Underneath my yellow skin

GOTY–warm-up round

Last week, I wrote about the games that missed the mark for me for whatever reasons. This week, I’m talking about more games that hit the mark and games I played for a while before falling off them. “But, Minna,” I hear you say. ” It’s NY’s Eve (day). Why aren’t you talking about your GOTY?” Because I want to milk it. I’ll be real with you. There are three games I will talk about in the actual GOTY post and I’ve gone through way more games than that this year, though I’ve had to reread past posts in order to remember them. Ah, 2020. What a trash year that was both incredibly short and interminably long.

Anyway! Let’s talk about the one game I did play quite a bit of early in the year. In fact, it was the game I was playing when I decided to self-isolate because of the pandemic. Remember late February/early March? When we thought this would last a month or two, maybe three? When the panic over what it exactly meant hadn’t quite set in yet? When I thought I’d actually be able to travel in July for a wedding? Ah, good times. More innocent times. Back when we thought the end of the year would be more positive than what was happening at the time. And to be fair, there are glimmers of hope like the vaccine. It’s just, it’s been a really long and arduous year.

The game is AssCreed Syndicate by Ubisoft. I’m not an AssCreed fan at all. I tried 3 and hated it and I couldn’t get Chronicles to work with my keyboard (Dvorak). It was free, however, and I had nothing else on my gaming plate at the time so I decided why the hell not. In addition, I loved Evie. she was so badass even with her lout of a twin brother. By the way, she was supposed to be the sole protag but Ubisoft decided a female protag was Just Not Done. Same with Kassandra for Odyssey and Eivor for Valhalla, but femEivor is the canon one or so I’ve red. Given the rest of the grievous sexual harassment issues Ubisoft has, however, it’s not surprising that this is their mentality.

Back to Syndicate. I love the steampunk Victorian vibe to it and I adore Evie. Like, if I ever cosplayed, I’d consider doing her as an older, dissolute, fatter version. I have to say, graphics are so constantly changing. I remember how this game was an absolute jaw-dropper in 2015 as to how gorgeous it was. It’s still ok, but it’s definitely not gorgeous or stunning any longer. I like the conceit of meeting famous people and I really wanted Evie to hook up with Henry Green. As for Jacob, I did not give a shit about him. At all. In fact, I actively detested him for most of the game. I also couldn’t understand if he was supposed to be so detestable. I mean, he’s the protag of the game! Did Ubisoft think he was a charming brash young man? If so, they were sorely mistaken. The only time I voluntarily used him was during the fight club scenes. Other than that, he was put on the shelf unless I *had* to take him out for storyline missions.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the game. I went through each borough, 100%ing it as I went. Why? I don’t know, but I did. It slowed down my progress through the game, but that didn’t really matter. Then, around 60% a new area, character, and story suddenly opened up. It was Lydia, the granddaughter of Jacob, helping Winston Churchill in Old London (I think) during…wanna say WWII. I did a bit, but it was really deflating to have a whole new area to explore. I was already tired of the game and was really just struggling to finish it up. The last thing I wanted was a new map. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing, which this was. It’s also a problem with many AAA games–stuffing a game to the gills in order to justify the price.

I quit the game cold turkey and did not go back. I’m not bitter, though, because I got the game for free and got many hours of fun out of it. Is it on my GOTY? Not even close. Was it fun while it lasted? Mostly yup!

Another game I played quite a bit this year that wasn’t a great game but a comfortable one to play was DemonCrawl by Therefore Games. It’s a rogue-like-lite Minesweeper that can be played windowed so I can watch a video as I played. I loved Minesweeper back in the day so why the hell not? it’s a fun variant on the typical Minesweeper formula but with different abilities you can pick up between games or during. The problem is that it’s too RNG heavy. One thing I like about Minesweeper is that you can win each game. With this version, if you don’t get certain perks, you just weren’t going to win. Plus, there are some combos that actually break the game. I don’t want to be too hard on it because it’s a small indie game, but in thinking back on it, I remember surprisingly little about it.

What did I spend a large chunk of my gaming year on? Not-platting Dark Souls and Dark Souls III. I will say that the first not-plat wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t fun, mind you, and, yes, it was tedious, but I didn’t hate the game by the time I was done with it. I was relieved that it was over, but I didn’t feel like throwing the controller across the room. The III not-plat, however, was a whole different kettle of fish. By the time I was done with it, I never wanted to play the game again. Which is a shame because it’s my favorite game ever! Before the not-plat, I had played it dozens of times for many hundreds of hours, enjoying myself every time. Once the plat was accomplished, I was thoroughly sick of the game. Why? One, all the grinding for covenant items. Getting thirty of very rare items is NOT fun when you don’t PvP. I spent 7-8 hours getting the items I needed from farming the Silver Knights. Proofs of Concord, I believe. By the time I reached the Vertebra Shackles, I was D-O-N-E. After hours of grinding and only getting 12 of them, I commandeered Ian to let me kill him for the remaining 18.

In the months since, I’ve gone back to DS III and slowly my love for it is returning. I’m hopeful that the bad taste in my month will disappear completely in another month or year. Happy New Year, everyone. May 2020 be consigned to the trash heap where it belongs!

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