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

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

Although this is undoubtedly the biggest week in gaming, I haven’t actually gotten around to doing much of it. E3 was upon us and I spent most of my free time here in front of a monitor, watching the various showcases and Giant Bomb at Nite interviews, and writing about my favorite moments. So I’ve been digesting game content, but not actively participating.

I was gifted a copy of Dontnod’s horror RPG Vampyr, which I’m looking forward to playing at some point. The game takes place in 1912 London amidst the Spanish flu outbreak and you play as a doctor who has just been… converted, for lack of a better term. So the protagonist plays two roles within the game — a doctor and a creature of the night — and sees to the well-being of a local community while controlling (or leaning into) their newfound craving.

vampyr

Vampyr takes a novel approach to difficulty scaling, as your character only becomes stronger if they give in to their urges and drink blood. It acts as your XP resource, unlocking new abilities and strengthening your core stats, like health, stamina, etc. You can choose to hold onto your human side, replenishing health by eating rats instead, at the cost of being far weaker than those looking to end your life outside the confines of your clinic.

Me? I’m going all in. While I think the story will be far more interesting if it focuses on the player’s struggle with vampirism, I want to see how much effort went into the narrative if we choose to embrace it.

prey

Outside of Vampyr, I reinstalled Arkane’s sci-fi immersive sim, Prey. I really wanted to like this game when it launched, but I hated the combat mechanics and it just took a bit too long to get going.

During Bethesda’s E3 2018 showcase, Arkane revealed that Prey was getting a free update that included a new Story Mode difficulty, which drastically toned down the combat in favor of providing a more narrative-friendly experience. And I’m here for it… at some point.

In the midst of all the E3 chaos, I juggled the wonderfully animated beat-em-up Wulverblade and both of the Mega Man Legacy Collections. The latter is comfort food, really, while the former has been sitting on my Switch for months now. I wanted something mindless to play between showcases and interviews, and both worked out pretty well.

tokyoxanadu

I’m roughly 10 hours into Nihon Falcom’s Persona-inspired action RPG, Tokyo Xanadu Ex+, which I’m really enjoying. It proved incredibly difficult to remain interested in an RPG between all of the E3 madness, but I look forward to getting back into it here soon.

Last weekend I mentioned playing Persona 3 FES on PS3 (via PS2 Classic emulation), but I decided to shelve it rather than dealing with the frustration of the console’s two-step authentication.

I have two-step activated because someone accessed my PSN account a few years back. Whenever you exit a PS2 game on PS3 it resets the console, but in doing so it keeps signing me out of PSN — something it has never done in the past. As a result, when I sign back in I have to go through the two-step authentication process by accessing the PlayStation website on my phone, entering a 6-digit code, and generating a new password that then needs to be entered on the PS3 dashboard. Having to do this two or three times a day became infuriating.

tokyoxanadurpgsite
*image via RPG Site.

As for the weekend, I’ll probably jump back into Tokyo Xanadu Ex+ with the intention of starting Vampyr shortly after. I’m hoping to have it finished by next weekend, but the length of any JRPG is unpredictable.

What about you, folks? Any gaming plans this weekend?

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

  1. Well, aside from now checking on Tokyo Xanadu (which looks great), I’ve been immersed in the Octopath Traveler Prologue Demo and started getting back into a few others games- like restarting Star Ocean 2 and working toward the end of Super Metroid.

    I really want to try Vampyr, but I think I’ll wait for the price to go down a little before I jump at it. It looks cool, though.

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    1. I think you’d dig TX, for sure. Not nearly as polished as Persona, but the story and setting are thematically similar.

      I really want to try the Octopath demo, but I’m bad at retaining information and I know the game has another month before it releases. I’m aiming to play it maybe a day or two in advance.

      Star Ocean 2, especially the PSP version, is fantastic. I’m nearing the end of my Super Metroid run as well!

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  2. Vampyr looked cool in GB’s Quicliook it doesn’t cross me as a game I want to play. Hope enjoy it and look forward to hearing what you think of it.

    After playing a ton of XCOM 2 during my vacation I stepped away from it for a few days. Plan on getting back into it this weekend. Some of the mechanics make me curse and I end up save scumming a lot but overall I am enjoying it.

