Here's a rundown of the games I've been playing during the pandemic:
|Posted: 25 June 2020 at 12:00am | IP Logged | 12
THE DIVISION 2 - One of the better Tom Clancy franchise games. Great co-op, which is why I bought it, and challenging missions. Two dings against it: 1) the missions feel repetitive (especially once you start leveling up) and 2) grinding for gear scored equipment. Simko and I would spend at least thirty minutes at the beginning of our co-op time together going through our respective backpacks to break down equipment, organizing load outs, and marking things to sell. Guns given "scores" are only incrementally better the higher they go. A confusing mod system and a fetch quest system whereby certain loot is dropped for a certain amount of time in specific districts really hampers organic play. Once you complete the main mission and the DLC, the rest is just a tireless focus on incrementally improving your character by repeating the exact same missions over and over and over again. What was originally fun became a slog. Better as a co-op game, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're interested in a singular experience.
GHOST RECON: BREAKPOINT - The same could be said for this game. Upon its release, it was touted as a failure and rightfully so. It focused on in-game purchases and gear grinding (the same as THE DIVISION 2) but to an absurd extent. That choice was not well received and Ubisoft eventually responded by unveiling a "Ghost Mode" that took gear scores out and that's when Simko and I finally bought it. It's a fun game to dip in and out of to be sure, but the narrative is lost on me. With the exception of Jon Bernthal, the voice acting is abysmal. The map is a confusing mishmash that doesn't allow any filtering at all. Game/Story progression is an afterthought because, let's be real, they'll never get off this island. The main hub, Erewhon, was a source of consistent jokes between Simko and I not only because it takes an extraordinarily long time to jog to where you want to go (sprinting is turned off) but is a chore to return to just to finish a mission. We bought the game for less than $15, so no complaints, but it lacks any sort of compelling narrative, has no character you can really root for and seems to fall into the Tom Clancy trap of "seasons" to keep you endlessly coming back for no real reason other than to keep your character up to date. Great as a co-op mission planner game at the get go, but as something deep and sustainable? A non-starter.
WE HAPPY FEW - Really fun Kickstarter crowd funded game. It's old school and shows some of the limitations of that kind of gameplay, but all in all a really compelling narrative filled with characters I care about. It follows three interconnected stories in which you eventually play all three characters from their point of view. They don't spend much time together, so their shared stories aren't long, but are integral to the game. I have some knocks against gameplay and the like, but this is the kind of game I can really get behind because it's trying to do something different while also doing things that are familiar to gamers (loot chests, farming, crafting, etc.).
SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD REMASTERED - Best game I've played during the pandemic (until the one I'll mention in a separate post below). I only got into SR with IV. Loved that game so much that when I saw they remastered the third game, I was all in and convinced Simko to come along with me for the ride. I don't think he's disappointed. It's absolutely fantastic. We can spend hours just shooting up the streets or driving around looking for side missions. The visuals are definitely upgraded (they look great on a 65" 4K TV) and the sound has been augmented for higher end systems. This was an early console co-op game and, as such, the mechanics are rudimentary but they are nonetheless seamless nine years after it was first released. Where respawing is awkward, reviving is quick. Take the good with the bad. It's a fun blast-from-the-past when games didn't take themselves so seriously and you could just destroy nearly everything in sight.
That's my quick review of the games I've played during COVID, but here's a longer form review of a game that has somehow become controversial in just a few hours after its release...