Jerec's Games of May 2021
May 31, 2021

Another month down.

FINISHED

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)

I've clocked in at over 150 hours, and there are still things I haven't done. But I've beaten everything I can without grinding to unlock the last few rare blades in the damn gacha system (why...?). There is also some stuff that requires New Game Plus, but I'm not ready for that. But as it is, I finished all the available sidequests and finished the game itself. I'll go back and finish Torna eventually.

This was a very addictive video game, but far from perfect. If this series is going to continue to improve, it needs to force the player to spend less time in the menus. I think the characters didn't initially work for me, partly because they weren't as instantly likeable as the Xenoblade 1 cast, but they did grow on me.

I was putting in 8 hour days on this game for about 5 weeks or more, and I am sad it is over, but also kind of relieved. I had put off fighting the final boss for a few days knowing I could just go and get it done any time.

Really interested to see what Monolith comes up with next.

IN PROGRESS

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure (Ao No Kiseki) - PC

My forced Trails hiatus has ended. About two months after finishing Trails from Zero, the Geofront translation for Azure dropped, and I'm now about 25 hours into it (just finished Chapter 2). It's everything I wanted. Familiar gameplay structure and battles, but with the story going to greater and greater heights, bringing back plenty of familiar faces, and contextualising some of the stuff that was happening off-screen in Cold Steel 1 (and later 2).

Ys II (Steam)

I've reached Solomon's Tower, but haven't yet ventured in. I have a feeling this is the endgame, like Darm Tower was for part 1. I'd like to have this game finished next month so I can move onto Ys Origins.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PS4)

It's been way too long since I played the Mass Effect trilogy. I'm a good 20+ hours into the first game, just about to head to Virmire, but stalling by doing any other sidequest I can find. I know I'm a good 2/3rds into the game, perhaps more. Will move onto 2 and 3. Disc likely won't leave my PS4 until I'm done.

Danganronpa 1-2 Reloaded (PS4)

I finished Chapter 5 and 6 of Danganronpa 1, bringing the story to a close. I don't technically count it as finished, since I haven't touched the other mode in Danganronpa 1 yet, which is more a free-play ish mode, I think? Plus, since the game is two in one, I haven't touched Danganronpa 2 yet, but I suspect I'll be taking a break before heading into that one.

Xenogears (PS1)

I loaded this one up on my Vita. Kind of inspired by the discussion in last month's post. This game is really rough around the edges. I know it's a very divisive game. I'm about 3 hours in - I think I'm close to where I originally gave up on the game. I know I stopped due to some annoying jumping/platform mechanics in a game with random encounters. I can see the origins of the Xenoblade games here - even the mythology is kind of similar, plus the verticality of the world, though Xenoblade doesn't get so on the nose with the biblical stuff. So far, Fei has just been catapulted from one situation to another, so I've yet to get my bearings with the game. Not a huge fan of the battle system. I know people hate the second disc where they ran out of money and just did the story with no gameplay, but to be honest, I'm kinda looking forward to it.

Steins;Gate ELITE (Steam)

I finished Chapter 7, and have completed two of the endings so far (Suzuha and Faris). Both endings really hit hard. I remembered the Suzuha ending very well from my initial playthrough, but couldn't remember the Faris ending until I was already into it. Both are kinda devestating for different reasons. One of the benefits of hindsight is that I noticed that the consequences of both endings are actually set up and foreshadowed in the main game, which is something I wouldn't have picked up on the first time.



Pic-a-Pix Pieces (Vita)

Progressing nicely.

Faerie Solitare Harvest (Steam)

I played very little of this. I might end up letting this one go, since I have technically finished it, just not taken it to full completion, but it isn't grabbing me like it once did.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

I got Marshal. He's one of the popular animals.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)

I didn't touch this for a while since Xenoblade 2 never left my Switch, but I did get back into this in the last week or so and made a little more progress.

Fire Emblem: Fates (3DS)

I did one mission.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)

From time to time, I play through a GP. I'm on 100cc now.

NEGLECTED

Haven't gone back to any of these, but I leave them here as a reminder.

Ni No Kuni
Bug Fables
Uncharted

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Genj Genj - June 05, 2021 (06:50 PM)
Xenoblade 2 is dope but the story/characters are my least favorite of the Xenogames. It's a lot more anime-tropey than the others and lacks a lot of the same emotional weight as Takahashi's other stories.

I replayed Xenogears during lockdown a year ago and as a game, it's really not that great. The platforming and on-field camera are pretty trash. On foot combat is kinda stupid. Essentially basic turn-based battles except you learn Deathblows and simply spam your strongest one most of the time. So then battles just take longer while you watch the same animations repeatedly. Gear battles are a bit more interesting with the whole Fuel mechanic. The story is the real meat, but it's extremely text heavy. Game has a lot of pacing issues as a result. Disc 2 is pretty ridiculous when half the cutscenes are a person talking about what happens while sitting in a chair. I have a lot of nostalgia for the game but frankly Xenosaga I & III did a lot of the same ideas better with a smaller scale.

Incidentally unlocking Deathblows is really weird and involves invisible XP gains on certain animation frames of attacks. I'd recommend reading up on it if you intend on playing through to completion.
jerec jerec - June 05, 2021 (08:05 PM)
I also have issues with the camera in Xenogears, since it only has a few points of rotation, and they love putting pillars and stuff to actually block your view, so it can be hard to get a camera angle that works. With battles, I'm not sure what the advantage of using multiple weak attacks to one heavier attack is, though I guess if the enemy has high evasion then the multiple attacks have a better chance of hitting?

Xenoblade 2 is enjoyable and I found the characters endearing after a while, but it is a step down from the first Xenoblade.
Genj Genj - June 06, 2021 (02:19 AM)
The battle system feels like "pretend depth" to me. Basically the hit% is lower the stronger the attack. There's a few gimmick enemies that do have counters or take 1 damage to all attacks (so you have to use all weak attacks for more damage), but for the vast majority of battles, you can simply win by spamming deathblows. Except for the ones where your spamming certain combinations to unlock the next one.

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