Man, I’ve been...I don’t even know. March was a really damn weird month for me. I’ve been busy with a lot of different things, I’ve been re-evaluating a few things, I’ve neglected a few things…I still like doing these monthly posts if only for the sake of record keeping, so here are the games I played this past month...which I think might be incomplete;
(I swear, I've been drawing, just not here, stay tuned for a link to my furaff...uh...)
I’m not sure when I first noticed Project Warlock but it immediately called out to me. To be dismissive and simplify things a little bit too much, Project Warlock is essentially Doom: You’re in a maze, there are monsters, you are heavily armed. Unlike Doom, the player character has a safehouse where he can spend points upon leveling up to augment his arsenal and learn powerful magic (if that’s the build you choose to pursue). The pixel art is also very nicely stylized. In a way, it reminds me of what Octopath Traveller did, but without the HD lighting effects. The gameplay is really fast paced, and at times I found myself surrounded and quickly killed by the monstrous hoards that populate the levels I’ve run through so far. The game is broken up into several themed worlds with a boss arena at the very end.
I kind of wish there were more bosses to deal with, but the first boss I took on killed me a couple of times and featured multiple forms. I don’t know if it’s a me thing, or an issue with this game in general, but I found myself only being able to play Project Warlock in short bursts. I really enjoyed playing it, and I’ll end up finishing it eventually, but I wasn’t able to lose myself for hours at a time in this one.
(Damn, that's one Doomed Blood Mage)
Arkham Asylum however, was a game that I basically played through in a handful of long sittings. I forgot how slow the combat was in this game, especially after having played Origins and Knight so recently. Compared to the other games in the series the set-up and overall story of Asylum is really low-key. Joker has allowed himself to be taken to the titular asylum, and once there, he takes the place over. A lot of high profile inmates are released as a means of distracting Batman while The Joker finishes producing and testing Titan: a weaponized variation of Bane’s Venom toxin. The asylum itself is made up of several buildings on a secluded island, and most areas require your attention more than once as the plot unfolds.
It’s really interesting to watch things fall apart as Joker’s influence grows throughout the island, as well as checking new areas as Batman gains access to more of his gadgets. It’s been said a million times before and I’ll say it again; the bosses in Arkham Asylum are incredibly weak. Poison Ivy is probably the best one if only because it’s not a fight that involves tricking big dudes into running into walls. Bosses aside I still love this game. I wouldn’t call it my favorite in the Arkham series, but I’ve probably played this game from beginning to end more than any other of its genre.
(...5 covers, and this is the best one...)
I played through Night in the Woods a couple of years ago on the Switch, and started a new playthrough on PC earlier this month. Unfortunately, I’m just not in the right headspace to get into the story at the moment. I don’t know what the issue is, so I’m going to blame seasonal change. This time of year is difficult for me in general. I still love the characters, and this time around I had an easier time picking up on Bea’s resentment towards Mae, but I don’t remember how quickly that gets resolved. I plan on making this a Greg playthrough though, so it might not. Time will tell.
I’ve never beaten Resident Evil 4, and while I’m much farther along now than I’ve ever been I’m still only in act 1. The quick time events will never be okay with me, but that’s probably the worst thing I have to say about Resi4. Playing with a mouse and keyboard has been helpful for me, but the tension is still high enough that I haven’t been able to sit down and play for long stretches of time. I also avoided a mistake I made last time and avoided getting the TMP. As I make my way through Resi4, I’m surprised by how much stuff there is that I can interact with, and just how versatile my arsenal is. I knew about kicking enemies, but I didn’t realize I could use my knife to stun them depending on where I hit them.
I can say that I’m finally in the, “I accidentally killed Ashley” club too. In the past, I’ve said very mean things about Bioshock 3 and The Last of Us, and now that I’ve played Resident Evil 4 up until the point where I have to deal with Ashley, I can say even more mean things about those terrible games, and do so from a place of authority! Making sure Ashley is safe, and making sure I don’t accidentally cap her while I’m aiming at the guy carrying her off, drastically increases the tension and challenge of the game so far. Too bad about the story though: “We have infected you and the president’s daughter with Los Plagas! When you get back home things will get interesting! Now my guards and this El Gigante will mash you into pulp!” This game is silly, but it still able to effectively make me feel tense, and I can see why people call it the best game of all time.
(Mash LMB and RMB to not die)
Dex is terrible. I absolutely hated it and feel like the advertising lied to me. I love the idea of a Metroidvania style game taking place in a cyberpunk not-too-distant future, but the combat is abysmal and seemingly unavoidable. Dex looks fine in trailers, but this was an incredible disappointment for me.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3 has criminally long load times for a game that comes on a cartridge, and since it’s a first-party Nintendo game it’s never going to get ported onto PC or a stronger console. It’s not even loading from the start screen into story mode via the continue option in the main menu: if I want to see what an ISO-8 does, I have to wait for the text to slowly scroll across the screen. If I want to manage my party, I have to wait for the pause menu to load, I have to wait for the team menu to load, I have to wait for the Hero Select menu to load. This game has no business being this damned slow.
