February is a short month, not just in the obvious way but there’s something about the first quarter of the year that just kinda zips by, for me at least. I’m sure my gaming habits have a negligible impact on my perception of the passage of time though!
Last month I mentioned that I played Persona 5, Battle Chef Brigade and, Dead by Daylight so I’ll go easy when it comes to talking about two of those. Since this month is the first birthday of the Switch, I’ll probably skim over the details of the Switch games I’ve played this past month.
When it comes to Persona 5, I definitely beat that game in January but I continued on to do a second playthrough which I completed earlier in February. I still can’t call it complete though since I’m still missing four trophies. I don’t fight enough to have heard 250 of Futaba’s combat lines, I’ve missed out on a few requests at some point and it took me way too long to realize that I could probably just Lucky Punch the later treasure demons. I’ll probably do one more playthrough this year for that damned platinum. As for Battle Chef...I got stuck during the first of the three showdowns between the three master chefs in...chapter 3 I think so I’ve put the game down for the time being. There are times when Match 3 games just get to be too much for me and BCB definitely got me this time.
February 5th was my birthday and on that day I got a pair of fighting games! Dissidia and Dragon Ball. I’ve played both online, I’ve played the story mode of both (a bit, I’m nowhere near done with either of them), and I’ve definitely concluded which of the two I prefer. Dragon Ball FighterZ takes me right back to 2003 or 2004 when I used to play Guilty Gear XX on the Xbox: The animations are smooth, the combat is fun, the combo tutorials actually helped me learn how to play the damn game. My being less familiar with Dragon Ball Super kind of helps me get into the story of FighterZ too; most of the past Dragon Ball games I’ve played have essentially just been ‘the anime but with a clone arc’. Yeah, there’s a clone arc here but the soul swapping thing feels neat. I like the base roster of this game too, it’s not overwhelmingly large and I’ve had fun online beating people up as characters who can’t transform like Krillin and Yamcha.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT feels incomplete and strangely bloated in places. I haven’t seen much of the story yet but I’m sure it’s going to be grand and sweeping and it’s going to take a long time to unlock everything...but that’s about the only thing that really seems complete. To unlock story and character progression tokens, you have to either play in 3v3 free for alls or 3v3 ‘lets go kill that rock’ matches. It’s refreshing to play a 3D fighting game again since it’s easier to keep track of who you’re fighting against like this verses when you’re having the same kind of fights on a 2D plane. Unfortunately, the ‘let’s fight a rock’ type of match feel a little boring since it’s so easy to just ignore everybody and fight the enemy team’s pet rock. Unless it’s been patched within a few hours of me posting this, this is all you really get to do in Dissidia NT and after a few matches it’s just completely lost me. The characters I’ve played as feel different sure but I wish there was more to do with these characters. Why can’t I have 1v1? 2v2? 3v1? Ultimecia, Sephiroth and, Kefka are available right out of the box, let me put them in a party and fight against a hyper-powered Shantotto or better yet, a crippled Shantotto because I strongly dislike FF11. I also feel like the tutorials don’t tell you as much as they could but I think that might just be a symptom of the combat system being a little more complicated than it needs to be: Special abilities and switching my targets for example took a lot longer for me to understand than it really should have.
(Steiner DLC or I riot)
Right after beating Persona 5 for the second time I jumped right into the free for February games available on PS+. My plan was to get a free and easy platinum and then slog through a much worse game. This hasn’t happened yet because I just really can’t get 100% into Rime. Rime is a really pretty game, it reminds me of Wind Waker. The puzzles are challenging without being unfair and I do like how many of them directly affect the world around you. The pigs are adorable but this game reminds me a lot of Repo the Genetic Opera. How you ask? This game is made up of things that I should really like, pretty cell shading, fun puzzles, Paris Hilton losing her face in front of a laughing crowd, but I just can’t completely get invested in it and I can’t put into words what that is. One of the problems is how slowly the main character moves but that’s more of an annoyance than anything. Platforming feels slow but it’s not infuriating like platforming in Shadow of the Colossus. I see myself beating this game this month but I don’t plan on playing it later today.
