Sun 31 Dec 2017
1:36 PM

Games bought and finished, 2017

As it seems very unlikely that I will finish another video game before the end of 2017 in just a few hours, it’s a good time to go ahead and write this wrapup post. I did one of these last year as the first long-form post on this site, so why not make it a tradition?

Games bought, 2017

Mercenaries Saga 3 (3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (and a Switch!)
Persona 5 (PS4)
Nier Automata (PS4)
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (Switch)
FFXIV: Stormblood (PC)
Arms (Switch)
Devil Daggers (PC)
OneShot (PC)
Splatoon 2 (Switch)
Shadowrun Triple Pack (PC)
The Shrouded Isle (PC)
Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Yakuza Kiwami (PS4)
Destiny 2 (PC)
Guilty Gear Xrd -Rev2- (PS4)
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (PS4... _twice_ by accident)
Dragon Quest Builders (PS4)
Aragami (PS4)

Received:
---------
2064: Read-Only Memories (PC) -- gift
Cosmic Star Heroine (PS4) -- Kickstarter
Inside (PC) -- gift
Pyre (PC) -- gift
Zero Time Dilemma (3DS) -- gift 
Darkest Dungeon (PC) -- gift
Psycho Pass: Mandatory Happiness (Vita) -- gift 
Civilization VI (PC) -- gift

19 games purchased (down from 25), and only 1 fewer game received as a gift or a Kickstarter. I also apparently didn’t claim a single free game on PS Plus this year (I did buy Guilty Gear via a sale, though). However, you’ll notice I somehow managed to purchase the new Star Ocean game twice. I blame Gamestop’s end-of-year B2G1 sales.

I did, however, manage to finish a few more games than usual this year, in part due to a willingness to recognize when I was in fact done with a game, whether it was finished’ or not. On the other hand, I played Persona 5 exclusively for like half the year, so that chewed up some time as well.

Games finished, 2017

Persona 5 (one-and-a-half times)
Long Live the Queen
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
Arms
Splatoon 2
The Shrouded Isle
OneShot
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Yakuza Kiwami

Persona 5

the show's over

I wrote at length about Persona 5 already back in May, when I finished it the first time. I fully intended to write up most of the games I played in this fashion, but totally did not. Oops.

Anyway, Persona 5 probably occupied fully half my year of gaming; even when I was playing other games on the Switch on the go, I was usually coming back to Persona 5 when at home. I completed it once and am halfway through a 100% playthrough, but it doesn’t look like I’m gonna finish it this year. So it goes.

Long Live the Queen

just another day

(image courtesy of Hanako Games’ website)

I enjoyed the time I spent with Long Live the Queen - which I thought was much longer but which Steam informs me was a mere two hours. The format is pretty fun; I tend to enjoy time management’ style games (probably starting with… Monster Rancher, honestly?), and the intrigue angle is pretty fun. At first I was kind of annoyed with the number of skill tests that came would throw at you on specific days that seemed impossible to beat without going full bore on being ready for them, but then I realized that was the point, and started to keep track of what was going to happen when.

In the end I got one of the good’ endings - I survived long enough to see a crown put on Elodie’s head, and I think all that happened along the way that was bad was sacrificing someone else in one of the big magical events near the end instead of myself - but I can already tell from the list of locked achievements there’s a lot I never saw. I’m not sure I intend to go back and get it, either - I enjoyed my time, but I don’t have a burning urge to, say, fire it back up and make Elodie be an angry jerk with a penchant for political assassinations.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

absurdly pretty

(image from the official website)

This game is absurdly pretty. I never played the original, so I didn’t have the nostalgia factor going for me; I picked it up because it was during that very short period where the Switch didn’t have much in the way of games, and I beat it in a few hours while hanging out with my father-in-law. It’s a very competent platformer, a Metroidvania before that word was a thing, and the animation in this revamped re-released is just too gorgeous. And the soundtrack!

Arms & Splatoon 2

the end?

(Arms image from, for some reason, Know Your Meme; Splatoon 2 image from Gameluster)

I’m lumping these together because in my head they’re basically the same things: multiplayer games from Nintendo with a token singleplayer component. The Grand Prix is slightly more important in Arms because it’s the primary way of earning new Arms, but I digress.

These games are both pretty okay. And if anyone is breaking them out, especially for, say, Club Tiny multiplayer nights, I’ll probably play. But I’ve stopped playing both of them altogether apart from that.

squidz

The Shrouded Isle

praise chernobog

In theory, there’s a lot for me to like about The Shrouded Isle. The striking art style aside, playing the leader of a cult of Chernobog, deciding how best to uphold the tenets of the strange island religion while also making periodic sacrifices, keeping people from uprising, dealing with weird events that occur, and keeping the five dynasties of the island happy - it’s great on paper.

But I found that in practice, there’s just not much to The Shrouded Isle. The random” events that happened seem to happen at about the same time each playthrough, in the same order, with the same outcomes. There wasn’t much variety at all, and so by my third or fourth playthrough I had figured out pretty well what the ideal’ game loop was like and completed it with the best possible ending.

