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Friday, March 25, 2016

The Friday Ten: Ten games to party away a long weekend with


List by Matt S. 

It's the Easter long weekend! I don't know about other countries in the world, but that means a four day weekend here in Australia, and boy are we going to take advantage of that! Each of the DDNet team has a full weekend of games, rest, relaxation, and beer planned.

Which got us to thinking about the idea of long weekend-busting games; games that you can start playing at the start of a long weekend or short holiday, make your way through to a point where you feel like the game has been "completed", and then move back to a normal routine once the break is over.

Obviously with these kinds of games you want something that's going to last a full weekend, otherwise you're going to reach the end and not really have anything else to do. At the same time, you're not going to want a game that will stretch well beyond the weekend. After all, the point here is to bust a weekend, not occupy you for weeks or months.

With that in mind, here are our ten recommendations for games you could nab at the start of this Easter long weekend, and will keep you occupied to the point where it's time to head back to the drudgery of work.

Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence

I know a lot of hardcore strategy game fans really, really look forward to long weekends, precisely because their preferred genre is so perfect for busting them. You start a new campaign at the start of the weekend, and by the end of it you're fairly well progressed, or left in a hopeless situation where you'll need to restart anyway. There are plenty of good choices in the genre, including Civilization and Europa Universalis, but the team favourite here is Koei Tecmo's Nobunaga's Ambition.



Armello

For killing weekends with friends, Armello is the place to go. Where you can get bored of other multiplayer games after a few hours (or perhaps a whole day), Armello's depth really demands that you settle down for longer play sessions. It's easy to imagine a couple of friends jumping online together for a couple of days in a row to work through a couple of games of Armello, and it's competitive enough that after each round the losers is naturally going to be out for revenge.



Dead or Alive 5: Last Round

Fighting games are a reliable way to tide yourself through weekends. A good fighting game will offer a fun story mode, plenty of single player options, and then solid online and local multiplayer to keep the fun going. Dead or Alive is our pick here for a number of reasons; unlike, say, BlazBlue, the story mode itself won't take an entire weekend to play through. The Arcade and Survival modes are challenging, the online community robust, and it's easy for anyone to pick up and play, regardless of skill level. These combine to create the perfect storm of a fighting game that can quite easily last an entire weekend itself... especially when the amount of extra content on it through DLC and the like is so extensive.



Boom Street/ Fortune Street

The name will change depending on the region you're in, but this humble Wii game has already busted plenty of long weekends and holidays for me, and will continue to do so as long as I have a device that can play it. Though the online multiplayer is now turned off, Boom Street's real strength lies in the local multiplayer experience. Playing out like a more detailed game of Monopoly (and thus less reliant on raw luck to win), Boom Street is still playable for all ages, and with such a variety of maps on it there's more than enough to keep the whole family glued to the screen all weekend.



Tropico 5

I don't know about everyone else, but I struggle to play a simulation game - especially city builders - unless I know I can dedicate the time to really make progress before I need to be distracted by something else. I find that if I put the controller down too early into the game, my motivation to come back and continue building my city drops, but if I get past a certain point, I'll then keep coming back to the game until it meets its natural conclusion. So for that reason I find that long weekends are a good time to start playing games like Tropico 5.



Until Dawn

For narrative-heavy games, such as TellTale's work, David Cage games, or Until Dawn here, I tend to get frustrated if I get pulled away from the game by such trivialities as work. It's like a movie; I don't like sitting down to a movie only to pause/ turn it off and come back to it later. You can imagine what Netflix is doing to my OCD about this by releasing entire seasons of shows like Daredevil in one go...

But I digress. Point is, if you're going to sit down to a long narrative-based game like Until Dawn, you may as well do so over a long weekend, so you can enjoy it without distraction.



Don Bradman Cricket

Sports games are generally good ways to spend weekends, because you can work through a few matches without feeling antsy that you need to then wait until the next weekend to play the game again - heck, that's how most sports operate anyway in spacing matches a week apart or so. Don Bradman Cricket is even better for a long weekend though because you can set up a test match - which is sped up some in-game but in real live lasts five full days - and play it through without a break inbetween. And yes, I have spent many long weekends playing test match cricket since Big Ant originally released this one on the PS3 a couple of years ago.



Life Is Strange

With the full five episodes of Life is Strange now released, you're able to sit down and work through the entire game in one go, and this is the best way to experience Dontnod's masterpiece. Each chapter is a couple of hours long, meaning that across the full five chapters you're probably not technically looking at a full weekend buster, but there's plenty of incentive to play through the game at least twice, and I am genuinely envious of anyone that can sit down and work through the whole thing in one setting. The emotional impact that the game would have when it's paced like that (without a month more or gap in-between episodes) must be intense.



The Witness

You might be pushing your luck to try and complete Jonathan Blow's game in a single weekend (even a long weekend) - this game is huge. But, as with all puzzle games, it's good to be able to commit solid blocks of time to it, so you can get into a rhythm with the way the game's logic works. It's such an immersive game that you could easily spend six, seven, eight hours in front of it in a sitting, get stuck somewhere, go and rest for a while and realise the solution to the puzzle while you're resting. If you are feeling a bit cerebral through your long weekend, The Witness is the way to go.



Arslan: The Warriors Of Legend

At DDNet we have a lot of fans of Koei Tecmo's Warriors franchise (and with good reason, the games are awesome). We recommend Arslan as the best Warriors game to get you through a long weekend. It's a narrative-focused game for a start, and the length of it just fits in nicely with the kind of hours you'll be dedicating to games over a long weekend. When you're finished with the story mode you're probably going to move on to other games for a while too, and that's okay, because it just means that the play-time loop of Arslan fits nicely into that weekend-buster category.



Assassin's Creed Chronicles Trilogy

Perhaps the most neat weekend killer of them all, however, is Assassin's Creed Chronicles China, India, and Russia. Each game is paced at about a day's worth of play, so across the three of them you're looking at almost precisely one long weekend. Thanks to the three very different settings you'll be getting a constant flow of different experiences, even as the core gameplay remains the consistent enough to allow you to get into the kind of groove that makes a weekend gaming sessions so fulfilling.



So what games are you playing this long weekend? Let us know in the comments!

- Matt S. 
Editor-in-Chief
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld
The Friday Ten: Ten games to party away a long weekend with
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