Once again, it’s time for my sorta-quarterly update on all things in my gaming circle. Happily, things haven’t been too shabby. In and among all our house projects, gaming has been a pretty important outlet these past few months. Because after you’ve spent a day wading through 50-year-old insulation, the LAST you want to do is dress up to go out and be social with other real people. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, GAMEZ! The more the better, I say, even if “more” only occurs in small bursts. Smaller is good-er, sometimes, right? Uh…yeah. Sure. Games to follow, in no particular order, as I honestly can’t remember the order. I just know that I played ’em.
Like, anything I thought Borderlands 2 might have been, it wasn’t. And it wasn’t in the best possible way. Of all the games from my Play or Pass series that I hadn’t played and remained unsure about, Borderlands 2 was at the top. Recommendation after recommendation poured in, and I just knew that I had to play. And that, I did. In short, the experience was exhilarating. I wrote just that and more about it over on Virtual Bastion:
Shadow of the Colossus
This game, people. This game.
Every word I could possible write about my experience with this amazing game (amazing in ways both good and awful) is already down for posterity over on Virtual Bastion. And it’s in two parts, so that means I had a lot of words to say.
Mass Effect 3
As I had done earlier this year with Mass Effect 1 and 2, a bit of time opened up not long ago where I was able to complete a somewhat speedy playthrough of Mass Effect 3. My goal with this whole play-Mass-Effect-story-only-no-sidequesty-fun was to unravel the core of each game to see if Mass Effect was any good without all the side stuff. With ME1 and 2, I heartily said. “yes. they are.” With Mass Effect 3….well, things went a little…differently. For my full write-up, head to this link on Virtual Bastion.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All
After what seems like f-o-r-e-v-e-r, I’ve finally completed Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All. Much like with the first game, I find myself in awe of the experience. I know that “awe” probably isn’t a word applied to many visual novel games, but there’s something pretty special about Ace Attorney, and I think it revolves around storytelling and character. As ridiculous as the games’ cases are, and as illogical as the case logic is at points, the game succeeds in crafting elegant stories despite the madness. And the same can be said of the games’ characters. As wacky as they can be, each of them is imbued with plenty of charm and heart, even the bad guys.
Quote from my Virtual Bastion article on the game. I remain quite surprised at just how much I like this series. Something’s new around every corner in each game!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dark Brotherhood side story
After a rather stress-filled bout with real life dealings earlier this summer, I needed a break from life, generally. And it’s no grand secret that games can offer a perfect escape, if only for a little while. Turned out that what I needed came in the form to two fantasy games, the first being Skyrim. I started up a new game after not playing for quite some time. (I noticed that my last save had been from 2014. Boy that was a looooong time ago.) At the time I really just wanted to tool around in the game, visiting places old and new. Wandering from the wastes to its snow-capped mountains. Just a few hours into the game, I inadvertently stumbled into what turned out to be a sidequest involving me becoming part of the Dark Brotherhood, an organizations of assassins. As I had completely missed this portion of the game before, I decided to run with it. Completing all the Dark Brotherhood missions took me a couple weeks – longer than I had expected for a sidequest! – but the experience was super satisfying. Not only did I get to hone my assassin-like reflexes (something I wholly avoided before in the game, preferring to bash things at will instead), but I also opened up a number of places I hadn’t been to before. By the time it was over, I was plenty satiated. Now I love the thought of going back to Skyrim some day just to work through similar things that don’t have much to do with the main story. It’s high proof that Skyrim remains a very special game.
I wrote about Fable 2 just recently here, as it provided my second outlet from the stresses of life this summer. If you’ve played Fable 2, then you know that while it may not the best RPG around, it’s far from the worst. Much like with Skyrim, I adore the freedom allowed to players in Fable 2. You can follow to main story, or not. You can spend all of your time taking jobs and making money, or not. You can play dress-up and get married, or not. I had beaten the game years ago when it was still a game full of (mostly empty) promises – I loved it as much then as I do know – so completing the game wasn’t a necessary task. I just needed to be Albion’s hero for a little while. After all, you don’t always need to play the “best” game to have a good time. You really just need to play that which makes you happy.
Everything I have to say about returning to Kingdom Hearts, I’ve written up in a Virtual Bastion post that’ll go live tomorrow. (Once it does, I’ll update this blurb.) Spoiler: It’s possible that I don’t like Kingdom Hearts.
Dragon Age: Origins
Continuing my medieval escapist desires is Dragon Age: Origins. Though at this point, my reasoning for playing it falls more in line with something that’s been on my mind ever since finishing Mass Effect: Andromeda — where did Bioware’s cleverness in storytelling go? Andromeda’s story fell flat. After reading about its development hell, I understand why but was no less consoled. And then several folks reminded me of Dragon Age and its intricate and nuanced story. At the time, re-playing the DA games wasn’t a priority, but I placed the nugget in the back of my mind, and eventually a pearl developed. I haven’t played DA in years, but upon starting and creating a new character – a human female mage (new for me as I often don’t play as mages) – it was like being home. Almost immediately I was enveloped by Ferelden’s warmth and craziness. I’m so looking forward to this “new” journey. And maybe this time I won’t fuck things up with Alistair. 😉
Metal Gear Ac!d
I have to be honest – I’m lucky that I’m still playing this game. In my last update, I alluded to the fact that I might not be able to keep up the playthrough, but thankfully, things have been steady. Though I’m down to barely scraping out one episode a week, and I doubt that’ll change. However, I’m still on borrowed time, and I’ve decide that if worse comes to worse, if I have to suspend the videos, I’ll complete the game in written form. I don’t know that blogs about the game will be quite as compelling (writing about card draws over and over doesn’t sound all that appealing, either from my end or yours), but I’ll figure something out.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations
Of course I’m playing the third Phoenix Wright game! Because the first two didn’t quite fill my wacky-needs meter. Ahahaha…but yes, Trials and Tribulations is in the works, slowly. Between everything else that’s been going on, the game has taken a backseat for the moment. But I’m in the middle of the game’s third trial, Recipe for Turnabout, and it’s an odd one for sure. With previous trials, it eventually became obvious where the story was heading. With this one…I think I see where it’s going, but, after meeting a couple new (and surely weird) people, now I’m not sure at all.
On the Horizon
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
I still haven’t decided what system I’m going to get this game for, but I’m going to get it. On release day, too. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to play it on release day, because my life simply isn’t that orderly. But I do hope to get some good ol’ South Parkian-gameplay in before the year is out.
Whew. That’s quite a bit more than I expected to type. Looking at this, I feel quite accomplished…but again, as I said at the beginning, all this gaming has come at the expense of being social. I know that life’s pendulum will swing back that way, as it always does. But to be honest, I don’t mind having the excuse of renovations to stay at home right now. Compared to previously summer that were full of going here, there, and everywhere, being able to stay close to home is nice too. (Besides, going to Home Depot weekly is an adventure in and of itself!) Of course, I can’t wait to have the house back to its normal, non-dusty/tools-scattered/when-can-I-have-my-office-back? self. But all in good time.