The first month of 2019 has come and gone and like every other January, it came and went pretty quickly. The first few days were wild and slow but after that first week, January did what January does: it makes way for February. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a Nintendo Direct in January so you can blame me for that if you’d like since, also surprisingly, I played with my PS4 a lot more this past month than my Switch. I'm assuming Nintendo was offended by my lack of focus and attention so they withheld whatever the Direct presentation might have been. Here’s a list of the games I played in January:
(I actually drew Mario punching out Spidey long after I realized I played more Spidey than Smash...)
No, seriously, I didn’t play all that many games this month but that’s mainly because I put a whole lot of time into those that I played. Take Super Smash Bros Ultimate for example, it’s a game that is a black hole through which light and the time of many cannot escape. I got this game as a Christmas present and started a new profile specifically to unlock all of the new fighters (ya’ know, because I live with a lot of people and they’re nerds but funnily enough I didn’t really play with any of them). Then I played on my own damned profile and found that I was unlocking characters quickly anyway without exploiting a timer glitch. I’m not a confident Smash player so I haven’t really been online and I haven’t finished World of Light yet either. I’ve played through a bunch of classic modes for new characters and characters I’m familiar with, finding the most difficulty with Snake so far. Fun fact: I just got my Nintendo App monthly summary thing and Smash wasn’t the Switch game I put the most time into last month.
(I'm pretty sure this is how cults are formed)
This past month, I played Undertale through to the end of the story for the first time. I’ve already written a thing about it not too long ago so I’ll try to not construct a wall of text now. Basically, I still dislike the gameplay for a pacifist run, I don’t want to do a genocide run and, I don’t feel like a grey run would result in a satisfying ending. I think what made this my most played Switch game this past month is the fact that I did some money grinding so I could buy the Temmy Armor (which should tell you how confident I was in any given encounter). I know there is a true ending that I haven’t seen yet and I know I need to go back and be friends with Alphys (I can’t believe I forgot about her) but one playthrough was enough for me.
Zen Bound 2 is a game I picked up on sale and I don’t remember when during the month I started playing it which is why I kinda just...stuck it in the middle of this list even though it appears in a different spot on the written list. This series started out on mobile platforms but the version I played was on the Switch. You’re presented with a figure that could be shaped like an animal or object or some other type of noun and your objective is to wrap a rope around it until it’s been covered. The point isn’t mummification necessarily but covering the figure as efficiently as possible. Playing Zen Bound 2 felt pretty relaxing and since all you’re really doing is spinning a joycon. It’s really easy to just pick up and play around with whenever...well, in TV mode anyway. There is an option to play without motion controls but I didn’t bother with them for too long. I had some fun with Zen Bound 2 but this isn’t what I’m looking for when I complain about there not being any shibari games and I’ve played more relaxing games in the past like Mini-Metro.
(Please provide your own lewd imagry relevant to the themes presented in Zen Bound and its sequels)
The game I played most this past month was Spider-Man. I don’t know how much time I actually spent playing it but I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I’ve played more Spider-Man this past month than anything else. This was the first game in a long time that made me compromise my sleep schedule a little bit. Web-slinging around Manhattan was very satisfying a majority of the time. I found in the DLC episodes and during certain side quests that I’m just not as precise with web-slinging as I probably could be but I also found it’s very easy to suddenly lose momentum for seemingly no reason at all. When it comes to combat in Spider-Man, this game is essentially just an Arkham game so it was easy to understand in concept but when I started playing, I found myself getting easily beaten down by enemies. Even on the easiest setting I had a little bit of trouble with some enemies and boss fights. Another Arkham-like feature to the gameplay is stealth: You’re either Spider-Man and you have the option to knock out enemies from slightly-above them or you’re playing as either MJ or Miles and sneaking around an environment trying to avoid line-of-sight with hostile NPCs. I didn’t dislike the MJ or Miles stealth sections: If I messed up, continuing them was relatively quick and those segments were never all that lengthy anyway. They also served to give context to the plot or else show off how threatening certain enemies could be. Stealthily taking down enemies as Spidey however felt downright useless since most of the time, if you do knock out all enemies in a place using stealth, a wave of alerted guards will turn up who know exactly where you are.
