Finals are approaching. Fatigue is high. Food rations are out. My time at Ohio University is slowly running out.
There’s still time to play video games, though.
Despite struggling through life at almost every turn, I’ve played three games over the previous month: Night in the Woods, Horizon Zero Dawn and Overwatch’s new DLC.
I’ve enjoyed some more than others. Here’s what I’ve thought:
Night in the Woods
An indie developed by Infinite Fall, Night in the Woods follows Mae Borowski — a college dropout who’s coming to grips with ever-changing life in the fictional, blue-collar town of Possum Springs.
The cartoon-aesthetic “wander” game follows themes of classism, depression and repercussions of capitalism through careful dialogue between Mae and her peers. As Kotaku puts it: The Night in the Woods tackles difficult themes in relatable ways.
From typical teenage angst stemming from a night drinking to the character’s animalistic portrayals of how divided America is socially, The Night in the Woods displays themes never fleshed out in games before.
In particular, Mae’s dialogue with her parents — her father works until late at night; her mother the opposite — has an eerie feeling to it. I felt emotionally engaged with Mae’s mother, who works at the Possum Springs church and is more engaged with the “whys” of life. Not the “whats”.
A negative: If you like action, this isn’t for you. Except for some mini games and some platforming sections, there isn’t much to Night in the Woods gameplay-wise.
Horizon Zero Dawn
A post-apocalyptic role-playing game from Guerrilla Games is ... solid. But just that.
The game — which follows the origins of bow-wielding-heroine Aloy and the titanic robot dinosaurs roaming western United States — is a solid RPG that doesn’t pull many punches along the way.
There’s the main story, side missions, errands and a variety of collectables to keep players engaged for 50-plus hours. There’s upgrades to your spear, bow and armor. The graphics are beautiful.
There’s plenty of neat side story that includes some badass armor and religious intolerance, but Horizon is totally content with just being a solid action adventure game.
If you’ve played The Witcher or Assassin's Creed, you’ll feel right at home.
If you’re seeking an innovative genre-changer, that may not be here.
That by no means makes it a bad game. I enjoyed it. But it's a time consumer that will probably fade to memory by year's end, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Overwatch's newest hero
Overwatch, my 2016 Game of the Year, has a new character — and she is awesome.
Orisa is a flex tank that molds well with multiple metas: she can attack buff on control/payload maps. She has solid damage per second tandem with a 900-point projectile shield that protects her from range characters.
She can clump teams together and is a perfect tank No. 2 next to a Zarya, D.Va or Reinhardt.
Plus, she has some sweet centaurian skins.