) journey, and they interact in really interesting and often unexpected ways. Braid is another game that I’ve had in my Steam library for ages, but never got around to playing. It’s an oldie but goodie. If you like puzzle platformers like VVVVV, Spelunky or The Lost Vikings, this is something you should check out. It’s beautiful, mysterious, enthralling… every aspect of it is lovingly and beautifully constructed. Try it. There’s a lot to love about it.

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