The quarantine measures being taken in response to coronavirus have been a downer for many, who are now isolated from their guaranteed daily contact with their friends with little else to do. As all the events people were looking forward to close or get rescheduled, one of the few activities to be untouched are video games. Little has changed for folks like myself who spend most of their time on whatever game they’re currently absorbed in at the moment, but less die-hard gamers may find themselves wanting to spend more time at their consoles or computers as their time wastes away at home. I’m bringing you some recommendations from this month’s new releases which can suit just about any player.
Release Date: March 20th, 2020
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch (coming later in the year)
I recently made my way through the 2016 revival of the classic shooter DOOM and, if it’s anything like that game was, Eternal is sure to be an absolute blast. While the literally mind-blowing gore may turn the faint of heart away, those who can get past that will be rewarded with a fast-paced single-player shooter campaign like no other. After the events of 2016’s Doom, demonic legions have made it to Earth and killed billions already, and it’s your job to stop them. To dissuade players from hiding behind cover, the game rewards you the most when you get in the demons’ faces; the genius glory kill system gives players health for melee kills, using the Chainsaw on an opponent drops boundless ammo, and enemies are fast and aggressive enough to chase you down if you stay still for too long. What results is a constant run-and-gun rush as you balance moving around the area efficiently with sustained fire against the demon horde, zeroing in for a Glory Kill once you have a demon staggered. A wide variety of satisfying weapons (none of which ever need to reload), each with two mods which give them more versatility, give the player a multitude of ways to turn the demons into red chunks and paste. New mobility options like the boost and upgrades to your base capabilities feed into the fast pace and aid the satisfying sense of progression as you advance through the game. Although it certainly leans into its intense single-player campaign, Doom Eternal will have some creative multiplayer offerings as well. The game will have an asymmetrical multiplayer mode at launch which pits two demon players against one Doom Slayer, and the Invasion mode coming after launch lets players invade others’ single player campaigns as a demon.
If you like shooters and don’t mind adjusting to the fast pace and ultra-violent aesthetic, Doom Eternal is looking to be a real must-buy.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Release Date: March 20th, 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Now, if you’re not a fan of shooters and have problems with speed and violence, here’s another March 20th release which may suit your tastes. Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes at a fortuitous time, as it would happen; a game all about building a community and interacting with townsfolk is dropping as soon as quarantine measures start getting serious worldwide. To change up the Animal Crossing formula, New Horizons is framed as an island getaway where you build your community on a far-off island. This isn’t a franchise where people are really begging for more, but new additions and polished visuals will make this a fresh experience for the Animal Crossing fan. Crafting lets you make furniture out of found materials, and now said furniture can be placed around the town instead of just in your home. A beautiful museum on the island is a place to showcase all the fish and bugs you catch and fossils you unearth. Other players can even join the fun online and roam your town as you do, sharing in the activities. Of course, the real fun comes in speaking with and helping all the members of your community, which runs on a real-time schedule of daily events. For all the isolated players, New Horizons’ simulation of community is sure to serve as a solid replacement for the real thing. Even when things get back underway in the real world, you probably won’t want to put it down.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Release Date: March 11th, 2020
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
Following up 2015’s indie hit Ori and the Blind Forest, Will of the Wisps continues what the first game started with a number of changes. It features an even bigger 2D overworld than its predecessor. Indeed, exploring this massive world makes up the bulk of the experience, as everything players find will improve their capabilities, allow access to new areas, or both. The combat system from the first game has been totally overhauled, now focusing on melee combat with the Spirit Edge supplemented by various ranged weapons with limited energy like the Spirit Arc. The refined gameplay is only one of its strong points, though. Where Ori has always shone is it’s beautiful visuals. The game’s lighting has an amazingly warm and fuzzy feel, and the beautifully hand-painted graphics are as stunning a feat as they were back in 2015. While a lot of great-looking games come at the gameplay’s expense, Ori manages to balance both in such a way that no part of the experience feels lacking. It even tells a concise story which supplements the gameplay without eating up the experience. It’s truly a multifaceted experience with something for all types of players.