TENNERTON – Like all of us, you’ve likely found yourself with a little extra time on your hands lately. Maybe you’re passing the time learning how to make sourdough bread or maybe you’re re-watching every season of The Office.
But maybe, just maybe, you’re looking for a game to immerse yourself in – a real time-burner. Let us make a few recommendations: Whether you’re a veteran gamer or just want to try something new, My Buckhannon takes a look at three excellent choices for passing the time.
Animal Crossing New Horizons
Animal Crossing New Horizons launched recently, Friday, March 20, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch to an eager crowd. People have been shut inside their homes and Animal Crossing fans couldn’t wait to lose themselves in their new island.
When the player launches the game, they are introduced to Tommy and Timmy – two tanukis who help the player design their avatar’s look and pick out their own island. The player picks which country they’re from and which hemisphere. This is a key feature to Animal Crossing because the game is tied to the Switch’s real clock.
When the player arrives on their island, they will be asked to choose a spot for their tent, which will later become their home. They will also be able to wander the island, meet their neighbors and help them pick out spots for their tents. All the neighbors are adorable animals, including cats, dogs, foxes and even an anteater.
They all have their own personalities and styles and bring the island a special charm. The player will also be asked to name their island. It can be anything 10 characters or shorter, but this name cannot be changed later.
Eventually, the player will learn to make tools that allow them fish, catch bugs, chop wood and water flowers. This allows the player to develop their island and build it from the ground up however they want. For people familiar with previous Animal Crossing games, they probably remember Blathers, the owl who runs the museum. Once the player collects enough bugs, fish and fossils, Blathers will arrive to the island and build a museum to display the player’s finds.
Animal Crossing is not as action-packed as most video games, and it can’t be described as fast-paced. Since the game is timed to the real-world clock, when Tom Nook or Blathers tells the player a house or the museum will be built ‘by tomorrow,’ that means the player really has to wait a day for the structure to be built. Certain fish and bugs will only appear during certain times of day and even certain seasons.
There is a certain sense of satisfaction in developing the island, catching bugs, fish and finding fossils the player hasn’t seen before and sculpting the island to the player’s grand design.
There will be some days where the player may feel like they don’t have anything else to accomplish on a certain day, and that’s fine.
The game doesn’t have a real ‘ending,’ so it will last for a long time, but it might not be ideal for an all-day gaming session; that’s not to say there aren’t players who don’t play the game all day, because there certainly are players who enjoy running around their island and finding everything in every nook and cranny.
Overall, the game is ideal for a no stress, enjoyable and adorable environment for anyone to escape to during quarantine and for the duration of the stay-at-home order. Players may find a desire to play a more active game in between gaming sessions, and that is perfectly fine. The game can be purchased as a physical copy, but it is also available digitally, without having to leave the comfort of your home. The game’s ESRB rating is E for everyone.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.
The Legend of Zelda has touched the hearts of many gamers over its various iterations, including Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, to name a few. The beauty of Breath of the Wild is how it appeals to long-time fans and new ones.
The games maintains its historical lore because it still occurs in Hyrule, the franchise’s longstanding location, and the age-old mission of saving the princess is back, but the developers drastically changed this entry in the series from its traditional dungeon-exploring, puzzle-solving layout to an open world masterpiece.
Fans of the series will recognize Link, the game’s protagonist. Following a long-running theme, when the player first meets the Hero of Hyrule, he is sleeping. The silent hero wakes up in a strange place with a voice telling him that all of Hyrule has been waiting for him to return. The silent protagonist wakes up and attempts to find a way out of the strange building he woke up in.
After a few basic tutorial prompts, the player will find themselves outside, gazing at all of Hyrule and that is when the player realizes they are about to spend hours and hours on this game.
Link will have to go through a few tutorial locations before he can go everywhere, but after these explanations, the game does not hold your hand. The player is left to do anything they want; whether they follow through on the main quests or decide to run in the opposite direction, they may.
In fact, if the player wanted to, they could go fight the final boss, Ganon, as soon as they are done with the tutorials if they wanted to – and if they could get to Hyrule castle. The player is left to discover that the weapons and shields they pick up can break, there is a way to snowboard down a mountain on your shield and when you jump with your bow drawn, it slows time.
The player also quickly finds out that some enemies should be left alone until they increase their heart meters, get better weapons and get used to the fighting mechanics. You can run into smaller bosses like a stone talus, the guardians or a Hinox and they can give you a game over screen with one shot.
Exploring every inch of Hyrule is exciting and nostalgic for people who played the previous games and it’s stunning, even for the people who haven’t. The long winding dungeons have changes to individual shrines with a puzzle for the player to solve that gives you a sense of satisfaction every time you hear that quintessential Zelda chime when you finish or solve something.
Zelda Breath of the Wild is a perfect way to burn hours without realizing it’s happening. It looks beautiful on a TV and can be conveniently enjoyed portably on the Switch when someone in your household eventually kicks you off the TV. The game can be purchase physically or digitally on the Nintendo Store. The game’s ESRB rating is E for ages 10 and up.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The Assassin’s Creed series has changed since its first entry back in 2007. The latest entry, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, is a vastly different game than the first iteration. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey introduces the player to 431 B.C. Greece where they get to choose to play either the female Kassandra or the male character Alexios.
Without giving away too much of the story, the first section of the game starts out on the Greek island of Kefalonia, but eventually, the entire Greek world will open up to the player. After a few missions on Kefalonia, the player will receive their own ship that allows them to sail the open seas and explore every single Greek island.
Whichever character the player chooses works as a misthios or mercenary and can accept jobs from people across the map. Two groups of people the player can always rely on for jobs are the Spartans and the Athenians who are at war with each other during the whole game. The player can choose to side with either of them during large battles for regions of Greece, and these battles determine which side controls these regions.
Gameplay includes a staple of the Assassin’s Creed series, which involves climbing and traversing their environment which can include iconic Greek structures like the Parthenon, mountains and almost anything else the player can find.
Battle is different from the earliest in the series and similar to the previous entry Assassin’s Creed Origins. Alexios and Kassandra are both fierce in battle and can take down whole battalions if they feel the need. The player has a variety of weapons to choose from and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Knifes are the fastest, and lances are best to keep a distance, but two-handed axes deal a lot of damage. It really depends on the player whether your Kassandra or Alexios are sneaky or straight-up brawlers.
The leveling-up system also allows players to choose their play styles. This Assassin’s Creed game incorporates RPG elements. When the player levels up, they can upgrade their hunter, assassin or warrior attributes. The way the game is played is entirely up to the player, down to how they interact with the other characters in the game.
Greece is a big place, and it will take a very long time to see everything the game has to offer. Certain areas of the map are a higher level. The player can go there, but they might not have the easiest time, depending on their level. People do have the option to purchase microtransactions for cosmetics and experience boosters, but these are optional.
The game is available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. The game’s ESRB rating is mature for ages 17 and up.