Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: 7 Games For Good Vibes

Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: 7 Games For Good Vibes

We arrive at the end of another week, ready for some R&R and some gaming. We’ve gathered together seven wonderful games that have our attention. We think you’ll enjoy them as well.

Whether you’re looking for a return to some classic FPS multiplayer maps, co-op survival horror, anime vibes, hard science fiction, and more (I’ve even snuck in a music rec here!), this weekend’s guide has some great variety. Let’s get started.

Modern Warfare III (multiplayer)

Image: Sledgehammer Games

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows (Steam Deck YMMV)
Current goal: Nostalgia, baby

As Kotaku’s resident FPS freak, I have to check out Modern Warfare III’s multiplayer when it drops this Friday, even if the campaign isn’t all that good. And I’m not checking it out just because I love to play shooters—MWIII is famously recreating every single multiplayer map from 2009’s Modern Warfare 2, so I’m really curious to see how the pacing of modern CoD feels on older maps. I’m really leaning into nostalgia—2009 was my first year of college, and I spent much of it stoned playing Modern Warfare 2. So, I’m going to recreate my college days this weekend and hope I can get some dubs on Rust or Terminal. Oh my god, Terminal. We are so back, guys. — Alyssa Mercante

Dead By Daylight

Screenshot: Behaviour Interactive Inc.

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, Windows (Steam Deck OK), iOS, Android
Current goal: Stop getting teabagged

For years, I’ve been a fan of Behaviour Interactive’s asymmetrical horror game Dead by Daylight from the sidelines, watching friends and streamers play the game but rarely ever picking it up myself. I’ve always admired the depth of its astral horror lore and its efficient gameplay loop: solo Killers earn points by plunging a team of four Survivors into meat hooks, and Survivors earn points by pulling each other off of them and running away. But, until this month, I’ve been too afraid of playing—not because DbD actually scares me, but because I don’t want to get teabagged.

Multiplayer games already give me paralyzing performance anxiety. I’m not naturally talented at video games (except, inexplicably, 2014 action-adventure Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, in which I have despotic destructive abilities). And I’m usually too self-conscious to embarrass myself in front of strangers. My shyness increases when I notice a game’s players are, as I said earlier, prone to teabagging, or making an avatar crouch repeatedly over a character to simulate dipping their balls into their mouth. It’s not sportsmanlike. It’s strange. I don’t want DbD’s character model for Steve from Stranger Things to put invisible balls in my mouth.

But, last week, I was forced to build my tolerance. The Evil Within artist Ikumi Nakamura designed a few DbD skins earlier this year, one of which involves a historically accurate punk school girl outfit for delinquent Killer Julie. That goes too hard for me to resist it, so I finally caved the other day and gave Behaviour Interactive more of my money.

Since buying the cosmetic, I’ve tasked myself with becoming good enough to stop other people from bullying me. It hasn’t been working, but I think I could really turn things around this weekend. — Ashley Bardhan

Station to Station

Screenshot: Galaxy Grove

Play it on: Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Absolutely nothing (on purpose)

No goals, only vibes. That’s how this minimalist voxel-art railway management sim is meant to be enjoyed. Whenever my stress levels spike (which has been quite often as of late!) I like to boot up a custom game and simply make some connections and ferry goods across the land at my own pace with an unlimited track building budget.

Listed at the time of this blurb as “Untested” by Valve’s Steam Deck compatibility standards, I experienced framerates regularly in the 20-30 range so pretty solid. Only hiccup really is that the main menu background screen is currently broken with just a series of rainbow-colored lines like you’d see on a busted TV or smartphone.

