Although I’d had a lot of fun playing the series in the past, I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan. I didn’t play the last game that came out, and wasn’t particularly excited for this new entry. But then all the crazy good buzz started filling my timeline just ahead of its release, and that got me excited to play it. I finally got the chance (I managed to snag a copy from our studio’s lending library), and after having played the first 4 hours last night, I definitely see what all the fuss is about — and I’m sure I haven’t even touched the best parts yet. But even from what I’ve played, you can tell that this is a special game, and although it still paints itself as a God of War game, it’s a beautiful evolution, with a more mature story, that comes with more interesting storytelling, and more of an “adventure” feel — meaning more exploration (here in the form of puzzle sequences), and not just a series of battles (which is what the old games felt like, even if some of those battles were truly spectacular and fun to take in). I’m also digging the RPG elements, like skill upgrades and weapon improvements, which is good incentive to try and pick up any and all resources available. Definitely looking forward to playing more.
As I mentioned in my post about The Division, I’ve been going back and finishing games recently, and another title I revisited was Ghost Recon Wildlands. This was a game I really was enjoying when I first played it a year ago upon release, and the only reason I veered off it was because of too many games to play at the time (i.e. the release of the Switch). I kept meaning to go back to finish it, and that’s something I finally did recently. Getting back into it, I was again having a blast — the gameplay reminds me so much of Mercenaries 2, a game I really loved. I only did the easy ending (not killing all of the subordinates), and I think I still want to play more and get the full ending (but my current The Division obsession is preventing me from doing that).
This is the second time I write about playing The Division. The first time was two years ago, when I picked up the game upon release. At the time, I liked it, but was finding it hard to play solo, and although I did play at least 10 hours or so (maybe more), I ended up stopping after a while, only reaching level 16. Recently, I’ve been in a mood to revisit old games that I haven’t finished, and I decided I’d revisit this and see if it would grab me a bit more. Well, that was about a week or two ago, and I’ve now played well over 60 hours, and I can’t stop. I don’t know what happened this time — maybe it was all of the updates they’ve done over the past two years — but I’m having such a great time playing it now, and even after finishing up all the story missions, I’m still having fun progressing in the end game (currently at “World Tier 2”). I do wish I had some friends still playing this to do more multiplayer with, but I’m managing to do fine by soloing, while using matchmaking occasionally for big missions. I haven’t gone this deep into a game since the first Destiny, and I’m curious to see if I’ll end up beating the time I put into that game. The only thing making me feel slightly bad is that there are still other games I want to go and play (and finish), and this is getting in the way.
Multiplayer and loot boxes aside, what excited me about Battlefront II was that they were including a proper story campaign, and that’s what I wanted to take in. I played through that campaign back in January, and although at first I was a bit disappointed by the relatively quick turn of the main character to the rebel side (I thought that playing as someone on the Empire side felt novel and interesting), I’d say I had a pretty good time playing through it. The combat is what it is — I don’t hate it, but I’m not particularly drawn to it — but I thought they managed to tell an enjoyable story that takes place during that time period, and I also liked the story DLC that was released after that pushed things forward much more in the timeline.
Not only have I been wanting to play Thumper for a while (yes, a recurring theme in the posts I’m writing today), but I wanted to play it even more after I watched a GDC talk by one of the creators (a post-mortem on the game’s creation). I figured it was something I’d pick up for Switch, but I ended up getting it on PS4 during a sale instead — as much as I like playing games on the Switch, the fact that I like to experience as many games as possible means I need to be a bit thrifty on my purchases, to maximize what I can justify buying (and I’m already pretty lucky that I can rent most AAA releases from our studio’s gaming library). But yeah, Thumper, fantastic visuals, really cool soundtrack — which is of course important for a rhythm game — and I’m glad I’m playing it. It’s surprising how difficult it can get considering the limited number of interactions you tend to do while playing, but that’s part of the genius of the design. I’m in no hurry to finish it, and enjoy going in every once in a while for a few runs.
I love both of Supergiant’s previous games, Bastion and Transistor, and so that alone should have made me want to jump in right away on a new game from them. And although I knew I’d eventually give Pyre a go, the fact that most of the gameplay revolves around a fantasy sport did turn me off a bit — sports video games are definitely not a genre I tend to spend time on. But having played an hour or so, the strong narrative does make it feel like a Supergiant game, and the sports part is enjoyable enough that I want to keep playing. I’m not completely sold on it yet, but enough to want to see how complex things get.
Just like Tacoma, this was another game I knew I’d get around to playing, and was just waiting for the right time — I grabbed it at the start of the year during a PSN sale, along with Pyre and Thumper (two other games I’d been wanting to play). It’s been a critical darling since its release, and I’d say it’s well deserved. Not only a beautiful game/environment to take in, I also enjoyed the twisty narrative style, and how it revolved around light puzzles. The one level I had an issue with was where you need to do a bit of platforming along tree branches, which was more frustrating than it should have been. But overall, a lovely experience that I played in two sessions (and it could have been one, I think it probably takes 2-3 hours to get through).
I played through Rime last night (played pretty much all of it in one play session — overall I think it took me about 6 hours to get through it), and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d been wanting to play this ever since I saw the first trailer, and was planning on eventually playing it on Switch, but since it’s one of the PS+ free offerings this month, I jumped in on my PS4, and I’m glad I did. Each chapter gets more and more interesting, and although it’s never super challenging, it made for an entertaining playthrough. It was the aesthetics that first got me interested, but the mix of exploration and puzzle solving made for a fun mix, and it was refreshing to not play a game like this where you’re constantly required to fight enemies. I definitely recommend playing it.
I love this game so damn much. After playing through Yakuza 0 (which I adored), I told myself I’d take a little break before starting Kiwami (a remaster of the first Yakuza game), but I just couldn’t wait and dived in the following week. I’ve played 7-8 hours so far I think — took a break to play some other games I rented — and it’s pretty much what I want and was expecting from a Yakuza game: a beautifully rendered world, a tough-as-nails storyline, and insanely funny character bits. As good as it is, it does show its age a bit compared to 0 (a lot of annoying back-and-forth between missions for example), but it’s great, and I am definitely going to play Yakuza 2 Kiwami when it releases — and of course Yakuza 6 in a couple of months. Oh, and “Majima Everywhere” (where Majima just randomly pops up in a weird manner to challenge you to a fight) is quite possibly the best and funnest feature implemented in a game.
Yeah, I know, it’s about time I get to this. I’d always been wanting to play it, but just didn’t get around to it when it came out, and then the continuous release of other things I wanted to play kept pushing it back. But I finally got around to playing it this week — better late than never — and yes, I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far. I’m only about 3-4 hours in I think, which yes, is a drop in the bucket for a game like this, but I think it’s given me a good taste of the overall experience, and I quite like it. I think having watched the Noclip documentary episodes on the game have even helped me better appreciate what I’m seeing and experiencing — I wasn’t really worried about spoilers, since I’ve already forgotten anything story-related that was said in those episodes. With all the games I still want to play, I can’t really say if I’ll be able to finish it, but I am looking forward to playing it a bunch over the coming weeks.