More updating, this time in a new year
January 30, 2020

Stuff I'm playing and things I'm thinking.

I started a project I got from Jason. Called Arc of Alchemist or something like that. An action RPG that is on the PS4 and looks like it could easily fit on the PS2. Has a fair number of features, including a home base you gradually build up as you play. And at least in the early going, it does have this fun vibe where you're dropped into its world and kind of have to figure things out as you progress. Like, early in the first area, there's a path that gets dark and you'll get attacked by a smaller version of the scorpions that are the most common enemy around...that happens to be really strong and near immortal. If you lure it out of the dark area, it's beatable, but still tough enough than you'll likely be running to the nearest checkpoint to warp back to your base. However, if you progress a bit farther into the area, you'll be able to unfreeze a machine, allowing you to operate a switch to turn on lights in that path, at which point said scorpion no longer spawns. On the way to that machine, there's a side path with tougher enemies and something that's really powerful and just past the machine, there's another dark area with really tough enemies inside of it. So, at the least, I'm somewhat intrigued...even if the characters, occasional weird humor and the like kind of remind me of some aspects of Kemco's story-telling.

Also on the PS4, after finishing Witcher 3's second expansion, I moved on to Kingdom Hearts III. Did the Olympic Coliseum and Twilight Town parts and now need to move to the Toy Story inspired world. Enjoying it so far -- basically plays like the second game with elements of Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance added in. The main question: Will I get 60/90 lucky emblems, which is needed to access the secret ending in standard difficulty? Or, more precisely, will I find them myself or need the Internet to do so, because with this being the first KH game where the secret ending can be accessed without doing virtually everything when playing the default difficulty, I can't see any reason why I shouldn't get it.

Also on the PS4, I joined the whole PS Now program. Never bothered with XBox Gold and the free games you could get from it with my 360 simply because my system has a pretty limited hard drive as far as space goes. My PS4 is 1 TB, which means space isn't really an issue. So far, I've downloaded Horizon Zero Dawn to play at an undisclosed time in the future and Hollow Knight to start now. That's a Metroidvania that also implements aspects of the Souls games. Primarily in that you control a character exploring the mysterious ruins of a fallen kingdom where the plot is very slowly delivered in tiny bits from time to time. You also heal by killing enemies to fill a soul vessel that can be used to restore health...if you hold down a button while standing still, making it a bit tricky to pull off in boss fights and the like. And, from what I've heard, this game gets really tough. By collecting all the health boosts, you'll wind up with 9 health icons with attacks taking off 1 or 2. Lot of spikes and acid pits to also cause damage. In the second area right now. Fought two bosses in the first area, with neither being overly tough -- although I did have to exhibit some vestige of skill to get by them.

That's the cool thing about PS Now. There are enough games there that it'll be easy to get my $59/year's worth. And with Hollow Knight, that's a game that was in the "intriguing, but I probably wouldn't think of buying it" category, so getting it in a situation where if I like it, great! And if it doesn't click with me, I can simply uninstall it and move on to something else without even having a second thought about it.

Dark Souls II is nearly done. Can't see me bothering with the super-challenging parts of the three DLC or fighting the Ancient Dragon or whatnot, but still have a couple main DLC bosses and the final fights to go. Been a bit tough being motivated to finish it due to my "great" idea to do all the main DLC exploration and then finish things off with, essentially, a boss rush where I rapid-fire through all the DLC bosses and then the main game's final fights. Thing is, I guess I kind of like to ease into a game when I start it up for the night and then build up to big fights. And so, here I am at the bonfire between Elena and Sinh, knowing that the minute I start the game back up, I'll be in a fight with a giant poison dragon. And after beating it, I'll be quickly teleporting to Brume Tower to go up against Fume Knight. That is most definitely not easing into anything!

Divinity Original Sin is one where I'd be making quicker progress if (a) PS Now wasn't causing me to add to my "four games at once, no more!" plan and (b) I was more intelligent and actually remember to save every time I did something right. Nothing like having to re-do a fight because I died afterwards on the next one. I'm 50+ hours into this game and still in the first main area of the game, although I am nearly done with it. And part of that slowness is because my not-really-a-gaming computer is basically at its limits running this game, so it plays well, but a bit slowly. I do dig the strategic nature of battles, though. Especially when there's ooze on the ground and I can use a fire spell to make explosions happen. Not so much when I then botch things up and send one of my guys through that area, they catch on fire and have lost 80% of their life by the time they stop moving. LIVE AND LEARN!

Lagrange Point is a Famicom RPG by Konami that came out too late in the NES' lifespan to be brought to America. In a way, it would have been the NES version of Phantasy Star, as it's in a sci-fi setting. It also looks and sounds great by NES standards due to having some special chip that virtually no other games implemented. It definitely uses the "risk/reward" aspect of old RPGs as far as making sure you're powerful enough to go where you need to go. Maybe to too much of a degree. BP is basically your magic points, but they're used for every combat action (right now, everyone has equipment for 7000 BP and a regular attack uses about 110). Adds a certain element of preparation, as you need to have restoring items and be sure you can handle a long random-battle-heavy trek to and through a dungeon and back. BUT! The game also has a number of enemies who have special attacks that can heavily drain BP, so if the Random Number God isn't on your side, you can be decimated regardless of preparation due to only being able to hold so many items. Which leads to the always-fun activity of horribly abusing save states in order to continually make progress.

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