Feature Article

Now Playing: Terry Bogard, Syberia, Alien: Isolation, And More

Let's share! Which games have been keeping you busy this week?

We're back again to ask about and discuss the games we're currently playing right now. The GameSpot team is usually busy keeping up with the biggest releases, but other times we're catching up on games we missed, replaying old favorites, experiencing classics for the first time, or just dabbling in odds and ends for a spell. Below you can see a sampling of the games that we're playing, the reasons we're playing them, and what we love about them so far.

But don't just stop at reading our responses; we also want to hear from you too! Tell us all about what you're playing in the comments section and what you're diggin' about them.

So please, join us and ramble on about all the super cool video games you're playing! We know you need to get it off your chest as much as we do. And if you're playing the same games from previous weeks, that's fine too! You're more than welcome to talk about why you still love it!

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore -- Tony Wilson, Video Producer

I missed out on this crossover RPG's original Wii U release, but I'm happy to get another chance to play it on Switch. I'm not well-versed in Japanese idol culture (the basis of the game's plot), but I am a massive fan of the two series that combine for this adventure: Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem.

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Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE pulls from the SMT spin-off Persona, but in this case, the "personas" are Fire Emblem heroes from throughout the series' history. I love seeing how each one is interpreted by the developers--the same team that thinks Norse god Thor looks like a Dragon Ball Z villain.

Turn-based battles fuse the two series, too, combining SMT's elemental affinities with Fire Emblem's weapon triangle. It leads to a deep rock-paper-scissors-like system where striking an enemy with an attack they're weak against lets the rest of the party dogpile with immediate follow-up attacks. I get such a thrill out of totally wiping a party of multiple monsters before they even get a chance to act. That's the high-level experience I grind for (and live for).

I've got maybe one or two dungeons left to conquer before I finish my adventure, but all I want to do is see more Persona-fied Fire Emblem characters and test my might against them in battle. | Twitter: @chaingunpope

Syberia (Switch Port) -- Matt Espineli, Editor

While I spend time playing all sorts of games every week, there's one that I realized I've been consistently booting up every night: Syberia. This 2003 point-and-click adventure game isn't blowing my mind, but its Switch port is helping me fall asleep at night. Don't get me wrong; that doesn't mean it's dull or that I hate it. Aside from nostalgia, part of the appeal of the point-and-click genre in general for me is how it helps me relax and put me at ease at night after a long day--similar to an easygoing bedside novel. And Syberia is so pleasant in how it demands little of me other than a basic intellect to connect the dots of its mostly straightforward puzzles. (Sorry, Grim Fandango, your puzzles stress me out and keep me up at night. I genuinely still love you and hope to complete you one day.)

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As American lawyer Kate Walker, you need to solve a gripping mystery afoot in France around the inheritance of a family-owned spring-automaton toy factory. The premise's intrigue is more than enough to push me forward. But it's the whimsical, dreamy qualities of the Art Nouveau-inspired reality presented in Syberia's world that captivates me the most (and lulls me to sleep). It's a place where people rely on and use rusty, clockwork automatons to help them do domestic work, and buildings are massive and excessively ornate. The sprawling scale always inspires me to explore--though my excitement to look around every corner is occasionally derailed by my diminishing cognizance as I run Kate into a wall for 15 minutes.

After an arduous, stress-inducing day, Syberia is the exact kind of point-and-click adventure game I need; it's fascinating, relaxing, and nostalgic. I hope I can remain awake long enough every night to beat it someday, though. | Twitter: @MGespin

Terry Bogard (In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate) - Edmond Tran, Senior Editor & Video Producer

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has started becoming a regular thing again in the Australian CBSi office--at least for me, a couple of the folks at CNET, and others when their bosses are out of the office. I'm not sure what sparked the fever again other than a couple of us thinking that was a good idea. Still, the thing that is motivating me to keep it going through this latest phase is wanting to get really good with a new character that I've had a 20+ year affection towards: Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard. The Power Wave Prince. The Burn Knuckle Boss. The world's No. 1 Crack Shooter… that last one doesn't play so well.

I was ecstatic when he was announced late last year, but he was released during a super busy time for video games, and Smash is no good if you're playing by yourself, right? So instead of getting back into Smash then, I made The King Of Fighters '98 (one of my favourite fighting games of all time) my Switch commuting game for a little while. That was fun. But now that other people want to get back into Smash too, I've put my former main Lucas on the bench in favour of a different blonde orphan--one that is old enough to buy beer, has a cool cap, and hits hard.

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It's been fantastic. I'm stoked over how faithful a representation Terry has in Smash--his moves are all there, his hilarious Engrish barks are all there, I'm rewarded for knowing his inputs and flow, and he's got an excellent fighting game-style strategy to him that is super satisfying to play. I could tell from his reveal video that game director Masahiro Sakurai loves the character, and it really shows.

