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?
Like the rest of the site, we’ll be signing off for the holidays, and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to use my vacation from writing about video games to actually play some damn video games. As I imagine quite a few of you have in this year chock full of stellar releases, I’ve accumulated quite the pile of shame throughout 2017, games that I acquired and barely played or have yet to even start at all. This weekend kicks off my concentrated effort to get through as many as I can before the new year, and my first stop is Nier: Automata, which I’ve gotten back into after at least four separate attempts to play it.
I’ve made it to the second side of the story, largely thanks to lowering the difficulty and cutting the time spent in the game’s tedious combat in half, and I think I’m finally feeling it. I’ve already had the biggest plot twists spoiled for me (it’s an occupational hazard), but the way they unfold and the less remarked upon nuances of Automata’s world are new to me. It’s as impressive, smart, and playful of a take on the video game form as everyone has been making it out to be.
Nier is priority number one, but there are a handful of other massive games that I’m hoping to make a bigger dent in. Much to my surprise I enjoyed my time with Assassin’s Creed Origins way more than I thought I would have, largely thanks to the warmth and humanity of the main character, but judging by its impossibly large map, I’ve barely scratched the surface of that one. Even more surprising is how much I loved Yakuza 0, with its violently whiplashing tone and stunning, neon-lined rendition of ’80s Tokyo. That’s a world I’m dying to get back to.
Beyond those behemoths, I have a few shorter, mostly narrative-focused games I’m hoping to burn through, starting with the much acclaimed What Remains Of Edith Finch. I’ll also be doubling back to Mike Bithell’s stylish short story Subsurface Circular, which builds an intriguing sci-fi world through little more than text-based conversations between androids on a subway train. And Clayton’s effusive praise of Echo, the visually inventive stealth game from the ex-Hitman developers at Ultra Ultra, has earned it a place on my list as well.
That’s about all the candidates I have lined up at the moment. I admit, it’s stupidly optimistic to think I’ll be able to get through these, but hey, any amount of progress on a pile of shame is a good thing. What about you fine folks? What’s your 2017 backlog looking like, and what games are you most excited to get through?