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EGM Presents:
What We’re Playing This Weekend

By
Posted on January 20, 2012 AT 05:01pm


It’s Saturday, So what will the EGM crew be playing this weekend? We’re glad you asked!

In the spirit of Super Bowl season, my competitive nature (go anyone but the Patriots!) must have kicked in and invaded my recent gaming tastes—I can’t get enough competitive online NBA Jam and Modern Warfare 3, and just last night I started in on Battlefield, which ended mostly in me getting my ass handed to me and wondering why I even try jumping into the fray well after a game’s release.

So this weekend—back to my NBA Jam addiction, and for the one game I’ve been waiting way too long for … Journey. I absolutely loved Flower and its marriage of serenity and loose gameplay structure, but Jenova Chen’s latest looks to be the achievement that brings his casual approach to design into a more complex framework.

At the very least, Journey hints at the kind of online experience I’m craving—something less about competition and more about discovery. Can’t wait!

 

The gaming New Year typically provides little in the way of enticing options due to the holiday release rush, but 2012 is an entirely different animal. There’s a ton of games headed our way between now and the end of March, making this one of the most exciting periods in recent memory for new releases, and I’ve got my hands full as I try to make time for everything. Here’s a quick look at how I’m spending my time this weekend:

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – Final builds are finally in the house here at EGM, and that means I’ve got my work cut out for me, as this epic action RPG looks to be one of the most demanding games this side of Skyrim, offering up a massive open world full of rich fantasy lore and formidable baddies in desperate need of dispatching. Time to sally forth, people!

Asura’s Wrath – The world’s angriest protagonist is one step closer to a retail release, and I’m bound and determined to figure why this guy is so frickin’ pissed, so spending some quality time with a recently delivered preview build seems like a solid plan. Let’s label this one “institutionally candidate stress release,” shall we?

SOCOM Navy Seals: Confrontation – And oldie but goody, few weekends go by where I fail to put in some quality time p0wning n00bz in my favorite online shooter, and this one should prove no different as the clanmates and I have some serious scores to settle.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX – Having recently discovered my lady’s obsession for gobbling tiny yellow dots while cursing incessantly
at the screen, there’s a good chance we’ll engage in yet another grudge match in this classic remake of the arcade smash. Let’s hope we’re still on speaking terms after I crush her mightily underfoot…

Roulette – I’m headed to Vegas for a little R&R this weekend, so chances are, I’ll engage in a little adult entertainment in the form of my favorite quarter-crushing addiction, video roulette. And yeah, I’m not sure if it counts as a video game per-say, but I still consider it professional research on some level. That’s fair, right?

 

If you’d asked me a year ago whether I’d be eagerly anticipating firing up the follow-up to Final Fantasy XIII, I’d have wondered if you’d gotten too close to Sin’s toxin, ya? Really, I can’t think of a game that was more painful to play through for review. I’ve played worse games, sure—but it was the enormously failed potential, tedious grind, nondescript world and level design, and Vanille’s shrill Aussie-accented yapping that made FFXIII such a chore.

But something about Final Fantasy XIII-2 keeps me playing—and only part of it is the lack of Vanille this time around. Maybe it’s because FFXIII-2’s history-hopping interface keeps me engaged and intrigued as to what my actions will affect in the future and the past. Or, maybe the inclusion of actual towns and NPCs imparts more of an importance on the story—and my every action as a result. All I can say is this: Even if you absolutely hated FFXIII, give FFXIII-2 a fresh shot; it’s a completely different RPG experience.

Oh, and as a huge 49ers fan, I might just be firing up Madden this weekend to either relive a glorious victory—or right a horrible wrong—in Sunday’s NFC Championship game. The pride of the EGM office is on the line. New York versus San Francisco. East Coast bravado versus West Coast logic and reason. Ray Carsillo versus Andrew Fitch. And no man can say who shall emerge victorious…

 

So during the short time I’m not watching the Giants/49ers NFC Championship game this weekend, I’ve got a pair of games on my docket that I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with.

