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Weekend Play: The J-Party Download

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Posted on April 4, 2014 AT 05:00pm

Welcome to EGM’s Weekend Play, a weekly account of what games the editors of EGM are currently playing, and an open conversation with you, the reader, about what you’ve been playing.

So, check out what we’re playing below, and then chime in with your own choices for the weekend in the comments section.

 

This is one of those weird weekends where I have no idea what gaming I’m going to do. Last weekend, I was out of town for a short (but much enjoyed) vacation. This week, it was a lot of catching up and planning for next week’s PAX East event.

And now, this weekend, I have no games to play for work. After a deluge of games targeted directly at me and my tastes, things have suddenly quieted down. So, could it be? Could I actually get to simply relax and enjoy videogames this weekend, without having to worry about beating this or that so that I can get a review written up in short order?

You know the thing I want to go back and play? Persona 4 Golden. Possible due to the re-release of the PS2 version via PSN that’s coming up next week, I got to thinking again about just how darn good that game is. So, maybe I’ll spend more quality time with that. Maybe I’ll get around to snagging the Pac-Man collection Namco Bandai released, so I can finally own Pac-Man Championship Edition on PS3 (now that I own it on Xbox 360, PS Minis, and 3DS). Maybe I’ll finish up grabbing the trophies I missed in Tomb Raider Definitive Edition. Or, maybe I’ll sit down with something that’s totally off my radar, yet which still sits—unopened—on my shelf.

Back in 2012, observers of the Japanese gaming scene—even those with extensive knowledge and experience with the seedier side of the hobby on the streets of Akihabara—snickered at the thought of Conception: Please Have My Babies!, a Persona-style RPG that tasked players with creating fighting, spell-casting kids with a roster of doe-eyed anime lasses. Three years later, the sequel is actually getting localized by Atlus, and word is that the game’s not as bad—or quite as creepy—as you might expect. In fact, developer Spike Chunsoft has an impressively quality pedigree, with games like Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward and Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc in recent years, so I’m looking forward to seeing whether there’s more to the game than the admittedly semi-skeevy concept.

It’s been more than two years since Star Wars: The Old Republic occupied far too many sleepless nights in my my pursuit to be a Jedi Master. Since then, I have deftly avoided the MMORPG trap, and I’ve led a more productive life because of it. Until this week.

This week, I began playing The Elder Scrolls Online. Barely though the opening sequence, I already can tell I’m in trouble. Tamriel, some 1000 years before Skyrim, is a huge place, and I already have quests piling up.

Therefore, this weekend I will devoting myself to the pursuit of experience. My lowly level four will be in double digits by the end of Saturday, my crafting skills will be well on their way to mastery, and I will likely belong to at least one guild (somebody’s gotta have your back, Jack!). And by Monday, when I get back to work, I will be tired, surly, smelly, and much, much more powerful.

This weekend I’ll be putting my Kinect 2.0 to a true test for the first time as I strap on some digital cleats and get ready for Kinect Sports Rivals. I’m looking forward to seeing if the game’s facial recognition tech has improved since I saw it at Gamescom 2013 last summer, as well as trying out next-gen bowling and soccer. I’m also curious about the loose story mode the game supposedly sports this time around—something about the island where all the events take place is being fought over by three rival factions. The best part of the entire experience, though, may be hearing David Tennant (for you non-Doctor Who fans out there, he’s kind of a big deal in the series) make his videogame debut as the narrator.

Remember how I said I was playing a bona fide J-game last week? Didn’t go too well. Ragnarok Odyssey ACE was a tedious marathon of one terrible design decision after another. Don’t worry, though: I’m not holding a single bad game against the whole of Japanese gaming. I’m holding it against the whole of gaming, period. Around the time ACE made me wail on a giant’s furry taint for the better part of 15 minutes, I had a moment of clarity where the absurdity of what I was doing actually sank in and I decided I didn’t want to play videogames anymore—at least not for a little while.

So this weekend, I’m going to try to finish a book Chris has been pestering me to read since we met, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon. I’ll harness the most powerful rendering engine known to man, human imagination, to travel to new worlds and live vicariously through heart-pounding adventures and futuristic intrigue. Screw 1080p. My mind displays in ∞p. Framerate is terrible, though.

I accomplished none of my gaming goals last weekend, so this weekend I’m not even going make any and instead just be brutally honest. The only game I’ll be playing—if any—will be Titanfall.

But at the risk of sounding uninspired, like Josh, I’ll probably spend most of this weekend taking a break from videogames and catching up on some reading. I, too, am paging through Altered Carbon in some sort of book club arrangement the two of us have. Though, for me, this is about my fifth or sixth reading. It’s become something of an annual ritual for me. There’s also some non-fiction I want to finally get to, such as Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, a sociological look at at the homosocial inclinations of men between adolescence and adulthood, by Michael Kimmel, a sociologist.

Sadly, real life has reared its ugly head this week so my gameplay time will be limited. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to play anything. Over the next few days, I plan on spending the majority of my spare time with Hearthstone as I try to reach legendary rank in the first official season with my control warrior deck—which is no easy task. I’m also hoping that Blizzard releases the iPad version of the game in other territories this weekend so I can enjoy it on the go and not have to worry about being at my computer.

As well as Hearthstone, I’ll also be hopping into Star Wars: The Old Republic every now and again to prepare for the upcoming release of patch 2.7 on Tuesday. I really need to set myself up better for season two of PvP to try and make amends for the disappointing sub 1,000 ranking that I’m going to finish the current season with.

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