gaming

I’d like to introduce you to my new obsession.

Oh, hey. It’s me. I decided to come back earlier than anticipated because I was feeling motivated to write about some stuff again. 

Today’s topic is one you have probably seen if you are part of video game Twitter, or into gaming at all. Yes, that’s right! It’s about Genshin Impact!

Before going any further, I will say that I had been looking to jump back into an MMO experience for a couple of months now. I entirely blame Final Fantasy for it. I was actually considering redownloading and resubscribing to Final Fantasy XIV, going back to my Dragoon character I haven’t done anything with in, what? Two years? And most likely ending up as lost as ever in the experience which is why I ended up stopping in the first place. Well, that and also being completely burnt out by it all.

However, last week, I saw people starting to talk about what has been deemed as an “anime styled Breath of the Wild” game that was free to play on mobile, PC, and Playstation. Honestly, at first I was pretty skeptical about it. I figured it would end up being one of those games where you eventually have to pay money to progress. 

That has not been the case. At least, not yet!

Genshin Impact, developed by miHoYo. Screenshot by me.

So, what exactly is Genshin Impact? Aside from it being a free to play game, it takes the concept of an MMO and makes it into a viable solo experience with recruiting other characters, each having their own unique perks and an elemental ability which makes the fighting really fun. There’s a leveling system for characters, their weapons and artifacts that you can equip for them which all give various benefits. As for the story (or what I know of it so far), the focus is of one twin trying to find their other twin (you pick one to play as and the story proceeds from there). Whichever twin you choose, they end up in what I can only describe as the most beautiful fantasy esque world I have ever seen. The prologue introduces you to the main threat (or is it?) and a few different characters, some you end up recruiting into your party, and once that is done, more stuff unlocks for you to complete in order to rank up in the game and be able to do other quest lines and eventually be able to go through what I can assume are dungeons. I hit adventurer rank 10 yesterday so I can continue the main story quest next time I login which will most likely be once this post goes up! 

Genshin Impact, developed by miHoYo. Screenshot by me.

Okay, so now you may be thinking about the fact you have to hit certain adventure ranks in order to proceed in the main story. It’s not that bad. It didn’t take me very long at all to get from rank 7 to rank 10. You get a handbook from the adventurer’s guild with challenges you complete to get points, there are bosses that spawn on the map that you can fight a few times a day, and also by just doing basic things in the world, such as opening treasure chests and exploring, you will rank up in no time to be able to continue. There are also other world quests and side quests you can complete as well! I’m not sure how it will be once you get to 25+ for adventure rank. I’m sure like any other RPG game, there will be some sense of grinding for levels, but that’s really to be expected from a game like this. Trust me, there’s a lot you can do in the game, even at such early levels! The map is huge, too!

Genshin Impact, developed by miHoYo. Screenshot by me.

One final aspect to this game is the gacha system. Yes, there’s a gacha system. I haven’t paid any money so far and have just used what I have been rewarded in game through progression and rewards to play the gacha and form a tiny prayer circle that maybe something amazing will happen and I’ll get awesome characters and weapons from it. Well, I did get Noelle (pictured above), but I think she may be easy to get? But, she is my favorite so far. I really like her combat style and the geo ability she has which has come in handy from the lvl 18+ enemies I have started running into. Aside from Noelle, I have unlocked 3 other characters from the gacha as well, and a whole slew of weapon duplicates which I’m not going to complain too much about since you need duplicate weapons in order to refine them anyway. You can pay real money to get the currency needed to buy more gacha plays but… and maybe I’m just old, but I enjoy getting the in game rewards and then using that for gacha spins, not actually paying my own money for them. Because where’s the fun in that?

Other things to note? The soundtrack is beautiful and very relaxing to listen to while running around exploring. The combat is very smooth and works well. Character switching is super quick so you’re able to stack up elemental abilities against enemies and really cause some DPS mayhem if needed. Most importantly: it’s fun!!! And it’s FREE!!! Did I mention that already?

This will be a title I will go back to and keep playing. I’m sure more things will be added over time and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes, if there really is any sort of paywall, and what ends up being added to the game in the future!

