The week is over. Juneteenth is almost here. Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief and focus on the important things: What games will you be playing this weekend? Maybe we can give you some ideas.
Without further ado, let’s dive into Kotaku’s weekend gaming guide for the weekend of June 17, 2023.
Final Fantasy XVI (Demo)
Play it on: PS5
My current goal: Take more cute pictures of the tiny puppy Torgal
If you’re like me and sort of on the fence about buying Final Fantasy XVI, I highly suggest you give the demo a try this weekend. It’ll only take you about two hours, and has a pretty cool combat trial you unlock after finishing the main portion. The demo gives you a good idea what the combat will be like, plus a quick introduction to the world of FFXVI.
What’s especially important is that the demo lets you experience what the cutscene-to-combat ratio will feel like. A decent amount of the demo is spent watching cinematics, but the story is extremely engaging and kept me hooked from the get-go. Plus, the cutscenes feature an adorable puppy, so now my PS5 media gallery is filled with screenshots of lil’ Torgal. That might be the only selling point some of you need. — Jeb Biggart
Street Fighter 6
Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Windows
My current goal: Trying to get comfy with all the new features
Street Fighter 6 is lighting up the charts by pulling off that rarest of feats: appealing to both die-hard fighting freaks and babe-in-the-woods newcomers. I’m somewhere in the middle, but am having a bit of a tough time getting used to all the new systems. I’m just a simple Zangief dummy at heart, so having to work up a new gameplan around Drive Impact, Drive Rush, all that new stuff is taxing the old neurons. But I wanna persist, because Street Fighter 6 is sparking a mass-moment of a sort that its messy, compromised predecessor could only have dreamed of. Heck, I’m doing a four-player team battle with some internet pals tonight. Maybe I’ll run into you online. — Alexandra Hall
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Play it on: PS5 (via PS4 backward compatibility), Xbox Series X/S (via Xbox One backward compatibility), Switch, Windows, Xbox 360, PS3
My current goal: Levelling up so monsters in the well don’t kill me
I’m finally getting around to playing Dragon’s Dogma and I’m sorry it took me so long. And, if you’re like me and haven’t played this 2010s-era fantasy action-RPG, you should be sorry too. Sorry, just facts.
First released back in 2012 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the expanded version, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen came out on just about all major platforms in the years that followed, and it remains a great medieval fantasy romp. Thus far, I’ve been delighted by how approachable the game feels. Combat feels swift and freeform, yet still consequential. It doesn’t feel as crushing as Dark Souls or something for sure, but it will make you pay the price for biting off more than you can chew.
But really, I find that Dragon’s Dogma’s main appeal are the fantasy beasts. The game brings mythological beasts from folklore to life in challenging and impressive ways — lowly goblins, multi-headed serpents, twisted chimeras, and much more. Fighting them is a siren’s song worth pursuing; the game invites you to master its engaging real-time combat to take them on, sussing out their weaknesses to come out on top. When you take them down, it’s very satisfying.
It felt like a good time to finally play since long-awaited sequel Dragon’s Dogma 2 was finally shown off during this week’s Capcom presentation. I got a nice deal too, as Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is on sale on Steam for less than five bucks (sale ends on June 20). — Claire Jackson
Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
My current goal: Conquer every Stronghold
You read that right, on Steam Deck baby! The step-by-step process to get the just-released Diablo IV working on the Deck took me a little over 30 minutes and was relatively painless. However I do highly recommend using a Steam Deck dock and USB mouse, as there’s a decent amount of copy-pasting and the Deck’s touch-screen controls can be finicky.
Since installing, I’ve played nothing else. Partly because I accidentally unmounted my Steam Deck library so it no longer recognises what I’ve already installed on there through the store (oops) and partially because Diablo IV on the Deck is simply that rad.
It’s impressive how well the Deck’s default controller scheme jells with Diablo IV. Blizzard’s action-RPG is perfect to play while listening to a podcast or catching up on the borderline dispiriting amount of quality spring anime series I have to watch.
How’s performance you may ask? Pretty good, actually. After tweaking some essential settings, and turning off Cross-Network Play (yes that really did make a difference) I consistently get 40-60FPS let’s say…80 per cent of the time. However, entering or leaving a major hub (Kyovashad for example) or a hectic world event has my poor base model Deck wheezing and running at single digits. Using an ultimate spell in a large crowd of enemies will also have your audio popping off, and not in a fun way either. And as you can imagine D4 is a battery Greater Evil. I recommend playing with your AC charger plugged in for sessions longer than 30 minutes.
