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Stately Scrying: What we’re playing this weekend

As Rebecca Black once famously noted, it’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another weekly dose of Stately Scrying. For those not familiar, we’re going to share all the games we’re hoping to fire up over the weekend and, hopefully, turn you on to something that you may not have heard of. Even if you have heard of them, maybe you need a kick in the pants to actually fire said game up yourself. However you look at it, there’s one thing about Stately Scrying we can all agree on: the intros are getting worse. Much, much worse.

Battle Brothers

So. Many. Good. Games. I just started a new Battle Brothers company after a particularly brutal team wipe. I was turned off by the poor graphics for some time but finally pulled the trigger over the Lunar New Year and am quite happy I did. The turn-based tactical combat is gritty and fun and man is it a challenge to get all the lads out alive a lot of the time. The game’s all about finding work for a mercenary company and getting increasingly better weapons and armor for the survivors while hiring on fresh meat after the, uh, attrition.

Another run at They Are Billions is calling me as well. It’s a city builder in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. It’s less about building a magnificent city than seeing just how long it’ll take the roaming hordes of undead to tear through your defenses and then rend into your flesh. This time, though, I have some better ideas on how to make it. I’m sure it’ll turn out totally different.

Last but not least I will blow through several timelines in the brand-new roguelike Into the Breach. It’s pretty great, and also quite challenging, and you can read a lot more of my thoughts on it here.

Once I’m tired of getting my ass kicked across several genres I will return to the hilarious and excellent Pit People, which exits Steam early access today. The first few missions of the campaign were quite entertaining and I’m excited to finish it up and see that damn space-bear jerk of a narrator get his comeuppance!

-Nick Vigdahl

Monster Hunter: World

I could tell you that this is the weekend I finally sit down and devote some time to learning how to play Crusader Kings II, one of my goals for the year, or that I’ll chip away at that copy of Yakuza 0 I’ve had sitting around for a couple months now. But you don’t deserve to be lied to. No, I will continue my Monster Hunter streak now that I’ve unlocked High Rank hunts. And when my friends aren’t available to hunt, I’ll be playing Into the Breach. Honestly, I’ll probably be thinking about Into the Breach even when I’m playing Monster Hunter. If I didn’t have my PS4 hooked up to my computer monitor, I’d have a campaign running on my PC so I could play a turn while waiting at the loading screen.

-Tanner Hendrickson

Into the Breach

My Jurassic Park: Trespasser journey continues, and the more I play of this prodigal journey to the Great Game That Only Half Was, the more I fall in love. There’s a big old Better Stately Than Never on the horizon for this Jurassic Park gem, and with the benefit of having sufficiently stronger hardware to prop up Dreamworks Interactive’s lumbering creation, I’ll chew Trespasser down to the succulent marrow.

Into The Breach.

It’s Battlezone: Combat Commander day! Remember it? Rebellion bought the Battlezone license from Atari for a Snickers bar, thereafter producing a very tidy redux of the ’98 Activision original (not the original-original). The Pandemic-helmed sequel is now getting its turn to shine, and shine it certainly does. If those two have any corollary, it’d be Volition’s Freespace series. Descent: Freespace and Battlezone ’98 the thoroughly enjoyable debuts, but Freespace 2 and Combat Commander were the formula spit-shined. I’m champing at the bit for its brand of bright, bouncy, high-speed tactical action.

Into The Breach.

There’s also the matter of Surviving Mars, an upcoming offworld colony builder by the Tropico devs. Already priming my puns and double-entendres for the screed, punctuated by irrepressible bouts of extreme yawning. As you can infer, it’s a Grand Old Time. Scratch grand.

Into The Breach.

-Alex Connolly

Scrap Mechanic

At risk of being terribly boring, I have to admit that the answer is that, just like last weekend, I’ll be playing Scrap Mechanic and Moon Hunters.

Scrap Mechanic is an odd one. It was successfully Greenlit (remember Steam Greenlight?) in late 2014, and is still in Early Access. An ambitious crafting game, it’s (much) higher-res than Minecraft or Terraria and will theoretically, ultimately, include a survival mode that involves fighting off and repairing farmbots on an isolated agricultural planet. Right now it consists purely of a “creative mode” focussed mostly on the game’s vehicle-creation systems. At present, the game’s physics allows for implausible, indestructible structures of great height, but is realistic enough that he amount of power needed to take a rocket sled from “nope, still nothing” all the way to ludicrous speed is marginal.