With that being said, I think I may end up making a game log again with this game as the test title. Once a week, just posting my progress and some new screenshots from the game! I used to make game logs years ago, so we’ll see how this turns out.

gaming · inspiration

Just an adventure with old friends…

I feel like this may be some sort of weird sequel to my post about video game backlogs, or maybe it isn’t. So, as I said a couple of weeks back, I was super excited to get back into Watch_Dogs. Well, I was excited for maybe a week, and then it wore off on me. My answer as to why I lost interest is really, I have no idea. But, I think I may have found an answer through an unlikely game series I haven’t played in quite some time…

Uncharted.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves remastered. Screenshot by me.

I love the Uncharted series. It’s still fresh after all these years since the original version of Drake’s Fortune came out back in 2007. I got the remastered version of the trilogy, The Nathan Drake Collection, when it came out and only ever played through the newer version of Drake’s Fortune once. Now, I’m 100% sucked back into this world. And I think it may possibly be due to nostalgia… but also? I think it’s because I just really needed a good adventure to go on with a bunch of characters I really love.

Watch_Dogs hits too close to home for what’s going on in the digital world, and it seems like a huge downer while playing it. I love the concept, but after watching a documentary like The Social Dilemma? Do I really want to be playing a game that, while it may seem ridiculous, actually parallels reality in some ways? My answer to that is: not right now.

I’ve already completed Drake’s Fortune a few times since getting back into the series and have moved onto one of my absolute favorite games of all time: Among Thieves. It’s been a blast so far. Everything is so familiar, yet it has been that long since I’ve played the games that it’s like discovering everything for the first time all over again. 

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune remastered. Screenshot by me.

I think I have also mentioned this multiple times on here already, but this year has been tough to get through with everything that’s going on. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about going back to comfort shows, books, movies, games, and so on, just because it helps them and their mental health. It made me think about if I had anything like that that I could turn to in times like this to try and de-stress. Well, I think I may have found it in Uncharted. Honestly, booting up the game and getting into the menu to hear a variation of Drake’s Theme really makes me feel good as weird as it may sound! It’s made me rediscover how incredible the soundtracks to these games are (which sadly are not streaming on Apple Music but at least there is YouTube!) and rediscovering the stories has also been amazing and heart warming for me. 


Maybe this is part of the answer to tackling a video game backlog: revisiting games that make you feel good and/or games that you absolutely cherish. While Uncharted is a series I played through, I think game replays also count as part of a backlog as well. I’ve had this series on my list of games to revisit for so long, that now of all times feels the most appropriate to revisit it, and I’m happy that I made the decision to do so. Not to mention, it also reginited my love for Playstation trophy hunting… so now there’s that… It’s funny, because my first ever trophy was from the original version of Drake’s Fortune after I bought a Playstation 3 back in 2009! How fitting.

gaming

Microsoft + Bethesda = Xbox exclusive only? Hang on a second…

Bethesda Softworks used to be my favorite gaming studio and developer. Then, games were coming out from them that were clearly unfinished and rushed (Fallout 76, which I defended until almost every week a new terrible thing happened with the game and I just couldn’t do it anymore). I am still a fan of some of their studios, such as Arkane (Dishonored) and Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within). Bethesda have made some really amazing games as well, even before things started getting a little.. glitchy on the gameplay side of things.

Image from Gamespot’s Twitter.

So, why am I even talking about Bethesda? Well, today, Microsoft and Bethesda have announced a new partnership. According to this article by Gamespot, Microsoft has made a deal with Bethesda to the tune of $7.5 billion USD to acquire them and all their studios. The Gamespot article has all their studios listed in their article and has a lot more information about it, or well, what little information we have for now, so definitely do check out their article! An interesting thing to note? The new Xbox console will go on sale tomorrow. Maybe they were waiting for the prime moment to try to get those sales in because of how much of a disaster the PS5 pre-ordering went last week, for which Sony did apologize for and much respect to them for owning up to it!

