FAME’s “Play This” is where you can keep up to date with what FAME’s committee and members are playing, as well as read reviews of video games and activities. Have a favourite new game you’d like to review? Or a classic you can’t help but replay? Submit it to us via http://bit.ly/FAMEContent – we’d love to hear you’re playing!
Pokémon Unite: Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android
By Dion Leow
As a millennial, I grew up with the first generation of Pokémon. I have watched episodes of the anime in English, Japanese, and even Mandarin (and yes, they each have their own theme songs that are equally iconic in my mind). I have watched this franchise blossom beyond a manga and anime and into the timeless cultural movement that we associate with the brand today. So, when a MOBA game using the franchise’s IP was released, you bet your ass I got on that shit faster than Dan Andrews announcing a lockdown.
For those who are unaware, MOBA is basically a game format closely associated with League of Legends, DOTA, and Mobile Legends. But why is Pokémon Unite better? I have compiled a list of why you should get into it.
- Cute ass characters and good ol’ nostalgia. After all, who doesn’t want to adopt a Charmander and evolve it into a Charizard by bop-bop-bopping an annoying Snorlax into oblivion?
- The game is simpler than other MOBA games.
- There are no items, meaning you do not need to spend time researching the items best fit for your character.
- Instead of destroying ‘towers’ and ‘objectives’ that can do damage to you, your aim is to destroy ‘goal posts’ with orbs that you collect from defeating wild Pokémon around the map. This means that your damage to a goal post depends on how many wild Pokémon you have defeated. This also means that you can do substantive damage to a goal post by yourself if you have enough orbs in your possession.
- In other MOBA games, you are motivated to eliminate the opposing team because of the money and experience you get from defeating them. Here, experience is secondary because it is relatively simple to level up if you battle enough wild Pokémon. Instead, you are motivated to eliminate the opposing team to collect the orbs that they have in their possession.
- The game is guaranteed to end in 10 minutes. The winner is determined by which team has scored more orbs, rather than who destroys all the goal posts first. This makes each round last a shorter amount of time, so it is perfect for a law student looking for a quick break.
- Less toxicity! Without a voice chat or a chat box function, you are no longer subject to toxic teammates yelling slurs and abusive vulgarities at you, which is always great for maintaining an already declining mental health from law school.
So, tell me why you aren’t on this game yet? It’s free to play, easy to learn with its in-game tutorials, and minimally invasive in-game purchases (though I am unclear if the mobile versions have ads). Go get your daily dose of serotonin from an adorable Scorbunny kicking a flaming football at a clueless Slowbro!
It Takes Two: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S
By Caiti Galwey
You wouldn’t think that a game about a divorcing couple inspecting the ruins of their marriage could be one of the sweetest, most wholesome games ever made. But it is, and It Takes Two has managed to reinvent the co-op genre and take it to a whole new level.
I have played many co-op games but often (with the exception of games like Fall Guys or Among Us) these are single-player games that happen to have a multiplayer or co-op element. Co-op often feels tacked-on, with the additional player having limited abilities (think of Mario odyssey, where one player is Mario and a second player takes control of Cappy, Mario’s hat). It Takes Two is critically different in this regard, as you need two people to play it.
Each player embodies either May or Cody, who are often gifted unique skills that require the combination of your abilities to complete certain tasks or boss fights. Communication is key here, so playing on the same device was useful, but I’m sure the same effect could have been achieved via Discord.
Aside from the unique co-opt elements, the game is incredibly user-friendly, with relatively low prerequisite game knowledge and an objective-less style of progression that encourages experimentation, exploration and curiosity.
Cody and May are subjecting their young daughter, Rose, to the household fragility that comes with an unhappy marriage. As children do, Rose thinks it is all her fault and is an emotional drive throughout her parent’s journey.
Transformed into three-inch dolls, May & Cody can now explore various parts of the house as if they were tiny worlds. The developers have let their imaginations run wild. Being able to inspect forgotten possessions and watch as they regain their sentimental value is a unique concept; from a neglected garden to an abandoned cuckoo clock. The resulting places you get to explore are both familiar yet vast, making the game world feel well-realised and detailed.
A lot of people might be put off by the cringey dialogue, and borderline sadistic moments of the game, but in a similar vein to the darkness of Toy Story 3, these moments are ones you cannot look away from.
