My Day in Gaming – April 24th, 2019

gamecube-con

Whoa! Hey, guys. Welcome back to the blog from early 2017.

I have been wanting to return to this post format forever. When I posted the original entry, I had intended to make it a recurring thing, every so often (maybe a couple weeks or so). Lo and behold, I never found any opportunity to go back to it for whatever reason… and… more than two years have passed. I feel ashamed for my former person!

Nevertheless, I’m going to give it another go. Granted, these posts aren’t going to come up just when I’m playing one or two games at a time and nothing eventful happens; the original intention of these posts was to share personal stories and experiences from the games that I played and provide any thoughts/criticisms I had going through them. Today, I played a decent amount of four titles, two of which I started fairly recently and another I’m replaying for the first time in multiple years. The stars have finally aligned and my brain is churning once more. Here’s my day in gaming for April 24th of 2019.

Tetris 99

tetris 99 cover

I have no idea if this game is really as popular as people claim it is, or if the game is only a meme for jumping on the battle royale bandwagon. A little over a week ago, wanting to expand my Switch library, I decided to finally download it and give it a shot. I have some thoughts.

The first is that this game is brutal. I have played a decent amount of Tetris in my life, though never in large spurts (a few games or so is more accurate). In this format, there’s a bigger emphasis on skill (in order to escape from incoming hoards of blocks) and luck (maybe people won’t target you). An added sense of urgency occurs at any point, especially when one has three or more people targeting them and adding blocks to strategize for. It’s something that I think makes the game both more replayable and less interesting. While it’s somewhat like gambling in that you never know how well each round could go, it never feels completely like skill alone can save you.

My past experiences seem to re-occur in my adult life, as with five sittings playing Tetris 99, I’ve never spent more than an hour playing the game. It’s a fun timekiller, though nothing I feel the need to strive to better myself in. Despite feeling that way, I’ve felt I’ve gotten better with each sitting, as initially I would typically finish somewhere in the 60’s—just today, I got not one, but two top ten finishes. The highest place I’ve ever gotten was sixth, on a freak run where everyone basically ignored me until the last moment. Where a lot of incoming blocks used to be a death sentence, now it’s a fun challenge of skill. The little things are what I appreciate with this game.

Haxor

haxor banner

Haxor is a game I tried to obtain a review copy for a couple weeks prior to its release twelve days ago. Looking at the trailer for it on Steam, it seemed right up my alley: pixel graphics, side-scrolling puzzle/platformer, and a sweet sci-fi aesthetic. Axiom Verge is one game that fits all three of these that I absolutely adored when I first finished it years ago. Since then, all games really have to do is show a snippet of that quality and I’m basically sold.

Almost a week after Haxor was released on Steam, I picked it up with a 20% early-bird sale.

It runs well, it plays well, and the incorporation of fast-paced platforming and rocket-jumping is a fun experience. However, there’s a lack of polish regarding other qualities of the game that make me wish for a little more. One can collect things within each stage that look like coins and big rubies. Why does the player have to collect them? Beats me. Just do it, dude. Things like this only feel like padding, or adding something to an otherwise barren level that serves to satiate a general gamer’s appetite for collection. A feeling of not knowing what else to do with a level makes all the random collectibles feel kind of forced in there.

I managed to get to the second world of the game on my last playthrough. With it, the game’s starting to throw in some more difficult situations, such as death pits and tougher points of access that require pixel-perfect rocket-jumping, which I appreciate it. I did, however, quit somewhat frustrated because my own desire for experimentation caused me to fall into a death pit fairly far into the level… and Haxor has no save points. Didn’t want to do all that over again. And should anyone see that as a drawback to the game, note that a recent favorite of mine, Mortal Manor, had me do that quite often. I gave that game an 8.5.

It’s fun thus far, though I’m looking forward to what future worlds show me to develop a firm grip on its quality.

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade

wow bc 1

This is kind of a given, seeing as I play this game almost everyday (depending on work schedule), but World of Warcraft had some eventful situations today that I thought would be worth sharing.

Today, I worked almost primarily on my draenei priest, the one shown in screenshots for my post on Azuremyst Isle. Questing in Bloodmyst Isle, the zone immediately following Azuremyst, I accomplished a feat that I have never done before: I got a priest class to level 20. To (very) many, that seems like such an inconsequential and normal thing, but to me, it’s kind of a miracle.

The reason behind its relevance is that I do not like cloth-based classes. Mages, priests, and warlocks are the three classes in The Burning Crusade to feature cloth-based armor, all of which are specialized more in the magical arsenal than physical weaponry. All throughout my life, I’ve despised the reliance on spell casting that the cloth-based classes have—the least of which being warlock, but even as “hunters with spells,” I find myself bored with them. Despite this, I wanted to try out every class in order to refresh my knowledge of them for the continuing Traveling Thoughts series, so I decided to keep the draenei priest. Turns out, I’m having a good time with him.

The biggest thing about it is that I changed my strategy in how to use priests from way back when. Instead of trying to build upon the main melee weapon, I now spam enemies with wands. Instead of waiting to use Power Shield—a spell that absorbs enemy damage and prevents cast time interruptions—for dire situations (like a fucking idiot), I use it constantly, making battles flow much more smoothly. Strange as it is, sometimes classes take some effort in experimentation in order to make fun and effective. I should’ve been less stubborn as a kid.

Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut

sonic adventure dx cover

I may have mentioned on a few occasions that I have an extensive history with the Sonic franchise. Sonic Adventure DX is a game that I played after Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, as odd as that seems. Both were fond childhood favorites of mine, and games I would play dozens of times over. Since then, an internal battle has raged within me as to which game is better than the other—though recently, the battle’s shifted to whether either of them are any good at all.

I went back to Sonic Adventure DX via Steam around the same time I started Haxor, after about three years since the last playthrough. The last time I played the game, I thought it was horrible, motivated by watching SomecallmeJohnny’s video on the entire 3D Sonic line-up of the early 2000’s. Now, with an actual straight head on my shoulders, I wanted to give it more of a benefit of the doubt.

My opinion hardly changed.

Today, I completed Big’s story. Controlling Big is a nightmare. His missions, revolving around fishing for his friend, Froggy, aren’t even that bad. They’re wholly unnecessary and random as hell, yes, but nothing I’d consider atrocious. It’s the act of actually moving Big around that is a giant pain. He’s slow, he’s bulky, he runs into all sorts of invisible barriers that impede his momentum, and he’s not fit for the fast-paced game that Sonic is known for. With him out of the way, only Amy’s story remains before I take flight as Super Sonic and put the game behind me once again.

Part of me thinks Amy is worse as an overall experience than Big, if a statement that blasphemous is possible. I will have to see upon going through her story once again.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Is there anything you’d like to share about your gaming experiences?

Thank you for your time. Have a great day.

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