It's really changed my mindset of how I approach Smash, too. I'm using Terry as I would in a KOF game, and it's working out well. I'm focusing on hit-confirming special moves and supers, getting more confident in aggressively chasing and juggling opponents, and just playing in a completely different style than I used to. That's not to say that this style of play didn't exist in the game before Terry; it's just not how I was used to playing Smash. I like goofy, unorthodox characters! But now that I can just convert my years of gung-ho KOF play into it, well, it's working out super well-- I've got Power Geysers and Buster Wolves popping off all over the place, and it makes me smile. When Terry asks, "Are you okay?" I can only shout an enthusiastic "YES." I'm going to start wearing a cap to work. | Twitter: @EdmondTran

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 -- David Ahmadi, Video Producer

The Division 2's upcoming expansion returns you to the setting from the first game, and combined with the recent absurd price cut on my favorite platform, I deleted my file on my Playstation 4 and eagerly bought the game for the Xbox One X. Although I haven't played the expansion yet, I certainly want to complete as much as I can in the base game before that time comes. Maybe it's the time I had taken off from the game that has encouraged me to return, or perhaps it's that despite all the upcoming content for my loot shooters of choice like Destiny, I just needed a change of scenery.

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I've enjoyed getting my feet wet with a cover shooter that incorporates a solid loot progression, and even though it had an initial rocky start for me when the game released last year, I'm finding my return to be a lot more enjoyable. Despite being playable solo, these games are always more engaging and entertaining when played with friends or with online matchmaking. I'm usually pretty shy, but beyond a few griefers in the Dark Zone, my time going through side quests, story missions, and online PvP with strangers I've met online has been enjoyable.

Ever since starting this job at GameSpot almost a year and a half ago, I've grown better at juggling multiple games at the same time. Since I finally got all the Xbox Achievements for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, I'm more than happy to swap in The Division 2 in its place, and continue progressing for the foreseeable future (or maybe until Half-Life: Project Alyx comes out!) | Twitter: @Roshby57

Disco Elysium -- Dave Klein, Video Producer

I've been trying to catch up on the major games of 2019 I missed, and with GameSpot (hey, that's us!) awarding Disco Elysium a 10/10, it seemed like a must-play game. I'm all for indie games doing something fresh and new, and some of the most creative titles come from smaller teams with fewer cooks in the kitchen.

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So, I've been immersed in a choice-filled adventure role-playing game, in a genre I would love to see developed further--that being the detective mystery. The game is wonderfully over-abundant with dialogue options and offers something unique to my collect-everything, click-everything mentality, picked up from a lifetime of gaming: clicking all of the dialogue choices can have severely negative consequences. You'll need to be careful about what dialogue you choose, as it'll have positive or negative repercussions at later points in the game.

Disco Elysium is a game in which you can reinvent your drug-addled character into whomever you like, with a right RPG mentality of every stat point being meaningful among a large number of traits you'll invest in your character. That said, if I'm honest, I find the writing to be pretentious, and it has pulled me away from the game on more than one occasion. I'm sure the writing will be right up some players' alleys, but I've found my eyes glazing over regularly as the game goes into yet another self-important political diatribe. | Twitter: @TheDaveKlein

Game Boy Advance - Peter Brown, Managing Editor

Yet another vintage hardware mod has more or less dominated my last week. This time, I installed updated screens in two old Game Boy Advances--an original GBA and a GBA SP. GBA display upgrades have been around for years, but it's only recently that IPS displays have come on the scene. They are practically the endgame for GBA upgrades, and it feels great to finally get there.

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Where previous screen upgrades gave old GBA systems a chance to shine using the SP's backlit screen (the sought after AGS-101 model), they are relatively dim compared to the stop-you-in-your-tracks brightness of an IPS panel--which also comes with 10 intensity settings. Colors pop like never before, and because the panel is at a higher native resolution than the standard GBA screen, everything is extremely crisp. The inherent motion blur of old GBA screens is also made a thing of the past thanks to the IPS's higher refresh rate. The viewing angle then seals the deal, allowing you to see colors and values, as they should look, no matter your perspective.

With the refreshed hardware in hand, I've enjoyed revisiting old favorites like Advance Wars, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, and Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. Having both models also gives me the chance to pick a GBA that works for me in specific moments. If I'm headed to work, I pack my GBA SP since it's collapsible and can take a bit of knocking about in a backpack. The standard GBA? That stays at home, on my desk, waiting for dedicated play on the couch. It's also been upgraded with a new shell and new buttons. Do I want Nintendo to release a Game Boy or Game Boy Advance Classic? I do, and I'm also very interested in Analogue Pocket that's due later this year. For now, though, I'm more than happy using the handhelds I know and love now that they've been souped up to modern standards. | Twitter: @PCBrown

Alien: Isolation -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor

It was recently my birthday, and even though I'm a grown man in my 30s, I always receive toys for such occasions: specifically, Alien toys, because I am a big, stupid Alien fan. The new lunchbox adorning my office shelf got me thinking about Alien: Isolation, so I re-downloaded it and fired it up again this week, intent on making what is probably my fifth or sixth run through the entire game.

