It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

I had the day off today and was so exhausted that I slept for nearly 12 hours. It was magical. But now I’m ready for video games!

I’ve been juggling quite a few games this week, though mostly online multi-player stuff that I’ve been using to both pass the time when I don’t have much of it to spare, and in an attempt to combat my competitive social anxiety. It’s been… interesting, to say the least. I don’t seem to have much of a middle ground, though, with my experiences ranging from incredibly enjoyable to downright soul crushing.

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A friend of mine hooked me up with a founder’s pack for the new hero shooter/MOBA hybrid Paladins: Champions of the Realm, which is currently running a closed beta on PS4 and Xbox One. I wrote a bunch about my time spent with it earlier today, which you can read all about right here.

The TL;DR version is that it looks and feels like Overwatch, doesn’t have the same amount of polish, but has enough interesting characters and unique gameplay features that help it stand out. I like the mid-match MOBA-style progression system and the ability to meaningfully customize characters using unlocked hero cards. Hopefully the loose aiming gets addressed soon, since it makes precision characters a little weird to play.

Still, I’m having fun with it and it’ll be on my PS4’s hard-drive for a while, I’m sure.

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The same development studio, Hi-Rez, is responsible for the MOBA Smite, which I’ve also started playing. I’ve always been intrigued by Smite’s character designs since they’re all based on mythological gods, but PVP has never been my thing. In my attempt to battle against my aforementioned anxiety, I downloaded Smite on PS4 and now I’m officially hooked.

I can still only withstand 2 or 3 matches at a time before I become mentally frazzled and need a break, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Smite’s quest system helps break the game down into bite-sized chunks, offering in-game currency for doing things like playing 3 matches as Greek gods or winning an Arena battle. This allows me to focus on short-term goals, which has been working out tremendously from a mental standpoint.

I don’t have the Ultimate God Pack, and as a free-to-play game that means I don’t have access to the full roster of gods, but I’m taking full advantage of my limited Medusa rental (character rentals are often rewarded as daily log-in bonuses). I also really like playing as Ra, who is a permanent freebie and my current favorite.

At some point, I’d love to support the game by purchasing the Ultimate God Pack, but $30 is a bit too steep for me right now.

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I’ve been sticking with Overwatch, playing at least a match or two per day against other people. Otherwise, I spend quite a bit of time playing against the A.I. to get comfortable with different characters.

Overall, Mei is still my favorite, with her awesome crowd control abilities and brain-piercing icicle bullets. D.Va remains my go-to tanking hero, but lately, I’ve been playing Reinhardt. His shield gives my teammates something to hide behind, his melee damage is insanely good, and landing a charging kill is so, so satisfying. I started using Pharah last night and typically I don’t do too well with the flying types, but justice rains from above. She’s a lot of fun.

The only character I haven’t cared for thus far is Roadhog. His hook requires a little too much precision for my noobish aiming skills, which also means I miss a bit with his shotgun. Yes, I miss with a shotgun. At close range. There’s still quite a few characters I haven’t checked out yet, but I’ll get around to them.

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Outside of the PVP stuff, I’ve been playing the new Toukiden 2 “carryover” demo on PS4. It’s about what I expected, which is more Toukiden. I’m not sure if I like the new open-world approach to questing, but at least they’ve implemented a fast-travel system. The Demon Hand mechanic I mentioned in my write-up is a little awkward as well, but I’m getting used to it.

I was happy to see that Tecmo KOEI included a multi-player lobby in the demo. I’ve had no problems thus far jumping into the games of other players and helping out with Oni kills. I’ve even obtained a bunch of crafting materials that I can use in my own demo, both for crafting armor and weapons, along with reforging their stats. This is also a good way to familiarize myself with different weapons since I was primarily a bow and spear player in Toukiden: Kiwami.

The story is surprisingly intriguing, which isn’t usually the case in Monster Hunter-style games. In a nutshell, your created character fought against the Oni in a cataclysmic event called The Awakening. As a result, the Oni obliterated most of the population and your character is sent through a portal, eventually waking up in the forest surrounding Mahoroba Village. Ten years in the future. Time travel!

Completing the demo awards you with 10 Sacred Branches to use in the full game, though I’m not quite sure what they do yet.

nierautomata

After speaking with an acquaintance-in-passing that works at the local GameStop, I was told that they’re not anticipating a new Switch shipment until at least May. This crushed my hopes of picking one up for spring break, so I grabbed NieR: Automata on PS4 instead.

