We’re back again to discuss the games that are currently keeping the GameSpot staff busy after work, which includes a variety of games new, old, and everything in-between. Below you can read about the titles that folks on the team are playing, why we’re playing them, and what we love about them so far. But don’t just stop at reading our responses; we’d love to hear from you too! Tell us all about what you’re playing in the comments section below. Whether it’s playing the latest big games, experiencing old classics for the first time, or revisiting the warming comfort of a childhood favorite, we’d love to hear about it.
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 last week, that’s fine too! You’re more than welcome to talk about why you still love it!
Destiny 2 (Always) — Phil Hornshaw, Editor
So here’s the thing: I’m kind of never not playing Destiny 2, partially because it’s a big part of my job, but partly because I’m really enjoying what Bungie has done with the game over the years. I’m always telling people, “Destiny 2 has never been better,” and I’m enjoying the current approach of seasonal content that’s just enough to keep you engaged without feeling like you’ve taken on a non-paying part-time playing a video game. I got lost in the Corridors of Time puzzle, I’ve been digging into the lore surrounding the game’s current time travel plot, and I’ve managed to hit the Legend rank in the PvP Crucible for the first time since the first Destiny launched.
The current season has been exceedingly chill, which has been great. Destiny has become the game I play a little here and there to unwind, and lately, I’m digging into my Destiny 2 “backlog” of activities, cleaning out old Triumphs from the Scourge of the Past and Crown of Sorrows raids. Coming back to all the old content from Year Two has been a fun and relaxing experience, allowing me to dig into some of Destiny 2’s more involved and complicated stuff without the pressure that comes with trying to learn a new raid when it comes out. I played all of these back on PS4, so moving over to Destiny on PC has been an opportunity to revisit older corners of Destiny 2 and finally get some of those sick raid Exotics I’ve been pining over for a while.
Sure, I have a bunch of games on my Steam account I keep meaning to play–but maybe this run of Last Wish will finally get me One Thousand Voices. This feels like a backlog I can manage. | Twitter: @philhornshaw
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II — Michael Higham, Associate Editor
You know that feeling when you’ve discovered your new favorite thing–that genuine excitement that comes with diving into something fresh, to the point where you make time for it? That’s what’s happened to me with the Trails of Cold Steel series.
I’m currently on Trails of Cold Steel II (which is a four-part JRPG series), but it’s really a second chapter of the first game, as it picks up right where it ends. Instead of managing your day at the military academy (à la Persona) and going on dangerous field trips for hands-on educational experiences, the political drama brewing in the background reaches a tipping point and that impending dread hits meticulously at the conclusion.
The thing about the sequel is how it leverages my connection to the characters and world established in the first game to make its dire stakes all the more impactful. Characters who seem like cliches at first naturally grow into complex and believable people through sharp writing, localization, and voice acting. Their development feels genuine, and their narrative importance is always evident. So when I (or, well, the main character Rean Schwarzer) reconnect with them throughout Cold Steel II, there’s a sense of relief, a morale boost during tough times portrayed in the story. But I also realize that these military academy students are thrust into roles they didn’t ask for and have to grow up fast, and it’s those arcs that hook me.
Cold Steel’s story is so tightly told, leaving very few dialogue sequences, lore drops, or story beats to waste–yes, these are long RPGs, but Cold Steel is dense. Where the first game gave a sense of comfort, warmth, and wonder despite tensions between internal political factions, Cold Steel II paints a darker, starker picture of rampant classism and militarization.
What makes my journey through Trails of Cold Steel even more exciting is that I’m also playing the previous trilogy in the same universe, Trails in the Sky. That’s seven games in total I have my eyes on (of which I’ve only completed one), and I’m eager as ever to see how they all come together, however long it takes! | Twitter: @michaelphigham
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot — David Ahmadi, Video Producer
I’ve always loved the Budokai series, and Dragon Ball FighterZ was a fighting game masterclass. Still, I never quite grew acclimated to the full 3rd person combat system of Xenoverse and Tenkaichi. That didn’t stop me from picking up Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot as I eagerly began playing it in both a rush to make content and a personal desire to once again relive the Dragon Ball Z sagas that I’ve grown accustomed to.
The real beauty of the chaotic action in the game shines when the actions on screen are a result of your input and intentions rather than mere happenchance. Timing assists moves with your own Super Kamehamehas, breaking down your opponent’s guard and stunning them to unlock mini cutscenes that dramatically show off the super moves with destructive flair. Powering up your allies to unleash devastating Z-Combos, and the natural balance of ki management, suddenly had me feel the hook of the old Budokai games from ages ago. Combine that with my recent fascination and love for open-world RPGs, and all of a sudden, I look at Kakarot in a new light.
