Dawn of the Final Day

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. See, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases tomorrow (but I’m getting my copy tonight), and if it’s half as compelling as its predecessor, I will be fully lost in it for at least a solid month. Honestly, it’s kind of okay that I’ve been completely failing at dating lately, because I ain’t gonna have time for no woman.

To say that I have been strongly anticipating this video game would be one heck of an understatement. Yeah, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were massive hype machines, and the Resident Evil 4 remake was pretty high up there, but both Pokémon and Resident Evil are effectively annual franchises now, which kind of undercuts how exciting a new release is. Zelda, though? It’s been six years since the last new game in the series. Sure, Skyward Sword HD happened, but that wasn’t even a remake. It was a port that looked a bit nicer and added traditional controls. It barely counts.

I feel like this is the part of the blog post where a good writer would be driving home some kind of point, but… I think I already got there? But just in case: Zelda, man! It’s gonna be amaaaazing!!!

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: April 2023

~ Game Over ~

Ghost of Tsushima (PS5) – I wasn’t too sure about this one for the first few hours, but it really grew on me over time. An excellent game in most regards, though it does feel very repetitive, as open-world games usually do. My favourite parts by far were the side-stories of Jin’s allies. Folks who ignore side-quests in games would absolutely be missing out on the best parts of this game. Norio and Masako in particular were characters that I really liked adventuring with. Platinum trophy’d.

Super Mario Land 2 (GB) – Yes, again. But this time, the colourized romhack! It’s… the same game, but looks nicer. Also, you can be Luigi!

Resident Evil 4 (PS5) – Everything I could have hoped for. It’s generally a very faithful remake, but remixes a lot of the content in different ways to keep veterans of the original on their toes. That plus a whole bunch of new elements, and MUCH improved boss fights across the board. Basically exactly what a remake should be, in my opinion. It also fleshes out the story and characters way more than the original, which is definitely a nice-to-have. I’ll absolutely be playing this a few more times before the year is done.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: April 2023

Bring on the trailer analyses!

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was already my most anticipated video game of 2023 by a very wide margin. Then Nintendo went and released the trailer embedded below and I… I don’t think I can wait another month!

Zeltik already has an incredibly thorough analysis video up (nearly an hour long!), but rest assured that I’m going to be obsessively watching him, BanditGames, MonsterMaze, NintendoBlackCrisis and other Zelda-focused YouTube channels as I soak in as much discussion of this footage as I possibly can until the game proper launches in May.

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: March 2023

~ Game Over ~

Windbound (Switch) – I want to say nice things about this game, since it’s all about exploring and building a boat and sailing that boat to explore more. A very fun gameplay loop, in my opinion! However… there’s combat, and it’s slow and janky and not very fun. Also the game tended to crash at the end of each chapter in my playthrough and that’s… that’s really bad. You can watch me suffer here!

Kwaidan ~Azuma Manor Story~ (Switch) – A survival horror set in Meiji-era Japan, where you’re tasked with saving a mansion from being occupied by yokai (or yoki, as the game calls them). The controls are truly mind-boggling, but it’s otherwise a pretty good, if very short and small, game. Also, made by a single person!

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: March 2023

2022: Bad at Monies Edition

I really thought that 2022 was going to be the year that I purchased fewer than 50 video games. Got close, but those Q4 sales are killer…

Anyway, here are a bunch of numbers related to video games I purchased in 2022. I’ve included the figures from 2021 and 2020 for comparison.

Total Games Purchased567173
Purchased Games Played41 (73%)58 (82%)56 (77%)
Purchased Games Beaten37 (66%)49 (69%)44 (60%)
Purchased Games Finished32 (57%)44 (62%)36 (49%)
Physical purchases5 (9%)7 (10%)8 (11%)
Digital purchases51 (91%)64 (90%)65 (89%)
“Free” games12 (21%)18 (25%)38 (52%)
Nintendo purchases25 (45%)32 (46%)44 (60%)
PlayStation purchases19 (34%)15 (21%)18 (25%)
PC purchases10 (18%)20 (28%)3 (4%)
VR purchases2 (3%)3 (4%)7 (10%)
iOS purchases0 (0%)1 (1%)1 (1%)

The entire point of the exercise of keeping track of all my video game purchases (which I’ve been doing since 2015), is not just to share this fun data. Nor is it to cut down on game purchases in general. This is my way of trying to reduce the number of games that I buy and never play. It’s been going on for far too long now and needs to stop! What a waste of money! Sure, it’ll be great if I ever magically become rich and don’t work anymore and have nothing to do but muscle through my backlog, but let’s be honest… that’s never going to happen.

Continue reading 2022: Bad at Monies Edition

Spoiler: Contains No Actual Ghosts

Or: So I’ve Been Playing: Ghost of Tsushima.

I like open world games. Some of my favourite video games are of the open-world variety (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles X). But even so, it is impossible to argue that despite their ambitious, sandboxy design… they can kinda start to feel a little samey after a while. Travel around to points of interest, liberate dozens of effectively identical forts from enemy occupation, manage your skill trees, fast travel a whole bunch. At the end of the day, if there isn’t something absolutely definitive about your game, it’ll just end up part of the generic open-world blob.

Sadly, Ghost of Tsushima has, so far, not done anything that stands out as particularly special to me. Therefore, as I play, I can’t help but feel like I’m just going through the motions. Which makes me sad, because there was clearly plenty of love poured into making this video game! I think that it’s a very good game in a lot of ways (the story is engaging, the world is gorgeous, the quality of life features are bountiful), but I’m just a little too desensitized to this style of game to enjoy the “game” part of it as much as I would like to.

