Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Video Games

Platinums are pointless

I’m a PC gamer, which means that technically, I cannot get platinums. Why? Because that is a PlayStation thing. I do have a PlayStation 4, but most of my not-plats as I call them (because I was never going for the plat in the first place. Well, ok, I was. It was how I tricked myself into not freaking out about it). Before the pandemic, I never even thought about them because that was not my thing. At all. Then I watched Krupa do the plat for the original Dark Souls game and decided to check to see how close I was to the plat myself.

I told myself I had no intention of actually getting the plat, which was why I called it the not-plat. But. I was really close. I played the game enough to get all the boss trophies, the two endings trophies, and the covenant trophies as well. I had the bits and bobs trophies as well as the Strongest Weapon trophy. What I needed was the______ trophies, such as sorceries, pyromancies, and miracles. I also needed to max out a weapon of each kind. The kind meaning different material such as crystal, fire, etc., not kind as in rapier, greatsword, etc. And, the biggest pain in the ass for that not-plat was Knight’s Honor, which meant accruing all the rare weapons on one character. This means that I had to go into NG++ because Sif (sob) had three weapons you could make with her soul. By the end, I had a Word doc on the run with what I needed for the hundo cheevo.

I am saying that with my tongue in cheek because when I mentioned getting plats on the PC, where were more than a few people in the RKG Discord who were saying you cannot call it a plat if it’s not on the PS. Which, I mean, yes, they are correct, but they are the same damn achievements no matter which platform you play it on. I think it’s precious to say it’s not a plat on the PC, but whatever.

It was a slog to get the Knight’s Honor because you needed all the boss souls, tail cuts, and other unique weapons. Some of which the drop rate for is abysmal. For example, the Channeler’s Trident. There is something like a .5% drop rate, and people have reported grinding it for multiple hours without success. I was fairly lucky to get it on my fiftieth try or so. By the time I went for the tail cuts on Priscilla and Seath, for example, I was in NG+ and nervous about it. I had never gone for their tails before so I Googled it because I did not want to mess it up. I didn’t mess either up, much to my surprise. That was probably the easiest part of the plat.


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What Elden Ring means to me

I love FromSoft games, but they don’t love me. Ian and I have a long-standing discussion about whether the games are meant for people like me or not. He thinks they are whereas I think they are not. He believes the struggle is the purpose and people who can beat bosses in one go are not going to get the full experience.

I see his point. There is nothing quite like struggling for hours against a boss and then finally beating that boss. I have never felt as exhilarated as I did when I beat Isshin, the Sword Saint of Sekiro. Normally, I swear and curse loudly as I beat a boss. With him, I set down the controller and had a little cry. I felt a sense of awe that I had done it, and I knew I would never feel it again.

Sadly, I knew i would never beat him again, either. Sekiro is so fucking hard. People keep saying once you click with the combat, it’s the easiest of the games. I never clicked with it because I was physically unable to deflect at the proper time. My reflexes are shit. I tried and tried and tried to get it right. I could not. My niece’s husband said, “I didn’t realize you could play the game without learning to deflect.” My response, “Oh, you can, but it’s not fun at all.”

I don’t think normies understand that I physically cannot do the deflect. Or rather, I can do it roughly 50% of the time and not on purpose. That meant I had to chip away at the health of every enemy instead of doing the deflects. I’m justifiably proud of myself for never parrying in any of the From games, but I would have if I could for that one.

It’s frustrating that people dismiss my experience with the game because they think it’s just a matter of ‘git gud’. “It’s a rhythm game!” Yeah, well, I suck at those, too. I love the game, Night in the Woods. It’s probably my favorite indie game of all time.  But I will never get the plat, and it’s in part because there is a rhythm game in it that you have to perfect, which I’ll never do.

Elden Ring was my anticipated game of 2022. I was hyped back when it was first announced–I think it was in 2019. Then, the pandemic happened. All hell broke loose. There was no more mention of Elden Ring. on Reddit, there was a really sweet thing where people made up their own areas of Elden Ring and made up enemies, weapons, etc. It was sustenance during a time when I doubted that Elden Ring would actually be released.


