Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: 7 Great Games To Play

Gaming

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Miles Morales, a soldier, and a Xenomorph alien line up in a montage.

This weekend is a weird one: We’ve got Saturday, Sunday, then a normal workday for most of us, and then a holiday here in the States with July 4. And if you find yourself lacking any barbecue or other outdoor activity plans, that means it’s time for more games.

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But what to play? Here are seven games worth your attention during your time off.

Shinigami expresses her enthusiasm for mysteries.

Play it on: Nintendo Switch
Current goal: Solve remaining mysteries

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code took some time to grow on me. I love the Danganronpa series, but initially I thought the supernatural take on its investigation gameplay felt too literal and silly. But by the time I reached the second half and it started to really interrogate that side of its murder mystery setup, I was hooked.

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Rain Code has a lot more optional content than its spiritual predecessor Danganronpa, so my plan is to run around the city of Kanai Ward and clear up all its side missions. But as I play through all the smaller mysteries, I’ll be thinking about the big one at its center, and how writer Kazutaka Kodaka still manages to surprise me even after I’ve been playing his games and watching his anime for a decade. — Kenneth Shepard

Spider-Man and a cat wearing a Spider-Man mask tackle an enemy.

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Get started

Another tragedy of my backlog: Marvel’s Spider-Man – Miles Morales. I kept meaning to play when it came out, but I was also behind on finishing Marvel’s Spider-Man. Now, with the sequel Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 fast approaching and the first game under my belt, I have no excuses.

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But perhaps waiting was inadvertently for the best. I’m even more excited to dive in after watching Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which nodded to the main game and gave me a deeper appreciation for the Spider Punk suit and guitar attack. Plus, it’ll be fresher in my mind when the sequel finally lands in the fall. Timing is everything. I’m ready to dust the cobwebs off Miles Morales. …Metaphorically, of course. I don’t actually have a physical version. — Lisa Marie Segarra

A fighter gets interviewed on live TV in Street Fighter 6's World Tour mode.

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Finish the damn World Tour

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Street Fighter 6 is great, no secret there: a real return to form. If you like fighting games at all you should definitely play it, perhaps even this weekend. I’m glad I FOMOed into buying it.

But it’s not perfect, and my main bummers are World Tour mode and the game’s F2P-style monetization. I totally get that the single-player, globetrotting, RPG-lite World Tour mode is a key attraction for folks who don’t live and breathe fighting games, a clever method to pull in a new crowd. I just wish it was fun to play through too, and didn’t make you grind for hours upon hours to unlock each main character’s secondary costume.

I want those costumes, dig? Some are really great! But it’s either splash out for per-character DLC in an already 60-plus-dollar game or spend bored hours grinding World Tour. Putting it that way makes me consider that maybe my time is worth more than the cost of the DLC, but then the resentment fires back: I just paid full price, only to be nickel-and-dimed? Come on!

The most depressing part is that toiling away in World Tour to the exclusion of online play is actively making me fall behind players able to ignore that frippery and just focus on getting good at the real game. I feel like I’m in Street Fighter purgatory reading reams of inane dialogue and performing fetch quests for generic NPCs just so my Zangief can wear his classic duds.

It used to be a lot less annoying to unlock these things, but that’s the state of the modern game industry. I’m not surprised, just bummed. Thank you for being my therapist today. — Alexandra Hall

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck N/A)
Current goal: Unlock a second insured weapon (finally)

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I’ve been snoozing a bit on Call of Duty’s free-to-play extraction mode, DMZ. And oh, how I’ve been missing out. With a brand-new map following season 4’s launch earlier this month, the game continues to expand in exciting ways. The latest map, Vondel, trades the long stretches of clear sightlines in the desertscape of Al Mazrah for a blanket of fog (much like NYC these days!) with obscured vision, forcing tighter combat sequences and making the thermal scope more useful than it’s ever been.

But Al Mazrah got some new features of its own, including sand storms and entrances to the underground network of tunnels known as Koschei Complex (extracting from which required me to hunt down night-vision goggles and engage in some dicey cat-and-mouse fights). DMZ just feels so much larger now, and given the freeform structure of how virtually anything can happen, the new features sometimes make it feel like a whole new game—especially if you’re like me and tuned out for most of the last season or so.

While I put a lot of time into the first two seasons, somehow I’ve yet to unlock a second insured weapon. Time to get to work acing a few missions so I can finally kit out a solid assault rifle to pair with my Victus sniper rifle. — Claire Jackson

A screenshot of a Fire Emblem game shows weapon attack stats and a portrait of a female character with green hair.

Play it on: Nintendo Switch
Current goal: Protect Lyn at all costs and stop Nergal from doing his weird shit

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I was gleefully surprised that Nintendo’s latest batch of GBA releases on Nintendo Switch Online featured one of my first and favorite strategy RPGs of all time: Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (also just called Fire Emblem, depending who you ask).

I hold deep nostalgia for this game, as I do with pretty much anything else from the GBA era. It was the first Fire Emblem released in the west, coming off the heels of Roy and Marth’s inclusion in a little unknown underground game you definitely haven’t heard of called Super Smash Bros Melee.

Every time I boot this one up, I remember why I fell so hard for the GBA era of Fire Emblem. The combat animations are silky smooth and filled with charm. The permadeath rules presented a challenging experience that Young Jeb struggled mightily with, but I’m hoping my tactician skills have improved just a hair since then.

They also boast a deep roster of fantastic characters with profound, oftentimes tragic backgrounds. This is especially true for Blazing Blade’s Lyn, who remains one of my favorite Fire Emblem protagonists. Give Blazing Blade a shot this weekend and you’ll understand why I must protect Lyn at all costs. — Jeb Biggart

Marines fight a Xenomorph.

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows (Steam Deck N/A)
Current goal: Conquer my cowardice, one xenomorph-infested room at a time

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Readers, an admission: I am a scary video game weenie. It’d be fair to call me yellow-bellied. While I love a horror flick any day of the week, give me a more active experience like a game where you’re given agency and I swiftly fall to pieces.

However! Aliens: Dark Descent is something I think I can handle. A squad-based RTS, you’re placed in charge of a crew of Colonial Marines that square off against the iconic, dare I say icky, xenomorphs from the Alien film franchise. Since it’s a real-time strategy game, seeing all the action from a top-down perspective and the ability to slow down time at any point for a few seconds did wonders for alleviating the anxiety I’d normally be getting from your typical first-person horror joint.

I also found comfort in the familiar trappings of an X-COMlike experience, which is what Dark Descent seems to be going for. There are health and stress bars to manage for each squaddie (being coated in corrosive acid would stress me out too) and when they die they’re gone for good. Also between missions, you research new tech and upgrade your facilities and armaments from your spaceship hub. All very X-COM-like features, and for that reason, Aliens: Dark Descent hasn’t spooked me too terribly. Yet. — Eric Schulkin


And that wraps this weekend’s gaming guide. Which ones are you playing?

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