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What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Play Free Or Die Hard

I’ve gone retro with my gaming for this weekend, but what era am I revisiting? The low-bit arcade stylings of the late 80s? The JRPG heyday of the PlayStation years? Ten years ago, when Half-Life 2, World of Warcraft and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines all came out within a week of one another? No! I’ve been travelling the mysterious, mystical land of, uh, 2013. A frightening time.

But what are you playing?

I picked up Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance last week and it successfully parried all my attempts to step away from it before it was finished. It is a glorious game with some very odd missteps, to echo the message of Nathan’s WIT earlier this year. The port seems to have had any initial problems annihilated, leaving an incredibly slick, ridiculously fun brawler. Probably the best first boss of all time, thanks mainly to the music, and the sexiest male lead in video games. Phwoar, robo-heels. I’ll be hitting up the DLC, which lets you play as first the antagonist and then the best character, a robo-dog, from the main game.

I also grabbed Saints Row IV cheap with all its DLC. I was expecting to love it and was sorely disappointed. I find it frustratingly dull; a collection of minigames and systems lacking the polish to take them from “activity” to “fun.” A cross between Grand Theft Auto and Prototype which ends up significantly short of the sum of its parts. It’s clever, of course, with some of the wittiest writing I’ve seen in the past decade. It’s crammed with jokes in everything from taunts to mission names. What’s behind all that just isn’t interesting enough for me, yet, but I’m willing to give it a few more hours to impress.

In terms of watching, this week is the Blizzcon finals kicking off their first stage. StarCraft II, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft all have tournaments running across the weekend, which you can grab details on here. I’ll likely take my yearly dose of StarCraft, lamenting both its diminished popularity and the menagerie of reasons for that while still loving it. Hearthstone will get a glace too. Its pro scene has given me a new understanding for the game’s complexities recently.

I’m poor at keeping up with Dota 2, but MSI are running the finals of their multi-stage tournament this weekend too. It caught my eye because there are teams from Africa, Australia and the Middle East taking part, and it’s unusual to have qualified teams from outside the usual SEA/Europe/America e-sports triumvirate.

As always, please e-mail me if there are tournaments running any weekend that you think are worth highlighting.

With which I pass it on to you, with an inquisitive glance towards your plans for digital entertainment.

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Ben Barrett

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