It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

Most of my time this week was spent with the nightmarish rhythm game Thumper on Nintendo Switch. I just reviewed the game over at Switch Player, which will also show up in issue #4 of their printed magazine. If anyone out there is interested in acquiring a copy, you can pledge over at their Patreon today (yes, just today) or buy an individual copy at the website once it’s published.

I absolutely loved the game, particularly its uneasy tracklist by way of Brian Gibson and its haunting aesthetic. The gameplay is intense and frantic, inducing white-knuckle anxiety in the best way possible.

Between reviews, I like to take in a palate cleanser to feel like I’m doing something for myself. After Thumper, however, I struggled to find anything that held my attention.

I signed up for the new Xbox Game Pass on Xbox One, which was the first time I’d turned the console on with the intention of gaming in about five months. Since it’s the only console my girlfriend and I own more than one of, thus being the chosen place to continue our Destiny adventures in the upcoming sequel, I figured now was a good time to show it a little love.

For those unaware, Game Pass is a $10 per-month subscription service on Xbox One that allows you to play over 100 different games by downloading them directly to your console. In that regard, it’s similar to PS4’s PlayStation Now service but works off of direct downloads instead of Sony’s streaming-only option. Having the ability to download games instead of streaming them is a huge win since my internet speed is often abysmal. If you’re familiar with EA Access, it’s basically the same thing (including purchase discounts for supported games and DLC).

Right now, Game Pass is mostly riddled with older games that were already offered for free as part of the Games With Gold service, along with many of the titles found in the¬†Rare Replay compilation. There’s also a ton of Xbox 360 games supported via backwards compatibility. As someone who subscribed to Xbox Live Gold for the first two years of the console’s life-cycle, and owns Rare Replay, there’s not much on the list that’s enticing me to stick around once the free two-week trial ends.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything worthwhile for others. Halo 5: Guardians, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Mega Man Legacy Collection, Braid, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Payday 2: Crimewave Edition, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition, Mad Max, and Resident Evil 0 are among the games available, and all of them are worth checking out.

I played around a bit with Samurai Shodown 2 and King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match, which are two of my favorite fighters of all time. Outside of those, though, I downloaded Braid and Electronic Super Joy and didn’t click with either. I skimmed my digital backlog and jumped into the monochromatic horror game White Night, but wasn’t feeling it. Then I checked out Type:Rider on PS4, which is a 2D platformer based on fonts and written communications (weird, I know). It lost me pretty early, despite its novel effort.

I rented Prey from GameFly, but ultimately gave up after a few hours due to its awful combat mechanics. I liked the idea of a weird, sci-fi Groundhog Day experiment gone awry, but groaned heavily anytime I was forced into combat with the game’s mimics. The mimic idea in itself was fantastic, providing a sense of dread by fear of the unknown — any object in the environment can be a monstrous mimic, like a coffee mug that morphs before your eyes as you pass it by.

I just wish I didn’t have to kill anything since swinging around a wrench was a clunky mess and it’s a good six hours before you find your first real weapon. Knowing the game was easily thirty hours long, there was no way I was enduring its mediocre combat when it’s such a big part of the overall experience.

I finally landed on The Wolf Among Us, which I completely forgot about buying years ago when it launched on Xbox One alongside the first two seasons of The Walking Dead. I picked up the launch bundle and never even installed it, which seems to be an ongoing trend.

I’ve managed to complete just the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, which is based on the FABLES comic series published by Vertigo/DC. The short version is that characters from fairytales are forced to live among humans and use magic to disguise themselves in order to blend in. They all live in the same town and you play as their local sheriff, Bigby Wolf (Big Bad Wolf). You begin by investigating the murder of a lesser-known character, but, of course, things take a turn for the worst and, before you know it, a serial killer is on the loose.

I tend to like Telltale’s storytelling, despite their game engine being an outdated piece of shit. It’s typical Telltale fare where you’re engaged in quick-time events and making story-altering dialogue choices, which is fine. The characters have been excellent and the tone has become far darker than I anticipated, particularly in the first episode’s stunning finale. I look forward to continuing my adventure over the weekend.

