It’s May and if I’m being completely honest April was kind of a garbage month for me. In order to remedy the anxiety I have due to never having much money, I got myself a second job for about a week before I realized that I’d rather beg my current employers for more hours than risk slipping a disk in a warehouse. Even without the specter of capitalism haunting my psyche, my fragile grey matter has been very bothersome to me over the past month but I’m pretty sure this is just a side-effect of the seasons finally, finally starting to change. Thank goodness I have a sizeable backlog of games to distract myself from the frankly absurd fears my brain is telling me I should have! So, what games DID I play over this past month?
It seems to be a theme that I play at least 2 demos per month, if only to seem relevant and keep up the appearance that I’m keeping up with current gaming titles. This month, I played the demos for Metroplois Lux: Obscura on the Switch and Detroit Become Human on the PS4. I played Lux on the 1st and Detroit on the 30th so I guess I’ll start with that demo for Obscura! I was interested when I saw it listed on the eShop but the demo raised some questions at first. It looked like a motion comic in the vein of Sin City and frankly that didn’t do too much for me. What caught my interest wasn’t even the black-barred but clearly exposed nudity: it was the face that this is a matching puzzle game. My mind immediately sprung to those halcyon days when I spent tens of hours playing through and completing Huniepop! I was excited to see that this game offered up a demo but I only put 5 minutes into it. Frankly, I did not care about the story, in any way. I skipped the cutscenes, telling myself I’d go back and pay attention to the plot when I bought the full game.
Then I got to the actual matching gameplay and while huniepop played practically the same as Obscura, there are a lot of little things Huniepop has that make it much more enjoyable. I don’t know if Obscura is a port or if it launched on the Switch at the same time as it did on other platforms. I don’t know if the demo is made from a much earlier version of the game but, while I was playing the match 3 portion of Lux-Scura there was nothing all that special about actually matching 3. When you match 3 or more in Muxplorers you may gain some HP back or buff your attacks or deplete some of your opponent's HP. That’s all very nice and functional but there’s no additional pizazz: No sparks, no screen-quake, no avatar movements...nothing but a dull sound effect. Huniepop doesn’t do too much for you when you match three or more but there is some added shine to the matching aspect of the game that keeps me from fully realizing that I’m matching colors on a screen for the sake of anime boobies that I could find just as easily by going over to furaff deviantart pornhub.
There are a few returning titles from previous months on my playlist so let me just blitz through a few of these: Dead by Daylight is hide-and-seek with masked serial killers and it’s still fun but the main fun that I get out of it now comes from being a non-violent ‘killer’ who helps survivors get blood points or else as an asshat survivor who duck-walks around a killer’s blind spot. I think I picked it up twice or so this past month because my roommate wanted help getting a couple of dailies. I’ve written a couple of Smash blogs earlier this month and I used Smash for the 3DS as a reference tool when conceptualizing new characters and new ways to use returning characters. I haven’t 100%-completed that game but I’m as close as I’m ever going to get and have long since stopped trying to ‘beat’ it. Wow, I probably haven’t mentioned Super Mario Odyssey since my top games of 2017 list however long ago: I mainly just played it for the sake of seeing how many coins it would take to buy the new costumes. I recall starting a second profile around December but I never followed through on a full-on second playthrough. Not yet anyway; I might just start a second playthrough from scratch in the near future because I really do enjoy Odyssey but not enough to have tried things like Balloon World. As nice as I was last month to Mankind Divided, I got burned out on it pretty damn quickly. I think I’m on chapter 5 or 6 (I can visit the red light district now). I have no idea what the next story mission is but I must have spent about 2 hours on a saving and loading so I can get away with going on killing sprees. It’s definitely a strength of the game that I’m able to stop playing the game part of the game, save and then, make these people’s fears of augs come true before loading and going back into a side quest. I don’t want to say I’m done with Mankind Divided but I’m definitely burned out.
I’ve said a lot of genuinely nice things about Xenoblade Chronicles 2: The first Xenoblade Chronicles is a game that I just couldn’t engage with and X was a game that I liked at first but whose plot just kept making me dislike it more and more with each passing beat and turn. With Xenoblade Chronicles 2 though I’ve been deeply invested in the story to the point that a certain revelation had me gasping in my seat and grinning like a moron. Between now and last month I’ve stopped multiple times just to look around and admire the scenery around me. Out of all of the Titans I’ve visited, Uraya is probably my favorite in terms of scenery but I also love how alien Leftheria looks, how peaceful Gormottt is and how melancholic Morytha is. I even like Mor Ardain and usually I strongly dislike desert settings.Outside of main storyline gameplay, I’m still enjoying salvaging and now that I’m close to finishing Bearing her Soul, I’m actually kind of excited to see the conclusion of what I would still say is the worst sidequest in any JRPG. I’m currently in Chapter 8 and I feel very positive about this game but there’s still time for a decline in quality: for me, X got really bad towards the ending and just nosedived by the end of the narrative so it’s hard to keep that out of my mind as I get close to the final chapters of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. There is one thing that I really don’t care for in the plot of this game but it hasn’t become a deal breaker for me yet. I feel like I’ll have finished this game before the month is out and I plan on re-watching all of the cutscenes afterward because I was serious when I said that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has become my new favorite harem anime.
(Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is my favorite garbage anime)
I mentioned last month that my roommate gifted me a TV that wasn’t nearly as crappy as the monitor I was using beforehand. Thanks to the generosity of my roommate, I’m now able to play with my Retron 3 without the games looking like garbage! I didn’t get up to a lot of retro gaming last month, only really doing enough to make sure my TV is a good one. I played some Legend of the Mystic Ninja up until the carnival stage because that’s where the Gradius demo lives. In all honesty, the first boss killed me more times than I’d like to admit but I still love this game. I’ve never beaten it but maybe someday I will. The other game I played using the retron was Rocket Knight Adventure: a game I didn’t grow up with but which is really damn charming. I didn’t make it very far at all in Rocket Knight but it’s still one of the two Genesis games that I like going out of my way to play (the other being Road Rash 2...which I should play now that I think about it.) Both games are fairly difficult but most mascot platformers from the early/mid 90’s are anyway so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to actually beat either one of those two games. Rocket Knight has a cool mechanic whereby charging up the attack button lets Rocket fly quickly in any-given direction and there are flying scenes in some of the stages which helps to set it apart from other platformers whereas Mystic Ninja...I think this is slightly before the giant robot comes into the game but as I’ve said, I haven’t beaten this game so I don’t know what happens after the rotating castle stage.
(This game is neato)
I really haven’t played many games this past month so to boost the number of games I could talk about in this month’s journal, I played through a game that I knew I could beat quickly. It had been a year or two since I last beat Ocarina of Time anyway so I went ahead and showed my 3DS some love this past month. Ocarina of Time is a game that I’ve been aware of and played since I was a child but I still like going back to it every so often. This most recent playthrough I didn’t bother with a 100% run and I spent more than half of the game without a shield just for the sake of making the game more difficult without going through master quest mode. I really wish there were more Iron Knuckles to fight in the game since those are absolutely the most challenging non-boss opponents. I came out of this playthrough with a newfound respect for the Forest Temple; I consider it to have the best soundtrack out of all of the other temples. This was the first playthrough where I didn’t bother with the fishing minigame but I did spend almost all of my time as Adult Link in the blue tunic. Even when I was a kid, I preferred wearing the blue tunic instead of the green one but it also references Breath of the Wild now. In a roundabout sort of way. I wouldn’t call this the best game of all time and I wouldn’t even say it’s my favorite Legend of Zelda title but it’s a game I can always go back to and have fun with.
Now for the other slice of bread in this meaty Demo sandwich I’ve lovingly crafted, Detroit: Become Human. I played through Heavy Rain once and liked the story alright I guess and this is the only David Cage game I’ve ever played until now. Right off the bat I’m thankful that Detroit doesn’t start out with a half-hour of loafing around my house and pretending to care about my children, instead I wander around some other dickhead’s house and mess around with their stuff. There are enough items to interact with (or not interact with) that this demo has six endings to unlock and of those I’ve unlocked two of them through three playthroughs. I didn’t care enough to go for any of the others, partially because I didn’t feel like being a jerk-bot to the person I was negotiating with. I can extrapolate at least 2 of the other four endings based on what I’ve seen so unless one of the endings is really out there, like a robot dog coming and saving the day using delicious hostess twinkies, I think I’ll be fine if I delete the demo. This demo absolutely did its job though, making me interested in the game and curious to see what other scenarios will be thrown at me as the game progresses. I wouldn’t buy this on day one though since I want to know just how replayable this is going to wind up being. I definitely plan on getting this game eventually but I’d much rather wait until I can get this game for cheap than pay more for a potentially short, if open ended, plot.
Gee-wiz everybody, it’s May and we’re only a few short weeks away from the re-release of Dark Souls on consoles that Nintendo haven’t produced! I’m thankful for a few extra weeks (though hopefully not months) to save up for the Switch version of Dark Souls but that was the big May release I was looking forward to. Since that’s no longer going to be possible unless I break down and grab the PS4 version, I guess I’ll stick with my backlog this month unless something really interesting launches or goes on sale. I’ve been meaning to get a Japanese eShop card for a while now so maybe I’ll finally do that this month or maybe I’ll catch up on some indies on the US eShop this month. I really wanted to wait until I played Dark Souls 1 before I started on Scholar of the First Sin but maybe I’ll break down and start on that...or maybe I’ll finally get around to playing Crash 2 this month. In the meantime though, I’ve got some Xenobldes to Chronicle...2.