Something I started doing while I was trying to be a real writer [which, let’s not let Dave forget, he failed horribly at -ed.] I stumbled upon comedy. My best friend is a successful (in comedy, or writing, that means she gets paid, which only the most talented tend to do) actor in a local improv troupe and convinced me to give it a go. I quickly found that being onstage and being quick on my feet were squarely not in my wheelhouse. I sucked, hard. I did meet a lot of awesome people, however (for some reason, I’ve found people in improv and theater to be the nicest and most supportive folk out there) and a few of us decided to turn to the written word instead. We took sketch writing classes, wrote sketches, actually put on some shows and it was all a lot of fun. My writing time has dwindled since starting back at my “real” job, but this weekend I’m getting back on the sketch horse. Kind of. I’m taking another sketch writing class run by none other than Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall fame. I’ve loved KITH since college and am looking forward to spending an entire weekend learning and, maybe, getting the writing bug back to its old levels of creepy-crawliness. Anyway, I’m sharing all this because I know I won’t be playing much of anything this weekend. No board games and, hopefully, brainstorming and writing when I’d usually be turning on my Switch. All is not lost, however, as everyone else in the hallowed halls of Stately Play manor is set to regale you with their gaming plans for the next couple days. Head past the jump and then tell us what your weekend game plans are in the comments.
Elder Scrolls: Online and Nimbatus – The Space Drone Constructor
Most of my gaming time of late is spent in Tamriel. I jumped back into Elder Scrolls: Online recently and was quickly reminded why it is the best MMO out there. The world is beautiful, the questing is top-notch, and the character progression is deep without being convoluted. Oh, yeah, it’s also a premium game you buy once and play forever (though DLC and new chapters such as the recent Summerset require additional purchases).
Beyond ESO I do want to check out Nimbatus—The Space Drone Constructor. It’s an action-based simulation game where you craft drones to explore the universe and complete specific tasks. Nimbatus has been in my Steam wishlist for a long time and I was excited to see it launch into Early Access earlier this week.
- Elder Scrolls: Online for PC/Mac via Steam, $20
- Elder Scrolls: Online for PS4, $20
- Elder Scrolls: Online for Xbox, $80
- Nimbatus–The Space Drone Constructor for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam Early Access, $18
Tales of Maj’Eyal (what else?)
I… I can feel it… help… no, no, get away, save yourself, it’s too late for me… Tttttt…. tttttt…. ttales… of MAAAJ’EEEYAAAAAAAAALLL! (Did someone say something about Civ 6 being on phones now? Eh, probably just my imagination.)
- Tales of Maj’Eyal for PC/Mac/Linux via direct download, free (pay $6 to unlock full game)
- Tales of Maj’Eyal for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $7
Strange Brigade, The Council, and Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
Frīġedæġ. Praise be.
On the menu, to fend off the marvelously inclement weather, is a couple of things.
I picked up Rebellion’s underdog Strange Brigade last weekend, and have been getting right into its third-person pulp smorgasbord. It’s a simple game at the end of the day, but geared entirely as weekend catharsis. I mean, if your idea of putting one’s feet up includes blasting your way through trap-laden crypts of Egyptian antiquity. Tomb Raider, not so much. Tomb Breaker? Abso-ruddy-lutely. You and a few friends run a deliciously detailed gauntlet of revenant-ridden ruins, horror-strewn hollows and fright-filled chambers, playing up the interwar pulp with all manner of derring do.
It feels a console generation back, but in a good way. Just in the simplicity of it all. Shoot, solve a few environmental puzzles, shoot some more. The narrator channels just the right level of serial storyteller, with Bastion-esque compunction for responding to player action with hearty enthusiasm. It’s straight down the line action, no holds-barred. If the idea of bringing light to an Egyptian heart of darkness via an MP38 appeals, sign up…with the Strange Brigade.
Elsewhere, throttled by a far more languid but no less intriguing pace, intrigue continues with The Council. I’ve just meandered my protagonist into episode three, and in the wake of unfortunate events at Telltale, I can’t but help wonder if the studio would have survived by following in the footsteps of The Council. It shook up what is ostensibly an elaborate conversation sim, and even took the Telltale formula a step further by adding events beyond the mere binary. While a touch janky, The Council’s grand narrative of 18th century intrigue is cooking along quite nicely, weaving a Broken Sword-esque tale of secret societies and their lasting machinations. Historical characters loom large and their legacy larger still, so if the cocktail appeals, I say dig in. Episodic content thus far done right.
Finally, it is time. There has been enough sand blown around the Great Banded Desert. It is time I return to Kharak. Yes, Blackbird Interactive’s masterful prequel to its grand tale of prodigal exiles in search for home. I enjoyed the campaign of Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak immensely at launch, discovering nothing was lost in the intervening time and anchoring to terra firma in place of three-dimensional space. If anything, it’s a better mechanical game because of it, but retains the majesty of its forebears. As co-creator Rob Cunningham described, Deserts of Kharak is something of a colossal road trip. A fantasy of vehicles in the deep desert. Keep your tiberium, eat your cake. My pleasures lie in the desiccated wastes of a potential future, somewhere across the galaxy. There’s no place like Homeworld.
- Strange Brigade for PC via Steam, $50
- Strange Brigade for PS4, $50
- Strange Brigade for Xbox, $50
- The Council for PC via Steam, $30
- The Council for PS4, $30
- The Council for Xbox, $30
- Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak for PC/Mac via Steam, $50
Forza Horizon 4
This Saturday I will eat an entire frozen pizza and play Forza Horizon 4 until I pass out, either from exhaustion or from heat stroke due to the heat radiating from my overworked computer.