Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Cherrim's Game Log


Hello and welcome to my gaming log! I mostly just want a place to ramble about what I'm doing in Final Fantasy XIV the games I'm playing. This year I'm participating in both the Game Along and Gaming Challenge threads on PC, so I'll use this log to update my progress for those, too.

(For real, though, I imagine 80% of this will just be FFXIV talk... speaking of which, did you know the free trial now extends to level 60 and through to the end of the first expansion? There has never been a better time to pick it up and if you do, we've got a big PC crowd on Sargatanas/Aether DC, so please consider giving it a shot! I will stop shilling for Square Enix's award-winning MMO in my introduction now.)

★☆★☆★

Ongoing game

Game Along
100% Complete!

★☆★☆★
Currently Playing
Most recent gaming update: July 28
  • The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve
  • Tales of Arise
  • Final Fantasy XIV
★☆★☆★
Beaten This Year
I challenged myself to beat 20 31 games this year in PC's Gaming Challenge, so I'll update this thread with each game I beat. If a game was part of the Game Along challenge, it will be marked by a pink star.
  1. Tacoma » January 6
  2. Never Alone » February 3
  3. Tales of the Abyss » February 25
  4. Final Fantasy IV » February 28
  5. Final Fantasy IV: Interlude » March 2
  6. Layton's Mystery Journey » March 4
  7. Ori and the Will of the Wisps » March 5
  8. Human Resource Machine » March 7
  9. Emily is Away » March 8
  10. A Mortician's Tale » March 10
  11. Mini Metro » April 3
  12. Moss » April 12
  13. Final Fantasy XIV - Patch 5.5 » April 13
  14. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years » April 27
  15. New Pokémon Snap » May 5
  16. Zero Time Dilemma » May 10
  17. Final Fantasy XIV - Patch 5.55 » May 18
  18. Kingdom Hearts Union χ » May 31
  19. The World Ends With You » May 31
  20. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening » June 5
  21. L.A. Noire » June 14
  22. A Short Hike » June 15
  23. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion » June 18
  24. Hot Pot Panic » June 23
  25. Left 4 Dead » June 27
  26. Okami HD » July 7
  27. Final Fantasy XII » July 27
  28. NEO: The World Ends With You » August 5
  29. Layton Brothers: Mystery Room » August 7
  30. Great Ace Attorney: Adventures » August 31
  31. Bastion » September 2
  32. Panel de Pon » September 4
  33. Tales of Eternia » September 23
  34. To the Moon » October 1
  35. A Bird Story » October 2
  36. Finding Paradise » October 3
  37. Impostor Factory » October 5
  38. Jurassic Park: The Game » October 8
  39. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn » October 30
  40. Unpacking » November 2
  41. Little Nightmares » November 24
  42. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker » December 9
  43. The Burnable Garbage Day » December 19
  44. Little Big Planet 3 » December 26
  45. Rakuen » December 27
★☆★☆★
Plan to Play
These are the games I'm hoping to get around to this year. Some of them are new releases and some of them are just games I've been meaning to play for a while. Maybe keeping a list will help me decide what to play when I'm unsure!
  • Final Fantasy Type 0


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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update


Currently Playing
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Questions Arc - Episode 2
  • Layton's Mystery Journey
  • Final Fantasy XIV (ongoing)
  • Kingdom Hearts: Union χ (ongoing)

★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XIV
This week was eventful on XIV! I got AST and WHM to 80, which means I'm all done playing casters now. I don't really enjoy healing dungeons in the slightest, so I'm happy to be done with those. It's weird that I was a healer main for so long at the start and now I often can't stand it ahaha. I do think it's funny that I got my Soul of Magic title before any of my caster main friends though, just from going "you know what, let's rip this band-aid off" and power levelling them so I never had to touch them again, LOL.
I also got my Beata of the Firmament title! I spent the better part of the week before last in the diadem going for the title for my botanist. (I could have no-lifed the Saint title but I just... did not want to, and I have no regrets lol.) And while I was levelling my healers, I also got reeeeal close to 1500 comms and this week I cleaned that up and went ahead and got my Burger King Mentor Crown. I immediately turned it off, but it was kinda satisfying to get. :D I'm gonna go for mentor roulette, but I have to do the SB ex fights first. And I'm debating trying to clear all the ex fights legit so that if I do get them in mentor roulette, I won't be expecting to steamroll them, since all but Ravana I've only ever done unsynced (for old ones). :x

My current goal is to get MCH to 80. It finally clicked for me the other night and now it's really fun to play. :D
★☆★☆★
Layton's Mystery Journey
I really wanted a handheld game to play, preferably on my phone, so I could play a bit at night before I fall asleep. I tried to pick up Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions because I had a copy of it on Android from years and years ago, but upon installing it I remembered for the umpteenth time why I always uninstall it quickly and give up. The UI was terrible and it drops you in with so little fanfare, it was just horrible to try to get the hang of. So I gave up on that and reinstalled this game instead. It's about what I remembered, which is not as good as the original Layton games, but for what I needed—a little thing to play before bed—it's perfect. I've finished the first episode and am ready to start the second one. :)

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professor plum

Age 30
he/him/his
louisiana
Online now
Posted 9 Minutes Ago
11,836 posts
17.2 Years
erica this css is so cute... and im happy i inspired you to play layton #MyImpact
(\__/)
(='.'=)
('')_('')
This Is Bunny. Copy And Paste Bunny Into
Your Signature To Help Him Gain World Domination!!!!

Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years
erica this css is so cute... and im happy i inspired you to play layton #MyImpact
ummm sweaty i dont see you mentioned in my post????? :femme:
paired with erik destler.

Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #2


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Layton's Mystery Journey (Android)
  • Final Fantasy IV (Vita)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • Never Alone (PS4)

★☆★☆★
Never Alone

The other week I realized my Playstation Plus subscription expires in February, so I took a look at my PS+ games to see which ones I wanted to try to play before my time was up. Ultimately, I ended up deciding to just let it lapse and pick up a month or so sometime down the line if I saw good rewards, but before I made that decision, I decided to play Never Alone. It's a gorgeous little game made with the help of Indigenous storytellers in Alaska to give an authentic experience of a real tale. I found the controls could have been a little tighter, but I enjoyed the atmosphere and the way everything tied together so much that I didn't mind at all. I'm not even that great at platformers and I loved this one. I'm glad I took the time to play it!



I got all the Trophies and watched everything, so I'm gonna say I 100% completed it. :)

★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XIV

I don't have a ton to update here (this is a lie, I just don't want to type a novel about my exploits), but I have been up to a bit lately! I finished up Machinist like I mentioned in last update and decided I liked it so much I wanted to keep it, so it's now my main DPS class! :D I grabbed Exarchic gear for it and I've taken it into Eden and 80 dungeons a couple times now. I still prefer tanking but it's nice being able to swap to a different role when it's needed. Now I'm sort of simultaneously levelling up my other tanks (WAR is 73, PLD is 69) while also pulling BRD up. I think I'll have my Amaro pretty soon!!!

Today in particular was a bit of a momentous day in XIV, though!

First was the Rashavenir x Kurina Wedding! The theme was pink and green and it was a lot of fun. :> It was mostly people from PC with a few others from Faf's FC and it was the liveliest wedding I've ever been to, or at least the liveliest where I didn't feel out of place for not knowing enough people, ahaha. I don't have a pic of my "nice" glam that I wore for the actual ceremony but I am quite partial to this pic from Faf of me in my afterparty glam ruining the moment in the background. 8) With a Fat Cat pile for good measure!



Then about 45 minutes after the wedding, Sargatanas had its last ever Firmament fate!! Our statue is the Armourer, which as ddrox pointed out, is fitting considering we have so few crafters and our crafters really only bother making raid gear LOL. I'm gonna miss Ishgard Restoration. I was only here for 5.3 and 5.4's, but . I don't think I'll go for a house in Ishgard because my current house is on my dream plot in Lavender Beds, but I'm definitely putting my apartment there when housing opens in 6.0. (Photo shamelessly stolen from Sammi's Twitter.)



And last but not least, later in the evening, Lozz and I decided to head into Bozja with a bit of an entourage. The first place where Castrum Lacus Litore popped was somewhere we'd been wandering around for about an hour and... it had a whopping 11 people join. :'( We gave up on that instance shortly after and eventually when we went back in with Sammi and others, we ended up in an instance where Castrum had JUST popped. We rushed to get in and this time there were 21 people. It seemed doomed, especially since it seemed like a struggle to divide ourselves between top and bottom for the first fight, which is usually where you can tell if you're gonna have any chance of clearing or not. But then, surprisingly, the rest of the run........ went off without a hitch? We got through the first boss just fine. The second part, where all the parties split up, our group of four struggled slightly with dps in the corridor we took, but we still managed okay. We lost our healer to disconnection for a bit when the second boss started, but we got through that just fine too. I was trying really hard not to get my hopes up because I've failed Castrum with 44 people before, but it felt... like maybe we could do it? But the final boss is where I've had problems every time I've tried to clear. Not enough people ever seemed to know the side fight with Lyon and that's what takes us out in the end. Surely this tiny group couldn't have a party of 8 willing to go up, right?

...Well, when we got to the final room, immediately a group of 6 wandered over to the side to designate themselves the special party. And two others, our Lozz included, joined them to fill the ranks. It was so painless, which was wild considering in one of my failed attempts, if the party of 8 had just assembled faster, we wouldn't have gotten kicked out of the raid for hitting the time limit at 8%. But I still refused to get my hopes up. I merged our party with another group of 3 so we wouldn't be SOL if all of us went down and... took on the job of main tank, because no one was pulling. AND THEN WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!! I only died once the whole raid and being main tank was exhilarating. I can't believe we cleared!!! I know this is only the beginning and now I get to clear Delubrum Reginae, but I'll tackle that later since I don't think it'll be as dependent on others' participation, since you can queue it and all.



★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy IV

I needed a game for the game challenge this month (a game I'd always wanted to play but never got around to), and I was waffling for a few days on what to pick. The only thing that came to mind was Final Fantasy IX, but I didn't think I wanted to commit to a 60+ hour game in a month. Theeeen... the preview of the new FFXIV expansion dropped last week and people were talking about how it felt like an FFIV reference and I suddenly remembered I'd bought a copy of FFIV Complete Edition on PSP/PS Vita nearly a decade ago. Perfect!

So I've started it and I'm making decent progress, I think. Cecil just gave up being a Dark Knight to become a Paladin, which I, as a Dark Knight main in FFXIV who absolutely hates playing Paladin, vehemently disagree with, but I suppose I can put up with it. (I did like an NPC in the game pointing out that "Dark Knight is the antithesis of Paladin". Aha! That's why I hate it!!!) I'm not sure how I feel about the battle system. I have come to dislike most older systems with persistent MP, especially when it feels so scarce with so few places to replenish it, like this game. I've found I keep having all my mages defend while Cecil just kills everything with normal attacks. It's not... terribly fun, but it's not hard either so I'll probably just keep playing this way lmao.

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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #3


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Layton's Mystery Journey (Android)
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (PSP)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • Tales of the Abyss (PS2)
  • Final Fantasy IV (PSP)
  • Final Fantasy IV: Interlude (PSP)

★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XIV

I feel like a lot has happened in XIV lately but it all pales to me finally hitting all 80s and getting my Amaro mount. I love himmm! I absolutely hated playing the DPS class I left for last, Bard, so I was really happy to go back to tanks in the end. Gunbreaker was my final 80 and it was kind of a joy to level. Probably the tank closest in kit to DRK so it felt like coming home. Now I have to decide what to do with my time because levelling was my favourite part of the game, ahaha.



★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy IV + Interlude

Well, I beat it! I did really enjoy this game, particularly recognizing references I'd seen in FFXIV and hints at what's to come in that game, as the new expansion hits a lot of themes and plot points from FFIV. I liked the characters and the plot, but I have to admit that it zoomed through everything so quickly that it kind of felt like I was playing a summary of a game rather than the game itself. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if the characters were given some room to breathe and interact more than JUST to talk about plot or be plot devices.

Also, and I know this is just how these older JRPGs were but, I wish the game were a bit more balanced. I tried to stay a little overlevelled so that I wouldn't have many problems with things, but the game demanded SO much grinding from me that I just couldn't take it in the end. I'd do a boss fight and absolutely steamroll it, proving I was overlevelled for the area, but then 5 minutes later in a new section of plot, the random encounters would nearly be taking me out while also giving garbage amounts of exp. It was really frustrating to have to stop the plot in full so that I could set everyone to auto and mindlessly grind next to a save point with tents for 3+ hours just to run into the same problem after I finished the dungeon. I followed a guide that approximated levels and by the end of the game I was consistently 10-15 levels below their recommendation because I just couldn't handle how bad the grind was. I don't mind some grinding in a game, but I don't feel like it should be required. A proper remake of this game with more fleshed out character interactions and more cutscenes for more breathing room between plot beats would be amazing. I doubt we'd ever get it, but it would really elevate this game, I think.