But I’d rather not dump on Ghost of Tsushima. No, instead, I’d like to point out my very favourite thing about it.

Most open world games allow you to go to the map and choose a destination that you’d like to travel to. The game then puts a big glowy thing in the world at the spot you marked, and usually gives you an arrow or something to follow to make sure you’re always going the right way. Ghost of Tsushima does none of that. What it does instead is change the way that the wind is blowing so that it’s always guiding you to your goal. So instead of a big ol’ arrow on the HUD or a line on the ground that you follow, you’re watching blades of grass, leaves, smoke, embers, and so forth dance on the wind, and going along with them.

It’s a nice alternative that blends seamlessly into the game world, and I very much appreciate it. There’s also a secondary feature where following yellow birds and foxes will lead you to fun secrets. Being resourceful and respecting nature are pretty important themes of the game, and as such, replacing HUD elements with more natural means of guidance fits it to a tee. Ghost of Tsushima doesn’t even have an on-screen compass! While that does admittedly irk me once in a while, I still appreciate Sucker Punch’s devotion to keeping the HUD as minimal as possible. It’s truly for the best in a game that’s meant to emulate old-timey samurai films.

Top 10 of 2022: Runners Up

These get a separate post because the main article is long enough as-is, but I still felt like they deserved a little recognition!

Triangle Strategy (Square-Enix / Artdink, 2022)

This was probably the hardest finalist to cut. I’ve never been able to truly get into any tactical RPGs besides Final Fantasy Tactics, but Triangle Strategy came real close. The story is interesting, the choices you make carry a ton of weight (and there’s almost never a clear “correct” choice), and the battles are great fun. Despite all that, however, I got pulled away from it when I was only halfway though, and never felt compelled enough to pick it back up. I keep looking at the case and saying “I should really finish that”, but I have a feeling it’s just not going to happen.

Continue reading Top 10 of 2022: Runners Up

TE’s Top 10 Video Games of 2022

Well, another year is behind us, and as usual, I frittered away a huge chunk of it playing video games. To help justify spending all that time on viddygames, here’s a big, long list of the ones that I liked most.

If this is your first time reading one of my Top X Games lists, I don’t make them based on games released in the previous year, but rather, games I played in the previous year. There is one constant rule: I must have played the game for the first time in the last year. And I added a new criteria for 2022, which is: no two games from the same franchise. Helps to keep the list a little more diversified. Oh, and the games are listed in the order that I played them. No playing favourites among the favourites.

Okay, that’s the preamble. Let’s go!

In 2021, I played most of the games in the Ys series, and most of them were really good. Ys: Memories of Celceta even managed to secure a spot on my Top 10 list for 2021. So the only video game “goal” I had going into 2022 was to finish off the Ys series by playing through the two games I had outstanding: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, and Ys IX: Monstrum Nox. Needless to say, they were also really good.

Lacrimosa of Dana in particular gets to adorn this list because it is definitely my favourite game in the series. It takes everything that was great about Memories of Celceta and makes them even better. So really, you could probably just read what I wrote last year and it would mostly still apply, and I could skip writing another paragraph here. But I suppose that I should at least go over some of the highlights. Specifically, I enjoy how the combat is exciting and very speedy, exploring is more fun than ever with map and treasure box completion percentages for every area, the metroidvania-style way that the world slowly opens up as you gain new traversal abilities is always appreciated, and I think that this game has the best cast of party members in the series.

One thing that I cannot praise enough about Ys VIII is that it has one of my absolute favourite video game soundtracks of all time. All Ys games have phenomenal music, but Ys VIII’s in particular really stands out to me. Not only did I get an imported physical copy of the soundtrack, but I also bought the Ys VIII: Super Ultimate arrange album, and I listen to both of them quite often. Sunshine Coastline specifically is straight up one of the best video game songs I’ve ever heard, and multiple official and cover versions of it live on my phone so I can listen to them all the time.

Continue reading TE’s Top 10 Video Games of 2022

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: February 2023

~ Game Over ~

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PS2) – You know how in FNAF, there’s “the one you shouldn’t have killed”? Well this is “the one I shouldn’t have played.” To be fair, it wasn’t that bad, and while I did enjoy some of my time with it, it was an absolute struggle to play much more often than I would have liked. Also the ending was poop. The biggest shame of it all is that I likely would have been totally ga-ga for this game if I’d played it back in 2004, but it just feels rough in 2023.

Picross S6 (Switch) – What more can I say than “it’s more Picross”? No, like, literally, it’s exactly the same format as the last two but with different puzzles. Which is all I ask for, but it doesn’t make for a very interesting review.

Kirby’s Dream Land (GB) – With the release of the Game Boy Online app on Switch… I took the opportunity to revisit some old favourites.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: February 2023

Nintendo Direct 2.8.2023

Uh, so this happened over a week ago. I watched it on my work laptop, to take advantage of the second screen, but I also can’t access WordPress from said laptop. So I wrote down all these notes while watching and only now have gotten around to publishing them.

Pikmin 4 – I like the music. New onion design? Ice pikmin… cool. Ooh! A pupper pal! Dungeons are back? Overall, it looks like another Pikmin, which is good since we haven’t had one in 10 years.

Continue reading Nintendo Direct 2.8.2023