Outside of gaming, I’ve been catching up on comics and TV. I just rented the first two volumes of Gotham Academy, as well as Final Crisis and Identity Crisis. Throughout the week, I’ve managed to binge watch the 2nd season of The Flash (which was great), the first season of Riverdale (which was surprisingly good), and I’m halfway through the ultra-depressing, entirely relatable Netflix exclusive¬†13 Reasons Why.

What about you folks? What are you up to this weekend?

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25 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! What are You Playing?

  1. I gave out on Prey after playing the demo completely agreeing that the combat was bad. Not sure if I’ll play some more NieR or try to play Tales from the Borderlands. It’s going to be tough to stop watching Breaking Bad until I finish it. Anyway, enjoy the weekend and holiday!

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    1. I liked White Night’s aesthetic and the few vocal tracks, but that’s about it. Maybe I’ll get back to it someday.

      Injustice 2 had a great story mode, I thought. Lots to do in that one. I’m hoping to get around to The Surge later in the year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I won’t get a ton of game time in, but I’ll be playing some more Mirage now that it’s officially out. My review should be up soon. I’ll say that calling it “Chivalry with magic” is both right, and wrong. It’s pretty unique, and it’s a lot of fun. Saturday Ii work, Sunday my Uncle throws his Memorial Day BBQ a day early. So I won’t get in much “me” time until late at night. Monday I’m surprisingly off though, so I’ll try to get in a few video games between errands!

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  3. I’m hoping Rime shows up from GameFly tomorrow, so I can play that this weekend. Otherwise, I may play through Abzu. I have Prey in from GameFly, but only played a bit. Story seemed pretty cool, but I didn’t play enough to really judge much else.

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  4. And you haven’t even tried to fight a Mimic in space – now that’s a challenge…
    Would love to play Wolf Among Us – will get to that one when I can, probably for Steam.

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    1. I played about 6 hours of Prey and that’s about all I could deal with before tapping out, haha. I’ll watch a LP for the story, of course.

      Just finished The Wolf Among Us earlier today and really, really loved it. I still think Borderlands was a tad better, but Wolf bumped the first season of The Walking Dead out of my #2 spot. Definitely worth playing.

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      1. Yeah.. I like Prey, but there are some annoying stuff in it. Space combat for instance isn’t possible – you either run, or try to get them cornered into a narrow area.
        I watched some gameplay of Wolf Among Us – it certainly looked nice – to me it seems different since it’s not something like Game of Thrones or Walking Dead which have already been covered. Seemed more original / unique.

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  5. One of my cats is named Thumper, haha. Congrats on getting your review published in a printed magazine!!

    I’ll be trying not to suck so much at Mario Kart (I’m working on the easy mode 50cc cups now), along with playing HZD, on this glorious weekend.

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    1. Thank you! I always wanted to write for Nintendo Power growing up. That was always my dream, which was shattered when they closed down. I suppose having something published in a Nintendo-focused fan-zine will do!

      I had to put MK8D down for a while, haha. It was consuming all of my free time and I had reviews and backlog stuff to get to. It’s still my go-to Switch game since I’m finished with Zelda until DLC releases, though I’ve mostly been using my console for Thumper. Hoping to get back to Horizon soon.

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      1. I think I’m having the opposite problem you had: I can’t get into Zelda because of HZD, haha. I do love BoTW but Horizon’s story just has me much more interested. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I put Zelda on the backburner until HZD is done.

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        1. Yeah, Horizon was definitely superior in the story and character development department. I don’t like comparing the two games, since they’re clearly different. I think Zelda just gave me open-world fatigue and I enjoyed that aspect of BotW more, so going into Horizon having just experienced (what I feel is) the best open world I’ve ever played in made such a big part of Horizon (exploring) feel weak by comparison. I can’t wait to get back to it, honestly. I think I’ve had enough time away from open worlds. Once I finish Mars: War Logs and get my review of Akiba’s Beat up, I’ll probably jump back to Horizon.