I also finished the Interlude last night and it was mostly just a big struggle with levels again. I didn't have the freedom to grind, nor the drive since the game was only about 2 hours long, so it was really frustrating. u_u I think if they'd simply made the base level 50 for the game instead of ~35, it would have been perfect. Balance the random encounters and bosses around that and we'd still have most of our kit and if people were REALLY desperate for their ultimate spells, they could put that extra grind in. Since you basically have to be about level 60 to beat the original game, you'd still feel like everyone sort of lost their touch slightly during times of peace without feeling so restricted. (The number of times I needed Float in that final dungeon because Quake from two of the bosses kept totalling my party? Ugh.) The developer's room was cute, though, and I will never see Cecil and his taste in, uh, literature, the same way ever again.

I'm starting The After Years next, which is actually a lot longer than I thought it would be, so good luck to me I guess!

★☆★☆★
Tales of the Abyss

Okay, I completely forgot I was playing this and forgot to add it to my list until now because I beat it last week. I've been playing it online over Parsec with a friend over the last few months and it's still such a great game! The characters are great and the plot holds up really well, even 15 years later. I think it could do with better pacing (some play sessions, I wouldn't actually get to play at all because there was just so much back-and-forth in the plot that we'd never actually see a dungeon or playable segment) and I don't think they'd really figured out good scaling for their 3D games yet because the maps were just... too big, but it's still good fun.

My friend and I wanted to play it in Japanese, but we couldn't find a copy so we ended up playing the undub patch instead. It was great seeing how they translated things and I think I ultimately preferred playing it that way over fully in JP. Next we're probably going to play Eternia. This'll be my first time playing it in Japanese, which means it'll be my first time seeing it with all the skits. I'm so excited because Eternia is also a solid game. :D

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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #4


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (PSP)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • Layton's Mystery Journey (Android)
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (PC)
  • Human Resource Machine (PC)
  • Emily is Away (PC)
  • A Mortician's Tale (PC)

★☆★☆★

I didn't wanna update this thread too often but jeez, I went a bit crazy with beating games the past little while and I have so many to talk about!!!

★☆★☆★
Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The theme for March's game challenge was platformer, so it was the perfect time to finally pick up Ori and the Will of the Wisps! The first Ori game is one of my favourite games of all time. Everything about it was just so, so good—the gameplay, the game design, the music, the visuals, everything! I'm usually really bad at platformers, which makes me hesitant to give them a shot, but I'm glad I made an exception for Ori and after finally being able to afford the sequel last month, I was glad to be able to make time for it so soon!



...And it was so worth it!!! Honestly, I just loved this game to bits again. It's gorgeous, the music is great, and it was every bit as fun to play as its predecessor. It had a fair few QoL changes from the first one (such as being able to teleport to shrines from any safe zone on the map instead of just from other shrines) and the battles felt a little more fleshed out than I remember them being in the first one. The challenges in the game were frustrating sometimes, but never in such a way that I felt they were impossible to achieve. Usually I just needed to check my skills and try a different approach. That's something I appreciated about the boss fights, too. I would often start them out feeling a bit annoyed because none of it made sense and I felt like I was fumbling too much, but so quickly I'd figure it out and by the time I finally cleared the boss, I'd have a very clear idea of how to do everything. (Although sometimes I did just have to brute force it a bit, too. I never promised to be good at these kinds of games...!)

I actually really liked how most of the game was kind of just a rehash of the original. The original was just so well-designed that I felt like they perfected it and they didn't need to give me a totally new game with different platforming skills, they just needed to give me more of what I loved and that's exactly what they did. It's been too long since the first one for me to remember if every single thing was included in the sequel or even specifics of what was new and what wasn't, but it felt like coming home. The progression of picking up your new skills, going back along the map to apply them in old areas, the fluidity of how they slot into your repertoire each time you get something new... everything was just perfect. Don't mess with the formula if it works.

I suppose maybe my one complaint about the game is it didn't have any particular "aaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!" moments like in the first game. Specifically, the final chase segment in the Ginso Tree in the first one was the defining moment of the game for me. And one of my favourite parts of any game ever. I truly think it's a masterpiece in design, the way the music is perfectly timed to your actions and you have almost a rhythmic challenge, trying to stay ahead of the water gushing forth as you jump and fling your way upward. Most of the bosses in this game had a short little chase segment, and once again when you bring the clean water back to this forest, there's a chase sequence-only boss to greet you, but it just... didn't feel the same at any point in this game. The chases were too short, or too segmented, or just... I dunno. They couldn't live up to that one. And I mean, it would have been an extremely tall task to do that, but I still kind of hoped it would.

I didn't get all the achievements, so I suppose this might be a false double-check, since by some standards I didn't 100% the game, but all of the achievements were for challenge modes and I just... wasn't interested in that. I got all the collectibles, upgraded every skill, did every sidequest, and that's enough for me. I know I wouldn't enjoy trying to challenge myself in a platformer so I simply won't push myself to. The game is done and I've 100%'d what matters, so I'm gonna say it counts.

Please please please play these games, everyone. They are so worth it.

★☆★☆★
Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy

Hoo, boy, where to start. First up: I guess this game is alright. It largely has the same amount of polish that I'd expect from a Layton game. The puzzles are fun, examining the maps to find all the hidden things is fun, the character designs are top notch as usual. But it's just... not an enjoyable game overall. I had a lot of gripes and I want to whine about them.



First up: the case writing. The game is divided into 12 cases and, being a mobile game first and foremost, they're meant to be very digestible in a short amount of time, so each case only lasts for maybe 20 minutes of gameplay. And that's fine, except that it felt like they didn't actually know how to write an episodic game to the same standard as the previous titles in the series. The way each case worked is Katrielle explores around and each time she makes some progress on her case, she gets a "clue" or bit of "inspiration". Once you've collected all the clues, you have the option to solve the case and finish up the episode. It's a perfectly good system in theory, but in practice? Nearly every time, there are one or two clues that are so obvious they blow the case wide open early on in the investigation, leaving you to arbitrarily explore the rest of the chapter for often unrelated clues that don't at all factor in to the final twist. It's not satisfying at all. Once or twice, none of the clues even make SENSE and the logical leap that Katrielle makes in the fancy anime cutscene takes the player by surprise, too, and not even in a good way.

Speaking of Katrielle, I found her largely unlikeable and it made the game hard to keep playing. It's frustrating, because I think with a different cast she could be a lot better. But the combination of her and Ernest is just so unfortunate. She flits between knowing exactly how much she's leading him on/using him and being totally innocent/naive about the whole thing based on the tone the writers wanted for a given scene and it's just annoying. I'm not a fan of Ernest either, but God, the guy has no personality beyond simping for her. The dude needs to move on and the game doesn't give us a good reason for why he sticks around beyond his stupid crush. (And I've got a further bone to pick with him, given the twist at the end, but this will be way too long if I focus on everyone.)

That said, one thing I tried really hard to do while playing was to pull back a bit to try to figure out why I found Katrielle so frustrating. Did I genuinely dislike her character? Or was I subconsciously comparing her to Professor Layton as the face of the series every time she speaks? Or is it a combination of the two, disliking her character as she's presented and also feeling like it smears Layton as a character? Because I struggle somewhat to believe the "perfect gentleman" would raise such a brat. But then... Maybe it's because he was always off solving cases and raising other kids that she grew up the way she did, wanting to make a name for herself rather than relying on his reputation?? I'm definitely overthinking it all, of course, but I don't like it when I dislike female leads and always worry a big part of it is some sort of internalized misogyny, because I've struggled a lot with that in the past. But the more the game went on, and especially with that one case where she gets framed for murder and just pointlessly runs away from the cops before deciding to go back for no reason at all was where I just gave up trying to find a reason to appreciate her and just let myself be annoyed.

Anyway, all that aside, I did feel like the game was worth playing. This was my second time playing it—the first time I played was shortly after it came out, so I didn't actually get to experience all the Daily Puzzles because I stopped checking and downloading them after a certain point. So this time I got to 100% the game for real. The Daily Puzzles were largely good. Some were great fun and some were actually terrible and the rest were mostly in between. A lot were just tedious to go through in a short amount of time but I can't fault them for it because it's meant to be spread out over a year, ahaha. The game had the usual bonus puzzles that unlock as you progress. I really liked the meals one, where you had to find the "ideal meal" for a handful of NPCs. I wish that it was possible to actually complete it as you were going through, but as before I found it best to just beat the whole game and then go do the challenge because then you had access to all the dishes and could, you know, build the meals as the NPCs ask? The other games were kinda fun but not very notable.

The DLC for the game is entirely fashion-based, just a bunch of outfits for Katrielle that you can change on the fly as you play. They're all like $3-4 and none of them are particularly good. There's only one other costume included with the game, the fancy one you get during the theatre chapter, and the whole thing just feels odd, especially since they hinged a great deal of Katrielle's personality on fashion and liking to buy new things. Shouldn't more outfits be included then? They didn't even make Katrielle likeable, why would I pay them to encourage her hobbies? I think there's also a bit of DLC in the form of decorating the office but... wow, the options were so unfortunate. Almost nothing looks good together, even if you unlock everything. It was just a weird feature to include if they were gonna give you so little choice in decorations. (I really only mention it because I love decoration games and including it in such a half-assed way just felt like an insult to me personally, ahaha...)

★☆★☆★
Emily is Away

I was hesitant to even add this to my list because the game was only like 30 minutes long, but I've decided I will not discriminate based on length and I wouldn't mind playing more indie games this year. If it feels like I'm cheating on my 20 game challenge (and it already does), I'll just bump it up throughout the year. :)

Anyway! This game was... okay. Someone recommended it to me a year or two ago, although I simply do not remember who it was. I found it kind of cute at first. It's a little story about two friends in high school who drift apart and never quite manage to romantically connect with each other, despite mutual feelings. The whole thing plays out in an AIM window, one conversation per year. I thought that was actually a clever little way to give the story, and although I wasn't a heavy user of AIM back in the day, it still felt really nostalgic hearing the noises and setting a low res avatar and picking my font and background colours... but that's maybe where my enjoyment stopped, lol. I was not at all surprised to find the game was written by a guy, because the whole thing just... felt like it. Although the randomized names at the start included both guys and girls and the game was pretty inclusive of orientation (letting you ultimately choose whether you were dating a guy, a girl, or neither), the writing was just... so awkward, if you imagined your character as girl. To be fair, it was awkward even if you were a guy and I'm pretty sure it's a story of being more or less friendzoned by your manic pixie dream girl, although maybe not quite that extreme.

Both you and Emily, the titular character, are really unlikable and a lot of the dialogue options were just painful to pick. I played through the game twice, since it was so short, and the second time I tried to pick totally different options and was still just vaguely upset at how it all turned out. My first playthrough, after Emily is dumped by her mildly abusive (??) boyfriend, I invited her to visit me at university in another city and she accepted, and then the next year she got mad at me for not having made a move when she was there, even though in my head I was like, wow, she is going through a rough breakup, obviously I shouldn't try to aim my character into a rebound situation with her or take advantage (and had even set clear boundaries that she was visiting "as a friend" before she came). She laments it and by then it's too late, she's back with the asshole boyfriend and the game ends. So the next time I played my cards differently and while I didn't make a move, I also didn't set any boundaries. The next year, turns out we didn't do anything but she also accused my character of taking advantage of her when she was vulnerable and that soured me so much on the game I almost didn't even finish it. But it ends the same way regardless.

I did not do any more playthroughs to see how any of the other dialogue branches panned out, just sub in different friends or acquaintances), so I'm not marking it complete, even though I suspect the story is exactly the same no matter what you pick. There's a paid sequel, where you navigate more of a MySpace era site and it's more dating sim-y, but I didn't see anything good about it from people who felt largely the same way I did about this game, so I am not interested.

★☆★☆★
Human Resource Machine

I didn't really know what to expect when I randomly started this game in my Steam library the other day, but it certainly wasn't old Computer Science homework, I can tell you that much. I really liked some of this developer's other games, particularly World of Goo, so I installed this on a whim and beat it all in a day.



It's basically a game that tricks you into writing assembly code. I nearly failed a class on this in university but I distinctly remember doing assignments that had some of these same kinds of problems, so it was almost nostalgic to go back and without the oppressive nature of school hanging over me, I actually had a lot more fun with this than I expected once I realized what it was. It was also deeply satisfying to naturally manage the speed and size challenges (for quickest execution and fewest lines of code respectively) for most of the earlier levels without any extra effort. For later levels, I gave up on trying to do both challenges pretty quickly, but I did still try not to move on unless I could manage at least one of the two challenges. I still haven't done all the bonus levels, but I think I'd like to go back to them one day.

