Remember, remember, when May turns into June and once again rumors of a Switch Pro have begun to circulate again. For goodness sake, people have been spreading rumors about a Switch Pro since mid-2017. Anyway, there were some pretty big game releases this past month and I technically got to play around with one of them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of the good ones like Mechwarrior 5 or D&D Dark Alliance. Before I get lost in my Steam wishlist again here’s what I have been playing over the last 4 weeks;
(Suplexes should have been part of the two Manhunter games by Sierra)
I’ve finally finished the base Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and begun the Fantastic Four DLC! Sure, I haven’t touched it in a few weeks, but it’s great to have some context on where the four have been while the Infinity Stones were being passed between the Avengers, X-Men, and the Black Order. On the one hand, Ultimate Alliance 3 has been a grind with unforgivably long load times. On the other hand, I can’t say I’ve had a bad time playing it. The novelty of beating up chitari, ninjas, and recognizable comic villains as a wide and diverse range of familiar Marvel characters made it really easy for me to overlook the load times and grind. Yes, I had to pay extra for some of the characters, but even if I didn’t I still had access to a few dozen Avengers, X-Men, and various others to play as, which is more than I can say for Square’s Avengers which still only has fewer than 10. I still have a few characters to unlock so I can’t say I’m done with Ultimate Alliance 3, not yet. I just haven’t picked it up in a few weeks because I’ve taken to spending my breaks at work reading the Thrawn trilogy instead this month.
(Marvel's First Family, and the best of all Marvel villains)
Warhammer 40K Space Marines needs a sequel. I played this game years ago on the PS3, but I only just played through the campaign for the first time this past month. I’m really not a huge 40K person, but part of what appeals to me about the series is how the Space Marines are a faceless force of nearly unstoppable one-man WMDs. Space Marines the game makes me feel like that when it throws wave after wave of Ork at me and I’m able to mow them down with a big hammer. I’m actually surprised by just how useful all of the weapons felt, by which I mean there didn’t seem to be a single weapon that significantly outclassed or was significantly worse than any other weapon.
I wish I was faceless though; the main characters of Space Marine are hideous-yet-generic looking characters who I really wish would have remembered to bring their helmets with them. That’s probably not an issue in the multiplayer, but I don’t play a power-fantasy game to share the experience with other people. As engaging as the gunplay and melee system are in this game though, I don’t know when I’ll get back into it. When I played it this month, I ran a mostly hammer and bolter run so I have a vague idea that next time I’ll do maybe a chainsword focused run, or a plasma focused run...or maybe that would constitute heresy.
I played the demo for Resident Evil VIII twice and neither time really won me over. From what I saw of a complete let’s play without commentary, and then another 2 complete let’s plays with commentary from my favorite internet people though, I stand by my choice to wait for this game to significantly lose its value before I get in on it. I’m definitely getting it on PC, but I had decided that before I played the PS4 demo. The last few years of playing first person games with a mouse and keyboard made my experience with the console version of this demo feel a bit awkward. Knowing where the Castle demo ends in relation to the full game also makes the demo feel awkward when I first saw the footage of the full game. If you’ve forgotten, the demo was broken into a village and castle portion.
The demo was limited to one hour of playtime, but that timer would count down during cutscenes in addition to gameplay. What really confuses me about that setup is how both sections of the demo have set end points in addition to a time limit. I guess if the demo wasn’t built that way a hacker could have potentially unlocked more of the game, but I didn’t like getting to the end of both sections of the demo and realizing I only had 2 minutes of play time to potentially go back through whichever part of the demo I liked more. In the village section of the village demo, the task at hand is finding a way to open the castle gate. During this section there’s a pointless introduction scene where surviving villagers are allowed to say a few lines before they’re all killed. It can’t have been that important of a spoiler if it was in the marketing. In the castle section of the demo, your task is to explore the castle without being killed by the vampires or their ghouls. The village has a lot more cutscenes, but it also uses the flour and siege mechanics.
Both the castle and the village are interesting to explore, but I really don’t like the combat in Village. On the one hand, Village has enemy variety which Resident Evil VII almost completely lacks. On the other hand, the enemies in Village seem to take a lot of hits before they go down for good. It’s the kind of thing that I’m glad I played around with, and it’s a game that I’m definitely going to get eventually, but the Village demo completely derailed my little hype trolley. It’s a shame too, the demo for Resident Evil VII is still one that I’m happy to boot up and mess around with from time to time. That’s not even an option this time around.
