So, what are you playing?

by: Randy -
More On: What we're playing

DCS Harrier

Google's various plans to enter the gaming market have always fizzled, but Kotaku reports Google is now measuring interest in a streaming platform. High-level speedrunners just raised a record-breaking $2.1 million for Doctors Without Borders. And two months after Valve gutted the info used by Steam Spy to report usage metrics, Valve is finally working on tools to purportedly improve on what Steam Spy was doing.

So, what are you playing?

Zachary Atwood
The Witcher 3 continues. I dump hours and hours into the game and there's always more to do. This should be a good thing, but one day I'd like to actually finish the game. Other than that particular time sink, I've started playing Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 4 again with friends. With any downtime I have, I've been trying out Realm Royale, as I've heard good things and want to see what all it has to offer. So far it feels good, as the crafting systems and gunplay are refreshingly different from other Battle Royale games. I still hold out hope I'll be able to start Assassin's Creed Origins this week, but The Witcher 3 just won't give me up.

Sean Colleli
I'm finally playing through Batman: Arkham Origins. I got close to the end several years ago but life intruded. So far it's just as good as I remember, or rather much better than many critics gave it credit for at the time. I just wish WB had remastered it with the rest of the series for Return to Arkham; the graphics aren't exactly an eyesore, but going back to PS3 sub-30fps framerates is rather harsh.

Kinsey Danzis
I startle easily. Many people know this about me. So of course, in my infinite wisdom, I took our new roommate's suggestion and bought SOMA on sale. But that wasn't enough. Oh no. No, we just had to turn off almost every light in the apartment. We just had to play at night. So I'm sitting there, tense as can be, while my fiancee and roommate are offering up stress-inducing creepy commentary from the peanut gallery behind me. I started out doing what's called the "Geoff Ramsey Method" which entails walking backward into every room so I don't have to see what's murdering me. However, I quickly realized that I prefer to see my death coming, so I switched over to the "Kinsey Danzis Method," which entails scooting forward about four inches at a time while yelping at every little sound or flicker of the screen. It's fun, but I'm also pretty sure that I've lost a couple weeks off my life.

Dave Gamble
I am getting tired of dying. I have died so many times and in so many violent, spectacular, and improbable (for a normal person) ways that I am beginning to worry that my eventual, actual demise will be mundane and anticlimactic in comparison. Despite the superior quality of my gaming deaths, I really am getting tired of dying. It wears on the soul.

Some of them I saw coming. Having crash-landed the DCS Harrier on the ship's deck in a fiery cloud of fail on my four previous attempts at landing, it seemed almost preordained that number five would end in the same now dreary way. It wasn't be—on the fifth "landing" I slid off of the deck and drowned.

Some of them were just a matter of me stupidly picking fights against overwhelming odds. For example, I was just walking around the Far Cry 5 apple farms with my faithful dog Boomer, more or less minding my own business, when I happened across a humongous statue of a local crackpot. There were a lot of folks guarding it for some reason that I couldn't fathom, until I tripped across an RPG launcher and some compatible ammo just laying around. As careless as they are with military grade weaponry, I can see why those folks thought the statue to be at risk. Just as a prank, I started shooting grenades at it. Man, that really got them worked up. They killed me. That made me angry, so I just kept on trying to blow that statue to pieces, and they kept on killing me.

That's still going on, by the way, although now they're using helicopters. It may just be the end of me and Far Cry 5.

One death that Far Cry delivered unto me was, however, quite noble: I died trying to save my dog. Turns out that I could have saved myself the effort since he gets reborn every time I do, but's the thought that counts.

By far, though, the worst death was the one that I actually had a physical reaction to, and it came from Rise of Flight. There I was in my wood and fabric airplane (more of a powered kite, really) in a turning dogfight with an Eindecker. Things weren't going my way, so I tried to shake things up by reversing the direction of my turn. Visibility out the front isn't very good in those planes because the top wing obstructs a lot of your view, and I do not understand the geometry of what happened, but all of a sudden I plowed right into my opponent, nose to nose. The screen abruptly went black. All sound stopped. The visceral shock of that sudden ending was stronger than I ever recall getting from a game. It felt way, way, way too real.

I've set all that stuff aside as I start to work through a review. It's a dystopian world, again. It's survival, again. Is it any wonder I'm reluctant to start? Could it be because I know one thing for sure before I even launch it? What I know is that while I may be tired of dying, dying is not tired of me.

And so it goes.

Eric Hauter
For whatever reason, I lost my mind this weekend and rolled a new character on The Elder Scrolls Online. My first attempt at the game was aborted quickly after finishing the opening area, and I've always meant to get back to it. I was yanking a game I am currently playing for review from my PS4 in disgust, and I saw the ESO disc sitting there collecting dust. For some reason I thought, "Oh, I need to create a Dark Elf Sorcerer." So I did, and I love her. I had forgotten how Skyrim-y ESO's opening hours are. I don't know if I will continue on long enough to start jonesing for any of the expansions, but I sure was happy Sunday morning, sitting there playing for three hours.

I have also been looking at The Exorcist: Legion VR for review (not the game I ripped from the PS4 in disgust). So far, the episodes in this series are brief, but they pack one heck of a wallop. I find myself teleporting through its creepy environments with my virtual crucifix held out firmly in front of me. Anything that moves or makes the slightest sound gets crucifix-ed. I don't know what I was thinking. Taking on this game was madness. I can't handle The Exorcist.

Randy Kalista
I've been in a glut of gaming lately—thank you, Steam and PlayStation sales. Despite those new-to-me purchases, my mouse keeps gravitating back to BattleTech. Big robots with lasers blowing arms and legs off one another in good n' proper turn-based fashion is hitting my sweet spot...hitting it with a called shot from an entrenched location amidst treeline cover at higher elevation with an overheat warning from internal-exposed guns. The politics are poorly told (it's super dry stuff) but the personal stories and rando crew-affecting events are pretty good. It just feels great, though, to yank bigger, heavier mechs down onto the ground with punishing tactics and just a little help from the RNG.

Since The Elder Scrolls VI is still a "next-generation console away," I'm trying to get my post-Skyrim fix from The Elder Scrolls: Legends card game on my phone. I didn't really think it'd scratch my itch and, for the most part, it's not. But I'd still like to absorb some more Elder Scrolls lore any way I can get it. I've already read just about as many in-game books as I can stomach. I used to be really into those books, but nowadays I can't be breaking up the action with another 20-minute read of a Brief History of the Empire vol. 4. There's gotta be a better way.

Nicholas Leon
I’ll be liberating a so-far-unnamed Central/West African country from an arms dealer named the Jackal in this game called Far Cry 2. It’s already checking off all my snob boxes. No reticle! Realistic enemy spotting mechanics! Weapons and vehicles that decay over time! Buddies! I love it so far.

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