Whilst 15 hours of gameplay can seem like a daunting endeavour to be stuck with someone for, the content is so unique, fun and interesting that no two sessions will feel the same. Make it the way that you keep in touch with someone that lockdown has separated you from. Teach your grandma or sibling how to play. Either way, you’ll have shared a wonderfully special experience with someone.
Images: Hazelight Studios/Electronic Arts
Coffee Talk: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One
By Georgia Zheng
Coffee Talk is a “coffee brewing and heart-to-heart talking simulator” by indie game company Toge Productions. The game is largely a visual novel, combined with simple (but sometimes challenging) gameplay of making warm beverages at your cafe. The game features nostalgic pixel graphics and an atmospheric lo-fi soundtrack, which has certainly replaced all of my “1hr Lo-fi + Rain Ambience (chill/study/sleep)” videos on YouTube.
The story is set in Seattle in an alternative space and time: fantasy creatures live in this reimagined city, as the characters range from humans to succubi, elves, vampires, werewolves and more (super diverse cast, love that). These customers frequent our cafe, which is a little peculiar, in that it doesn’t open during the day; instead, we are a barista/master who only opens the cafe between the hours of dawn and midnight. When we are open, we welcome our customers with open arms, listen to their stories and sometimes give them thoughtful advice, all while serving tasty hot drinks. The cafe is like a safe haven. As the opening of the game suggests, though there are many stories left untold in this city, “some few find solace in the embrace of bricks and wood and glass”.
These “some few” truly make the game. Every customer is unique and it is almost impossible not to immediately become invested in their lives. You see them navigate their struggles, celebrate their triumphs and explore what it means to live in this world. What’s more, you (or the drinks you make) have the ability to influence this journey. When you get it right, best believe that the story will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside – metaphorically of course, but also literally if you so choose, as the game is also great for discovering new hot drinks! Be it tea, coffee or anything else, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at drinks you’re keen to try making from the in-game recipes.
Overall, this is the perfect game for a relaxing night in. You can also watch playthroughs online if you don’t feel like doing a whole lot of reading! It’s definitely a worthwhile experience – there’s just something about coffee, lo-fi and DnMs that brews the perfect recipe for the ultimate zen experience.
Hungry for the next Witcher game? Play the Blood & Wine DLC!
By Caiti Galwey
If you’ve got a Witcher shaped hole in your heart, the Blood and Wine DLC is the way to fill it.
After spending hours completing the main storyline of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and ending up with one of three endings, the option to travel south becomes available.
Toussaint, oh Toussaint
For those who are familiar with Toussaint from the Witcher books, it is described as no less than a fairytale. Her Royal Highness, Duchess Annarietta is depicted as the radiant ruler of an opulent land, covered in sprawling vineyards and glittering waters. If you’re tired of the dreariness of Velen or the turbulent Skellige Isle, Toussaint provides a wonderful change of pace.
Go from this…
Fairytale characters, palaces and knights, oh my! The DLC offers more than 20 hours of additional gameplay and countless side quests based on some of your favourite children’s stories. If you’re into the twisted side of popular fables (as in the Dark Parables series or The Wolf Among Us), then get ready to meet these warped versions of Goldilocks, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, the Wicked Witch, and more.
If defeating the king of the Wild Hunt was as underwhelming for you as it was for me, the final boss fight in Blood and Wine is sure to get your heart pumping. Many players find they need multiple attempts, and others play it over and over again just for the cutscenes.
Blood and Wine introduces almost 30 brand new monsters into the game including Banshees, Barghests, Pixies, Protofleders, Bruxa, Scurvers, Spriggans, and more. Some of the most difficult beasts in the whole game can be found in Toussaint, providing you with the challenge the main quest might have lacked. Many are based on folklore.
The DLC’s secondary quest, Turn and Face the Strange, introduces twelve new mutagens which unlocks a panel allowing players to alter their active abilities. New mutations such as Deadly Counter and Bloodbath allow you to do more damage to enemies, whilst other mutations effect the power of signs potions.
How it compares with the Hearts of Stone DLC
In short, it doesn’t. Both stories are incredibly compelling. The Hearts of Stone DLC introduces a very compelling adversary and an intriguing plot, but the storyline is scattered across Velen and doesn’t add much to the existing landscape of the game. Being reunited with Shani is enjoyable (Shani and Geralt have quite the history) but beyond the nostalgia factor, the quests feel depthless. Compared with the challenges Blood and Wine introduces, as well as the deep moral quandaries posed to Geralt, Hearts of Stone doesn’t quite meet the same mark.