It will certainly be interesting to see how this new partnership pans out for both Microsoft and Bethesda. Some concerns or worries would be that, what if future games are only on Xbox or PC? However, I believe not all hope is lost here. Microsoft also owns Minecraft, and that is on almost every platform ever with expansions and the new Minecraft Dungeons game also releasing on multiple platforms. There are also Microsoft “exclusives” that are finding their way onto the Nintendo Switch, with games such as Cuphead (which is now on Playstation), and the Ori game series, appearing on the Nintendo console’s game store for purchase. I also think that, while a few years ago there was a way bigger divide between consoles, that these days, they definitely seem to be coming together and willing to work with each other. I’ve seen nothing but support from both Sony and Microsoft in regards to each other’s new consoles which is honestly pretty heartwarming.

For now, I’m not too worried about the next Elder Scrolls or Fallout game being tied to the Xbox as an exclusive. While I know there will always be exclusives on every platform, I think a majority of the games coming from Bethesda and their studios will still be multiplatform. Some stuff may turn into what is referred to as a “timed exclusive” (basically, when a game or expansion is out first on one console for a period of time, then releases onto everything else after a certain amount of time passes), but I believe there is nothing else to worry about in this regard! I’m hoping with this new partnership, that maybe future Bethesda titles won’t release at launch totally broken like Fallout 76 did, but again, we will have to wait and see what happens!

Until then, let’s all try to get our next gen console of choice pre-ordered and await the amazing games that are coming on all the consoles, whether you are sticking with the current generation for a little bit longer or moving up to next gen later this fall. There’s always something for everyone!

gaming · technology

My thoughts on the Playstation 5 showcase.

Yesterday, the very much anticipated Sony Playstation 5 showcase happened and they did not play around. Not for a single second. I’m only going to go over my personal favorite highlights from it, though there were a TON of amazing games that were shown or teased that I am very excited about!

For those interested in watching, the showcase can be watched here! The showcase is also available in other languages if you go onto the Playstation YouTube channel. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend watching. It’s been my favorite gaming event so far this year from how well put together it was!

So now, onto my favorite parts!

Resident Evil Village, via Capcom

This franchise has been a favorite since I was very young, playing the first game on the original Playstation way back what feels like a million years ago. I’m a fan of all the games, though admittedly it did start to kind of… fall apart? As in, it was becoming a little too actiony and not enough of the horror elements that made it so special. At least for me. Resident Evil 7 completely turned that around and has gotten the series going back to its roots. I loved RE7. Even with the first person perspective. I thought it made it way more immersive and even though I’ve played it a handful of times, it still scares me to death in some parts! 

Resident Evil Village, via Capcom

Resident Evil VILLAGE looks absolutely terrifying and I could not be happier with how it looks and am very much looking forward to it. I love the weird, fairy tale vibe that it had going during part of the trailer, with who I am assuming is Mia Winters narrating an old tale. I’m also excited to play as Ethan Winters again since I really like him. And I can’t wait to find out what exactly Chris Redfield is up to! Is he the antagonist? Did he live long enough to become the villain? I’m curious to see how his arc goes in this. And I can’t wait to explore the village and see all the new creatures. They look amazing and so creepy! Also may I just add that I love how the story is actually continuing from RE7? Like, we may actually finally get some closure with some characters and not just have them as a one off and then tossed to the void? I hope this trend continues!

I already wrote a post about how excited I am for this which you can find here. However, let me briefly add a few things…

Demon’s Souls Remake, via Sony

The gameplay looks so smooth, and the flow of the combat looks great! I loved seeing the tiny teases of some of the bosses. This looks 100% loyal, true to the original remake which I am very excited for! Also, it’s a launch title. I really played myself when I said I would get a PS5 when DeS Remake came out. Well, here we are…

Also, the realism. This game looks so realistic. I think it’s most likely the player character and how they interact and react to the world. I was noticing it a lot more in this game play trailer. It was just really cool to see how far the series has come! I can’t wait to play this!