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Having fun in Elden Ring

I hadn’t played Elden Ring (FromSoft) in some time for reasons. Just wasn’t feeling it, mostly. I watched a few videos on the best and most rare armors in the game and decided to give it a go. That means farming, which is not fun. One of them was fairly easy to get, but another, I had trouble getting the head piece. It’s an armor that has both an altered and unaltered helm and chest piece. Different sources gave conflicting info as to how to get the pieces. These enemies (Banished Knights) are in a few areas, and there’s one at the entrance to–oh, spoilers for the whole game, I guess–the Cathedral of Dragon Communion in Caelid. They are a bastard hard enemy, and I normally just avoid them. I wanted their armor, though, so this time, I backstabbed them and then slashed them once, and they were dead. I did that over and over again and got most pieces to armor set. The chest armor (unaltered) is supposedly one you can only get from the Banished Knight in Sol Castle, which is really late in the game and twice as hard as the regular version of the enemy because it can disappear and teleport.

The way to do him is to get above and spell him rapidly so he can’t teleport. I didn’t manage to do it the first few times, and he killed me handily. I was told in a video this would take hours, but to persevere. I was thinking I might have to give up because there was no fucking way I was going to farm this asshole for hours. I got the chest piece the first time I killed him, though, so that was a boon. I went back to farming the other guy for the rest of the armor, and I look fly now with the altered helm and the unaltered chest piece.

It took me an hour or so to get the whole set, and I can see how people would get into farming for hours. It’s soothing in a way, and farming one guy over and over again isn’t a big deal. There was another armor set that you could get by having the enemy break a tent in a late-game area, and I found out something neat about the area as well. It’s a platforming section that for some reason didn’t faze me. Talking about it in the RKG Discord, many people took hours to get down it. I got it in ten minutes or so, which is nothing for me!


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Elden Ring, GOAT? No, but definitely GOTY

I’ve been watching videos of Elden Ring (FromSoft, natch) because why the hell not? I’m currently rewatching Eurogamer’s co-op during the Closed Network Test. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve played the game, and I’ve been thinking about why it’s not calling me back the way Dark Souls III does (which is still my favorite game of all time by a hair).

Before the game came out, I was concerned about a few things. One, the caves and catacombs, which seemed like the Chalice Dungeons of Bloodborne. Which, by the way, were my least-favorite part of that game. I tried them out fairly late in the game, which meant that I didn’t have much trouble with the first few of them. They don’t scale with your level; they are as hard as they are ever going to be. So, the first depth of dungeons are fairly easy. The second depth are that much harder, etc. Each Chalice Dungeon had three or four levels and a boss at the end of the level. There were set Chalice Dungeons and you could also randomly create them. The set ones were the same every time you went into it.

By the third or fourth dungeon, I was bored out of my skull. They all look the same and I got hopelessly lost more often than not. Plus, I felt there were way too many mobs, too many traps, and they just weren’t any fun. I gave up and never went back.

Until the plat. There is a unique boss at the end of one whole set of dungeons. You have to defeat this boss as part of the plat. I had just watched RKG do the Chalice Dungeons and followed Krupa’s Ted Talk guide. Then, as I was quite far into it, I realized that I didn’t need to do all the Chalice Dungeons–just the one chunk of them that had the unique boss I needed to beat. So I abandoned the other Chalice Dungeons because I just couldn’t be stuffed to do them. I still haven’t. I hate them. I honestly do.

Back to Elden Ring. I was concerned that the caves and catacombs would be like the Chalice Dungeons (CDs). They were for the most part, but not as annoying because they were spread out across the lands and because they weren’t as long or as elaborate as the CDs.

I did get bored of them after a time, though. I appreciated that they had different tricks to some of them, but they were pretty samesy for the most part. Tons of incredibly hard imps that did massive damage, including bleed damage. I hated these imps so much. They were way OP for being a simple enemy. Then, there were mobs of low-level enemies that chased you around. There are a few bigger enemies that you have to chonkbonk or avoid. There is some kind of status effect like poison or scarlet rot.


