Gaming reviews by Grey
Howdy ho, fellow quarantinos!
So, when the idea of me writing about games for this blog was put to me I paused, for lack of ideas. it’s been a little while since I bought a lot of new games, due to a combination of circumstances and well, there not being as much coming out that I wanted to buy right away. and a lot of the upcoming stuff I did have planned getting delayed (Cyberpunk come baaaaack q.q) But, then I realized, a lot of us probably aren’t buying much new right now anyway, right? I mean, there’s Final Fantasy VII Remake (I just got my copy the morning I wrote this, so that one’s coming), but outside of that, if you guys are anything like me, the gamers among you have been either playing a few old favorites, or using the extra time to catch up on a backlog of unplayed games. So, what I’m going to do, for my inaugural outing at this, is highlight a handful of games that have gotten me through this long, otherwise boring time. So as a first go at this I present…Games to Quarantine By! First off:
Divinity: Original Sin 2
With the hype train underway for Baldur’s Gate 3, I felt the urge to go back to the game that likely got developer Larian Studios the job. D: OS2 is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played. Fantastic characters, story, and writing, a fantastic combat system, tons of replayability. I’ve definitely started way more games of this than I’ve finished, mainly because by the time I start getting anywhere, I get all sorts of ideas for new character builds and just have to start all over to try them. It even has a DM mode where players can create their own campaigns to run their friends through. I haven’t tried it personally, as it seems like quite a bit of work..but I’ve seen what people have produced with it and the possibilities are very impressive indeed.
The game was clearly made with the mindset of a developer that -wanted- to make a D&D game but didn’t have the license. I can’t wait to see what they do now that they have it.
Final Fantasy XIV
Speaking of Final Fantasy…Now, I’ve been hard-pressed to find a good single-player entry in this series since 10. 12 was more so-so than anything. 13 and its sequels were lol-worthy, and 15? ….Well…15 was weird, and I’ve never figured out whether that was in a good or bad way. Either way, I never finished it.
The MMOs out of the bunch however, 11 and 14, have been high points despite the initial controversy of an online FF. 14 in particular, after a catastrophic launch back in 2010, has bounced back to become something I can confidently and without hesitation call the best MMO I’ve ever played. It’s pulled off an ongoing, in depth story in ways few online games can claim. One that -feels- like a Final Fantasy story that can hang with the best of them, despite its MMO nature, and at the same time frequently pays loving homage to the games that came before in a mix of overt and subtle ways. I briefly played during the aforementioned dumpster fire of a launch and quickly wrote it off as another chapter in what at the time was a steep decline for the series, but the game’s 2013 relaunch garnered such positive press I had to give it a shot, and I havent looked back since. I’ve long said that getting immersed in a good MMO, despite its monthly cost, actually saves me money in the long run, as if it pulls me in enough, I find myself buying fewer games. With its vast array of things to see and do, this game has definitely lived up to that.
No Man’s Sky
From one video game redemption story, to another. NMS is another game that had a disastrous launch sure to doom its developers to the hall of shame, only to see it rise up and become far more than even expected. No Man’s Sky released in 2016 in a state that can only be described as a shall of what was promised. after 3 years of hype, the game that released was a joke. The basics of what could have and should have been a fun, vast game full of exploration and adventure in a massive universe, instead a textbook case in disappointment and broken promises. Most stories of its sort usually end with the game and its developer disappearing forever, but Hello Games didn’t stop there. They swallowed their pride, got to work, and over the following months and years released update after update, adding not only the features that were promised but went far beyond that. Now, we have a game where you and your friends can explore space, build bases, discover ancient alien civilizations, command a starship, have outer space dogfights, craft, and as of the most recent update, pilot mechs. This game should be dead, but instead, it’s one I keep coming back to.
The Youtube channel Internet Historian did a fantastic video about the game’s hype, release, shame, and redemption. It’s long, but if you have any interest in the industry, it’s worth watching. Plus the guy’s hilarious.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
It’s…..it’s Mario Kart. I don’t know what else anyone else needs for me to say. It’s effing Mario Kart. BUT, not just any Mario Kart. Mario Kart 8, after being one of the best titles among an underrated Wii U library, was ported to the Switch as a definitive, complete edition that I can most definitely call the ultimate Mario Kart game. A fantastic collection of racers and tracks both old and new, Probably the tightest, most responsive controls I’ve felt in the series as a whole, a great soundtrack including fantastic arrangements of classic tunes from the series, and the battle mode that the Wii U version was sorely lacking. The first year of the Switch’s release was probably one of the best first years a new console could dream of having. But in spite of an instant classic like Breath of the Wild, and the best Mario game since Sunshine, even with the later release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it was a Wii U port that got, and probably still continues to get the vast majority of my playtime on the Switch.
The Division 2
When the first Division came out, I hated it. I bought it to play with friends because they had it, but I quickly realized that I did not like it. At all. Character movement felt rough and unresponsive, gunfights were unfun, enemies only felt challenging in the sense of being bullet sponges, there to play a war of attrition, their HP versus yours. The map, while graphically beautiful and intricately detailed, was not fun, interesting, or rewarding to explore. Progression offered me no incentive. Needless to say, I didn’t play it for long. So naturally, I was hesitant to get into The Division 2 when it came along. But then, after positive word of mouth, I gave it a shot, and man. It was night and day. Every single complaint I had had been addressed. The game is fun. My character moves like a human being instead of a sentient bathtub with a gun duct taped to it. gunfights are more dynamic, challenging, and enjoyable, with enemies that pose a genuine challenge because of the things they do, rather than because they can simply take more than I can. I generally don’t pay attention to story in these looter shooters and even that was far more enjoyable, even if it’s often twisty for the sake of simply being twisty to the point of hilarity (“Ha HA! You thought it was the shadow government that was behind this but it was actually the shadow that betrayed the shadow government to become its own shadow!”).
The recently released “Warlords of New York” Expansion fixes what was my only remaining complaint: Progression. The base game as it was, was a touch better than the first game, but with the expansion, they’ve introduced not only new ways to advance your character beyond the level cap, but ongoing activities and updates that add new objectives and rewards to keep you coming back even once you’re kitted out.
I’ve messed with a few other games during these long weeks of course..anyone that knows me knows the tales of my extensive Steam library. I could go on forever, but as of late those have probably been my primary go-to’s to pass the time. I’d love to hear what you guys have been playing!
I’m working out how I wanna do this. Do I wanna review newer games? Older ones? A mix of the two? Maybe I’ll do more entries like this, where I highlight a handful of certain titles as suggestions or just brief opinions.I’ve also had all sorts of other ideas that I’ve toyed with but havent really put a ton of thought into. May or may not. I considered streaming, but I don’t think I’m talkative enough to keep that entertaining. Maybe something to expand on the gaming section in our ReVo discord channel, somewhere we can exchange tags, set up some play, etc. I think I’ll just keep it simple for now and just write about games I like, but if anyone has ideas, suggestions, wants to hear what I think about a certain thing for some weird reason, You guys know where to find me, let me know!