October has been such a massive month for games that it’s so easy to miss things. Or, if you’re like me, aimlessly flit from one game to another trying to find something to distract you from the dying days of yet another lockdown. So it seems like a good time for a community review.
This past week I haven’t had as much time to play as I would normally, and those small pockets have been spent jumping from Far Cry 6 (it’s fine), to NBA 2K22, to Forza Horizon 4 (to prepare for Horizon 5), the new season of Fall Guys (it’s still fun), and the ultimate lockdown game: Stardew Valley.
NBA 2K22 really spiked any joy the men’s career mode normally has for me. The city is just so bloated that it takes too long to get to the next thing. Basketball has really taken a backseat to the micro transactions and blatant product placement, which is a bold choice for a basketball game. But on the new-gen consoles at least, there is a basketball-focussed utopia where you just play the aforementioned sport and don’t deal with any of the micro transaction nonsense: The W. It’s so neglected it’s exactly like the career mode of NBA 2K games before there was a narrative component; it’s wonderful. While I wish I could enjoy playing as my beloved LA Clippers, it was pretty cool getting to discover a WNBA team to support (I’m still tossing up between the Las Vegas Aces, Chicago Sky and Seattle Storm, leaning more towards Chicago if only because of the Storm’s green and yellow uniform).
One wonders how long 2K can continue like this with the NBA 2K series, making the game less and less enjoyable to squeeze more money out of the player base, but I guess the answer to that is obvious: they can continue as long as it’s profitable.
For my wife and I, Stardew Valley has been our constant companion since lockdown five, playing most evenings to de-stress. We started playing as a way to experience some countryside after our much anticipated visit to my parents’ place was cancelled yet again (seriously, every time we planned a trip we would go back into lockdown three, four and five). We’re now well into our fourth in-game year and are working our way through Ginger Island, trying to satisfy the weird-cave frog’s requests and work out where the hell the rest of the bones are (seriously, I have no idea, the flashes in the stream are not as helpful as the hints implied).
As lockdowns lift and real life resumes, we’ll probably play less Stardew and go back to our usual styles of games, but I will always be extremely grateful for the comfort that game provided at the time we needed it most. It will likely be employed as a soothing balm any time we need to escape.
But in all of that, I haven’t been able to get my hands on Metroid Dread and play it, despite it looking utterly great. So, wonderful Kotaku community, please tell me: is Metroid Dread worth picking up ASAP? How have you been finding it? Is it everything you’ve hoped for? What’s the community’s review of the game on everyone’s lips?