'Animal Crossing’ provides joyous, new horizons for game players
Before Spring Break started, I was somewhat excited for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” to release.
Now that the rest of the school year has been moved entirely online, I don’t know what I would do without this game.
“Animal Crossing” is a video game series produced by Nintendo about moving to a new town and making it your home.
After the player arrives, they get to make friends with the villagers of the town, decorate their homes and yards, buy and design clothes, catch bugs and fish and more. “New Horizons” is the newest game, adding the twist of deserted island life and bringing the series to the Nintendo Switch.
Today when I was playing, I held a party with my villager friends to celebrate the opening of a new shop on our island.
Under normal circumstances, I might have thought, “Why don’t I just go hang out with my actual friends instead of my virtual animal friends?” This shows the value this game has right now.
Don’t get me wrong — I’d probably adore this game whether or not the world was facing a pandemic the likes of which no one has seen for decades.
The steady progression the game offers as you work your way from a tent to a furnished home and invite more and more villagers to live on your island is so satisfying.
It manages to make something like catching bugs with a net something to be excited about, simply because the player can sell them to buy cool clothes.
However, the game is so much more appreciated now by the quarantine we’re all in. I personally haven’t seen any of my friends in days, and beyond that, this virus has made everyone nervous, unsure and scared.
A game like “Animal Crossing” serves as the perfect distraction from, and replacement for, real life right now.
The game moves in real time, as in, when the sun is out in real life, it’s daytime in the game, and the same for nighttime. The game also moves through the seasons throughout the year.
These features serve to let players fully forget about the upsetting world they live in now and immerse themselves in their islands.
When I would be shopping in the daytime, I can shop in the game, and when I would be with my friends at night, I can sit around the campfire with my villagers in the game as well.
The game isn’t without faults though. It’s clearly made for one person. The limit is one island per console, so when my brother tried to start his own island, he was plopped right into mine.
It’s my island, so all major progression can only occur when I’m playing. If he wants to open a shop or invite someone to live there, he can’t.
The game’s multiplayer is also lacking. What should be two players both having fun instead becomes one player being forced to follow the other around with limited abilities and actions.
Don’t let that discourage you though. This game is perfect for any quarantined person who is looking to get back to their normal life of working, hanging out with friends and paying off their home loans.
‘Doom Eternal’ lets players express their rage in glorious carnage
After the success of “Doom” in 2016, id Software had a lot to live up to with “Doom Eternal.” Luckily, they came back in a raging glory with a sequel that expands on its predecessor in almost every way.
In “Doom Eternal,’’ the sequel to id Software’s 2016 game “Doom,” players get to rip and tear through hordes of demons as the almighty Doom Slayer, a perfect way to release any anger over the impact of a worldwide pandemic.
While I played on PC, the game is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Google Stadia.
“Doom Eternal” places the player in a version of Earth that has been overtaken by a demonic invasion, and the player is the last thing left to stop the impending doom as demons threaten to wipe out humanity and bring about judgment day.
Following the events of the 2016 game, which saw the player repel a demonic invasion of Mars, Earth is the new target of the forces of Hell in “Doom Eternal,” with the majority of Earth already taken over when the game starts.
As the Doom Slayer, you must take out the three Hell priests controlling the armies of Hell to free Earth.
Fans of the series, which began with 1993’s genre-defining “Doom,” will know the series usually features players tearing apart demons with a wide collection of weaponry. “Eternal” does not disappoint, skipping the pistol from the previous game, and instead sending the player in with the familiar combat shotgun in the first moments of game play.
The game maintains the fast-paced first-person shooter game play of previous games in the series, with some changes to the controls since 2016. These controls can take some time to adjust to, but I eventually found them easier to use, such as the chainsaw now only requiring one button to use rather than one to equip, then one to use.
Some of the most obvious changes for game play are the increased movement options. The 2016 game had a double jump that the player unlocked about halfway through the game, but this is now available from the start, along with a dash ability that propels the player forward.
These are accompanied by climbable walls and bars the player can swing from to fly through the air in levels that give players plenty of space to move around. I found the spacious plazas of Earth’s fallen cities very enjoyable with the new movement features.
Despite these new movement options, the creators teach players that what can be given can be taken away, with purple goo that prevents jumping in certain areas leading to a vastly different style of combat. Level design features such as this keep the game feeling fresh and varied throughout, and force players to find new solutions to problems.
Ammunition is much more rare than in the previous game, with players now forced to get up close and personal, using their chainsaws which make demons split open and spew a colorful explosion of ammo.
Some changes are less positive, but overall minor, such as adding small cut scenes within levels to show players where they should go, but also breaking the sense of immersion that comes from being locked into the main character’s perspective.
The game does feature a multiplayer mode where one player plays as the Doom Slayer against two others playing as demons, and while this mode is fun, it was clearly made as an extra rather than the main feature.
I was at first concerned when the game was delayed from its original November 2019 release date, but those worries went away once I started playing. While the game isn’t perfect, it’s the most fun I have had from a modern first-person shooter game in some time, and it will definitely continue to keep me busy while social distancing.