I genuinely can’t stop playing the game, already having sunk about 80 hours into it long after beating the mainline campaign. I’m still flying around the various regions, making pit stops at the Kame house, and buying supplies for some killer recipes. I am a sucker for skill trees, and I have been greedily unlocking as many skills and powerful moves as I possibly can. And more often than not, I find myself absentmindedly flying off-course to gather Z-Orbs, which I promise you is way more satisfying than it might seem at first!
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has so much fan service as well, sometimes to the point where I feel that the slower moments in-game aren’t meant for me, but for people who grew up watching the anime more than I did. If anything, that’s just another aspect of the game that I’ve grown to enjoy. Seeing so much effort put into climactic moments in the story puts the legacy of Dragon Ball Z in perspective. When I see Teen Gohan face an enemy no kid his age should ever have to, and watch him surpass his dad in a gob-stopping moment of prodigious potential, I’m entirely captivated–and with that recent memory so fresh in mind, I eagerly move on to my next objective, anticipating what other laws of physics I can happily defy. | Twitter: @Roshby57
Pokemon Sword — Kevin Knezevic, Associate Editor
Like last week, I’m still steadily trekking through the world of Dragon Quest III, but in between sessions of that, I’ve found myself returning to Pokemon Sword. I’ve long since cleared the main storyline and post-game quest, so there’s nothing left for me to accomplish besides completing my Pokedex (which I have no interest in doing), but I can’t resist the allure of Max Raids. It’s become a nightly ritual of mine to check what Max Raids are occurring in Sword after shutting down Dragon Quest, which usually turns out to be a poor decision as I end up staying awake far later than I intend because I keep joining Raids.
Of all the new features Sword and Shield have introduced to the series, Max Raids are undoubtedly my favorite, in part because the rewards are so compelling. Max Raids are a fitting way to earn otherwise-expensive items like TRs, which can be used to teach Pokemon new moves. Unlike the reusable TMs, however, TRs break after a single use, so they’re much harder to come by. Many Pokemon can also only learn their best attacks through TRs, making them incredibly valuable, particularly if you’re trying to battle competitively.
Another reason Max Raids keep drawing me back in is that they offer a way to play cooperatively with friends–something the series has sorely lacked to this point. Previous Pokemon games have allowed you to team up with another player for Multi Battles, but that was typically limited to local play. I’ve always longed to have the option to play Pokemon online alongside my friends rather than strictly against them, which is why being able to team up and battle colossal monsters together has been so alluring. And now that a new handful of Gigantamax Pokemon have started appearing more frequently in Max Raids, I don’t think Pokemon Sword will be leaving my Switch anytime soon.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket — Edmond Tran, Senior Editor And Producer
I like playing short narrative games because they don’t take up a lot of time and are usually a chill break from the usual stuff I play. The really good ones typically focus on exploring unique scenarios and building strong moods, typically in ways that you aren’t going to find in any other kind of video game. Wide Ocean Big Jacket is one of those. It came out on Steam and Switch this week, and it’s a short story that revolves around tweenager Mord and her new boyfriend, Ben, as they accompany her uncle Brad and aunt Clo on a camping trip.
It’s got a great style about it, and the game’s primary mode is humour, which makes it easy to digest–the writing is pretty sharp, and Mord, in particular, is hilarious and full of energy. You’ll rotate between all four characters during the trip, though, and in between doing camping activities like roasting hot dogs, hiking, birdwatching, and finding a bush to pee in, the game also spends time taking brief glimpses into the untold anxieties of each individual.
Mord and Ben, both 13-years-old and longtime friends, are navigating that awkward phase in every kid’s life where they start getting curious about things like romance–working out precisely what it is, how the hell you’re supposed to go about it, and what it means to them. It’s a charming window to a part of life that I’ve long forgotten, and it’s weirdly surprising how much I found myself empathising with them. Uncle Brad and Aunt Clo have more adult relationship matters at hand, which made it more relatable and believable to me, so the same kinds of heart-straining feelings apply there too. The whole thing is very poignant and just… convincing.
It’s only about an hour long, and it left me in one of those beautiful, hopeful, feelgood moods. Definitely give it a shot if any of that sounds like your bag. Camping. It’s great. | Twitter: @EdmondTran
Dino Crisis — Matt Espineli, Editor
The first Dino Crisis isn’t often the go-to choice for those revisiting the cult-favorite dinosaur-themed Resident Evil sister series. In the years since its release, the game is frequently overshadowed by its far-superior sequel (it’s obvious where my allegiances lie). Still, I was compelled to play the less brilliant Dino Crisis 1 when I realized–after listening to a podcast about the game–that I’ve only beaten it once. I’m a strong advocate for giving old games a second reading, especially if I was a naive prepubescent child the last time I played them, so I was willing to give it another go.
