Welcome to What We’re Playing, this hot new thing we’re doing about… what we’re playing. It’s not just a clever name, obviously. Every month, we’ll publish one of these What We’re Playing features about (omg, you guessed it!) what we’re playing, and maybe you’ll tell us about what you’re playing too. It’s collaborative like that.

Dane

Civilization 6

There’s not much I could say about Civ 6 that I haven’t already said here. It’s one of the sexiest entries in the Civ franchise. I’m having trouble playing it AND finding time to sleep. Someday soon, someone’s gonna have to stage an intervention.

RimWorld

This should be obvious, because this. RimWorld is essentially an exercise in catastrophe prevention, and when it’s not being that, it’s an exercise in catastrophe endurance. I’m constantly amazed by the bizarre shit this game uses to ruin my happy fun times. I love it.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Somehow, I’m still playing this. My Switch is one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever bought myself, and Breath of the Wild is one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever bought for a cool gift I bought for myself. Is that confusing? Good. Even after sinking 50+ hours into it, every time I load up this game, I discover something new. That’s incredibly rare.

Gareth

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

I jumped into this with the expectation that it would be somewhat crap from the beginning so I was obviously not disappointed to find this was indeed the case. Having said that, a slew of updates have improved almost all the things in the game drastically since its launch and it’s basically crack to me right now. It looks shit, plays shit, and is generally just shit, but man, it’s such HOT shit.

BioShock 

I went into this one blind, as I’d never played any BioShock game before but the concept appealed to me. I have to admit that the first one hasn’t aged well, though the visual bump took most of the sting out of it. I am finally getting to play it because Tarryn was awesome and bought it for me. For Christmas. On her own Xbox account. I don’t even.

Divinity: Original Sin

Bought by Tarryn and I with the intention of making it our holiday “thing”, the game ate up many MANY hours of our short break. It looks and plays like a dream on the Xbox One, but if you are not a fan of turn based combat (like myself) perhaps an action RPG would be more your thing. But the story is deep, and the plot is predictably complex but interesting, so I have no regrets about this time sink.

Tarryn

RimWorld

It was one of those holiday impulse buys that was supposed to keep me occupied for about five minutes until I decided to go get drunk in the pool instead, but even now, more than a month later, I can’t stop playing it. The UI is clumsy, the game is unreasonably complicated and difficult, everything is going wrong, and I absolutely love it. Maybe because it’s so much like real life.

Divinity: Original Sin

I’ve also been playing this with Gareth, which I kind of expected to hate because I hate fantasy RPGs, except the ones I don’t hate. This one is okay, I suppose, because the elves in it are blatant assholes. I hate those smug, sanctimonious sort of elves even more than I hate fantasy RPGs, so they cancel each other out or something.

The Red Strings Club

Nuh-uh. I’ll tell you what I think in my review instead. COMING SOON OMG.

Henry

The Sims 4 – Console Edition

“The Sims is meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard,” said everyone. And yes, at first playing The Sims 4 with an Xbox One controller was a painful experience not unlike having a drain cleaner enema. But then it grabbed me. And wouldn’t let me go.

Stardew Valley

Do I even need to include this? It should go without saying, right? There’s something therapeutic about this game, like a soothing brain massage. But with pigs, and sunflowers, and this one smarmy ponce with green hair who keeps looking at my farmer dismissively.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

As unpolished as a caveman’s knobbly club, PUBG has to be the worst best game ever. I hate it. But then, just when I think I’m about to play FIFA or some other *proper game*, I find myself hiding in another attic with a stupid smile on my face.

Neo

The Witcher 3

Why not? In as far as creating rich, meaningful gaming experiences through a strong narrative and unique gameplay, few have been as compelling to me as The Witcher 3 since its release. Still looks great especially at 4K and all things turned up.

F1 2017

Simply because 2018 isn’t out yet. That said, I’m thinking perhaps this annual gaming model needs to die a slow and painful death, because I’m literally paying for the same thing repeatedly. It’s still the best game in the series, loads of fun with far more replay value than all previous titles.

Age of Empires 3 (Improvement Mod)

Don’t care for AoE 2 or the first game. This is the one l like because it’s simple, quick to get in and out of and immense fun either online or against the AI (yes I know that could apply to virtually all games). There’s something about building empires that’s appealing sans pillaging and mass genocide.

Wesley

Horizon Zero Dawn 

I received Horizon Zero Dawn as a Christmas present last year, and it’s taken all my concentration to stop playing it late at night so that I can sleep. I even think about it while I’m working, or washing the dishes, or reading The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman (which, BTW, is a prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy, in case any of you NAGlings are fans).

