Yakuza 0

It’s been a while since I’ve played a Yakuza game — the last one I played was the 4th one, and I didn’t finish it — but with the release this week of Yakuza 0 and seeing screenshots from what friends were seeing while playing (as they share them on Twitter), I got the itch to enter that world again. I started playing it this morning, and had such a blast — I was transfixed enough to play straight through the first chapter (and only stopped then because I had to go out to run errands). I think it was good to take a break, and now I’m back to loving this series, and I’m absolutely wowed by how it looks on PS4. Makes me excited for the upcoming Yakuza 6 as well.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

I haven’t played a Call of Duty game in years (I think the last one was the first Black Ops game), but I kept hearing really good things about the campaign on this, and I did quite like the sci-fi setting I saw in the trailers, and so I decided to give it a try. 1-2 hours in, I gotta say I’m having an absolute blast playing this. I do quite like the setting – feels like a refreshingly more grounded sci-fi environment, not sleek and smooth like we usually get – and I do believe the space shooting segments are the most fun I’ve had in a space shooter in what feels like forever. I’m only playing this for the campaign (have no interest in the multiplayer), and it’s certainly satisfying so far on that end.

Unravel

The last of the 5 games I bought this past week during the PSN sale is Unravel, and it’s another fantastic experience I had to add to my year’s list of favorite games (as an honorable mention). I’m indeed a sucker for a good 2D platformer, and not only does this bring in the fun yarn string mechanic to deal with (for climbing, swinging, etc.) but it’s also beautifully presented in an idyllic setting. Loving it.

Inside

So yet another game I just played this week and had to add to my top 5 of the year (along with Virginia, and so taking out Rise of the Tomb Raider and Watch Dogs 2). I knew this was something I’d enjoy, as I was a huge fan of Limbo. It did not disappoint, and although I’m just halfway through (played one session, will finish it in another session), I was constantly enchanted by the admittedly dark visuals and fun puzzles. 

Virginia

I played this in one sitting yesterday, and I have to say, I think I can safely say it’s my favorite gaming experience of the year (and so I had to update my top 5 list). I was completely and utterly mesmerized by the oddly constructed narrative, beautiful score, and lovely aesthetic. As soon as I was finished I went online to read up on what people thought was the meaning of the ending (this Polygon article is pretty good), which is something not a lot of games make me do. Can’t recommend it enough, even though I think it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. 

Tharsis

I just started playing it a bit last night, and so I’m still in the process of wrapping my head around how best to deal with stuff, but so far I’m already digging the dice mechanics (you roll dice to accomplish various things in the game, from dealing with events, to dealing with your crew by reducing stress, researching projects, etc.) I’m of course partial to games with dice, but I think there’s a lot to like here, including the presentation – although the text can be a bit tough for me to read on my “small” 32″ TV (I’m playing it on PS4, it’s maybe more suited for PC screens).

Abzu

Played this in one sitting last night, and wow, what a stunningly beautiful experience. Definitely in the Flower/Journey vein, but still a lovely experience in its own way, and those undersea environments are just jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Lovely score too, to accompany the visuals. It’s currently on sale on PSN, and so a great time to grab it.

The Last Guardian

Well, it’s here, and as expected, it’s quite something. I’m especially a fan of Ico – I liked Shadow of the Colossus as well, but never finished it – and this so far (about 2-3 hours in) is bringing me back to that original game, feeling like I’m on this journey with a companion I’m starting to care a lot for. So far, what I love the most are the realistic animal movements and behaviors of Trico, as well as the cartoony and nicely animated boy. Sure, it can be a bit frustrating when you’re trying to solve a puzzle and it feels like Trico is just not cooperating, but I just take it as another part of the puzzle to solve (like when I need to handle my dog in real life). I really want to take my time playing this.

Gravity Rush 2 (Demo)

I was fully expecting to enjoy this – based on how much I like the first game – but what was especially great to see is just how beautiful it looks. The main character especially looks like a playable cartoon, and the movement is a joy to watch. I think what I enjoy seeing the most out of games this generation is the levelling up in character animations. It’s going to be a treat to play this when it comes out.

Nier: Automata (Demo)

Played this the other day, and wow, even though I was already looking forward to this game, it managed to surpass my expectations. The combat is pleasantly a bit on the Bayonetta side of things (one of my favorite series and character), it has a cool sci-fi setting (which I prefer over the fantasy of the first), a mech suit, and what I imagine will be an interesting RPG story. I cannot wait for the full release.