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

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

With Four in February in full effect, I’m proud to announce that I’ve finished three of the games on my list: Life is Strange, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut. The final game, Moon Hunters, was pushed aside in favor of Matt Thorson and friends’ new platformer, Celeste.

On paper, Celeste is definitely not my kind of game. I’m over 2D platformers, especially the super tough ones (take my recent review of The End is Nigh, for example), but this wonderfully designed tale of overcoming anxiety is all I’ve been thinking about over the last 24-hours.

You play as Madeline, a girl who wants nothing more than to push herself to climb Celeste Mountain. You have to overcome increasingly complex platforming challenges along the way, using her air-dash, wall jump, and wall climb abilities. Similar to how the reload mechanic works in Downwell, Madeline’s air-dash is recharged whenever her feet touch solid ground. Each section is so well-designed and bite-sized that its trial-by-dying approach is never mentally exhausting. There’s even a loading screen that encourages players to take pride in their death counter because it means they’re learning — I love reading stuff like this.

Games like these typically trigger my anxiety pretty badly and I’m often quick to put them down in favor of more relaxing, “fun” experiences. But knowing that Celeste is all about overcoming anxiety, I’m (in my best Undertale voice) filled with determination to see it through. A bit of text early on in the game reminds Madeline to “just breathe,” which sets the tone for the rest of the challenging experience. “Just breathe” has become my mantra whenever I struggle to complete a stage or anxiety starts to kick in, and it’s been working out pretty well.

Between the tight controls, beautiful aesthetic (I *loved* Amora B’s art style in TowerFall, what she’s posted of the upcoming Skytorn, and now Celeste), and Lena Raine’s wonderful soundtrack, Celeste has been an almost cathartic experience thus far as I struggle with anxiety alongside Madeline and those she meets along the way. I’m roughly halfway through the Nintendo Switch version, having just finished the hotel area, but I’m saving most of the optional strawberry collectibles for later on. My goal is to finish it up this weekend.

Earlier this week, my girlfriend and I caved and picked up two copies of Monster Hunter World. We struggled to get into Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U and 3DS, but we were stoked to dive into World and have something meaty to play together. Unfortunately, playing with other people in Monster Hunter World fucking sucks.

There’s a lot of menu tinkering and workarounds to play the open-world expeditions and even more just to co-op the campaign quests. It’s all doable, of course, but neither one of us wanted to endure that nonsense for the next 100 hours. Ten hours later, we both agreed to sell our copies in hopes of the multiplayer being retooled later on. I’m doubtful that’ll happen, but with Capcom confirming Monster Hunter World shipped and sold (a combinatino of the two) six million copies already, anything is possible.

I ended up renting the Shadow of the Colossus remake at Red Box, which is one of the most exhilarating games I’ve ever played. I really enjoyed it on PS2 and PS3, but the remake on PS4 is absolutely something else. I only managed to topple 7 colossi before its due date, but I know I’ll pick it up (or re-rent it again) at some point. The massive bat-like colossus still remains my favorite boss encounter (and one of the best of all-time, in my opinion). Luring it over with a well-placed arrow and grabbing hold of its fur during a dive bomb at the last possible second… man, what a rush. Then you have to scale its wings and tail while it barrel-rolls and soars through the air, trying to buck Wander off its back. So good!

I’m doing my best to avoid new game purchases, but once I finish Celeste I’m tempted to pick up Night in the Woods on Switch. I love me some narrative adventures and I’ve heard a lot of great stuff about it from folks who played the PC and PS4 versions. Lost Sphear is still on my radar as well, despite being unimpressed by its demo and equally turned off by the $50 USD price tag. I’m going to wait for a sale, though, especially since Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology comes to 3DS this time next week. I never got around to the DS version, but I hear it’s one of the most well-written JRPGs and that’s exactly what I’m in the mood for right now.

On the reading front, I took a step back from Low’s fourth volume after coming to terms with the fact that I had no idea what was happening. Instead, I went to the library and re-rented the first three volumes in order to brush up. I also knocked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time off of my to-read list, which looks a little something like this.

Genevieve Valentine’s Mechanique is probably next on the list, primarily due to its glowing recommendation from my favorite author, Cherie Priest. Then it’s on to Maplecroft (a Lovecraftian take on the Lizzie Borden tale).

Have you read any of these before? I know Vonnegut is a popular author, but Slaughterhouse-Five will be my first foray into his work. My girlfriend really loved The Road and I’ve been told it’s similar to The Last of Us, which has my attention. The Kingdom Beyond the Waves‘ “steampunk fantasy and sci-fi with a Victorian-era feel” mini-review on the front cover piqued my interest, along with its underwater motif that harkened back to BioShock’s Rapture. The two M. John Harrison novels were both highly reviewed sci-fi novels and were dirt cheap at a used bookstore.

