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 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.
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.
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.
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?