(I love the idea of this game so damn much...)
Anyway, the infinity stones have been gathered up by Nebula and the Kree somehow. The Guardians of the Galaxy find them, accidentally springing a trap meant for Thanos. From here on, Ultimate Alliance 3 plays out through several themed levels. The prologue being Guardians of the Galaxy themed, the second taking place on The Raft and focusing on Spider-Man. I haven’t beaten the game yet, but that’s mainly because of how challenging it’s been so far. The levels are laid out simply enough, with the occasional trap, but the enemy mobs that get thrown at you can be overwhelming. There’s usually basic enemies, and enemies that have an overshield. The best way to deal damage is to use team-attacks, and to build up that power meter, you need to land basic attacks. The basic enemies can be defeated with basic attacks depending on your level, but it’s the team attacks and extreme attacks that do most of the heavy lifting.
The farther you get in the plot, the more challenges unlock (and eventually gauntlet challenges, and I assume Danger Room challenges). These are essentially throwbacks to earlier sections of levels, enemy mob encounters, or boss fights, but with a twist. Sometimes you can only play as one, specific character. Sometimes you can only deal damage with team or extreme attacks. Sometimes everybody deals extra damage. In addition to these challenges, there are sub-challenges that grant you extra credit. The extra credit goes towards unlocking various extras, like new costumes or extra resources for leveling up. I’ve probably spent most of my time playing through challenge stages rather than going through the story because of how tough some of the encounters and boss fights have been.
In Chapter 4, the X-Mansion, there are a handful of fights that I’m supposed to lose but which I didn’t realize at the time. What’s frustrating though was an encounter that happened in Chapter 5; the fight against Dormammu at the end of that chapter is incredibly tedious and drawn out, even after I did a lot of grinding. Overall, I think I like Ultimate Alliance 3 out of spite: I miss the original 2 games, and I know I liked them a lot. The third one isn’t a bad game, and I love the variety of characters who were included. I haven’t even made it to any of the DLC characters yet. I’m also telling myself that this game is better than Square’s Avengers game; a game that I haven’t played and don’t plan to on principle: I want another Deus Ex, and buying into Avengers seems like a way of rewarding negative behavior.
(Blatant product placement for you toy collecting nerds)
I have no love for the NFL or its college level equivalent, but I still wanted to give Mutant League Football a chance because I don’t hate American Football that passionately. The tutorial was fairly helpful, but it didn’t cover dirty play, so when the opposing team bribed the referee, I had no idea what was going on. I’ve also never been good with defense at all. Playing MLF was a lot like playing Madden 98 and 99 back when I was a kid: when I played the computer, I could basically guarantee that I would get a touchdown when I had the ball, and I could guarantee that the PC would too. So even though I was playing with a team of monsters who punched and elbow-dropped opposing players, MLF was surprisingly nostalgic for me. I played a full game and uninstalled. I’ll probably play it again sooner or later.
Rockstar finally got me to pay for Grand Theft Auto V. I got it for $15 on PC and played it long enough to get the first-person view achievement. I’ve always liked Grand Theft Auto 4 more than 5, and I maintain that 4 is the better game with the better story overall, but playing GTA5 on a PC now is a wildly different experience to playing it on the PS3 years and years ago. The first thing I noticed was the high population of cats, dogs, and other wildlife. Los Santos seems much more alive in this version than on the previous generation of consoles somehow, but it didn’t really hit me until I took Micheal to the beach. I stood on the rocks and watched the sunset and it was strangely calming.
The first time I got caught out in the rain, I remember stopping and just watching the rain effects on the busy streets. I watched a nearby puddle bubbling as rain splattered onto it, but it was the mornings after heavy rains that I most enjoyed looking at while wandering around Los Santos. Once I unlocked Trevor though, I spent most of my remaining time hopping onto freight trains and drive-by shooting traffic. The AI of the police and SWAT teams still don’t know how to deal with that effectively, and it was a great way to build up a 5-star wanted level without being taken out. I’ll probably go back to GTAV periodically, but I have a lot of trouble motivating myself to go through the story missions. Once I unlock submarines, I might just give up on the story altogether.
(imagine playing a game like this online, heh, lame)
It’s April...It’s April! It’s been a year since Final Fantasy VII Remix launched on PS4, so it might possibly launch on PC this year! I’m going to ignore how Squeenix put Kingdom Hearts on the Epic store! In fact, I’m going to ignore the new Final Fantasy VII thing all-together because I’ve just installed a 40K game that looks absolutely insane. I might even play it this month! I might play this 3D All-Stars thing I bought, but I think it’ll be safer if I just hide them in the attic for a while. I have no idea what’s meant to be coming out this month so...oh what’s this? Subversive is available on early access? Looks like I’ll be taking some time off work then. See you folks later!
...wait, did I play Pokemon Crystal this month...?