I blame the quarantine. I mean it, I completely blame the quarantine. Let’s rewind, what am I talking about, I’m talking about how I’m playing a Call of Duty game, not only that, I’m playing online multiplayer with their Battle Royale mode, Warzone.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the latest COD (released in September of 2019). It’s a soft-reboot of this sub-series under the Call of Duty flag of games. And while I am still making my way through the campaign (and we’ll talk about that another time), what I’m here to discuss is their ‘Battle Royale’ mode, Warzone.
I’m not this type of gamer, not by a long shot. And yet here I am, playing online with other people, watching a circle shrink as I run around a map trying to survive in a death-match.
I completely get why people love this type of game, it’s endlessly entertaining and it’s those unexpected moments that delight. When you find yourself being run over by a vehicle or manage to run into a building and quickly take-down 3 or 4 surprised players who were too busy reloading. Every death is entertaining and something to be learned from.
I’ve tried PUBG and Fortnite but those games just didn’t click the way this one did. I’ve ignored my Animal Crossing island for a few weeks now. If you’re looking for something to play, a game where you can just turn off your brain. You should consider picking this up. The Warzone BR mode is free, you’d only pay if you’re interested in playing the campaign.
One caveat. If you’re going to play solo like I do, turn off the mics. There’s no need to listen in on gamergate bros and bigots as they comment on your inability to play the game. It’s just not worth it.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the eighth generation of the Pokémon video game series, developed for the Nintendo Switch. When I saw that the gameplay leaned a bit more towards the gameplay style of Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! I held of on my purchase.
Don’t get me wrong, the game looks gorgeous and I am interested in the new region (the new Galar region which is based on the United Kingdom). But something about the game just feels and looks off. Maybe I’ve just outgrown the series.
And yet, I’m still considering picking it up. I think I’ll continue to hold off for now, maybe if I find a used copy that is discounted, I might take that plunge. But all of the reviews I’ve read lean towards the perspective that it’s good but not great and that it lands a bit flat.
This is a lovely video, a narrated translation of a manga, The Story of Donkey Kong featuring all of our favorite Nintendo pals: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Pauline and of course Donkey Kong. A lovely distraction during these trying times.
It seems like everyone is gaming these days. Just try and find a Nintendo Switch, good luck. I get it though, we have all this time on our hands and gaming is a great way to socialize with each other. Even if you’re not playing an online multiplayer game, there’s a sense of community because you’re playing a game that others have played. There are resources out there for you to seek out, videos to watch to learn tips & tricks, livestreams of people speeed-running the game. You’re not alone in playing a game. There’s a whole industry and community of people behind those buttons you’re clicking. And there’s a comfort in that.
I’m not super into online gaming. It’s not a thing I’ve really been about. I’m a solo gamer who likes to do my own thing. There are a bunch of reasons for this, but the main one is that I’m very idiosyncratic with my gameplay and I’ll play something for 3 minutes and decide I’m not in that mood and move on to something else. I don’t want to have to deal with another person and possibly hurting their feelings because my brain is weird and operates in its own distinct way.
I hope all of you are staying safe and surviving the quarantine. Be sure to practice safe social distancing. It does work, it does matter, and we are seeing progress.
Here’s what I’ve been playing:
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
The Outer Worlds
Detroit: Become Human
Divinity Original Sin 2
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
A hodge-podge of RPGs and crafting simulators. That’s just been the mood. Happy Gaming.
I’m sorry this blog has been so silent as of late. The months of January & February are pretty rough for my mental health and I retreat into myself. I find myself just going through the motions and playing games to not think about all the things that feel so heavy.
And now because of the Novel Coronavirus, we’re all trying to cope and distract ourselves from thinking too many doomsday despair-like thoughts.
The only good thing about this entire ordeal is that there has never been a better time to go through your backlog and play the games you’ve been wanting to play. We also live in a golden-era of gaming, there’s SOOO much available to us on so many different platforms. Whether you’re a mobile gamer, PC gamer, console warrior, or into table top boardgames, you have a world of games to choose from.
Here’s a list of games I’m currently dabbling with:
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Red Dead Redemption 2
Sniper Elite 4
Binding of Isaac
Stay safe, practice good hygiene (social distancing and the cleaning of hands with soap & water). And remember to be kind, we’re all in this together, we’re all on the same rock, trying to figure this out and stay alive.
It’s been a quiet new year on the blog and for that I do apologize. I’ve been silent because I’ve been busy playing games, specifically JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games). I’ve been playing on the Nintendo Switch primarily and there’s no shortage of this genre: Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Tales of Vesperia, Collection of Mana, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age, I Am Setsuna, Octopath Traveler, Valkyria Chronicles 4, Disgaea 5, and many more.
I’ve been spending most of my time going back and forth between Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. While they both fall into the JRPG genre, their gameplay is pretty different. Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical role-playing game, think of a kind of chess game combined with rock/paper/scissors set in a fantasy setting.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a bit more of a straight-forward JRPG, navigation takes place both in the third-person perspective with 3D-rendered environments and a 2D overhead overworld map while battles take place from a first-person perspective. TMS#FE has story elements from two other long-standing JRPG franchises: Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei.
