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

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

I’ve been under the weather most of the week, so I’ve only managed to delve into the worlds of Horizon: Zero Dawn and Dark Rose Valkyrie for a few hours. I’m definitely enjoying Horizon more now that I’ve distanced myself from Breath of the Wild for two months. That open-world fatigue hit me pretty hard and it clearly got in the way of things.

I’m roughly 20 hours into Aloy’s adventure, though I’ve just reached Meridian and assisted Erend in his heart-breaking side-quest. I’ve done enough optional content where I feel like I’m severely over-leveled for the story missions, but I can’t help myself from exploring, cleansing corrupted zones, and taking over bandit camps.

The weapons and skills I’ve acquired have been a huge confidence booster as well. I no longer feel the need to tip-toe around robo dinos (though I prefer and am ultimately geared for stealth kills) and haven’t been shy about tackling larger, newer creatures.

Since I haven’t pushed the narrative ahead much, I’m starting to lose focus on Aloy’s motivations and the primary story arc. That’s just par for the course with open-world games, though. I always feel the need to explore and take part in whatever optional activities the developers inserted. I know I don’t have to, but something compels me to at least try it all. I usually grow tired of trials and collectible hunting, so whenever that happens I’ll just put my head down and work my way through the rest of the game. Right now, though, I’m having too much fun.

Dark Rose Valkyrie is a new JRPG on PS4 that I received to review. It’s developed by the folks at Compile Heart, whom you may know from the Neptunia series and Fairy Fencer F, but it’s also a collaboration of sorts with the Tales series’ scenario writer and character designer.

The short of it is that a meteor has crashed into the Earth, which is now spreading a virus that turns humans and animals into monsters called “chimera.” For whatever reason, men are more likely to transform than women. In an attempt to hinder the virus, Japan has built a wall around itself and remains secluded from the rest of the world. They’ve also initiated a special mostly-female task force to combat the existing chimera, called Special Force Valkyrie.

You play as Asahi, a country-boy moving to the big city that’s been hired on to join the National Chimera Defense HQ’s covert military agency ACID. You end up leading the troops from Special Force Valkyrie, but the narrative falls off a cliff within the first 5 hours.

There are some neat ideas within the game, like chatting with your squadmates back at the Ichinomiya Military Base in visual novel segments, but these end up being vapid, unnecessarily verbose experiences that grind the excitement to a halt. Even the turn-based combat is a slog, bogged down with never-ending wall-of-text tutorials that only give you a battle or two to get acclimated before dragging you back through another lengthy dialogue session.

Dark Rose Valkyrie_20170329143808

Pacing is extremely important in these meaty JRPGs, but right now that’s where Dark Rose Valkyrie is failing miserably. I don’t feel that I’ve accomplished anything or moved the story along at all over the last five hours. That’s not good. I’m going to press on over the weekend in hopes that it rights the ship, but if the next five hours feel like the first I won’t hesitate to throw in the towel. I’ve heard the game is nearly 40-hours long and I can’t bring myself to endure that kind of punishment.

Outside of playing games, I’m excited for E3 this weekend. I’ve gone ahead and outlined my predictions already, but I’m most curious about Microsoft’s Scorpio reveal. There are rumors floating around that it’ll be a powerful Windows 10 console that not only plays Xbox One games, but PC games purchased in the Windows store. That’d be pretty huge for them. Really, I just want a new Metroid from Nintendo and a new pair of JoyCon that don’t have a shitty fragmented d-pad.

What about you, folks?

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

  1. Probably nothing for games this weekend. Still trying to write posts for my blog for while I’m away and I have some work catch up to do. Still, if I manage to steal an hour or so later I might have a go at restarting Skyrim.

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      1. I probably won’t get to replay it until later in the year, but it is on my list of goals for this year. I’m thinking of trying to play through without developing any weapon skills other than a bow and arrow (though maybe that’s ambitious and I’ll need to look for at least one other kind of weapon). Still, something to make it a bit more challenging.

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        1. Bows are insanely powerful, especially if you have the Dawnguard DLC and get the crossbow stuff. That’s all I used on my last run. I want to do a full-on brute force playthrough with two-handed swords and the Decapitate perk.

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          1. Bows are insanely powerful in Skyrim compared to Morrowind. I remember how hard it was just to get your arrow to connect in that and how many times you died before you managed to level up your bow skill at all. Kind of why I want to see if I can get through on that alone but I already know it is unlikely.

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            1. Literally in some cases. I had a glitch at one point where my levitation spell just never ended. I think I had almost three hours of game play before I finally landed.

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        2. My Skyrim is super challenging and I’ve done a few bow & arrow runs. It’s actually not as challenging as you would think since the sneak skill tree is op as hell. If you’re talking about a combat archer run then …That could be challenging. Good luck :).

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Who would want to play games from the Window Store on Xbox? Can’t imagine too many people getting excited to play Candy Crush on their console lol.

    I’m playing through ESO Morrowind this weekend, and focusing on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Might play a good strategy game too.

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    1. That’s the Windows Store now, though. I’d imagine more publishers would want to throw their PC games on the Windows Store if they knew Scorpio owners would broaden their user-base. But then it becomes “what games are even on the Windows Store that aren’t already available on Xbox” and “Why can’t this feature be duplicated on the core console or S models?”

      Rumors gonna rumor.

      Did Mario Kart 8 finally show up?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My second Nintendo Switch arrived 2 weeks early today! It was the neon Mario Kart bundle and came with a wall charger, holding case, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! I enjoyed getting blue shelled by my kids today :).

