Invalid characterset or character set not supported Jerec's Games of December 2021

Jerec's Games of December 2021
December 31, 2021

I've managed to keep this up for a year. I think this is about the extent I feel like writing about games these days. I have actually tried writing some reviews this year, and in an ideal world I would review every game I finished or played a lot of, but I guess that aspect of games writing doesn't interest me so much anymore. I end the year employed, and I feel lucky to have a good job particularly with this antiwork movement going on. I'm on leave right now from Christmas (back to work January 10th), so December saw a little more activity.


Imposter Factory (Steam)

This is the next game by Freebird games, a series of visual novels made in RPG Maker. It shouldn't work, but it does. I've been a fan since To the Moon way back when, and I'd been keenly anticipating the release of this game. It strays a little from the formula, especially at first with an interesting hook about murders and time loops, but then it goes into a deeply personal story about life, and the choices that we make (and what is down the other path if we choose differently). About 4.5 hours long, I was able to knock this one out in two sittings since it grabbed me and didn't let go.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Happy Home Paradise (Switch)

Like Animal Crossing, the DLC is nearly endless - I can keep designing houses for Animal Crossing characters for 500+ characters including the special characters like Blathers, Isabelle, etc if I have their amiibo (and I do!). But I finished the "story" which revolves around the first 30 houses and 5 facilities, a cutesy little workplace drama starring the idealistic Lottie, quiet Wendell, enthusiastic Niko, and you as the designer. It's more story than you usually get in this series, and playing through it lets you unlock all sorts of techniques (such as soundscapes and visual effects) and furniture, and photos of NPCs. I'll keep playing through this when the mood strikes, but I can count this DLC as finished.

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins (Steam)

This is a "found phone" game set in the Doctor Who universe in a sequel story to one of the most famous episodes, Blink. The Weeping Angels are back. It only took about 2.5 hours to finish, but it was quite enjoyable. This is an interesting use of the Doctor Who property - making the type of gameplay actually work in the type of story it's telling (rather than a match 3 puzzle game with story interludes). Once you find the phone, you'll work with UNIT Scientific Advisor Osgood, as you piece together the myster of what happened to the phone's owner. The story is interesting, and it works thematically. Blink was a story where pieces of the plot were put together through DVD easter eggs - having this story be uncovered through the contents of a phone is pretty clever. I wouldn't want them to do another game like this, though. The next Doctor Who game needs to pick a niche genre and really make it work for the story.


Mass Effect 3 (PS4)

I think Mass Effect 3 is my favourite of the trilogy, ending aside. This game is just full of absolutely brilliant moments, paying off worldbuilding and story beats that were set up in the first two games - big focused sections of the story centering around the Krogan genophage, the Quarian/Geth conflict, the Asari, Cerberus, all make for an absolutely gripping story that I've been taking my time with over the last month. I only played Mass Effect 3 once back in the day, so I never experienced the post-release DLC until now - these extra chapters can now be integrated into the story as they should've been. Leviathan and Omega are great, important parts of the story that EA/Bioware decided should be locked out of the base game and sold for a premium. The Citadel DLC was the absolute best, though. It becomes available in the second half of the game, but it should be the last thing you do before you hit that point of no return mission. It's a celebration of the trilogy - all the characters you've got to know. The story missions let everyone come together, there's humour and self-referential jokes (I liked Garrus lamenting that he missed when we used to have conversations during long elevator rides, but Liara shot him down completely). This then culminates in you getting to have some personal moments with surviving characters from the trilogy, then a huge party where everyone cuts loose and just chills out. Some really genuine heart-felt laughs were had.

I thought I might get this finished before the end of the year, but Citadel ended up being much bigger than I expected. All I have left to do is accept the next story mission which leads me into the end-game, so I expect I'll have this wrapped up in early January.

Muv-Luv Unlimited (Vita)

Not much progress here. 30-40 minute sessions here and there, but that never seems like enough to progress a visual novel in any meaningful way.

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception (PS4)

Speaking of, this one is a struggle. I'm about 9 hours in, and we're in the capital now. Most of the slice of life story seems to be about Haku misunderstanding the world and getting physically punished by girls for things that are rarely his fault. The whole Japanese thing of "haha girl abuses guy is funny" is feeling less so right now. A few interesting bits of plot development, then back to wheel spinning. Plus the occasional SRPG battle. Try to progress the story bit by bit when I feel like it. I thought by this point I had built up more tolerance to visual novels, but I really wish this one would get to the point.

Ys: The Oath in Felghana (Steam)

Still stuck on the same boss as before. Level grinding is now very slow with the enemies available, but I gained another level and tried again. Getting closer... but still not enough. I'm not giving up on this, and I'm not starting over just to play on easy.

Picross S 1/2/3/4 (Switch)

I bought four Picross games during the end of year sale. I've been making steady progress in each of them, opting to knock out all the easy puzzles in each before moving onto the harder stuff. In terms of content and QOL, the games do get better as they go along. I'm going at a pretty rapid pace because 10x10 puzzles are easy and I'm averaging about 2 mins each to beat them. Once I get to the 15x15 I'll likely slow down a bit. Will pick up 5 and 6 in a future eshop sale.

Pic-a-Pix Pieces (Vita)

Completed the next big puzzle. I think if I finish one a month that will be a decent pace. Colour picross is a bit of a different beast to the regular kind.


Stuff to resume in 2022

Dragon Quest XI S (Switch) - Get back into this and finish the post-game content. I'd like to do this before getting into another big JRPG.
Danganronpa 1-2 Reloaded (PS4) - Once I clear my current Visual Novel slate, it will be good to give Danganronpa 2 a go. But I also have some other VNs that might jump the queue.
Fire Emblem: Fates (3DS) - Need to get back in on this.
Ni No Kuni (PS3) - Might give this one more try, but if it pisses me off again I'll probably just abandon it.
Bug Fables (Switch) - I really should enjoy this one more than I am. I'll give it another go.
Uncharted (PS4) - Yeah, I dunno.
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD (Switch) - I do plan to go back to this. I've also got SMT V waiting.

It was a pretty good year for the backlog. I think this was one of those rare years where I finished more games than I bought, but it's going to take way more than that. And that was a year where I was unemployed for the first 9 months. I doubt I'll ever get time like that again.

Playing through 9 Legend of Heroes - Trails games was an absolute highlight.

Most recent blog posts from Jerec ...

EmP EmP - January 01, 2022 (05:47 AM)
There is absolutely sections in the bloated middle of Mask of Deception that make you wonder if anything of note will ever bloody happen. The short answer is that yes, it will. The long answer is that the second game will often take these little moments you previously thought pointless and use them to make you feel miserable.

It feels like a churn to get through some of it, though.
jerec jerec - January 01, 2022 (03:25 PM)
Yeah, sounds like typical VN stuff - a lot of things up front that set up the world and the characters and isn't the most exciting, but it needs it to make the big payoffs later. It is at least easy enough to progress an hour or so in the evening, since I can just let it run without actively playing it. The battles do feel so short compared to the story segments, though.

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2024 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.