Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!
I’ve spent the last few days in wrestling mecca, as New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual Wrestlemania-esque show Wrestle Kingdom aired at the lovely hour of 3am EST on Wednesday morning.
After that incredible extravaganza, in which Kenny Omega squared off against the legendary Chris Jericho in a “dream match” and Naito main evented against Okada, this morning was New Japan Dash — a three-hour follow-up to Wrestle Kingdom where the match card is a mystery until the show begins, and the battles within typically lead in to the promotion’s upcoming feuds.
The Bullet Club seems to be imploding as Omega defended his former Golden Lovers tag partner Kota Ibushi, Los Ingobernables de Japon remains dominant, and holy shit is Minoru Suzuki even more terrifying after losing his hair to Hirooki Goto at Wrestle Kingdom.
I… love Japanese wrestling.
On the games front, I finished off Final Fantasy XV’s latest DLC chapter, Episode Ignis. This was easily my favorite character DLC, both in terms of storytelling and gameplay.
Ignis wields his spelldaggers, which can be shifted between fire, lightning, and ice damage. Each has their own specific function, as fire deals increased damage to single targets, ice dishes out area-of-effect punishment, and lightning allows the Keeper of the New Recipeh to zip between distant targets. This, in addition to his ultimate Total Clarity ability and Dragoon jump, felt really, really good.
Oh, and he gets a hookshot. Yep.
In regards to the story, there are definite spoilers so I don’t recommend playing it until you’ve beaten the core game. Episode Ignis features three endings (one true, two non-canon) and really improves on the character growth of Ravus and Ardyn. If you were ever curious as to why Ignis went blind late in the game, then you need to play this. No excuses. The lead-up is epic.
I also finished up the puzzle platformer Rime last night, which felt like Ico if it looked like The Witness. The characters and story were a bit unremarkable and the puzzles weren’t very imaginative, but the world design was pretty fantastic and the game was never *not* fun. I just didn’t get sucked in as much as I’d hoped, given my adoration of Ico and The Last Guardian (different developer, but Rime was clearly inspired by Ueda’s work).
I missed a handful of collectibles and costumes, but I don’t think I’ll revisit it anytime soon. It’s definitely one of those “solid 7/10” games and a nice, short experience to knock out in a weekend. I was just hoping for something more emotionally engaging.
I have Hob, Pyre, and Observer installed right now, but I’m not sure which to start next. Hob is another puzzle platformer-type game, so I’ll probably roll with one of the other two.
Pyre is part visual novel, part fantasy basketball, which seems like an odd pairing. I loved Bastion and Transistor, though, so I have high hopes going in (yay, Supergiant Games!). Observer is a first-person sci-fi horror game, which seems like a nice palate cleanser after taking in the vibrant, colorful world of Rime for 5 hours.
On the reviews front, I’ve fallen behind because of the holidays and I’d really like to start rolling some of these out sooner rather than later. I’m considering doing bite-sized reviews for the smaller games, like Slain and Morphite, because they’re still fresh in my mind but I don’t have the focus right now to deliver a 1,000+ word critique. Smaller experiences don’t always need a full-length review, though. If I can still get my points across in far less time, then why not?
One of my goals this year is to read more books. I used to read all the time, but as I focused more on writing and freelancing, my drive diminished.
I started reading Brent Hendrick’s memoir A Long Day at the End of the World, which chronicles his pilgrimage to a crematory site in Georgia where America’s largest mass desecration took place. Brent’s father was one of the nearly 400 bodies found discarded by a local funeral director, and his family assumed his remains were cremated, as someone’s ashes resided in the urn they received.
It’s a dark read with many layers, which makes for an interesting dose of non-fiction. He goes into the history of his father’s hometown, which was flooded in order to geographically alter the landscape, and how that parallels his home in life and death. Brent had a rocky relationship with his dad, which not only made grieving difficult — something I can fully relate to — but was unapparent until he began his pilgrimage.
Anyway, what about you folks? Got any big plans this weekend?