That about does it for me. What about you, folks? Have any gaming plans this weekend?

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

  1. You’re just a pro at finishing up games in a timely fashion! Congrats on wrapping up so much before the month’s even half over. Four in February seems to be an awful time to be playing Ultima IV. I don’t think I’ll have a chance to get through four games, unless I crank out some old favourites for the heck of it.

    This weekend I’ll probably try to pump out more Ultima and maybe record some stuff for fun. I haven’t been able to sit down and do an LP in a long while, so I’ve been scratching my head about what to do next on that front. I’ve only played through HM64 lately and I’m not sure an LP of that would be much fun for people to watch. The prospect of LPing Ultima IV is really daunting, and I’m not sold on it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, Ultima IV seemed awfully difficult during the stream I watched. I don’t think that’s my kind of game at all, haha. Are there any similar games to HM64 that you haven’t played yet that may make for a more interesting LP series? I know there were quite a few HM games on Wii that were pretty fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, I did just get Rune Factory Frontier. That might be a good place to look because it’s apparently a medley of HM mechanics with RPG stuff. It sounds glorious!

        And you’re right. Ultima IV is tough as nails, and without help from some regular viewers, I wouldn’t be very far. I’m not adoring it as much as other SMS games I’ve dabbled in, but I figure once I emerge from the game, I will truly be able to call myself an RPG master! Maybe. Probably not, but it helps me sleep at night! :D

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        1. I always thought I’d like Rune Factory more than Harvest Moon for that very reason! I tried one on PS4 and it didn’t hook me, but I think that was just because the opening hours were soooo slooowwwww.

          Best of luck with Ultima, haha. You can do it!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll be doing my usual of attempting to play some more of Assassin’s Creed Origins or Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, possibly as well as some of the games that exist from my backlog. I’ve been trying to clear through the Telltale games that I have had for ages so maybe finish up another one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I went through some of my Telltale backlog last year, knocking out Batman season 1, Minecraft season 1 + adventure pass, Walking Dead: Michonne, and The Wolf Among Us. I still have the first three seasons of The Walking Dead to knock out and picked up Game of Thrones, despite it being poorly reviewed. I’m not into GoT at all, but I like Telltale stuff for the most part. I’d still like to pick up Guardians of the Galaxy, season 2 of Batman, and season 2 of Minecraft (the first was far better than it had any reason to be).

      Good luck with ACO and BOTW! Both are massive games.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep both are massive which I think is good as I’m taking my time with both so I can explore rather than rushing through either. I’ll probably still be saying I’ll be playing them when you are asking this in December but they are both great. I have so many other big games to play as well that it is going to be one of those years for me game wise. I do have some shorter ones too but I seem to have started with two massive ones.

        I’m playing Tales from the Borderlands at the moment, got Batman season 2 left on the Telltale backlog. I got Tales from the Borderlands free because it was Telltale and I like their stuff. Finished Guardians of the Galaxy recently and it is good fun, got humour about it, there was one bit that seemed very definite but it was a fun game and story.

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        1. I put about 75 hours into BOTW before deciding I *needed* to pull away if I was going to finish any other game in 2017. ACO got me for a good 50 before I had to do the same, but I look forward to revisiting ACO once all of the story DLC is released.

          Tales from the Borderlands is my absolute favorite Telltale game. I recommend it to everyone, even if they’re not big into the Borderlands universe. The humor, writing, and all-around style of that game is insanely good and should be used as a guideline in game dev classes in those regards.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s a good way to do it. I’ve got a lot of time to go before I hit those sorts of hours in either game but I can see why pulling away and getting time in other games would be needed.

            I’m not into the Borderlands universe as I got it free with Gold because it was Telltale and so far I’m really enjoying it. The way the first episode plays out through all the viewpoints is great. Might try to finish it this weekend.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the idea of Celeste, but I’m never a big fan of platformers so it’s one I may watch on a Let’s Play sometime.

    I might try a big more Monster Hunter, but I’ve barely played anything this week other than Darkest Dungeon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I added Darkest Dungeon to my wishlist for whenever it goes on sale, but I think I’ll wait until the physical version releases just in case I don’t like it (I typically go physical for games I’m unsure of so I can sell them later on as a failsafe). I’m not too keen on 2D platformers anymore either, but I’m really digging Celeste. It’s something special, for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, people were pissed because they waited like 10 days after the digital version released to confirm a physical copy. Glad I waited. I’ll also be waiting until May to grab Owlboy physically on Switch instead of grabbing it digitally this month.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked Crawl as a co-op game and thought I’d play a ton of it on Switch, but it turns out I haven’t had a group of people around to actually play it once. At least there’s a single-player thing this time around! I reviewed it’s PC launch, which was strictly co-op.

