For a man on a quest to not purchase any new games until July, I sure lucked out that there aren’t many exemplary titles coming out soon!
Hello everyone, and welcome to my conveniently dual-purpose post for this week’s TAY Theme Week, which will also serve as a check-in since my previous post stating my ultimatum. First up, let’s see our progress since March 31st of this year and discuss how we’re doing.
In April I finished:
- Kingdom New Lands
- Tomb Raider
- Shin Megami Tensei IV
- Papers Please
Five games in total, overall for someone with a standard 9-6 work schedule I’m pretty happy with that! Naturally we’ve still got a long way to go until July, but for one month this felt like a solid step in the right direction. In fairness, I was already mostly through Kingdom New Lands and Shin Megami Tensei IV, but I still had to put in easily over 40 hours to wrap up both of those games. I didn’t compromise on endings either, and took the time to get the “true” ending for Shin Megami Tensei IV. Looking back on these other entries, a few things come to mind right away:
I was surprised at how really well polished Tomb Raider ended up being. I’m not normally one to jump on the AAA action/adventure train, but this game is a really enjoyable 9 hour experience for the standard story-line. Generally speaking the game-play has a really solid pace to it and makes you feel like a total badass once you start hitting your groove. However as a result of that, there’s also a disconnect between the narrative of having difficulty committing murder in the name of self-preservation, and you being a rampant ruthless killing machine outside of cut-scenes. There are certainly some other flaws to be aware of... like quick-time events, but if you want to see a franchise reboot done right, this isn’t a bad one to consider. Extra points for having a climbing system that actually works!
Lastly, I must come clean and say I didn’t think Papers Please or Firewatch were really anything special. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad games, but I also don’t think they’re the paragons of recent indie game development. Papers Please has a genuinely fun game design of stacking ridiculous rules one after another onto the player, and Firewatch is absolutely gorgeous to walk around in. However, from a narrative standpoint I think both games fall flat.
Papers Please attempts to attack you from a standpoint of empathy and emotion, but it quickly loses impact and resulted in me simply looking at every entrant as a penalty or paycheck. Sadistic as that may sound, especially in these troublesome times of immigration issues in America, I just don’t think the writing did a good job of elevating the seriousness of the player’s decisions. I didn’t feel consequence when turning away people in dire need. Everything felt very black and white, with little moral grey area, leaving the overall experience rather hollow.
Likewise, Firewatch starts out extremely promising by placing the player in the middle of a gorgeous national park, stumbling around learning how to be a fire lookout / “unofficial” park ranger. Your reasons for being there are sad, but also easy to connect with as a person. Unfortunately, rather than sticking to this narrative and having the player slowly come to terms with their decisions in life and monitoring the park, the game also throws in an absolutely insane conspiracy theory plot out of left-field. At points I questioned if I was playing a game about national park fire safety, or if I was watching an episode of the X-Files, and not in a good way. It doesn’t help that the ending to the game is utterly unsatisfying, leaving you questioning if your decisions mattered, and wondering why you couldn’t have just been a park ranger all game instead.
Now then, with the past out of the way let’s look towards the future! While some gamers may find themselves saddened by a lackluster release schedule for the next few months, I myself am elated. Now that I’m past the initial hurdle of not buying Persona 5 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe during their release windows, I feel as though I will be able to satisfy my initial goal, if not expand upon it.
Upcoming later this month I have Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and Disgaea 5: Complete to enjoy. As I’ve previously mentioned, those were pre-ordered before this whole thing got underway, so they are exceptions to the rule. Admittedly, those two alone should eat up a large portion of my spare time, so in order to up the ante a bit more I have two short-term goals for this month: finish Fire Emblem Fates: Revelations and finish one of the endings to Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked.
Despite being on Chapter 20 or so of Revelations, I know it’s going to be a struggle to stop creating romances, stop pursuing new-found children, and just generally saying goodbye to such a colorful cast of characters. As with any Fire Emblem game I’ve experienced, there’s a strong sense of melancholy when I think about moving on to greener pastures and leaving various portions of my play-through incomplete. God knows I’ve put hundreds of hours into this game, but much like Awakening, I think it will be difficult to convince myself to go back and tidy up various side content while also trying to continue my quest of backlog eradication.
Such is the price I pay for pursuing an unwieldy goal I suppose, but at least for the short term I have peace of mind that I won’t have to fight any impulse purchases in the upcoming months. For once, it would appear that a drought of development cycles has turned out in my favor. First time for everything I suppose.
Special thanks to Narelle (Zarnyx) for taking the time to coordinate the TAY Theme Week, and joining me on this crazy no-game buying adventure. [Which you’re totally adhering to, right Z? -.O] If you’re unsure if you have anything worthwhile to contribute, I’ll offer a simple piece of advice: you won’t know if you never hit that publish button.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read about my recent gaming escapades. What games have you finished lately? Are there any upcoming titles during the summer that you’re really looking forward to?
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RerTV is a small-time YouTuber and Streamer who enjoys writing #FeelsGoodMan posts about gaming. He strives each day to spread awareness of the positivity gaming can bring to ourselves and society, and hopes you’ll join the conversation. Find him on Twitter: @RerTV.