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Bits and bobs about Elden Ring

I’ve been watching people fighting

::spoilers for the whole game::

 

Malenia, Blade of Miquella, who later becomes Malenia, Goddess of Rot. She is well-known as the hardest boss of the game, if not the entire series. In fact, I would say the whole series. Well, I wouldn’t because she’s not in my top ten, but she is considered to be the toughest boss in all FromSoft games.

It’s one of my favorite things about the games–that different bosses are difficult for different people. Unless you are my young Canadian friend from the RKG Discord who doesn’t find any boss difficult. He had the most trouble with the Guardian Ape of Sekiro–taking 8 times to beat him.

8 times. That’s me not even warming up for that fight. I can’t tell you how many times I died to that boss. I honestly wonder what the Canadian guy gets out of the games when he cruises through them with such ease. When I was doing the plat in Bloodborne, he decided to go back and play the DLC again because he had lost to Ludwig when it first came out–and he was twelve. I championed using the Hunter Axe because that’s what I use. It’s a starting weapon, but it’s my favorite weapon of the game. He loved it and used it to beat Ludwig in one go, and the same for the rest of the bosses in the DLC in honor of my plat. And then to plat the game for himself using save-scumming. I was so damn proud of him, flattered, but also jealous. He was doing me better than I could do me!

He reminded me of a YouTuber whom I watched playing the DLC of Bloodborne. They were really good at the game and beat the bosses in one or two tries. When they took three on, I want to say Lady Maria, they apologized. I stopped watching because they were just too good.

I felt similarly watching my young Canadian friend fight the bosses in Bloodborne (he uploaded the clips). It was incredible, and there were many tense moments. They are a good watch. But, yeah, a tinge of jealousy for how fucking good he is.

I’m watching videos of people playing Malenia, and I can’t get enough. She was so notorious that everyone who runs into her knows who she is immediately. It’s hilarious to see people go from scared to angry to upset to tearful to joyous relief when (if) they finally beat her. She, more than anyone, is the boss who teaches you the stages of fighting a FromSoft boss.


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Hidden disabilities are, well, hidden

I’m on the last bit of Stray (BlueTwelve Studio), and I have mostly enjoyed my time being a cat. They have captured accurately the feeling of being a cat, I think, and I love that you can just take the time to sharpen your claws, lap water from a puddle, or curl up in a ball and snooze. You can also have a few specific NPCs pet you, which is really sweet.

I almost quit the game, though. I’ll tell you why. I mentioned in the last post about my difficulty collecting the things I needed to make progress. I finally realized I had been in both places before, but I just hadn’t looked around thoroughly enough. In one case, the item was under a mess of papers on the floor, which means I didn’t push them around enough to find it. In the second case, it was that I missed the safe that was nestled on the bookshelves. I had the keys, but I had forgotten about it when I didn’t find the safe during my first walkaround.

I could say this is my fault for not looking closely enough, but it’s not completely my fault. I have spatial issues and the camera controls aren’t terrific. Or rather, it’s easy to miss cues if you swing the camera around too quickly. In addition, it’s not always clear why you can jump on one ledge and not another. It’s frustrating and I wasted hours trying to find these two items.

It’s somewhat on me because I could have just looked it up, but I didn’t want to. My brain was like, “YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND THIS YOURSELF, YOU DOLT!” When a game is cozy, I feel extra pressure to figure it out myself. That’s just from me, though. It’s not as if anyone is saying, “Do this yourself, numbnuts.” That is what my brain is telling me, though. “Why are you finding this so hard? Anyone can do this!” I know that’s what people with disabilities are made to feel, and I have to say, it’s corrosive.

I know it’s me a lot of the time. Rather, I know it’s my issue and not the game. Just like my shitty reflexes (we’ll get to that in a second) is me. I try to keep my mouth shut about it, but it makes my enjoyment of a game really take a nosedive if I can’t find a way around it.


