We’ve been training for this our entire lives right? We’ve all got that game world we visit to help us just escape everything that’s happening in the real world – This is our time brothers and sisters, while the WHO has added ‘gaming disorder’ to it’s list of addictive behaviors, it’s also encouraging us to play more games to help stop the spread of COVID-19 across the world.
In the UK, we’ve been in lockdown now for three weeks with another three confirmed. The struggle is starting to slowly creep up. I’m currently working from home, I’m grateful that I’ve got the facility to work from home when so many of my colleagues are unable to – It’s not as amazing as you’d think, working, gaming and living in the same space. There’s this overwhelming encumbrance across everything you do, during your working hours all you want to do is game (but don’t) and when you finish you end up thinking about the working day and what tomorrow will bring..!
When all of this kicked off, I openly joked that I’m just going to watch zombie movies and play post apocalyptic games and do you know what, I did just that. I’ve watched so many movies and invested so much time into State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition – It’s fantastic you should play it – that it’s become maybe a little too real.
Now the realisation has set in, and we’re all in this together. Let’s talk about some of the games that I’ve been using as an escape.
ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS
In these trying times, It’s difficult to not know what Animal Crossing: New Horizons is as it’s only the fastest-selling Switch game ever and since being launched in March, it’s sold more copies then all previous games combined, including spin-offs.
A quick explanation for the uninitiated, Animal Crossing is a game where you’re on an island which is inhabited by anthropomorphic characters. There are various activities such as fishing, catching bugs, hunting for fossils and you essentially turn this Island into a home – developing from a camp site up to a modest village.
It’s a secret obsession of mine, while there are other games out there which should be soaking my up time – here I am playing Animal Crossing. The more time I invest into this game, the more I firmly believe that the franchise was the precursor to mobile gaming.
Within my circle of friends, I was originally the only one interested in playing this but over time there are more of us. We’re all trying to support each other by trading fruits that aren’t native to our islands and sharing some of the awesome clothing or furniture that we’re finding. However we need to set up some ground rules, I swear a certain someone is turning up on my island and stealing resources that I haven’t got yet.
BEAT SABRE (VR)
I’ve owned a HTC VIVE for around four years now, and I’ll be honest – I haven’t really used the device that much… The current goal is to attempt to utilise this equipment a lot more, in the name of science and escapism.
There is only one title which I play at the moment, and that’s Beat Sabre. I’ve always had a love for rhythm games and I’ve always loved swords, here they’re brought together. You swing your swords in the direction that is displayed on the notes which are flying at you in tune with the music.
What makes this fantastic, is you get a decent little workout while playing and if you’re playing on the PC there are mods which can be installed too. The normal selection of music which is made available is perfectly fine but there are so many songs belonging to games and movies which people have brought into the game – It just makes it a lot more fun!
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
I ventured into FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE as a nostalgia junkie, as the classic version is one of my favourite games and was my entry into the franchise which has now become a lifelong obsession – I’d like to believe that it’s because of this passion that my partner has reluctantly jump into the classic version on her Nintendo Switch.
The whole game was awe inspiring, it was the equivalent of being a child again and first experiencing the game. The game is faithful to what I remember, but has also expanded upon some of the games weaker narratives. While the combat has evolved into a hybrid of KINGDOM HEARTS and FINAL FANTASY XV, there is enough VII flavour thrown in to create something which is truly fun to play.
What made the original so fantastic was the Materia system, the ability to link Materia together to augment combat and build characters to expose enemies weaknesses. Square Enix have done a fantastic job of bringing this into the modern era.
REMAKE clocked in 31 hours for me to complete on Normal mode, closer to the end I skipped some of the side quests, knowing that I would be playing through again. There’s a lot of content on offer such as collectables, a dedicated hardmode which has side quests that weren’t available on normal, and a lot of materia which needs to be mastered.
REMAKE is going to soak up some more of my time as I’m going to platinum it, and with all the bad in the world – It’s nice to go back to being a child for a while.
THERE WE HAVE IT
There we have it, three wildly different games that have been helping keep me (relatively) sane throughout all this madness. I’ve found it best to not stick to one genre otherwise the repetition might set in.
Let me throw this over to you, what have you been playing / doing to help you through this pandemic?