It’s the weekend, which means it’s time to put work behind us, turn on our consoles or PC, cast our cares aside, and become engrossed in another world only realizable through video games.
E3 is done and dusted, thankfully, so there is now time to actually play video games instead of just writing about them.
This weekend, we’re heading off to worlds full of fantasy, chivalry, bike tricks, the wedding to end all weddings, and zombies. What a mix.
Alex Donaldson, Assistant Editor – Mass Effect Legendary Edition, SimCasino, and secret stuff
E3 has been pretty intense and has taken it out of me quite fully, so I’m feeling like I need to have a pretty chilled-out week. I also have a few real-life things to take care of – jobs around the house, family stuff to deal with – but as ever, I will squeeze in some gaming.
First up, I’m going to continue my long and meandering journey through Mass Effect Legendary Edition. I’m about halfway through Mass Effect 2, but the speed of my play-through has been massively dented and my enthusiasm massively dampened by all the glitched achievements in the game – which despite what BioWare has said in patch notes, remains totally broken for me. Still, I’m slowly working my way through it.
I’m also going to return to SimCasino, which I wrote about as something of a lockdown obsession of mine. This PC early access management sim keeps on growing with smart updates and additions, and I’m here for it. I return to it once every couple of months, and it’s become a comfort food video game for me – perfect for unwinding after the E3 stress.
Finally, I’m working on playing a couple of games I can’t talk about yet that you can look forward to reviews of in the coming week or two. And sleeping. Lots of sleeping.
James Billcliffe, Guides Editor – Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade
In the next-gen hinterland where you’re never sure what’s coming out where, I sploshed a whacking £70 on Final Fantasy 7 Remake when it dropped last year.
Being three years old when the game came out, but knowing all the spoilers through osmosis, I was pretty excited to see what all the fuss was about – until the promise of a bigger, shinier, PS5 version appeared halfway through my playthrough.
Instantly sapped of any sense of spectacle, I resigned myself to another year of waiting, until this weekend, when I’ve finally got time to jump back in.
Rebecca Jones, Guides Writer — still Danganronpa, plus maybe some action games
I’m still on my mission to finish unravelling the mysteries of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc — further spurred on by the announcement at E3 that a new collection of the original trilogy, plus one of the spin-offs, will be released on Switch sometime this year. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to play any more of it this week: the Class Trials seem to get about half-an-hour longer every time, so having reached the final section of Chapter 5, I’m expecting to have to sit down for a good three hours to solve it. Do you have any idea how rarely I get three consecutive hours free on a weekday, Danganronpa?! I can’t even watch films anymore! I’m lucky if I can sleep for that long uninterrupted!! …So yeah, this one’s definitely a must-play for the weekend.
If for some unforeseeable reason I get post-trial burnout on this visual novel about dead teenagers, I have a couple of games in mind to move on to. First up is Control: undoubtedly my favourite video game narrative of the past couple of years, but the game itself is one I keep bouncing off of for reasons I really can’t explain. Every couple of months I’ll pick it up, play six hours in a single sitting, then put it down for two months and repeat. But why? I love this game while I’m playing it, I love it while I’m thinking about playing it, but somehow I just struggle to get going every time. Hopefully not this time.
Then there’s Marvel’s Avengers. The E3 announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy — while not by the same developers, or even really connected beyond the wider property and shared publisher — reminded me that I bought this game on sale after Christmas and that it’s still in its cellophane. Mixed reviews aside, I do still want to play it. But with the much-better-looking Guardians releasing in just a few months, it’s starting to feel like now or never if I want to move this title off my pile of shame anytime in the next five years.
Sherif Saed, Staff Writer – Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Chivalry 2
Even before it was officially announced, the idea of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has always intrigued me. Though I am no Final Fantasy fan, I imagined it would be a more accessible version of Team Ninja’s Nioh, and I wanted to see what that’s like.
And yes, the game’s showing at E3 didn’t impress, and impressions so far have been dire. But Team Ninja’s modern games were never really technical showcases. This is a developer that does punishing action games very well, and you can always expect deep, satisfying mechanics most other studios would shudder to even envision.
I am going to go in with an open mind and just see what it is; judge it on its own merits. If I end up enjoying it, I’ll probably end up playing it on PC where it could look better than it does now on PS5. We’ll see.