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Small bites: Stray and Tinykin

I am currently playing two indie games and enjoying them both. However, both also have major sticking points that I’m not sure I can get past. Let’s start with Stray (BlueTwelve Studios), which is the indie darling of the year. Some people even joke that it’s GOTY, which is pish. That’s Elden Ring. It was Elden Ring before the game came out and it’s Elden Ring now that the game has come out.  It’s Elden Ring until the end of time and do not at me. It’s Elden Ring all day long. It’s not Horizon Forbidden West. It won’t be Ragnorak. It’s Elden Ring.

I was anticipating Stray for ages. I was slightly disappointed when I realized that there weren’t skins for the cat (I wanted to be a black cat, naturally), but of course there is a mod on PC in which you can change the color. I decided to leave the cat as orange, however, as that’s what the devs intended. I didn’t play it when it first came out because…I’m not sure why. I wanted to play it so badly, but I was scared it wouldn’t be what I wanted. I dove in a few nights ago, and I was charmed by it. I was slightly stressed with the beginning, but then I really got into walking around and exploring everything. I could knock things down and scratch at enticing surfaces. I could lap water from a puddle, and I could curl up into a ball and take a nap. I could jump up on surfaces I normally would not be allowed on, but not all of them. We’ll get to that in a moment.

I loved wandering around and putting my nose in everything. In the beginning, it was just getting from point A to point B as circuitously as possible (that’s not the official way to do it, but that’s how I wanted to play it). Then, there were actual objectives. And collectibles. And weird things chasing you, surrounding you, and killing you. I knew what I had to do to avoid them, but I could not jump where I needed to jump. I died to them several times, and I was ready to quit. It turns out that I just needed to tilt the camera up a bit and make the leap. Honestly, I don’t see how this adds anything to the game, but whatever.

Then, I reached the area where I needed to explore the rooftops and gather several of an item. And this is where I’ve grinded to a hard stop. Why? Because–look. I had to find someone and then get something from them. I had to find three others of this thing (that were other people’s). I thought, how hard could it be? Very hard. I fond the second one rather easily, then wasted an hour looking for the other two.


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Feeling blue about being a weirdo

I’m feeling blue today for a few reasons. One, there are flies in my kitchen that I can’t get rid of. Tiny black ones that I assume are fruit flies. This happens every summer, and it stresses me out. I’m trying to get rid of them, but they just keep coming. Me being a slob does not help, and I need to give the kitchen a good cleaning.

Side note: It doesn’t help that my mother suggested I clean my brother’s house and cook for him to help him out now that he’s single again. I laughed out loud because I don’t even do that for me (I have someone come in every other week to clean, and it’s mostly rice cooker and microwave for me), so why the hell would I do it for my brother?

She never would have suggested that if he weren’t a guy and I weren’t female-shaped. She has such regressive ideas about gender, and it’s not her fucking business, anyway, what I do or don’t do to help my brother. But that’s my mother for you–a psychologist with absolutely zero sense of boundaries.

It really got to me, though it shouldn’t have. I should have told her it was none of her business and to fuck off (in a more polite way), but instead, I told her I was his life coach and his emotional support, which, while true, is none of her business.

That’s the narcissist in her. She cannot believe that everything remotely related to her is not something she deserves to know. My relationship with my brother is none of her business, honestly, and she does not need to involve herself in it. I know it’s more of a Taiwanese culture thing to have a close family, but still. I reject the regressive gender roles, especially of a culture that is not my day-to-day one.

Honestly, this bullshit is one reason why I am questioning my gender. If this is part of being a woman (having to be a helpmeet for any male in the family/close to you), then I want no part of it. I should not be surprised as my parents have not updated their views in half a century, but that’s the optimist in me.

Side note: When I was in my early 20s, I called myself a cynical realist. A friend of mine said I was an optimist, which had me sputtering indignantly. He said, “Minna, you expect people to do the right thing, and then you’re disappointed when they don’t.” I opened my mouth to counter him, then had to shut it again because he was right.


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A Quick Look: Cult of the Lamb

Possessed individuals glowing red
Nothing can go wrong with this.

Excuse me, but might I interest you in our Lord Lamb? Hey, where are you going? Don’t you have a few minutes for your eternal damnation salvation?

