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"Outer Wilds" is a space-explorer game released in 2019 that allows the gamer to play as an alien in an alternate universe.

It’s been several months since the release of Microsoft and Sony’s next-generation consoles, and it’s fair to say that both companies have found success in selling them. However, with that success comes the nearly impossible task of actually acquiring one of these consoles. Digital storefronts are selling out within minutes upon restock, and this trend doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. To make the wait a little less tedious for consumers, here are last generation’s best games to catch up on.

“Yakuza: Like a Dragon” 

The “Yakuza” series is known for it’s absurd “beat 'em up” approach to the action-adventure genre. Normally, players are in close quarters throwing chairs and using anything in the near vicinity to beat their opponent to a pulp. “Yakuza: Like a Dragon” carries on the legacy of wielding furniture as weapons but replaces the combat with a strategic turn-based system. 

Players will control a party of four as they progress through the story as a former member of the Tojo clan. Its down-to-earth characters, hilarious dialogue and hours of content make it an unforgettable playthrough. If one hasn’t played a “Yakuza” game, then “Like a Dragon” is a great place to start. 

“Outer Wilds”

Not to be confused with Obsidian’s “Outer Worlds,” “Outer Wilds'' is a quaint space-explorer that gives freedom to the player while they survey the universe as an adorable nameless alien. From the jump, players will be flying spaceships to nearby planets, roasting marshmallows with fellow companions and listening to the acoustic tunes of the ever-expanding universe. 

The story focuses on a detective-like journey as the player’s sent off to discover what caused the disappearance of an advanced race of aliens. The order in which the player stumbles upon these secrets is left up to them. Overall, “Outer Wilds” is a quirky adventure that sets itself apart in the space-exploration genre. 

“Pyre”

“Pyre” is by far my personal favorite to make it on this list. It’s developed by SuperGiant Games — the same developer behind the popular roguelike “Hades” — and released back in 2017. It’s an RPG with simulation elements, and even a bit of sports involved, but trust me when I say that players will be in tears by the time they end their playthrough.

“Pyre” puts the player in charge of an exile that soon realizes they must fight to earn their way out from the underworld. The player will party up with the characters they meet as they travel and participate in “Rites” while they fight for their chance of redemption. The ultimate sacrifice is deciding which exiles make it out and which don’t. It’s a journey that few games stand to par with, and there isn’t a better time to experience it. 

“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”

At this point, if anyone hasn’t attempted a playthrough of “The Witcher 3,” then buying the next generation of consoles should be at the end of the to-do list. Jokes aside, “The Witcher 3” is a third-person open-world RPG that follows the life of Geralt — a wandering beast-slayer that never has a dull day — and most certainly is a must-play. Between meaningful dialogue choices, exploring several open-worlds, turning in severed monster heads for a hefty set of coins and playing the role of a father, “The Witcher 3” does it all. 

“Detroit: Become Human”

Quantic Dream — developers of “Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls” — quietly released “Detroit: Become Human” in 2018. It didn’t receive as much recognition as I’d argue it deserved, but in all fairness, that year had an unusual amount of critically successful AAA games. “Become Human” is a decision-based interactive adventure that explores thought-provoking topics in a world struggling with the definition of humans and human rights.

The player will control three different characters that align on opposing sides of a civil war. Each decision the player makes will have ramifications, and dealing with these ramifications is the name of the game. Make one wrong choice and one of the three protagonists might not make it to the next mission, as each character can die at any point along the journey. 

Hopefully this list provided a couple games to fill the extra hours while waiting for those new shiny boxes to arrive. Even if the next generation is upon us, gamers shouldn’t forget about the stories still waiting to be enjoyed on the older consoles. Until next time, game on my friends. 

Contact Daniel Carter at carte3dt@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.