One thing I think could have been a bit better is... either lose the story segment or flesh it out just a little bit more. It was just kinda weird having there be a whole robot/AI takeover and then for there not to be a whole lot done with it...? It feels weird even typing this out lol.

I'd also love to get my hands on the sequel next time there's a Steam sale. The one has multi-processors! It'll be just like my Operating Systems class but more fun!

★☆★☆★
A Mortician's Tale

Continuing on with the "games so short, it feels like cheating to add them to my beaten list", I finally got around to A Mortician's Tale today! I'd avoided it for many years because every review seemed to mention that while the game was great and thoughtful, the price tag was too high for how much game you get and given it was always around $15 for an hour of gameplay... I passed on it. Until a few months ago I found it in my Humble Bundle downloads. I guess I bought a bundle that included it once and then totally forgot about it. Oops! I downloaded it and forgot about it again, until I found it the other day while looking for something in my downloads folder.

I'm glad I played this game, but reviewers were right: it's disappointingly short. Basically you start out as a mortician right out of university, hired by a little mom and pop funeral home. Each day of gameplay, you start by checking your emails, reading thoughtful newsletters (about death, the grieving process, and how to approach that as a worker in a funeral home), and slowly uncovering the plot which is that your funeral home just can't keep up with the more corporate ones that push expensive plans on people. Then, you accept your job for the day which is either embalming someone or cremating them and then attending the funeral briefly to pay your respects. Rinse and repeat, except there are really only like 10 people tops, so there's not a lot to do. It holds your hand every single time, even though the steps for either task are quite simple.

I think this game could have been improved even a little if there were more choices to make. Spoilers ahoy, but eventually you get bought out by a company that runs dozens of funeral homes and you have to follow their strict corporate policies even if it goes against your own beliefs, especially those instilled in you by the previous owner and the newsletters you get. I think there would be a bit more content if you had to choose between following their rules or respecting the wishes of a grieving family and stretching that out a bit more instead of going for the somewhat unrealistic ending it stopped at. Still, it was a lovely little game and I enjoyed my time with it. I really liked the newsletters in particular, because they had a lot of thoughtful things to say and I think I'll remember their contents for a long time to come, which I imagine was kind of the point of the game anyway. :)

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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #5


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (PSP)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • Mini Metro (PC)
  • Moss (PSVR)
  • Final Fantasy XIV - Patch 5.5 (PC)

★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XIV + Patch 5.5

Since getting all my classes to 80, I've mostly just been coasting a bit because levelling was my favourite part of the game, but I've been finding some things to do!

First up, I finished all the shared FATEs in Norvrandt, which means I got my baby Amaro Hatchling minion! It's so cute and it makes me so happy to see it following me around. :') I also finished up all of the Stormblood EX fights to unlock Mentor roulette, so I've been queuing that whenever I get bored. It's a bit scary since I haven't really done many synced extremes before, but even when I get them, somehow we've always managed to clear. I mostly just like using it to spin the wheel on what sort of content to play because I like that it can pull from a pool of, well, everything!



I've also started progging savage. My FC friends asked me if I was interested in learning e9s on a whim one night and I said yes, so over the course of... I think three sessions? I figured it out and got my clear. Part of me regrets being a tank main because in the harder content it... hmm. Feels like a lot more responsibility? Like I get a bit frustrated in the early stage of learning savage fights because it feels like I have soo much more to do than the DPS and I start getting hard on myself when it's my fault we wipe because I can't figure stuff out, but once it clicks, it's really satisfying, and it feels like if I learn it on tank I can probably also clear it on DPS if I ever have reason to try, so I will keep at it. We did maybe 40 minutes' worth of e10s last week but then the party broke up and it was late so I went to bed. Hoping to get back to it soon, though. :)

In other news, yesterday the new 5.5 patch dropped. My friend and I were super excited to play the new NieR raid blind because mass death and destruction is always a good time. So that's the first thing we picked and and while it was clear a few people in our alliance had already played (including one person who marked themselves with a triangle, which was annoying for those of us trying to go in blind), there was still a lot of death and we still had a wipe on the second boss. It was a lot of fun though! I was actually crying when the final boss theme came on (it's a beautiful Kainé rendition mixed with the Final Fantasy theme) and struggled to main tank the final boss because of it, ahaha. (I ended up spending 2 million gil to buy the orchestrion roll later. I'm sure its price is absolutely exorbitant right now because day one and no world hopping to compare prices, but I just HAD to have it.) We immediately turned around and went right back in, even though we'd both gotten our loot for the week in the first run. I got the tank chest and next week I am definitely going for the tank boots.



After NieR, I ran through the MSQ. It was good! The underlying plot was a bit boring, but the character interactions more than made up for it. The scene where Estinien meets Alisaie was so funny I was crying laughing and then seeing everyone's dialogue through the course of the story was great. I'm excited to see where the story is going from here, although I almost dread the next patch because I know it's going to drop the customary cliffhanger on us and then it'll be a very, very long wait through the summer until the expansion. :( I also finished up the Werlyt sidequest and while I still absolutely abhor everything about its themes and choice of main character, at least the new fight was fun. I'm excited to never think about that plot again, though.

My next goal is to unlock the new collectibles turn-in in Firmament because I'm actually pretty invested in the character's story at this point.

★☆★☆★
Moss

Recently, Sony made a handful of games free as part of their Play At Home campaign and most of them were PSVR games. This was great, because I actually got a PSVR for Christmas in 2019 but simply hadn't had a chance to play it because the games were too expensive to justify something I couldn't play very often. (My cat likes to chew cords, so I can't play when he's going to want attention because I literally can't see/hear him being bad when I have the VR headset on, ahaha.) I'd played the demo for this game so I offered it up as one of the options for this month's game-along (RNG!) and this got picked, so this is what I played.

It's really a charming little game. You play as the "Reader", reading a book and guiding the heroine within who is a small mouse. You look down on the maps from a specific vantage point and use the control stick and face buttons to move and control the mouse, while using motion control to control your own interaction marker, using it to push/pull/hold things in the world. You can grab and hold enemies for her to attack, you can control certain enemies yourself to help her fight, or you can just manipulate moving objects in the world to help with the platforming sections. The design is really solid and one of my favourite parts was looking for the scroll collectible in each map. Sometimes you have to stand up a bit or crane your neck to really look around the game area to see where things are hiding, since they're not quite visible from your usual vantage point. Being kind of a giant interacting in a world made for small mice has a really interesting feel to it, with some maps looking a bit like tilt shifted maps.

I have a few complaints, but they feel pretty minor. I think this may have been my fault for not playing with a clear enough space, but it was really hard to grab some of the interactable objects that appears further back in the diorama. Especially if I had to push things back, sometimes I simply could not move my controller close enough without my PS Camera protesting. I managed it in the end each time but I had to push my chair way out and it was pretty awkward, especially since the game seems to want you to play with both hands on the controller.

My other complaint is just... hmm. I don't mind that the game was short (it was only a few hours long) because I knew that going in and it didn't feel like it was going to be too terribly long of a game, but it didn't feel complete. It almost did, since I think the final level being a long boss fight through a series of obstacles was well done and a good, challenging cap to a game that had otherwise been engaging and interesting, but then you walk into the final room to save the person you've been looking for and in about 4 lines he just tell you that your work has only just begun, that you have harder things ahead of you, and then the credits roll. I think even just a bit longer of a cutscene to feel a little more congratulatory for actually finishing this game and giving you a bit more closure for what it set up would have done wonders for making it feel complete. I half expected the game to continue because there was less fanfare for the ending than there was between some of the chapters. Alas, that was it, and apparently there is no sequel. If there ever is, though, I'd love to play it.

I wish I had some screenshots but alas I didn't really take any and I don't think they'd do justice to how the world feels to be in anyway.

★☆★☆★
Mini Metro

I'd always heard good things about this game, so I installed it on a whim a few weeks ago. My cat was at the vet for surgery and I just needed... something to keep my mind occupied and this turned out to be absolutely perfect for it.

It's basically a little puzzle game where you have to create subway/rail transit lines to suit the needs of a city. Every few "days", a new station appears and you have to connect it to your existing lines to ferry people to wherever they're trying to go. It starts out extremely simple and very quickly gets more complex. Every so often you get the chance to choose a new upgrade, ranging from a new line, additional trains, bridges/tunnels, and so on. It gets really difficult to find a good balance where routes or stations aren't getting too clogged up or trains aren't taking too long to complete their route to pick up new passengers. If you fail, it's easy enough to jump right back in, too.

I'm declaring this beaten because over the last few weeks went through and completed the population challenges on each city map (ex: "Transport 1000 people"). I'll probably pick the game up every so often and pick away at the harder challenges, like lasting a certain amount of weeks or transporting x passengers while only using one tunnel. Stuff like that.
★☆★☆★
Stardew Valley
After my cat's aforementioned surgery, I couldn't really be at my PC for a while because it was cold in the basement and his bare little belly would get too cold. 🥺 He was also an absolute menace the first few days because he was hungry but we could only feed him wet food every so often, so I had to shut him in my room and I stayed in there with him. The only game I really have on my laptop was Stardew Valley, so I picked it back up for the first time in about a year.

I'm gonna try to "beat" it. I know it doesn't really have proper markers for that sort of thing, but I think I can make my own. At first I decided I was just going to complete the Community Centre, because I figured I'd be bored of the game again by then, but I finally managed that and I still kinda wanted to keep going and also didn't feel that sort of... completion satisfaction. So instead I'm gonna keep going until the farm evaluation at the start of Year 3. I think I'm making good progress for it and I'm a little ways into Fall right now, so we'll see how it goes. :)

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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #6


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

Godddddddd where do I even begin?


So the nicest thing I can say about this game is that it had... charming characters and, if you play it the way it was released (one episode every couple months), it's not that bad until the endgame. But hoooo boy, the endgame.

I enjoyed this game at the start. Short little stories encompassing characters from the first game and/or their kids. It was a little bit annoying that they didn't seem to have a proper resolution or satisfyingly contained story, but I knew they were building up to something bigger, so I let it slide. Besides, the urgency was already kinda broken because the pacing wasn't great, so I'd drop stories in the middle of them and pick them up weeks later. So I gave this whole part a pass, even though in the end only 2-3 episodes were actually relevant to anything at all.

Then came the part of the game I actually loved! You load in your saves from all the previous episodes and the game finally opens up and the B Team party gets together and can explore the whole world, collecting summons and saving all the different regions from certain doom. There was a bit of grinding required to get everyone up to snuff, but there were some really good places to do it so I was pretty happy. The exploration was fun and it really felt like I was finally doing something important instead of just stumbling into plot that was written to be vague and confusing. I was making some real progress! It led up to a pretty great reveal and all the characters finally meeting up for real.

And then came.......... the real end game. You see, I thought I was basically at the end of the game in the previous segment. It made sense that I would be, because I'd finally gotten to travel the world, collect my summons back, and things seemed to be turning around. But then I went to the new moon and it turned out to be a 30 level dungeon with multiple extremely hard bosses every few floors and random encounters so difficult you had to either run away from them or spend all your MP and items just getting from one save point to the next. For reference, I started this section with my characters mostly between 30~35 and I ended it with all of them at 60. That's over HALF A GAME! It took me 14 hours to get through the final dungeon! (More, really, since that doesn't count all the time I spent attempting fights and failing.)

I'll try not to dwell too much on this. I should have quit playing it, but I honestly just... really wanted to keep going. My pride was at stake! I can't get to the end and stop right before the final boss. But every time I was like "at least it can't get WORSE and I'm nearly done" I'd get to a harder boss and have to stop for 3-5 hours to grind up again so I'd be ready for it and then realize I had so much more to go. Once I even had to stop and level up a different character from level 22 to 50 so I could cheese a fight that I simply could not beat on my own. I constantly had to stop and go back to the start of this dungeon where I could consistently beat (most of) the enemies so I could grind for gil to pay for my expensive X-Potion addiction.

I think the game would have been improved by cutting out... basically all of this (especially because of the ultimate story implications for having a lot of the cameo bosses there). I found myself thinking during most of the fights about how fun they would be if they'd been offered to me in a coliseum setting where I could pick which boss to fight and have all my characters at my disposal (since, in my perfect game, they'd be at the same level as your main team, since having 20+). I think it would've been fun to pick and choose your party based on the unique challenges each of the bosses had for you, but the way they were laid out in reality? Terrible.

My twitter followers were basically cheering for me when I finally finished—presumably because they were absolutely sick of me complaining about it, but also just because they care for my well-being and could see it was slowly driving me absolutely insane. The only good part about the game is there's a hidden cat in an out of bounds maze and if you find it, it lets you pet it or poke its lil paw pads and when you do, "your heart has been healed to its core" and your HP/MP is fully healed. It's a shame the rest of the game is so bad because that's "best game of all time" material right there.

