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

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

Although I’m still chipping away at The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (and mostly enjoying it) I’ve been breaking it up with other games in my backlog.

One of my favorite games of 2015 was Dontnod’s adventure series Life is Strange, where a young photography student and her BFF embark on a time-bending emotional rollercoaster to solve a missing persons case. A prequel released last year that I never got around to, entitled Before the Storm. Rather than focusing on Max, the prequel stars her best friend (science-nerd-turned-punk-rocker) Chloe Price and builds upon her relationship with Rachel Amber; the aforementioned missing person.

I played through the three-episode series over the last two days and thought it was excellent. Chloe wasn’t my favorite character in Life is Strange, mostly due to her edgelord “fuck everything” attitude, but Before the Storm does a great job at showing the player why she turned out the way she did — along with the birth of “hella,” her blue hair, the tattoos, and more. Going into Before the Storm, I knew that her new friend Rachel Amber would eventually end up missing before the events of the original game, but these episodes served to draw the player into their strong bond and empathize with Chloe’s so-called irrationality in hindsight.

Being a teenager was weird, as I’m sure you recall, and controlling Chloe while she endures her life’s unwelcome challenges (coping with the death of her father, her childhood best friend moving away, drug use, puberty, sexuality, bullying, unwanted attention, choice and consequences, and living in a broken home) was a constant reminder of how much high school sucked for me.

She couldn’t rewind time like Max, but instead used her silver tongue to argue her way around dialogue choices. She also suffers recurring dreams of her dad’s car accident, which she describes as feeling all too real. These were some of the best moments as they peered into her pre-punk life and were constant reminders of why she resented her mother’s decision to begin dating her eventual “stepdouche.”

Chloe is viewed as a delinquent by everyone but Rachel, so watching their relationship unfold was truly something special. One scenario, in particular, drags the antisocial (and newly expelled) Chloe back to Blackwell to perform in a production of The Tempest. Chloe reluctantly fills in for a no-show and you can immediately watch their bond grow in front of the people she loathes the most: her former fellow students.

Another great moment comes early in the game’s first episode, where you can agree to join in on a D&D campaign with two of Chloe’s friends. With Before the Storm being an adventure game, you can blow this off entirely, but for those of you wanting to slay orcs and roll for initiative, there are a good 30 minutes of in-game role-playing to be had as Calamastia, the Elf Barbarian. Had I played Before the Storm last year, this moment would have ranked up there with Mass Effect: Andromeda’s “Movie Night” as my favorite.

I was hooked every step of the way and the after-credits scene in the final episode was just so incredibly haunting.

I’ve also been dabbling in the futuristic soulslike, The Surge. I think it has a great look and a really impactful opening scene where the wheelchair-bound protagonist is assumed to have been given anesthesia prior to prosthetic surgery (of course he wasn’t), but I’m not too wild about the gameplay or its underlying mechanics thus far. Combat is methodical and has some weight to it, but targetting limbs to acquire upgrade materials just has me revisiting medbays to reset enemy encounters instead of exploring. I’d rather just obtain gear instead of crafting it from scratch, and then using the medbay to upgrade things. I’m also finding it easy to get lost within the environment since everything looks the same (desolate robot wasteland full of dirt and machinery, and uninspired indoor sections have littered my first 3 hours). I’m hoping it’ll suck me in, but right now I’m not very eager to go back.

I was digging through my PS4’s digital backlog in search of shorter experiences to break up Twilight Princess and ended up installing the original Life is Strange. With Before the Storm fresh in my mind, it feels like a good time to revisit one of my favorite adventure games and see how everything connects between the two. And since I’ve already played it before, I’d be in no hurry to finish it up.

I also installed Moon Hunters, which is a short, co-op action RPG that developer Jeux Kitfox referred to as a “personality test RPG.” I have no idea what to expect, other than it was initially praised for its writing, music, and atmosphere, but criticised for its short duration and providing less enjoyment for solo players. I’m not sure how long (or if) I’ll stick around, but it’s been sitting in my download folder for months. Why not, right?

