Underneath my yellow skin

The Video Game Equivalent of Comfort Food

lorian's greatsword to the face!
You, sir, ain’t no Sif!!

When I’m sick, I mostly want to hunker down on my couch with my cat, Shadow (who is snoozing on my legs right now), sipping my honey ginger lemon tea, moaning inside my head about how terrible I feel. If I’m going to game, it’s going to be on my laptop as I don’t want to go to my desktop or sit up to play Bloodborne on my PS4. By the way, I think Bloodborne is a brilliant game, but there is a section at the end (plus the DLC) that I absolutely hate. LOATHE. It’s quite possibly my most-hated area of a Souls-like game ever, and that’s including Blighttown (which I actually didn’t hate that much), the original Izalith, and the invisible reindeer area of the snow DLC for DS II. It makes the last part of the game such a downer for me, but I really should just plow through it with my tank.

Anyway, I haven’t played Nioh for about a week. I still think it’s a great game, but it juuuuuust misses the mark for me. Whatever the *it* factor that Souls games have for me is missing from Nioh, and I can’t tell you why. The combat is fantastic, even though I don’t switch between stances during a fight. The weapons are great–I’m maining an axe with the odachi as a strong second. The stagger with the odachi is real, yo. The magic is interesting, but too diffuse. I’m mostly using regen jutsu, and while it’s helpful, it’s not flashy at all. The biggest problems with Nioh are one, the environments. Not only are most of them drab and dreary, they’re ugly. They look last gen, and it’s really disappointing. Plus, they’re repetitive within the environments, and I get lost very easily. There’s a mini-map, but it’s not helpful at all. In fact, I get less lost in Souls games, even though they’re more labyrinth-like and don’t have maps. At all. Related, the enemies are not varied at all. Granted, I’m only half-way through the game, but there the hollows on the one hand and demons on the other. The bosses have been half and half (though some are both), and I’m suffering a little sameness fatigue.

The other biggest problem is two-fold. One, you start with a set number of elixirs at the start of each mission, and you can pick up elixirs as you go, but you are capped off at eight. That’s not nearly enough, which is one reason I use regen health jutsu. I really think the Estus Flask system is nigh-on perfect. I liked the way it was done in the original Dark Souls the best. You started with five Estus at most bonfires, but you can kindle to ten (which is what Firelink Shrine starts as) with a humanity, and later on, you can kindle up to twenty. I hate farming for Elixirs, just as I hated farming for Blood Vials in Bloodborne, and it’s made worse by the other part I don’t like–the mission system. In BB, if I needed to farm Blood Vials, I’d run to the first area and kill all the scrubs until I had enough Blood Vials. Or, later in the game, I’d buy them and be done with it. In Nioh, you can’t buy Elixirs (as far as I know), and yes, you can make offerings and maybe get Elixirs in return, but it’s not enough. You can store infinite amounts, but I never manage to have more than fifty or so in storage. That sounds like a lot until you come up against a hard boss. Then, you can deplete your storage in a hurry, or rather I can, and I can’t just run to the first area and farm them up. Why? Because once you start a mission, you have to finish it or you have to do the whole thing all over again. I really hate that I can’t jump from mission to mission without negating the entire experience.

brimstone is still op!
Delirium doesn’t stand a chance.

Anyway, I reinstalled The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ (which has had a patch with new items since I uninstalled it!), and I’ve been playing that quite a bit. I’ve reached a point with it where it’s a relaxing experience as long as I’m not playing a few of the characters. I only have MegaSatan and The Void on my Post-It Note for The Keeper, and it’s a pain in my fucking ass trying to get them. Why? Because The Keeper is the worst character in the game, and, yes, I’m including The Lost. Having the Holy Mantle with The Lost made the Post-It Note goals doable, but The Keeper has too many negatives to ever be a joy to play–at least for a scrub like me. The Keeper is too slow as are their tears, and not being able to ever have more than two hearts (coins in The Keeper’s case) is bullshit. With The Lost, you can get all the devil room deals for free. With The Keeper, you rarely can take a devil room deal. I’ll keep trying until I fill out The Keeper’s Post-It Note, but I’m not feeling any urgency about it.

I mostly play with Isaac, Eden, and Azazel. I have Platinum God just so all the BOI players know where I stand with starting items. I think I might have been grandfathered into Real Platinum God* as well, but I honestly don’t remember. Isaac is fun because he starts with D6 which can reroll items. Eden is fun because they start with random stats and a random item. Azazel is fun because he’s easy mode with his flying and his baby brimstone. I also unlocked the ability to do a rerun, and it’s fun to be OP sometimes. I still prefer BOI: R to BOI: A, and I mostly ignore the new characters. I feel like Afterbirth was for the rabid fans, the elite players, and those of us who aren’t able to fill The Lost’s Post-It Note without the Holy Mantle can go DIAF.

I recently started a new playthrough for DS III–just your standard pyromancy build because I fucking love fire. Last night, I finished the Ashes of Ariandel DLC with my tank on NG+++, and it’s a blast to be able to bash my way through anything. The picture above is from NG++ I believe, but I pretty much did the same thing on NG+++ because there simply are no summons for this fight. It’s one of the least interesting fights, but I’m still proud that I can solo it with my tank on NG++ and NG+++. Last night, I did the rest of the DLC after that fight, and I zipped through it because I didn’t care about exploring every nook and cranny. I made it to Sister Friede in no time, and again, there were no summons. I summoned Slave Knight Gael for the second and third part of the fight, but I had to solo the first part. I was wearing the Outrider Knight set because it’s the best against frost, and I switched to the Sunlight Straight Sword so I could get in several quick hits at a time instead of two big, slow hits with Lorian’s Greatsword. Sister Friede is fast, and I had to be fast in return. It took five tries, but Gael and I got it down. I was proud that I did it solo (mostly) on NG+++, and it was actually pretty easy when I finally got it done. It helps to have a health bar that takes up more than half the screen and stamina for days. Not to mention ALL THE POISE and 60 strength.

I’ve also been playing casual games, which is a nice change of pace when my brain is totally fried. Hidden Objects, Solitaire, Match-3s. It’s me getting back to my roots, yo! I still have a tender lymph node, and I’m coughing more than I was a few days ago. I’m hoping to feel better soon, but until I do, it’s just me, Shadow, and my laptop games.


*I’m Real Platinum God. I checked.

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