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It’s almost summer and time to PLAY

May 16, 2019

Welcome back to Play, a weekly column where I share my thoughts on video games and the culture surrounding them. Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading my passionate ramblings over these past seven years. If you’re new here, welcome! My name is Cassie and I’m a 26-year-old marketing professional who happens to really love video games … specifically single-player games. I began playing games on the Nintendo Entertainment System when I was six years old, and the rest is history.

Since I last wrote this column, I’ve managed to check a few games off my backlog. Here’s what I’ve been up to since last season:

Red Dead Redemption 2

I fell head over heels for Arthur Morgan and the entire world of Red Dead Redemption 2. Being a fan of the first game, I wasn’t sure its sequel would live up to my expectations. However, I think RDR2 is what RDR always wanted to be but wasn’t able to be because of limitations in technology at the time. The writing in RDR2 was phenomenal, and while many griped about the gameplay, I thought it was adequate. The real highlight of RDR2 is the story and the characters and the absolutely gorgeous open world. I highly recommend it. Be warned - it will take you around 50 hours to complete the story, and it’s not one you want to rush through. Take your time and soak it all in.

Side note: I highly recommend you play Red Dead Redemption before playing its sequel. It’s not entirely necessary, but the story will mean more to you if you do. At the very least, watch a story recap on YouTube.

Hollow Knight

I really stepped outside my comfort zone by buying Hollow Knight, a 2D Metroidvania-style game. I knew I had never played anything like it just by looking at the gameplay, but I was intrigued by the art style and thought I’d give it a shot. While I still haven’t taken the time to complete the game, I have put about 15 hours into it and I am blown away by the world and its characters. It’s one of those games that you find yourself playing for hours on end without even realizing it. The music in this game is fantastic, as well. The more you play, the more you realize just how full this world is, and how long you can spend just exploring. The boss fights can be difficult, but they are SO satisfying. I highly recommend picking up this game.

Persona 5

Persona 5 has been on my backlog for a while now, and I decided to finally give it a go. JRPGs are a little out of my comfort zone, as well, but 2019 is the year of me trying new things or things I previously disliked (including sweet potatoes, which I somehow love now). Persona 5 is everything I’d hoped for and more; its characters are anything but forgettable, the soundtrack is PHENOMENAL, and the gameplay is oh, so addictive and satisfying. I absolutely adore this game. If you’re like I was and you’re wondering if you need to play Persona 1-4 in order to understand 5, good news - you don’t; each Persona has a new set of characters and a new setting, which is always a school. Persona 5 is an extremely long game, which is why I was hesitant to even start it out of fear that I’d never finish it, but it’s worth it. I estimate that I’m about 60 percent through the main story, so I’m just going to keep plugging away until I finally complete it. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but just know that Persona 5 is a masterpiece that deserves your time.

Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight

Y’all know I love a good rhythm game, so when I fell in love with Persona 5’s characters and saw there was an entire rhythm game based in that world, I was instantly on board. I downloaded the demo and played it approximately 30 times before finally buying it when it went on sale on the PlayStation Store. You definitely don’t need to play Persona 5 in order to enjoy this game; it’s just an added bonus if you’re already familiar with the characters and the music. It’s an outstanding rhythm game in its own right and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good rhythm game.

Yakuza karaoke

True life: I’m addicted to Yakuza karaoke. Seriously, I have spent hours playing the same songs over and over, aiming to get a perfect 100 score on every single song. I managed to do that in Kiwami and Kiwami 2 and I’m pretty proud of it. Sega, please, please release a Yakuza rhythm game akin to the Persona ones. I would gladly throw 60 bucks at a rhythm-themed Yakuza game that includes karaoke and disco.

Far Cry New Dawn

Last year, I was actually addicted to Far Cry 5. I couldn’t stop playing it, and when I was away from home I couldn’t wait to get home and play it again. It was a slightly unhealthy obsession, but it was short-lived. After I beat the story and forced myself to move on to another game, I reluctantly left Far Car 5 in the dust. When I finally picked up New Dawn, a direct sequel to Far Cry 5, I felt like I was scratching an old itch - I was so happy to be playing Far Cry 5 again, this time seventeen years in the future. The world is absolutely gorgeous, and all the hot pink and purple just makes me happy. The photo mode is fantastic and I’ve spent a lot of time taking photos of all the plants and animals I’ve encountered.

Oh, yeah - I changed my PlayStation Network ID!

It’s about time, right? Find me on PSN as unleash-the-bats.

What have you been playing lately? Let me know on Twitter: @cgottowhite.
  • Cassie Gotto-White is a gamer, communications professional and coffee lover. She discovered her passion for video games at age six when she was given an NES Top Loader. Her current main console is a PlayStation 4, but she also owns a Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. She considers herself to be a single-player games advocate, and some of her favorite games are The Last of Us, the Uncharted series, the Yakuza series and Night in the Woods. Follow her at cgottowhite on Instagram and Twitter, and add her on PSN: unleash-the-bats.