Underneath my yellow skin

Malaise gaming is default gaming

Really struggling with depression and anger at the moment for several reasons. Was going to write a post about the sexual harassment and toxic culture of Ubisoft but was not up to it. Instead, let’s talk about comfort gaming. Right now, I’m on a Souls break, and I think it has to do with the lingering exhaustion I feel from the DS III platinum. That really sucked out the enjoyment I had with the game, and I will be honest. Trying to do a character on the PS4 to help Krupa didn’t help. Don’t want to get into that either.

Side note: There’s a dude in the RKG group who is insistent that grinding for the covenant items is doing it the ‘wrong’ way. And he says it every time someone mentions it. Now. Is PvP’ing for the items the official way to do it? Yes. I am not disputing that. The covenants are all co-op based, so the fact that getting the items through the covenants means it’s supposed to be done by co-op. However. It does not mean that getting them by grinding enemies is the ‘wrong’ way. It’s in the fucking game. Every one of the items you need via covenant can be done by grinding, so that definitely means it’s not the ‘wrong’ way. Is it the less preferred way? Yes.

However, this guy is so insistent on co-oping being the correct way to do it. In addition, every time I say that I jump off a cliff rather than fight an invader, he feels compelled to say that I should learn to PvP because it’s fun. no matter how many times I tell him it’s not fun for me or that I suck at it. He said that when I first started playing, I was bad at PvE but now was good at it through practice. I said I was still mediocre at it, but there were ways around that. I didn’t say it, but I was thinking that I wanted to get better at PvE whereas PvP leaves me cold. Also, it’s ableist to assume that everyone can do PvP. I have shitty reaction times for more than one reason, and that isn’t something that gets better with practice.

It’s frustrating because I can see his point of view, but he can’t or won’t see mine. It’s a very white young male point of view, and it’s frustrating to keep banging my head against it. He’s by far the only one, but he’s the most persistent one. In addition, he’s put in nearly two thousand hours into DS III so he eclipses even me in my play of the game.

I’m finding myself less and less enamored of the RKG group in general. There was a racist ‘joke’ meme posted to the group last night by someone I like in general. Oh, same as the guy above. I like him in general. I’m just too old and tired and Asian and female for this shit. It’s not that I feel as if I don’t believe but that I am in the group on sufferance. It’s like that with any group, really, though. As lang as you fit into the parameters of what the group defines for itself, you’re accepted. Most of the parameters of this group are good, but the ones that aren’t, really aren’t.

This is my issue with groups in general, though. They harden into a rigidity that I find boring. I used to go to different political forums, and whenever I reached the point of knowing who was going to say what in response to each issue (including myself), I would leave. There is rarely room for growth in groups, and I don’t have it in me to fight for that change. Take RKG. If most people are satisfied with how it’s run, then who am I to demand it change? Yes, it’s laddy, but that’s what the group wants. That’s the brand in a way, so who am I to point out that it’s not the most welcoming sometimes? Or that talking about alcohol for a whole stream is boring as fuck?

Anyway. Back to comfort gaming. I’ve talked about a game called DemonCrawl that is a combo of Minesweeper and a rogue-like-lite/dungeon trawler. It isn’t very good, but it’s easy to play (both in concept and in terms of physically playing it). I can play it windowed so I can watch a video at the same time. I’m on the last part of the hard difficulty plus the beyond…and, no, I’m not going to explain either. The RNG is ridiculously bad in this. One thing I like about Binding of Isaac is that each run is winnable, albeit some more easily than others. It really does feel as if it’s up to my skill, and the same can not be said for DemonCrawl. There are many items that are a run killer if I get them. More to the point, I feel as if I need very specific items in order to have a prayer of winning. Furthermore, I don’t know how I won the last two difficulties. I had something that gave me extra souls (max life) in the final grid  so I ended up with something like 27 or 28 by the time the round was  over. Given that I lost a life every time a black heart was consumed by the boss, well, I needed the boost.

I play it because it involves the least amount of energy needed to actually play a game, and I’m not ashamed to say it. Maybe I’ll reinstall BOI. No! Must resist.

I did download several demos, and I recently tried two. One was Dreamscaper: Prologue by Afterburner Studio. It calls itself an action-roguelike/ARPG, which it is, but it has a healthy dose of Dark Souls in there. Yes, I said it. I did have to change the roll/evade button (A) and the interact button (B) around, though, because of course I did. It’s an interesting game where you fall asleep and then go into a dungeon and fight enemies. It has gorgeous graphics, but it can be a bit hard to see the action given the camera angles (top down). Also, health is very sparse, which is unfortunate for me. In addition, parrying is a big mechanic, and we all know how I feel about that.

