Every Friday, A.V. Club staffers kick off our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans and recent gaming glories, but of course, the real action is down in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
Kentucky Route Zero: Un Pueblo De Nada
Cardboard Computer is closing in on the release of its fifth and final episode of Kentucky Route Zero, which means the time has come for its fourth and final interlude. In each of the sometimes years-long waits between the game’s acts, Cardboard Computer has quietly released an experimental vignette, a free release that shows the three-man team pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. Previous interludes have been in virtual reality or exclusively experienced via telephone. Now they’ve released Un Pueblo De Nada, a ghost story set in a ghost town that suggests a little about the game’s long-awaited conclusion while raising countless new mysteries.
Like all of their releases, it operates exclusively on its wavelength, demanding a meditative attitude as you commandeer a late-night, local-access TV show barely hanging together in a torrential thunderstorm. Revealing much more would be both unfair and difficult; the conversations are dreamlike and esoteric, and your “dialogue choices” range from dictating the director’s internal monologue to deciding whether or not to tell some guy he has a sandwich in his beard. As usual, the audio—a mixture of white noise, babbling TV broadcasts, and ambient thunder—is superb, and while the camera stays rooted to the spot for the entire 30-minute scene, it features the most extravagant interface in the series. Its white lines dance around the screen, painting possible thoughts and dreamed-up images in fleeting, graceful arcs.
You can also, if so inclined, watch a full live-action broadcast of the episode being filmed during the game. A couple of hints point toward the core mystery at the heart of the series—the fabled “Dogwood Drive” gets a passing mention—but the whole project mostly offers evidence that whenever the final act drops, it’ll be as eerie, beautiful, humanistic, and uncompromising as the acts leading up to it. [Clayton Purdom]
Dragon Ball FighterZ
I’ve spent every minute of every day yearning for this game since it was announced last summer, and I’ve played it every day since getting our review copy. That review is still forthcoming, since the game’s online multiplayer is has been pretty broken (Bandai Namco says it made some fixes earlier this week, for what it’s worth) and I haven’t had much time to play it with actual humans, but I do want to take a second to report in on how much fun I’ve had with FighterZ. It’s been a lot!
Surprising no one, the melodramatic, fireball-filled action of Dragon Ball is the perfect pairing for the eye-searing flash and manic pacing of a Marvel-style tag-team fighting game. But the experts at Arc System Works deserve all the credit in the world for somehow making the game’s wild movement and vast possibilities, all these zig-zagging combos and instant teleportations, into something relatively easy to achieve, even for someone as unskilled as me. And hey, you don’t have to wait a dozen episodes for the dudes to finish screaming and powering up before you get to the action, a welcome change from the source material. [Matt Gerardi]