Jerec's games of Q4 2022
January 01, 2023

COMPLETED

Man, only completed two games in this quarter, and then became unfocused and kept adding games...

13 Sentinels Aegis Rim (PS4)

The resolution to this plot kept me guessing most of the way through. It leaned into various sci-fi tropes and made you think the story could be one thing (when told from one character's POV), only to have a revelation in another character's path through a curve ball to make you sit up and go "hang on..." It was great chipping away at this story bit by bit, following different characters. The story felt like a big circle, where you're chipping away at it from the outside and most of the characters aren't connected, but as you work your way in towards the centre, the circle becomes smaller and everything starts to tie together more. Even moreso when progress on some characters is blocked until you progress with another. The RTS battles are quite fun, and the constant upgrading of stats and skills provided an addictive gameplay loop for something that at first didn't seem to have much depth to it. I highly recommend this game.

Ys VIII - Lacrimosa of Dana (PS4)

I decided not to bother finishing Ys V and have just moved onto the next game in story chronology. I started Ys VIII years ago, and it looks like I dropped it at around the halfway mark. I spent a day or so rewatching the cutscenes of the story so far, and then I picked up from where I left off and really got into it more. I still had another 25ish hours to go to finish the game, with the story and later developments being very interesting. I spent some time to learn how to handle the combat properly (plus using the different characters, since I pretty much only played as Adol previously). Great game.

IN PROGRESS

Tales of Arise (XSX)

I'm about 30 hours into the game now. After getting tired of the bosses basically being damage sponges and not particularly enjoying the battle system, I decided to put the game on easy. I'm now coasting through the story a bit quicker. I'm enjoying the character development that these six characters are going through - they actually don't seem to get along all that well, but it's great seeing them come to understand each other a little more as things go on.

Opus: Echo of Starsong (Switch)

Still slowly plodding around the galaxy.

Picross (Switch)

Still chipping away with the odd puzzle here and there when the mood strikes, but when you've done 50 15x15 Picross puzzles, you've kinda done them all.

Muv Luv Alternative (Vita)

Started on the third VN of this series. Alternative starts off as another iteration of a timeloop of the second story. It was interesting seeing the main character go through the same events as last time, except now he's actually the best of the squad and is actively working to change the course of future events. I'm about 5 chapters in so far, and after time was diverging in small subtle ways, it seems to have gone off on a completely new tangent now. I love Do Over stories and time travel stuff in general. I'm genuinely curious to see where this story is going.

Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim (PC)

I've made decent progress on this game so far. It's not quite as polished as Ys Origin, but it's a damn sight easier than Oath of Felghana. Usual set up with Adol being shipwrecked in some mysterious place and then getting involved in the local issues. Recently got the second sword which has opened up a new area in the underground, which has been kicking my ass. Progress kinda slowed as I was basically just grinding for the last session or so.

Buddy Simulator 1984 (PC)

This one is unique. It's a little unsettling to be playing a game that an AI is creating for me as we go. I've just moved into the third iteration of the game where the landscapes now have some depth and I can do some RPG combat. I named my AI friend Derec after someone who registered an account by that name on GameFAQs to try and troll me years ago. Derec makes me feel bad when I want to quit, but the "CRT effect" and kinda flickery text makes it hard to play for long stretches. The glitches in this game are weird. Definitely want to know what's going on here.

Tactics Ogre Reborn (PS5)

I'm about 15 hours in. This is a lot further than I got in the PSP version, which I found kinda difficult to get into. I'm not sure exactly what the differences are, but I've found this version a bit easier to understand. It could also be that I've played a lot more strategy RPGs in the meantime. The voice acting is a bit "low budget Square-Enix", not quite Triangle Strategy levels, but not great either. The UI could've taken some tricks from Triangle Strategy, as this one does feel like a slight step back. I'm interested in seeing this through.

Astro's Playroom (PS5)

I like this simple platformer. It would be a good way to teach a newbie gamer. Loved collecting all the PlayStation memorabilia. I haven't finished it because the T-Rex boss is bonkers and it doesn't just let me retry, it makes me walk all the way back to it again and again. Not sure if I will finish. I finished the PS collection stuff, which was the main draw for me.

