So the last time I did one of these was…December? Jeez. Well, quite a lot has gone on since then. But rather than start out with rambling, let’s get to the games first. If you feel so obliged, pull up a seat and a drink for rambles yet to come. Or just drink. Because that’s about where I am right now.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Bringing my personal Dragon Age fest to a close in early in the year was Dragon Age: Inquisition. This was my second successful playthrough of the game, and I’d call it a resounding success over the first time I played it. Not only did I have a great time playing through the main game with my formidable Qunari mage, but I also completed all its DLC: Jaws of Hakkon, The Descent, and Trespasser. And I’m pretty sure that right there is something of a milestone, because I don’t think that I’ve ever before fully completed a game’s DLC offerings.
Nope. Never. Because I don’t like purchasing DLC. After DAI, I really should remember more often that Game of the Year editions exist.
Anyway, I already went on and one and on about much more I enjoyed the game this time round (its open world can be a pain in the ass but only if you let it), how much I hate those goddamn shards, and how I wish I had played Trespasser earlier because now so much more of DA’s lore makes sense.
Epilogue to my DA journey: After finishing Inquisition, I kinda had to stop myself from starting up a fresh playthrough with DA: Origins. Oh believe me, I was all ready to get started because, hell, I already had a new character in mind and that BioWare itch was pretty damn strong. I went so far as to start up Origins, only to sit staring at the character creation screen for awhile. And as I did, all I saw was me playing another year’s worth of BioWare games, starting with Dragon Age and leading back to Mass Effect, which would inevitably lead me to revisiting ME: Andromeda. I couldn’t do it. Not with so many other games staring me straight in the face, most of all. Breath of the Wild. I knew that if I didn’t move on, I probably never would.
But don’t you worry Dragon Age. As a muscled prophet once said, “I’ll be back.”
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
In retrospect, although I enjoyed the pure hell outta South Park: The Fractured But Whole, The Stick of Truth had more of an impact. It could just be that The Fractured But Whole’s farcical take on superhero movies didn’t resonate with me as poignantly as it should have. (Then again, superhero movies themselves are bordering on farce these days, so…). In fact, my most memorable moment of the game had nothing at all to do with superheroes. It was late in the game when I discovered the “Canadian wall.” In the Stick of Truth, players could visit Canada in loving 8-bit renders. In the Fractured But Whole, Canada was walled off, and the wall was guarded by a lone and very smug character who reiterated over and over that no matter what you tried, there was No. Fucking. Way. to break through the wall. (i.e. Canada’s not part of the game, so there.) Those few minutes that I spent trying to do everything I could to get into Canada were so hilariously meta (at one point, the guard said something the effect of maybe Canada will be in the next game, haha!) that I almost wished that the situation at been turned into a sidequest. And a completely fruitless sidequest, at that, if only to drive home the point. Still, the Fractured but Whole was an excellent game that brought so much more to the table in terms of story and gameplay over the The Stick of Truth. Over on Virtual Bastion, I waxed a bit on the game and its niche-y feel.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
An incredible game, and one that was so much more satisfying overall than I expected. I already gushed about it a fuckton in this post, and now, well…now I have make time for GTA III and Vice City. Eventually.
Grand Theft Auto V
My god, I had forgotten just how fucking brilliant this game is. ILOVEITSOMUCH
That’s pretty much the summation of my second playthrough of this title. It’s just So. Damn. Good. And it gives me pretty high hopes for Red Dead Redemption II.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
After getting GTA out of my system, I figured it was finally time to get my ass in gear with Breath of the Wild. Look, you’ve played it; you’ve read about it. Everything’s true. BotW is a wonderful, exciting, charismatic, and lovingly-crafted game. You know how with some games, no matter how much you adore them, you experience at least a few moments of trepidation upon starting, moments where you’re not really looking forward to whatever it is you must next encounter? (i.e. me and the Fade in Dragon Age games – I hate the goddamn Fade.) Well, with BotW, I feel nothing but elation and joy upon starting up a session with it. It doesn’t matter if I have 30 minutes to play or two hours, I simply cannot wait to start exploring or tasking or picking apples or catching frogs. Its world is alive with opportunities to do pretty much whatever the hell you want. Its sights and sounds are on point. Its characters have everything to say, or nothing. And it’s puzzles and mysteries only keep you coming back for more. Really, I’m only about 24 hours in, but I’m fully invested in Link’s destiny. Again.
Dust: An Elysian Tail
After completing GTA: San Andreas and getting into Breath of the Wild, I started fumbling around my Steam library. I’ve long been wanting to trim my backlog there, so I started installing a bunch of different games, thinking I’d sample a few different titles and pick whatever felt most compelling in the moment. As my chosen grouping was slooooowly being installed, my library kindly reminded me that I had started Dust: An Elsyian Tail, a platformer RPG, a long time ago. No really. Like I had logged some 90 minutes of gameplay in early 2016. (Might as well have been 1816.) Having little else to do but wait, I started the game back up, and yeah…it’s pretty darn great. And it’s such a pretty, pretty game besides. Its easy-going, hacky-slashy, quick-witted, meta-meta gameplay/story is actually the perfect compliment to the expansive and exploratory nature of Breath of the Wild. A definite thumbs-up if you’re looking for a metroidvania fix, which I didn’t know I was until I was.
Persona 3 Portable
Much like the tortoise opposite the hare, my time with Persona 3 Portable has been slow but steady. I both can’t believe that I’ve put nearly 50 hours into the game, and only 50 hours. But I guess that’s what happens when you play a game where time is both irrelevant and essential. For a more in-depth look at how things have been progressing, check out my game reports over on Virtual Bastion (more soon!):
On the horizon
Well, much like with my real life, I’ve got too many plans and ideas. Since starting Breath of the Wild, I’ve been a little reluctant to pick up another RPG in tandem. But among all those games in my Steam library that I installed was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. While I’d like to get to The Witcher 3 someday, I have more immediate access to The Witcher 2, which I’ve heard is quite good. (Years back I tried my hand at the first Witcher. It was alright, but didn’t possess much personal staying power.) I also went ahead and installed Bioshock 2, thinking that’d motivate me to continue with the series after the excellent time I had in the first game. However, I did play a few hours of Bastion, which, as many of your already know, is a fantastic game, so I’ll likely finish that up once I complete Dust: An Elysian Tail. Over on consoles, having a little change burning a hole in my PSN wallet, I picked up a few games on the cheap for the PS3, including the original Thief. I played through the first couple missions, and I think I like it? I enjoy the gameplay — the chance to be stealthy in different ways — but I’m not much wowed by the dreary environments or the drab story. Maybe it gets better? I intend to stick with it – life can’t be all technicolor and open meadows all the time! I would still also like to play Fallout 3 in conjunction with AmbiGaming‘s “Year of the RPG,” but that’s still a ways off. Honestly, BotW might take me well into the rest of the year to complete.
Well then. That went on quite a lot longer than I expected. As such, I’m pretty much tapped out, so I guess there won’t be much rambling after all. My life outside of games remains unchanged — good but tiring. My daily pace remains heightened, but thankfully, the general fatigue has begun to dissipate. That’s a good sign of settling into our new normal, even though I know that we have a lot coming up – gardening, continued renovations, and more family obligations than ever. Somewhere in all that, there will be gaming. Honestly, it might be the only thing keeping me sane these days.
So how’s about that drink? …make mine a double.