Video games for your quaran-time

On March 20, 2020, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” and “Doom: Eternal,” two highly anticipated games, released just in time for gamers to experience both realms to the fullest. Read both reviews to understand the allure and appeal of the two worlds that collided on that fateful release date.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons or DOOM Eternal?

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“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” — your quarantine getaway

“Animal Crossing” is back just in time to provide an island retreat for players who are ultimately stuck at home. “New Horizons” launched just as we settled into quarantine, and the game has provided comfort and creativity during these uncertain times. The new game, available only on the Nintendo Switch console, features some of our favorite characters from the previous releases on the “Animal Crossing” franchise such as Tom Nook and Isabelle, who help keep your new island in tip-top shape.

In the game, days and seasons pass in real time. From April 1 to 12, a spring event took place, culminating with the special appearance of Zipper T. Bunny on Bunny Day— the colorful “Animal Crossing” version of Easter. Currently, Nature Day activities are taking place from April 23 to May 4.

As players settle into island life, players can take out a seemingly never-ending home loan from the infamous capitalistic tycoon himself, Tom Nook, to expand their house. The houses are completely customizable—players can change anything from the color of the roof and the style of the front door to all the furniture within.

To pay off those debts, the “Animal Crossing” currency, bells, can be acquired in almost any way one chooses—want to shake trees to sell the island’s native fruit? Or chop the trees down for different types of wood? Perhaps catching bugs or fish with the craftable tools is more your style. Once players have collected or crafted items, they simply head over to Timmy and Tommy Nook, who will purchase their items from them—no questions asked.

For the collectors out there, this game offers a stunning museum, complete with countless rooms and exhibits for the player and villagers to enjoy. Bugs, fish, pieces of art and fossils are accepted by the museum curator, an owl named Blathers. Watching the museum displays look more full every day makes New Horizon fans feel as if their contributions to society are making a huge difference.

As for the creative players, they can design anything from clothing to face paint for their character. Eventually, these designs can be placed in the Able Sisters shop and can be shared with others all around the world with a Creator Code.

The villagers on the island will often commend their Resident Representative—you— for their hard work, chasing them around to give them DIY recipes or items that, let’s face it, the Representative will likely go and sell— sorry Vic, no one is in need of a kettle. Once designs are in the shop, the villagers will be seen sporting them around the island every once in a while. The little celebrations after new businesses open on the island are as adorable as video game celebrations of animals could ever be.

With those celebrations in mind, in-game graphics have come a long way since the first edition in 2001. In all fairness, the first one did come out 19 years ago—but it’s safe to say, the graphics and characters in “New Horizons” appear much less cursed.

And of course, while in quarantine and being unable to see your friends in real life, run on over to the island’s airport and connect to the internet to be able to visit friends’ islands—and if your native fruit is different than theirs, you can profit heavily from this trip.

Though the game may seem quite repetitive and directionless after the initial tutorial mode, there are simple ways to avoid gaming fatigue. The in-game smartphone offers objectives for players to complete for a reward of NookMiles, which they can then use to further island-building ventures, decorate and visit other islands.

The customization aspect is what keeps most players going—after reaching a three-star rating for your island and having the infamous K.K. Slider play a show, players are able to move buildings around, build paths and create new waterways and stairways—even though most changes come with substantial fees via Tom Nook. Specific island styles and aesthetics can easily be found on Instagram, which makes inspiration easy to come by—and the community has been nothing but supportive: want a certain fruit? Ask someone to visit their island. Want an obscure furniture item? Visit someone’s island and trade them for it.

It’s safe to say I’m qualified—I’ve racked up over 100+ hours of gameplay and downloaded the game the moment it dropped on March 20. But during this dreary time, this game brings quite a bit of light. It offers an incentive to complete tasks and a chance to be with my friends. The cute and cheery aspects of the game are sure to brighten anyone’s day.

The utopic island getaway gamers spend time creating for themselves fills a void in their psyche as they continue to build and grow. It’s not just a pointless game where they work into all hours of the night until they capture and sell tarantulas to two raccoon-like creatures—it’s a game where creativity shines and cute animals thrive.

By Rahima Baluch

Doom Eternal: Guns, Gore and Collectible Toys

“Doom: Eternal” is not a game for the faint of heart or stomach. Released on March 20, 2020 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC, it is an incredibly violent first-person shooter with an emphasis on fast, close-quarters gameplay and brutal action. The player takes the role of the iconic Doom Slayer, a mysterious green-armored soldier who does nothing but kill demons.

The game’s story offers just enough structure to keep a consistent narrative, letting the gameplay speak for itself. Hell’s demons are attempting to take over Earth and the only person who can save humanity is the Doom Slayer (nicknamed Doomguy by fans). As the player travels across a multitude of alternate dimensions, the game explains the Doom Slayer’s story and the demons he fights. However, paying attention to this is optional. The incredible fast-action fight scenes will leave the player wanting to skip past the dialogue and get to another combat arena as soon as possible. It plays like a quicker version of its Doom predecessors, which were extremely fast-paced. The player is now more agile; they are able to dash in midair and double jump. The new grappling hook allows players to pull themselves towards an enemy for one of the game’s famously over-the-top violent melee takedowns. The weapons have significantly less ammunition than the first game, adding another level of frantic action as the player is forced to constantly search for more bullets.

Outside of combat, the game includes some light platforming and plenty of secrets to find. Each level has cheat codes, toy versions of all the different types of enemies and more, hidden well enough to be challenging to find, but not frustrating. The most notable of these secrets, however, is the secret battle arenas called ‘slayer gates.’ There are six hidden across the game, and upon completing all of them, the player can unlock a powerful extra weapon to use. Searching for secrets is a welcome addition to the downtime between fights, and keeps the player interested even outside of combat.

“Doom Eternal” is a great game, improving upon its prequel in almost every way and treating the player to an extremely polished shooter experience that is hard to match. The game is highly replayable with all the secrets to find and is just as engaging the second time through as the first. The game has a massive amount of content and will keep players entertained for hours.

Disclaimer: This game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. It is not intended for players 17 and under. Nordic News does not endorse underage gameplay of Doom: Eternal.

By Gabe Kramer