The first has been out since September, but this past week the brand new “Fenix Rising” map pack for Gears of War 3 was released and has warranted me heading back to Sera and dusting off my Lancer Chainsaw Rifle. Four new characters skins, new achievements worth 250 points, and five new maps from various high and low points in Marcus’s life (Academy, Anvil, Depths, Escalation, and the one I’m most looking forward to, Slab) will hopefully have me picking grub bits out of my teeth all weekend. Not to mention this DLC features the new “Re-Up” feature, which allows players who reach level 100 to start off again, but this time with new color-coded numbers.

Then comes a game I just picked up and finally got installed on my hunk of junk desktop. Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ve always been more of a Post-Return of the Jedi expanded universe kind of guy instead of pre-Phantom Menace, but the chance to become an epic Sith Inquisitor will offer me a chance to relive some of my Middle School Star Wars role-playing glory days.

 

This weekend I’ll be playing nothing but Star Wars: The Old Republic, carrying on with my Imperial Agent Operative alt. It’s been a rough week for the game—the first major update to version 1.1 was delayed, and when it finally arrived, it caused PVP on Ilum to become unplayable. Then, an emergency patch was issued, which thankfully fixed these problems—but which still hasn’t solved the obvious faction imbalance. Not exactly sure what the Republic has done to everybody, but nobody wants to be one.

Next came the news regarding EAs shares plummeting due to poor sales of the game; someone please explain how 1.7 million copies in the first month is bad? Personally, I believe that The Old Republic can only get better from here on out, and with a content plan in place all the way into 2013, I foresee a bright future for this MMO. People just have to remember that BioWare has no experience in this field, so are going to make mistakes.

 

I’ll be spending my Saturday playing Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. I got it for Christmas from my son, and am only now just getting the chance to open it. You might all think we all get free games here at EGM—okay, well it is often true, but not all the time! I’ll be honest—I really am looking forward to reliving the first Halo over again. Have a great weekend everyone—Master Chief Nick out!

 

With a quick trip to Japan looming on the near horizon, I have two games I really want to get played and finished before I head off across the ocean.

First up is Amy, a game I’ve been looking forward to every since I caught first glimpses of it at least year’s E3. I’ve long been huge into the survival horror genre, and I really love the concept that’s going on here: we get away from the combat-ready hero we’re usually given, and instead have to survive a mysterious outbreak by following the adventures of a woman named Lana and her young companion Amy. The relationship between the two girls provides some fantastic potential for the game, as it gives the player some real opportunity to explore the idea that protecting and defending another human being can be a far more powerful means of storytelling than simply trying to fight your way through encounter after encounter.

Unfortunately—Amy is currently getting slaughtered both in reviews and opinions around the internet. I’ve only had the chance to play it for about an hour or so at this point, and I myself already have some fears regarding how the full game is going to turn out. So, my main goal for the weekend is to get through Amy, see how it holds up over the long haul, and come back early next week with my review of the game.

The other new game I want to break into this weekend is Hakuoki, the upcoming Aksys PSP release. I’ve talked about Hakuoki here on EGMNOW before—it’s the first Japanese otome game (games created for a female audience, where the goal is more about romance and less about violence) every released here in the States, so I’ve very curious to see how it does over here. Ever since playing the fantastic Corpse Party late last year, I’ve been on a kick for Japanese adventure/visual novel games. So, hopefully Hakuoki will live up to my expectations.

Finally—I’ll no doubt find a little time to get in some online Team Deathmatch games of Resistance 3. I know Resistance doesn’t always get the love it deserves, but I absolutely adore the game. The lack of a room browser aside—something I really appreciated about Resistance 2—there’s just so much I love about R3′s online gameplay. The guns just feel great, the perks are interesting, and there isn’t a map in this game that I don’t legitimately enjoy. Resistance 3 really is one of my main go-to games—when I have a few minutes to spare, I’ll turn it on, jump online, and always have fun.

 

So, now that you know what we’re playing—what are YOU going to be playing this weekend? We’d love to know, so post a comment below and tell us what games will be giving you joy (or frustration) this weekend!

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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