Most crucially, the Choo-Choo Charles collaborative nightmare-fuel update can be safely avoided for chicken-hearted players like myself with an on/off toggle. — Eric Schulkin

Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Protect Osaka as a friendly neighborhood gangster

Kazuma Kiryu’s back! And just like everyone else, he’s older and sadder than ever in 2023. Sega’s Yakuza / Like a Dragon series has enough twists and turns to fill a bucket of curly fries, but RGG Studio’s latest is a more compact affair that focuses primarily on Kiryu’s struggle to find happiness in solitude. Having taken a few days to recover emotionally after the sidequel’s sucker-punch ending, I’m ready to dive back into Sega’s gangster’s paradise

Despite its bite-sized scale, Gaiden has enough optional hijinks to hold its own within the series. I’m especially looking forward to cutting a swath through the colosseum battles aboard the casino boat in international waters. And once I’ve had my fill of beating goons to a pulp, I’ll head back to the Sotenbori vice district to chat with some saucy gals at the cabaret club. After that, I’ll mosey around the neighborhood’s showy restaurants, with its elegantly swaying mechanical crab legs and zepplin-sized pufferfish—many of which are facimilies of real-world eateries—and daydream about all the great food I ate in Osaka. — Jen Glennon

Honkai Star Rail

Image: miHoYo

Play it on: PS5, Android, iOS, Windows (Steam Deck YMMV)
Current goal: Catch up on months of content

I’ve been so busy lately writing blogs about October’s packed lineup of games that I’ve neglected to play Hoyoverse’s space-bound gacha Honkai Star Rail. Last I played, I’d just gotten to the part where I was supposed to ask Svarog for help with some sort of problem. Seeing as how I’m no longer being inundated with HSR ads about Natasha being an underground doctor and am instead being introduced to a plethora of new characters, it’s safe to say that I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Thankfully, I haven’t been spoiled about anything in the most recent HSR updates so I’ll be returning to my first Hoyoverse game with a clear mind. Let’s just hope I don’t throw money down for the chance to pull Kafka. — Isaiah Colbert

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Screenshot: Insomniac Games / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5
Current goal: Find out what’s up with “The Flame”

Honestly, I should’ve been done with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Game length tracker How Long To Beat estimates Insomniac Games’ latest open-world superhero ‘em up is 16 hours in length, and my PlayStation 5 tells me I’ve been playing for upwards of 20 hours already. But dI’m still only a third of the way through the story because I’m hunting someone: a messy-haired cult leader known only as “The Flame.” This series of side missions sees Spider-Man and the ninja-looking frenemy Wraith traipse around New York looking to uncover the plans of The Flame and his followers. I just encountered the baddie and wound up in a pretty tense battle with Wraith in the process. Naturally, I’m intrigued.

Will this story arc introduce a new major villain to the ongoing Marvel’s Spider-Man franchise, which will continue with Miles Morales sitting in the primary character seat? Is this just a one-off adventure that neatly wraps up in this game? What are the ramifications of taking down The Flame? I have a lot of questions about what it all means. The only way to get the answer is to press on forward, so I’ll keep swinging through The Big Apple until I find out what’s going on. — Levi Winslow

The Invincible

Screenshot: Starward Industries / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Finish this joy of a science fiction story

The Invincible from Starward Industries might just be the pulpy science fiction video game you’ve been waiting for. With sci-fi vistas that put Starfield to shame and a mysterious, compelling narrative about a stranded astrobiologist on an unknown planet, this adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s novel of the same name has held my attention all week.

The Invincible is a low-action adventure game. It’s about vibes more than anything else. (The very imperfect “walking simulator” genre might also be a decent descriptor here.) Though it’s a hard science-fiction setting where your character often chimes in with her scientific observations of the many weird things happening on the world of Regis III, The Invincible has a delightful abundance of personality, particularly from its neo-retro, old-school sci-fi stylized equipment, interiors, and robots.

The story is a bit heady, and involves a plot of rivaling factions of humanity that went a little over my head at first. But that hasn’t detracted from the experience. The game is visually lush (it looks particularly spectacular on the fancy new Steam Deck OLED model), and the mysterious nature of the story has me absolutely captivated with where it’s going to go.

Read More: Steam Deck OLED Is A Premium Dose Of Personality

If you’re in the mood for a slow-burn adventure game, I can think of few games that hit the hard sci-fi vibes of this one.

Oh, and if you’re in the S. Lem kinda mood, maybe check out the simply fantastic 2011 music adaptation of the film version of his novel Sólaris from artists Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason. It is literally one of my top 10 records of all time. — Claire Jackson

And that wraps our picks for this weekend. What games are you looking forward to spending some time with?

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