Which, since you’re a cult, is your dark god rising from the seas to cleanse the world of the unjust, or something. Praise Chernobog.

(As an aside and perhaps a different view, based on this review from Errant Signal I think there may have been an update to the game or something that I haven’t received - or else this video is showing an earlier version. It certainly didn’t directly cost family favor to interrogate about vices and virtues when I was playing, but I’m not sure if that was a new or old feature.)

OneShot

don't drop that sun

(image courtesy of the game’s official website)

OneShot is a very cute but very melancholy little game where you play as a (cat?)girl named Niko who must carry the sun back to its place in a world full of darkness. I won’t spoil any more of the story than that; I’ll just say this game is very much worth your time. It’s got some puzzles, it’s got a surprisingly rich little world, and it’s got some big decisions.

Plus Niko gripes at you if you try to get her to put the sun into a crushing machine, and that’s pretty funny, honestly. Definitely recommend OneShot.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

ac/pc

(image courtesy of Dualshockers)

Congratulations to Nintendo for producing an Animal Crossing game that seems to have been developed by people who have zero understanding of what makes Animal Crossing interesting.

The only thing I liked about this game was the music. It’s fine.

Please, Nintendo, just give us an official AC for the Switch so I can forget this game” (this glorified to-do list) ever existed.

Yakuza Kiwami

majima has the moves

Until I played this game, Persona 5 was easily my game of the year. Now, well, now it’s a toss-up.

Before this year, I’d never played a Yakuza game. But between JC Fletcher raving about them on Tiny Cartridge and in Club Tiny Discord, and a sale on Yakuza Kiwami on Black Friday for $15.99 on Amazon, I figured what the heck and picked it up.

What I expected was an open-world game. My expectations were low. What I got was so much more. Yakuza Kiwami has the open world aspect, sure, even if Kamurocho isn’t as expansive as some cities. But it almost seems to have anticipated my favorite activity in most open world games (closest example probably being GTA games) and rewards that gameplay - between collectibles (locker keys, MesuKing cards, etc.), fights with thugs/Yakuza/street punks, and the endless substories, Yakuza Kiwami says hey, thanks for poking your nose into this obscure corner of the city, here’s a reward.

All the characters are just strange and cool, and everyone has their own motivations going on; Kiryu is stoic (and, incidentally, probably the first main character I’ve played in a game in a long time who’s older than me), Haruka is adorable, Detective Date is the classic One Good Cop In a Lousy System, and Majima… dear God, Goro Majima.

Kiwami added a huge new feature to the original game in the form of Majima Everywhere, which is exactly what it sounds like: in order to get you back in fighting shape, Goro Majima will randomly accost you in Kamurocho and force you to fight him. And it’s called Majima Everywhere for a reason. Buying food at the Smile Burger? There’s Majima, and he wants a fight. Picking up dog food at a convenience store? Majima’s there too. Visiting a hostess club? Instead of your usual lady, you get Goromi the Hostess.

god I wish I was kidding

Sometimes he’s in a trash can. Or in a giant traffic cone. Or underneath a manhole cover. Or locked inside a car trunk. Or hanging out in the West Park refusing to fight you because he’s trying to figure out how you make you fight him. Whatever!

gotcha

There is just so much to do in this game, but perhaps the best part is that - unless you want trophies - you don’t have to do even a third of it. For example: the gambling games. I’ve had no issues with money, and spending time in a virtual casino is not my idea of fun, so I’m just … not doing them. And it’s okay! It doesn’t impact anything other than that I’m not gonna get all the trophies, and that’s fine.

Oh, and as a bonus: it’s approaching Christmas during the events of Yakuza Kiwami (there’s wreaths in most businesses, most of the konbinis play Christmas music over the speakers if you hang out long enough, etc.), so this is now my favorite Christmas game - which is appropriate, because I played it for most of December.

In short, play Yakuza games. I’m kind of upset I didn’t, and I’m gonna rectify that going forward. Between the (honestly pretty batshit insane) story, the pile of substories, and Majima Everywhere, Yakuza Kiwami gave me a satisfying open world that felt full and left me with more than enough to do - and I can tell you that my first purchase of 2018 will probably be Yakuza 0.

mata na, kiryu-chan

Goals for this year

Also, this year:

I have to make a game or Tony gets to beat me up!

Wed 27 Dec 2017
9:44 PM

The more I play Yakuza Kiwami, the more upset I am that I slept on the Yakuza series this long.

Thu 21 Dec 2017
5:19 PM
happy holidays from Deathwing
Thu 21 Dec 2017
3:00 PM

With the Romancing SaGa 2 remaster coming out last week, I wonder if it’s too much to hope for a Rudra no Hihou remaster as well…

Fri 8 Dec 2017
1:58 PM

After careful consideration, I’m still not convinced Death Stranding is a game at all; it’s just Kojima’s fever dream.

