It’s a new year which means it’s a chance to get started on the things you have been meaning to do, but have been putting off. For a gamer it may mean finally playing some games that have been sitting on your shelf for a while. In an attempt to fit more gaming into my schedule, here’s a quick little update on what I have been playing during the holidays and into the start of 2020!
The video game Life Is Strange 2 drew to a close with the release of its final episode last week. The way the story ends is dependent on the choices you have made throughout all 5-episodes of the game, similar to the original Life Is Strange. No matter which ending you get, it’s just about guaranteed you’ll be affected by it in some way and it’s a testament to how strong the writing and characterizations have been in this second outing.
There’s always a nervous unease whenever the video game I’m playing expects me to drive anything. My palms sweat and my heart rate speeds up to levels I’m convinced will send me into cardiac arrest. If people think driving in video games is the same as driving in real life, well, they haven’t witnessed me behind the steering wheel as my character. It occurred to me that no matter how many games I play, I’ll never be the one you’ll want to rely on to drive the getaway car.
When CD Projekt Red revealed more information about their current project Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 last month, those who have been watching this video game closely had every reason to be excited. Not only did gamers get new footage of the game and a release date (April 16, 2020), there was that big unveiling that Keanu Reeves would be in the video game playing a major character named Johnny Silverhand. The hype factor for Cyberpunk 2077 ballooned ten-fold. Long after the conclusion of E3, more news and interviews about the game’s development and features have been coming out since then.
The more we know about Cyberpunk 2077, the more the temptation to throw money at this game keeps getting stronger and stronger each day. This brings me to my own personal conundrum I have been struggling with as of late—should I pre-order this video game?
Final Fantasy XV is one of the few games that has been continuously coming out with post-game content since its release back in 2016. Episodes Gladiolus, Prompto, and Ignis gave players dedicated backstories into Noctis’ friends and provided some additional insight into key plot points that happen during the main story of the game. To firmly mark the end of Final Fantasy XV and the DLC content it added over the last few years is the recent release of Episode Ardyn.
The most difficult part about playing a video game is the ending. When starting a game for the very first time, we’re still figuring out what kind of experience we’re going to get. What is the story about? Will I like these characters I’m about to spend my time with? Does this game play smoothly enough for me to exert the effort to continue? All these questions and more might be running through your head, and the furthest thing from your mind is getting to the end. But when the end finally arrives, especially when you spend a considerable amount of time sticking with an ongoing series for a number of years, you struggle with saying goodbye.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season concludes the story of beloved character Clementine, watching her grow from the sweet and innocent little girl who needed protecting in Telltale Games The Walking Dead: Season One to the tough young teen who knows how to survive and be a protector in her own right in subsequent seasons that followed. Although The Final Season is truly the end of Clementine’s story and is the last remnant of a series that once elevated Telltale Games as a leader in narrative and choice based games, it’s a fitting end to an unforgettable video game series and the characters we’ve grown to care about. Warning: Some spoilers ahead for all four of the main Walking Dead seasons.
Concluding a video game can come with an array of emotions. There’s a sense of completion and satisfaction when you finally get to the point of seeing how the journey ends. You can be filled with a pang of longing and a bit of sorrow that there’s nothing more to do, except say goodbye. Or you can feel shock and anger over a conclusion you did not expect, a pay off that can feel like a colossal waste of time. Endings, especially in video games, can provoke a strong reaction from players. Far Cry 5’s two endings have made such an impression that I’m still unsure how I’m supposed to feel.
Perusing my backlog of games, both digital and physical, it can be difficult to choose what to play next. But there’s something about a brand new game in your possession that makes you itchy to play it. A peek at what your journey with this game will look like, so to speak. The one to have the honor of being my game of the moment is NieR: Automata.
Thanksgiving weekend has been the perfect time to catch up on video games or shop for new ones during the Black Friday sales. While the goal for most shoppers is to use the massive deals and markdowns to get a head start on those holiday shopping lists you have for family and friends, it can also be an irresistible excuse to use those discounts to purchase big money items you have been wanting for yourself. As I slowly recover from my turkey coma, I’ve had a mildly games related long weekend.
Video games are often a form of escapist entertainment. We play to have fun, lead lives that are different from our own, and forget our real world problems for a little while. But what happens when you combine fictional stories with today’s commentary about current events? Can we still view these games as pure fun and escapism when these messages, subtle or overt, become unabashed in their intention to drive a point home?