Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: 6 Great Games To Play In Between Summer Game Fest News

Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: 6 Great Games To Play In Between Summer Game Fest News

It’s officially summer season! Well, at least as far as gaming is concerned, because Summer Game Fest is here. Also, the weather is much warmer and the actual summer solstice is just a few weeks away. So yeah, I’m callin’ it summer.

If you’re looking to get some gaming in this weekend, we’ve got a few recs to share with you, including a few new experiences that launched this week. Let’s get started with the long-awaited conclusion to a space opera story that all started more than 10 years ago.

Destiny 2: The Final Shape

Screenshot: Bungie / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck: Nope)
Current goal: Get through the story and try not to get emotional about the past ten years of my life

It’s finally here. By the time you’re all reading this, The Final Shape will be out and folks will likely be tackling the raid. They might even be done already. I’ll be away from home, but I’m thinking of bringing my console with me expressly so I can play Destiny 2 and finish this fight. The road here has been difficult, both for fans of the series and its developers, so it’s a big moment for one of gaming’s biggest communities. I’m glad to be here and be a part of it.

I’ve been playing Destiny since the first game’s alpha test dropped us into the remnants of Old Russia and I fought my first Fallen Shank. I remember taking on Destiny’s first strike, the Devil’s Lair, and thinking it was the pinnacle of gaming. I came back for the beta, and was there on September 9, 2014 when Destiny launched. I still remember the week that Vault of Glass was introduced to the game. Me and my high school friends took on the challenge of our first raid and slammed our heads against the game’s byzantine leveling system as we squeezed our builds for any extra damage we could in order to overcome Atheon’s DPS check. We’d talk strategies in the back of our geometry class and run home to test them out. Some of those fireteam members are still some of my closest friends to this day, and that clunky, unpolished game remains a core memory of a defining era of my life.

Destiny’s come a long way since then, and dammit, so have I. I’ve fought back the Fallen time and time again and eventually turned them into allies. I’ve gained the respect of a celebrated Cabal leader. I killed the fucking Taken King, his stupid-ass son Crota, and the rest of his godforsaken lineage. I lost the Light, got it back, and embraced the Darkness. I spent the later part of my teenage years and all of my adult life playing Destiny. This game has endured the most crushing defeats of my life, and it’s also been there to complement some of my greatest victories. For fuck’s sake, I cover this game for Kotaku now. This was the dream when I started playing it ten years ago. I’ve shared it with countless of my favorite people, and I can’t wait to share it with even more folks down the line. I don’t know what’s in store for either of our futures beyond this point, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out. — Moises Taveras

Call of Duty: Warzone

Image: Activision

Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck: YMMV)
Current goal: Be gay, get killstreaks

The problem with preferring to play multiplayer shooters is that it’s really hard to consistently play more than one of them at a time. With Fortnite’s recent inclusion of Lady Gaga and a wild new car meta, Epic’s battle royale has taken up most of my gameplay time for the last few months. Call of Duty MW3 and Warzone, the space-guzzling behemoths that they are, weren’t even on my Series S.

But then Pride month began, and Activision added some cool weapon skins that subsequently made the right-wing reactionary crowd go bananas, and I thought, “It’s time to get back into Call of Duty.” I got a Warzone victory in my first match back, with my trans pride skin on both my weapons, and now that Rebirth Island is back in the Resurgence rotation, I’ll be spending my entire weekend racking up dubs while being unapologetically queer. — Alyssa Mercante

Gravity Rush

Screenshot: Sony / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5, PS4, PS Vita
Current goal: Don’t get sad about Japan Studio’s closure while playing

I suspect the number of times I think about Gravity Rush in any given week is relatively high, at least compared to the average person. I fell in love with this charming superhero action platformer from Sony’s Japan Studio when it was released on PlayStation Vita in 2012 thanks to its comic book aesthetic, inventive gameplay, and charismatic protagonist. Now I’m playing the PS4 remaster of the game (and not for the first time), and it’s nice experiencing the world on a large TV even if the original release made exceptional use of the Vita’s gimmicks. With the stream of game releases briefly at a trickle before the summer influx that includes Elden Ring DLC and Final Fantasy 14’s next expansion, I wanted to return to something familiar that I associate with unadulterated joy.