Knack was the other free Playstation game I downloaded and have been playing. I haven’t beaten it but that’s mainly because it’s been busy beating on me. I’m playing on normal and I’m surprised how hard all of the enemies have been hitting me; this is a game meant for children, right? At times it feels like the Darkbourne of kids games because if you can’t dodge-roll away from an enemy attack you’re likely to lose 7’8ths of your total HP. Other than getting my ass caved in (or maybe because of it) I actually feel pretty good about Knack. This is a game about an evil weapons manufacturer teaming up with a spunky archeologist for the sole purpose of eliminating the entire Troll race from the planet (I think, I’ve been skipping all of the cutscenes and this is the story I’ve pieced together) and I’m kinda, sorta hooked. I see myself beating this game for the first time within my next few sessions playing it. I know there are a lot of post-game trophies to unlock and I might look into them but I don’t see myself bending over backwards to platinum this game. This game is a pleasant surprise but overall the inconsistencies and implied evil of the main character are enough to keep me from playing this game for more than an hour and a half or two hours at a time. There’s also the issue that scale never seems to matter here; sure Knack gets bigger as the level progresses but so do the enemies so it doesn’t even really matter when you get right down to it.
(Evil, evil creature...)
Back over to the Switch now, there were a couple of demos that caught my eye this month and the first of them was the demo for Aeterno Blade...I think. It seemed interesting from the screenshots but it looked very mobile-phone like. Do I remember the plot? No but I do recall time manipulation being a gameplay mechanic that’s used in a similar way as it is in the Prince of Persia trilogy from the mid 2000’s. Did you make a fatal mistake? No problem just turn back time! The demo itself presented the game as a sort of Castlevania style, ‘here’s a big map that you’ll see more of as you get new abilities’ type of thing. I ended up quitting after about 20 minutes though because of how slow and clunky movement, combat and, interaction with in-world environments felt. I didn’t hate this demo but it would take a pretty deep discount to really entice me.
Did I mention that last month was my Birthday because it was my birthday last month and one of my roommates gifted me a copy of the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy! For the sake of staving off burnout I didn’t play through all of it yet and indeed, I’ve only booted up the first of the three games in this package. I haven’t beaten it yet but I only have 2 bosses left to take care of and a ton of crystals to collect and time trials to do and...geeze I have a lot to do in that first Crash Bandicoot but compared to how I did with it as a kid I’m way, far ahead...this is mainly because I only ever owned Crash 2 as a kid. I definitely don’t see myself getting the platinum in any of the Crash games in this trilogy: I’ve mostly come to grips with the controls here but I still find it hard to get through most levels without dying at least once. If there isn’t a way of speeding up Crash’s running speed I don’t see myself coming anywhere close to getting the time trial keys either. I’m definitely going to be completing this game at the very least though since the core experience is a lot of fun.
(I feel the same way Crash)
I only saw it once and that was all I needed, oh yes, and now I know this is what I’ve been looking for and only it’ll do. I haven’t slept for days, can’t focus on anything, it’s always on my mind and God it’d be so kind if it would let me be. For my entire life I never knew what turn-based, precision shooting could be like but now I’ve felt its touch and it’s far too much to keep exclusively on PC. It feels like I’m...not actually playing Steamworld Heist but hanging out at bars so that I can listen to more Steam Powered Giraffe. Listening to more of the Steam Man Band is what’s getting me through the narrative of this game and I’m going to be miffed, nettled even, if I can’t eventually recruit The Spine, Bunny Bennett, Cogsworth, etc onto my crew of cowbots. I’ve really enjoyed the gameplay of course, I have a big spot in my heart for turn-based gameplay and applying it to shooting like this game does is a ton of fun. Even if I wasn’t a fan of Steam Powered Giraffe I’d still really love this game. No, I haven’t beaten this game yet...I don’t think I beat anything this month to be now that I think about it.
(I seriously love this band...this is an old video by the way)
Bulb Boy was an impulse buy from either early in February or late in January. It’s been on my wishlist for a while and once it went on sale I swooped in and picked it up. I wasn’t entirely sure what this game was, even after watching the trailer a couple of times but it became clear very soon after I booted the game up. I got mostly what I was expecting; I’m playing as a living light bulb whose body doesn’t seem to matter since it can unscrew its head and toss it onto in-world objects to manipulate them or else to simply travel around the game world. From what I’ve seen so far (have I mentioned that I haven’t beaten anything this month yet?) Bulb Boy is a game about something strange happening in your neighborhood and Bulb Boy questing to find his missing grandfather by solving point-and-click logic and inventory puzzles. So why haven’t I beaten this game yet? I’m not using a guide and I was killed multiple times by a huge, headless thing. I’m pretty sure it’s the first thing that’s actually capable of harming me too. I see myself going by a guide the next time I play Bulb Boy but I would still recommend it because of the art style alone. It reminds me of what you would get if you were to ask John Kricfalusi to make a point and click game.