I finished my first run last night, which took around 11 hours. On top of featuring multiple endings, the game’s story evolves with each playthrough. I think you have to play the game 4 times to get everything out of it, and it’s so fucking good that I don’t even mind.

Seriously, it’s great.

It’s a stylish hack-and-slash action RPG by the developers of Bayonetta and Vanquish (and a few turds I won’t mention, to emphasize how good Nier: Automata is), which sadly looks like a late-era PS3 release, but plays like a dream. There’s quite a few weapons to purchase and upgrade, an open world full of quests to complete and machines to slay, and the game frequently shifts between being an action RPG, a 2D side-scrolling action platformer, and a top-down bullethell shoot-em-up.

The story so far has been a surprisingly deep tale of machines learning what it’s like to be human. Humanity, however, has vacated their Earthen home and taken refuge on the moon. They’re taking the fight back by sending down battle androids in order to assist their fellow-android resistance fighters in destroying the sentient machines. The problem here is that some of these machines have begun developing emotions like love, empathy, loneliness, depression, and sorrow. Some are completely hostile, sure, but watching both androids and machines see more in each other than spare parts has been vastly more intriguing than I ever anticipated.

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I’m also absolutely in love with the world of NieR: Automata and its leading cast of characters. 2B is a no-nonsense battle android that slowly develops into an understanding and loveable little ass-kicker. Her movements are stylish and fluid, and she just has a great appearance that makes her stand out in a library of cliche JRPG tropes (though I don’t recommend Google searching 2B at work since her thong-clad rear, thigh-highs, and loli-goth apparel have made her quite the popular subject of some rather lewd fan art).

9S, her male acquaintance, acts as a hacker and scanner in battle, but he’s a bit more empathetic than 2B when it comes to reasoning and emotion. They can each hold their own, but 2B is clearly in charge here.

I don’t have a lot on my plate this weekend (thank Christ) so hopefully I’ll finish up the Toukiden 2 demo and start my 2nd playthrough of NieR: Automata. I can’t wait to dive back down to Earth and see how the story shifts. I have so many unanswered questions!

What about you folks? What are you up to this weekend?

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29 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

  1. I was off for St. Patrick’s day, but none of my friends, or family were. So I got a haircut, had a nice Sushi lunch, with a pint of Sapporo. Which isn’t a great beer, but I was at a restaurant that didn’t deal in craft beer. Which was fine because I had some New Holland Night Tripper at home. Perfect to go along with Nights Into Dreams, or Circus Atari. Or any of the better Batman games. Or anything really. I didn’t have a ton of game time this evening so I took a break from Zelda, and streamed some Chivalry after eating some plain pizza. Not a bad day off.

    Tomorrow (Technically today) it’s back to the grind, but after that I may stream some more Chivalry. Sunday I’ll likely spend some more time with Zelda though.

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    1. Yeah, my girlfriend and I went out to Best Buy to grab some games with a gift card I had left over from Christmas, then ate Taco Bell. That’s pretty much the extent of our St. Patrick’s Day festivities lol. Sushi sounds delicious right now, though.

      I have an exam tomorrow and a few errands to run, but let me know if you stream some Chivalry. I’ve been wanting to check that out, since you mention it regularly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE Platinum Games (forgetting the recent couple of flops) so I’m very much looking forward to trying Nier: Automata. It’ll be a while before I get to it I think though.
    I’m still playing Resident Evil and I doubt I’ll get much played this weekend. I’ve also been putting a few hours into Warhammer 40K: Space Wolf which is great fun albeit really tough.

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    1. Platinum Games has been pretty hit or miss for me. I loved Bayonetta 1 & 2, Vanquish, and Wonderful 101, but I was in the minority that wasn’t thrilled with Metal Gear Rising. I’m sure we can all agree that TMNT, Legend of Korra, and Star Fox Zero were all turds, though.

      Definitely loving NieR: Automata, and the second playthrough has added quite a bit more to not only flesh out the story, but include new gameplay mechanics altogether. It’s rad.

      Enjoy what little game time you get this weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I played the DMC reboot prior to MGS and I just thought DMC had better combat. At least, at the time I did. It’s a game I’ve been wanting to revisit, and I’m honestly surprised wasn’t “remastered” on PS4 and Xbox One. It’s super cheap used, so maybe I’ll pick it up during a dry spell.

