What to play this summer
By Andrew Brown

We’ve all experienced the perils of confining ourselves at home over the last two and a half months. But compared to the works of fiction, we’ve had it relatively easy. Here are some apocalyptic themed games that put you in the pandemic mood, but also the action at your fingers:

“Left 4 Dead,” Windows, Xbox 360

“Left 4 Dead 2,” Windows, Xbox 360

PHOTO COURTESY OF VALVE

Light on plot but heavy on action, “Left 4 Dead” is a non-stop ride of fun, atmosphere, and creative design. And as a bonus, it’s couch co-op friendly, a huge leg up on most modern multiplayer games. Overhauling the traditional zombie archetypes for an original cast of undead varieties like the stalking Hunter, the exploding Boomer, or the crying Witch, this series deserves credit for taking a well-worn genre and making it new again. Moreover, with an AI custom-designing the level to inject enemies randomly as you progress, this is a zombie hunting game that keeps you on your toes. Even better, it has a sequel that is more or less just as fun as its predecessor.

“Resident Evil 4,” PS2, Windows, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPCOM

The best of the Resident Evil franchise by far, “Resident Evil 4” elevated a series that, until then, was known for its clumsy controls, infuriating fixed camera angles and awful voice acting. RE4 was a revolutionary step up from the classic Playstation to the Playstation 2, featuring at the time stunning graphics, a slower, horror-oriented gameplay style and a challenging new variety of zombie types to fight. There’s a reason it’s considered one of the best games of all time, it’s a whole lot of fun.

“Fallout 3,” Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

“Fallout: New Vegas,” Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

“Fallout 4,” Windows, PS4, Xbox One

PHOTO COURTESY OF BETHESDA SOFTWORKS

All worthy of greatness, the Fallout series took a dramatic shift with the release of “Fallout 3” in 2008, going from an isometric turn-based combat RPG to a fully realized 3D world with an emphasis on action. Some may not have welcomed the change, but the transition didn’t take away the extensive player customization, nor stunt the great story and setting of the franchise. The best of the new installments is definitely “New Vegas,” with its seemingly endless story branches and well thought out wrap-around plot, but each is well worth a playthrough or five.

“Metro: Redux,” Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

PHOTO COURTESY OF DEEP SILVER

A remaster of acclaimed post-apocalyptic games “Metro: 2033” and its sequel “Metro: Last Light,” this package gets you two games for the price of one. Both are based on the “Metro” novel series by Dmitry Glukhovsky, where nuclear war has forced the remains of humanity to inhabit the underground metro systems to avoid the poisonous air of the surface. Allowing the player to choose between gunning enemies or evading through stealth, both Metro games provide a nice balance of gameplay styles with a foreboding atmosphere of claustrophobia and dwindling resources.

“The Last of Us,” PS3, PS4

PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT

Acclaimed by many as one of the best games of this last generation, “The Last of Us” takes its own twist on a zombie apocalypse plot by integrating a real insect fungus and applying it to humans. The game spun off traditional zombie types in the same way “Left 4 Dead” did, by adding a new variety of enemies like stalkers, bloaters and clickers. Combining action, stealth, an involving story, great vocal performances and gorgeous graphics, “The Last of Us” is a must-play for any Playstation 3 or 4 owner. There’s even a sequel coming in a few weeks, so you can refresh yourself on the story before the new one drops.


Animal Crossing
By Meghan Rand

PHOTO COURTESY OF ANIMALCROSSING.COM

Imagine that you purchased a getaway package to permanently move to a deserted island where a raccoon sold you property and gave you jobs as you continually worked to develop the island and convinced animals with unique personalities to move there. This is, in a nutshell, the simple premise of the game that has aggressively swept its way through the world. 

If being perpetually in debt because of home upgrades, but being able to quickly work off each loan by catching bugs, fish, and making the big bucks from the “stalk” market sounds interesting, then this is the game for you. 

Everyone on planet earth seems to be playing this game right now, which is part of the fun. There are online groups, Discord servers, and Reddit threads where you can meet friends — or mere business partners — to help you take your island living to the next level. Learning the game is half the battle, but the nuance in the online community is a whole other world. For example, do not be caught dead asking someone to pay to get onto your island for something. 

This game is available on the Nintendo Switch only, and while expensive, if you become as addicted to it as I am, you will get your money’s worth 10 times over.

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