I am playing Cult of the Lamb by Massive Monster, an Australian developer, and it’s glorious. I’m only on Day 3 or Day 4, but it’s already showing a lot of personality. In the beginning, I’m killed by people who are guarding a big bad buried under the earth. Apparently, I am someone who can wake up the big bad and the guardians don’t want that. They kill me!

Game over, right? Nope. The big bad brings informs me that it can bring me back to life if I will serve it. Will I do it? Here’s a hint of the humor: My choices are ‘yes’ and ‘absolutely’. I choose absolutely, and I’m brought back to life.

The graphics style is cartoony and completely adorable. It’s in direct contrast to the twisted things that are happening, which is one reason I love this game. It’s been compared to Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Edmund McMillen) into which I’ve poured more hours than how much I’ve played the FromSoft games combined, and it’s a fair comparison in very specific ways. The cartoon look and the irreverent attitude towards religion, specifically. The random dungeons, the different items and skills, and the different starting items for each run. There are five different areas (for runs), but for now, I only have access to one.

The combat is my least-favorite part of the game so far. It’s adequate, but it hasn’t clicked. It’s X for melee and Y for ranged. Left stick for walking and right stick for camera. The enemies are the same throughout the first area (so far), which is ok. Again, I emphasize that I’m only in the first area, so I can’t comment on the latter enemies.

In the sim part of the game, the basics are to get followers, make them do my bidding, and build up the cult. There are the normal sim things of chopping wood, mining stones, and picking berries. But there is also collecting devotion from the followers (not quite sure what the white fluid is–best not to look at it too closely), giving sermons (me), and doing rituals (also me).

There is an overview map, and I can go visit, ah, Ratau (had to Google it) to play Knucklebones, a dice mini-game. Ratau is a mysterious guy who claims he was once in my position. I don’t trust him, but I do appreciate the guidance. If he’s the last boss, I won’t be surprise, which is what I’m saying.


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Bloodborne my first and last official plat

Yesterday, I wrote about Bloodborne and about different aspects of accessibility. Today, I want to write more about Bloodborne, but let’s talk about the plat this time. This is my first actual plat (given that PlayStation is the only platform to give actual plats), but it’s not my first time 100%ing a game. Which in itself is a misnomer because it’s about getting all the achievements, not doing everything in the game.

Side Note: There is a debate in the RKG Discord about calling anything other than the plat on PS a plat. Some people believe it is Not To Be Done, while others don’t think it’s a big deal. I normally call what I’m doing the not-plat, though not for that reason, but I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.

I am two trophies away from the plat (two endings) plus the Bloodborne trophy, which is the trophy for getting all the other trophies. I just did Mergo’s Wet Nurse last night on NG+ by myself with the Tonitrus, Executioner’s Gloves, and the last few swipes with my Hunter Axe. Shoutout to the Hunter Axe, which is a starting weapon, but it’s been my main all along. It’s a basic bitch, yes, but it does WORK. Plus, it’s got reach, which the Tonitrus is sadly lacking.

Side Note to the Side Note: There is a notorious boss in the Chalice Dungeons who is a plat stopper. Amygdala. She is also in the main game, but this is in an arena with limited room in which to run. Oh, and you have half-health is this whole dungeon. The Defiled Pthumeru Dungeon. So she’s not-so-affectionately known as Defiled Amy. I’ve watched people try to kill her and not have any success. She can one-shot you, and it’s such a slog of a fight. Supposedly, she doesn’t have much health, but it can seem like it takes forever.

There is a cheese, though, and I picked it up very quickly as I was just trying to do this as fast as possible. Which, by the way, made me upset when I realized that you don’t have to do all the Chalice Dungeons for the plat.

Anyway. The cheese is that you stand by Amy’s tail in a certain spot and she’ll jump straight up in the air. Your impulse will be to run away, but you need to stand as still as possible. She will land with her head right next to you (but 180 from where you are facing), and you can hit it a few times or with one heavy R2 attack before you’ll want to run back to her tail again.


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