Red Dead Redemption 2
I'm only on Chapter 2. I'm taking it at a pretty slow pace, trying for some sort of completionist playthrough. I will definitely have something to say after I'm done. For now, I think the hand-wringing over the controls is dumb and wrong, and I think the game is even more beautiful than God of War on a moment-to-moment basis. GoW so far still my GotY tho.
I haven't played many AAA single-player games in years, so whatever this game does in relation to the rest of the open-world game design, I am not aware of it. Nonetheless, the questing is fun and mostly straightforward, the combat feels weighty and mostly decent, and the dialogue is written excellently.
Because I need a puzzle game in my life. Pretty good Switch game for when Youtube videos are playing and I want to chill. Improving at this game is rewarding, more about pattern recognition and a deliberate process of elimination. A great change-of-pace from much of my daily life, where little of my brain needs to be engaged on a moment-to-moment basis.
Slay the Spire
I just started playing, but I regret it not being on Switch already. I'm not much for roguelikes but I enjoy the planning and strategy and I expect the game is even better deeper into a playthrough. I'm interested to see how the game changes with new characters and in the future.
I have 3 max Power characters and many completions of the Last Wish raid, multiple in under an hour. I have most of the reasonably obtainable exotics in the game. Trying to grind PvP for the Luna's Howl pistol but the competitive mode Countdown is literally the worst gametype I have ever played in a competitive FPS.
I've only been playing since May but it has consumed hundreds of hours of my time since then, and the gameplay is among the best of any FPS I have ever played in a PVE sense. Unfortunately, the PVP modes are not well-realized (though they are fun, to a degree). The newest mode Gambit is one of the better attempts Bungie has made to translate the fun of Destiny gameplay into a more competitive environment but its metagame has stalled out and needs more responsiveness from Bungie in order to continue to be compelling in the long-term.
Looking to the future, I am eager to see if Bungie can improve the non-raid aspects of the game. While the raids have been at the forefront of game design in FPS in recent years, other developers are going to challenge Destiny's place as the best looter-shooter in the coming year and it must continue to improve for the hardcore crowd to stick around.
Twin Peaks: The Return
David Lynch at his Lynchiest. Takes the surreal elements of the 90s show and cranks them up to 11, slowing the pace down to an absolute crawl but creating a compellingly unsettling atmosphere that maintains enough tension to keep the show interesting so far. Food for my artistic brain, which craves plot elements that defy conventional "analysis" that strips away all of the fun of contemporary media consumption.
Been a bit since I watched an episode, but this show is a nice pick-me-up and always puts a smile on my face. It's cosy and fun and not at all to be taken seriously. Interesting premise that may run its course quickly, but has thus far carried the narrative well.
Movies with Mikey
A series on the channel FilmJoy, made by former Gearbox developer-turned-Youtuber Mikey Neumann. His ever-optimistic perspective is a celebration of the achievements of moviemaking, highlighting important, emotionally powerful films that deserve, at the very least, your consideration, if not your time. His personal story is also compelling, and he brings a side of himself to the writing and editing process that really makes his format unique among people that discuss media on the internet.
A politically-minded channel that is always mindful of the interplay between media and culture, commenting not only on games and movies but also on the state of discourse itself in an attempt to point out rhetorical strategies that serve underhanded purposes.
A longtime video-essayist critically examining pop culture. Her recent 3-part series on the making of The Hobbit trilogy is quite amazing. Her thorough research and discussion of the circumstances under which these films were produced is perhaps my favorite thing of 2018.
If Beale Street Could Talk
The newest film by the director of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins. I've heard good things about it so far, and since his previous film was among the most powerful experiences that I have had the pleasure of being present for, I can only hope that the magic carries into this next offering.
Another amazing director, again following up a career-defining film in 12 Years a Slave. This movie, I've heard, is a concession to the industry at large, more Hollywood than anything else Steve McQueen has yet made, but still maintains a high level of quality that one expects from a director of his stature.