★☆★☆★

No other updates bc this stupid game has consumed my life for two weeks, each day I played it was me thinking "at least I'll probably be done today or tomorrow" and I was always proven so dreadfully wrong. I'm waiting on New Pokemon Snap so I don't wanna start anything new, but now that I'm done playing FF4 Complete on my Vita, I might finally replay Zero Time Dilemma as part of the Zero Escape replay I started... like two years ago, haha. We'll see!

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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #7


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • New Pokémon Snap
  • Zero Time Dilemma (Vita)
  • The World Ends With You (DS)
  • Final Fantasy XIV - Patch 5.5 (PC)
  • Kingdom Hearts: Union χ (Android)

Oops, I completely forgot to do any updates last month and now I have to update on all the games I beat in May...

★☆★☆★
New Pokémon Snap

I almost didn't write about this game just because I have SO much to say, but it felt remiss to just toss it in the beaten column without at least mentioning something, so maybe I'll just try to be brief!

This game is everything I ever wanted from a Pokémon Snap update. There's so much replayability and I feel like I could play for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and still never actually see everything it has to offer. I'd love to go back and 100% it sometime, but I have no idea if I even have the attention span to play the game that long! I love the different routes and the way they evolve as you keep going through them. I love the variety of Pokémon and locations. I just really had a lot of fun. :)

You'd think I would have lots of screenshots to add for this section but apparently I didn't take many. Uh. Have a photobomb.



★☆★☆★
Zero Time Dilemma

I replayed 999 and VLR a couple years ago when several people on PC's Discord server were going through them, but I couldn't replay ZTD at the same time because I had it digitally on Vita and my Vita was synced to my Japanese account, so I had to finish the JP games I was playing before I could get to this one. Well, I finally came back to it!

I enjoyed the ride but very much not the destination, which is exactly how I remembered the game and I will not be playing it again, lol.

★☆★☆★
The World Ends With You

This was my game for May's Game Challenge. The theme was "male protagonists", so I decided to replay an older game and a Twitter poll decided on this game, which worked out well with the sequel on the horizon. I ended up playing it in Japanese, because the only copy I could find was my original Japanese one for DS (that I originally bought in Shibuya! :D).

It was really gratifying playing the game in its original language! I know the game well enough that I could remember what the localized lines were in many places and I loved seeing how they adapted certain lines. The loc is very good for TWEWY, not that I didn't already know that. The only place I really struggled was with character names because I'm so, SO bad at reading name kanji in Japanese, lmao.

The game itself... was kinda slow going. I ended up playing it on easy so I wouldn't have to stop and grind because I struggled to actually pick it up and play it all month. I ended up doing most of it in the last two days of the months so I could finish in time. It's not that I don't love the game, but playing on my 2DS XL with its AWFUL tiny stylus was painful (figuratively and literally, for a largely touch screen game) and I think maybe it was too recently from when I played TWEWY Final Remix so I wasn't as invested in the story this time around. Still, a fun experience! I'll go back and do Another Day on this file soon enough, but I won't bother with the rest of completion.

Next month, Neo TWEWY!

★☆★☆★
Kingdom Hearts: Union X


Sooo, this game, which I've played since its original browser incarnation, has finally come to an end. The servers shut down for me on June 17th, but the finale dropped on May 31st and I'm........ very emotional about it.

My favourite part about the ending was experiencing it with the whole fandom on twitter. I'm lowkey known as the "speed translator" for this game, since I would stay up late every time there was an update and translate it within an hour or two in a spreadsheet to share with the twitter fandom. The last few months, I didn't have to because they caught up the global version so the story released an hour after JP. But I guess they didn't have time to finish the final update in time, so I got to do my translation thing again and it felt like old times. Experiencing the update with so many people gathered to hear about it was always just an incredible experience and I'm so sad I'll never really have it again with Kingdom Hearts.

I won't spoil what happens because it's not even out in English yet, but this truly is the best story Kingdom Hearts has to offer, even if it's just a mobile game with little chibi character designs and awkward episodic missions. It's a murder mystery with a ton of dark elements but an underlying theme of hope and wonderful characters. I always kinda liked it when I first started, but I'm still surprised just how much I came to love the characters and their interactions. The game itself is kind of garbage--fun enough, but the insipid gacha elements and being sidelined for Nomura's other projects eventually killed it. I'm glad it will become an offline theatre mode when it shuts down so I can still go back and watch scenes, but I don't think I'll miss the gameplay elements tooo much.

I may not be thrilled with some of the ending reveals, but I'm largely excited to see what happens next for the characters that survived. ;) I have a bit of hope for the series, since previously I was like negatively interested in the post-KH3 content. But so long as I can see my Dandelions again in the future, I'll weather the dumb Verum Rex game.



Thanks for all the memories, Chirithy. ♥

★☆★☆★
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening


I picked up this game at my local library the other day. I'm very bad at it but it's pretty fun! Dunno if I will beat it since I only have it until the 12th, but I've gotten further than I expected to, so I guess we'll find out!


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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #8


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Layton Brothers: Mystery Room (Android)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  • L.A. Noire (PC)


★☆★☆★
L.A. Noire

Well, I needed a game for the "realism" theme for this month's game challenge, so I ended up going with L.A. Noire, a game I had started 3-4 times but never got out of the tutorial for. I managed it this time, though!

I think I would have liked this game more if I had successfully played it upon release, but a decade out, it just felt... dated. Not in a gameplay sense, although I have some thoughts on that, but just... I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd played it back before all the gamegate crap happened. It was really uncomfortable having all of the homicide desk cases involve closely examining a naked, beaten dead woman. :( All I could think every time was how many people in the demographic this game was made for probably didn't bat an eyelash or maybe even thought they were cool cases. I know the game was meant to be a dramatized reflection of how life was in the 40s but the blatant racism and sexism was just... so uncomfortable. There was room to tone it down or put some more progressive characters in to counteract the pervasiveness of it all but they largely didn't. If I'd had any other options in mind for the challenge, I would've dropped the game when the protagonist dropped a super anti-semitic line in one of the earliest interviews lmao. It so often felt like the game was playing all this up for the edge and shock value and I just wasn't impressed.

The gameplay was... fine? I enjoyed searching for clues and interviewing was....well, okay, interviewing was stupid. I played the "original" version, but I see why they simplified it down to "good cop" and "bad cop" in the remasters. As it was, I think all they needed to do was just change the prompts for them. When you'd ask a question and get an answer, your options to follow up were Truth, Doubt, and Lie. Truth would (usually) have you assume the person had just told the truth and either ask a soft follow-up question or none at all. Doubt sounds like it should have you doubt what they said, but in reality it usually just meant you would yell at them and threaten them somehow. Lie sounds like it would have you deceive them to get new information, but all it ever was was accusing them of something obvious and presenting evidence to prove it. I suppose the simplified version is fine, but if it were up to me, I think I'd have renamed them Truth, Press, Present. Which is basically just Phoenix Wright gameplay but hey, that's all it ultimately was. The answers were often erratic anyway, though, because apparently they still changed things midway through development and then never rewrote the answers based on the new prompts, so nothing ever felt like it made sense. I kind of got a feel for what the game wanted regardless, though, after enough interviews.

My other gameplay complaint was with how much driving there was. I liked it at first, since I read they meticulously recreated 1940s Los Angelos and it was fun driving around and seeing everything, but god the AI drivers were so frustrating! I could not for the life of me figure out what their rules were. They certainly didn't follow the rules of the road and it was very annoying trying to be a good driver only for people to be doing left turns on red and smashing into me or just refusing to go on green. I think if people had been consistent, it would have been fine, but by the end, any time I didn't just get my partner to drive for me, I just gave up and drove full speed through the city and running every red light. It's not like damage to my vehicle ever really mattered.

I'd always heard this game highly praised for its story but I don't know that I would have been impressed by it even if I'd played it on release. The game does predate stuff like The Last of Us or Bioshock Infinite that really took a lot of western gamers by storm, but honestly even the sometimes nonsensical JRPG stories I'd played for years by 2011 were better than this. Or at least, the storytelling was better. I get what this game was trying to do and it had some lofty goals, trying to simultaneously show off the main character's backstory during the war while also having the ultimate conspiracy of the game build up in the background while also showing the character's fall from grace in his personal life in the present but it managed to do none of those things very well, lol. (Spoilers ahead, I suppose!) The stuff showing his time in Okinawa was so awkwardly paced. You got a random glimpse that didn't really make any sense every other case or so, including some during the tutorial which I think was skippable??? It didn't even really make sense by the end because the pacing was so bad and they didn't want to give too much away, I suppose, so it was just tons of scenes of everyone hating him for no real reason and then suddenly a big reason why people were displeased with his leadership. For the big conspiracy, you slowly unlocked it by examining newspapers at crime scenes over the course of the game. It makes no sense early on and just seems to be completely random plot with characters you've never seen before, but then you hit the Vice desk and you start meeting some of them and... almost immediately, the whole conspiracy is laid out. By the time you reach the Arson desk, you basically know exactly what's going to happen and suddenly the whole game feels slow because you're just waiting for it to finally do the big reveal you figured out ages ago. Even the plot that literally unfolds on screen in chronological order makes no sense. Phelps is presented as a straight-laced cop who annoys his partners by doing everything by the book and having a clear-cut code of honour and then midway through the game when he's made to take the fall as the conspiracy kicks into gear, you find out he's been cheating on his wife and he gets kicked out of his home and can't see his family anymore (which is the first time they're mentioned in any capacity other than idle chatter during a drive). Then the rest of the game he's shacking up with the singer he cheated with and it's just... bizarre. They spent so much time building up his backstory while totally neglecting to show us what he's doing. It was jarring and, since he's the player character, just kind of annoying. I think it could have worked, all of this, but they just didn't execute it well enough and as a result the whole thing was mostly just disappointing.

I think I would have liked the game a little more if I didn't have the complete edition. I didn't find that I enjoyed the DLC cases much but since the game wove them into the plot, I had no choice but to do them if I wanted to progress. But having 4 fewer cases would have put this game closer to the sweet spot for length that I wanted out of it. As it was, it overstayed its welcome a bit too much. I won't be playing it again.

★☆★☆★
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Last update I wasn't sure if I'd stick with the game, but it was actually a lot of fun so I beat it! I didn't do all the completion extras or anything because it didn't capture me that much, but it was a cute little game that I'm happy I played and also happy I did not pay full price for (or anything at all). Thank you public library.

★☆★☆★
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room

It occurs to me as I am typing this that I could have used this game for the game challenge this month and not lowkey suffered through L.A. Noire but... oh well.

I've played this game before, but after replaying Katrielle Layton earlier this year, I kinda got the itch to revist this one too and it's pretty fun! I've been slowly playing it over the course of the last month or two, doing a partial case some nights when I can't sleep. I've got a few left to go and I'm gonna start coming in on the twist that... well, I can't remember it, but it might push this out of that realism category after all, LOL. I guess we'll see!


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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #9


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Layton Brothers: Mystery Room (Android)
  • Tales of Eternia (PS1)
  • Final Fantasy X (PC)
  • Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • A Short Hike (PC)
  • Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (PC)
  • Hot Pot Panic (PC)
  • Left 4 Dead (PC)

Oops, I beat a bunch of games again and started others. I think this time I'll just update about the games I beat (sans Left 4 Dead, which was just "I feel like playing an FPS so I'll just replay all the campaigns in the base game even though I just did this last year" and not interesting to talk about) since the ongoing games haven't had too much progress or I just started/picked them up again. (Well, okay, I've been playing Eternia for months, but I kept forgetting to talk about it here because I'm playing co-op with a friend over Parsec. And I'll continue to not actually talk about it, I guess.)

★☆★☆★
A Short Hike

I have a feeling of everything I'll have played this year, this game might be my "Game of the Year". It's just... man, it's so good. I think I got it in a mass charity bundle from itch.io and installed it on a whim and then was absolutely blown away by how much I loved it. It's kind of the perfect game!!! It's short and sweet, but not so short that you feel like it's lacking. It's the perfect length for its scope with no pointless padding. It's genuinely fun to explore the whole island but it's not so big that you feel like it's a pointless endeavour like a lot of "open world" games. With a lot of games these days, I know I don't want to commit to spending a lot of time with them, so I prioritize the main story goal, but this game I immediately started exploring and doing everything but. It was incredible!




This little world is just fascinating. You start out trying to climb a mountain in a national park so that you can get better cell reception (relatable), and along the way you do tons of little sidequests and meet all kinds of characters. It's just really, really charming! By the time I got to the top I'd done nearly everything in the game, but I still went back and made sure I 100%'d it (mostly by catching all the fish) just for more of an excuse to keep playing. It's just absolutely phenomenal.



I was also really amused to find out it was supposed to take place in Ontario, since the whole time I was playing I kept getting major Ontario National Park vibes from it, and sure enough, an NPC confirms it at the end—and reading the Wikipedia page for it later, I found out that the colour palette for the game was sampled directly from nature in the Canadian shield. Pretty cool!!