It’s not that the game is groundbreaking or unique – it’s actually neither of those things. It plays and runs just like any standard open-world action-RPG. But it’s the combination of everything from the mechanics, to the music, to the machines and the hunt, to Aloy’s journey both personally and character-wise that makes it so irresistible.

Len

Call Of Duty: WWII

I’ve always liked the COD franchise, although never really the online bullshit, so when WWII released, it was the single player that intrigued me. Setting the game on super l33t hardcore and taking FOREVER to finish it is what I love about this great first person shooter.

Tomb Raider

I’m a YouTube junkie and watched the new Tomb Raider movie trailer. Lara Croft is hot, you know. Don’t judge me, I’m playing a great old classic game with a hot character because I’m getting into the swing of seeing Lara on the big screen! Yum.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

I recently read an Assassin’s Creed novel and the next thing I knew, there I was… playing Black flag instead of PUBG. Although to be fair, I’ve probably spent more time on PUBG during the 60 days of January than the aforementioned.

Cheryl

Diablo 3 (Season 12)

In my opinion, Diablo 3 just never gets old. I’ve been playing it since its release, though I seem to only play the seasons. This is the only game that my whole family plays together. I’m currently working my way through the seasonal journey for that extra stash tab.  It would be great if Blizzard changed up the seasonal achievements a bit to give us something new to do each season. Variety keeps people interested, you know.

Stardew Valley

Started playing this in December, and it’s one of those games I classify as “a black hole for time”. I enjoy earning achievements, and I still have a few to unlock in this game. It’s great to play when I’m not in the mood for anything too stressful.

RimWorld (no, it’s not a porn movie)

Those fools Dane and Tarryn got me itching to play this with their Transmissions from RimWorld feature. This game constantly has me on the edge of my seat, because I never know what it’s going to throw at me next. Truth be told, quite a few colonists have died under my watch. Oops. I have an intense urge to make sure I beat this thing.

Michael 

I’ve been in deep personal discussions with myself most of December. I said at the start of the holidays I was going to jump into at least one new game a week and see how that went. Instead, I just kept playing the same games I have been for ages. There was a moment when my finger hovered over the “Install” button in Steam, but then it all felt like too much work – learning a new game, the keys and buttons and watching some introduction video I don’t really care about and… then… the tutorial in case I still don’t know how to crouch after 35 years of gaming. I might be a little cynical. The good news is that this year I’m going to actually be playing new games. I’m forcing myself. I swear.

ARK: Survival Evolved

But enough about my sad failings and onto what is eating up my alone time. ARK: Aberration, is DLC for ARK: Survival Evolved and boy, is it mean (good mean, but also mean). The usual lush tropical forests have been replaced with deadly mushroom biomes and bioluminescent radiation death zones. There are giant crabs, packs of ravaging dogs, reapers and a pile of small pets you need to provide light. No light and things start coming for you out the ground. The map is vertical so getting around is impossible until you get yourself a rock drake but then beware, the entire surface world burns during the day and steams at night. It’s crazy and fun and I spent most of December trying to farm gas and get red gems.

Kingdom: New Lands

Honourable mentions include Kingdom: New Lands which is a side-scrolling “work during the day and survive the night” old school looking survival game. It’s great and the difficulty balance is spot on.

Bridge Constructor Panel

I also installed Bridge Constructor Portal, laughed at the introduction and went no further because I got distracted by <an aberration>.

PUBG

Lastly, there’s always PUBG. I have a love-hate relationship with this game. The new desert map is fun and I got a chicken dinner on the second try* due to pure luck and then never again. I play one game a night then rage quit for 24 hours.

*I have a screenshot to prove it. [Didn’t supply the screenshot, though. – Ed.]

Lauren

Call Of Duty: WWII

I’m still loving Call of Duty: WWII. I haven’t had this much fun in a multiplayer COD game since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II! It’s an excellent “I’ve got half an hour to kill”, jump-in-jump-out frag fest. This past week they launched a new community event called The Resistance that adds a new division to the game as well as cool things to unlock with your Armory Credits. Plus there’s double XP for a couple of days, so I’m very close to being able to prestige again, yaaay!

League of Legends

I’ve also been doing my placement matches for League of Legends, as the new season for ranked play just started. Time to kick into high gear for that let’s-get-out-of-Bronze slog. Again.

ARK: Survival Evolved

On the ARK side of things, most weekends have been spent setting up a new base on the Aberration map and stealing Rock Drake eggs so we can hatch our own babies. Last Sunday we spent an entire day trying to get our survivors impregnated by a Reaper Queen, which didn’t go well at all. In fact, it was utter chaos trying to coordinate our strategy between the four of us. We also had an unfortunate incident whilst out on an exploration excursion which ended up with all our dinosaurs getting killed – and us dying and losing all the items in our inventory. Just another normal day in ARK really.