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  3. Currently making a trek down to LA and brought my vita. I’m about to fire up some Persona 4!! And I mentioned to you I picked up nier:automata and ugh I’m bummed I haven’t even opened it to play it! Damn this spontaneous overnight trip! Lmao! But after my first impression demo-2B for me at least is reminiscent of nariko in heavenly sword. Which is one of my fave games (even tho I haven’t even finished it lmao)

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    1. Persona 4 Golden is perhaps my favorite JRPG of all time. It’s so damn good! You made the right choice bringing that one, haha.

      NieR: Automata is incredibly and the 2nd playthrough adds so much to the game. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

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  4. I haven’t been able to sit down and really play anything all week long since we’ve been doing renovations and rearranging things in the Nerd Room with the arrival of our new shelf! I’ve been playing a bit of Breath of the Wild here and there to wind down in the evenings, but I am not making much progress on the main story. Now that things are settling down a bit though, I might finally be able to continue my stream of Phantasy Star tonight! That’s my plan!

    Your NieR: Automata game sounds very fancy and fun. The graphics look awesome, and I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the story. It sounds like it’d be a really interesting backstory to a game. You’re always playing the most interesting things!

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    1. Ah, the renovations are still ongoing, huh? Hopefully they’re not too taxing on you and the BF. The pics you posted make it seem like it’s coming together nicely, so that’s a plus.

      Breath of the Wild looks so gooooood. It took everything in my power not to buy the Wii U version, so I bought the Switch version to deter temptations lol. I’ll get a Switch… one day.

      NieR has been a great time thus far. I’m a few hours in to my 2nd playthrough and it’s adding so much to the game. Haven’t really played a game that does this and I typically don’t replay RPGs immediately after finishing them.

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      1. Yeah, the renos are still going! We tore out the bathroom vanity and the new one just came in, but we’re running into issues with where the plumbing comes into the room and trying to find a workaround. We also need to hulk the giant cabinet (it’s a 60 inch!) into place at some point, and I have a distinct lack of hulkiness to help with this. They aren’t taxing, but it’s one of those things where it’s always nattering away in the back of my mind and will continue to do so until it’s finished.

        I’m so excited for you to play Breath of the Wild. It’s going to be worth the wait :) I can take it or leave it, but I feel that way about a lot of games I play. Most people are fanatical about how good it is. I’d give it a solid 7/10 so far. I find open world games really overwhelming!

        I’m really glad you’re enjoying your second playthrough of NieR. As someone who is constantly replaying games back to back to do up LPs, at least your replays are giving you a little something extra! :P

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      2. I like the nature of an open-world game, I just hate when they’re full of busywork for the sake of checking off boxes that make me say “yep, this is an open world game!” It has to do something meaningful with my time, otherwise I just play through the story quests and move on to something else.

        I’m really afraid I’ll hate the weapon durability nonsense so much that I’ll stop playing it. I really, really loathe that mechanic in every other game that’s used it, and hearing that weapons break every 2 or 3 enemies does not sound fun in any way. I get that you’ll obtain weapons fairly often, but then when does that matter? What makes that mechanic relevant, instead of a nuisance? How are you finding the weapon system so far?

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      3. I agree with you completely! The weapons system makes my blood boil to be honest, but it becomes less annoying as you go on through the game and accept it. I find it takes away from the action a lot and that weapons are breaking at the most inconvenient of times. They definitely went for too much realism here, and I really do miss the infinite sword slashes of the older series installments. It doesn’t ruin the game, but it definitely detracts from my personal experience.

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  5. I liked the original Toukiden so I’ll have to check out the demo. Nier is also on my play list because of the attractive main character who can slaughter baddies, but still be felled by a moose.

    Paladins failed to hold my interest as the gameplay feels clunky compared to Overwatch. I do however wish that Blizzard would steal Paladins’ customization options.

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    1. I liked Toukiden Kiwami quite a bit and I’m totally okay with the sequel basically expanding upon the original game’s ideas instead of being something totally different.

      Paladins definitely feels like a clunkier Overwatch, but I imagine it being free-to-play will pull a lot of people in who haven’t played Blizzard’s game yet. I’m a fairly new OW player and enjoyed my time in the Paladins beta. Adding a progression system for ranked play in OW would be neat, I think. With Paladins still being in beta, I’m sure it’ll slowly get better upon release. Hi-Rez takes good care of Smite.

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  6. Platinum games deserves some attention for Nier since they’ve had a pretty hard time lately in the gaming world. They’re a hit or miss developer with me, but if they keep putting out games like Nier they’ll be okay. I’m still disappointed about Scalebound though :).

