Rut

I have ups and downs when it comes to my time with games. At this moment in time I’ve found myself in a bit of a gaming rut. I stopped doing the real life things I was doing after work to give myself more time to play games and to be honest, I wish I’d stuck to my routine. 

First was Mario Odyssey, which is such an easy to drop into game that I didn’t need an extra hour or two to play it and rushing through it was completely unnecessary. Then came Call of Duty: WW2 and I played it to the point of burning myself out. It doesn’t help that I’m at that point in life where the people I used to stay up all night playing Call of Duty games with all have real lives now. None of us can really stay up all night any more and these games are just not that fun alone. After that came Pokemon Ultra Sun. I didn’t rush through it, but I have finished it. It’s been something nice to play while I watch a TV series, or YouTube playlist. Finally I tried to play Nier: Automata. I bought it when it came out, despite being a bit wary of the way the game play looked and the fact that you can self destruct the girls clothes off. I played the intro mission and didn’t like the game play at all, so I put it down but with all the game of the year content that will be coming soon I wanted to see the apparently amazing story play out for myself. I jumped back in and turned the difficulty down to easy so I wouldn’t get frustrated by it. I did not expect the combat sections to play themselves. The spectacle of the game seems great and I do want to see the story, I’m just not sure I can put up with the game play for however many tens of hours to get through it. I might watch someone else play it, because I don’t think it’s for me.
I’ve been stuck a bit recently too because I want to play all the games I own. I’m awful for buying things and never playing them, because I just buy more. I have a backlog of stuff that I’m really interested in playing, but then I put 40 hours into Call of Duty because it’s easy to jump into. It’s right there, I don’t have to make a decision or learn something new. Then I look at the stuff coming out early next year. Dragon Ball FighterZ, Monster Hunter World, Ni No Kuni 2 and Shadow of the Colossus are all must have games, which will eat into time I could be playing through my backlog, or (hopefully not) will be bought and put aside for something I’m already playing. 
I’ve also found myself wanting to buy a PC. There’s a lot of backlog on my steam account and my laptop isn’t up to it. It’s close to death. I want to jump back on World of Warcraft, too, but again, if I do that, I will spend all my time playing it instead of something else. 
I’m stuck. I know that these moments pass and it’s a silly, good problem to have too many good things, but for right now it’s frustrating. 

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The Return pt.2

Following on from what I posted last, I wanted to briefly go over the three topics I mentioned.

Life: Work has been crazy, I feel like we’ve been busy since about May and it just keeps getting busier. There’s been maybe 3 quiet days in that time. It’s been tiring and stressful, which is maybe why my mental health hasn’t been in the best of shape recently. Other than that there are some things I’ve been trying to do, like exercising more and learning new languages, but obviously I have trouble sticking with anything for any extended period of time, so they’ve been pretty hit and miss…

Website: I tried setting up my own website. The hosting company I was using included a free trial to a website building app, and it wasn’t great so after the trial period I cancelled it, so I wasn’t paying them a ludicrous monthly fee. What they neglected to mention was that without being subscribed to it, I couldn’t use any of the stuff I’d made using it. So it’s just a blank page floating there in the internet ether. Good. Great.

Games: What a year for games. Good grief. There have been so many good games. I’ve played a bunch, and I will definitely be going into this in depth more in the near future once I look at what I’ve played and figure out how I feel about it. There’s still so much I need to play, too. I’ve been considering a self-imposed ban on buying anything new, but I’ll never stick to it…

Plus, 2018 looks like it’s also going to be great. 

The Return

A new Guacamelee and a new Spelunky are coming! What a time to be alive! This year has been ridiculously good for games and it seems like things are just going to get better.
As for my mission to play a game a week…Well, it didn’t go very well. I fell off of the updates after only 4 weeks, which is not a great look. The idea of it doesn’t really fit with how I play games, especially since Persona 5 came out shortly after I stopped updating and took over my life for a hundred and thirty hours, then Final Fantasy XII was re-released and I sunk another hundred hours into that. There’s been some life stuff going on. I attempted to build a website, too, and I still very much interested to follow through with the idea of it, just not in the way that I was going about it. 

I’ll try to touch on all of these things over the coming days on a little more depth. 

For now, just know that I’m back with improved chicken mechanics.

A Game A Week – Week Four

A Game A Week – Week Four

Welcome back to my weekly challenge to play a videogame. This is the fourth installment of a series that, I’m hoping, will bring me great joy, improved focus and better me as a person. Or maybe that’s just an excuse to justify buying and playing too many games. 

This week we’re taking a huge step forward. I did not play a game. I did not play the two games I had planned to. I played three games! This takes the tally up to six games in four weeks. As for how it affects the challenge – it doesn’t. I’m not going to count these as three weeks worth of games and will still endeavour to play one a week for the rest of the year. I simply couldn’t help myself this week.

It’s an open world bonanza with the latest Zelda, the brand new Horizon and, first up, a mystery surprise! Let’s get into it then. 

