I'd hoped to have a review ready...
October 25, 2017

At least if I'm going to ramble, I might as well give you something nice to look at. That's one of the screencaps I didn't have a chance to use for my Hob review because I uploaded them too late for my patience and appointed bed time.

No one to blame, that's all on me. I knew I had a review to post. I'm getting better at this, gradually, but that's not what this post is about. For once I'm going to talk games. All that redacted stuff was an entirely too cerebral and overused joke, but it's obvious now I've started to do Freelance reviews.

I'm glad to be doing them. As I've said, the feedback I get is invaluable. Moving on to games, I've been stocking up on 3DS titles to get back into the flow of things, and amassing Streetpasses as well. That's possible because in Canada students carry their handhelds on mass transit (Skytrain), and it's one of the perks of owning a 3DS. No other platform offers that sort of interactivity, and I hope they continue to expand it. Find Me is one of my favorites, and I'm courting the idea of picking up Miitopia. I've already been playing the demo.

So... beyond Super Mario Bros 3D the Scrooge Twins Edition, I've picked up both Etrian Odyssey the Millennium Girl and Super Mario Maker, which is quite a bit different than I expected. The latter is pushing me to look for a Class 10 SD memory card that'll work on the 2DS, because load times are a thing. I've got a couple lined up and will order one soon.

Etrian OtMG is a good entry point for me, thanks to its story mode, but I'm also getting a quick handle on the tougher enemies in the first stratum as my crew approaches level 20. Yeah, I'm grinding a lot to take on the toughest FOEs, because I like to have an advantage mid to late game. Rushing around an unfamiliar RPG without a measure of security just seems ill fated to me. I'm also doing this to improve my skills, as I'd like to start taking on the tougher Fire Emblem franchise.

Mario Maker is going to demand a lot of time, I can see that, but I don't have level design aspirations to begin with, and feels like an odd place to be. All of the charm I expected is there, and localization is spot on, apart from references to locations and cuisine I don't know. Nintendo's dedication to quality is paramount, but I don't know where this game is going to take me. When the bug bites, I'll know it. Downloading random levels from the entire world of players is fascinating, and a little scary. The one thing I didn't expect, and probably should have, was that changing themes also changes the physics model in accordance with that theme. Say you're using Super Mario 3 as your theme, well... you're also using all of its behaviors, which have been painstakingly recreated, though they do feel markedly smoother in some cases.

On PC, I've started Costume Quest, and I'm beginning to see how Doublefine went so wrong with Broken Age, but it's too early to make any comments on that front. Costume Quest reads with that odd style of Children who behave like savvy, clever adults with adults who behave like children. It's good. Combat is simplistic but its damage mitigation and delivery mechanics are demanding and unless you get good at them, you're doomed to failure. There's no leeway, and this would turn many players off who were attracted to it by the cartoonish aesthetic. It sometimes reminds me very much of Saturday Morning RPG, and I suppose they share a few qualities.

I also picked up and dropped SOMA. Oh brother. Another game that leaves you powerless. Yay. I've some problems with the narrative, and y'know what? The plot is as painfully obvious. I have no intention of running around like a scared rat in someone else's memory or whatnot. No thanks. I might go for the sequel to Costume Quest instead. I hear it was pretty good. The realism is "pretty okay" when a door lock slips right through the middle of the floor twenty minutes into the game. Colour me unimpressed.

I have also put time into Sonic Mania, which is too easy? Like, way too easy? I haven't seen anything this vibrant or creative from this franchise - not to mention playable - maybe ever, but shouldn't I be dying more and running out of lives more often? I'm a little disappointed that the ride may be over before I obtain any real sense of satisfaction from it.

Ori and the Blind Forest (Definitive Edition) is the sort of challenge I expect, though it is a different beast. I haven't seen such a visual treat since Dust:AET, and that's saying something. The game feels premium. Then there's the pixel-tastic Owlboy, which I plan to sink some serious time into. Something is bothering me about it, but I haven't identified what yet. So far it's flawless, but I wonder if the story is going to live up to its well told opening. Oh, and I have been flirting - a little - with VCs, but I'm still looking for the right one. Tricolor Lovestory isn't it.

Oh, and my machine is "untested" for the Fall Creator's update of Windows 10, which is a bother because it affects the performance of games like Hob. In fact, it seems to address performance issues with the GPU series I'm running, so... I might be installing the OS manually. According to my research, identical hardware has been tested by HP, but this no doubt falls under the "unsupported" category.

Two support sessions with Microsoft yielded that little gem, though the error code no one else has gotten but me didn't seem to tell them anything. Oh well. It looks like I'll be hunting down parts for a new system in 2018, and I won't be going the AMD route. Nor will I be buying Coffee Lake parts. Intel seems to have rushed delivery of that one in an effort to maintain their substantial lead over AMD.

So there we are. I know what I'll be playing...

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