June has only just ended but I already feel like summer has been going on for months. It’s been hot and humid since March and the temperature has been higher than my liking since about April. This is mostly fine though since this kind of disagreeable weather is the perfect excuse to keep me indoors with my now 2-month old PC. Speaking of my 2-month old PC, the Steam Summer Sale has only just begun so when I talk about the games I played in July, it’s probably going to look a lot like the write-up I did last month. That’s not to say I didn’t play a lot of games this month but for June, I mostly just stuck with a couple of larger games instead of dedicating a little bit of time to a diverse spread of titles. So here’s my list for this month:
(I really should go back and try killing Vendrick...Rip and Tear)
I recorded 20, technically 21, videos where I played through Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin while streaming my consciousness and I have a lot to say about that game. Most of my thoughts while I played Dark Souls 2 were positive but wistful: Dark Souls 2 could have been much, much better but it was still incredibly satisfying to go through. I've played through the five Soulsbourne games at least once now and in all honesty, I think Dark Souls 3 was the one that most frustrated me. Dark Souls 2 has a lot of issues like how it's very common to find yourself surrounded by enemies or how a lot of the boss encounters are just a bunch of enemies thrown together in a small arena. The enemy AI and the way enemies are attached to where they spawn can easily be exploited. Bosses can also be exploited and for a couple of them, it seemed like they let me kill them. The experience on the whole felt unbalanced but in the way that a barstool wobbles back and forth depending on where you try resting your weight. If I were to summerize my overall feelings about Dark Sould 2 though in this and the next sentence though I would do so thusly: Dark Souls 2 has the Flying Feline Set, therefore it's accessible to the furry community and thus, must be considered the worst in the franchise.
(I love all of the messages I came across by the way. Woo, Skeleton memes)
For this month’s Band of Bloggers prompt I played Olli-Olli, an extreme sports game about skateboarding downhill and doing everything in your power to not bail like some kind of mondo, bama, squid. I grew up during a peak skating phase and saw how skating games went from weird isometric affairs to the universally acclaimed 3D affairs that the Tony Hawk games normalized. Olli-Olli is a 2D side-scrolling game that plays quickly, allows you to get back into the game when and if you fail at landing a trick and, is a satisfying time sink if you just so happen to find yourself in a situation where you might want to kill 5 minutes or so. I have my copy on the 3DS but this game is also available on just about everything else. There is a sequel but that’s not available on everything yet, just most things.
Carmageddon: Max Damage (AKA, Carmageddon: Reincarnation) was a game I picked up for cheap when I remembered that Carmageddon is a franchise that exists now that I have the platform that the franchise lives on. I’ve never played a game in this franchise before so of course I went for the one with the shiniest graphics but what this game has in shininess, it lacks in polish. My main issue with Max Damage is how no matter which car I’m driving, it feels like I’m hovering rather than rolling. No matter how fast or slowly I’m taking a turn, it seems like more often than not I’ll drift rather than being able to turn tightly. It makes the driving aspect of this driving game feel very imprecise which can be bothersome in modes that require me to either kill a specific number of pedestrians or destroy every other car on the track. I wouldn’t call this a bad game I just wish it worked better and I’ve definitely enjoyed my time with it.
So, which Doom am I referring to when I say I’ve played Doom this month? I’m referring to the Doom that I last played when it launched on the Nintendo Switch! I didn’t get this during the Steam Summer Sale but during one of the miscellaneous weekend sales Steam does normally. It’s one of several games I knew I was going to double dip on because of how much time I put onto the Switch version but going from that version to the PC version was pretty profound. My rig isn’t even an insane monster machine but the boost in frame rate and resolution alone made it worth it. I’m missing out on the motion controls that the Switch version claims to be a good idea but, mouse and keyboard just feels much more precise than the alternative. Doom is a good game, we’ve known this for years now and I’m enjoying it on PC.
