I, like most others, have spent the past few weeks looking for anything new to experience to stave off boredom and restlessness. Because of my newfound free time, I’ve been able to revisit some of my favourite video games, while also playing a couple for the first time. Throughout this period of isolation, I had been looking forward to playing The Last of Us 2, the sequel to perhaps my favourite game of all time. However, earlier this week, video game developer Naughty Dog announced that they would be pushing back the release of the long-awaited game indefinitely, which has forced me to go back into my catalog of games and find new ways to keep myself entertained. Here are some of the video games that have helped me pass the time and forget that I’m stuck at home (and no, Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn’t one of them).
Resident Evil 2 Remake (PS4) – via Flickr
Released in January of 2019, this game is a complete overhaul of the original, and perfect modern-day survival horror. In this third-person shooter, you can play as two different characters who each have two storylines, meaning there are a total of four unique campaigns to play. The majority of Resident Evil 2 takes place in a zombie-infested police station, after the global outbreak of a deadly virus (sound familiar?). The game’s music, enemies, and lack of resources create a stressful atmosphere that is constantly filled with an impending sense of dread, and the introduction of a particular enemy about 1/3rd of the way through the game dials all of that up to 11. The game sacrifices a deep story and massive set-pieces for a tighter, more intimate experience filled with puzzles and mystery that is sure to leave you freaked out while playing. I highly recommend checking this game out as it’s genuinely frightening, and a lot of the themes draw parallels with the current state of the world. Last week, the remake for the 3rd Resident Evil released, but I have yet to play it as most of the reviews I have read state that the short playtime and relative lack of features don’t justify its $80 price tag.
Minecraft (PC) – via Flickr
I first played Minecraft about nine years ago, and revisiting it this past couple of weeks has been super refreshing and nostalgic. To be completely honest, while I certainly appreciate Minecraft and its impact on the gaming industry, I’ve never been a huge fan of it. During this time of isolation, though, it’s been a great way for me to keep in contact with my cousins, as we interact and build or own world together. Minecraft allows us to go outside with the freedom to do whatever we want, and the calming simplicity of the game’s mechanics of mining, building, hunting, and surviving has been a therapeutic escape.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch) – via Polygon
I first played Breath of the Wild about a year and a half ago because I was late to the Switch party, and over the past two weeks I have begun my second playthrough. As a long-time fan of the Legend of Zelda franchise, I was absolutely delighted to finally get my hands on this game, and it remains my all-time favourite in the series. Breath of the Wild introduces a ton of different mechanics and gameplay properties to the series, including a vast open-world setting, cooking, and weapon durability. This game has an amazing storyline that keeps you invested throughout the duration of your playthrough, but its greatest strengths lie within its gorgeous open landscape and lively in-game world. In Breath of the Wild, players can keep busy for hundreds of hours fighting enemies, solving riddles, climbing mountains, helping villagers, and admiring the environment. The game encourages exploration and is entirely non-linear. This means that any mission can be completed at any point in time, and technically, you can fight the final boss within 15 minutes of playing if you so choose to. The freedom of choice is a breath of fresh air (no pun intended) for this franchise, and the upcoming sequel is sure to be another great entry in the series.
MLB: The Show 20 + NBA 2K20 (PS4) – via Polygon
These two sports games aren’t all that different from their previous iterations, but they’ve been in my rotation heavily since it was announced that their leagues were suspended. As a Sport Media major, athletics is obviously a huge part of my life, and the absence of competitive sport has been painful to say the least. Playing the virtual versions of MLB and the NBA isn’t the same as experiencing them live, but it’s the only way to get my fix at this time.
As time goes on and COVID-19 continues to keep us inside, I plan to expand my library even more and buy some new games. Some titles that have me intrigued right now include the new Final Fantasy 7 remake, Prey, Control, Luigi’s Mansion 3, and The Last of Us 2 when it eventually releases.