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What to play: Enhanced ‘Quake II,’ ‘Stray’ for Xbox and ‘Stray Gods’ are the top picks

What to play: Enhanced ‘Quake II,’ ‘Stray’ for Xbox and ‘Stray Gods’ are the top picks

It’s hard to release a game in the wake of a major blockbuster. That’s what publishers face this week, as they compete with “Baldur’s Gate 3.” Larian Studios’ massive role-playing game continues to dominate the conversation.

I’m still in the early parts of the game, not far off from the Early Access portion that came out in 2020. “Baldur’s Gate 3” is a game that will take weeks to finish, but if you don’t have that much time, consider playing these recently launched games.

‘Quake II’ (enhanced version)

Bethesda makes it feel more like the late 1990s than ever before. Along with a new “Baldur’s Gate,” fans are getting an enhanced rerelease of this id Software classic. Younger fans who may have missed this fight against the Strogg will have a chance to experience the fast-paced action that has become a hallmark of the series.

Those expecting a full revamp will be greeted with the classic visuals, meaning you won’t see high polygon models or artfully crafted textures. It’s charming in a way. This version of “Quake II” won’t be lacking for content as it includes two mission packs, the “Quake II 64” version and a new “Call of the Machine” expansion.

Play time: “Quake II” will likely take a weekend or a little longer to run through.

‘Stray’

This indie gem was one of the best titles to come out last year, and now, it’s available on the Xbox family of consoles. The game follows a cat that is separated from its friends and falls into a mysterious underground facility.

Players have to control the feline and find a way back to the surface. The kitty will have the help of a drone named B-12, which has secrets of its own. It’s a game that stays with you long after the credits roll, one filled with clever puzzles, exploration opportunities and beautiful level design.

Play time: This is a title that you can finish over the weekend, and it’s well worth your time if you haven’t played it before. You can read my review here.

‘Stray Gods’

Writer David Gaider made a name for himself with his work on “Dragon Age,” but in 2016, he left the company. Since then, he has worked on different projects before settling on this unusual take on an adventure title. “Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical” combines the popular theater genre with a style comparable to a Telltale game.

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Preview: New ‘Hello Kitty’ brings ‘Animal Crossing’ vibes to Apple Arcade

It’s definitely an unusual project, but one that’s worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode, “Once More, With Feeling,” which served as an inspiration, according to the developer in a Games Hub article.

Play time: The game is short and can be completed on a lazy Sunday afternoon.