Games I’ve been playing – April 2021

April almost turned out to be “Visual Novel Month” for me. Which I was totally fine with. But like in all things in life, an unexpected curve ball was thrown my way and I did end up with a slightly more variety in terms of genre.

In retrospect that might have been a good thing otherwise I’d only have two or three games to talk about this time.

Anyhoo, here is what I have been playing.

Nurse Love Addiction

Asuka in a hospital room with another nurse and a patient. The text box says "Perhaps because she stays in the hospital room and doesn't go out, her skin is astonishingly white."
This screenshot alone already brings back the feels!

I already mentioned this game in the previous month but I’d like to add a few more thoughts now that I finished all routes.

All in all I think it might have become one of my favorite visual novels. The story is pretty tight and interesting, the art is excellent and like I mentioned before, the voice acting is top-notch.

Having each romantic route provide a different part of the puzzle about the main protagonist’s, Asuka, mysterious past and the reason for her headaches was an interesting narrative device.

Speaking of which, of all the routes I think Sakuya’s was my favourite one. That took me by surprise since Sakuya was extremely rude during her introduction. But over time I started to like her more and more. I think of all the characters she is probably the most multi-faceted and level-headed. Even her violent side has a certain cuteness to it…. as long as you are not the target of said violence that is. XD

I felt Kaede’s route was the weakest one. That was extremely disappointing as her route was the one I was looking forward the most. To me it felt like the relationship development between her and Asuka were mostly plot demanded rather than character-driven like in the other ones.

To make it even more of a shame, the themes of Kaede’s route weren’t bad, quite the contrary, it was just the execution that was lacking in my opinion.

Looking back I think this was the perfect game I needed to play at the end of the previous month/beginning of this one. I just needed something relatively simple to play and that was entertaining. Nurse Love Addiction pretty much nailed it.

Nurse Love Syndrome

Kaori and Hatsumi talking in the break room. Hatsumi is saying how most professions only leech, giving nothing in return. But not many jobs lets you give back and really make you feeel alive.
Hatsumi can be the strictest of bosses but also the most supportive when you need it. Best boss ever! Would work for her again.

After I finished Nurse Love Addiction I immediately started to play this one. In case anyone is wondering, Syndrome is actually the first game in the series. I just got confused and played Addiction first. But besides the nurse theme and story structure there isn’t anything else linking both games.

I was hoping to finish this game before the month was over but that turned out to be impossible. This game is way longer than Addiction, plus one of the routes took me by surprise by having a very long ending.

Compared to it’s spiritual sequel, I feel like the story in Syndrome could have gotten another editing pass to make the story more tight. I am also not too much a fan of how near the end of each route they told parts of each character’s story as well as the decisions based on it.

Criticisms aside, it is a pretty good visual novel. One difference I found interesting in relation to it’s sequel is that Syndrome keeps the theme of working as a nurse all throughout the game, even when you lock into one of the routes. While in Addiction, the whole theme of studying to be a nurse stay for at most until the middle of the game then is dropped to the background so the game can focus on the character’s dramas.

Not that either approach is wrong, they are just different and entertaining on their own ways.

Anyway, at the time of this writing I finished 4 of the 7 routes (including the common one). I might comment on this game more next month once I finished all of them.

Elder Scrolls Online

Talking to a NPC called Fennorian about how we were captured by witches while entering Skyrim.
Even in the MMO I couldn’t escape the tradition of starting as prisoner in an Elder Scrolls game!

I almost forget to mention this game. I only remembered about it while I was looking for screenshots of this post…

The short of it is, Elder Scrolls Online was for sale on Steam and a friend of mine decided to gift it to me so I wouldn’t have an excuse to not try the game.

Give the game a try, I did…. for a couple of hours. I’ve played MMOs long enough to know that if it doesn’t grab me in the first hour it is unlikely that spending another hundred of it will make any difference. And in those couple of hours I just couldn’t get to care about it.

Don’t take me wrong, as far as MMOs go, it is pretty polished and I don’t have any real complaints about it. I just have a very specific view of what makes an Elder Scrolls game…. an Elder Scrolls game. Elder Scrolls Online didn’t fit that view. I don’t think any kind of MMO in the genre current style would fit that view.