God of War: Ragnarok teaser image, via Sony

It was the tiniest crumb of a teaser ever, but it got me hyped. The first entry into the new God of War series was, again, incredible. I know I probably overuse that word, but it’s the truth! The cliffhanger God of War left us with along with the revelation at the end.. I’m hyped. That’s all I can say right now. I cannot wait for more information on this one. It’s going to be a ride, let me tell you. While I wait, it may be a good idea to replay the first one, and then maybe dive deeper into some Norse mythology!

  • Playstation 5 Price & Release Date
Playstation 5 pricing for digital and disc versions, via the Playstation Blog

It comes out November 12th in select countries, and then November 19th for the rest of the world. The digital only version is $399 USD, while the disc tray version is $499 USD. Of course, it’s sold out. I’m not sure how the pre orders were supposed to go. I thought I read that the pre orders were starting today, the 17th, but they popped up last night and sold out very quickly! As to be expected, though. Honestly, the only huge bummer for me is that DeS Remake is a launch title and I probably won’t be getting it at launch and will have to wait, which is also fine! I mentioned it in another post, but I most likely will end up waiting. Maybe for not as long as I initially anticipated because I had no idea that DeS Remake was going to be a launch title. In the meantime, there are plenty of other games to play and explore.

There were a few other things. Of course, the new Spider-Man expansion featuring the amazing Miles Morales. It has recently been revealed it will be coming to PS4, so I will be picking it up there first to play! The Playstation Plus revamp is also intriguing, however, I already own all the games that will be coming to it! Maybe it will be worth it in the future. The one thing I was going to talk about, but then yeah, kind of forgot.. was Final Fantasy XVI! We probably won’t get a ton of new information until next year, but the Awakening trailer was plenty for now. I will most likely give this its own post. There was a lot of stuff to dissect from that trailer! The same can be said for RE8, so stay tuned for some posts like that in the near future!

And with that said, I am very hype for the next generation of Playstation. I may not be able to jump in right away, but it will be well worth the wait! Until then, I’ll continue to get through my backlog!

gaming · inspiration

The beginnings of tackling a video game backlog.

I think it’s safe to say that I have had a never ending, always growing backlog of video games to be played over the years of having gaming as a hobby. I know I’m not alone in buying every game possible during one of Sony’s many flash sales that seem to happen too frequently. Yesterday, I took a look at my library, and I have over 300 digital games (including free Playstation Plus games), and that doesn’t include the physical games I used to buy (and still buy if I see something really good for super cheap).

With a new generation of console gaming upon us… how will I ever get through my backlog? I really don’t have an answer for it. Or maybe I have part of an answer?

A few “rules” I am making for myself for the next console generation may help solve some of my issues that I have with my backlog:

  • First and foremost!!! I’m done with the remasters. If a game came out on PS1, PS2 or even PS3 and is getting a full on remake, then yes, I am here for it. But if a PS3 game is just getting a visual upgrade or “remastered”, or even a PS4 game, then no thanks. I bought way too many remasters and I regret it. I’ll still play them since I have them. To me, it’s just not necessary to try to remaster a PS4 game on the PS5. Especially since I have a PS4 pro and the games look good enough already.
  • One thing that can possibly backfire with the above, is possibly the fact that developers will just add new content to a PS5 release of a PS4 game and stop supporting the PS4 version. Honestly? Trashy, but I get it from the business standpoint of wanting to make money. I’m curious to see how the first couple of years play out for this reason alone.
  • Something that I also did with the PS3 and PS4: I didn’t buy the new console right away. With PS3, it wasn’t until the end of 2009 when I finally got one thanks to Uncharted 2. With the PS4, since Watch_Dogs was delayed, I didn’t get the console at launch but I did get one that Christmas. And.. I didn’t really use it that much until Watch_Dogs came out in May of 2014. Sure, there were a couple of games that I played on it like Outlast, but I was still mostly using my PS3. This time, I’m waiting for a game to actually be out that I want before I buy the new console. I decided on Resident Evil 8 or Demon’s Souls remake, whichever comes first I suppose!