(Spoiler alert, Chris does not suffer from lycanthropy)
Tales of Symphonia is different from what I was expecting. I like the real-time combat, and the aesthetic. The story however is something I’m having trouble getting into. The concept of child heroes travelling the world is fine, I’ve done that tons of times in games, but the introduction of a “human farm” is an incredibly dark element in this otherwise squeaky clean game. I’m interesting in finding out more about the world, and seeing what other dark elements may come from this deceptively bright game. I’m still very early in it too, having only just made it to the part in the plot where the Final Fantasy X plot is introduced. Maybe I should shelve this and give Tales of Vesperia a chance to wow me instead...
(So far, I know who one of these characters are, and he's a massive dork)
I installed and played Batman: Arkham City for about forty five minutes this month which surprised me. I mainlined Arkham Knight and enjoyed almost every minute of it after I got through the tutorials. From there, I did the same with Arkham Origins and thought once again, “Gosh this game is underrated.” Then I did it a third time with Arkham Asylum, and I think I get why I played Arkham City for less than an hour this month. It comes down to 2 factors, the first being that I might be Arkham’d out. The second factor...
Is that Resident Evil 4 finally clicked and I spent about 40 hours playing it this month. I’ve played Resident Evil 4 previously, but I’ve never actually played it through to completion. I’m a very high strung person so I play in short bursts. The combat can be really intense after all, and some areas stack major battles back to back. Going from the siege house to either an El Gigante encounter or a gauntlet with 2 chainsaw maidens is stressful enough that I may need a few hours off in between. It was really satisfying to overcome the challenges though and strengthen Leon up. Even the QTEs weren’t as bad as I recall them being and those times I did the Krauser bosses he never actually defeated me. I wasn’t playing on professional mode though so maybe never mind.
I played Separate Ways in between my two main playthroughs, but I still don’t know if I liked it all that much. I like puzzles more than combat, but I really wanted the Chicago Typewriter. It absolutely trivialized my second playthrough, but the catharsis that came from gunning down Salazar and Saddler made it worthwhile. Before I forget, suplexes are nice. It wasn’t until I played Resident Evil 4 that it really dawned on me how dull the demo for 8 was; enemies in 8 stumble if I shoot their face or knees, but I can’t karate kick or suplex them in that game. Oh well, it’s not Ethan’s fault he doesn’t know Venusian Aikido, it just makes Leon that much more of a dork.
(Leon has the best hair in the series, I swear)
Resident Evil Revelations sure is different on PC than it is on 3DS, and it’s very different from the other Resident Evil’s I played this month. I don’t think I like it as much. The introduction is pretty nice; Jill infiltrates a spooky cruise ship, the atmosphere builds effectively, then you’re locked in a room with a humanoid that has an eel-monster instead of a head that you’re obligated to shoot down. After that there’s a flashback that sets up a city with a stupid name that seems to have come from an Ace Combat game. On the beach a few miles away from the smouldering, artificial archipelago that once was a city, you’re asked to scan giant fat burgs which eventually attack. I only recently finished the three sub-chapters in chapter one, so there’s a lot more for me to get through. I’m not looking forward to that bit that I got stuck on last time; sitting at the bottom of a chasm and shooting wolves.
(Aiming while moving feels weird)
In the 15 hours that I’ve spent playing Nocturne HD Remaster this month it struck me that there are a couple of areas that probably weren’t in the original release. I came to this realization around the time I had taken a Queen Mab into a boss fight against Thor. Once I realized that I could grind myself to Godhood basically at the beginning of the game, that’s what I went ahead and did. It’s part of why I’ve probably played Final Fantasy VIII more than any of the others but haven’t actually beaten it yet; my focus has been grinding EXP and high-resell items so that I can go into the Cathedral of Shadows and grind better and better demons to join my party. That’s not to say I haven’t made zero-progress in the plot. As I mentioned earlier, I wiped Thor out One Punch Man style but I haven’t fought the meme-skeleton yet. I’ll probably be seeing him soon though, I need to get back to Ginza and warn them of an impending attack. Or I could just resume the grind...I’m only 11 levels away from being able to evolve my Lilim into a Lillith…
(Also the Demi-Fiend is the coolest protagonist of an SMT that I've played as so far)
So a funny thing happened to me the other day. I’ve been told that my landlords are selling the place I’m renting. Luckily it looks like my housemates and I have a place lined up, but the main question mark hanging above us is the actual timetable for when we need to be moved. I’m going to try and keep up with my journal, but June and/or July might be very, very stressful for me. Gosh, I hope there aren’t any other sudden, unannounced changes on the way! If I have the time and money I might bite D&D Dark Alliance, Necromunda, Mechwarrior 5, or maybe just maybe Seikiro will finally hit $20 or less if the Steam Summer Sale is this coming month. Fingers crossed!