Now Playing at SUPERJUMP, Issue 19

Rebirth arrives, and more adventures in backlogging

Now Playing at SUPERJUMP, Issue 19

We're back with another issue of Now Playing at SUPERJUMP! Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth has finally arrived and our team is working on that massive hype beast and a lot of other titles this week. Enjoy this week's entries and we'll see you back here soon with more recommendations and odes to the games we love!

Joshua Gautreaux

This week I'm hooked on Marvel's Midnight Suns. Knowing the studio behind the XCOM games made it, I went in with high expectations and they've certainly lived up to their reputation with a title that holds its own weight.

While the uncertainty found in XCOM's fog of war and large maps has been ditched in favor of a more constrained, streamlined combat experience, Midnight Suns makes use of the moment-to-moment variance afforded by a card-based action system. You select 3 heroes from a selection of Marvel characters, each with their own unique skill sets. Whether you're looking to protect yourself or deal some damage, there are lots of synergies to derive from mixing and matching which characters battle together.

But that's only half the game. What fun would it be to have all these superheroes come together if you didn't get to see how these personalities mesh or clash? Between missions, you're able to navigate an HQ hub residence where you can befriend (or antagonize) your squadmates, complete club-specific tasks, research and craft upgrades, and explore the grounds for materials while acting under the tutelage of a familiar apparition that wanders the halls.

You can play the game at whatever pace you decide, but the game will never let your neglected characters fall too far behind in level. Overall, Midnight Suns makes for a frictionless twist on XCOM while capitalizing on the opportunity that Marvel's IP provides, making for one of the more addictive gameplay experiences I've had recently. I've got no idea how far into the game I am, but I'm already counting down the hours til I can boot it up again.

FF7 Rebirth. Source: Press Kit.

Rachel Alm

Like a lot of other people, I’ve been spending my week with Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth. I’m partway through chapter 4 and I am so eager to explore the surrounding world (an inclination I don’t normally possess) rather than just follow the story (because I really I want to relish it). Exploration is a checklist but very fun, and discovery points like the Life Springs add a sense of importance and care to the game’s core struggle of preserving what little remains of the planet’s life.

The open areas feel bursting with that sort of potential—from Mog homes to summoning crystals to caches to little hideaway campsites. I’m honestly enthralled with how much you can do. Side characters are expressive and quirky, and there’s an abundance of little mini-games that add flavor to the world. It’s like a theme park—and I’m not even at The Golden Saucer yet!

Cat Webling

I have gotten 100% hooked on Goblin Stone. This cute reverse RPG is so fun! I love building out my lair, recruiting new goblins, exploring and defeating nasty adventurers and other threats, and meeting with the orc merchants and blacksmiths along the way. I highly recommend checking this one out when it releases to the public on Steam!!

I've also been trying out Potions: A Curious Tale, which is a delightful RPG about - what else? - making potions! You have a sweet if stern granny mentor, an in-town rival to compete with, and an adorable sun-cat named Helios as a companion (that you can pet!). These guys just make the game come to life and feel exciting in a warm and cozy way. I love the creative freedom of gathering and combining ingredients and the simplicity but effectiveness of the magic system in the world. Another highly recommended play.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King - Press Kit
Dragon Quest VIII. Source: IGDB.

William Cuevas

My journey through the Dragon Quest franchise has brought me to the eighth entry: Journey of the Cursed King. The hype of Hero being added to Smash finally encouraged me to check out the franchise and after a fantastic first experience playing DQ XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, I decided it was time to stop sleeping on the series and dive in.

Dragon Quest VIII is the fifth game I’ve played so far and it’s easy to understand why this one is seen as a high mark in the series. VIII brings many technical and design firsts to the table that make it a stand out entry. Combined with the endearing traits that Dragon Quest had established and evolved in its previous entries, VIII gave the franchise a smooth and well-executed first entry into a 3D style, something that gave many other successful franchises trouble.

For me personally and much like Dragon Quest XI, what really keeps me coming back is the lovable cast of characters. Smaller in size compared to the party in XI but just as entertaining, I find myself looking forward to every cutscene. I constantly use the Consult menu command to engage with the squad and hear their individual thoughts and feelings on any given story beat. The overall light-hearted tone the games are known for has personally made the last few weeks of a distressing Winter a little easier for me and made this transition to an eagerly anticipated Spring feel all the more joyful. As I am able to take my son on extended outdoor play sessions again, I can’t help but hear VIII'’s overworld theme, Strange World, as I watch him run around against a backdrop of budding trees and grass returning to green.

Ignas Vieversys

I've finally decided to give a shot to God of War (2018), which has appeared in so many 'Best Games of the Decade' lists that it's hard to keep track. Anyway, after playing only three chapters, I can see why there was so much hype behind spending 20 hours listening to Papa Kratos say 'boy' over and over again in Ultra HD. Side note: there is something about Sony's flagship titles that makes them so addicting - after a long time, I can finally say I see myself finishing my first title this year.

On another note, I made it to Chapter 5 in Red Dead Redemption where (spoilers!) the plot did a complete 180 and sent the gang to a semi-habitable island... Even if I see myself finishing RDR2 before 2024 is over, the scope and execution of it is kind of overwhelming. It makes you think how crazy big and revolutionary GTA VI will be when it releases in 2025.

Oxenfree II. Source: Press Kit.

Bryan Finck

I've finally gotten to start one of the most exciting titles in my backlog, Oxenfree II from Night School Studio. I've played the original Oxenfree and the studio's second game, After Party, and they were both excellent, with some of the best writing I've encountered in many years. So I was eagerly awaiting the release of the Oxenfree sequel and so far it's living up to the hype. It takes everything that was good about the original and improves upon it, from the writing to the eerie soundtrack and effects. This game will absolutely send chills down your spine even when it isn't trying to, and I'm looking forward to every few minutes I can steal from the real world to jump back into the game.

I'm also still working my way through The Last of Us Part II Remastered, and it's even better than I remember. The director/writer/actor commentary during the cutscenes is fantastic, as I love getting those nuggets of behind-the-scenes information about my favorite IP of all time. I'm not sure I'll be able to wait until I'm done with the story to play the No Return mode, because I really want to play the game with Ellie in her spacesuit or wearing Jak's iconic headgear from the Jak and Daxter series.

That's a wrap for this week's Now Playing at SUPERJUMP! Thank you for checking out the veritable treasure trove of games our team is playing right now, and be sure to check back next week when we're back with more.


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