I’m still searching for the one true game, but I haven’t found it. Instead, I’ve found a flock of games that I’m playing in rotation right now, which is not like me at all. Normally, I play one game at a time (and BOI:R as the relaxer every day), and then call it a day. In the past, when I wasn’t obsessed by a new game, I’d be playing a Dark Souls game as my main. Now, however, I’m in a unique situation that has me somewhat flummoxed.
I’m playing…one, two, three, four games at the moment (and, yes, one of them is a Dark Souls game) in addition to BOI:R. Five games! That’s unfathomable. I also tried the demo for a game called Death and Taxes by Placeholder Gameworks because it was touted as a game similar to Papers, Please, by Lucas Pope, which was an incredible game. I’m still sad I can’t play his follow-up, Return of the Obra Dinn because of motion sickness. I had seen NL play Death and Taxes, and I thought it looked interesting enough to give it a try.
I wanted to love it as much as I loved Papers, Please, and it had a lot going for it. The artwork is great. It has a jaunty tone to it that I really grooved on. There’s a cute cat in it! And the comic book style presentation slaps. But, the gameplay itself, is…lacking. You’re the Grim Reaper, called up by Fate, and you have to decide who lives and who dies from your desk in…wherever you are. Fate gives you the dossiers of a group of people, and then tells you how many have to die. There are conditions to be met, such as, “Save all the scientists”, which is how the game pushes you to make hard choices.
The problem is that the jaunty tone, while appreciated, does not fit the purpose of the game–if the purpose is to wring pathos at making hard choices. That was the purpose of Papers, Please, and that game did it brilliantly. This demo is only the first seven days, so maybe that’s not the purpose of this game. At any rate, I didn’t find it very difficult to meet the requirements, and I didn’t care at all about the humans save one. Who I had to kill.
The other issue is that they don’t use gender or ethnicity for the people, but they still physically ascribe gender and race characteristics. I can see why they did it that way, but it rubs me the wrong way. It’s a small gripe in the grand scheme of things, but I could see it getting more annoying over time.
I feel bad for saying I didn’t gel with the game, but that’s the truth. It’s not a bad game by far, but it just didn’t hold my interest. I still have it on my wishlist, and maybe I’ll grab it when it’s a few bucks. For now, though, I have plenty on my plate.
Let’s start with the old games. Dark Souls II, which, apparently, is having an event right now, is one of the games. SotFS, of course, and I’ve already got one of the big souls. The Lost Sinner. I love getting her down because then I can get her armor, and there are two pieces I like wearing. The Penal Mask because it boosts equip load and the Penal Handcuffs because they boost pyromancies. I also have Straid’s armor, the Black Set, which is one of my favorite armor sets in the game. I haven’t run into many people because I’m not human most of the time because fuck Curse in this game. It’s brutal, and it’s so prevalent in the Shaded Woods.
I’m doing my usual strengthcaster run, and I’m working towards being able to use the Ultragreatsword which I can currently use two-handed. I prefer to use it one-handed because I’m wedded to my shield, which is funny because in another game I’ve been playing, kind of an old one but also a new one, I hate the shields.
That game is Dead Cells. I’ve spilled much ‘ink’ about my feelings for the game, including my sadness that I would never be able to beat the ‘final’ boss (there’s a ton of end game content beyond the ‘final’ boss). I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter. Ahem. Anyway, I put away the game with much regret, returning to it once or twice when here was an update. Then I completely gave up because it just wasn’t fun to play for an hour and not have anything to show for it. Literally because cells were useless to me at the time as I had unlocked everything.
Fast-forward to now. Twinmotion, the devs, released the DLC, The Bad Seed, and I watched BaerTaffy play a bit. I shut it down pretty quick and bought the DLC. Jumping in, I realized I had quit mid-run, and I decided to finish that run first. Once I did that, I’d dive into the new content, I told myself. I was at Silt Village (which was named something else when I last played the game, Fog Fjord), which meant I had about another forty minutes before I inevitably died in the palace or to The Hand of the King.
The Silt Village was much harder than I remembered because of some of the tweaks. The maggot-spewing guys did it much more continuously, which was annoying. I had my freeze abilities, though, which made in much easier. I made it to the Clock Tower, and here is where the game got really strange. Everything from this point on was so much easier than it was the last time I played it. I melted The Time Keeper (the boss) in less than ten seconds, and she never made it to her second phase. I’ve never had much of a problem with her, but this was ridiculous. She never came close to me, and I’m pretty sure it was because of my traps.
I made my way to The Palace, which, again, was much easier than the last time I played. I made it to The Hand of the King and resigned myself to getting my ass kicked. To my utter surprise, I beat him. Handily. No pun intended. I got to the end of the game, saw the credits roll, and tried to pick my jaw up from the floor. I come back after months of not playing and demolish The Hand of the King in less than a minute? I have three theories, and none of them include me getting better at the game.
One. They nerfed the bosses. Two. They buffed the skills. Three. A combination of both. I think it’s the third, and I’m mixed about it. Back when I was playing on the regular, I actually said that I would be happy if they nerfed the bosses so I could see more content. Well, they’ve done that, and while I’m glad I have the ability to see new content, I don’t have any sense of accomplishment for seeing the credits. I had two top tier skills (traps) by the end of the game, and they did all my work for me. They kept The Hand from even getting near me, and they absolutely chewed through The Time Keeper. Like I said, she didn’t even make it to her second form–if she still has it.
