Hello, everyone! I'm so excited to be back for another season of Beach Paper. Before I get into it, I'd like to say thank you to each and every one of you who have read my column over these past six (WOW!) years. If this is your first time here, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy my content.
When I last wrote, we were looking forward to a lot of great fall releases, including Cuphead, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Super Mario Odyssey, and so many more! As usual, I have a huge backlog, but I did manage to play some incredible games over these past eight months. Here are my favorites.
Super Mario Odyssey
I had pretty high expectations for this game; I mean, it was basically the reason I bought a Switch. As a big fan of 3D Mario games, I was very excited but a little nervous about this game. It was definitely a new direction for a Mario game, and it ended up surpassing my expectations and then some. The closing sequence in the New Donk City level was one of the coolest level designs I've ever seen in a video game, and the Photo Mode is outstanding. I highly recommend this game to any Mario fan or any fan of video games in general.
God of War (2018)
As someone who had never played an entry in the God of War franchise, I didn't feel like I had the right to play the new one. I didn't really have it on my radar, but when it came out and I saw my husband playing it, I knew I had to try it myself. I waited for him to finish the story, and then I started my own game. I was absolutely blown away by the visuals, the voice acting, the gameplay, the story ... every aspect of the game. I've never played a game quite like this before. I tend to get overwhelmed by open-world games because I want to do all the side quests but never have time to even think about them. At the time of this writing, I still have a little ways to go to complete the story, and after I complete the main story I plan to go back and complete at least a few of the side quests. I am absolutely in love with the world and all the characters, and throwing that damn Leviathan Axe just never gets old. I also love that there are no "filler" characters; every single character has a purpose and impact on the story. I could not recommend this game enough.
Night in the Woods
This game! Man, this game! Thank you to my friend James for recommending this to me. I bought it on sale on the PlayStation Store and went in blind. I had no clue what kind of game this would be, and I never would have predicted the impact it would have on me. For a game with no voice acting, it sure manages to say a lot. The main character, Mae, is someone I can really relate to and care about. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that you need to give this game a shot if you enjoy great narratives and beautiful art styles in games. You will not be disappointed. Also, the soundtrack is fantastic.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
I was anxiously awaiting the release of The Fractured But Whole (TFBW, hereafter), the follow-up to South Park: The Stick of Truth (TSoT, hereafter), and pre-ordered it as soon as it went up on the PlayStation Store. If you played TSoT and enjoyed it, you absolutely need to give this one a go. It has all the charm the original had, but with an upgraded battle system and character creation system. You'll become addicted to leveling up your character and seeing how far they push the envelope in some of the missions. I think TSoT had a little more of a shock factor, and it's hard to top that game. But TFBW is still an excellent game that any South Park fan will absolutely love.
Far Cry 5
You know when you start playing a game and play for six hours without even realizing it? That's what happened when I started playing Far Cry 5. The best way I can describe this game is "addictive." I truly don't remember the last time I've been so addicted to a game that I couldn't wait to run home and play it after work. The main story is really gripping, and you'll want to blow right through the story before really diving into the side missions. It really sucks you in, and I love that. I'm generally not a fan of games where you play as a silent protagonist, but this is an exception. The last Far Cry game I played was 3, where your character was this really forgettable, annoying dude named Jason Brody (honestly, I'm surprised I even remember his name), so I thought it was funny that they just went the silent protagonist route in 5. If you enjoy a good story and great gunplay, you'll really enjoy this game.