Today marks my official last day of the Fall 2016 semester, and boy, what a stressful trip it’s been. I’m actually in the midst of my Film Genre Studies term paper as I write this, but I just needed the break. So you can bet I’ll be spending the weekend unwinding with a good game or three.
What about you folks?
Over the past week I’ve managed to finish two games in my backlog, being Doom and the remaster of Dishonored. After watching the credits roll in Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, I knew I had a bit before Final Fantasy XV released. With that being the next big game I wanted to focus on, I figured I could fit a shorter title in between.
I started off with Doom, as I mentioned last week, which ended up being one of my favorite games of the year. It’s a fast-paced visceral shooter that just seemed to do everything right. The world design blends the line between modern day science fiction and the fiery depths of hell in a way that kept me equally intrigued and terrified. The enemy A.I. is unexpectedly vicious, the soundtrack is a phenomenal playlist of electro-metal, and the overall aesthetic and gameplay work in tandem to be just *kisses fingertips*.
Doom fully exceeded my expectations and is currently duking it out with Inside as my potential Game of the Year. This has been a spectacular year for fans of shooter campaigns, hasn’t it?
I was so sucked in to the world of Doom that I ended up completing it the very next day. “Well, shit,” I thought, as I still had nearly a week before Final Fantasy XV’s ten year wait came to an end. I’d been hearing so many great things on social media about Arkane Studios’ Dishonored 2, but the original game never gelled with me.
I tried it once on PlayStation 3, then later on Xbox 360, and the opening moments failed to hold my attention. This always surprised me, as it seemed like my kind of game–first-person, stealthy, actiony, dark and brooding world that’s gone to shit and changes based on your actions.
Even as I installed the Definitive Edition of Dishonored on my PS4, I questioned my reasoning for doing so. I had done this already. Twice. And it didn’t take, either time. But I wanted to give it one last chance, hoping that I’d finally latch on to what others found so special about the world of Dunwall and its corrupt denizens.
I’m certainly glad I did.
Here the hero of the story, the Empress’s Lord Protector Corvo Attano, returns from a months-long trip in search of help from the other kingdoms to calm Dunwall’s spreading rat plague. He arrives with unfortunate news, as the other kingdoms have decided to shut off Dunwall in order to prevent the plague from spilling over in to their territories. The once thriving whaling town of Dunwall is in now in deep, deep shit, and not because of the rat plague.
Shortly after Corvo’s arrival, a mystical group of assassins appear, murder the Empress, and kidnap her child, Emily. As life tends to bring bad news in droves, making those matters worse, they frame Corvo Attano as the murderer. Six months pass and you’re set to be executed for your “crimes,” but a group known as The Loyalists slip you a key, assist in your escape, and provide you with the tools necessary to plot your revenge while rescuing Emily from the clutches of evil.
This sounds great, and it really is. Dishonored has a solid build up that I hadn’t appreciated before, and I’ll chalk it up to not being in the required mindset. I have to be in the mood for something, regardless of how good it’s claimed to be. I wasn’t in the mood for Doom at its release, but when I was ready and willing I ended up loving it. The same goes for Dishonored.
The folks at Arkane Studios did a stellar job of building this fictional universe, full of rich history and characters built up through found documentation and side-quests. The level design is equally fantastic, giving players many different paths and special powers to complete their objectives. I assumed Corvo would have been rage-fueled and murderous, so that’s how I played. No one survived, and if I got caught, I fought my way out with bullets and grenades.
This “high chaos” playstyle began to affect the world around me, littering it with shambling corpses and swarms of hungry rats. I can’t wait to go back for a “low chaos” run to see how that changes Dunwall instead. Now I can’t wait to play Dishonored 2 and Arkane Studios’ upcoming Prey 2.
With Dishonored and Doom finished, I’m finally ready to begin Final Fantasy XV. I picked it up on launch day, along with the hardcover collector’s edition guide book, and as much as I wanted to dive in immediately, I was constantly bogged down by school. These last two weeks have been riddled with assignments and final exams, which made it easier to swallow something like Doom or Dishonored that could be completed in 12 hours.
Once this post goes up and I finish my term paper, it’s on. I’m ready to escape in to the world of Eos, having already watched (and loved) the Kingsglaive film. I’ve even gotten back in the Final Fantasy spirit with the PS4 port of Final Fantasy VII.
I’m determined to casually platinum it, and when I have 20-30 minutes to spare I’ve been grinding away at limit breaks and materia AP. I have everyone but Yuffie unlocked up to Limit Rank 3, but I just reached Fort Condor for the first time and haven’t recruited Cid, Cait Sith, or Vincent yet.
I’m still very much in love with the world of Gaia, the characters, and the soundtrack, and I dig that so much of the story is open to interpretation (maybe due to the quality of the game’s translation?). It was a very special game to me growing up and over the year’s I’ve kind of forgotten how much I truly enjoy Final Fantasy VII. I’ve always appreciated what it did, bringing RPGs to the mainstream and pushing the PlayStation in to millions of households, but along the way I forgot how much I adored it as a whole.
Then again, I also forgot that Tifa calls Barret a “retard” at one point and woooooof. Sign of the times, I suppose.
The addition of a 3X Turbo Mode and God Mode have made the grind significantly easier than I remember back on PlayStation. I’m in no hurry to platinum Final Fantasy VII, but I’m sincerely hoping that Squeenix ports over the PC version of Final Fantasy VIII as well. Man, I love that game.
What about you folks? What are you getting in to this weekend?