The premise of the game is that you are Kat, an amnesiac woman with the power to shift the direction of gravity, which she utilizes to fly through the air, walk on walls, and fight crime in a vaguely steam-punk city. The game’s unique movement and how it’s woven into both exploration and combat is expertly executed, with each mission feeling almost like a puzzle that tests your mastery of the gravity-shifting mechanics. Gravity Rush feels like a remnant of a bygone era of PlayStation, an era in which experimentation in game design was rewarded. At a time when the industry feels more risk-averse than ever, it’s good to appreciate a game like Gravity Rush. — Willa Rowe

Final Fantasy XIV

Image: Square Enix

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck: YMMV)
Current goal: Keep inching ever closer to the game’s expansions

The other day I saw this meme image on Twitter (or, if you must, X) and had to laugh. It’s a variation of the well-known image in which a man with a pickaxe turns back in the tunnel he’s been digging juuuuuuuust before getting to the good stuff that awaits on the other side of a rock wall. In this case, Final Fantasy XIV’s lengthy opening story arc, A Realm Reborn, is what he’s been tediously digging through, and he’s ever-so-close to the good stuff, the game’s expansions: Heavensward, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and Endwalker. (Soon these expansions will be joined by Dawntrail, of course, but it’s too early yet to say whether the player base will consider it on par with these highly esteemed experiences.) That’s me right now, plugging away at A Realm Reborn because I’ve just heard so much good stuff about what lies beyond, and at times, it does feel like a bit of a slog.

Still, even if the narrative isn’t sweeping me away, I can see it all serving as necessary set-up for things that might pay off in big ways in the expansions that await me. And I’m enjoying the lovely and varied world, maybe the game’s greatest asset. I hope the talented and hardworking artists and visual designers who created the architecture, the objects, and the environments that give each region such a rich and distinctive feel were paid very well for their work, because that, more than anything else, is what’s keeping me playing right now. I particularly love being in the forests of Gridania when dusk falls; the vibes, as they say, are immaculate. Also, I just ran a dungeon set in a haunted manor, which made for a wonderful change of pace from the more “dungeon-y” dungeons I’d done up to this point. So I don’t intend to be like the man in the meme and turn back any time soon, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really eager to get to the better stuff (or so everyone says) that awaits. — Carolyn Petit

Halo Infinite (and maybe Destiny 2)

Screenshot: 343 Industries / Bungie / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

Play it on: Halo: Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck YMMV), Destiny 2: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck Nope)
Current goal: Shoot things! Have fun! Enjoy life!

I have this pathological issue where I must do things differently from other people. Why? I don’t know, and I can’t find this particular quirk listed anywhere in the DSM, so there goes figuring out a solution. But as many a first-person shooter fan will likely spend quality time with Destiny 2 this weekend following the launch of The Final Shape DLC, I will choose to play Halo Infinite instead.

Read More: Play This Classic Combat Evolved Level In Halo Infinite

But it’s not just about being different. After 343 Industries added bots to multiplayer, Forgers have gotten to work creating custom campaign experiences of all kinds, some replicating classic Halo levels, some entirely new. The Forge toolset has its limits, no doubt, but creative minds thrive on restrictions and I’m eager to see what those who are far more proficient with Forge than I’ll ever be have put together.

Read More: Report: Original Halo Is Getting Another Remaster And It Could Come To PS5

And with campaign-style levels that mirror what you might see in Destiny, just without needing to worry about loot drops, menu diving, and a more aggressive season pass (yes, Infinite has one, but it’s very ignorable), I find it a more chill co-op experience.

Read More: After All These Years, I Still Wish Destiny Had An Offline Mode

But, ugh, The Final Shape is out after all. What am I gonna do, miss out on this? I enjoy Destiny’s aesthetics too much to sit out on this expansion, no matter how much I don’t like the RPG mechanics, the live service-y stuff, and the mumbo jumbo silliness that amounts to a story. So I’ll no doubt be playing The Final Shape soon enough. Just not this weekend. — Claire Jackson

Star Wars: Hunters

Image: Disney

Play it on: Switch, iOS, Android
Current goal: Unlock more cosmetic shite I don’t care about

The truth is, I’m going to spend as much of the weekend as I can playing Star Wars: Hunters. I’ve no idea what’s happened to me. I think I blame Zack. But I—a person who barely cares about Star Wars, and has no time whatsoever for multiplayer shooters—am thoroughly enjoying this Team Fortress 2-Lite mobile game.

I do find the controls a little clumsy on my phone. It’s the jump button more than anything else, it seems to sit just where none of my fingers want to find it, and I really feel like it should be an option to have it be a double-tap. But, whether because I’m constantly fed ego-boosting bots, or I’m preternaturally good at the game (I’m assuming it must be the latter), I keep on winning matches, unlocking stuff, and opening new modes (that all appear to be the same mode, but shhhhh), and that feedback loop has its claws in me.

I can see why some would not be impressed at an FPS without a fire button, but given the touchscreen controls, it makes a lot of sense to require just the “point” element of “point and shoot,” and heck, if it bothers you that much, there’s a toggle in the options. Personally, I am loving the loop, having a madcap fight which causes all manner of meters to fill up which unlocks so much stuff I absolutely don’t care about but am glad I unlocked anyway. Also, playing as a Wookiee is stupidly fun. — John Walker

And that wraps our games list for the weekend. Happy gaming!

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