Tue 28 Nov 2017
8:51 AM

Flash fiction: A word from our sponsors

We wern’t surprised, once the aliens arrived, that they’d picked up our television signals. We’d been blasting the stuff into space for ages, after all, like an interplanetary HEY LOOK AT US signal. What did surprise us was - due to the way things worked back home for them - the fact that they’d interpreted commercials as snippets of scripture for the attention-deprived.

We never fail to be intrigued by the colorful laws of the human pantheon. Take for example, the great lord Ore-Ida, who not only dictates when one can safely consume pizza–”

Come again?” sputtered the overwhelmed ambassador.

–but also the manner in which one can use a bagel to escape the sin of an unscheduled pizza!”

Their voices rose in an eerie harmony:

Pizza in the morning /
pizza in the evening /
pizza at suppertime /
When pizza’s on a bagel, /
you can eat pizza anytime.”

Sun 19 Nov 2017
12:18 PM

this particular bridge jump can fuck right off. #Destiny2

warlock jump sucks

Thu 16 Nov 2017
12:46 PM

EA clearly misses 2012-2013, when they were voted worst company in America. Twice. https://t.co/JJfzZIMLFA

Mon 13 Nov 2017
10:17 AM

Extremely pleased to learn this morning that Gundam 00 is getting a Blu-ray release. Still my favorite one (and IMO a better version of most of Gundam Wing’s plot elements).

Sat 11 Nov 2017
7:14 PM

As Legion is wrapping up, I’m kind of surprised we haven’t seen any sign of Mal’Ganis.

squints at Khadgar

Wed 8 Nov 2017
2:36 PM

A few more allied races for World of Warcraft

at last, trolls sans scoliosis

One of the more hyped-up portions of Blizzard’s announcement of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth were the Allied Races - groups of folks we’ve already crossed paths with during World of Warcraft, or ones we’ll see in the future, who can be convinced to join a faction via a quest chain of some kind and then are available for players to play. Most are variants or subraces of existing player races - Highmountain tauren, void elves, Dark Iron dwarves - but why stop there? The history of World of Warcraft is filled with races we didn’t kill befriended, and then left behind or who otherwise never became story-relevant. Now’s a good opportunity to rectify some of that by adding…

Hozen (Horde) and Jinyu (Alliance)

ookin' dookers and watery wikkets

We went to a lot of trouble to make friends when our characters landed in the Jade Forest. The Horde befriended the crude, brew-loving, dook-flinging forest hozen, while the Alliance, erm, allied with the mystical, peaceful, and blubbery-sounding pearlfin jinyu. Characters of both races continued to appear throughout Mists of Pandaria, and then we just… left. Friendships forgotten. Seems like, if we’re looking for allies, it’d be a great time to reach out to friends we already recruited for the last time we had a meaningless faction war, yeah?

Ethereals (both)

racial ability: spellsteal

Both? Why not. The ethereals go where there is profit to be made, and what is more profitable than the machinery of war? Furthermore, the ethereals already have good working relationships with both factions, so they’re easy to get ahold of. Maybe the standard’ ethereals don’t feel like signing on for a standard war effort? Good thing we already have two readymade groups who could easily be aligned with either faction: the Ethereum, who want to avenge the destruction of their homeworld by any means necessary, even turning to the void themselves, and the Protectorate, who strictly oppose the void - and the Ethereum.

Ogres (Horde)

ogres!

Okay, sure, ogres - at least, the Stonemaul and, more recently, the Dunemaul - are already technically part of the Horde. But they’ve never been playable! It’d be nice to have a large, burly race that doesn’t have absurd helmet model deformation issues. Also, you could have the two-headed variety for casters! That could be cool.

Downside: Blizzard would finally have to model a female ogre. Or rather - model more than the center portion of their face. Something they’ve not managed to do in 13 years. How is there not a single female ogre, Blizzard, for heaven’s sake?

Tuskarr (Alliance? Both? idk)

look at his mighty steed!!

Again, same problem, I’m not sure Blizzard has depicted any female tuskarr at all, and this is just a recurring problem, so we’re going to sidestep it. The tuskarr are really cool! They’d also be another race that doesn’t fall into the dichotomy of giant and muscle-y” or willowy and thin”; the tuskarr would be the game’s second chubby race. More than chubby! Furthermore, the whole myth that they can’t survive outside of the arctic climate of Northrend has been busted by Trawler Yotimo - he seems pretty alive.

On top of that, Blizz has already teased us with this once upon a time… on April Fool’s Day in 2010, everyone on the Armory was, briefly, a Tuskarr.

not my warlock.

Arakkoa (High Arakkoa for the Alliance, Arakkoa Outcasts for the Horde)

bird noises

BIRD PEOPLE, BLIZZARD

LET ME BE A DANG BIRD PERSON ALREADY

Thu 19 Oct 2017
5:16 PM

Shout-out to the Lunar: Silver Star Story special edition manual for trying to pass off Ghaleon as a good guy.