That particular rocket sled, with it’s utter lack of aerodynamics, steering, or even a roof, will send you careening off first to the left, then the right, then upside down on your (thankfully indestructible) head clipping through a cornfield before shooting into the sky, spinning around madly, and finally into a piledriver into the (indestructible) earth before your seven-year-old finally switches the thrusters off. No Darwin awards today: everything in Scrap Mechanic is indestructible unless specifically deleted. Oh, and you can’t “delete” dirt, trees, rocks or corn, only things placed by players, so don’t even think about mining. Every leaf and blade of grass is, you guessed it, indestructible.

-Tof Eklund

Cinco Paus

The new thing I’ll be playing this weekend is Cinco Paus. Lauded to heaven and back by the Stately Players [et tu, Kelsey? -ed.], I finally figured I’d give it a shot despite the aesthetics. First impression: it uses 868-HACK as a base, then builds atop that layers of a different experience, which you might call a scientific method game. The idea is that every run starts you with some stuff you can try, but you don’t know what it’ll do. Moreover, when you get some feedback, it comes in the form of icons (always a challenge to interpret when they represent anything complicated) and tooltips exclusively in Portuguese. It kind of feels like Brough is messing with us with the Portuguese thing, but benevolently, so we can have more joy of discovery.

-Kelsey Rinella

Cities: Skylines

This weekend is loaded from Saturday morning until Sunday night with volleyball tournaments for my two older boys. That means I’ll be sitting, bleary-eyed, in a gym for 10 hours a day wondering where I went wrong and how to get my life back. Luckily, my kids only play for about 4 of those 10 hours, so I’ll have six hours to wander about and try to find an outlet near a comfortable chair so I can get on my laptop. If successful, my game of choice for the past few weeks has been the old standby from Paradox and Colossal Order, Cities: Skylines. I finally bought the last expansion they released (Green Cities), so I know have everything to make the perfect city. I’m now delving through the Steam Workshop to find mods and other cool buildings to add to my cities, which is something I haven’t delved into up to this point. It’s a perfect game if all you want to do is build and tweak, and tweak, then tweak some more. I’m assuming everyone out there who enjoys city-builders already owns this one, but if not you really owe it to yourself to pick it up. A perfect sandbox for city planners.

-Dave Neumann

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Notable Replies

  1. Cities skylines is also on Xbox, and the port is perfectly acceptable despite the obvious limitations of the platform.

    Interestingly surviving mars is coming to Xbox too, so I’ll be keeping my eye on that one now.

  2. Sometimes my game playing revolves around what I don’t mind my little ones catching glimpses of while I’m playing. I therefore decided to download Tropico 5 in my PS4 for this weekend.

  3. I've been trying to understand Crusader Kings for a while now.

    Still haven't managed it.

    Not sure what I'll be playing this weekend, but probably still trying Dream Quest and maybe some other stuff like that.

  4. In the back of my mind I have it that at some point I'll learn to play Crusader Kings II, but I have yet to devote the time to doing so.

    I'll be looking to continue to spend time with Rise of Flight, with the idea of perhaps finally venturing into VR gaming when Flying Circus arrives for IL-2, if I can actually develop proficiency with a serious flight simulation. "Our eventual goal is to essentially re-build ROF inside of the Sturmovik universe and give WWI all the latest technology like VR, 64bit, DX11 and improved visuals."

  5. Playing Horizon - Zero Dawn on the PS4....
    Man that game is awesome - why didnt I start it earlier.....finally an Open World Game done completely right....and no frakkin cars! Beautiful, challenging and fun...maybe I will play it on Ultra Hard in New Game+. Usually I am not for the masochistic punishing difficulty levels in Games (hard is just fine) but this game is so much fun I might go for it.

  6. Yes, it is an excellent game! PS4 game of the year by far.

  7. Into the Breach (finally beat it with Zenith after going to all 4 islands).

    Also Battlezone Combat Command. Every bit as good as I remembered BZ2 when I played it ages ago.

  8. Still caught up on Pokémon tcg...

  9. Beat ITB again with the Hazardous mechs after 2 islands.

    Now time to give Battlezone some attention beyond the first two intro missions.

  10. I feel your pain. Last Sunday, my boys played (and I coached) basketball from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM--5 games in total, with about an hour in between each. At the end of the day, my wife and I seriously questioned why we had kids in the first place.

    On topic: playing Into the Breach, Gems of War, Cinco Paus, and Dissembler this weekend. Cinco Paus pulled me back in after a significant break, and I feel like I have a better handle on the game now. Dissembler's daily puzzles provide a good way of learning the game mechanics--they're the only puzzles that have solutions available--so I can make more progress on the standard puzzles.

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