I killed the king and then started the game over. I went through the alternate path (from the DLC), and I have to say that while the new content is good, I’m not having the same pull to play the game that I once did. I was hoping it would replace BOI:R as my backup game, but I don’t think it will. I’m glad I went back to it, but I don’t think I’ll play more of it.
I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!, especially when there is new content. I will say, though, grinding for the last of the upgrades is a bit tedious. The way I do it is to go to a later area on a day that I can pick items from the entire menu (and I have bought it all) in which I have eight stops. I load it with mostly 5-point dishes, and one perfect day can net me three quarters of a level.
I can’t wait for the trinkets, even though I’m not sure what it really means. I’ve given up the ghost that I can 100% the game (there are a few achievements that just stress me out way too much) I only need one more upgrade (six points) to tie up that loose end as well. I do have a few niggling concerns such as now that I’m almost completely upgraded, the food truck attacks don’t matter at all. I mean that literally. They just don’t happen. I appreciate it while I’m actually playing, but I have to admit that the food truck attacks did add an interesting twist to the game that meant something was missing when they disappeared.
I’m satisfied with my experience with this game. More than satisfied. I can’t wait to see what else is added, and I’ll play it for as long as chubigans comes out with new content and probably well beyond that.
The last game I’m enjoying right now is…Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Surprise! It’s not my kind of game at all, and the only AssCreed I’ve played*, AssCreed 3, I fucking hated. HATED. So much hate. And I didn’t even get to play as Connor. I threw down my controller and vowed never ever to touch an Ass…Creed again.
Anyway, Ian pointed out that AssCreed Syndicate was free on Epic, and I decided, what the hell. Can’t beat free, and I have all the memory to play all the games. So, I installed it and jumped on in. I knew it was the steampunk London one with the twins, the annoying boy twin and the cool girl twin, and that you meet up with a bunch of famous people. That’s all I knew when I jumped in. I had to play as Jacob Frye, which was intensely irritating.
I fucking hate him so much. I know he’s supposed to be the lovable dopey jerk, but to me, there is nothing lovable about him. At all. He’s an asshole who says the wrong thing at the wrong time, and it made me rage every time it happened. He reminds me of all those mediocre white dudes who think they’re exceptional just because they exist. I jokingly asked Ian if I could kill him, but I wasn’t joking.
Side Note: I want to cosplay as Evie, twenty years later, after she’s retired and is dissolute from all she’s done and seen. Right after Jacob dies in mysterious circumstances which she may or may not have a hand in creating. Then I learned that there is the Jack the Ripper DLC which happens twenty years after the events of the main game. Evie looks older, but not at all dissolute.
The way the game is laid out, you can play as either twin when roaming the open world and doing the side quests. During the main game quests, however, you have to be one or the other. Since the intro in which I had to play Jacob, I haven’t spent one second in his body. Or rather, I have been Jacob in order to begrudgingly upgrade his shit and level him up, but I have not played as him at all. I’ll have to soon because the upcoming story mission is his, but I’m putting it off for as long as possible.
The game still looks good, but it’s funny to remember how gobsmacking it was at the time. It hasn’t aged well, and Jacob looks like shit. Evie still looks good, though. Maybe it’s just me being biased, but fuck Jacob.
I didn’t know what to expect from the game, but it’s pretty fluid. I’m not keen on RT being run, but I’ve gotten used to it. The constant climbing isn’t great, but I met Alexander Graham Bell and got a grappling hook, so it’ll make traversal much easier.
The problem is that my OCD kicks into overtime when it comes to games like this. All the collectibles, and my brain is like, “Must. Get. Them. All.” There’s a cool cape/outfit I want that you can only get by finding 30 pressed flowers, for example. I’ve already spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to find the collectibles around me.
As of right now, Evie is in charge of Whitechapel, and I’m working on…Lambeth! I really like it when I can satisfied the optional conditions of the kill, but I’m trying not to sweat it if I fail. I know that if I start worrying about it, I’m going to get obsessed about it, and it won’t be fun any longer. And it is. Fun, I mean. A surprising amount of fun. I’m enjoying finding ways to assassinate without being detected and, baring that, beating the shit out of them. I keep thinking I should probably play as Jacob at some point in order to hone my Jacob skills, but then I remember how much I hate him and continue playing as Evie.
Evie is my stealth gal with the cane as her main. Jacob is my knuckle-headed brawler, and I have him kitted with a kukri at the moment. Might go back to brass knucks. It doesn’t really matter because I don’t play as him, but whatever. I have leveled up his combat skills while focusing on stealth with Evie. She is the best. Have I mentioned that I love Evie? I like to reward her with an upgrade or a new weapon after every quest just to keep her happy.
I also want to hook her up with Henry Green and Alexander Graham Bell as well as anyone else who catches my fancy (have not met any women yet), but it hasn’t been possible thus far.
I’m surprised with how much I’m enjoying ACS despite the flaws, especially now that I’ve gotten used to the controls. Mostly. There is so much to do, it’s almost overwhelming. I’m going to keep playing it as long as I’m enjoying it. Which will probably be until I’m forced to play as Jacob for all the main story missions.
*I tried AssCreed Chronicles, but could not get it to work with Dvorak.