      I’m burnt out on metroidvanias, but Dandara does seems pretty neat. Not sure I’ll ever get to it, but it’s on my Switch’s wishlist tab.

      I can’t recommend Celeste enough, if it seems like your cup of tea. It’s not mine at all, at least not on paper, but I’d be shocked if it didn’t end up on my GOTY list this December.

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  4. Almost finished with Mass Effect: Andromeda on Xbox One. The closer I get to the end the more I bemoan that there is and will never be any DLC.

    After I finish ME:A I have no idea what I’ll be playing. There isn’t anything recently or soon to be released that interests me. I keep thinking I should finish XCOM but thinking about how I’m getting wrecked over and over again where I’m stuck just demotivates me. Maybe I’ll poke around some other games I own to find a game. Then again, I may just watch Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee all weekend instead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was so fucking salty during the last scene, knowing we’d never get DLC for it. I’ve also been unable to stop thinking about the game since finishing it — I want to go back for a 2nd round *right now*, but it being unresolved just pours salt in the wound.

      Did you ever get around to giving AC Origins a chance? If you liked Horizon, I think you’d dig it. Every Red Box has it stocked around here.

      The CiCGC episode with Obama was fantastic.

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    2. Side-note: XCOM is one of those games/series that’s always recommended to me but I’ve never, ever understood the appeal. Maybe I will if I ever give it a shot, but knowing people are still playing it after all these years leads me to believe I’ll never have enough time to devote to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Xcom is so good dude. I can easily lose an entire day if I start playing it again. I still need to try War of The Chosen. I still need to finish AC Origins. I got out of it because GE 4 arrived on The Division and never went back :(.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great job on knocking those games out dude! I can’t wait for Dynasty Warriors 9 to release. I plan on playing the hell out of it. I’ll be playing Oxenfree and The Old Republic this weekend. I’ll probably get a little bit of The Division too since I’m trying to optimize a new gear set.

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      1. I don’t mind the open world much, but I DO mind that they changed Zhang He’s fighting style. They took his freaking claws away! I’ve never played Life is Strange or watched Twin Peaks, but I’m reallying enjoying Oxenfree though :).

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    1. I never got into Crash on PS1 so the remaster on PS4 slightly piqued my interest. However, with it rumored to be releasing on Switch (and PC) this year, I may wait it out and grab it there instead.

      The Switch did the same to me. My PS4 log had a cork in it the month Switch released, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crash on Switch would be awesome. I’ve wanted to try (but have not yet) remote play on the Vita. I feel like remote play is difficult for any platformers, and as I have found, Crash is actually quite tricky.

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        1. I tried to remote play to my Vita and it didn’t work very well. I believe it streams the data to the Vita and I live out in the sticks where the internet speeds cap out at 24 mbps download. It’s also too slow to do PS4 SharePlay… woof.

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  6. I got the rare weekend off, so I spent some of my Saturday levelling up in Splatoon 2. But I went to an awesome duel between cover bands with some friends at night. It was a long drive to Montclair, NJ. But I played a bunch of Stern Pinball Arcade on the car trip. Really enjoying the compilation. The AC/DC machine is spot on here, but I think the Frankenstein table is my favorite in this collection.

    Glad Celeste seems like it’ll be good. I tend to like well crafted platformers. Anyway, if you ever get the chance to see a Duel Of The Decade show, it’s worth checking out.

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  7. I am actually very curious to your finale opinion about Celeste. I heard it was a very good but difficult game indeed. It is still waiting on my wishlist to be purchased haha!

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  8. Night in the Woods is on my soon to buy list, too. I finished organizing the games on my wishlist on Backloggery. I don”t know which one I’m going to favor, that or Grouvee, but I like the simplicity of Backloggery. I need to add the games I own next. I don’t know why I’m like this lol. If you saw my apartment, I’m a mess, but in terms of gaming, reading, writing, etc. I have spreadsheets galore.

    I want to again try to play through Doki Doki Literature this week, start Breath of the Wild, and if I’m giving up on Etrian Odyssey then continue with FFV where I’m still stuck in Karnak Castle with its 10 minute time limit. I even wrote up instructions for how to best get out for goodness’ sake. I think I’m worried I’m not going to get through though. I HATE time limit parts of games. It makes me feel so antsy.

    Congrats on finishing your Four in February! You could probably manage Five in February tbh :)

    Liked by 1 person

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