Happy new year y’all. I’m ready to leave 2020 behind, and while I’ve certainly done that mentally, December and January are the most quiet months when it comes to videogame releases, so I’m playing a bunch of stuff from last year. That’s fine though: it’s easy on my wallet and lets me chill out with the games I have in hand right now. On that note, here’s what I’ve been playing lately:
I don’t have much more to say about it that I haven’t already in my Destiny 2 post from a few weeks ago, but yes, it's still in my rotation and it's still a lot of fun. Contrary to what many fans seem to feel, I appreciate that I don't have to play the game forever. On reset day I can do a whole bunch of my weeklies to get some gear that pushes my ilvl up at a decent pace, and then I can chill and boot it up whenever I'm in the mood. Playing more is always an option, but I don’t have to, especially because I'm not in a rush to Raid weekly. I still think the Stasis grind is terrible, especially in the very specific things the game wants you to do, but I've largely been able to ignore those quests because I like my Fire Knives and I'm keeping them.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
I bounced off this game hard the first time I tried to play it, but I'm enjoying it a lot more on the second go-around. Assassin's Creed games are great gap-fillers when there's nothing new coming out that you're not interested in, because their loops tend to be just engaging enough, and they're stuffed to the brim with content. One thing I appreciate about Valhalla is that it separates activities by “Wealth,” “Mysteries,” and “Artifacts,” on the world map. Wealth tends to give loot, and Mysteries are usually World Events, little vignettes that let Eivor participate in small stories in whatever region she’s currently in. Artifacts are most often collectables and the like.
This system is cool because I don’t have to run from spot to spot, worried I might miss something. I care most about loot and world events, so I can see which Gold and Blue dots are on the map and prioritize those. The other cool thing is that the size of the dot on the map represents how much weight you should give it — so a big Gold dot might be armor or a new weapon, while a smaller one usually has lesser treasure. The combat in the game is pretty good, though I think I’ll enjoy it more when I have more Adrenaline bars unlocked. Adrenaline is what allows you to use your special moves, and I’d like to do that more often. Otherwise it’s just light and heavy attacks, with parrying and dodging sprinkled in-between. Even on Hard mode I don’t feel like I’m engaging with the combat systems much. But that’s fine, not everything needs to be a Platinum game (or maybe they do, check back with me). I don’t like it as much as Gods & Monsters, which I found to be quite entertaining, and I’m sure I’ll fall off the game without finishing it once something I care about more comes along, but until then I’ll make do with AC:V as my story-driven game for now.
Should also mention that I got a review code of this game. Just a disclosure because there's no way I'm willingly paying for anything that Ubisoft makes anymore.
Final Fantasy XIV (Patch 5.4)
How shocked are you really? If you spend 5 minutes on my Twitter you’ll see at least one shitpost about the misadventures of the Sailers. The 5.4 patch brought with it the final tier of Eden raids before the expansion comes out later this year, and they’re a lot of fun (except for E10, which sucks ass). I’ve gotten my full Eden set, missing only the accessories, so we’ve been cleaning up some old content, like the Warring Triad Extremes and doing the Byakko Savage trial unsynced. The more Sailers that join and reach end-game, the more content we can play that I normally wouldn’t be all that into, which is cool. My goal this year is to prog at least one current Savage raid — we’ll see if it ends up happening.
A Bunch of Playstation Plus Collection Games I Fell off of Hard
Here’s the rapid bonus round:
It’s just boring. The plot isn’t very good, the protagonist is actively unlikeable, and the zombies — excuse me, freakers — are spooky the first few times you see them, but lose their edge after a few hours. Literally nothing new or interesting here besides the setting and I guess Deacon's bike. Pass.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
NakeyJakey mentions the concept of the Goopy Goblin Gamer Brain and it's a good descriptor for how I like to play games. Basically, the less gameplay there is, the more impatient I get, because most games don't have a story that can carry boring gameplay mechanics. Uncharted 4 does not break the mold here. After 2 hours pressing X to climb pre-scripted structures in what can only be described as “fake gameplay," I threw in the the towel. It also doesn't help that the shooting mechanics feel super sloppy in my new, post-Destiny 2 world.
God of War (2018)
This game is actually not that bad? It has that horrible “I just had a kid and I need to tell you about in a game” energy to it, but as far as big budget, AAA games go it’s the most game-y and pleases my goopy goblin brain. That said, I still feel like the game peaks with the very first fight with Baulder and kinda goes down-hill from there as far as pacing goes. The environmental puzzles were generally just…okay. I'm sure I'll finish it one day but for now I'm not really in the mood.