6 Games That Provide an Escape from Reality


Another weekend draws near, this time preceded by a Friday the 13th, in October of all months. Spooky vibes for sure, but if you’re looking to ward off some bad luck, might I suggest playing some video games?

If you’re coming up blank on what to play, no worries. Kotaku’s Weekend Guide is where we share our thoughts on what we’ve been playing lately and what games we might be taking into our own weekend breaks.

Take it from the top, Ken…

Overwatch 2

6 Games That Provide an Escape from Reality
Image: Blizzard

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, Windows (Steam Deck YMMV)
Current goal: Convince myself I like Sombra’s rework

Sombra, one of my main heroes in Overwatch 2, has undergone an extensive rework…you may have seen me share my feelings on it elsewhere.

Gone is the hit-and-run build that let her retreat from a fight by teleporting across the map. Now Sombra can teleport only a limited distance, and it’s much easier for enemies to track her. Sure, her opponents love this, but having been a dedicated hacker-fan for years, her new style has been a very painful adjustment for me.

But even if I can’t translocate across the map, it does feel pretty damn good when I do manage to make a quick escape and cloak just in time for enemies to miss me. The damage stack she gets from her Hack and Virus combo bleeds enemies dry pretty quick. I miss the old Sombra, but maybe I can still play one of my favorite Overwatch characters in a new way. — Kenneth Shephard

Timespinner

Screenshot: Lunar Ray Games / Kotaku

Play it on: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Vita, Windows (Steam Deck OK), macOS, Linux
Current goal: Grind my stats enough to play more carelessly

To say Timespinner is “inspired” by Konami’s classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night understates the level of influence at play here. One glimpse of your heroine’s gait, the map, the heft and feel of everything, and you know: This thing’s a got-dang clone. That’s cool, though, as I’m in the mood for a little metroidvania comfort food, and the closer to the original recipe, the better.

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As is my wont I utilized a password that unlocks the harder difficulty right from the start, leading to lots of two- or three-shot deaths early on. One boss about an hour in took upward of 20 tries, but I keep “getting there” eventually, which tells me this difficulty is just about right. If a game is good I’d rather be a little frustrated than float effortlessly through on cruise control.

Timespinner seems very well crafted, if highly derivative of one particular game. (The writing is particularly sharp, but keep in mind I’ve been exposed to lots of Starfield lately.) Where I’m at, the world’s just opened up for exploration and I’m looking forward to powering up a bit and perhaps finally getting above the difficulty curve. Nothing too wild here so far, but certainly pleasant. And look, a sequel just got announced. — Alexandra Hall

Baldur’s Gate 3

Screenshots: Larian Studios / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Learn who my new character is

I fell off Baldur’s Gate 3 pretty quickly. It was no fault of the game, which I did enjoy in my brief time with it. But given that I already have an active TTRPG hobby, I wasn’t really in the mood for another D&D-esque experience. Also, I um, wasn’t really paying attention in character creation and accidentally picked the Dark Urge as my origin and, well, that really wasn’t my style.

But after spending so much time with Starfield, I’m in the mood for something new that I can sink time into, a game with meatier narrative and meaningful choices. I’m starting from scratch. Maybe I’ll revisit my first character later, but for now I’ll be roleplaying as someone new.

Read More: Starfield: The Kotaku Review

Originally, I considered going with one of the preset origins, but ultimately went with a Githyanki rogue. I find the Githyanki being outsiders compelling and resonant with my utter lack of knowledge about Forgotten Realms lore. Also, I want to see how the narrative feels with another Githyanki in the party alongside Lae’zel. I’m not sure what dialogue options I’ll have on that front just yet, but I’d like to play my new character as someone who’s been living outside of Githyanki culture, someone for whom Lae’zel can provide an opportunity for reconnection, but also someone that might put out less hostility than Lae’zel does to everything around her.

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I’m eager to get to know my character. I’ve turned the combat difficulty down to the lowest setting as, really, combat is my least-favorite activity in D&D. I’m here for the story and the characters. — Claire Jackson

Little Goody Two Shoes (Demo)

Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, Windows (Steam Deck OK)
Current goal: Get my witch on

For the better part of two months I’ve been poking my coworker Ashley about this upcoming game called Little Goody Two Shoes. Developed by

AstralShift, this is a “phantasmagorical” horror game. You play as Elise, a young woman who takes on odd jobs around her village during the day and battles (but mostly runs away from) horrific creatures at night. Not only does the game have 10 possible endings, but it also has a dating sim feature in which you can romance three eligible witches. That’s right, these witches gay. Good for them!

Little Goody Two Shoes feels like it was tailor-made with players like myself and Ashley in mind. It’s got my love of retro-styled anime characters and Ashley’s affinity for horror games with strong female leads. Plus, Little Goody Two Shoes has a playable Windows demo for Steam Next Fest so now’s a good time as any to give the game a whirl before its official release on October 31 for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Steam, and the Nintendo Switch. — Isaiah Colbert

Bloodborne

Image: FromSoftware

Play it on: PS5, PS4
Current goal: Manifest spooks

I love Bloodborne, if you haven’t heard. FromSoftware’s moth-eaten, blood-speckled role-player from 2015 has been my very favorite game for years, and likely will continue to be (though I recognize you should always keep your heart open to love—maybe Alan Wake 2 could rock my world). I’m returning to it now in my favorite and most, I think, ghostly month, October, in order to harness some of its gentle but insistent gothic power.

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I’m going to start yet another new game and attempt a Bloodtinge buildwhich makes the game’s grubby firearms (and some select blades, like the Chikage katana that sucks your health away when unsheathed) extra powerful by the end of the game. I tried doing this before, but I gave up to play Mario Kart instead or something. I’m hoping to try harder during this spooky month. — Ashley Bardhan

Ace Attorney Trilogy

Screenshot: Capcom

Play it on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows, iOS, Android
Current goal: Fall in love with Edgeworth all over again.

You could use your Game Pass subscription to play Starfield this weekend. But the epicureans among us will be spending the lull before Spider-Man 2 / Mario Wonder week on gentler fare. Capcom’s trilogy of visual novels about defense lawyer Phoenix Wright and his gaggle of weirdo buddies landed on Xbox’s subscription service at the end of last month, and the goofs and gaffes of this bizarre series have aged like a fine wine in the whopping 22 years since the first game’s release for the good old Game Boy Advance.

Each of the three games has five cases, which are split between an investigation phase in which you gather clues, and a courtroom phase where you interrogate witnesses. You can clear the simpler early cases in an hour or two, but don’t be surprised if you end up devouring the absurd stories well into the wee hours. Come for the pun-filled banter and batshit witness-stand meltdown, but stay for one of the greatest gay ships fandom has ever known—the simmering romance between Phoenix and pouty prosecutor Miles Edgeworth. — Jen Glennon


And those are our picks for the weekend starting Friday, October 13, 2023. What games are you playing this weekend?



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