I don’t know about you, but February tends to be a teeny bit crap. It’s January’s equally ugly twin, and usually it’s a gigantic black hole of nothingness during which time precisely nothing tends to happen. Until this year bucked the trend. Not only have publishers remembered people are holed up in the cold weather and want games to play, but they’ve gone and released a bunch of good ones! They’re truly spoiling us.
The last few weeks have ladled on that sweet, sweet gaming sauce big time, with some sublime games arriving like XCOM 2, Firewatch, The Witness, Pillars of Eternity: The White March and American Truck Sim. It kind of makes me wish February was longer this year. But I digress; with this many games out, what are you choosing to spend your time playing this weekend?
Jon: Having only just finished Enemy Unknown I thought I was resilient to XCOM 2’s charms. Like an insidious sectoid however it’s burrow itself deep into my consciousness. I’ve now hit that heavy ‘just one more turn’ phase and it’s proving a habit difficult to kick. As I get sucked in though I’ve begun appreciating its intricate systems more and more. Everything was going swimmingly too, until a Blacksite mission wiped out three, count ‘em THREE of my top-tier units. That’s keyboard smashing time that is.
In amongst all that I’m sure I’ll find time for a bit of my other vice. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but Rainbow Six Siege continues to be impossible to resist, with a quick round swiftly turning into a bleary eyed start to the next day. I’ve been slaving away to unlock those two new operators, but I’m still getting twisted upside down by the new Yacht map.
Squee: So the twin pillars of gaming wonder for me this month are XCOM 2 and , well, Pillars of Eternity. So maybe Pillars counts as more than one pillar? This metaphor seems to have escaped from me.
Nevertheless, it’s nice to spend some time in the world of Eora, slaying monsters and stealing their stuff in the time-honoured tradition of fantasy RPGing. Pillars always brings the heavy-duty storyline so I’m looking forward to seeing The White March Part 2’s pretty generic setup inevitably mutate into something more complex and rich.
Jac: I feel so spoilt for choice that half the time I spend more time deciding what to play than actually playing something. I’ve definitely been riding the XCOM 2 train with everyone else, along with dashes of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dying Light: The Following, Cities: Skyline - Snowfall and a cheeky bit of Warframe where I can. It’s been a pretty busy few weeks for games and with Far Cry Primal and The Division just around the corner my wallet is starting to feel sad and a little scared.
As ever, League of Legends keeps its claws firmly in my soul and I still find time most evenings to smash a few games. I’m currently trying to rank up out of silver but I just don’t have the time or passion to played ranked matches these days so it looks like I’ll be remaining a scrub for the foreseeable future.
And now it's essay time, featuring Divayth and Felix:
Divayth: I couldn’t help myself. And why should I defend myself for it? The past few weeks I’ve been re-enjoying the greatest PC game of all time. The source of the nickname I use everywhere I go on the internet, the game I suggest to anyone who very generally asks “suggest me a game please”, and the music I listen to in my car when I feel down. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
Once a year or two the call to head back to my beloved Vvardenfell becomes too loud to ignore. So I have played it many times over, but this time it had been a while since my last playthrough. You’d think that a game relying so much on story and lore would become boring after playing a couple of times but it just doesn’t. Not to me. Just running around the island and its many different regions brings me a joy no game has been able to give me ever since. People sometimes jokingly say you can’t finish TESV: Skyrim because there’s always something to be done that you haven’t done before. Well the same goes for its predecessor as even now I’m still finding stuff I never saw before. If possible deepening my love for the game even more.
For a quicker bit of fun I will be playing Elite Dangerous, with my new HOTAS setup. Admittedly the entire opposite of the gaming spectrum compared to Morrowind, but the variation is nice. I have played Elite Dangerous before, with just mouse and keyboard, but with a throttle and joystick it really does soar to new dimensions. Even gave me the courage to engage other real life players in the universe and in close quarters combat. And when its rival Star Citizen ever finally releases, some day in a distant future, I’ll have my weapons ready!
Felix: It’s been a while since I really, actively tried to snatch some time at the end of a day to play a game. I thought it wouldn’t be until Total Warhammer comes out in April that I would do that next. But XCOM 2 has been making me do just that. I am a fair way through my first play and it is running suitably on a GTX 950. Not brilliant, as it does sometimes stutter every now and then, but it is absolutely playable. I am still amazed at how the game keeps ramping up the difficulty to suit my squad's experience and capability. Putting pressure on and making me think I could fail at any moment.
At one point I had to pop over to South America and take out an Advent Blacksite or the game would end. But I couldn't do it until i made contact with the South American resistance. And I couldn’t make contact until I had enough contact slots available. I couldn’t get enough contact slots as I didn’t have the power to run the facility to help me increase my number of resistant contacts. So first I had to build a power facility. But I couldn’t do that until I had cleared enough alien debris from my alien space craft, that you use as a flying base. The clock to the end of game started running down and I did all of that with just 18 hours of game time to spare. Which is scarily close. I am still playing that same game. I also have my eye on Pillars of Eternity, but will return to my game of that once I am done with XCOM 2, assuming Total Warhammer hasn’t released, of course.
Over to you then on this Friday afternoon then, what are you daydreaming you'll be able to spend your time playing this upcoming weekend?