Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: negatives

What’s wrong with me?

I have written many times before about how most of my life is better since my revival from death (twice!). But, there are a few things that have gotten worse, and I’m not talking about the family dysfunction for once (though there is that). There are a bunch of little things that add up to irritation, but nothing serious.

One, my ability to do math in my head. One time, I was trying to figure out the Canadian kid’s age on the RKG Discord. He was saying that he was 12 in 2015 when Bloodborne came out. I kept trying to do the math and came up with him being 22. I literally could not figure it out and was embarrassed (he’s 19). I wanted to say, “I have had brain damage. That’s why I had difficulty with that simple math.”

I pride myself on my brain and my intelligence. I have always had my smarts, even when I felt I had nothing else. So to have issues with it is difficult for me. But, I can use a calculator or pen and paper to do simple math. It’s not a big deal, really. I just don’t like that when I tried to do it in my head, I literally couldn’t.

Another thing is my memory issues. That’s another thing I’m proud of–how good my memory is. I used to have to do intake for classes when I worked in the Diversity unit for the Department of Community Corrections. We had 500 employees, and I probably saw most of them throughout the year. I remembered everyone but two people, which is an amazing feat.

Now, I have a harder time remember names of people or things. I don’t always remember if I told someone something already. It can take me a few more seconds than it used to to remember a word. None of this really bothers me, honestly. I can just explain it with a smile and a ‘brain damage’ before moving along. That’s assuming that people know what happened to me.

It’s hard to feel too bad about anything when the end result is that I’m alive and in mostly fine fettle. i sleep better since my medical crisis, for sure. My norm was 6 1/2 hours before I ended up in the hospital. Now it’s 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night. I wake up once to go to the bathroom, but then quickly fall asleep again.

A bit of my anxiety has crept back. Maybe 10% or so more than before. Which was down 50% or so from before that. Whereas my depression is almost completely gone.

But! We’re talking about negatives.


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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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10 other things I hate about Elden Ring

Yesterday, I wrote a post about four things I did not like about Elden Ring. I have more so I’m going to continue until I’m done or until I feel the need to end the post. Remember, I love the game and it’s probably going to my Game of the Year. It’s not perfect, however, and there are things about it that really bug me–as with every From game. There are things that are considered From quirks (esoteric item descriptions and tutorials, byzantine levels, lore you really have to dig into to understand, for example), and I embrace many of them. Some of them, however, are just frustrating as hell, which is why I’m writing these posts.

In other words, I’m doing it from a place of love. I adore these games and want them to be better. I know I’m just one voice and I’m someone who sucks at the games, but there is such a thin line between “hard, but fair” and “this is so fucking over the line”. I would say Sekiro was mostly the latter, which is why it’s my least-favorite FromSoft game. So, here we go. Let’s got to it!

5. Too many bosses. There have been a lot of bosses in all the From games. It’s one of their trademarks, especially since they like to have grotesque and difficult bosses. And, yes, this is open world so there’s going to be a ton of bosses. But I have boss fatigue. There’s an area in which I am farming that has three big bosses within a ten foot radius. Ok, that’s a bit of exaggeration, but not much.

Here’s the thing. In a typical From game, running into a boss is a big thing. Hearing their music start up to prep you for how epic it’s going to be. Then you step into their arena and fight them until one of you wins (usually the boss). The arena is often an integral part of the fight. Who can forget the church you fight Biggie & Smalls in? Or the ruins that Gael chases you around in? Or the large field in which Black Dragon Kalameet scorches your ass?

In Elden Ring, there are still majestic backdrops for some boss fights, especially in the legacy dungeon. But there are much more ‘drop into a boss fight right quick’ events that just happen. In one case, I used the hot spring to jump up in the air–right into a boss fight.  I think it might be a dragon? Honestly, I just rode on by and didn’t even bother checking what kind of boss it was. Which leads to the next point.


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10 things I hate about Elden Ring

I love Elden Ring (FromSoft). I just want to say that first before I go on a rant about the things that frustrate me about the game. This happens every time I play a From game and this is no different. Some of it is me, undoubtedly, but some of it is the games. Let me just get it out of the way that I am terrible at these games. Whatever the experts in these games say about how long it’ll take to play the games, I automatically triple it. One said about the first game that there was no way it would take anyone a hundred hours to play it–it took me 150, not including the DLC.

Another thing I have to mention is accessibility. Whenever the issue comes up, no one mentions my particular problem with the games–spatial difficulties. Oh and terrible reflexes. Do they reach the point of disability? I’m not sure. Do they get in the way of me playing the games? Most undoubtedly so. I had listened to the experts, I would have given up on the games ages ago. All the advice given is for ‘normal’ people (for wont of a better word), which is understandable, but disheartening. “Just me thoughtful and plan out your attacks.” “Anyone can beat these games with some practice.” “They’re not difficult;  you just need to rethink the way you play.”

That may be true for normies, but it’s utter bullshit for many others. I understand that  they just want to get more people to play the games, but downplaying the difficulty isn’t the way to do it. Again, I can’t really blame them because they don’t know what they don’t know. If it’s not difficult for them, then it’s not difficult for them. But they could maybe realize that other people might find it difficult, even if they don’t.