As such as much as it pains me to not make more use of a gift from a friend I decided to not play this game. In fact, if I had any doubt that I could enjoy it then those doubts have been pretty much squashed. I never intend to play ESO ever again.

Monster Hunter Rise

Fighting Mizutsune in the demo
Don’t let his appearance fool you, this monster can be a pain to fight! At least in the demo…

Initially I was going to skip on this game due to my frustrations with Monster Hunter World. I was afraid it was going to be more of the same.

I still did give the demo a short try when it became available but at the time I just wasn’t in the mood for it so I just did the basic tutorial parts.

Despite liking the pseudo-feudal japanese aesthetics of the game and that we can have a dog helping us out I still stubbornly kept my position of skipping on this game.

Then I decided to watch a Let’s Play of Rise and my determination crumbled. Still I decided to do the proper hunts in the demo. The first hunt was pretty easy. The second hunt, the intermediate one, against Mizutsune, I kept failing miserably. It got to the point where I was wondering if I should buy the game since I couldn’t even complete a hunt the demo considered of an intermediate difficult.

Speaking about it with my friends they pointed out that the monster was a Rank 3 hunt and one of them also had a difficult time with it in the demo. They also pointed out that soloing in Rise feels a lot easier than in World. That they also said it didn’t feel as grindy as World. Given all these I decided to buy the game. If for no other reason just so I could take revenge on Mizutsune which I had nicknamed Mr. Bubbles.

A petty reason to buy the game? Probably. Do I regret it…. No, not really. Or at least not yet.

To be honest I only got the full game a few days ago and barely had the time to play it. What little I’ve seen of the game I am enjoying more than World though, just from aesthetics alone.

Like I said, I love the pseudo-feudal japanese looks of the game, the music is great, the doggo is pretty fun to fight with and the fights have been pretty easy. That last part I don’t know how long it will last though as I only fought two different monsters so far. Not to mention they are the introductory monsters of the game. :p

On a side note, I launched the demo again this morning to take the above screenshot. Apparently I was too dumb to do it the other three times I fought Mr. Bubbles even though I knew I was going to mention it. Guess how the fight finished this time? If your guess is that I killed the monster, then congratulations you just earned a imaginary dango!

Monster Hunter World

Here have a cutscene screenshot of Nergigante. Yes, I am feeling pretty lazy about screenshot here. How did you notice?

While waiting for my copy of Rise to arrive I decided to go back to Monster Hunter World. At the time I thought it was a good way to practice my hunting skills in the mean time. In the end it reignited my love for Monster Hunter.

Since everybody moved on to Rise and Capcom isn’t updating it anymore with events I am not pressuring myself to catch up anymore. Thus I can just hunt whatever my whims tell me to.

Right now I am about the middle portion of Iceborn’s main story, I think. I am trying to mix progress through the story with farming. In part to keep things varied and in parts out of necessity as there is a bunch of stuff I hadn’t unlocked yet.

That is actually one of the things that surprised me. There was a lot of charms, some mantles and other stuff I never unlocked before for some reason. I have no idea what past me was thinking, he probably was too worried to catch up to check those out. It just makes me cringe thinking how much time I could save if I just crafted them back then.

Oh, well, at least it is fun to go back to monsters that gave me trouble in the past and just wreck their faces. XD

My current plan is to play this and Rise concurrently. Not sure how well it will work as there are subtle differences between them which I am sure will trip me up in some tough fight. XD

Fate Grand Order

Oryou complaining about missing another opportunity to eat the player's character
Oryou, I am not food! D:

There wasn’t much of note in Fate Grand Order during the month of April. Most of it was taken with the rerun of the GUDAGUDA Legend of the Imperial Capital Grail event.

Thankfully it went pretty fast too since I already had some craft essences from last year. Also, skipping all the cutscenes helped too. >_>

The Lady Reines Case Files event also started in April. But since it is has been around for only a couple days I don’t have much to say yet. I like what I’ve seen of the story so far though. That might have be more because of the characters than the story itself. XD

More about it next month, probably!

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