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  6. Just stopping by to cast a vote for Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons for your Xbox Pass! Such a great game and should only take about 2 hours! Great storytelling through mostly silence.

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    1. I loved Brothers so much when I played through it on Xbox 360 back in the day. I installed the Xbox One version and within 20 minutes lost my desire to play through it a second time since I already knew what happened. At that point I was falling into old habits, only playing for Achievements, and I’m done with that lifestyle. Still one of my favorite gaming experiences of all time, and one of the most depressing at that. Just discovered it’s not a game I feel the need to revisit.

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  7. First, I’m going to look up Thumper on YouTube like you suggested I do…okay, well THAT was intense as f**k wow. I definitely got the creepy vibe you were talking about.

    I finished The Room Two and downloaded The Room Three. Developers who offer the first game for free than slowly increase the charge know how to get you. Same thing with books. The first Saga was like $8, the second was $12. I know I could go to the library, but I love it and want to own it! I’m probably going to pull back on how much FFBE I play. I still like it, but I’m pretty sure freemium games just go on forever as long as you’re willing to play/shell out the cash, and I have way too many games to be stuck on a song that never ends. I received Horizon: Zero Dawn and would up buying Final Fantasy Type-0 since it was only $20 on Amazon. I want to continue along the righteous path of playing Final Fantasy in order, too, and my husband is probably going to kill me if I don’t use the PS3 I bitched and moaned for.

    Final thought: so freaking happy it’s a holiday weekend!

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    1. Yeah, Thumper is fucking weird. It’s so fast and hectic that it puts you into a weird “in the zone!” daze where your fingers and brain feel like they’re working overtime. It’s pretty brilliant. Not many games do that these days.

      I’ll get back to Horizon soon, I’m sure. Let me know what you think of it whenever you get around to it. I know you’re battling the hubby over the PS4, so I’m sure it’ll be a while lol. I’m in the minority that really enjoyed Type-0 HD, though I was pissed at a certain part that I’ll go into detail about once you’ve finished it. Thankfully it’s quite short, even more so when you abuse the arena glitch I linked before. Great OST, too! Once you get into that one you’ll see why I obsessed over playing its music in FFXV.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying The Room series. I’ve heard so much about it, but my phone sucks and my tablet’s battery drains ferociously when I play games on it. It’s a 4-year-old Galaxy.

      Enjoy your extended weekend!

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      1. Didn’t you play Horizon right after BOTW so you were having comparison issues? Hehe, yeah, I’m hoping to start something new this week. It’ll probably be FFV since I’ve been putting that off, but once I finish the last Room, I’ll fire up one of the newer games. Since Type-0 is so short that might be next on my list to play.

        Ah suck! My phone has no room on it and the screen is cracked. I’m just happy it’s available on Android, which is so funny to me, because I’ve had iPhones my entire life. Now I’m interested in what Android can do due to my Kindle. It’s like my interest in XBox :p

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        1. Yep. Had to shelve Horizon until I distanced myself away from BotW enough. I’m there now, basically, but I’ve been working through my Xbox backlog to make space for the Destiny sequel.

          I have an older iPhone 5S but a Galaxy Tab that I prefer for everything. I don’t hate the iPhone, really. I just don’t pay for a data plan so all the bells and whistles are useless out in the wild without a wifi hotspot.

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          1. I’m hoping Destiny 2 fixes all the issues my husband bitches about haha.

            I never understood the iPhone vs. Android war. It was like the people who fought over Nintendo and Sega grew up (and I use that term loosely) and decided to brawl about phones. I couldn’t give a shit what phone anyone else uses lol. It doesn’t affect my life, and it’s amusing because I mostly hear people badmouthing Apple, which, let’s be hones, is pretty evil, but I’ve never heard an Apple user actually behave the way we’re portrayed. I’m actually glad they don’t have an eBook reader of their own. I like having the option to use Android or iOS, and I’m not paying that much for a tablet. I’ll just get a bigger Fire.

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