2018 Holiday Gaming

The holidays are an opportunity to celebrate the season, spend time with family… and play video games! I’m off for 11 days in a row this year and while some of my time will be spent with the fam, some will also be spent gaming (and some working on the house). Here’s what I’ll be playing this season.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Yes, that’s Originsnot Odyssey. 2017’s entry into the franchise is set in Egypt and was regarded as one of the best in the series at the time. I purchase the majority of my games at a discount six or so months after their initial release and Origins is no exception. I’ve been playing it for several months but I’m less than 25% through.

Now that I’ve finally finished the main missions in Syndicate I can concentrate on Origins, which follows the story of the first Assassin. Set in Egypt, Origins follows Bayek on a journey to avenge his son’s death. The environments are amazingly beautiful, the combat is improved, and the weapons system is more RPG-like, setting the stage for Odyssey. It even has an “explore Egypt” mode that includes historical tours. It’s fluid and now plays at a smooth 60 fps without stuttering on my new RTX 2070.

Jurassic World Evolution

This is basically Sim City: Dinosaurs. You build parks on five of the islands from the Jurassic Park franchise complete with enclosures, research centers, hotels, shops, and restaurants. Dinosaurs are bred from DNA extracted from fossils that are mined throughout the world. The park makes or loses money based on the mix of dinosaurs on display; the money is used to fund fossil expeditions and to build onto the park.

Islands have a 0 – 5 star rating which is used to unlock other islands which allow more research and better fossil expeditions. It’s a pretty fun experience collecting and breeding different types of dinosaurs while building a park around them. The game has a really cool follow mode that gets right up next to them and lets you hear them, watch them eat, and watch them fight. They sometimes escape their enclosures and go after people. You can either stop them or zoom in to watch the carnage.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 4 was the first open-world game that allowed freedom to play different missions in different orders and provided a crafting and upgrade system. That’s not technically true (Assassin’s Creed III was) but its system was so obvious that I actually understood how to use it. Anyway, I loved Far Cry 4 and I like Far Cry 5 as well.

I’m about 70% through it and might button it up during the holiday. The story line is similar in structure to most games in the franchise (liberate small outposts and build the resistance by completing their side jobs before going after the main villain) but is set in an alternate America run by a crazy religious cult. As with its predecessor the weapons and vehicle are fun, the explosions are awesome, and there are lots of places to explore. Totally worth the 50% off I paid for it.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

I just finished up the third season of The Man in the High Castle and I’ve got an itch to shoot up Nazis. Luckily I never finished the post-main mission content from The New Colossus or the DLC expansions. I play it on the easiest mode, which makes the Nazi annihilation even more fun. It’s a really beautiful game with fun weapons and great effects. Totally worth finishing the bonus sections. I might even replay the main game if I’m in the mood.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

I made it into Google’s Project Stream beta for Odyssey a few months ago and have been toying around with it in the Chrome browser a bit. When the bandwidth is available it looks amazing and responds pretty well. I can even play it on my eight-year old iMac without issues. Unfortunately my internet connection often struggles, resulting in pixelation and control lag, which basically equals death in combat.

Luckily for me Google is awarding a free copy of the full game for every member of the Stream test that plays for more than an hour. All progress, game saves, and purchases made with the complimentary 1000 Helix credits will transfer over. The full game won’t be awarded until January 15, but I’ll still play a bit. Once I have a local copy to play without network lag I’ll get to work. I doubt I’ll be done with Origins by then but I’ve played multiple entries from the series simultaneously before.

Assassin’s Creed III

Remember how I only play this game during the holidays? Well I guess I need to play, at least a little. I think I’m about 80% through and I do really enjoy the New England landscape. The game mechanics are just really annoying and the crafting / upgrade system is so complicated it’s worthless. Ubisoft will be publishing a remastered version in March that will also update some of the game mechanics. If it’s any good I’ll probably end up playing it all over again. Hell, I’ll probably play it over again regardless.

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