The anime-based visual novel Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness was given away as an incentive for subscribing to PlayStation Plus. I like jumping into a good visual novel when I’m not in the mood for sword swinging or spell flinging. I’ve really enjoyed them more in the last few years, especially the likes of Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, Root Letter, and Amnesia: Memories, and I’m sure Psycho-Pass will provide a nice break at some point. Though, I’m wondering if I should brush up on the anime first?

Most of the games in my backlog right now are RPGs: I am Setsuna, Pier Solar and the Great Architects, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (which just received its translation overhaul patch on January 30th), Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy IX. I also have Danganronpa 1+2 Reload and Ultra Despair Girls: Danganronpa Another Episode at the ready, along with visual novel/basketball hybrid Pyre and Runic Games’ (RIP) puzzle platformer Hob.

As for what I’ll get into this weekend, it’s looking like I’ll be revisiting Life is Strange and checking out Moon Hunters between one-hour bursts of Twilight Princess HD. I don’t want to get sucked into anything too big right now because I want to be available on February 6th when the Shadow of the Colossus remake launches. After that, I’m looking forward to finally playing one of the Nintendo DS’s most beloved RPGs for the first time in Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (its 3DS remake). I’m itching for a good RPG and Lost Sphear’s lukewarm reception led me to wait for Radiant Historia instead.

What about you, folks? Got any gaming plans this weekend?

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

  1. The Surge is a great game. I love it and I need to go back and play through the DLC. The beginning is a slow burn, but the game gets better once you leave the noob zone. I’ve been curious about Life is Strange, but I’m never in the mood for an adventure game these days so I never bothered with it. It looks like a game I would really enjoy though.

    This weekend, unfortunately, will go to my blog. I’m still adding plugins, updating shit, and trying to learn how to host myself without breaking anything. I’m also trying to think of a new name for it. If I do some gaming it’ll most likely be on The Division, Subnautica, or FFXIV. I got my first Chocobo and named it KFC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you ever liked the Telltale Walking Dead/Wolf Among Us stuff, Life is Strange is definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in the mood.

      Sometimes I miss FFXIV and others I’m glad I never got sucked into the end-game grind like my friends did.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love The Wolf Among Us. I still need to catch up on my Telltale games. Lately I’ve been into MMOs. I’m almost level 40 in FFXIV. I’m not sure if I’m going to stick around for the end game, but I at least want to clear the main story before I quit.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Life Is Strange and the works around it. It’s definitely nice to hear so much praise about it from you as you’ve played it.

    This weekend for me is probably working through my latest playthrough of Until Dawn or starting up White Day, since that’s been burning a hole in my backlog since I got it. Might aim for working on the blog and such more given how disorganized it is at the moment. Gotta lot of potential plans up in the air, I guess!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. White Day is reminding me a lot of a Dreamcast oe PS2 era survival horror title, graphically and gameplay-wise. The stalker is super savvy, though, and I’ve died a number of times already. I’ll probably get through it but yeah, I definitely see what you mean!

        Like

          1. Yeah. I’ve had an issue once or twice with them hanging around, though I’ve found if I keep moving around, they seem not to find me or stick around long? I’m also on Normal, so I’m not sure if that matters or not… I could definitely see some of the elements of this game running some folks off, though.

            Semi-related side note: I’m supposed to tell you in a comment that I’ve nominated you for a Mystery Blogger Award, so- keep up the good work and entertaining posts!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hey, thanks! That means a lot!

              The randomized puzzle solutions in White Day actually bugged it to the point where I had to start over. There is one, in particular, that has you solving a math problem that coincides their numbers with characters in the Korean alphabet, but the solution was incorrect. Even when it was. It was an issue only a few people had, but I was one of them lol.