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What I don’t like about Elden Ring

I think it’s clear to see that I’m enamored with Elden Ring. Obsessed with it, you might even say. I’ve already put in 3 1/2 hours today and it’s not even 8 p.m. I’m thinking of giving myself a break tonight, but I know how that will go. I’ll start playing  around 11 p.m., saying I’m only going to play for ten minutes or maybe fifteen. Then, three hours go by like it’s nothing.

This may end up being my favorite FromSoft game of all time. Many people are saying that, but I’m not quite there yet. I love Dark Souls III so much and it’s brought me so much comfort, I’m not sure where this will end up in the pantheon. I will say it’s already ahead of Sekiro and Bloodborne, but that’s probably not a surprise to anyone.

Side Note: I saw a poll about which is your favorite FromSoft game, uh, somewhere. Bloodborne was number one, to no one’s surprise. But number two was Dark Souls III, which was a surprise. I mean, it’s my favorite game, but I’m used to being the weirdo.

It’s already above Dark Souls II/Scholar of the First Sin, which means all that are left are Dark Souls and Dark Souls III. Dark Souls will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first one I played. The one that broke me and molded me into the twisted soul I am now. I hated it by the time I was done playing it, but then I saw the true beauty my second time through. I can’t play any other kind of game (except cozy ones) and I’m resigned to playing From games forever.

I said resigned as if it’s a bad thing, but it’s not. I find new things, still, after playing each Souls game dozens of time each. Ian is in the DLC of Dark Souls and it’s been a joy watching him play the game for the first time. Well, the second half for the first time–he made it up to Biggie & Smalls before. It’s like a whole new game watching him play and hearing him exclaim over it. So many things I took for granted because I’d seen it a million times became fresh again.

Anyway! Back to Elden Ring. It is my everything right now–and more. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s perfect. It’s not. I would not give it a 10 right now, especially with all the tech issues on PC. I’m fine with the micro-stuttering and the not shutting down immediately at the end of a session, not to mention the few small slow-downs, but I have a beast of a gaming rig. If you just barely clear the minimum specs, this game is not going to run well. At all.

Fun fact: Digital Foundry, the people who thoroughly discuss the technical performance of games took on Elden Ring on PC–and they were complete in their dismantling of the port. I have included the video below. Watch it before buying the game on PC. Sadly, unless you have a top-notch rig, I would not suggest you buy it on PC right now.


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Sekiro: the thinnest of thin lines

*BONUS POST*

Ed. Note: There will be spoilers. Not many, but some end game ones, including bosses. Be forewarned. 

lone vilehand, i believe? or not.
One of the countless Lone ninja dudes. Don’t really know or care which.

I have already declared that I think Sekiro is probably the best of the FromSoft games, even if I never play it again. It’s brilliant and amazing, and a bunch of other superlatives. With that all said, it’s not a perfect game by far, and there are several things that annoy me about it. Some are evergreen FromSoft issues and some are specific to this game. Some are minor, and more than one are major. I’ve talked about some of them before, but I want to get them in one place. This place.

Here they are in no particular order.

1. Hitting through walls. This is an old-time favorite in the FromSoft games. Enemies and bosses that can hit you through walls. You can’t always do the same to them, and it’s not clear when you can and when you can’t. It’s irritating, but it’s something that just makes me think, “Ah, FromSoft. Never change.” Unless it’s against a boss and I’m about to win, and then I get killed, in which case, it’s “OH MY FUCKING GOD FROMSOFT WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME?” I tend to swear when I fight bosses, but weirdly, many times in Sekiro, I’m silent. That’s usually my M.O. for right before killing a boss, but this time, it’s more often than not.

2. Too many mini-bosses and too many replicas. Look. I know the FromSoft games are all about the bosses. I get it. It’s what put their name on the map so to speak, and it’s something they probably take justifiable pride in. The thing is, they have been increasing the number of bosses in each game*, and in this game, it’s a bit much. Well, I have to amend that. At first I wasn’t sure what was a boss and what was a mini-boss. I soon learned the big bosses are the ones who give you battle memories (one per victory). The mini-bosses give you prayer beads and/or other rewards. At least that’s how I figured it out.

Anyway.

Let’s chat about the mini-bosses I have met so far and how many copies there are of each, shall we? We shall because it’s my party and I can write whatever I want to. The first mini-boss I encountered was General Naomori Kawarada, and I had to let him be for quite some time (More on that later). Later on, I ran into another general who looked a lot like him. General–wait, let me look it up–ok. Apparently, not a general. Name of Seven Ashina Spears Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi. I link them together in my mind, regardless of whether I should or not. Then there’s the Chained Ogre who shows up again much later. I’m trying to do it in order, but some of it is a blur. Actually, a lot of it is a blur. So I’m going to try to recount as best as possible without too much research.

Next up, Shichimen Warrior who also shows up again (and I read show up yet another time. Added note: Saw him. Did not take him the fuck on yet). Fuck that fucker. Seriously. Fuck the whole Terror bullshit. It is by far the worst status affliction of them all. I will even take Toxic over it. Well, no, maybe not. Actually, yes, but only by a hair. We’ll talk more about that later as well.

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