Welcome to our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans, nagging questions, and whatever else we feel like talking about. No matter what the topic, we invite everyone in the comments to tell us: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
Matt Gerardi: So I guess we’re making this is a new Gameological tradition. Ryan, let’s wrap up our time at E3 by talking about the E3 games we wish we could be playing this weekend. I think we’d agree that there were a lot of candidates this year.
Ryan Smith: Totally. I felt like I could have spent six days at E3 instead of four—if it weren’t so exhausting.
MG: Yeah, everyone brought their A game—even if a lot of the stuff we saw is still a ways off. “2016” is right up there with “crafting” and “VR” with the words I heard most often at this year’s show.
RS: Don’t forget “dinosaur!” But yeah, if this E3 was any indication, next spring is going to be clogged with new releases. If I were going to play one game this weekend, though, I think I’d need to go back to Abzû, which I wrote about on Thursday. It’s the kind of game that feels like an E3 detox. It has this beautiful orchestral soundtrack and gentle vibe. It’s just you swimming in an ocean, hanging with giant turtles, maybe pinging an underwater drone or two. Whatever. Playing in an E3 atmosphere is kind of like trying to enjoy a bubble bath and a book in the locker room of a YMCA. I’d love to immerse myself in it in a nice, quiet environment.
Would you play something chill to take the E3 edge off?
MG: That’s probably a good idea, but I have my heart set on playing Street Fighter V, which is decidedly not chill. I’ve played a ton of Street Fighter IV, and as soon as the Capcom representative at my demo started explaining all of V‘s differences to me—how each character now has multiple unique abilities—my brain sort of tuned him out as it starting running through all the possibilities. Thirty minutes is not enough to wrap your head around something like that. I want to go deeper.
RS: You must have a different head than I do. In my demo, I pulled off a couple Dragon Punches with Ryu and called it a day at the dojo. SF5 certainly looks great in action—but my body just lost its fighting game gene years ago.
My brain has instead been pondering the possibilities of XCOM 2, which was strictly hands-off, unfortunately. (I blame the Feds.) But what I saw behind closed doors was pretty great. I watched a new kind of drone that can be used to hack into equipment and enemy defenses if you’ve got a high enough tech score. You also have the option of calling a medvac chopper and getting your injured teammates out instead of watching them die on the battlefield. Also snake people! (And I don’t mean millennials.)
MG: Oh yeah, the snake people are awesome! What’s their deal? Did you find out at all?
RS: They appear to have bad tempers, but other than that, mum’s the word. I’m just glad I wasn’t a member of the mice people.
MG: Yeah, mum’s the word when it comes to a lot of stuff. One of the Nintendo reps playing The Legend Of Zelda: Triforce Heroes with me couldn’t even tell me what the rupees I’d been collecting did. In that case, it wasn’t a secret so much as he just straight up wasn’t informed about it.
RS: Right, and I heard Vladimir Putin may have written the non-disclosure agreement for the Metal Gear Solid V demo. Anything else you want to play?
MG: Well, even though I don’t know what the rupees do, I really want to play more of Triforce Heroes. It’s a fun mix of old and new design ideas injected into Zelda. You can play it by yourself, but it’s made for three-player co-op. At the start of a dungeon, each player takes a typical Zelda weapon, like the bow or boomerang, and the group progresses through a series of challenges until you reach the boss. The temples aren’t these huge buildings with connected rooms, but discrete puzzles and fights. Combined with the co-op, it kind of reminded me of playing an old arcade beat ’em-up or something—just this breezy, colorful game to play with a few friends.
RS: I didn’t get a chance to try anything Zelda-related, but speaking of cooperative games, I would like another shot at Star Wars Battlefront. The huge 20-on-20 multiplayer battles are the big draw obviously, but I also enjoyed fending off waves of pesky stormtroopers with a single rebel soldier and my well armed companion. I mentioned this in my piece about the Microsoft conference, but that game has done an amazing job with recapturing the grungy aesthetic and charming low-tech special effects of the original trilogy. I’m still chuckling about the way a stormtrooper flew around Hoth like a leaky balloon after I blasted his jetpack.
MG: Yes, and you’ve already heard me gush about the stilted puppet-like animation of the holographic Admiral Ackbar that pops up on your screen to deliver orders, so I’ll refrain from freaking out about that again.
Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait a while to play all of those games. For now, all we can do is remember and dream, I guess.
RS: Until then, I’m going to tape a phone to my face to make it feel like 2016.
MG: And I’m just going to play Turok.