★☆★☆★
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

I think I first saw this game on the Humble storefront where the cute art style and the bizarre name really jumped out at me, so I jokingly posted about it to twitter. Then a few days later, I checked Steam and lo and behold, there was the game again, with a hats update and a Steam sale... so I tweeted about it again and one of my friends bought it for me because they are so, so nice. 🥺

It's a fun little game! I think I would have liked it a bit better had I not played it right on the heels of A Short Hike, since the former was the perfect length with snippy writing, but this game was... not really that. It's not bad, by any means, but it's very short while feeling like it needed a little bit more and also a bit padded since you can't really speed up how you travel through all the maps and there's a lot of backtracking. The writing is also erratic, relying more on memes than anything else. And that's fine, since I think whoever made the game is around my age and all the memes were basically catered directly to me, but I know lots of people aren't into that. But I kind of expected that writing with the title being kind of a meme itself.



I actually ended up completing this game twice, because I didn't realize hitting New Game would erase my old save and I hadn't quite done all the sidequests for the achievements (again, looking for a way to extend the game), so I ended up rushing the whole game through again and doing aaaall the trading quests again, haha.

I think I'd recommend this game, but probably at a heftier discount. It was amusing and I enjoyed playing it, but I'm not sure even the sale price point my friend bought it for me at was worthwhile.

★☆★☆★
Hot Pot Panic

This was another of the games from the big charity bundle. It's a cute little game where you're invited out to eat at a hot pot place with your friend and you have to stuff your face while also trying to convince them you're paying attention to the conversation—they can't think you only came along for the food!

So you have to quickly put as much food into the hot pot as you can and eat it as soon as it's done so it doesn't burn while also glancing up from the pot regularly enough to see what your friend is talking about and respond correctly. There are only three levels because it's just a short little indie game, but it was fun!


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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #10


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Tales of Eternia (PS1)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Recently Beaten
  • Final Fantasy XII (Switch)
  • Okami (PS4)

Went a long time without updating but I also didn't play a lot this month.

★☆★☆★
Okami

I really missed this game! It's every bit as good as I remembered. I had an urge to play it, so I grabbed it from the library and dove in. And this time I went for 100% completion! It took me the better part of a week, but I have my platinum trophy now.



I wish I'd written my journal about the game closer to when I played it, because now I'm drawing a blank on what I wanted to talk about. I guess instead I will just leave y'all with a screenshot of my beautiful mask art. It took many tries.



★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

The theme for this month's game challenge was JRPG, which is my bread and butter. But the month was pretty awkward. Alas, the JRPG I've been looking forward to for ages released at the end of the month on the 27th, so I had to find something else to play. I had started Final Fantasy X on PC at the start of the month, but my PC stopped detecting any of my PS4 controllers, frustratingly enough, so I had to drop it.

I ended up picking up FFXII for Switch from my library. I have very minor regrets about it because all my joycons are drifting pretty bad, but being able to play the game anywhere kinda made up for it, since I was able to make progress even once I lost access to the TV/my computer this month.



My time management was terrible this month, though. Somehow when I was around halfway through the game (maybe less?) I realized I only had two more days to beat it before the TWEWY sequel released, so I had to ruuuuuush. Somehow I made it, although I did have to sacrifice my first play session of NTWEWY to do it. I'd like to go back and do more sidequests/completion so hopefully you'll see another entry about this game where I gather my thoughts for real.


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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #11


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Tales of Eternia
  • Final Fantasy XIV
Recently Beaten
  • NEO: The World Ends With You
  • Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
  • Great Ace Attorney: Adventures
  • Bastion


★☆★☆★
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room

I've been working on this slowly over the months and I finally finished it in August. It wasn't the first time I played this game, but it had been long enough since I played it on release that I basically remembered none of it, so all the mysteries were new to me. As a game it's alright—I do wish they'd done something more with this part of the franchise. Apparently Alfendi did appear at the very end of the anime adaptation of Katrielle, so I'd like to see how that plays out if the Layton franchise ever comes back for real.


Not sure I'd call this game worth getting, though. The cases are largely fine, but sometimes they're way too easy and other times they're... not necessarily hard, but it can be difficult to figure out what the game wants from you even if you have a good idea of how the mystery is going to shake out. Still, it's not too bad to pick up and play here and there if you're desperate for some sort of a Layton fix.

★☆★☆★
NEO: The World Ends With You

I beat NEO: The World Ends With You! (I am sorry this is so long, but I did sort of wait like a decade for this game, so that shouldn't really be a surprise. Also I am sorry if I trail off anywhere and forgot to finish a thought... I wrote this post over like three weeks and went in and changed stuff and got distracted a lot lmaoo.)

Overall, I enjoyed it. I will say that the ending was phenomenal and, I think, made up for my journey to get there, which was less so. My view of the game was definitely coloured by the fact that I personally believe the original DS game is as close to perfection as a game can possibly be and frankly, nothing was ever going to top that or even come close, especially a full-fledged console game but without the AAA budget. But NTWEWY did pretty well for what it was, I think, and redeemed most of my frustrations in the end, narratively speaking.


What made the first game so good was the sheer synergy at work amongst every single facet of the game. The characters and their story arcs were beautifully held up by the plot and its pacing; little mysteries were sprinkled all throughout the game, adding to replayability because once you knew some details, it totally changed how earlier cutscenes read; the battle system used every part of the orignal DS system (including speakers!!! and wireless capability for evolving pins!); and Shibuya's stylistic flair reflected in the equipment, the clothes, the food, and the way the characters interfaced with the world. Everything was so in sync (which was also how it referred to the way the gameplay worked to control both characters at once!).

Most of that stuff is gone now. NTWEWY was developed for two completely different systems, with PC on the way, and what made the original game stand out so completely in terms of making the most of every single piece of its design and platform was simply impossible. Not only that, but Shibuya? It's a different city now—the characters aren't exaggerating when they say it feels different these days. I trust the original game when it says that Shibuya was a trendsetting area, where people showed off the latest (and their own) fashion and trends came and went very quickly as they evolved... but it's not really that city anymore. It's still very commercialized, which the first game was quick to point out and riff on, but like... it's touristy and filled with imported culture (there's an H&M and Forever 21 just down the street from 104 109 and that Shepherd House on Centre Street? I think it's an IKEA in real life). People looking to show off or pick up on trends just... go elsewhere in Tokyo. Harajuku, maybe? Frankly, I was also just a tourist, so I don't know. I just know the Shibuya I finally saw when I got to visit Japan, while fully recognizable from the original game, didn't have the same vibes from the original game. But the Shibuya on display in NTWEWY feels pretty bang on from what I recognized in my visits. I can ALMOST get to my fave shabushabu place! If the building it was in existed in the game, it'd be between the police station at Tipsy Tose and Tokyu Hands. Highly recommend.

ANYWAY, where I am going with this is that it does in fact make sense for the game to be disjointed and out of sync compared to the original. It is! That's literally the plot, where reapers from another city have taken over the top and run the city differently. The game is different, the city is different, and it requires a different approach. In the synergy sense, the poor design of the game's pacing and systems feeling separate from each other mirror the first game in a twisted way, and it works. Buuut I don't actually think they were going for that so it mostly just manifested in frustration for me lmao.

The game starts out painfully slow. For those of us coming from the first game, it takes forever for NEO to get going. They played up the cluelessness of the characters too much so there's no urgency for any of them. It's possible they wanted this game to function as sort of a reboot, but even in the original title, Neku may have gone in totally blind, but he's more or less caught up to speed by Day 2 by Hanekoma. It wasn't until the end of the first week in NEO that anyone in the main party had a clue what was happening... and they just continued to feel behind for the rest of the game. In Week 2 everyone is talking about how great they are but they're still just along for the ride and that doesn't really change until Week 3. All that coupled with the excruciating pacing of nearly the whole game had me bored out of my mind for most of it. Like, battles were fairly fun, character interactions were great, but... I never felt like I was making any progress and even when I was, I didn't feel like other characters were giving the party the reception they deserved, for better or worse.

Pacing issues aside, the battle system is better than I thought it would be. I was worried about making the transition from touch screen to this, but it works. However, I think the game and its 3D space doesn't really find enough reasons to reward you for playing thoughtfully. I mostly just hack and slashed my way through the game with the exception of one or two bosses total that required a more careful approach. I was playing on the hardest difficulty with my level at 5+ below max for most of the game but eventually I just got bored of fighting anything beyond what was required for plot and slowly bumped down the difficulty as I got more and more underlevelled. I think once you have all the party members, the battle system feels a lot more robust, but earlier it's just kind of frustrating trying to level up or try out unique pins because there's definitely a hierarchy of what's good to use when you can only equip so many. :( It's much easier to justify support pins when you have enough other pins to carry your combo but it takes a very long time for your party to max out.

I liked other systems a lot more. I played on PS4 and the way your trophies become graffiti that you can place on a wall and then see on the physical wall in Udagawa was so cool! I like how easy it is to see your completion in one place. I love the way it has you gather your thoughts and see your day's goals along with any possible sidequests. I love the social network and the way it slowly expands as you connect with more people and gives you boons and abilities. Food was an upgrade from the original too. I love the feeling of companionship when you have to go in and choose a meal for each person when you stop for food. Feels much better than force-feeding vitamins to everyone in the first game LOL.

I think the pins and clothes menu wasn't done very well. I can't entirely describe why, but it just felt really... messy. I always dreaded when a pin would be mastered as the game went on because then I'd have to try to find another one in the pile that matched what I wanted and the sorting just didn't feel robust enough to be helpful. With pins and clothes alike, I basically never wanted any of the suggestions it had for me so that whole section of screen was just supremely unhelpful. I also didn't like how there was basically no way to compare an item to what you're already wearing. Going back and forth between the tabs for a pin/clothing item to try to read the stats while also checking others was just tedious and makes me not want to play around with different setups very much.

I also just wanna say how much I loved the 2D cutscenes in this game. They're so dynamic!! I wasn't sure about them at first because I thought the sort of... animated comic book style would get old fast, but it didn't and they did enough custom art for them to keep them snappy and interesting. The amount of voiced cutscenes was impressive too. It got to the point where whenever there was a 3D cutscene, which happened a fair bit near the end to stand out, I was always just wishing it could be in stylized 2D instead.


As for... well, plot... as I said, I think the pacing in this game was really, really bad. A lot of it hinges on Rindo's time travel mechanic and I just really didn't like how that was handled. I love a good time travel plot, but this mechanic felt poorly thought out. It was kind of annoying to be so railroaded once you start time travelling but worst of all was the fact that Rindo goes alone. When Nagi uses her power, the whole party comes with her. When Fret uses his power, the whole party is at least in on it, discussing it. When [redacted] uses his power, presumably the whole party speeds up with him. But when Rindo uses his power, he goes alone. It made sense at the start, before he even realized he was doing it, but once he told the party about it, I think the game should have shifted and let him take them all with him so that we could avoid the constant explanations of "we already did this!".

I think the lack of group time travel is really frustrating from a character standpoint. I think I understand why they did it, but I really think it was a bad choice. It others Rindo way too much compared to the rest of the party, but the game never really acknowledges it in a meaningful way. They're supposed to be a team but it takes most of the game for Rindo to explain his time travel and then even when the party knows about it, I don't think it's until week 3 when he finally starts conversations with "I travelled here from the future" and starts asking for advice. It felt a lot better when he did, rather than keeping them in the dark and deciding their futures for them, but it still didn't feel right. He never had time to explain in full and even if he did, it would be boring for the player to hear a rehash every single time. So just... let the party come along. Stop erasing every single thing they experienced, every quirky chat they had... Let the party remember their time together in full and streamline the time travel process by being able to work together to fix things.

Endgame spoilers below! Highlight to read.
Anyway, as I said at the start, although I didn't really enjoy the journey to get to the ending, I did mostly enjoy the ending! It was sooo satisfying when things started coming together. Basically from the point Neku shows up, I was pretty on board with the game again. I think the ending sequence was... too long in terms of realtime effort (which, again, is the fault of abusing the time travel mechanic in annoying ways), I think just redoing it maybe the once would be better instead of over and over again, with one more time for good measure. But when it does get to that final push, where we finally get to see Shiki, Josh shows up, and you know things are gonna go right... man that was so good! The spirit of the original game was back and it finally felt like the game found its theme and footing. I really loved seeing EVERYONE come together to save Shibuya, including all the reapers. Every conversation was an absolute joy and I just... really loved it. The final boss was great too.