But like cmon, being able to tackle a Stronghold while laying on my couch? That’s objectively awesome and I look forward to parking my arse on aforementioned couch after I send Claire this blurb. Bye! — Eric Schulkin
Play it on: Windows, macOS, Linux
My current goal: Just, like, absorbing those early internet vibes, man
Lately I’ve been getting back into big games in a big way. Jedi: Survivor and, especially, Tears of the Kingdom both absorbed me with their epic adventures and their wounded swordsman protagonists. But it’s wonderful, in the midst of all these colossal budgets and vast worlds, to be reminded of the special power and intimacy of a really great, handcrafted smaller game. I recently played a demo for a game called Videoverse, due out later this year from Kinmoku Games (makers of One Night Stand), and I think it could end up being one of this fall’s real gems.
Videoverse takes place in a closed network of message boards accessed by players on the Kinmoku Shark, a fictional early 2000s video game console. As a Kinmoku enthusiast named Emmett, you browse the boards for series like Feudal Fantasy, chatting about the games with your friends, admiring fan art, and maybe occasionally encountering a troll or two. What makes it all sing is just how right so many of the details are, how real and fleshed-out so many of the personalities feel, and how lovely and evocative the game’s art is. In this era when it feels like everything about the internet is getting worse, Videoverse seems poised to be a heartfelt trip back to the days when warmth, connection, and community were easier to find. I definitely recommend giving the demo a whirl this weekend. — Carolyn Petit
Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch
My current goal: Find joy again
Look, it’s a bad time for Overwatch 2 right now. The only good thing the game has had in a few months was its Pride event, and even that I had some issues with. I’m feeling really bad about it lately. The PvE suite has been gutted, the story missions cost money, and the fifth season is not the home run the game needed in the midst of all this bad news.
But damn, I love this game. I love these characters and the interplay between their abilities, and I want to be excited about the story missions because despite some terrible business decisions, the developers clearly have a lot of love for this world and these heroes that is trying to shine through. I feel the same way. Soldier: 76 is always gonna be special to me, even if the game he’s in feels like it’s falling apart at the seams. I want to play through the battle pass and unlock shit, and even if the microtransaction-ridden shop is lingering over the menu every time I boot up the game, I can just scroll right past it and enjoy the shooter I love buried underneath all this other bullshit.
I hope, at least. Lifeweaver’s reveal was a shot in the arm for me when I was still playing regularly, but every subsequent piece of news has taken the wind out of my sails. Here’s hoping I can find something to love again this weekend. If not, I’ll probably just dive back into Street Fighter 6. — Kenneth Shepard
Play it on: Windows
My current goal: Reach the Void Puppeteer and don’t fuck it up
If you need another bullet-hell roguelite to suck up all your free time, you could do worse than Voidigo by Semiwork. The colourful top-down, twin-stick shooter has you play as a bird hunting bosses through procedurally generated levels. You crush crystals in a given level to unlock the final monster’s complete health bar, but in the meantime it can follow you from room to room.
Voidigo launched in Early Access back in 2021 but just had its 1.0 release earlier this month. I’m only a few hours in but already loving its mix of neon-fuelled Hyper Light Drifter art style and arcadey Enter The Gungeon-like action. The weapons are wild, the power-ups are goofy, and its twist on the familiar roguelite dungeon crawler has me hooked at the moment. — Ethan Gach
Lies of P (Demo)
Availability: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows
My current goal: Fill the Bloodborne-sized hole in my heart
I’m a sucker for anything that even loosely resembles Bloodborne. The game lives rent-free in my head 24/7. My first impression of Lies of P upon its first reveal was that it’d be a love letter of sorts to Bloodborne.
After spending some time in the new demo, I am absolutely doubling down on my first impression. It’s not necessarily a one-to-one copy of the From Software masterpiece, but it scratches that Bloodborne itch. The combat features the iconic backstep (oh, how I’ve missed you), plus a different sort of spin on trick weapons. You also get absolutely coated in blood and everything looks wet, and that’s as Bloodborne as it gets. It’s worth checking out to see if you vibe with it. — Jeb Biggart
So, what are you playing this weekend?
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