I am also planning to play Chivalry 2, which came out right in the middle of the E3 madness. Between covering the various events and watching the rest on my own time, I just never had time to actually play games this past week and change.
But E3 madness has subsided, and it’s time to catch up on what I missed. Chivalry 2 is the big one, of course, as I really enjoyed the recent beta. Anyone who plays multiplayer action games regularly will tell you that those first couple of weeks of launch are often the game’s best. Before YouTubers create elaborate guides, and Reddit users discover the glitches and broken moves – this is the period where we’re all new, and we get to discover everything for the first time, exploring the game as we go.
I am hopeful that this period will last a little longer in Chivalry 2 compared to – say, a game like Mordhau, which was quickly overtaken by ultra-hardcore, toxic shitbags. Chivalry 2’s more casual presentation and its more accessible mechanics will hopefully drive those sorts of people away, all the better for us.
I imagine having cross-play between the different platforms will also mean I’ll be matched with players whose skills are similar to mine, thanks to the wider pool of players. I am particularly interested to try out the classes and loadouts we couldn’t access in the beta and spend a little time practicing my dragging.
Stephany Nunneley, News Editor – The Lord of the Rings Online, Left 4 Dead
Now that E3 is behind us and I am not longer video-gamed out, I plan on playing a couple of things this weekend – once I get a good night’s sleep and probably a nap or two in – I am so very tired.
Saturday nights, three friends and I always pick a game to play together, and this weekend it’s Left 4 Dead. The four of us are rather excited over Back 4 Blood, so we thought we’d give Turtle Rock’s original zombie shooter another go for old time’s sake and to prep for the new game’s release in October.
I have to admit I am not great at first-person shooters, but my pals are very patient with me and don’t get too upset when things get frantic and I accidentally shoot one of them. They also promise to go a bit slower instead of running here and there super fast, leaving me behind. If a real zombie apocalypse were to happen, well, we’d all be screwed with me in the group. Just leave me behind. It would be best for the other survivors, and I would understand. No hard feelings.
The Lord of the Rings Online kicked off its midsummer festival yesterday, and I am ready to jump in and complete some festival-related quests so I can earn currency to buy a new horse (there are six), outfits, and new pet chipmunk which is super cute.
Last year, Standing Stone games introduced the new annual event which celebrates the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen. The wedding was a long time coming because Elrond wouldn’t allow Arwen and Aragorn to get married until the latter became the King of both Arnor and Gondor. Now that he is king, it’s time to celebrate – with tons of quests that have you running around all over Minas Tirith doing favors for wedding planners and everyone else.
There is also an epic questline associated with the celebration, and smaller celebrations throughout Middle-earth in Thorin’s Hall, Celondim, Duillond, Bree, and at The Party Tree outside Bilbo’s house in Hobbiton.
While these repeatable quests can get a bit tedious, if you want everything there is to offer, it’s best just to stick your chin out and get everything done. Plus, there is a 10-hour cooldown or so on each quest, so you will at least get a bit of a break. Unless, of course, you jump on another character who needs to complete them.
I couldn’t find a video to show you of the festivities, so I just popped in one that features the soundtrack for the festival. The music in Lotro is top-notch, and this particular piece composed by Bill Champagne is rather lovely.
Tom Orry, Editor-in-Chief – Descenders
I haven’t had a busy week when it comes to actually playing games, instead watching a lot of E3 content I missed during the workday, but I have been dabbling a little with Descenders. It’s fair to say that I’m not good at downhill biking in a virtual world (and I expect in the real world, too), but Descenders delivers moreish mini plates full of speed and danger that are perfect for 10 minutes of gaming here and there.
The game has also received a nice Xbox Series X update recently, which makes it look nicer or run smoother depending on your preference and TV’s capabilities. Descenders feels like one of those success stories that goes quietly unnoticed. If you like the idea of high-speed, high-stakes, trick-filled bike riding, give this a whirl. It’s on Game Pass if you’ve got that.
Of course, we have other things to do this week. Things we let slip while covering E3 2021, but still, video games will be a large part of the equation. What do you plan on getting up to over the next couple of days, and what are you playing this weekend?