I mentioned before how the game starts out really slow, but to touch more on that with all the endgame stuff... I really think they could have weaved a lot more of the Shinjuku stuff into the earlier parts of the game. As it was, basically the only little plot threads they dangled in front of us were "who is Swallow" (which got boring real quick as nothing happened on that front until basically the very end) and "what happened in Shinjuku" which like... I still don't even have a great grasp on, lol. We kinda know what happened, but certainly not why and what the motives were in the first place or why the big bad would try to do it again in a new city. But at least for returners to the franchise, that gives us a plot hook to really sink our teeth into as we go through because the excruciating slow-burn of the new characters learning about the game was just... annoying. At the very least they could have dropped more teasers from Uzuki or Kariya about how the game changed so dramatically in what was supposed to be only 3 years, but it never really did beyond "the old guard is gone and now it's just the refugees from Shinjuku". I like the new characters and all, but the way all the other characters talked down to them for half the game and then immediately started hyping them up as the best thing ever while they knew absolutely nothing, Rindo's seeming refusal to work with the group re: time travel, and then loading all of the interesting stuff for returners into the very end of the game was just... boring. I really wanted to be hype the whole time but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have to force myself through a lot of the game because I just wasn't interested enough in what was happening.

Also I'm curious whether the ending felt good at all to newcomers to the series who didn't play the first game. Like, I thought the game picked up when everything came together, but would a newcomer actually care about Shiki? Josh would be a baffling ball of nothing. Neku showing up wouldn't... even be that exciting, beyond maybe recognizing him from KH or people talking about the original game. Especially all the stuff from the extra episode in the Final Remix version on Switch would just be... out of place? Like because they did basically no work to set up any of those mysteries before they're all dumped on you at the end of Week 3, I can't imagine the things that I finally liked about the game were very interesting. If anything, I feel like it would just be annoying to redo the final day over and over again via time travel to try to wrangle all these characters from the first game together when aside from Beat none of them had much bearing at all on the game up to that point. idk.

The postgame was... underwhelming, again. :/ Another Day was extremely short and... just not as engaging as the original's. I ended up dropping the game shortly after I beat it, even though I'd fully intended to go for 100% completion. Maybe I will one day, but I just wasn't having any fun after a short while. Even with cutscene speed up, going through the days over again was just a slog and I heard the secret endings and reports weren't worth the effort. I think I would have been on board if it were like the original game, where your secret reports came from almost a scavenger hunt through each day, since it encouraged you to explore and try out different dialogue choices or seek out NPCs at specific intervals. You know, actual reasons to replay. But this game has none of that and no good way for tracking or seeing how to get the reports, so my interest fizzled out really fast. I still haven't even brought myself to look up the content on Youtube or something because I was just so disappointed in the endgame. But oh well. u_u


Also Scramble Slam ****ing sucks and the fact that they make you do it THREE TIMES over the course of the game (nevermind going back in for completion's sake) is nothing less than criminal.

...Anyway, fun game overall, I guess. Pick it up if you loved the original TWEWY but definitely temper your expectations.
★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XIV

God this is already so long with my TWEWY thoughts but... I've done so much in XIV too, lately wahh!

1. I got addicted to Triple Triad and got my card completion from 36% to 84% in about a week. I finally did Palace of the Dead and Heaven on High just to unlock an NPC to play against for a unique card. This week I will probably head into Eureka for the first time just to gain access to a couple more Triple Triad NPCs. Help.

2. I made an alt that isn't just my same catgirl character over and over again. After Aether was put in gaol, they made all of Crystal preferred, so I made an alt to experience the Road to 70 exp buff. She is a very smol lala named Lawawa Lawa on Brynhildr. Please look at her.

3. I joined a static??? We started by just going through the ShB extreme trials and then started on Eden savage from the start, along with clearing the capstone Omega quests for unlocks and mounts. We're still going with echo one, so we're breezing through fights in only one or two nights, so we called ourselves the Two Nighters, ahaha. (Although, shh, it took us three nights to conquer e4s.) It's been a lot of fun and we're a chill group. I was always hesitant to join a static so joining one basically by accident was ideal, esp since we only meet twice a week. It's very doable!

Possibly my favourite part is that quite quickly we started coordinating our outfits for our clears LMAO. We wore rain jackets for Leviathan and cafe outfits for Titan (b-because the arena looks like brownies...) and tomorrow night, we're taking on Ramuh as cowboys because... you know, the Eden version is part....... horse.

Our ultimate (heh) goal is to clear an ultimate, hopefully TEA. I think we have a long way to go, but I'm excited for the journey. :>

4. I also finally got my Meadowreaper title. :D I've been going for it for nearly a year, on and off. Certainly since well before reaper was announced as a job. It requires gathering like 7000+ times from nodes in specific level ranges in La Noscea. I knocked most of it out in the last week while playing Great Ace Attorney because I discovered I could gather and read at the same time. Might go for the Forestreaper title and finally continue Umineko, too, haha.

5. And because Lozz wants me to mention her more here's us right after we embarrassed her by accidentally leading the person she was stalking right to her while we were stalking him. :)

★☆★☆★
I know I have more games listed in my beaten column this update, but... honestly, this is so long already. I'm going to save Great Ace Attorney until I've beaten the sequel, too, since they seem to be more of a set than I'd initially thought, so it seems remiss to talk about one without having touched the other yet. And Bastion... I talked about it briefly in the game challenge sticky, or at least talked about how I made it sort of a challenge run to match the "melee" theme and that's gonna have to be enough because I am tired of typing and would like to go play games instead lmaoo.

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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #12


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Tales of Arise
  • The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve
  • Final Fantasy XIV
Recently Beaten
  • Panel de Pon
  • Tales of Eternia
  • To the Moon
  • A Bird Story
  • Finding Paradise
  • Impostor Factory


★☆★☆★
Panel de Pon

I was browsing through the Virtual Console offerings on the Switch from Nintendo Online and noticed I could play Panel de Pon. I love Pokémon Puzzle League/Challenge so I opened it up and wow, what a charming little game! There's a plot part, which is what I'm counting as my "win" because I saw credits (although you only see credits if you beat it on Hard?? lol) and in it you go from fairy to fairy beating them to free them from being taken over by evil forces. The characters all have such adorable designs so I really enjoyed it. I'm still kinda plugging away at puzzle mode so we'll see if I ever "complete" this game, but it was a fun time for sure.



★☆★☆★
Tales of Eternia

I played through this with a friend over the last few months, one session over Parsec a week, and we finally beat it the other week. It's still such a good game! It was my first time playing in Japanese which meant I got to see the skits for the first time and it's a bit wild how much characterization is in them. Like, every other time I've played this game, I've never really been able to stand Reid. He's just... frustratingly blasé about saving the world until very suddenly he's not and it's just so... dissonant. He acts like he's annoyed to be there the whole time he's dragged along and it's just kind of exhausting... until you read the skits and you can actually see that he cares about his friends, that he's invested in their journey. It's so much better this way. I hope one day the skit version can come west even if I have to do it myself. :'(

★☆★☆★
To the Moon / A Bird Story / Finding Paradise / Impostor Factory

I'm lumping all these games together because the day before Impostor Factory came out, I started a replay of the whole series as a refresher. (Spoilers for all three games ahead.)

To quickly go through the first few games, I still really love them! I've played To the Moon probably... five times now? And every time I seem to leave it just long enough to forget enough details to leave me hooked, although this time some of the tension came from not remembering which plot points were from the first game and which were from the second, lol. This time I also played the little DLC episodes as well, and it was interesting to see that little bit of extra story. I'm always so amazed when I play these games at just how good the writing is. Like, yeah, some of the dialogue and jokes are a bit too cheesy or referential and fall a bit flat for me, but like the overall structure of the story is always just... phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. Like, the first game, the way you traverse memories backwards and something just feels... off, but you can't figure out why. You think all the mystery is wrapped up in River only to find out that's not the case at all. The reveal and how it's handled is so good. I really enjoyed Finding Paradise, too, but I think the characters are a little less compelling. (I think A Bird Story is probably better played after the game rather than before because its added context spells out the twist a little too strongly.) But the spiralling story structure is so creative and by the time you can tell you're closing in on the centre the tension is so high, I love it. The story is a bit... wild... but it works and the tidbits you get of Neil and Eva is pretty good.

Sooo Impostor Factory! I had no idea it was coming out at all until someone pointed it out in the music channel on the PC Discord, so it was a nice surprise that I only had to wait a few weeks for. I finally had a chance to sit down and play it today and... well, I did enjoy it! I was kind of blown away by the start of it—I had no idea what to expect but it certainly wasn't that!! I think the opening made it okay to count this game as my scary/horror game for the month, even if I'd largely classify this game more as like... sad than horror. But still!



One thing that really stood out to me, especially after binging all the other games in a few days, was just how far the animations and pixel art have come. In To the Moon, characters were pretty stiff. It was fine because of the nature of the game, but it kind of limited what they could do. Conversations happened largely just by standing or sitting around talking and if there was animation, it was usually just a walk cycle or sitting down on the ground. They improved, along with added gameplay elements, by Finding Paradise, but it still reused a LOT of settings and assets. (Which, again, understandable!) But Impostor Factory was just... so far ahead, it felt. So many characters and all kinds of little details for them. It was such a little thing, but one animation I really loved was any time it showed the two main characters sitting at the study desks in the library during the flashback... There were so many! The drifting off, the coffee, the waking up, the sitting-down-and-pulling-out-a-laptop-then-shrugging-a-bag-off-the-shoulder....... Amazing! There were also so many new locations over the course of the story and they all looked so naturally filled. The maps were really good this time around.

I think... my complaint about this game is that it feels a bit closer to A Bird Story than the other two in terms of what's there, yet it's billed as... the final chapter in the series, so I was expecting something... bigger. The way To the Moon morphed into Finding Paradise, you could really see the evolution of the gameplay in the series. The core was still there of collecting memory cores and breaking barriers to move on to the next memory sequence, but basically every collection was simply "watch the scene, move on". If you did interact, it was just to walk into a new room and examine the characters in it to make them talk again. It's not like the earlier games had a TON of gameplay or exploration, but it was engaging for finding out more about the clients' lives. I get that part of that game design was implemented because it was the main characters' jobs to find that stuff, but I don't think it would have been out of place here to have Quincy do a bit of snooping himself. Have him talk to himself the first time he has to go looking for a memory core to hint to the player what to do and you're golden. I did like how this time around we went through the person's life from start to finish instead of some other way, but it just felt so disconnected from everything else. I wish it had been interspersed with the murder mystery element a bit more or something, not that I really have any good ideas for how that might work ultimately. Just... something to keep that tension going. Because that's what was so good in the other games: balancing the memory backtracking with the suspense pressed upon you by external circumstances. But this game just kind of... let you totally forget about the really strong start at the beginning and then by the time you get back to it, all that tension is gone because of what you've learned. And I think that would be fine if the start of the game wasn't so extreme. I don't think the whiplash here was handled well and it just cheapened the start for me.

Endgame spoilers below! Highlight to read.
I also, uh, guessed the twist nearly at the start of the flashbacks just because I had replayed all the games and knew generally what this game was probably going to try to achieve. I knew if we weren't following Neil himself for the reveal of his machine and what he was trying to do with it, we would see that reveal in some other way... and obviously I was right. I was suspicious as soon as we saw Quincy meeting Lynri that they were probably Neil's parents, was certain when they had a boy, questioned it when he died, and then was proven right by the very end anyway lol. I'm not mad about that and I'm also not mad about the deus ex machina-ish ending because both of those are like... they make sense in the grand scheme of things. Of course we were going to find out the reason Neil was messing with the machines in the most sentimental way possible and what else but delving into his dead mom's memories and building worlds from them? And using Faye to patch up the inconsistencies in the subsequent worlds that are created because of the nature of his mother's work makes sense too, even if it's a bit unsatisfying to happen right at the end. (If I hadn't taken the time to replay Finding Paradise right before this game, I'd have been annoyed at it, though—and the Steam description says you don't need any of the earlier games to enjoy this one. Lmao, what a lie.)

I accidentally bought the DLC comic because I thought I was getting an OST bundle (the OST is not included wtf). At the end of the comic, the game creator explains that Impostor Factory is likely the "last full game of the series for a while", which definitely sounds like there's not really much intention to follow up. And places like RPG Fan toted is as the last entry in the trilogy, so I'm inclined to believe it. But this was a terrible game for a finale. The characters we've come to know and love are almost completely missing. They appear in the final happy life that the characters lead and we get to see them live a happily ever after too, but we don't earn it. When we left off in Finding Paradise, the two characters were still taking jabs at each other every chance they got. We weren't even at the proper "will they, won't they" to merit watching them get married and have kids and root for it as the true ending. Hell, when we left off in the second (?) To the Moon DLC we see Eva creating or trying to relive a memory of a Christmas dinner that included Neil being happy. Based on this game, I can only assume he... what, died young???? And this was our closure???? In fact, the closure I expected from this game if it is indeed basically the end is actually more in the comic DLC than the game. It's not even really closure, but it does at least have Neil and Eva addressing his illness and it also slightly covers the other employees they went out of their way to introduce in the TtM DLCs and FP who are completely missing here except in the oddly cliffhanger-y ending.