    Toukiden is on my wishlist on Steam. I’ll get it one day to see how it competes with Monster Hunter.

    This weekend I’m playing Breath of The Wild, and ESO. My wife is 5 levels away from 50 and I promised her I’ll get her there this weekend :). I refuse to play new games until I compete Breath of The Wild. Don’t want to play too many open world games at the same time.

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    1. NieR is so good, dude. I agree that Platinum is hit or miss. Loved Bayonetta 1 & 2, Vanquish, and Wonderful 101, but nothing else of theirs has really connected outside of NieR. I saw that it just released on Steam yesterday, so let me know what you think if you check it out.

      Early congrats to the wife on 50 in ESO! That’s awesome! I can’t wait to play Breath of the Wild for myself.

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      1. Platinum Games is one of those companies that has great hits followed by a few bad ones. Lets hope they break that trend and continue to produce quality games that we’ve come to expect from them.

        I’m looking forward to Nier, but it’s releasing too close to Andromeda for me. I can only buy one right now, but I know I’ll own Nier at the end of this month or early next month at the latest :).

        I’ll pass your message on to my wife. She’s super excited to join me at level 50. By the time she gets their I’ll be around Champion 150 by then :).

        Breath of The Wild is so good dude. I’m having a blast with it so far. I’m about 40 hours in.

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  7. I would very much like to bring an end to my run with Wolfenstein: The New Order so that I can move on to the next game. Limited gaming time has prevented me from finishing it sooner than I expected though I am enjoying it.

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    1. I think I finished it in around 8 hours or so, but limited game time can put a damper on finishing even the shortest of games. Hell, I started A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV 2 weeks ago and it’s a 2-hour game. I’ve yet to complete it.

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  8. I just finished up Zelda last night so am going to shift my focus back to Horizon this weekend. I’m really looking forward to playing Nier: Automata when I get the chance too. I really enjoyed the demo and your impressions line up with other positive ones I’ve read. Like you I find Platinum very hit or miss, so if this is a hit for you that gives me more confidence this will be a good one.

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    1. Congrats on finishing up Zelda. I hear that’s a meaty beast, haha. I picked up Horizon last night and that’s what I’m diving in to once I finish these NieR playthroughs. The 2nd playthrough adds a lot more story and even a new gameplay mechanic, so I can see why people advice playing through it a few times. Side quests carry over, so subsequent playthroughs are significantly shorter (which is nice).

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  9. I was busy with friend and family stuff Friday night and Saturday afternoon (I couldn’t not go out Friday since my BFF from north Jersey came down and Saturday my husband’s aunts from Pittsburgh came…down? Over? I’m terrible at direction…) then I came home and passed out for a few hours on the couch. Glorious, but it meant I had to shuffle around a bunch of things on my to-do list, and I haven’t had a chance to pay anything yet.

    I’m almost at the end of Journey and probably would’ve finished it last time I played had it not been for me getting stuck in the snow part. A quick google later told me what I missed *slaps forehead* so I may hop back on the sticks tonight and see if I can make it to the mountain. I have a LOT to say about this game in terms of interpretation, and I love that it’s all told in just pictures/images, so the journey is different from everyone ;)

    WOFF is still ongoing. I have Bahamut to level 74 or 75 so I may try to capture Master Tonberry in the coliseum, though I’m debating if I should wait until I’m on level 80 with him to make sure. When you get to the higher levels, it takes soooo muuuuch loooonger to level up, even in the best leveling spot where you’re raking in 200k points per battle. Once I get Master Tonberry and Elsamos, I think I’ll have them all, and unless Squeenix decides to release more DLC dungeons, I think I’ll be done with the game. I haven’t really thought about the whole challenging others to fights mechanic, nor is that really my style. I think the Balthier summon is going to be available for download soon, and I may buy it just to say I have it.

    I swear I’m going to start FFV before the year is out *grumble*

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  10. I got the original Nier in a bundle of cheap Kijiji games I bought last year. I’ll have to give it a try soon! You make Automata sound very interesting and I like moving stories. I’ll take your wise advice and NOT Google 2B, haha. At this rate, I’ll probably be buying Automata in a bundle of cheap games years from now though.

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    1. The original NieR didn’t do much for me, but I didn’t give it a fair chance. I did enjoy Drakengard 3 though (the series NieR spins-off of) and just happened to be in the mood for an action RPG. I’m 100% glad I took the gamble. It’s stellar.

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