So, what are you playing?

by: Randy -
More On: What we're playing

Madden NFL 18 predicted a 24-20 Super Bowl win for the Patriots; instead it was a 41-33 win for the Eagles. The writer for Reigns: Her Majesty admits that video game storytelling can be a messy, iterative process, even when it's working. And castles are a mainstay of the gaming landscape, from Mario to Zelda, Castlevania to The Witcher 3.

So, what are you playing?

Sean ColleliI'm pushing through to finally finish Dead Space 3. I got close a few years ago but now I remember why I got distracted by other games. In the last third of Dead Space 3, all semblance of suspense and balance go clear out the airlock. The game just keeps throwing dozens of necromorphs at you at a time, in the vain hope that you'll break down and spend real American dolla dollaz on overpowered weapons, health and ammo. In reality it's just annoying. I have pretty OP guns already and I've hoarded enough crafting materials that I can just make health and ammo at will, so the game turns into a tedious war of attrition. It's sad because even back then EA was foisting this microtransaction pay-to-win nonsense on its studios. There's still a good game and a great spooky setting underneath all the corporate-imposed mud, but it could have been so much better if Visceral had just been allowed to make the creepy, suspenseful, dementia-focused horror game they originally planned to.

Dave GambleIt's still X-Plane 11.2 VR for me. I have a couple of previews in the hopper, but as is typical for me I am stuck in both of the tutorials. And also par for the course, my problem(s) will ultimately turn out to be some simple detail that I just missed. Yes, I will more than likely be embarrassed, but these incidents do tend to prove the value of Early Access. I'm sure I will have an answer to my dilemmas from the respective developers pretty quickly.

As far as X-Plane, well, I discovered an amazingly good freeware helicopter. If nothing else, X-Plane has an astonishing amount of payware-grade freeware. The trick is finding it within the equally astonishingly bad freeware. With the Bell 429 now in my hangar, I am enjoying sunset tourist hops in the San Fran Bay area in the evenings and Coast Guard patrols in the mornings. VR doesn't do the spectacular scenery (freeware, BTW) any favors, but it does make it far easier to do things that I have traditionally been very, very bad at. Things like landing and hovering are far easier in VR. After a good decade or so of not being able to land on an oil platform, or any other helipad for that matter, being able to do so has completely revitalized chopper flying for me. I'll tire of it eventually, but for now it's pretty much all I do.

Eric HauterAfter submersing myself in the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire preview this past weekend, I am feeling a little fried. Jumping into the middle of a game without organically building up knowledge of the systems can be challenging. It reminded me of the time I put Fallout 4 aside after completing the first couple of DLCs, then tried to pick it up again after six months. No matter how familiar you are with a game, that knowledge leaks out your ears when you aren't looking.

While I recoup, I continue plugging away at Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hackers Memory. At this point, my daughter is addicted to watching me. If I don't put in at least an hour before bedtime, there are terrible protests to contend with.

In the world of brainless fun and vegging out, I played a couple hours of Fortnite Battle Royale with my older sons this weekend. I'm terrible at it, but it's fun. I'm also looking forward to checking out this month's PlayStation Plus titles when they drop.

Charles HusemannThis weekend I'm going to continue my progress through Super Mario Odyssey. Progress is a bit slow as I have to compete with my wife for the opportunity to play.

I'm also going to be spending time with Call of Duty: WWII—who's multiplayer loops I seem to be addicted to—as well as In Death, an early access VR game. It's the first VR roguelike I've played and I'm finally getting strong enough to make actual progress. There are still some interesting bugs and an amazing difficulty spike, but there is a lot of good stuff in there that will hopefully be polished as the game progresses toward launch.

Randy KalistaI'm a full week behind the Assassin's Creed Origins: The Hidden Ones DLC. Note to self: If you're 20 levels below the recommended level for some upcoming DLC, then maybe start leveling the hell up ahead of time, hmm, yeah, good idea? Okay thanks, hindsight. You always belatedly know what's best for me.

I'm biting my fingernails, anticipating Kingdom Come: Deliverance's launch next week. Sure, I'm leery of the six-directional combat. I'm leery of the four layers of clothing and armor you can affix to each individual limb. I'm leery of the first-person view that, if you're wearing a helmet with tiny eye slits, only gives you a tiny-eye-slits field of view. I'm even leery of the realistic Bohemian topography that isn't going to give me major landmarks—like Assassin's Creed Origins' Pyramids at Giza or The Witcher 3's Hanging Tree—to navigate by. It's gonna be farms and dirt roads and, sure, a castle or two. But when you get lost in the woods, I can imagine it'll be whole lot like getting lost in the woods.

I can't wait.

Kevin O’ConnellAccording to my playing Mutant Football League, the Patriots should have won 47-7 with Bomb Shady getting 221 yds and 4 tds. Of course it was against the Blitzburg Steelheads and Sven Rottenbuger only had 104 yds. Oh well, I suppose there is always next year. The game is comically very good and definitely multiplayer gold. As much as I am not a Madden fan, this game kicks out all the NFL pomp and circumstance to make it the best time I've had since Tecmo Super Bowl.

I am also done reviewing Railway Empire and have been left a bit cold from it. I can say there is a lot of meat... It's just in four aisles and wrapped poorly.

Lastly I am in the middle of Mass Effect 3. All of Randy's talk of the horrifyingly bad new game left me wanting a full dose of the original trilogy goodness. One and two were still a blast and I'm trudging through the third between reviews.