I guess I just wanted to see more of the characters I loved. I enjoyed this game's journey in the moment and it was a really poignant take on even some heavy personal stuff that I've grappled with in the past ("is it selfish to have kids when you have a disease you could pass on?"), but... Quincy and Lynri aren't Neil and Eva. Quincy was basically a silent protagonist after the opening, even worse once we literally find out he was copied and given a wholly generic personality. The silliness they add at the end in the form of the Long Cat and Rice Bot just feels a bit out of place after 2 or 3 long Chronic Illness Depression Hours™. It just thoroughly lacked the back and forth dynamic of the earlier games and it's extremely disappointing to find out that this game isn't just a stepping stone like A Bird Story was. This is it. The rest might come in other formats like more comics or short DLC like TtM had, maybe, but otherwise this is how it ends. We don't get to see what happens to the real Neil, we don't find out if everything from the previous games was happening in one of the false layers, we don't get to find out when/if Eva ever finds out about Neil's condition... nothing. It's disappointing. I wanted to see what happened to Neil and Eva, not an implication that things might be bad and might also turn out good.


At least the run button was an A+ addition (not that the maps were really... big enough or explored enough to bother having it...). And I ugly cried, like, 4 times. Which is about on brand for these games.

★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XIV

I'm sleepy so I'm gonna make my XIV gushing in point form again!

1. I cleared e8s with my static the other night! It's the longest we've taken on a fight, about 3 weeks. Our clear was crazy... when she had like 0.3% left I was the only one standing. T__T A RDM was raised for the final couple percent but it was just us on the field and in two more autos, we'd have been done for. But we cleared!! (There's video footage of it here lmaoo.) Friday we do reclears... I hope we can clear enough for me to get the mount. I really want it but everyone else wants to move on after Friday, wahh.



I'm also going to show off my glam for when we did e7s just because I can. It's the fight with the portals so we all dressed up as Chell from Portal (except one of us who was GlaDOS and another who was a Potato) but since I'm the machinist in the group, I actually got the "portal gun" too. It was a good time lmaoo. (My static would disagree... I am literally the only one of us who liked the fight, rip.)



2. I beat ARR on Lawawa (Crystal alt) and then also rushed through ARR in two days on my EU alt because a friend's wedding I was attending had the Noctis event gear as the dress code and you need to have beaten the base game to access it. @[email protected] It goes real fast when you skip cutscenes but I still had to haul ass. Now I'm just trying to gather the MGP to get the car on all my alts. Just one more left and I should get it this week with fashion report.

3. I started Eureka! It is... honestly very boring, at least during the levelling part. I have good friends (well, mostly Angie—Lozz let me die. Lozz if you're reading this, John sux) who help me work through my Challenge Log each week and I'm slowly getting there. I should be able to move on from Pagos this week, I think. (At least it is prettier than Bozja.)


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gimmepie

Age 26
Male
Australia
Seen 5 Hours Ago
Posted 5 Hours Ago
24,279 posts
10.3 Years
Not surprised that you had mixed feelings. I enjoyed Imposter Factory a lot, but it has its flaws. Ironically, I actually found the beginning the slowest and least interesting part. It wasn't until Act 2 (where I also guessed most of the twists admittedly) that I felt the story really hit its stride. I also thought the way Quincy was written was actually kind of genius given his personal context. It makes sense that the him in the memories has a lot more personality.

One thing for sure, I don't believe this is the end of the franchise. One way or another, there's still too much left to explore to leave it there forever. I think Freebird might definitely want to take a break and explore other stories and worlds for a while, but with that cliffhanger ending, the wild implications of what they achieved in the final act and also the lack of a number when they listed out the games in the series in the end make me think we'll probably be seeing more of Neill, Eva and their coworkers eventually. I certainly hope so.

I gave a much less comprehensive review myself because I didn't want to put spoilers anywhere and was too lazy to work around that, but I can't stress enough that while it's probably the weakest of the three games, it's not that far behind the other two and that is high praise given how much I loved it precursors.
RPWLA&MVGGaming Journal

Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years
Not surprised that you had mixed feelings. I enjoyed Imposter Factory a lot, but it has its flaws. Ironically, I actually found the beginning the slowest and least interesting part. It wasn't until Act 2 (where I also guessed most of the twists admittedly) that I felt the story really hit its stride. I also thought the way Quincy was written was actually kind of genius given his personal context. It makes sense that the him in the memories has a lot more personality.

One thing for sure, I don't believe this is the end of the franchise. One way or another, there's still too much left to explore to leave it there forever. I think Freebird might definitely want to take a break and explore other stories and worlds for a while, but with that cliffhanger ending, the wild implications of what they achieved in the final act and also the lack of a number when they listed out the games in the series in the end make me think we'll probably be seeing more of Neill, Eva and their coworkers eventually. I certainly hope so.

I gave a much less comprehensive review myself because I didn't want to put spoilers anywhere and was too lazy to work around that, but I can't stress enough that while it's probably the weakest of the three games, it's not that far behind the other two and that is high praise given how much I loved it precursors.
I feel like even a couple weeks later I'm too far removed from my playthrough to talk specific details (what is??? having a good memory???), but I find it pretty interesting that you didn't really care much for the opening act. I thought it had a lot of punch but I do think it was a bit weird given the rest of the game. It set the tone for me that the rest of the game failed to deliver but at least now having given the game more time to sit, it's the rest of the game that's stuck with me for sure rather than the shock horror of the start, and that's definitely what's important with these games and their writing.

But yeah, surely this can't be the end, but it does feel weird that they would imply otherwise elsewhere. It's not like we aren't used to long waits for each entry, so the fact that they've confirmed they won't be working on another game for a while just has me wondering what kind of wait we must be in for this time. Not that I mind, though. This is a good series to take forever because it means you get to replay the games and experience them somewhat fresh whenever a new one comes out and that suits me just fine lol.
paired with erik destler.

Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #13


New this update

Ongoing game

Beaten

100% Complete!

Currently Playing
  • Pokémon Brilliant Diamond
  • Rakuen
  • Final Fantasy XIV
Recently Beaten
  • Unpacking
  • Little Nightmares
  • FFXIV: Endwalker
  • The Burnable Garbage Day
  • Little Big Planet 3
  • Rakuen


I dropped the ball a little these last few months of 2021. In my defence... I got a fulltime job shortly after my last update and the amount of free time I had for playing games (and writing lengthy journal updates) dwindled as a result. I took notes but never sat down to take the time to talk about them. However, I just got disconnected from Final Fantasy XIV and have to wait in a 900-person queue so... may as well get myself caught up in what will likely be the final entry of this year!
★☆★☆★
Unpacking

I've been waiting to play this game since I saw one of the first tech demo gifs from one of the devs showing off their concept of putting clothes away in the closet and I'm astounded at how much I absolutely loved it! This is one of the best games I've played in a long time and its genius is in the environmental storytelling. There's basically no dialogue or writing or anything, the whole story unfolds as you "move" from house to house, unpacking the main character's life and seeing how the items change over the years.



Spoilers below! Highlight to read.
But there's even little gameplay things, like when you first move in with someone, the whole apartment is theirs. You can move their stuff around for the first time (unlike living with roommates) and carve out some space in the closet and bathroom for yourself, but when you get to the kitchen you find that none of your stuff really matches the aesthetic and you feel a bit obliged to tuck it away in the cupboard—out of sight, out of mind. You can sort of wrangle all your stuff into the living room, but there's no space for you. Most egregious, however, is that when you take out your framed university degree... there's nowhere to put it. All the walls are taken and you can't move any of the pop art in the living room so... you're forced to put it in the only place it can possibly go: under the bed, tucked away. (Unsurprisingly, when the next room is moving back in with your parents, one of the couple photos you try to put up on your cork board has the pin going right through the man's face.)

The ending is very sweet and I think everyone should play this game. The puzzle elements are very zen and relaxing and it's really just such a wonderful game.

★☆★☆★
Little Nightmares

I needed a game with a female protagonist for November's challenge aaaand... I'd seen a friend talking about this series the month prior and I heard there was a female protagonist so I gave it a shot.

I really liked the game! The art direction was really good. I loved the level designs and everything was so interesting to look at. The controls took me a while to get good at, but part of that is simply that I am Very Bad at platformers. I did get the hang of it eventually though and I liked the stealth elements a lot. I'll definitely be looking to pick up the sequel (and maybe the DLC?) sometime.

I am very confused as to what was happening, though, and I do feel a bit bad picking this for the female protagonist theme since I don't... think anything would have been different. But oh well! u_u

★☆★☆★
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker

It arrived!!! I looked forward to this all year, obviously, and I was so thrilled to play it. I even managed to take days off work for it, which was a big help because it meant I could skip the queue for the worst days as I no-lifed it. Took me just under a week to beat it and it was, on the whole, a great ride.



I could probably talk for hours about this game. I mean, I already have, but of course now that I'm sitting down to do it properly, I'm a little at a loss for what to say. Broadly speaking, while I mostly enjoyed my time in it and a big part in the middle made up for most of my disappointments, I think this expansion suffered a lot from really, really bad pacing. That and the ending completely missing the mark for me means it's not very high up there in favourite expansions.

Let's sandwich this review with some stuff I loved, the stuff I hated, and then find some good things to say by the end again.

Spoilers below! Highlight to read.
My favourite part of this was the [redacted for spoilers] map that was the 57-58 MSQ. It was everything I could have possible dreamed!!!! I was so sure that we'd get a few crumbs of Emet-Selch, like a flashback here and there and maaaaybe we'd get to summon him briefly from the lifestream like back in 5.3. I did NOT expect that they'd let me quest around with him while Hythlodaeus makes fun of him for like 8 hours. The pacing was probably terrible but this was the only place where I did not mind because I wanted it to drag out as long as possible. It felt like they wrote this whole segment JUST for me. I took a million screenshots of the dialogue and just... aaaaa everything was so good. So much worldbuilding, learning more about the ancients, making fun of Emet-Selch, a pretty area, and meeting Venat was definitely, definitely the highlight of the entire expansion for me. I'm still just so happy about all of it and I can't wait to go back there and do aaaaall the sidequests for more lore tidbits.

I also really liked how... for the most part, there was really no way to guess what was going to happen. Like, we knew we were going to the moon and we knew this was almost certainly going to be the final fight between Zodiark and Hydaelyn but I was never going to guess how any of it went down. I was blown away when the first trial, the level 73 trial, was Zodiark. The big bad that we've been chasing since ARR. Like, where do you even go from there!?!? It was fun being kind of unable to predict what was going to happen in some ways because a lot of my expectations about the general flow of the expansion ended up turned on their head from quite early on.

But to that end, I think my main complaint with the expansion was the pacing. They did a really good job of building up the tension, but so, so often, they'd get us all worked up about something that was happening and then... have you wander around for like 4 hours doing something totally unrelated and completely drop the sense of urgency. The first noticeable time is when you first go to the moon. You defeat Zodiark and you know the Final Days are starting back on the planet and... instead of going back to try to do what you can, you wander around for HOURS talking to bunnies and doing pointless busywork for them. Everyone in your group knows how urgent it is that you get back to find out what's happening and how you can fix it, but you all stand around eating carrots and trying on clothes to placate these bunnies despite knowing full well at that point that you will not be using their spaceship to escape when there is any chance you could save the planet. Like, I didn't hate them or what was happening, but it was so inappropriate to be happening at that point in the story. Arguably the whole Elipis area is similar in that we've already seen first-hand what's happening in the world and then you wander around for over a day in the past just touring the area. But at least in this case you can make the argument that time flows differently in the first (and probably also in the past) and at least you need the information you're getting as opposed to the moon BS where you could be removed from the scenes entirely and nothing would really change for the story.

But the final straw for me was near the end when you've gotten everyone in the whole damn world to help you, and you know you're about to travel across the entire damn universe to get to the final battle, and what you end up doing for hours of realtime gameplay is pointless busywork in Labyrinthos. I'm STILL mad about that one quest where you have to find 8 vaguely hidden NPCs to make them go talk to the bunnies when all you want to do is rush to get to the final battle before it's too late. It really brought down the ending for me because from that point on I was approaching it from a place of annoyance for wasting my time more than open-mindedness. It made the sacrifices in the last map feel like going through the motions because the plot and worldbuilding was making less sense by that point and it was pretty obvious that you'd be bringing everyone back before long anyway, so none of the emotions came through for me. I think perhaps it might hit better if you aren't expecting it, especially the sacrifice from the twins, but it all felt like FF4 in the worst ways. At least in that game, the party sacrifices had bad writing because there was no room for elaboration or fluff in the writing—you know, bad pacing in the opposite way. But this time you could tell everyone was gonna come back so their little speeches didn't evoke anything in me and even the twins... because of all the FF4 references in the lead up to Endwalker, I was 100% expecting them to sacrifice themselves, but the way it ultimately happened was so unsatisfying and boring! They weren't even the first ones to do a double sacrifice in that segment of the game because for no reason at all Urianger sacrificed himself alongside Y'shtola. It was just weird to me how this game is usually so good about using its emotional moments well and it just dropped the ball so hard in this final bit. I got emotional for Emet-Selch and Hythlodaeus after, but only because they were less expected and I felt like their impact was used a lot better.