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands 

I will try to be as clear as possible, but my feelings are mixed about this game and it’s largely down to confusion. Firstly, it’s actually quite relaxing to drive or fly around the huge open world and attack the bases, outposts, etc. Once you’ve done the opening tutorial type mission, I think you’re free and able to go off and do what you want. I’ve spent the majority of my time flying around Bolivia collecting weapons and only occasionally doing story missions. In fact, I’ve only completed two of the twenty one(?) regions, story-wise. That said, I’m not sure this game is very good. There are parts that are so silly, you feel like they must be deliberately so and it works. Then there are the bits around it that can be so serious that I’m not sure what the actual tone of the game is. The game is built to be a tactical stealthy shooter, but enemies can just decide to hear suppressed gunfire or spot things through walls. Taking out a bases’ alarm doesn’t necessarily mean the alarm will no longer work and doing that, only to then hear the siren and the approaching attack helicopter is an awful experience. The AI teammates you have are incredibly powerful at range and you can spot targets for them to kill from hundreds of meters away, through walls, with no line of sight and with no one noticing, as long as they’ve been marked, yet in an all out gun-fight, they seem less than useless. It’s a bit of a mess and I’m glad that I, personally, can switch off, ignore all that and run around the open world playground.  

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This game is wonderful. I won’t get into the ins-and-outs of whether or not the game is perfect, or as good as the reviews are making it out to be, but this is the game I’ve spent the most time with over the last week, easily and by some margin. It’s really pleasant to explore the world that they’ve built. I’m firmly in the camp of people that aren’t frustrated by the mechanics of the stamina and inventory systems, though the cooking could be a little better managed. The game doesn’t hold your hand and it tries to give you the most open open-world it can. If you want to ignore all the story fluff and march straight into the final area of the game, you can. If you want to climb a mountain over in the distance and see what’s at the top, you probably can. Equipment and abilities will make your journey easier, but the chances are that if you want to do something in the game, you can. It also serves up a healthy dose of your typical Zelda game with dungeons, puzzles, lovely music and returning places and faces. It ticks all the right boxes for me.

It’s another game that I don’t want to be too specific about because the things that happen, the things you do, help to build up your own personal story and adventure and I feel that the best way to experience it is to play it for yourself. 

It’s a huge game, but what makes it magical are the little things that they’ve given so much attention. They are surprising, many and serve to make the game thoroughly enjoyable. 

Horizon: Zero Dawn 

Horizon is the game I’ve spent the least amount of time with this week, which is a shame, because it seems very well made. What it does, it does very well and it looks fantastic. I’m not sure I like the non-bow combat very much, but I think I might be doing it wrong. To this point I have managed to get by on stealth and frantic melee. The last couple of side quests I’ve done have seemed like I might need to start planning my attacks better, along the lines of a Hitman game (or actually hunting?), using the environment, tools and my wits to exploit enemy weaknesses rather than just bashing everything with a spear 

I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes, how the gameplay evoles and discovering more of the machines, which have been fairly varied so far.

Week Five – Night in the Woods 

After a heavy week of big hitters, I’m going to settle things back down with the indie darling of the moment. I don’t know how long the game is, but hopefully I can finish it this week while I continue to play around with the others. It looks lovely and I’m excited to see how it goes.  


Quite a long one this week, expect normal service to resume next week. Thanks and take care!

A Game A Week – Week 2

A Game A Week – Week 2

My gaming goal for the year is to play a new game every week. It doesn’t sound like much, but it should mean I get through more than 40 games this year. This will not only start putting a dent in my (somehow ever-expanding) backlog of games, but hopefully give me a bit of focus and direction in my free time. It’s so easy to lose that time and indecision only makes it worse. Flitting between 5 minutes of this and that, or zoning out completely because you can’t make a choice and the day passing you by.

Two weeks in and I have now played two games. This week was a close run thing. I just about managed the five hours that I had set myself as a minimum. It’s probably not a good sign that I’m hitting that lower limit as early as week two, but I got there and that’s what counts!

Undertale 

I don’t want to talk about the game too much because, honestly, I think that it’s one of those games that you have to actually play yourself to experience it. It’s wonderfully charming, full of character and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s very clearly been lovingly crafted and I feel bad that I could not get on with it at all. 

I didn’t finish the game in those five hours. It was hard work motivating myself to play all week and I couldn’t work out why until I reached a particular boss and found that I simply could not be bothered to play anymore. I feel that the art style of Undertale sums the game up perfectly. It’s cute but there’s not really anything there. It seems very linear and while there’s a little more to the turn based combat than just picking an attack, it’s not much more. It’s nice, but it’s dull.

Perhaps I simply don’t get it.

Game #3: Final Fantasy IX 

To celebrate 30 years of Final Fantasy and the fact that it released on Steam last year, I’m going to play my favourite game in the series. Expect plenty of gushing about it because I love this game!