Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: Cute Pals, Comic Book Criminals, And Tough Guys In Hawaii

Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: Cute Pals, Comic Book Criminals, And Tough Guys In Hawaii

February is in full swing, new games have arrived, and we’re looking at a month full of some pretty neat games to pick up in the coming weeks. So what are we here at Kotaku looking forward to spending our time with this weekend?

We’ve gathered up a couple of big recent releases to share our opinions on, as well as a nice little mini-list of indies you can play on the Switch (and other platforms, of course). Perhaps some of these options will catch your eye as you look for a game or two to play this weekend? Read on and find out.

Persona 3 Reload

Screenshot: Atlus / Kenneth Shepard / Kotaku

Play it on: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Burn my dread

I’ve already beaten Persona 3 Reload, the from-the-ground-up remake of the 2006 PS2 classic. I even reviewed it here at good ol’ Kotaku period com. But mentally, I am still in Tartarus fighting shadows alongside my friends.

I don’t usually replay RPGs that often unless there’s a re-release of some kind. I hadn’t played Persona 3’s main story in over 12 years before I started Reload. But it was just as infectious, poignant, and radical today as it was back then. If you’ve never played Persona 3, this is easily the most refined version of the game that altered the series’ trajectory forever. There are rumors floating around that it will be getting its missing epilogue as DLC, which would fill out some (but not all) of the content people are upset is missing. So by the time all is said and done, this could be the definitive version of the RPG. But for now, it’s an excellent recreation of, and improvement upon, everything that made the original Persona 3 special. — Kenneth Shepard

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth

Screenshot: Ryu Ga Gotoku / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Check off every item on Kiryu’s bucket list

Sega’s splashy Hawaiian-style RPG is finally in the wild, and frankly, I cannot get enough of it. I’ve stacked up piles of cash from the Dondoko Island minigame, so now I can focus on all of Kiryu’s optional sidequests. So far, there’s been more than a few cameos from Yakuza characters past. However, in typical series fashion, all those heartstring-tugging moments are regularly punctuated by the urgent need to beat the ever-loving shit out of some meatheads, but some of them have been a bit out of my depth. Now that I’ve upgraded my gear, I’m ready to rearrange some faces and get in my feelings. Last November’s sidequel, Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name ended with one of the most heartwrenching Kiryu moments the series has ever given us, and so far this questline in Infinite Wealth is delivering some really outstanding character work for the Dragon of Dojima in his silver fox era.

Also, I will never, ever tire of seeing “Assholes” in Yakuza font pop up on the screen before a fight. I’ve lost count of how many times it’s happened in Infinite Wealth so far, and it’s funny every dang time. What can I say, I’m a woman of simple taste. — Jen Glennon

A menagerie of indie games on my Switch

Left: Tails of Iron, Right: Desert Child
Image: Odd Bug Studio / Oscar Brittain / Kotaku

Play them on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, Windows
Current goal: Pass the time flying to Florida.

So, my partner of 16 years and I are flying to Florida this weekend for her grandpa’s 85th birthday. Family time is the focus so, I don’t plan to do too much gaming while I’m there, but nonetheless, I’ll have my Nintendo Switch with me so that I can maybe, finally finish some of the games I’ve been slowly making my way through for a hot minute. Some titles on my list to beat during this 10-day vacation include Odd Bug Studio’s action RPG Tails of Iron, Origami Digital’s first-person photography simulator Umurangi Generation, Oscar Brittain’s racing adventure Desert Child, Skeleton Crew Studio’s action-platformer Olija, Stephen & Sara’s brutal, cinematic adventure game Unto the End.

While I’m away from Kotaku, in between celebrations of my partner’s grandpa, I’ll be embarking on a few journeys through a variety of characters and worlds. It’ll be nice, both the vacation and the time to play more indies. Win-win if you ask me. — Levi Winslow


Image: Pocketpair

Play it on: Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck YMMV)
Current goal: Diminish my empathy for these creatures as I pummel them

It’s my job to keep up with popular games the kids are playing, learn about them, and share what I’ve found and observed with you fine readers. Sometimes these games line up with my own personal interests. Sometimes they don’t. I didn’t think Palworld would…but here we are, with me writing about it in this edition of the weekend guide with the expectation that I’ll be sinking some of my own personal time into this survival animal ensla—err, capturing game.

It’s a surprise for sure. Survival games haven’t really clicked with me in the past. Some are neat, but the level of dedication and repetition they require is the kind of thing I’d prefer to share for my pursuits in music and art (seriously, I’ve got a damn Ornament & Crime in my rack I need to justify owning). But this week, Palworld finally clicked for me.

I started up a new game to drill the basics again and develop a method for moving through the game effectively, and discovered great joy in that process. And also, these damn Pals are so friggin’ cute! Look, attacking them and hearing them cry, and then forcing them to do hard labor…yeah, there’s some stuff going on here that makes me shake my head (and why is Cattiva building weapons on his own while I’m away from base, and what for?? Get back to work!), but once you see these little guys moving about your base, carrying supplies, and heading over to your workbench to craft some stuff, with their soft little footsteps and the pleasant knocking sounds of crafting…there’s a charm and a sense of life here that is really grabbing me. And it all feels more full of character and visual beauty than anything in Pokémon has for me in years.

I do wish that Pocketpair could’ve spent more time thinking of less icky-feeling ways to capture and work with these little creatures. But hey, maybe it’s a reminder that I just need to reread the Marx-Engels Reader and stop putting my vegetarianism on pause just because I’m tempted by some lox spread. — Claire Jackson

Pal ‘em all on Game Pass!

Palworld has been a smash hit with gamers these last few weeks. And if you’re curious and have a Game Pass subscription, you can download it on your Xbox and get to catchin’ those critters in no time.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Image: Rocksteady

Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck YMMV)
Current goal: Finish the main story

I was really into the opening hours of Suicide Squad, the new game from Rocksteady. It moves along quite nicely in those opening hours and has a lot of fun introducing its characters and setting up the situation—a large invasion of Metropolis by aliens. But with each passing hour, I feel like I’ve discovered that the game is mostly the same four or five missions repeated over and over again, split up by some really nice cutscenes.

Sure, the combat is super satisfying and I enjoy the writing a lot. There are pieces of a really good game here, but they’re buried under the demands of a live-service game. As a result, it often feels as if it’s trying to be something bigger than it needs to be, and faking it by padding everything with filler missions and repetitive objectives. At one point a mission had me escorting a slow-moving vehicle and I was excited to just be doing something different for a change.

Anyway, my goal this weekend is to finish up Suicide Squad and start working on a review for Kotaku. I’ll have much more to say about the whole experience then, but for now, I’d suggest folks wait before leaping into this latest live-service shooter. — Zack Zwiezen

And that’s what we’re playing this weekend! What are you looking to spend some time with in the next couple of days?

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