I knew it would be incredibly hard to not only top Shadowbringers, but to nicely wrap up everything we've done so far in a neat little bow, but... I actually kind of thought they'd manage for me, since the writing has been so good for so long, but I think this just didn't really hit the mark. The way they had to introduce a convenient new element that basically no one has ever heard of (dynamis, which even Emet-Selch was completely ignorant about back in the days of paradise) at what feels like the last minute in order to find lore ways to wrap thing up was just... very unsatisfying, especially since all the parts of the expansion's end that I didn't like really hinged on it, but I've already been rambling so long and I really don't want to try to get my thoughts in order on that too. Primarily, though, I really think they could have cut out a good 30% of the quests and made Endwalker shorter and snappier without really losing anything of value and I would have felt better looking the other way on plot elements I disagreed with. They said the expansion would be longer than usual because it's fully contained in one release instead of using the 6.1-6.3 patches to introduce and finish up a few lingering ideas and plot points but... I don't think what made it longer was worth keeping. I'd rather a shorter experience that feels better-paced than really padded gameplay. But at least I will always have that middle bit I loved so much haha. ♥

I had high hopes to level both DRK and MCH through Endwalker, but I quickly realized I'd only be able to take one thing through without getting level gated and decided, when I took a slight detour 30 minutes into playing to pick up Reaper, that I'd do MSQ on that job so I could face Zenos with the same class he played hahaha. It was worth it, although I do wish I could have played DRK for everything else. I was pleased at how much I enjoyed playing Reaper, though!! I've been looking forward to it since before it was even announced (since it was a popular rumoured class) and I was very happy when it clicked pretty quickly. :) The Fae Scythe dyes beautifully and it dropped day 1 when I queued Il Mheg for levelling purposes (although I had been hoping the inevitable Fae Scythe would lean toward the flowery aesthetic some of those weapons have rather than the fairy aesthetic... but oh well). So I have a hot pink scythe and I am very happy about it!!



I have 4 jobs at 90 now (RPR, MCH, DRK, WHM) and I got my mentor crown back, so I'm giving the game a biiit of a break while the login issues level out and I enjoy the holidays without being necessarily glued to my computer. My static is on hold for a bit while everyone catches up in the game and life settles back down, but we're hoping to have a couple one-off nights to do the new ex trials. Eventually I think we'll get to the new savage tier once it's out and we do still want to go back and finish up e12s synced, so I guess we'll see how all that goes.

★☆★☆★
The Burnable Garbage Day

Okay, this is a mobile game I downloaded on a whim. I think the Play Store categorized it as an idle game, but I'm not sure I'd say that myself. The premise of the game is you're a cleaning robot who wakes from a several-thousand year sleep to find the entire world in ruins. You start clearing out the rubble and find and activate a hidden city where the last survivors of humanity were put into a deep sleep and upon reviving them, help their city prosper by bringing them items and goodies they request from your clean ups and harvesting. When you level up a city you've found, they learn to produce more and more goods and you act as the trader between them.

For the most part, the game is just tapping your screen to clear pixellated rubble and garbage off of it. As you clear more areas, you unlock more cities and ruins to revive and you find parts to upgrade yourself so you can clear bigger rubble or earn more stamina to play longer. It's a charming little game and I really enjoyed it.



I did, however, find myself wishing constantly that there was a proper localization. It's a Japanese game and I'm pretty sure it was machine translated, or translated by someone for whom English is not their first language, so while I did think it was quite charming, sometimes things just made NO sense. Like one time a level up request for a city was like "I need an item that is 'doctor-free'" and I sat there like... an apple, I guess? Like "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"?? But no. What they wanted was a tomato. WTF? Best I could tell from googling (in Japanese) was that there's an old saying there that goes, like, "when the tomatoes ripen, doctors pale" or something because people are less likely to get sick when tomatoes are in season and thus don't go to the doctor as often? I guess? Machine translation was never gonna catch something like that. Sometimes the clues it gave me were so nonsensical that I actually had to change the language to Japanese so I could figure out what they were saying. I should have just played the whole thing that way, but I was too curious to see what other weird things I'd end up finding in the English version.

It really is a shame, though, because a lot of the story elements and dialogue were just... bland. Most of it was perfectly serviceable but that kind of sucks! I was rewriting all the dialogue in my head to be punchier and sound better and I think the game would be amazing if they could just hand the script over to a good English editor and let them have (mostly) free reign of it. I almost wish I could volunteer my services lmao.

It was a fun little busy game to pick up for a few minutes a day and I miss it now that it's complete, though.

★☆★☆★
Rakuen

Okay I posted this update a few hours ago and since then finished my game for the monthly theme and since I don't expect to beat anything else this year, I'm just going to edit my existing post instead of holding out for more things to update about. The final theme was "Replays", so I decided to replay Rakuen. I haven't played it since it came out, more or less, and I've been meaning to experience it again for a while AND it's relatively short which made it a good pick for the month that Endwalker came out AND the holiday season to contend with later.



It's a gorgeous little game that I originally looked forward to because the creator is the composer for the Plants vs Zombies series which has delightful music. The soundtrack delivers here, too, but mostly the game is charming for the setting and themes it tackles. You play a boy who is stuck in the hospital for cancer and there he discovers that his family is heir to a magical book that contains another parallel world. Within that world is the guardian of the forest, Morizawa, and if he can wake him, he will be granted one wish... but in order to wake him, he needs to seek out other souls who oddly resemble the other patients at the hospital, and grant their wishes and requests.

It's just a really beautiful game with cute graphics, memorable characters, fun puzzles, and wonderful music. I highly recommend it to anyone, but also have a box of tissues because you will cry. :')


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Cherrim

Age 33
she / her
Toronto
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
32,946 posts
19.7 Years

Log Update #14 - Year in Review 2021


The first year of my gaming journal has come to an end! I figured it would be appropriate to do a bit of a year in review to talk about the games I most enjoyed playing this year. I don't want this to be too long or anything, just a little bit of a reflection of my gaming goals this past year, what I achieved, and maybe a bit of what I plan for next year.

Let’s pretend I actually finished drafting this post on the 31st and posted it then so that the tense in all of this makes sense.


★☆★☆★
2021 Goals and Challenges

I challenged myself to both of PC's gaming challenges this year and managed to complete both! :)

Game Along Challenge
My favourite challenge, the one I look forward to every month, is the Game Along Challenge. Each month we get a prompt and we have to beat a game that follows the prompt. I was ready to chastise myself a bit for largely picking shorter games so often, but a decent amount of these were actually pretty long games, so I'm pretty content with my choices.
  1. January - Sci-fi - Tacoma
  2. February - Free Choice - Final Fantasy IV
  3. March - Platformers - Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  4. April - RNG Selection - Moss
  5. May - Male Protagonist - The World Ends With You
  6. June - Realism - L.A. Noire
  7. July - JRPG - Final Fantasy XII
  8. August - Free Choice - The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures
  9. September - Close Quarters/Melee - Bastion
  10. October - Dark - Impostor Factory
  11. November - Female Protagonist - Little Nightmares
  12. December - Replays - Rakuen
The game I'm happiest that I played through this was probably Final Fantasy IV. I didn't super enjoy it when I played it because it was so grindy, but I was really happy I'd experienced it in the leadup to and release of the new XIV expansion because it shared so many themes or outright plot points.

My favourite pick based on the theme, though, was probably Ori and the Will of the Wisps. I don't normally play platformers because I'm so bad at them, but I was soooo excited to play the Ori sequel and just hadn't been able to find time for it yet. Having the prompt as an excuse to drop everything and play it was amazing and if I recall, it got me through kind of a rough patch when my cat underwent minor surgery because it was a good game to distract me while he was at the vet.

Gaming Challenge
I originally challenged myself to play 20 games for the year but I breezed past that initial goal quite early. I then changed it to 31 games to match my userid on PC and breezed right past it again lol. In the end I beat 44 games (45 by my count, since the rules of the thread excluded the intermission game between FFIV and FFIV: The After Years). It would have been nice to up that to a rounder number but as expected, I didn’t get much done after Endwalker came out and once I got my job I didn’t start very much either. I’m pretty happy with this number though! I got a decent spread of games in and replayed a few favourites to boot.

★☆★☆★
2021 Review

So yeah, I played lots of games this year and I wanted to go over the games that left the biggest impressions, good or bad.

The Good

Unpacking
I gushed about this last entry because I played it in November, but I really loved this game! It’s probably the best game I played all year by quite a longshot, which is amazing because it’s a little indie game that you complete in a few hours and it was up against some games that I waited years for or got antsy even thinking about because I was so excited to play them. But its premise and excellent execution just make it stand out so much for me. I highly recommend it to everyone.

New Pokémon Snap
I keep forgetting that this game came out this year because my joycons got such bad drift that I had to drop it, but I really loved this game! I’d wanted a new Pokémon Snap for like decades and I was so impressed when this came out! I think if I had one lingering complaint is that it’s almost… too much to do? It was a bit annoying trying to see everything and get a full grasp of the game when the routes changed almost every time you went through them, but that feels like kind of a silly complaint hahaha. But I guess one of the things I liked about the original game was how I had it mastered when I was younger. I could start over and play through in a few hours and see absolutely everything because I knew the game like the back of my hand and I just don’t think that would ever happen in the new game.

Final Fantasy XIV
I mean of course I had to mention this! More than the new expansion though, I enjoyed XIV this year for the other stuff that happened. Getting every class to 80 for my Amaro, starting mentor roulettes, and joining a static was such a big highlight for me. I don’t play as religiously as I did last year (which is probably good, let’s be real), but I’ve enjoyed my time while prioritizing other stuff and I feel like I’ve found a pretty good balance this year that I’d like to take with my into the new year. :)

The Bittersweet

Kingdom Hearts Union χ
This… was my favourite Kingdom Hearts game. I really, really loved it, despite its many, many flaws. It had weird pacing, but I absolutely loved the murder mystery element and coming together with the twitter fandom every time it got an update. It ended in June and for the last time I got to speed translate the ending for people so everyone was on the same page even though the official English localization was like a month behind. I still miss the game and catch myself opening it randomly on my phone to do some dailies or just to play. :( They kept it as an offline theatre mode but it’s not the same at all. The game struggled a lot near the end with power creep and not having good incentives to get people paying. I feel like the death knell was when they split the game in two and tried to promote Dark Road alongside it despite no good reason to play that and split your efforts. But I still loved it for what it was and I miss the energy that came with the updates every month. (Or every three months. Or every year.)

The Bad

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
I still can’t believe how much time I wasted on this game that I thought would be very short. It was so bad!!! The final dungeon was endless and wouldn’t have been out of place as an ex dungeon yet it made me do it all as required story. The story itself made no sense, the characters and their arcs weren’t very satisfying, and I just hated all of it lmao. It’s a shame because although the first game had some pacing issues in both story and gameplay, at its core it was a good game that I enjoyed. But the sequel had none of the charm and even excusing it for originally being released episodically on phones, it was just a bad game that did basically nothing of value for the story, its cast, and the gameplay.

★☆★☆★
2022 Plans

A new year means new gaming plans!

I have signed up for both PC challenges again. Gonna go for a (safe??) 20 games beaten this year, which means I only have to beat 8 outside of the game-along theme challenges. I think it’s doable but I have no idea what my free time will look like this year. :v

Aside from the challenges, I think I’d like to mainly play new games this year, or at least play a lot more new games than replay older games. I wanna stop using short games I’ve already played as a crutch for the theme challenge so much. I don’t think I did it too much last year, but I felt bad every time I did even when they were games I really wanted to re-experience.

Some games I absolutely wanna beat next year are:
  • Umineko no Naku Koro Ni - Questions Arc - I feel terrible because someone bought me this AND the answers arc back in 2020 and I barely got through one episode. This year I will make time for it!!
  • Hades - I got this as one of my PC Secret Santa gifts from my not-so-secret Santa this year and I’m so excited to play it! I would like to prioritize this earlier in the year if possible.
  • Final Fantasy IX - This is the last of the classic FFs that people gush about that I’ve yet to play, so I’d like to finish that up this year.
  • Final Fantasy Type-0 - I’ve had this for so long that it has an early demo for FFXV on it and that came out ages ago. I just wanna finish this game so I can stop seeing it on my shelf and feeling bad!

I think I’ll freshen up this journal for next year and change the theming a bit but I’m gonna continue this thread as my log. For anyone who drops in to read about my gaming journeys, thank you for sticking with my rambles and here’s to the next year!


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paired with erik destler.