Valorant, Elden Ring, And The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim As Games To Play During The Dry Season

What can you play during the dry season of video game releases?

The game never stops.

The summer of 2022 has been a somewhat dry season for video game releases. That much is clear to anyone who actively plays games, but it is still a little surprising given how stacked full of major releases the first part of the year was. Periods without many notable game releases like this used to be a more common occurrence, but they had almost faded away in recent years thanks to the sheer abundance of games being released.

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Now, perhaps as a side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic catching up with video game development, it feels like almost every new game is being delayed by some amount. At this point, many of the most exciting games on the horizon have already been pushed into 2023, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything for gamers to do in the meantime. During this quieter downtime, there are plenty of video game activities to keep players entertained.


Tackling that backlog

It’s probably an obvious thought for many gamers, but the dry season has resulted in a perfect time to visit games in your backlog. Anyone who has been gaming for a moderate amount of time is likely to have built up a backlog of video games that they want to play but just haven’t had the time to do so. You might be collecting free games on the Epic Games Store each week, buying some insanely cheap games on one of Steam’s various sales, or perhaps claiming the games that are included with an Amazon Prime subscription.

Whatever the case may be, now would be the perfect time to go back through your collection and try to finish what you can without the pressure of having to keep up with the most exciting new releases. There is no Elden Ring right now, so there’s no need to worry about the fear of missing out.

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If you have a moderate to large backlog, tackling it can still feel like a daunting task. Decision paralysis is a real thing, and knowing where to begin is half the battle. We’d recommend checking out websites such as HowLongToBeat, or searching for a full playthrough of a game on YouTube to get a sense of how long each game in your backlog will take you to finish. Using the length of games to decide the order you tackle them is a perfectly valid method for experiencing your acquired collection for the first time.

Another approach is to follow the recommendations of friends or video game outlets about must-play titles that you may have missed over the years. There’s never a bad time to play Portal for the first time, after all. However you decide to tackle it, the backlog isn’t going anywhere. It can be fun to enjoy games without the surrounding pressure of their critical reception or the zeitgeist among players.

Replay the old classics

Sometimes, the desire to start something brand new is intimidating. It’s much easier to find comfort going back to a familiar game you’ve already enjoyed in the past. When that’s the mood that strikes you, then there is no reason not to replay some of your favorite games in this dry season. Altering your gameplay approach, your allocated skill points, or even the difficulty can often dramatically change how it feels to do a playthrough of a game you thought you were familiar with.

In narrative-based games, you might want to make different decisions to see how the story will diverge from what you experienced the first time around. Perhaps you missed an optional side quest that you want to go back to in the hopes that it unlocks an item or weapon you never used before. Some games, like the Resident Evil series, often reward players with special items, weapons, and costumes for replaying games on New Game+ multiple times. And they can be well worth that extra effort. You might even want to go for the satisfaction of a 100% completion rating.

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On the other hand, it’s completely fine to replay a game without trying to intentionally mix up your gameplay experience. There’s a certain feeling of satisfaction achieved when carving your way through a game that you know like the back of your hand. That might mean trying to go for a run where you take no damage or romancing your favorite Mass Effect companion for the umpteenth time. This feeling of mastery over a game could even make someone inclined to check out speedrunning communities around that title, which would be another way to discover even more about a game you thought you knew inside and out.

Beyond the comforting feeling of replaying a game in your desired way, it’s entirely possible to come across some story details or lore you missed the first time, which only further enhances your appreciation for its narrative. Finally, we’d be remiss to not mention how much value mods can add to replaying older games. It might be as simple as changing your character model in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to Thomas the Tank Engine or playing with a lightsaber, but it can also involve checking out a huge fan-made expansion with new areas and enemies to discover.

The thrill of multiplayer

Gamers may enjoy revisiting games or trying out new titles in their backlog during the dry season. But, there are also times when trying something new feels daunting, and going back to a classic feels like time you could be spending elsewhere. In that case, why not check out a multiplayer game? There’s a huge variety of multiplayer offerings out there and not all of them are focused on being as competitive as possible. Battle royales such as Fortnite can be a fun time because of how many new gameplay features and map changes are being added to the game with every new event, season, or crossover.

If you’re in the mood for something more competitive, it’s easy enough to hop into free titles like Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone. And if you’re really looking for a challenge, then try a fighting game or a free-to-play shooter like Valorant or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, though these are a lot harder to master.

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For more cooperative experiences, it’s hard to go wrong with the feeling of taking down a monster as a team in Monster Hunter: World or Monster Hunter Rise. Resident Evil 5 still has one of the best cooperative campaign experiences to this day. But for some added intensity to the zombie experience, why not try out more frantic team-based shooters like Left 4 Dead or the more recent Back 4 Blood? That said, having tense experiences with your friends and online strangers may not be to everyone’s liking. In that case, some cooperative survival games like Minecraft or Valheim could be just the ticket. Games like these let players flex their creative muscles in a more relaxed setting, but there are still enough threats to raise the tension every so often.

There are plenty of ways to spend your time during the dry season of video game releases, and each of them is equally valid. Just because there are far fewer exciting releases coming out, doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of games to enjoy.

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Chirag Pattni
Chirag is a writer at PC Invasion. He's been passionate about Halo, Metal Gear Solid, and The Legend of Zelda for as long as he can remember, and he enjoys all things anime.