(A game about happy things and nothing else)
Another game that I’ve got on my Switch wishlist is Chromagun which I knew nothing about but from the screenshots and videos I’ve seen, it looks like budget Portal. The Switch eShop recently launched a demo for Chromagun and I was 100% right. Of course it’s not portals your shooting but colors which stick to specific bits of wall and specific in-world objects. The demo is mostly just getting through doors by mixing colors correctly and not being killed by spiky-orbs. By looking at the right things at the wrong time I’ve definitely seen some splits in the seams of this game (specifically, I loved looking at the skybox when I was able to) but I do see myself buying this game once it goes on sale eventually.
I feel like most of what I played this month, and a big blame figure for why I never finished Knack or Crash or any of the other games on this list, is Dead by Daylight on the PS4. I might have mentioned last month that Dead by Daylight has two modes of play; one where you play as a survivor whose job it is to activate 5 generators so that you can open one of 2 big doors so as to escape OR, you play as a killer and kill survivors by whacking them twice then putting them on a hook until God takes them away on its many spider-like limbs. I’m playing the base game so I don’t have access to Michael Myers, Leatherface, or Freddy Kruger (unless I’m playing on my roommates’ PS4 that is) but even the base game offers killers who each feel unique and are fun to play as. The three I’ve mostly played as as the Doctor (who can make survivors scream, thus giving away their locations), the trapper (who can trap people in place using bear traps) and, the nurse who can teleport like Corvo of Dishonored fame. As you play and do just about anything in game you get blood-points which are used to level up your characters and earn items and abilities to use in future matches. The survivors all have different passive abilities that can be unlocked but I’ve found that for the most part, they play very similarly to one another. When I roll an 18 or higher for perception I can see that I’ve spent hours playing one of two very samey games but there’s still a fun factor there for me and I see myself continuing to play Dead by Daylight in March, in April, maybe even farther on in the future. Hopefully Starbreeze will surprise Switch owners with a Dead by Daylight Switch port and the ability to play as one of the ghosts from Ju On or some such thing.
(Dead by Daylight!)
The last game I started on this, the month of my birth was Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I didn’t actually get it until the 23rd or 24th thanks to a coupon I got from Gamestop (a much more useful coupon than the one Nintendo gave me). At this point I’ve only put about 5 or 6 hours into it so I’m roughly 3% into the game at this point (I think). As a game, I really don’t see much to praise here because I hate, HATE MMO style RPGs. What I mean by that is, I hate auto-attack that results in your character attacking the air but it still hit because the numbers say so. This is why I never beat the original Xenoblade Chronicles and it’s why I spent just under a hundred hours in Xenoblade Chronicles X. You know what I do like? I like garbage anime and in the very first chapter I got a pretty heavy dose of garbage anime goodness. People might be complaining about old memes being in Black Panther but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 literally features a character teleporting behind another character, impaling that character and saying “No hard feelings kid” like we’re back in 2002. The character designs are ridiculous (I see you Tetsya Nomura), the areas I’ve seen so far are really cool to look at, and the story has me hooked. Xenoblade Chronicles X had me hooked early on too and I’m a bit worried that 2 might turn out to be another X eventually: For me, I liked the plot of X a lot less as that plot unfolded. By the time X ended, I had come to just dislike the story so hopefully the same won’t happen with XC2. I’m a bit worried about XC2 because there’s not a tangible reward to work towards like the Skells in XCX...or so I thought before I made my first core crystal thing. Apparently that’s the big thing this time around and my first one just kinda looks like the MK.II Iron Man suit but with laser gauntlets. There’s no way in Hell I’m going to have beaten this game by the end of March but I’m definitely going to be working on this game for a long time.
(I don't know if this is a real thing that actually happens but I really hope it is)
I have mixed feelings about March...I’m definitely going to be tight on cash this month because I owed money on my taxes this year but I hope at the very least to pick up the new Kirby and possibly Fear Effect Sedna. PS Plus is offering Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank as their main 2 and since it’s probably going to be vanilla Bloodborne, I guess I won’t have to worry about going back to Yharnam this month. Other than that I have a lot to occupy my time this month. If I can put Dead by Daylight down long enough I might even be able to beat a game or two from this month before I start something new like the garbage man that I am.
(He's not angry?!)