What's keeping you busy over the summer, gaming-wise? Do you currently have a game that you're putting a lot of time into, and if so, which one is it? Are you just aiming to finish it, or do you have loftier objectives? Perhaps you're playing a game that's open-ended, and you have your own goals that are driving you. Whatever you're doing, we're interested in hearing about it.
While you formulate your response, here's the USgamer team on their own summer gaming projects.
My current gaming obsession is Overwatch on PlayStation 4. I'm playing Blizzard's brilliant FPS pretty much nightly, and have been leveling up to the point where I'm seriously believing that I'll be able to hit 100 in the not-too-distant future. And that's my gaming goal for the summer. Well, rather to prestige at 100, and start leveling up all over again. Yes, it's just a treadmill goal, and I won't get anything other than a star under my character portrait, but in the absence of any other hard-and-fast goals in Overwatch, it'll do for me.
While I'm doing that, I intend to learn how to master Overwatch's newest character, Ana. I played a few games with her last night, and really enjoyed her hybrid support role - shooting at allies to heal them, and at enemies to damage them. It's an interesting concept that requires you to constantly analyze the battlefield and swiftly switch between offensive and support roles to best suit the flow of the fight. Right now, I tend to be more offensive-oriented, but that's because I'm playing the character a little too much like a regular sniper. I also find it sometimes difficult to target injured allies, since when players usually have low health, they scuttle away from the action in search of healing packs, meaning they're out of line-of-sight. It's not like playing Mercy where you can easily chase them down and top off their health.
Being in the right place at the right time seems to be the key to playing Ana successfully, and that's what I'll be doing this weekend - working out which spots on the game's various maps give you the most commanding view of the battlefield, so I can shoot at friends and enemies alike. It's very different to the way I usually play the game, and I'm looking forward to going through the learning process - and leveling up while I'm at it.
The Super NES turns 25 on August 23. A few days ago, I asked the USgamer team to name their favorite Super NES games, and ranked the top 25. Now… I want to play through them. In order. Live. This seems like a good use of my life, right? Look for that to begin Monday.
Catching up on the MMOs! In the midst of a bunch of smaller releases and review titles, I can never forget to keep up in the various MMOs. Since I've reviewed most of the major ones out now - World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Blade & Soul, Wildstar - I can't really stop.
MMOs are one of the pinnacles of games-as-a-service, since you need to be at level cap to participate in any expansion content. If I leave Overwatch or Heroes of the Storm for example, I can jump back in at any time. For World of Warcraft's upcoming Legion expansion on August 30, I need to practice with the updated classes, get my gear right, and finish off some story content. Final Fantasy XIV released patch 3.3, Revenge of the Horde, back in June and the game will be running a Yokai Watch crossover starting July 27.
I'm way behind on Blade and Soul to be honest, since I just haven't had time to play. That game has had the Shadows of Innocents update and the new Soul Fighter class. Wildstar might fall by the wayside for me, since I enjoy the game, but it's a smaller title comparatively. Carbine just recently added level 50 character boosts though, so it'll actually be rather easy for me to jump back into the fray once another expansion drops. And Neverwinter just launched for PlayStation 4, so I need to dip my toes into that too.
My watch never ends. I need to use this lull to catch up and get ready. Wish me luck.
We members of the games press are a privileged few, but this outlandish career path comes with a few downsides. Namely, outside of Christmas break, it's hard to justify devoting dozens of hours to a game you aren't reviewing. And for the most part, this means I've had to avoid a whole lot of RPGs that I would otherwise enjoy--"avoid" in this case meaning "buy regardless of whether or not I'll ever play it." So it's in my relatively few moments of downtime that I yearn for those RPGs that really speak to me: In this case, Bravely Default and Bravely Second. While I bounced off of Default after trying to get into it a few times, it finally clicked with me after a good 12 hours; I'm towards the end now, and digging it so much that I ended up purchasing Bravely Second months ago.
Luckily enough, I'm taking a week-long vacation to my hometown soon, meaning I'll have plenty of time to play RPGs once I see all both of the sights. The sheer boredom of the sleepy Midwest is what made me such a video game superfan, after all.
Jeez. We’re getting down to the wire here, aren’t we? I have precious little “me-time” before the deluge of fall / winter game releases starts demanding my heart and eyeballs. Sure, there are worse fates, but even games writers need a chance to appreciate titles without the pressure of deadlines and bylines.
Good thing I’ve already started on my summer-long gaming project: I’m looking to play and finish as many Ys games as possible before all my attentions are required elsewhere. With any luck, I’ll be prepared for Ys VIII when it’s translated for the PlayStation 4 next year. I mean, there’s no confirmation that it is getting a translation at this point, but so far the series’ record is good. I’m confident.
I’m currently going through The Oath in Felghana and enjoying it. I definitely prefer the new-style Ys to the old ones (you know, with its iconic-but-ancient “Adol runs headlong into hazards” system of conflict resolution), so if you have any recommendations on where I ought to go next -- I’ve also tucked away Ys VI, FYI -- sound off!