So far, replaying Dino Crisis has been enriching. In stark contrast to its more action-packed sequel, Dino Crisis focuses on slowly building tension and surprising you with raptors (and other dinosaurs, but mostly raptors) when you least expect it–qualities I’m particularly fond of given the premise. The whole “secret research facility overrun by dinosaurs” scenario is still so captivating; there’s nothing more humbling than being hunted by hostile prehistoric beasts–even if some of them turned out to not be as violent as we thought. All the while, protagonist Regina is a delightful protagonist to experience the game’s numerous grizzly situations with, as her easy-going temperament supplies welcome levity to the proceedings.
I’m undoubtedly enjoying Dino Crisis far more than I did the first time. I recall having a lot of trouble solving all the puzzles scattered throughout the game, so maybe that’s why I didn’t like it as much back then. So I want to say I’m enjoying it more now because my current (hopefully) adult-level intelligence has made the journey more palatable. But who knows! Dino Crisis just might become be a new favorite for me. | Twitter: @MGespin
Apex Legends — Jordan Ramée, Associate Editor
My love for Apex Legends is probably different from most. I can’t claim that the smooth gunplay or satisfying climb up the ranks or thrill of unlocking new rewards are the main reasons for why I keep playing. For me, it’s the characters; it’s always been the characters.
Role-playing as an idiotic adrenaline junkie who’s always running towards the next fight (even when I really shouldn’t be because I haven’t also found a body shield yet) while playing as Octane is exhilarating fun, especially when I somehow win. It’s almost as ecstatic a feeling as zapping people while making stupid electricity-based puns as Wattson.
So yes, I do appreciate how mechanically sound of a game Apex Legends is, I really do (how did I ever once play first-person shooters without a ping system?), but if I’m honest, it’s the highly quotable characters that keep me coming back.
And I can’t get enough of Revenant. Season 4: Assimilation’s new playable character is this jerkwad of a robot who is sassy, arrogant, ungrateful, and sadistic. The dude–and I am not making this up–refers to himself as “Death.” He uses a capital “d” and everything, like some middle-school edgelord. It’s hilarious, and I love just how extra he is, running around with this creepy douchebag persona.
Like, there was a moment this past week where I executed a Wraith, and Revenant said, “That little voice saying there’s still hope? It’s lying.” Given Wraith’s abilities, I couldn’t help but chuckle with malicious glee over how perfect such a line fits the situation.
My roommate has told me that I’m not allowed to play as Revenant anymore. Apparently, it’s “creepy.” But he’s just another worthless skin suit–what’s he gonna do? | Twitter: @JMRamee
Pokemon Masters — Steve Watts, Associate Editor
Here’s a weird confession: I kind of never stopped playing Pokemon Masters. This is strange because this is a game that I had criticized as overly aggressive with its microtransactions. The producer himself conceded the game didn’t have much to do at launch. It seemed destined to lapse into obscurity. So why do I keep playing it?
For one, I’m using the term “playing” pretty loosely here. Pokemon Masters has an auto-battle system, and in single-player modes, it can be sped up. The auto-battle AI sometimes makes downright bafflingly stupid decisions, and it isn’t suited for the toughest stages, but for the sake of gaining levels and items, it works fine. This makes me less of a Pokemon Master than a Pokemon Team Manager, and something about that is deeply appealing to me. I still get to collect monsters, and I don’t have to grind–I just have to check in every couple of minutes to keep it going and then choose how to allocate my loot. Other times, I only check-in for my daily login bonus and put it aside. I’ve accumulated a fair number of gems and more sync pairs this way.
But besides that, the game has actually gotten a lot of TLC since its barebones beginnings. The Training area has added more Supercourses with tougher, once-daily challenges for much bigger rewards. New story chapters have been added, and level caps have been raised. A “Bingo” board lets you select your own set of objectives for even more weekly rewards. A Gear system enables you to equip team-wide buffs and gives more incentive to participate in co-op matches, where Gear and crafting materials are often the prizes. Most recently, a new Sync Grid lets you upgrade individual sync pairs with a system akin to Final Fantasy 10’s Sphere Grid. The game has gone from having too little to do to an almost overwhelming degree of customization, which is perfect for my passive “team manager” approach.
Finally, the semi-regular occurrence of Legendary events has added some big names in the Pokemon world, including Giovanni with Mewtwo, your own player character with Solgaleo, and currently, Zinnia with Rayquaza. The Pokemon Company has announced more events coming for Pokemon Day, and I’m hoping for another Legendary to add to my collection. | Twitter: @sporkyreeve