        And you’re right about the inevitable controversy that’ll hit the Xbox if it does allow Window Store games to play on the Scorpio, but I can’t imagine many people being super excited about it when there’s Steam on PC… If Scorpio launched with compatibility for Steam games that’ll be a different story.

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  3. I hope you feel better soon, but I’m glad you’re having fun gaming! I’m 50+ hours in HZD but I’ve been mostly doing side stuff. I haven’t even helped Erden yet and my Aloy is at level 44 with all the Shadow quality weapons, haha. Side stuff really over levels Aloy quickly! In open world games I enjoy taking in the sights/collectible hunting before chipping away at the main story.

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  4. I really enjoy this weekly article! It helps me focus on what I want to get done in my backlog. I just finished up my uni work for the week, and wrote an article about my Stormblood hype, so now I’m free to unwind with all of the games :)

    Prey is on hold, as its sort of a mess rn, with the latest update doing more damage than it fixed. Andromeda will probably get a little love, and I’m very slowly plugging through P5.

    I think I will pick up Shantae: Half Genie Hero for Switch and review it, as it looks great and is a nice change from what I’ve been playing recently

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    1. Recapping every Friday helps remind me that I’ve accomplished things, whether I’ve beaten a game or not.

      Prey sure is in an unfortunate position, isn’t it? Shantae games are fun!

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  5. This entire week I’ve felt like hot garbage, but I’ve still spent some time beefing up in Mirage: Arcane Warfare. It hasn’t had a very popular launch though which is why Torn Banner has decided to do a free Steam weekend promotion, where you can play the game until midnight Sunday night with no strings attached. Then plunk down if you dig it.

    Honestly, I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and server lag has been better than expected since reviewing it a couple of weeks ago although it still needs work. I’ve also picked up a few retro games this week. I found Beauty & The Beast for the Intellivision, which has nothing to do with the fairy tale. Rather it’s more like an R-rated Donkey Kong clone. Imagic always made the trippiest console games back then. Something I’ll have to get around to reviewing B & B at some point.

    I also want to find some time to check out Time Soldiers for the Sega Master System. I found it cheap on my one day off earlier this week. It’s a port of an arcade cab. It’s a top down run n’ gun in the vein of Commando, or Ikari Warriors. Except with some more depth, and variety. It looks pretty cool so I’ll hopefully find a few hours to jam on it.

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  6. I finished Bioshock remastered earlier in the week, and now seem to have drifted back onto cities: Skylines. I love the level of detail and just seeing the city grow. With these city games I’m never quite sure if I play them right as I seem to spend big chunks of time just soaking up the atmosphere, it’s kinda like an interactive screensaver… 🤔

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  7. Going to squeeze in some cosmic star heroine and started and probably will play more of limbo. Limbo is pretty creepy, that spider was terrifying at first.

    I also can’t get enough if cosmic star heroine soundtrack, it’s soooo good

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  8. After five hours of play you should be itching to see more. I’m thinking of the RPGs I’ve played and even if you include grinding, you’re far enough along in the story to keep you engaged.

    I’m still playing FFBE and The Room 3. Haven’t had time to start anything new. This month has been busier than I expected, and now I’m currently watching E3 hoping Sony shows something to do with the FFVII Remake.

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    1. Yeah, I’ve been going through a weird bout of depression and just haven’t been in the mood to play *anything*. And now I’m watching and writing up E3 stuff instead of playing games.

      I’m feeling better now. I think E3 has me energized. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get back to finishing up Beyond Good & Evil HD, now that the sequel is confirmed. Also need to finish up Evil Within, since the sequel comes out in October and looks AMAZING.

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      1. Ugh, I’ve been there, dude. I’m on an antidepressant/antianxiety med right now that helps take the edge off. I also just started taking medicine for what my doctor thinks is narcolepsy, which I’m happy about, because I can actually stay away and concentrate. The struggle is real. I’m glad E3 has energized you. I remember how happy/inspired I was the year they announced the FFVII Remake. Writing has always helped my depression whether I’m writing about why or not. Endorphins yo.

        My gaming barriers are time and availability. I could start FFV, but I want to have a nice solid block of five hours or so to get into it, which requires a weekend. I’ll figure out my timing issues. I’m also being kind of lazy about it, because I tell myself “I’m playing two games!’ on my Kindle, but even though they are, they don’t feel like “real” games. It doesn’t make any sense, because they fulfill all the requirements, but I don’t have a controller in my hand, so it doesn’t feel as legit.

        I wish I wasn’t such a wuss puss and could play horror games lol. We saw the preview for something where the character was getting chased by a dinosaur, and I was like “Nope.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha, probably Monster Hunter Worlds? That was a pretty good trailer.

          I’ve never had the chance to get try meds since I’ve always had shitty insurance (or no insurance at all — poor students get it in the ass, I tell ya).

          I want to sit down and do all of these E3 write-ups, but I know they’ll take forever and I really want to play something instead lol. But if I put them off, it’s no longer interesting.

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          1. Yeeeep preaching to the converted with insurance woes. I’m lucky now to have a fairly decent policy through my job, but I still shake my head at how asthma medicine is so damn expensive. Like what if I couldn’t afford this? I may be pretty awesome, but I still need to be able to breathe.

            There’s always that sweet spot with writing up reviews. You don’t want to do it too soon because you haven’t had time to digest it, but too late and you’re not as pumped.

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