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Alien: Isolation is one of my absolute favorites, and I can't think of any other video game adaptation that has so thoroughly captured the essence of its source material. Slipping through the cluttered, dirty, analog tech-ridden Sevastopol station is ridiculously true to Ridley Scott's 1979 movie, and a significant achievement of research and recreation in its own right. But then there's the creature, an eight-foot-tall monstrosity that seems smart and angry as it chases you around. It's been almost six years, and I'm still impacted by the straight-up malevolence of the alien and the ingenious ways developer Creative Assembly has made the thing seem so clever.

I'm not usually one to push people to play games on high difficulties, but when it comes to Alien: Isolation, I do think that the true, intended experience is conveyed by playing it on the hardest difficulty you can manage. It isn't about personal challenge or the thrill of "beating" the game; the higher the difficulty, the smarter and more deadly the creature. I'm running through Nightmare Mode (again), which makes the experience even tougher by taking away your map and messing with your motion tracker, but what makes the difficulty mode interesting is that the alien learns how to kill you. Really, really quickly. Blast it once with the flamethrower, and it'll be sure to stay out of range the next time you aim the weapon in its direction. Throw a noisemaker once, and the next time, the creature will know to ignore it. You can craft a whole bunch of tools in Alien: Isolation, and on Nightmare Mode, you can use each one once or maybe twice before the AI adapts. It's terrifying.

It's not just impressive to see the creature paying attention to your actions and anticipating them--it makes the damn thing feel horrifically real. And that's exactly what I want out of an Alien game and a horror game. The alien is something that has always really frightened me, which is what has made me such a fan, and Alien: Isolation captures the nervous discomfort of seeing the creature and the rising terror when you hear it scream and break into a run in your direction. I can't wait to sneak back into the shadowy corridors of Sevastopol, straining to hear the sounds of something moving with frightening speed through the vents above. | Twitter: @philhornshaw

Doom (2016) AND Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus :D -- Kurt Indovina, Host & Writer

Every night for the past week, I've laid in bed either ripping demons limb from limb with my demon-slaying mitts or dismembering Nazi scum while dual-wielding machine guns. It calms my bones, slows my heart rate, and makes it easy to drift to sleep. It's like meditation, especially Doom (2016) in particular, which I think is comparable to Tetris for some people: it's a calming game about putting pieces in the perfect place--even when it speeds up and gets a bit chaotic, there's a trance-like flow to it all. That's how I feel about playing Doom, but set to brutal metal music and with excessive amounts of gore, and instead of putting things in place, I'm obliterating an imp's face with my fist. Same thing.

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When I'm looking for something more story-driven and not as hectic, but still super violent and satisfying, I switch over to Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. Strangely, both games are made with the id Tech 6 engine, and feature a Mick Gordon soundtrack--not sure what that says, but there's a unique formula here, like listening to Enya while getting a massage. It just works.

Anyway, these games are a few years old, I know, but after finishing Kentucky Route Zero, and Disco Elysium three times in a row (both of which are slow-paced, action-free games), I think I just needed a little controlled chaos in my life. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to prepare for my nap and to shove my fists through a Cacodemon. | Twitter: @KURT_INDOVINA

Pokemon Home -- Kevin Knezevic, Associate Editor

I know you can't really "play" Pokemon Home since it's more a service than an actual game, but I've been fiddling around with it compulsively since it surprise-launched earlier this week. I'd been eagerly looking forward to bringing my precious pocket monsters over from 3DS to my Switch. While that's a significant draw of Pokemon Home, it's the service's other functions that have kept me coming back to it.

It initially seemed strange to me that many of Pokemon Home's features were divided between the Switch and mobile versions, effectively forcing you to use both to get the most out of the service. In practice, however, this seems to have been a smart decision, as each version is tailored around its respective device. I expected to use Home primarily on Switch, but I've found that version is only really useful for transferring Pokemon or organizing which boxes my monsters are stored in.

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Meanwhile, I check the mobile version every few hours, mainly because it's the only one that offers the ability to trade Pokemon. Since I rarely take my Switch out with me, having that functionality on my phone is great because of how quick and convenient it is. I can check the status of my trades or put a Pokemon up on the GTS at any point during the day, which is a boon when you have as many spare Pokemon clogging up your boxes as I do.

Of course, there are some valid issues with the service; those who don't have a smartphone will be missing out on some of its most useful features, and the it doesn't seem to be particularly worthwhile if you aren't as invested in the series as I am. That said, I've been pleased with Pokemon Home thus far. It's a much more robust service than Pokemon Bank on 3DS was, which helps justify the higher subscription fee. I've been putting off transferring my entire Pokemon Bank collection over because the process is a little confusing, but this weekend I think I'll finally get around to it.

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