Game Progress 9/12
September 12, 2016

With my new schedule firmly in place, I've had little time to game. Also, I cold turkeyed caffeine this week to help reduce my anxiety. The good news is my anxiety has gone down considerably. The bad news is caffeine withdrawals are a pretty terrible thing to live through. Headaches are only the beginning. I've also had to deal with drowsiness, sciatic nerve pain, fatigue and the occasional bouts of light sensitivity. Thankfully, I've gotten through the worst of it and no longer need to sleep all the time.

This isn't to say that I'll never have caffeine again, but I do want to greatly reduce my intake to a far less than daily habit. For me, it got to the point where I was drinking way above the recommended limit of caffeine through Spark and Kickstart, just to keep up with my kids and having to work full time and write.

All of that aside, I've been able to get some gaming in...

Final Fantasy Record Keeper (Android)
I'm growing tired of this game.

If a dungeon is well within your difficulty level, then it's a breeze. If it's not within your difficulty level, then facing the enemies might be a cake walk, while killing the boss can prove to be troublesome or impossible. I've pretty much snoozed my way through a vast portion of Final Fantasy IV's section, concluding with a horribly simplified version of the fights against Asura and Leviathan. After that, more Final Fantasy VI segments began coming out of the woodwork, involving one "dungeon" that was merely a (very easy) single fight against Humbaba. Later on, I tried out some higher difficulty stages that proved to be equally yawn-inducing, yet terminated in a ridiculously uneven boss fight.

I've unlocked a lot of characters through special events, including the entire cast of Final Fantasy V, along with Ex-Death and Gilgamesh. A couple of times, I received a Soul of a Hero, which allowed me to unlock one character of my choosing. I selected Squall and Sabin. Despite acquiring new heroes, I don't feel compelled to use them because there isn't enough that separates one character from another. You pretty much have melee specialists and magic specialists, then maybe someone for support. The only thing to truly separate them are their Soul Breaks (similar to limit breaks), and even then some Soul Breaks are shared. I don't know that I'll be continuing this game much longer before moving on to either Final Fantasy Dimensions or Brave Exvius, then finishing off with Mobius. Expect a review eventually, though.

Final Fantasy Origins (PlayStation via Vita)
I used to own this game and stupidly gave it away. I decided I wanted to replay it, and thus downloaded it onto my Vita after buying it on PSN.

Currently, I'm playing the remake of the first Final Fantasy. I have to say I'm digging this version more than the NES one, mainly because you can customize certain gameplay aspects. For instance, you can activate the ability to dash (which I only use in towns) or toggle between two battle styles. One allows you to engage random encounters as they were intended, which I thought was the original game's weak point. For instance, if you set your warrior to attack a goblin and the creature dies before your warrior attacks, then his attack is rendered ineffective. Later Final Fantasy games wisely excised this nonsensical feature, and this new version allows you to do the same via options. Now, if the goblin dies, your warrior attacks the next available enemy, which--call me crazy--makes sense within the context of battle.

The magic system is the same as it was in the NES version, unlike the overly simplified MP system used in the GBA remake. This is a good thing, because it teaches you to be conservative with your magic, plus it hearkens to FF's Dungeons & Dragons roots.

I've pretty much done all of the early game stuff: upgraded my characters nearly as far as I can get them for the time being, defeated Garland, killed pirates and took their ship, and then moseyed on to the Elven Castle. Next, I think I'll be going through the Astos segment.

Risen 3: Titan Lords
I resumed, I progress, I didn't feel that much more entertained...

I completed all of the pre-chapter 3 side quests that can be done on Calador and joined the Demon Hunters faction. I also received my first promotion among those ranks, having acquired five Books of Evil from stupid people. It's funny, because the game tells you that it's not likely that idiots would happen upon the books and more likely that someone of influence would have them. Yet, the people I took them from were morons and assholes. One of them was a particularly smarmy barfly who always acted like he had an entire tree branch lodged between his cheeks. During one portion of the evil book quest, I had to follow him to a ritual site, where he then attacked me. Needless to say, he died a horrible death.

I'm honestly a bit sick of this game's combat system. They tried to merge the first two games in terms of fighting, and it hasn't worked out very well. Like the original game, you actually have to spend more time guarding, dodging and riposting rather than just clicking everything to death. Unfortunately, the protagonist executes so many flashy maneuvers rather than practical swipes and strokes that your leave yourself wide open when pulling off even the simplest attack. My only hope is that combat improves after you level up your character's melee skill or sword training, as it does in prior Gothic games and the first Risen. Sadly, I have a feeling Risen 3 is going to be a ho-hum end to a lukewarm trilogy. It's a shame, because the series started out very promising.

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honestgamer honestgamer - September 12, 2016 (09:35 AM)
I gave up caffeine a few months ago. It was having more impact on me than I realized. I was only drinking a cup of it a day, and frequently a large Coke with a meal at McDonald's or whatever.

I've been dealing with stress, anxiety and depression (the three are all closely linked), and the caffeine had seemed to help with the depression side of things. However, I noticed when I drank it to deal with a nasty bout with anxiety that it only made things worse. I also discovered that it was one leading potential cause of other internal issues of the physical variety, so that was a good secondary motivator to quit it.

Giving up caffeine meant a few days of headaches, but I got through that pretty quickly and I have been doing better since. Alongside quitting caffeine, I also increased my daily liquid intake, which helped a lot when the liquid was water instead of Gatorade, and I take supplements (St. John's Wort and Suntheanine) that help take the edge off the depression and anxiety, plus a daily vitamin. We're now approaching or at the age when our bodies rebel against any abuse that they took during our younger years without complaint, so it's worth taking a look at our diets and routine and finding better ways to operate, when possible.

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