Speaking of Watch_Dogs

Aiden Pearce in Watch_Dogs, official promotional image from Ubisoft

I’ve decided since I’ve been kind of on a weird “wanting to learn and understand more about digital/social media” binge these days, I’m diving back into Watch_Dogs. My other excuse is that Aiden Pearce is coming back in Legion and I’m super excited to play as him again! I’ve only played both games one time only as they are rather lengthy and have a lot to do. I’ve already done the Alone digital trip to get my favorite costume for Aiden which took me almost 2 hours since I’m still relearning how to play the game again. 

Maybe I will get more inspiration or perspective on how to get through my backlog soon! If anyone else has a backlog and has any tips or wants to share how you get through it, please feel free to leave a comment on here!

gaming

The remake I’m looking forward to.

The age of the remake continues onto the next generation of console gaming, with Demon’s Souls, one of my favorite games ever, being announced as being remade! Finally!!

One thing you should know about me is that I absolutely love FromSoftware games. The worlds, the lore, the challenge, really anything and everything about the Soulsborne games is something I love experiencing time and time again. Add Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to that list as well. Now that I have a better laptop, I plan to explore their earlier games, such as Kuon which I’ve been wanting to play for literal years. It’s pretty safe to say that FromSoftware has yet to let me down, and they are my current favorite developer. Everything that Hidetaka Miyazaki has done (minus their VR game) since the original Demon’s Souls was released back in 2009 is a game that has a place on my top tier video games of all time list.

Now, when Demon’s Souls remake was announced.. I actually shed a few tears. This is something I, along with a large portion of the fanbase, have wanted for a long time. Especially since the servers went down for the original on the Playstation 3, so no longer can we invade worlds, help each other, or see player messages which is a key aspect of the games, in my opinion at least. 

Demon’s Souls Remake, possibly the first tutorial area, courtesy of Eurogamer

Now, getting back to the remake! It’s very exciting that we finally have confirmation that a remake exists, it’s actively being worked on, and honestly? When it releases will be when I move on to the next generation of console gaming with the Playstation 5

So, what changes would I like? I think the original version is fine as is. There are some parts that are definitely a challenge being an older game. But, I think most everything will be improved with the remake. I’m hoping for more fluid combat, I suppose similar to Dark Souls III. I’d love a total revamp of the Valley of Defilement if any areas were to be completely overhauled and redone. Every Souls game always has that one gross, dark area that you go to where you can’t see anything and you get flipped and turned upside down and walk off into the void of nothing only to be put back right at the beginning of the zone, so yes, maybe some tweaks to this. Although, again, I think that the remake will fix this and other areas and make them a little more visually and aesthetically pleasing to venture through and look at? Or maybe not…

Demon’s Souls Remake, fighting the Tower Knight, courtesy of Eurogamer

I’m also hoping for absolutely epic boss fights with the bosses that already exist from the original. The boss fights in Demon’s Souls were cool, but I feel that they can really be something special with the remake! It would be interesting to see if anything gets added or changed with the gimmicks some of the bosses have, but it would be nice if everything were to stay the same (for the most part). 

There’s still no release date, but until then, I’m catching up on all my Dark Souls lore by reading through some books and planning an ultimate replay of all the games!

gaming · writing

The Screenshot that Inspired me.

Admittedly, for a long time, I struggled with finding the motivation to write. My first major problem was that I didn’t know where to write. These days, I’m more into technology so I wanted to write a blog online somewhere instead of handwriting everything. I actually had an old wordpress a few years ago, which is now long deleted, where I would write solely about video games. Then I realized I also wanted to write about music and maybe post some of my photography. But that wouldn’t vibe well with my video game stuff. So, I ended up just shutting the blog down and not doing anything. 

I also tried Livejournal for years. I would always go on there and be, “oh hey, I’m going to write here everyday about stuff” and it would work for a couple of days, then I would lose my motivation again and just never log back in for another year (literally), just to do the same thing all over again whenever I eventually did go back. It made me wonder how I was able to sometimes update on Livejournal multiple times a day when it was hard to even update it once a day. How?!