(Visual metaphore of Bethesda's plans for Commander Keen)
Shadowrun is a game that I was surprisingly able to play on my previous PC but once I finished playing it, I didn’t immediately jump into Dragonfall and even though I like the set-up, this is definitely a game that I’m not 100% committed to. Dragonfall starts up with your created character taking on what should be an easy break-and-enter job but ends with your team leader dying and a quest to find out who sent you on this doomed mission to begin with. I’m at the point where my main mission is to collect about $50,000 so that an information broker can point me to the person who set my team up...also, this person happens to be a dragon. What drew me to Shadowrun to begin with is that it’s sci-fantasy, a genre that I love in theory but which I have trouble finding content of. You can play as a human (if you’re boring), dwarf, elf, troll etc but the game is set on our Earth in the late 21st century. A plot-crucial quest involves finding a DVD player because physical media has been mostly replaced by streaming. This is a game where you can be in a party made up of magic users and characters who can hack into computers. I was originally going to make my playthrough of this game into a let’s play series on my youtube channel but the text-heavy nature of this game doesn’t lend itself well to my style. Between that and my focus being taken by faster-paced, more action oriented games.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rescue-Palooza is a fanmade game based on not only the NES trilogy of TMNT games but also the arcade game and TMNT media from the late 80’s and early 90’s in general. I haven’t beaten this game yet and it’s not because it’s a particularly huge game. All of the levels are presented on a map-screen and can be tackled in any order (though admittedly, I’m sure there’s another open map screen that will likely open up after I complete all of the levels on the first map screen). To begin with, you can choose to play as any of the four main Turtles but as quickly as you beat the first level you play through, you’ll find that not only can you unlock new good guys to play as, you can also unlock bad guys to play as. As interested as I was to play through my second level as April O’Niel, I was much more interested in playing through my second level as Rocksteady. Rescue-Palooza boasts a roaster of 60 playable characters and at the moment, I’ve unlocked about a third of the playable cast. The diversity of who you can play as runs fairly deep too: I haven’t unlocked Shredder but I can choose to play as characters like Splinter, Irma, Vernon, Aska, Tatsu, Rat King, Tempestra, Usagi Yojimbo and, the list seems to continue on into the horizon. This is a free, fanmade game and it plays a lot like the Ultra-developed TMNT games released on the NES so if you’re interested, you can find download links on https://www.merso-x.com/
(Irma vs Tempestra. She never stood a chance)
My internet went out a day or two before the end of June and apparently, my outage was part of a nationwide Fios outage. While I was offline, I wasn’t sure what I was still able to play so I chose to go with old reliable: Brutal Doom. I’m not sure which I prefer between Doom or Doom 2 and while I was offline, I played the sequel. I don’t know which version of Brutal Doom I currently have but after watching a trailer for the latest edition, I’ve noticed a handful of features that I’ve neglected since my last playthrough. For example, by jumping and pressing the kick button (while moving forward) it’s possible to do a jump-kick that can decapitate low level or weakened enemies. It also seems like you can punch with the right hand by right-clicking and left hand by left clicking if you chose to fight using your fists instead of with any given firearm. Speaking of firearms, I didn’t realize how robust the choice in arms had become: The pistol is back in Brutal Doom but it has a single and burst fire mode now. There’s also a SMG now which was news to me but still fairly fun to use, even if I do have the objectively better Chaingun on hand. Brutal Doom may be the most enjoyable game I currently own: I can always go back to it and just play for a few minutes and be satisfied. If you own the base Doom or Doom 2 or Ultimate Doom, the mods to make those brutal are easy to find, download and install.
July is a Hell month. Summer is a Hell season. The best thing about Summer is the Steam Summer Sale, which is going on as I write this and I’ve already indulged on a few things. I fully plan on grabbing a few more things before the sale ends too so when it’s time to type about the games I’ve played in July, I’ll likely have a whole lot more to talk about. I’m a little bit miffed that the Handsome Jack Collection is cheaper now, during the summer sale, than what it was when I bought it and a petty part of me wants to appeal to Valve in an attempt to get my 90 or so cents back but I’m a bit too busy at the moment trying to figure out how the race gimmick of this year’s summer sale actually works. Stay cool out there everybody and please try not to start any fires. You know, it only just occured to me that I've been doing this for over a year and this is my second June Journal...Hence the addition of what year this is.