What can I say about these games except that they’re ANIME AS FUCK! There’s something lovely about how they both lean into the best parts of themselves.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is basically a tactical RPG set in Hogwarts. You have three ‘Great Houses’ (nations) to choose from, you have a class of students/soldiers that you teach/level up. These students will engage in combat & battle for you on a grid based map as you play through a convoluted story involving a maybe evil church and nation-states that are all vying for power and land ownership.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a game where by day you are a jpop (Japanese pop star) idol, and by night you battle demons who have mind-controlled humans for some evil and nefarious purpose. You have personas, I mean performas, spirits from another dimension (and franchise) who act as your fighters and enter arenas to battle these demons. These performas are in the guise of characters from the Fire Emblem universe. I have no idea why, nor does it really matter. What matters is that it is one of the most beautiful JRPGs I’ve ever played.
So the reason I’m not posting is because I’m too busy grinding up my levels so I can venture deeper into battle. 😀
Just a week and a half ago I shared my favorite games of 2019. You can scroll down a little bit to see the full list. For those who are too lazy to click/scroll, I’ll re-share here:
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
The Outer Worlds
Super Mario Maker 2
Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Untitled Goose Game
River City Girls
Slay the Spire
Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled
I loved every single one of these games. That being said, I didn’t really venture into the why or the what of it all. So I’m expanding a bit more on this list and breaking down these games into some more specific categories. I’m also touching on some more games that I left off of the list because I had to make a cut-off at some point. Anywho, here goes.
Games I Wish I had Played More of This Year
It’s not on my list but my first impressions of the game were quite strong (I left if off because it felt unfair to list this game without having played more than a few hours), and that game is Outer Wilds, not to be confused with The Outer Worlds. I need to give myself some time to venture back into this game, it deserves more of my time and attention.
Another game I wish I had spent more time with this year is Void Bastards. That did make my list but I need to circle back because it’s a game that I was really enjoying and then set aside because I’m like a small child or puppy that is always distracted by the next thing in front of my nose. I also just want to note that Void Bastards has the most unique visual art style, done like an illustration/comic.
Games That Are Legitimately the Best Games of the Year for Me
Slay the Spire is one of the most amazing rogue-like card based games. It has a very seductive and dangerous game-play loop that will absolutely eat up hours of your life. I should admit, I have a problem (addiction?) to rogue-like/lite games. Don’t even get me started on how many hours The Binding of Isaac has taken from me.
But back to Slay the Spire. Just buy it and play it. If I could recommend a single game to a person that I know nothing about, it’s this game. It’s the type of game that pulls people into gaming even if they’re uninterested in gaming. It’s just that engaging. It’s also very approachable, the mechanics of the game are simple and easy to understand.
The other game that I would consider best game of the year is Super Mario Maker 2. This game is a delight to play whether you are someone who wants to create your own levels, or whether you want to just play an infinite number of levels created by strangers from around the world. If you’re into speedrunning or kaizo-mario (intentionally difficult masochistic levels), SMM2 has hours and hours of game-play to enjoy. There’s just so much variety and so much to consume, you’ll never be bored and there’s always something new being created.
Games I Should Have Added to My List from a Week Ago
Control. Control should be on my list and if I’m being honest, it belongs in the Top 5. I’ll leave my list unedited but I really wish I had put this in my list because it’s such a weird and lovely game to be inside of. It’s like an episode of Fringe & X-Files with a dash of Twin Peaks, combine that with game-play that feels reminiscent of Prey & the Dishonored series, you have a recipe for one of the greatest games of 2019.
How did I forget about Blasphemous. This is a gothic metroidvania side-scrolling “souls-like” platformer. It has this beautifully dark aesthetic and the combat feels good. It should also have been in my Top 5 but it somehow slipped my mind when I was making that list up a week ago. If you can find a way to play this game, do so, it’s time well spent and you will not regret the purchase.
It’s been a great year for gaming in 2019 and 2020 looks to be even better with Cyberpunk 2049, The Last of Us II, Final Fantasy VII, & Ghosts of Tsushima. Too many games, too little time, so much $$. Happy Gaming & Happy New Years!
Last week I shared my 2019 list of games that I feel are worthy of your attention and play-time. I wanted to look back a bit further and review the best games of the decade.
I’m reflecting on games that have fundamentally changed the gaming industry, culture, & community.
Also, this list may include games that I myself have not played or are fond of, yet still recognize are important and worthy of noting.
Dark Souls (2011)
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (2011)
The Last of Us (2013)
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
The Witness (2016)
Pokemon Go (2016)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
God of War (2018)
Death Stranding (2019)
I’m sure I’ve missed some and this list is far from comprehensive, I could easily expand it, but looking back at the decade in gaming, I think this list is pretty reflective of the state of gaming/play as we move into the next decade.