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    1. I’m wondering how the choice with consequence dialogue replies play out, especially given how well the developer did with Life is Strange.

      Nothing wrong with save scumming, haha. I do the same thing in Fire Emblem.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nintendo released the Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2, so I’ve started that. It’s 80 stages, and features a bunch of cool stuff to use in Multiplayer, once you complete its storyline. I’m enjoying it thus far. Reminds me a bit of Super Mario Bros. games’ advanced stages intended for the hardcore players.

    Other than that I’ve been streaming some attempts to beat developer times in Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams this week. I was instantly reminded of how challenging the game is. But I was also reminded why this is one of my favorite platformers of all time. So far I’ve managed to best every time except for the Gurglewocky, and Owlverlord boss fights.

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  4. Really looking forward to your comments on Vampyr! I bought a PS4 pro, Horizon:ZD complete and God of War – all for a little over $400. Crazy sale going on right now. Have been all about GoW ever since – So good!

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    1. Both of those games are great, and good on you for grabbing HZD’s complete edition. The Frozen Wilds DLC is awesome.

      I played about 3 hours of Vampyr today and it’s… fine, I guess. Has a good look and the atmosphere is solid, but the combat feels unpolished.

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  5. Very much interested in Vampyr, and hopefully I’ll get to give it a go before the end of the year. If I get time I might start up Outlast 2, but as it’s the daughter’s birthday party and we have family visiting, I don’t think I’ll be playing much of it!

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    1. I played about 3 hours of Vampyr today and it’s not holding my attention. Combat feels like a really shoddy take on the Souls formula, where it wants you to be methodical and manage stamina, but stunning things to regenerate blood and using the blood on special attacks isn’t a fun flow (especially during boss fights). I hear the story is good so I want to see where this goes, but I’m just not having much fun actually playing it. There’s no dedicated stealth feature, so the game wants you to barely tilt the analog stick to creep behind things. For a game about staying in the shadows, this seems like a missed opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly? I felt that it was underrated. I can certainly see why people were disappointed with some things – the length in particular – but I really feel like it has a lot more going for it than many have given it credit for. My full thoughts are here: https://mattdoylemedia.com/2017/12/01/sonic-forces/ … but as a summary, some of the level designs are deceptively large (and good to boot), I love the speed of it, and the avatar system is great fun.
        The thing is, I enjoyed Mania too, but I’ve clocked up more hours on Forces. The combo of getting migraines playing Mania for more than an hour at a time – at least since the last update, no idea why – and simply not feeling like I want to get the achievements on it means that I’ve just not gone back to it much after finishing it with all the characters and emeralds. Which surprised me as I still class 3 & Knuckles as the best of the franchise. I will once Plus comes out, mind you, but untol then, Forces has kept me more entertained.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I haven’t heard a lot of great things about it from others, but I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I’m not a big Sonic guy — I even bounced off of Mania pretty quickly — but I’m of the mind that any game can have its audience.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m done with Shepard’s Mass Effect trilogy so I started Andromeda. I have to say I do like it so far, but it doesn’t feel like a “Mass Effect” game, if that makes sense. Also, this is the fully patched version and there are still a few graphic hiccups… I got it for cheap so I’m not too disappointed though. I can definitely see why people were upset on launch day. Anyway, I just got to the part where you find the Nomad. I’m excited to see more story stuff :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andromeda took some getting used to. It’s a world I loved but filled with all new characters, and it definitely felt like it was made by BioWare’s b-team. Stick with it, though! It gets really good, both in terms of story and character development. I was lukewarm on most of the cast, but by the end a few of them became series favorites. I loved Peebee and Jaal, and eventually Cora and Liam. The planet designs are great too, but similar to Dragon Age Inquisition, it wants to keep you on the first planet WAY too long lol. Eos is Andromeda’s Hinterlands. Feel free to move on and come back later if you start to get bored.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I found Cry’s Vampyr Let’s Play, so I’m going to check that out. Stuff about E3 is still filtering through my pipeline, since I’ve sort of given up on directly seeing anything hehe. Not that I’m not interesting, but I’d rather just wait and see what the people I follow and respect have to say instead of going through everything.

    Liked by 1 person

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