James Davenport: That fool hamster
I'll never admit that I love Overwatch's newest hero Wrecking Ball, a goofy-but-deadly hamster that rolls around in a transforming war ball. It's clearly too ridiculous a concept for such a serious team-based shooter. Clearly, Blizzard is cashing in on the Minions demographic. I'll also never admit that Wrecking Ball is cute and dumb and the most interesting hero Overwatch has seen in years. Never. But I will watch these Wrecking Ball GIFs on repeat for the entire weekend.
Wes Fenlon: Computer games in boxes
Remember when computer games came in boxes? Those were the days! OK, I do appreciate the immediacy of buying a game on Steam or GOG and having it right away, no muss no fuss. But there's something fun about perusing a store full of PC games, which is a rare experience in these digital times. I got to relive that fun when I was in Taiwan for Computex a few weeks ago and found a couple shops purely dedicated to PC games. There were plenty of thin DVD cases on the shelves, but also tons of real cardboard boxes big enough to hold maps and thick manuals and all sorts of goodies. And there wasn't a console game in sight. What a magical place.
Tyler Wilde: The goodlefield
I got to play the Battlefield 5 closed beta for a while this week, and while I don’t like everything about it, I was pretty happy about a few things: classic Conquest scoring, and no dang behemoths and sentry units, which I don’t think make Battlefield 1 better. Giving a losing team an advantage is a valid strategy for keeping games tight, but in the case of BF1 it didn’t work. In my experience, behemoths rarely turned the tide, and it was kind of annoying that the losing team got a fun toy to play with, while the winning team just had to keep on grinding as usual.
Tom Senior: Shame pile
I’m off for a week next week, which means I get to catch up on a bunch of games I have fallen behind on. I still need to put more time into Divinity: Original Sin 2, and I want to dig into the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided DLC adventures, and I still haven’t played the first Witcher 3 expansion. Plus I would actually like to finish Mass Effect: Andromeda’s story, if I can find a way to fight through the open world sidequest stuff a bit faster.
There are too many games, obviously, but it’s a good problem to have. Maybe I’ll end up sacking off the rest of my game library to play more Guilty Gear XRD -REVELATOR-, or Diablo 3, or maybe I’ll go back to Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Sometimes it’s a little too easy to slip back into games I’ve already enjoyed rather than striking out into new territory.
Samuel Roberts: Honest BioWare
A refreshingly frank look back at Mass Effect: Andromeda came from BioWare's Mark Darrah this week. It's true that Andromeda wasn't the game it could've been—it made me wonder if I even needed my BioWare games to be open world, and whether it actually suits them when their strengths are in characterisation and storytelling, rather than ticking off icons on a giant map. A more linear new Mass Effect or Dragon Age would actually be fine with me. Everything is an open world game now.
I think Darrah has a good point about how packed Andromeda's release window was last year. Being an open world game within months of Breath of the Wild was always going to be fraught, but hey, maybe these lessons will serve them well as the release of Anthem draws closer.
Joe Donnelly: You asking? I’m dancing.
GTA Online confirmed its incoming nightclub update this week, and I'm well up for it. I've no idea how it'll work in practice, but the in-game models of real life DJs The Black Madonna, Tale of Us, Solomon and Dixon present in the trailer suggest they may all feature as NPCs.
Due next month, I'm hoping for something a bit more substantial than the simple buy-collect-sell trifecta the game's other ventures operate. But, having seen all but Dixon live several times in the past, a Los Santos-inspired nightclub circuit is very much My Jam. As is Metro Area's Miura—a sample of which features in the aforementioned promo vid.
Oh, and is that Gay Tony up there on the mezzanine?