The non-stop bombardment of new game releases continues, and the realization that I won’t play the majority of them never lets up.
You take what you can get (or have time for), and roll with what you’ve got. I haven’t been playing a ton of games, but below is where I’ve been investing my time when I do.
Red Dead Redemption 2
The more I play Red Dead, the more I realize it shines best when you’re actively straying from the beaten path, instead opting to role play as Arthur Morgan finding your own.
I’m actually a little surprised the sequel to one of the best experiences of last generation managed to sell so well on opening weekend, not because of its quality, but because the drum up to release felt oddly muted. But then, that’s Rockstar’s game and those final few weeks leading up to release never fail to generate hype.
For me, Red Dead Redemption 2 reaches an almost mythical status when I slow things down to a mellow hum. When I do this, I’m simply there. I’m one with the surrounding lush landscapes, wildlife, towns, and the people in between.
And for all of the beautiful mellow and minimalism, it’s a game that oddly demands your attention. To half ass your attention would be missing out on the more subtle, arguably best, parts. I’d wager to guess I’ve played roughly 20-30 hours, and yet I know I’ve hardly scratched the surface.
There’s so, so much just ripe for the taking, and honestly, I can see this being one of my main games for many months to come. It’s shaping up to be one of my favorite games of all time, and its pull towards a mix of realism, minimalism, and immersion just does it for me.
The “just be” factor is giving me flashbacks to Zelda Breath of the Wild despite the obvious differences between the two.
Black Ops 4
I initially picked up Black Ops 4 to play with my brother, and while we haven’t played together all that much, it was definitely a solid pick up nonetheless.
It’s Call of Duty at its core, except Treyarch has put aside terribly executed Titanfall mechanics. If you’ve ever played Advanced Warfare then you’ll probably never forget the mindless spamming of L3.
The regular PvP is surprisingly compelling and has kept my attention since getting it a few weeks ago. I remember stumbling upon the Auger DMR one day in create a class and it’s been my “main” ever since.
And then you’ve got Blackout, the killer app this year for the forever annualized franchise. I haven’t played a ton, maybe 10-15 hours, but oh boy, the highs reach the peaks with this one.
I actually got my first ever win the other day in squads, and this is really where the game is going to shine for most. You can catch a bunch of thrills in solo, and I have been over the past few days, but everything comes through when playing with friends that are in sync.
Above all, it’s just so nice to play a battle royale game that isn’t Fortnite and isn’t entirely tarnished with bugs and overall jank. It just works and rarely gets in your way. It’s sad for this to be a high point in the current state of gaming, but it’s still something that sticks out to me.
At this point, I’d have to say I’m generally liking the game. It’s something I still want to go back to and honestly, a part of me was expecting to shelve this from the odd session with my brother. I hope this keeps up instead of becoming something akin to my experience with Battlefield 1 last year.
The first week with that game was great but it just didn’t stick. My only reservation with Black Ops 4 is Treyarch’s approach to supporting Blackout. It needs to be continually updated for free. Fortnite set the standard with post launch support and players these days are generally against paid DLC in GaaS games, more so in battle royale games.
Gran Turismo Sport
I only played a few hours of GT Sport over the past week but every time I jump in the more I realize how damn underrated the game is.
It took way to long for Polyphony Digital to provide a meaningful amount of content, and it’s why I waited so long to bite, but the game in its current state is one of the best GaaS games on the market. I’d even call it one of the best PS4 exclusives.
Whether you want to play casually or intently, there’s something for you. I’ve mostly been casually doing single player races when I hop on, and for me it’s an essential pick up and play game. More specifically, it’s an awesome game to throw on when working out.
I still love the distinctly Gran Turismo and Japanese vibe. The graphics, especially the lighting, still blow me away. And it never fails to feel great to drive with a controller.
If Polyphony Digital continues to build this game out and then combines the base of GT Sport with added RPG mechanics that veterans love, Gran Turismo 7 is going to knock it out of the park.
I played even less of Overwatch than I did of GT Sport, but that’s what the game is these days – something to fill idle gaps.
It still has its moments, and it’s great that’s its continually updated for free, but I can’t help but feel like it needs some sort of shake up, something more than the odd character or map.
There’s also the issue where it feels like the game is either really fun…or an incredibly frustrating experience. Seagull, former pro Overwatch player, recently touched on this. From what I watched, he makes a lot of compelling points.
It applies mostly to competitive play, but it’s the kind of stuff that trickles down to quickplay due to fundamental design flaws.
Like I said, let’s hope Blizzard is cooking up something new and fresh for the game (true PvE please).
That wraps it up. I’ll likely keep devoting what time I have to a mixture of Red Dead, Black Ops, and GT Sport. Red Dead Redemption 2 in particular keeps me blowing me away in terms of what it brings to the table. A friend of mine put it best – “a game with no compromise”.