(High Quality Content)
The plot of Spider-Man on the PS4 takes place at some point years after Peter became Spider-Man. Certain characters are already established but major players like the Green Goblin are hinted at without actually playing a role in this narrative. One of the major plot threads in this game is actually about the fall of Dr. Otto Octavius and how he became Doc Oc; a narrative that plays out really well in this game. I’m not very familiar with Taskmaster in the comics but I want to point out that his character in this game reminds me a lot of both Azrael and Deathstroke from the Arkham games. Taskmaster will attack you after you complete half of and then all of specially marked challenge side-quests as a way of ‘testing’ Spider-Man. Taskmaster challenges can either be web-swinging along a certain route, stealthily taking out enemies within a time limit, bomb disposal within a time limit or, just a big brawl with random thugs. The Taskmaster challenges were the only aspect of the game that I didn’t like but actually fighting Taskmaster was incredibly satisfying. Taskmaster fights like Spider-man, using similar tools to what you can use and he's even able to use finishing moves that you, as Spider-Man, are able to use. He was my favorite boss in the game and I wonder how he’s going to play into the inevitable sequel .
I feel kind of bad about the fact that I don’t really play with my 3DS all that often anymore. I still take it out with me every time I go out, hoping that I’ll have a hit with streetpass but I very rarely actually play with my 3DS. The last time I dedicated any lengthy amount of time to the little console, it was to play through Samus Returns. I played through that particular Metroid twice in a row and started a third playthrough that has since been abandoned and will likely be overwritten next time I play that game. Some weeks or months ago, I found a copy of Fire Emblem Echoes at my work on clearance for about $12 so I grabbed it but it wasn’t until this month that I actually started playing it. So far, the story hasn’t gripped me yet but I’m still very early on in the plot. I seem to be about to infiltrate a Pirate King’s fortress with Celica, her friends and, a mercenary. The story might not be doing too much to engage me yet but the gameplay is still very much like Fire Emblem: Awakening, a game that I played through and adored back when it was new. I’ve been reading a bit more and usually, I’ll read while I’m taking breaks at work. This is the time when I would usually play with my 3DS so while I’m sure I’m going to continue playing Echoes throughout the coming months, it’s probably going to take me making time for it rather than me relying on freetime while I’m out.
I started playing Dark Souls 3 late this month! It was a gift, given to me by a Secret Santa and I’ve really been enjoying it so far. Similarly to Demon’s Souls, I’ve gone into Dark Souls 3 without really looking into much about the game. So far, Dark Souls 3 feels a bit more straightforward than Demon’s or Darksoul 1 and reminds me more of Bloodbourne. I’m not quite used to how quickly everything is able to move and I feel like I’ve died a lot more often in the early hours of this game than in the other Souls games I have experience with. The first boss for example killed me seven times before I was able to kill it and I’m having a lot of trouble with the various knights I’ve found near the arena where I found the second boss (That second boss, Vordt of the Boreal Valley, having only killed me once). I only started playing this a few days ago so I’m going to absolutely have more to say about this game next month. It’s a little weird playing a Souls game where arrows move at a speed one would expect but I’m very much enjoying my time in Lothric so far.
There were a few games that released in January that I foresee myself playing sooner rather than later. Once I figure out what their differences are I’ll pick up one of the two versions of Dragon Marked for Death on the eShop. Yokai Watch 3 is launching on the same week as my Birthday but I haven’t fully committed to getting that yet despite being a fan of the franchise. I think there’s also a Disney and Zombie game that launched not too long ago that I may or may not look into since my housemate picked them both up. Other than those few games, there isn’t a whole lot I’m chomping at the bit for this year. Yoshi’s Crafted World looks good but maybe not day-1 good. Cyberpunk 2077 looks great too but I don’t see myself picking that up on day one either. My best bet it probably just looking back and tackling my mountainous backlog.
(I know who you are)