This is not to discount the fact that both DLC’s offer more than you would expect, especially nowadays when DLC’s are often associated with upgraded or unique gear. Both DLC’s feel more like expansions as the sheer quality of the additional content is priceless. Blood and Wine especially feels more like a follow-up game rather than mere additional content. If you haven’t already explored this land of fairytales, I highly recommend that you do.
Play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or Microsoft Windows
Batman Arkham Series: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.
By Coco Garner Davis
A series of four games (with various iOS additions and the like) released across 2009 to 2015 by Rocksteady and WB, this series was pretty pioneering in its establishment of the trend of free-flow combat. Paul Dini wrote the first two – so, if you loved Batman: The Animated Series, you’ll love these, and vice-versa. My personal faves are the second and the fourth – Arkham City and Arkham Knight – which host completely gripping storylines making them less combat-heavy and more like watching Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy for 60-odd hours. Pretty awesome.
One could say Batman is legally bound by his own enforced “moral code” (yes, that is very deliberately placed into quotes) and this is explored, questioned, and stretched across these games. The intersection of questions of justice, vigilantism, anarchy, and mortality tap into the philosophical questions posed historically across the Caped Crusader’s anthology. Of course, the quality of the game is helped immensely by the sheer brilliance in the voice acting – notably, Mark Hammil reprising his role as the Joker. The graphics and world design also surpass any and all expectations for a game released 11 years ago.
The first game, Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) follows Batman trying to prevent the Joker from destroying Gotham City after he takes control of the Asylum and those within (a delightful collection of past foes). Arkham City (2011) takes place a year later, after Professor Hugo Strange has enclosed an abandoned part of the city and turned it into a massive asylum. While slowly dying from an illness inflicted by the Joker (ofc), Batman must escape his incarceration and uncover Strange’s scheme ‘Protocol 10’. Look out for the Ra’s Al Ghul boss battle – it is epic.
Arkham Origins (2013) is a prequel to Arkham Asylum, and look, to be honest, you could probably skip this one, so I will too.
The series is then concluded with Arkham Knight (2015), positioned nine months after the events of Arkham City. The Scarecrow and the mysterious Arkham Knight have seized control of Gotham in a ploy to destroy Batman physically and mentally, once and for all…
0 A.D. – Available on PC
By Laura McKenzie
You’re at your parents’ house, the one you grew up in. A dessert of ice cream with Ice Magic hasn’t quite satisfied your taste for nostalgia. You wander up to the computer room. Your original family-computer died long ago and the replacement isn’t that shmick either. A CD- holder of old computer games sits on the desk, gathering dust.
You take out Age of The Empires, pop it in the CD port. Suspense builds as you wait ten minutes or so while various things load, only to have the computer break the hard news: the video game is not compatible with your ‘new’ computer. You cry. You mindlessly log into Facebook and see this post by FAME and read a bunch of reviews from people who call themselves ‘Ambassadors’. You think, hey these guys have some cool recommendations. You read this part and think- wow, Laura’s really described my current situation.
Don’t worry reader, I’ve gotchu. My recommendation is that you Google ‘0.A.D.’ or even better -> click right here, download that bad boy, and enjoy a FREE and easily accessible computer game that is very similar to Age of the Empires– so similar that your taste for nostalgia will be satisfied and you can continue going about your day. Finally! Some Ancient Warfare!! Don’t mention it.
Animal Crossing : New Horizons – Available on Nintendo Switch
By Caiti Galwey
What better way to escape cabin fever than to put your virtual self on a deserted island? Despite the irony behind its success, this game seems to be all that people talk about nowadays. Albeit, Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ almost cult-like popularity is not unfounded. The game turns the idea of isolation upside down, offering a wholesome island escape to all who are struggling in these difficult times. Animal Crossing gives players a fun alternative to the state of reality; staying indoors and visiting ‘virtual’ museums, shops and friends instead. Although popping over to your friend’s house is a big no right now, allowing strangers from across the Animal Crossing universe to visit your island (through a share code) is a big yes. And aside from a racoon named Tom Nook coming after you for his money, New Horizons encourages kindness and friendship, which is exactly what the world needs right now.