Back in February, I decided to try my hand at opening an Instagram account for screenshots of the video games I played (virtual photography, which I will write about a little more soon), and just gaming in general. At first, it was very much centered around Resident Evil, but since then, has kind of turned into a more Final Fantasy 7 Remake based account. Though, I definitely do plan on posting more content on there than just Final Fantasy! It’s good in a way though, because going through the screenshots I took from FF7R really inspired me, and one in particular really got me thinking about how and where I wanted to write:

Aerith Gainsborough and Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Captured by me.

I wish I had taken more photos of Aerith’s garden and her house in general. It’s such a peaceful area in the game and I really loved being there. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live there?! Next time I play, I will definitely be capturing more footage of this area. Anyway, an interesting point to make is that Aerith really became one of my favorite characters from the entirety of Final Fantasy in this remake. I always loved her, but felt like I identified more with Tifa. However, Aerith really struck me in this. I’d love to look at the original FF7, Advent Children, FF7R (and all other FF7 related games/media) to find more insight as to how this happened. Maybe over the years it’s because I prefer playing as characters who cast magic? Maybe I prefer playing the healer role? Maybe I feel more for Aerith because of her backstory now? After editing the photo for my Instagram, I thought of the title of Aerith’s Garden as a place to share my thoughts on various subjects, and felt that if I could even write at least 500 words a day on anything, it would help me get back into writing.

I’m glad that Aerith and her garden were able to give me inspiration to make this blog, as cheesy as it sounds. And thank you for reading my tiny ramble of the day.

gaming

3 Games I’m Excited For!

I figured since I’ve been slowly diving back into horror games lately, I would start this off with 3 horror/mystery-esque games that I am most excited for that are coming out in the next couple of months.

Death Come True promotional image from Nintendo

The first one is Death Come True, which is actually out already on Steam and Nintendo Switch. However, it will be coming to PS4 on October 15th so I am waiting for it. This is another FMV style/live action game that seems to be becoming more popular. I’ve seen many of these games over the past couple of years and they all intrigue me. This one stars Kanata Hongo, who I absolutely love, and Kuriyama Chiaki, who I also absolutely love. Coupled with the fact that the writer and director of this is also the creator of Danganronpa, I am very interested in playing this. The basic premise is that Hongo’s character wakes up in a hotel with no memories and discovers he is a serial killer. Or is he? We’ll have to wait and find out in October unless I cave before then and get it on Steam.

Remothered: Broken Porcelain promotional image from PushSquare

The second is Remothered: Broken Porcelain. This is coming out on October 20th, just in time for Halloween. It’s a sequel to Remothered: Tormented Fathers, which I thought was brilliant. Despite some of its issues, it was a very creepy and interesting horror experience that I highly recommend to everyone who is a fan of the genre. I have been trying to avoid most of the new stuff about Broken Porcelain so I don’t have a lot to go on other than Rosemary, from the first game, is back and continuing her investigation, and we are introduced to new characters, one who is named Jennifer. The way everything tied together in Tormented Fathers was well done, so I have no doubt that the new characters and story elements will also tie in nicely together to form a great horror story. I’m very excited to play this.

Little Hope promotional image from IGN

The third is The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope which is coming out right at Halloween, on October 30th! This is from the creators of Until Dawn and Man of Medan, both of which I loved. Though, I think I liked Until Dawn a little more? I need to play through Man of Medan a few more times because I only played it once when it came out. Anyway, like the previous games, Little Hope seems to be another character and story driven experience. This time, we have witchcraft as a subject, so I’m curious to see how it goes. I also heard that this game took some inspiration from The Blair Witch Project (or maybe just the lore). Actually, take a look at the above image I posted and look inside the O of the word HOPE. Look familiar? And yes, that is Will Poulter in the image as well and I’m excited to see how he does in a game like this. One thing I really like about these games is how the timeline completely alters and shatters depending on your actions. You can have a perfect ending where everyone lives, or the worst possible outcome of everyone dying. 

All I can say is that October is going to be a very creepy month for gaming. I will be writing more about these games as they release and I play them and possibly starting to upload game play videos on YouTube but we will see! If I have time, I will also try to cover some FMV/live action style games, Remothered: Tormented Fathers and possibly both Until Dawn and Man of Medan all before their respective sequels release.