Winter is the best time to snuggle up with a big mug of hot cocoa and some long JRPGs, and this January is delivering on the latter front, at least. As for warm drinks, it's unfortunately a BYOC kind of situation. This week saw the release of Fire Emblem Engage, the series' second all-new outing on Switch, and the return of Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden, bundled togethers on modern consoles. If you seek turn-based battles, your time has come.
TheGamer staff is playing those huge new releases (plus another, different Persona game), but we're also biding our time, waiting for the equally big games hitting next week. Dead Space, Forspoken, and Hitman's roguelike mode, Freelancer, all arrive before the end of the month.
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Andrew King, Features Editor
I finished Mass Effect this week and have moved on to Mass Effect 2. I’ve only played about 90 minutes so far, but it already has its hooks in me in a way the first game never did. The opening attack on the Normandy, the leap forward in time, the “getting the gang back together” feel to the narrative — it’s got a lot of things going for it that have me extremely excited to play more. No surprise: it is thought of as one of the best RPGs of all time, after all.
David W. Duffy, Evergreen Editor
This is entirely Helen’s fault, because she’s been spamming chat with it for the last week, but I’m finally playing Persona 5 Royal. In all fairness it has been sitting on my to-do list forever, after I picked it up in a sale, but it just seemed so daunting. I’m not too far in, so it’s just a lot of cutscenes and exposition so far, but it does strike me as extremely fun. And ridiculously stylish. But mostly very, very weird as anime can be to a bloke rapidly approaching his 40th birthday.
Amanda Hurych, Evergreen Content Lead
Okay, so, no judgment, but I’m still playing PowerWash Simulator. Yes, I’ll dip into Vampire Survivors every now and then, but I can’t just start a new game while I’m waiting for Dead Space. I have to be patient. I don’t want to end up splitting my attention between two games once January 27 rolls around. So this weekend, I will be PowerWashing once more. Plus, did you hear that we’re getting a Croft Manor add-on to the game?! We’ll be able to pressure wash the (formerly) glistening walls of Lara Croft’s posh home! How can I play anything but PowerWash Simulator in the meantime?
Justin Reeve, News Editor
I’m a huge fan of tactics games; the latest entry in the XCOM series, XCOM 2, in particular. I also recently played Marvel’s Midnight Suns which I, of course, loved. Since I’m on something of a tactics roll right now, I figured that I’d bite the bullet and pick up Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. I admit that I didn’t have especially high expectations even despite the plethora of positive reviews, but I can easily admit when I’m wrong and I was most definitely wrong about this one. I’m about three hours into the experience at this point and I can unequivocally say that Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is quite possibly the best tactics game of the year. Well, I guess, last year, technically.
Harry Alston, Lead Specialist Writer
Crusader Kings 3 storms into my life every now and then like an assassin with a snake, or a courtier who’s found a ghost in the pantry, or an angry mayor upset with my love of witches. I’ll stick another thirty hours into a save over the next week or so while I wait for something else to come out. I’m King Poppycock of Galicia—yes, really, my wife was unhinged and wanted to call my children Poppycock, and with three sons, the name didn’t really die out in my line. Now everyone’s called Poppycock, right across my massive, sprawling, about-to-crumble-to-pieces-when-everyone-inevitably-dies European empire. Gotta love Crusader Kings.
Jade King, Lead Features Editor
My playthrough of Persona 5 Royal continues as I hit the 30 hour mark after clearing the third palace. However, the yearly releases are now finally starting to emerge from the shadows, with a copy of Fire Emblem Engage already taunting me from the postbox. I’ll likely try and juggle the two of them this weekend, while hitting Level 100 in the current Fortnite Battle Pass. Part of me is also tempted to play more of A Space For The Unbound, a charming little narrative adventure that is the perfect combination of cutesy dialogue and melancholic tragedy.