Pokemon Scarlet (Switch)

I bought this as a pre-order because it was like 35% off the RRP, which should've been a sign that we knew things were off even before the damn game released. This game is terrible. And yet, I've put a good 20ish hours into it and have mostly enjoyed myself. The Pokemon formula works, though this is the first one I've played in about a decade. I've been chipping away at the three main quest lines, and catching Pokemon along the way. I just wish it looked and ran better, you know? With more time and polish, this could've been amazing. But they can just drop a buggy mess of a game like this on shelves and it'll still sell millions. I guess I'm to blame here, too.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE Encore (Switch)

The Idol plot is a bit cringe, but the characters are endearing enough. The battle system/dungeon mechanics are pure SMT/Persona, so it has me hooked. I saw the original teaser trailer on YouTube where Atlus is promising a SMT / Fire Emblem crossover. I can now understand why this game pissed a lot of people off, because this does not feel like the answer to that promise. It has the gameplay of a SMT game, it has a few Fire Emblem characters as "personas/demons", and the story is kinda not really either of them. Still enjoying it. I knew what I was getting into before I bought it.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (XSX)

This finally dropped down to around $30, which is a good price for Lego games. They always get there within a year, so I'd never buy one at full price. I've only just started this one in the last week or so, but I've already finished the prequel trilogy, started A New Hope, and done a little bit of free play (but I think I should focus on the episodes first). Enjoyable, mainly because I haven't really gotten into one of these Lego games since the Xbox 360 era.

Lego Builder's Journey (PC)

Got this as an Epic Games freebie, and I'm actually playing it. It's a very beautiful, relaxing experience. I had heard it's only a few hours long, so I didn't think it was worth the usual asking price (even when it was 50% off on Switch I was doubtful). It's a pretty simple game, you get a small scene built in Lego and you just need to move a few pieces around to get the Lego son back to Lego dad. A few of them have been quite samey, just moving a couple of platforms around. I'm hoping it opens up a bit more.

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Feedback
overdrive overdrive - January 03, 2023 (10:40 AM)
Ys VIII is one of the many games I've downloaded via PlayStation Plus that I want to play. Seems everyone I've known from here who has played it has really liked it. Funnily enough, I just finished the Famicom's Ys II. That was...something. One of those, "I get what they were trying to do, but..." games.

I tried the Super Famicom's original version of Tactics Ogre a few years ago and that one just didn't click with me. I tend to like retro turn-based strategy stuff like Shining Force and Fire Emblem and whatnot, but that one just felt clunky, with how you seemed to be expected to regularly do practice fights to train up your characters slowly, so they wouldn't be out-leveled by foes in actual fights.

Tales of Arise is something I'm interested in, but want to play Berseria first. After finding the one before that to be kind of mediocre, I don't want to make too much of an investment in the Tales of... stuff unless Berseria reassures me that the series didn't peak with Vesperia and is slowly falling off from that.
jerec jerec - January 03, 2023 (12:13 PM)
Oh yeah, Tactics Ogre expects you to level up but also caps your levels between story segments so you can't level up much. The weird thing is that you end up leveling up during training, but then you don't benefit from the experience in a story battle since you're at max level... and then the cap is raised after that (sometimes).

Arise does feel like a departure, the series trying something a bit different. I've had a quick go at most of the Tales games between Vesperia and Arise, and yeah, mediocre is a good descriptor. Just read the other day that Arise wasn't initially intended to be a Tales of, but did go that way during development. It feels a lot more mature than any of the previous games I've played.
honestgamer honestgamer - January 07, 2023 (09:14 PM)
I like Pokemon Scarlet just fine. I've put quite a lot of time into it at this point, but I'm in no rush to finish it because I have other things I'm playing it for reasons other than a review. I haven't encountered the swarm of glitches everyone talks about, even after somewhere between 20 and 30 hours of play. I see some stuttering/weird animations when several people are walking in the town environments, and a few of the environmental textures can be a bit bland, but the game is fun. I've only been playing it for the last couple of weeks or so. Maybe they had just patched out most of the rough spots by then?
jerec jerec - January 08, 2023 (09:55 PM)
Admittedly I haven't had any of the really bad bugs - about the only one was my Pokemount vanishing which was a bit funny, but the slowdown is terrible for a game that doesn't even look that good. It's rough comparing it to Xenoblade 3 which came out in the same year, looks amazing, and runs well.

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