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  3. My gaming plans this weekend are actually in the table top realm. I’m running two sessions of City of Mist for my RPG group and this will be the first time we’ve played the full game. I’m very excited to finally roll some dice and see what kinds of hijinks the characters can get in to!
    I’ve heard so many good things about Life Is Strange and Before the Storm as of late. I may have to put those on the list of titles to check out sometime!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. For me I’m planning on seeing if I can knock out Mario and Rabbids this weekend. I’m so close to the end now. Hopefully I can squeeze in some ME Andromeda. Since you mentioned the movie night, I’m looking more forward to this part of the game.Good in depth talk about before the storm without getting spoilery at all. Life is Strange is one of those games on my backlog. Thinking I’ll come around to that soon since it’s a game that I think I can finish relatively quickly, but still enjoy it as it won’t feel like I’m rushing since to me it plays out like a TV show anyways. I am just binge play it :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mario + Rabbids is one I hope to go back to at some point. I liked what I played, but it wasn’t what I wanted at the time so I sold it off about halfway through.

      Movie Night is *amazing*.

      Life is Strange is on sale pretty consistently and I picked up Before the Storm for 30% off a week or so ago. Life is Strange is 5 episodes and about 12 hours total, where Before the Storm is three episodes and maybe 6 or 7 hours. Definitely games you can kill in a weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m hitting Monster Hunter World, plus I’ve been sent a beta key for Golem Gates which I’m looking forward to.

    The Surge is a funny one. It’s pretty great but very flawed in a few ways. Progress takes an age and the camera is a little shonky at times. I really liked the limb severing system and the style of the game was fantastic. Annoyingly, the enemies were much MUCH more challenging than the bosses.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not bad but I’m finding it hard to get into. As a newbie to the series I feel like there are a lot of systems you’re just supposed to “know”. I’m enjoying. Doing the odd quest here and there though.

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        1. Playing with friends is a nightmare unless your doing expeditions for funsies. My gf and I wanted to co-op the campaign but it’s so frustrating to have to jump into a story quest indepedently, trigger the right cuts cent until “you can now signal an SOS!” appears on the screen, back out back to the base, and then post a quest. Every. Single. Time. How is a game centered around playing with other people this bad about letting you do that?

          Liked by 1 person

                1. Yeahhhhh, even 50 hours of this menu tinkering is more than we’re willing to endure. I think we’ve given it our fair shake of 10 hours and we’re both not too thrilled about how archaic the multiplayer system is. Ah well. We had fun with the gamey bits, though.

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm, do you recommend taking the plunge on the anime BEFORE the game, then? Or does it explain enough that I’m okay ditching the anime and jumping right in?

      I really enjoyed 2064: ROM. Battle Chef is on my to-buy list, but I have quite a few Switch games ahead of it. Still need to play Golf Story and Romancing Saga 2.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Before the storm is on my ‘to play’ list, so great to hear positive things about it!… Hmmm… Not really sure what I’m playing at the moment, I have a fair backlog to clear, but I’m in that between game limbo at the moment

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love Life is Strange. I haven’t played Before The Storm yet but want to pick it up soon and play it. I’m looking forward to when I do.

    I’m hopefully going to play some more Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Assassin’s Creed Origins or I might start some of the games on the games I want to clear off my backlog… Basically if I get to play something I will be happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeahhhh, Inquisition is *massive*. I think each of my two complete playthroughs were 150-ish hours long (which includes the DLC chapters).

      LiS is fantastic if you’re into these new-wave point and click adventures, like The Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Massive is the right word! I’m 40+ hours in and just recently got Skyhold. Every time I see something shiny on my map, I have to check it out, haha.

        I haven’t played many of the new point and clicks so this is something I’d like to check out soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Having a ton of RPGs in your backlog is both exciting and daunting. I mean it’s great because I love RPGs, but they’re like the doorbuster novel of games..

    I rented RiME from the library, which is free to do now so whoohoo! I’m in the process of setting up my PS4 so I can give it a play. You can only borrow games for a week, but can renew it once. I’m pretty impressed with their collection so I found myself a new resource.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. I beat games pretty quickly and GameFly was still pointless. It takes 3-4 days for them to receive a return, another day to process it, and then 3-4 more days to get the next game. Unless you pay for the 2-at-a-time plan, you’re paying for one month but only having games at your disposal for 2 1/2 weeks of it.

          Liked by 1 person

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