Winter break has come and gone, and gaming is experiencing something akin to the period of time after a holiday dinner. Later this month, we'll get big games like Dead Space, One Piece Odyssey, Fire Emblem Engage, Forspoken, ports of two Persona games, and standout indie SEASON: A Letter to the Future. But, for now, it's time to nap or chow down on leftovers. In this scenario, the leftovers are all those 2022 games we packed away in Tupperware with the promise that we'd get around to finishing them eventually.
That means Chained Echoes and Elden Ring are getting some love this week. But, older games like Mass Effect, Persona 5 Royal, and Alien: Isolation are also helping to tide us over until the release calendar really gets going.
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Andrew King, Features Editor
This weekend I’ll be setting phasers to fun with a trio of sci-fi stories. I’ve put a decent amount of time into Mass Effect this week and am looking forward to pressing X to sprint through the middle third over the weekend. I’ve also been reading the first book in The Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes, and I’m hoping to finish it by Sunday. Plus, M3GAN is out this weekend. That’s a horror comedy, mostly, but it’s also about a child’s android companion gaining sentience, which is close enough to the premise of A.I. Artificial Intelligence that I’m considering it a part of my speculative fiction spree.
Ben Sledge, Features Editor
I’ve been gripped by indie JRPG Chained Echoes this week. Lord knows why I paid 25 of my finest pounds for it instead of downloading it on Game Pass (maybe I’ll pretend I’m doing the honourable thing and supporting the devs), but after playing the intro, I’m hooked. It’s a throwback game that invites comparison to Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, but it has modernised the genre to make for a far more pleasurable experience. My favourite part is the fact that your HP and MP restore after every turn-based battle, meaning that you can let loose with your best abilities without the fear that you’ll need them in the next fight. It’s a real looker, too, and I’m excited to explore more of Valandis.
Jade King, Lead Features Editor
I am a hip and cool gamer so will be jumping into Persona 5 Royal this weekend, and I might even dip into my Hades and Outer Wilds playthroughs while I’m at it. Yes, none of these games are new, but it’s the start of January and the perfect time to catch up on things. They’ll keep me busy until the likes of Fire Emblem Engage and Dead Space.
Amanda Hurych, Evergreen Content Lead
My partner and I are taking turns playing Alien Isolation, passing the controller back and forth every ten minutes, so I think I’ll be doing that this weekend. If you’ve never tried playing a horror game in this fashion before, I highly recommend it for two reasons. One, it takes some of the edge off playing. Alien Isolation is an incredibly tense game to play, what with the xenomorph constantly prowling around. It’s nice to take breathers from it. The second reason is that if you’ve played the game before and your partner hasn’t, you can waffle around in easy parts without them knowing and then pass off control when things get really stressful. Not that I’m doing this but…well, the option’s there.
Harry Alston, Senior Specialist Writer
I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be playing this weekend – it’s been a bit of a slow start of the year for me, and I’m gonna want something that matches that. In all likelihood, I’ll play a bit of Hearthstone Battlegrounds and call it a day. I’m still prepping myself for a very, very busy start to the year when the games start dropping all over the place, so maybe a weekend without too much gaming is a good thing.
Justin Reeve, News Editor
I’m personally going to be diving into Elden Ring this weekend. Yes, yes, I know. I’m about six months behind the times right now, but if you can even believe it, I’ve been swamped with other stuff to do, mostly games. The upshot is that I’ve never actually played Elden Ring, but don’t make fun of me just yet because I’ll most likely have sunk at least a few hundred hours into the game by this time next week. Because I’ve clearly got my work cut out for me, I’ll see you in the Lands Between.
Branden Lizardi, Evergreen Editor
I'm hardly a completionist. The concept is nearly antithetical to my general playstyle, normally opting to only play through a game once, regardless of repeating mechanics (sorry, Undertale). But recently, the desire to farm and flex has collided, crash landing on my grandfather's old farm. I've loaded up my second playthrough of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, where I'm working on marrying the Harvest Goddess. Doing so requires, more or less, doing everything in the game. I'm already an agricultural millionaire; now I'm working on creating the ultimate cow. It’s a pretty high demand for a woman that won’t even move in with me after, now that I think about it.