The summer season tends to encourage people to go outside or plan vacations. Other times it’s a good reason to catch up on other leisure pursuits, like gaming. My summer has been getting away from me with vacations, social engagements, and general errands that have been keeping my schedule jam packed. But I have managed to fit an hour or two of gaming on some weeknights and weekends.
There have been three games I’ve been playing throughout the summer when the mood has struck. Two of those games have been on the Nintendo Switch and one is on the Xbox 360. Weeknights have been mostly dedicated to the Switch, going back and forth between Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Yoshi’s Crafted World. Weekends, for the most part, has been about Tomb Raider on the 360.
What’s great about playing Ultimate or Crafted World on weeknights is the ability to hop on or off either games. You don’t need to invest hours upon hours on both of them and they’re really fun to play. Neither game particularly stresses me out, which is good after coming home from a long day of work. The last thing I need is a game that will cause me a small amount of anxiety and rage.
While most people have already unlocked all the fighters in Ultimate, I’ve still been taking my time collecting them all. I somehow get a thrill out of getting these characters the slow and steady way. Sometimes it’s still a pain when a challenger shows up and I don’t manage to win against them with Kirby or some other character I choose at the time. However, it still doesn’t stop me from waiting for a chance at a rematch. When that happens, I’m almost always ready and prepared to conquer them this time around. I have about 63 characters unlocked, which brings me closer to getting the full roster soon enough.
Crafted World has the spirit of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, but with a bit of a challenge. At least for me. I find Crafted World to have far trickier platforms to overcome to collect the flowers you need to unlock more levels and a bunch of other goodies the game has. I’ve never been good with platform type of games, and while others may find Crafted World to be a piece of cake, it isn’t always the case for me. Despite the minor challenges I’ve encountered with the game, it’s adorably cute to get lost in and I’ve managed to progress the game little by little by completing each level I decide to do for the evening.
When the weekend arrives and I prefer to play video games over watching Netflix or reading a book, I want to play a video game that has been sitting on my shelf for a long time and requires more of my time and effort to get through. Looking at my current collection I decided to try Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider remake.
Since getting an Xbox One, my Xbox 360 has been mostly neglected. Rather than give it away or sell it I decided to keep the 360, especially during those times when not all Xbox 360 games are backwards compatible with the Xbox One. When I started Tomb Raider for the first time I can see why this game has been well reviewed and received by gamers. The opening scenes and the immediate sense of danger Lara Croft is thrust into from the get-go is enough to keep me playing. Though I haven’t ever played a Tomb Raider game in my life, I already knew Lara Croft to be a skilled fighter, adventurer, and archaeologist. She has always been self-assured and fearless in the face of danger. This new version of Tomb Raider sought to strip away all of that to reveal a young woman who had to gradually struggle, learn, and fight her way to becoming the person we know she’s capable of.
I’ve been mostly focusing on the story aspect of Tomb Raider, even though there are plenty of side quests and challenges to keep a player busy. I’ve been deeply engrossed in Lara’s journey and more often than not have been fiercely protective of her. Her pain is my pain. Her fight is my fight. Every time she encounters inhabitants on the island who mean to do her harm, I curse at every man who tries to belittle her and underestimate her in some way. Then when she manages to take them down, either by stealth kills or a well-timed arrow to the head, I celebrate her triumphs.
It has been particularly interesting for me to finally play Tomb Raider because I’m not really good at stealth in games either. And with Tomb Raider stealthing is your best friend and your best chance at survival. There have been times when I wanted to switch from Normal to Easy, but so far I’ve been able to reload the game after a Gamer Over and start again. After maybe two or three tries I eventually succeed in moving onto the next part of the game. Like Lara, I just need to have more confidence in myself and my ability to get through the challenging parts of Tomb Raider.
What have you been playing this summer? Tell me some of your games in the comments below!