Hello everyone, and Happy Holidays! I’m on vacation and enjoying the lull that comes between Christmas and New Year’s Day. And since I’m on vacation, I’ve had a lot more time to enjoy myself, especially catching up on video games that I didn’t get a chance to play earlier as well as trying out some of the new games that my family decided to give to me this year. Meanwhile, I’ve also been able to keep up with my seasonal anime, and clean most of the house. Unfortunately, Crystal has been feeling a bit under the weather this week, so not everything is perfect. Still, it’s been a darn good week of vacation, and I want to share some of the details with you.
First up, let’s go back into the world of Elite: Dangerous. I know I wrote a little about this for the past couple of weeks, but it had fallen rather far off of a lot of people’s radar, so I though I should maybe bring up a bit of a refresher on it. Elite: Dangerous is the latest in a long running series of space simulation games. Whereas the earlier games in the series where single player, this latest game incorporates some online multiplayer elements. In fact, the game is essentially an MMO, with a persistent universe that all players share. (Alternatively, you can select solo play if you prefer to stay away from any potential jerkwads.) You start the game with a very basic ship and a nominal sum of money, from which you seek to build your fortune. Nominally, there are a lot of ways to do this: trading, mining, bounty hunting, and exploration are some of the most popular options. The developer, Frontier, has continued to add new features since launch, including the ability to land on planets and many options for upgrading and customizing your ship. The most recent set of updates improved the ability to map planet surfaces and made it easier to find resources on planets. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on planets now, looking for resources that I can use to aid myself in my adventures.
I’ve got several new games in the past few weeks as well, including Overwatch, Mega Man 11, and Okami. I haven’t played any one of these games a whole lot, but I don’t have some quick thoughts about each.
Overwatch: I’ve played through the tutorial, tried out each of the characters in the practice range, and done a couple of rounds versus AI. So far, its been fun. I think I’m going to spend a few more rounds with the bots before I try playing against the living. At this point, I have no idea what character I want to main, but I’m hoping that will become apparent after a few more rounds.
Mega Man 11: Jesus this game is hard. Hard the way that I’ve forgotten Mega Man games can be. Certainly part of the challenge is learning to play with an analog stick rather than a D-pad, but the level design in the game has some really tricky spots. The levels also feel a lot longer than the levels of older games. I’m not sure whether this is actually the case, but it’s definitely my perception. I’ve tried playing two levels so far and ended up completely failing at both. I need to practice more with the analog stick, but I also need to practice more with the speed and power boosters. These are two new mechanics that have been introduced in this game, allowing Mega Man to gain a temporary boost to damage or slow the entire world down. Both can be useful to getting past the numerous obstacles in each level, and I just need to get better at using them to my advantage. Make no mistake though, this is a game that demands some precision controller use.
Okami: To clarify, I bought the recently released HD remake of Okami for the Nintendo Switch. With most of the autumn and winter gaming buzz centered around the impending release of Smash Bros., you’d have every excuse to have missed this less well know re-make. I remember when this game was originally released for the Wii back in the heady days of 2008. But, living in New Zealand on a single income, I didn’t take the chance on it back in then. No longer will have missed out on such a forgotten classic. I’ve played through about 2 hours of the game, and my thoughts so far are that they spent a bit too much time with exposition at the beginning. I feel like the backstory of the village and Shiranui could have been spread out into the gameplay, rather than loaded into a massive wall of text at the beginning of the game. The game reminds me of Twilight Princess and not just because the main character is a wolf. Combat with the various monsters that inhabit that land takes place in a walled off arena.
And that’s mostly it. The rest of the week has been spent doing the typical family things, eating, chatting, exchanging gifts, and going to church services. I’m so thankful that I was able to take off so much time around the holidays this year, as it has made the holidays a lot less stressful for me at least. Now, I’m off to play some D&D and enjoy another day indoors, hiding from the cold winter weather.