The combat is Souls-lite, meaning you can’t just spam the attack buttons. You start with a different weapon each time (random, I presume), and there are different properties for each. It’s pretty satisfying gameplay until I hit the boss. The first time, it just killed me. Flat-out killed me. Second time, I did better, and I’m learning some each time. However, it has a massive amount of health, and I usually don’t go in fully healed. There are supposedly items that help with health regen, but I didn’t notice them having any effect when I picked them up. Did I have to equip them somehow? Dunno, but I also couldn’t find any inventory. The boss has like ten completely different attacks, and the window for attacking it is small. It’s tedious at best, and while I could learn it, I don’t have the energy to do so at the moment.

One thing about Souls game for me is that the desire to overcome is higher than the desire to quit. Most of the time. It’s a razor-thin line, however, and there are several moments when I teeter while trying to balance on that rope. Most soulslike fall on the other side of the line because they’re aping what they think is FromSoft energy without really understanding the reasons behind it. I feel like Afterburner Studio is falling into that trap a bit, and if I were in a healthier state of mind, I might be able to deal with it. As it is right now, I just can’t. Mortal Shell is the only game that I’ve been able to push myself to play recently when the going got rough, and I cannot tell you why. That’s one of the frustration about my love for FromSoft games. It’s hard to quantify it or to explain the intangibles.

There’s an overworld as well where you talk to people and get their skills. I think. Nothing is explained, but that’s what I inferred. I will probably pick up the game at some point, but it’s not a must-buy for me.

The second demo I’ve tried recently is one that will probably surprise you if you know about intensely negative feelings for a certain French video game director who wanted so badly to be a film director. It’s Detroit: Become Human, and, yes, it’s a David Cage joint. Yes, I hate him and everything he stands for. Yes, I think he’s one of the most overrated auteurs in the gaming world. Yes, I think his games are horrifyingly misogynistic and racist to boot. Yes, he’s been accused of being a terrible employer. All of this is true. I have ranted about his games before, and I stand by all those rants. However, when this game game came out, I watched a playthrough, and I was intrigued. First of all, it looks gorgeous. Second, it wasn’t as overtly misogynistic as his other games. Or as racist. Third, his tackling of the issues wasn’t as egregiously over the top as it has been in the past.

It was by far the best David Cage game to date, and I was intrigued. I mean, for as much as I hated the guy, I probably should at least give one of his games a shot to be fair. It was a moot point for a while because they weren’t on PC, but then they came. And I watched. And I saw that there was a demo for Becoming Detroit Human (the name is ridiculous and I refuse to take it seriously). I booted it up and had to sit through a loooooooooooooong ‘checking to make sure you’re good enough to play this game’ sequence, and then we were off to the races. The demo is the first chapter of the game, which I’d seen more than once. I chose casual rather than experienced (less chance to lose a character) though I probably would play on experienced if I played the whole game. It’s the hostage situation with Connor, who is my favorite of the robots, by the way, which is a high-octane situation. An android has shot his employer and taken the daughter hostage, and it’s up to you to talk the android down. Or not.

First things first, of course. I have to scan the room for clues and be talked down to by humans because David Cage can’t NOT make the subtext text. There’s an interesting thing about the game that the people I watched play this part didn’t pick up on. As you’re exploring the area, there are gunshots from outside where the android has the child hostage. It’s suppose to spur you to go outside, of course, and it worked on the people I watched play this chapter. They immediately rushed outside to deal with the android whereas I decided to ignore all that and explore the surroundings as thoroughly as possible.

Let’s talk gameplay. First of all, the controls are shit. That’s expected from a David Cage game, and I put up with it as best as possible. Also, not being able to sprint is as frustrating as fuck. The camera is balls, and I feel as if I’m actively fighting it at times. One cool thing–the reenactment mode. You let it run and you pick up clues while watching (having to pan the dreaded camera), and then you can incorporate the clues into the reenactment. I really dug that even though it wasn’t anything difficult. Also, the game is simply gorgeous and the faces are so close to real life. No uncanny valley though, which is great.

Ignoring the pressure to go outside meant I could look at every clue in the house and when I finally stepped outside, I had a 90% chance of succeeded. I started with something like 50% before all the clue finding. I went outside and chose the options I thought David Cage wanted me to pick and by the end of the scene, I had a 100% chance of success. Not much drama there!

The demo was short and I probably will do it again to pick different options. I was pleasantly surprised that overall it was a good experience. My verdict? It’s a $15 game for me. Oh, and the map of all my decisions in comparison to what other people did is cool. Color me surprised that I actually liked a David Cage game on the whole.

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