It’s that time of year. Today is my last day of summer break, and it’s time to think back on all I’ve done with my time away from homework, classes, and theater rehearsals. And HOO BOY, was this summer busy! I finished my Eagle project, went on six different college visits, and, of course, wrote a ton about video games. There were some things that I didn’t get to accomplish, such as getting a real job and learning how to drive, but I’d say that it was pretty successful overall. But we’re not here to talk about all that. We’re here to talk about video games. SO LET’S TALK ABOUT ‘EM!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I started playing this game the day it came out. I did a ton of work beforehand so that I didn’t have to do any work the following weekend, and spent every waking moment playing that game. The following weeks, and eventually months, I would be playing this game with every spare moment I had, both at home and at school. However, soon into the summer, I had finished most of the exciting content. Around 130 hours or so into the game, I had completed every single shrine, sidequest, and pretty much everything that the game had to offer that was really interesting. But there was no way that I was going to not complete what had turned into my favorite video game of all time. Very early into the summer, I began collecting korok seeds in this game. I am still collecting korok seeds, currently at 680 collected, and 220 yet to find. I’ve obviously been using a guide, because no sane person would attempt to find them all without one. I have around 80% map completion, but that doesn’t count all of the photos and gear upgrades that I plan to complete as well. This summer’s DLC was a very welcome break from the monotony. It provided an excellent challenge dungeon, some awesome new gear, a nifty fast-travel system that I’ve recently been making a lot of use of, a cool feature where you can track your map traversal, and, oh, one more thing:

MASTER MODE.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am nowhere near completing Breath of the Wild, even at 180 hours. Once I finally do complete it, do you know what I’m going to do?!

I’m going to do it all again in master mode, and I’m going to love it!

Yeah, I like Breath of the Wild a little bit.

Fire Emblem Fates: Revelations

I finally beat Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest on the last day of school, and a few days later, I decided to start Revelations. I believe Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia was coming out, and I didn’t want to get behind on it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to beat Revelations before Echoes came out, but I did my best. This led to me playing this game a lot. The story was... poorly executed. I was really looking forward to having the two different royal families from Hoshido and Nohr interacting, but most of the time, they were just like, “eh, ok we’re friends now.” I really do believe that there is some good to be found within this story, but it really should have been put into one good campaign instead of three campaigns that ended up seeming to be a bit lacking. I truly hope that this “three campaign” idea was just a one-time thing and that from now on there will only be one campaign for each Fire Emblem game. God knows there’s enough Fire Emblem as it is, which I’ll get to a bit later. But all that didn’t matter, because I mainly used it as a stress reliever. Got a few minutes here? I’ll whip out my 3DS and play a few turns of Fire Emblem. In hindsight, I probably should have played a lot more strategically, but I still enjoyed what I played of it at a certain simple level.

ARMS

If you take a look at my user profile, you’ll see that I’ve played around 5 hours of the ARMS Testpunch... and around 5 hours of ARMS. I absolutely loved playing ARMS during the Testpunch, going through many great lengths to do so, but by the time I was done, I had almost had my fill. However, I anticipate myself playing much more ARMS in the years to come. I always say that I might play a bunch of a single-player game right away, but then once I’m done, I’m done. With multiplayer games, I might play considerably less of them once they come out, but I’ll be playing them for years and years, on and off. Even though I’ve only played a total of 10 hours of the game, I’ve enjoyed those hours greatly, and have had great experiences playing the game with my sisters.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

So far, 2017 has been an expensive year for me in terms of video games, but that’s just because there have been so many excellent video games coming out this year! Breath of the Wild of course immediately sold me on the Switch, even though I already owned a Wii U, because I wanted to be able to play the game in the best way possible. Horizon: Zero Dawn, amongst other games, sold me on the PS4, although it should be noted that I got the PS4 as an early birthday present, and only because it was on sale. (It’s still opportunity cost! Asking for this meant that I couldn’t get anything else!) At any rate, Horizon: Zero Dawn has been an absolute blast so far. There are problems, to be sure, and I think that it was unfortunate for the game to be released just a few days ahead of the (in my opinion) superior Breath of the Wild, but that doesn’t mean that Horizon isn’t a damn good game. I’ve put around 40 hours into it so far, but I feel like I could easily put another 40 in. I’m having way too much fun to stop!

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

There has been no rest for me and Fire Emblem. Just a few days after I finished all three campaigns of Fire Emblem Fates, I jumped right back in with Echoes. And hot damn is this game great. It’s seriously set to be my new favorite Fire Emblem if it keeps this up. I love the full voice acting. I love the simplified combat. I love the structure. I love the story. I love the art. I don’t really love the new style for cut-scenes, but still, that’s a lot to love! After four campaigns of modern Fire Emblem, I was so ready to try something that’s both new to me, yet almost as old as Fire Emblem gets, being a remake of the second game in the series that never came out in the United States until now. I took a short break from playing this game to play through Splatoon 2's short single-player campaign, but now that I’m done with that, I’m ready to jump back in! Speaking of which...

Splatoon 2's single-player campaign, Octo Canyon

I can’t say that much about Splatoon 2's multiplayer mode since I haven’t played much of it beyond the testfire and two Splatfests, for which I made sure to catch, because I carried on my tradition of not playing the multiplayer mode of Splatoon games until I beat the single-player mode. I set out to play it as the game I play when I’m out of the house, but I found myself not being able to resist playing it while I was at home, so it was split around 50/50 for being in TV or tabletop/ handheld mode. No matter how I played it, it was a blast. It might not have changed much from the original’s campaign, but it was simply better, and sometimes that’s all you need when what you started with was already great. I knocked this game out in around two weeks. Not very impressive, considering how it takes around eight hours to beat, and I didn’t even get every sunken scroll and sardinium (although I did get most of them), but it was a fun time, all the same. I’m now super excited to really dig my teeth into the multiplayer!

The Last of Us

The last of the games I played during the summer is The Last of Us. This was my first M-rated game, being freshly 17, and oh boy this is a violent game. A particular scene of Joel dying to a boss in a certain high school gym was particularly disturbing, if you know what I mean. But I couldn’t imagine this game being as good as it is without the violence. It is moody to the max, and I love it for that. Since my last article on my impressions on the game, it has grown a lot, both mechanically and story-wise. A new character was introduced that I really like despite his flaws, and both Joel and Ellie are endearing themselves to me very fast. Of course they’re going to be a little messed up, considering all that’s going on around them, but then again, a flawed character is a lot more interesting than a character that’s always perfect. The puzzles have gotten a bit more complex, with one stumping me for a lot longer than I’d like to admit. But when I figured it out, I felt really smart. The combat continues to be incredibly tense, and I am dying a lot. Luckily, the game gives little to no punishment for dying, so it’s not very discouraging. It just gives me a chance to take a breather and figure out how I want to tackle the problem differently. It’s gotten to the point where part of me wants to keep playing to know what happens next, but the other part of me wants to stop so all the character’s stay alive. Oh, and the voice acting continues to be oscar-worthy. Actually, I think I’m going to go and play some of it to close out my summer break after I’m done writing this article.


Even though I look back on the games I’ve played and think that it’s not half bad, I know that I could have played a lot more. I know for a fact that a lot of my peers will come back from summer break having played a lot more than me. But that’s okay. Even though I haven’t played as much as them, I still played some excellent games, and I got to understand them and myself while playing them better by writing about them. But I’ll write more about my experience of writing about video games on Thursday, when, if all goes according to plan, I will have written my 60th daily consecutive article (when taking two days off for each day missed). Until then, stay fresh!

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