Games I’ve been playing – January 2023

The month of January was just chaotic for me. Everything I wanted to do turned out to take far more time or be more complex than I was expecting. Or both.

To top it off there were also a few events in real life that just made me stressed. The end result was that not only I played less than I wanted to but certain things I wanted to complete this month remain incomplete.

I even missed the New Year’s event in Final Fantasy XIV and Expedition 8 Redux in No Man’s Sky! The first I don’t mind too much but the latter felt like a bummer.

The month of February though is at least looking a little brighter right now. Hopefully this won’t be one of those cases of famous last words! XD

Oh, I am also getting an itch to play Minecraft again which might derail everything even further!

Anyway, here is what I have been playing.

Raging Loop

Haruaki talking with Chimei just outside the dinner in Yasumizu. He says "Yeah. Believe me, I know I shouldn't stay here long. I can take a hint."
Haruaki that is a death flag right there! Also, Chiemi is best girl!

This game took me almost the entire month to finish. Granted there were a couple weeks I barely played because I was too busy making battlemaps (more about it below) or was too tired/annoyed to do anything.

If it takes me this long to play Visual Novels in a month than my idea of playing 23 of them until the end of the year is completely doomed which I already kind of expected. XD

I will still try anyway, just because is a good excuse to play a bunch of games I’ve been meaning to.

As for Raging Loop, I only have a couple of alternate endings to unlock and some side-stories to read. I also need to stop procrastinating and write a proper review of it. But just in case I don’t do it, I will say this: Raging Loop is an excellent mystery story about murder, tradition, religion and what people will do when they are bound by those. For a game based on a very relatively simple concept they did an excellent job of fleshing it out.

I haven’t decided yet on which Visual Novel I will be playing next. Probably something romantic since it is the month for that. It will be at least one that isn’t filled with tragedy and murder because I had my fill of those after playing The House in Fata Morgana and Raging Loop back to back! XD

Fate Grand Order

Kiichi Hogen just showing up in the Novum Chaeldae command room. She proclaims "I am one of the greatest swordfigthers and strategists of all time, as well as one of Kyo's most famous onmyouji!"
She is also one of the humblest. Okay, seriously, she is actually a great teacher and a good person.

As it is tradition in FGO, the year began with the usual Lucky Bag. That is where we can pay a little to get at least one guaranteed SSR servant. The banners this year were all excellent too, there was just no wrong choice no matter which you chose.

At first I was pondering if I should go for the White Four Horsemen banner to try getting the OP Arjuna Alter or one of the Red Extra banners since I could use more alter egos/avengers/rulers and they had characters I want.

In the end I decided to go for the purely logical choice which was the White Extra banner. I didn’t have any of the servants in that one so no matter what I got it would be a new addition to my roster.

The one I got was Ashiya Douman which was the second least servant I wanted from that banner. Not because he is terrible mind you, quite the contrary, gameplay-wise he is top-tier. It is just that I found his appearances in the main story and personality extremely boring.

Oh, well, he is an Alter Ego, which is something I wanted and a pretty good one at that so I am not going to complain about it.

As for events, there was first a re-run of the Saber Wars II, which is still one of the most amusing events for me, at least in terms of story. Then a few days after it there was the Little Big Tengu event which should end tonight.

One thing that I liked about Little Big Tengu is that it gave us a peek about myths from ancient Japan, even if it is from a Fate Grand Order lens. The welfare servant, Kiichi Hogen, seems to be a decent support/AOE assassin which is kinda rare in this game.

Blue Archive

Serika wearing a black swimsuit at the beach. She shouts "Who cares who we protected? I don't!"
Serika is always cute when she is acting like a tsundere

This is the part of these posts where my memory is a bit shaky. I blame it in part to my usual terrible memory and in part to the chaos I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

The only event I can remember that happened was the Abydos Resort Restoration Committee which already finished and its second part Business Trip! Momoyodou Beach Bar Franchising Plan which started a couple days ago. If it is not clear by the name they are summer themed events.

If this sounds like a weird time to have a summer themed vacation, at least considering their main target markets, I agree. The only reason I can explain it is that they are trying to catch up to the Japanese version of the game. That or they just don’t care about matching their game events with any real life ones.

The first one was pretty much the traditional story nodes with some battle nodes to grind for event shop tokens plus other goodies. It also had a raid to allow us to earn more goodies.

Like previous events I was able to progress slightly farther in the battle nodes, getting closer to the point where I can clear the event’s shop. Or in this case the event’s lottery.

The second part of the event is a kind of territory conquest board game. You have to unlock some territories to fight enemies. Then after you beat them you then can assign students to manage it and earn event tokens/in-game cash/skill up items.

It is an interesting change but I am still trying to figure out the best strategy for it. Specially because I do not have enough students to fill up all the managerial spots that I conquer.

The story has also been very enjoyable.

I also think I am ready to give another shot at that main story battle I have been stuck at. I just have been procrastinating at it but will give it another try soon!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound – Shadows in the Mist

This month we started on book two of this pre-made campaign. Actually, the first couple weeks of the month I spent making battlemaps for it. I thought it wouldn’t take too long because there were maps in the books I could reference but nope turned out to be a lot of work!

If you are wondering if I couldn’t just have used the maps from the book the answer is no. They are too low resolution and don’t have a player version. Plus they don’t have battlemaps for the first fights either.

Could I just do it all Theater of the Mind then? Sure. But I have a terrible time visualizing anything and I don’t want to risk misinterpreting the positions of the player characters and inadvertently killing them. This isn’t even a silly fear, it is something that actually happened once a long, long time ago. So, yeah, battlemaps are just safer for me.

The good news is I was able to finish all the battlemaps for the adventure before we started. The bad news is I wasn’t able to do all the other preparations I wanted to. But I am slowly catching up on that.

I still have one battlemap to do but that is because the personal goal for one of the players took a different turn than what I was thinking of. But it is a better idea than the one I had so I am not going to complain about it!

Another thing that took quite a bit of time was doubling the toughness of all the encounters for this book. We decided to give this a try just to see if the fights become more interesting because before that everything was dying in seconds, making the fights really boring for everyone involved. So far it seems to be working but I am wondering if I should also increase the enemies attacks.

In terms of story it is so much better than the first book. If for nothing else for being less railroady and giving the players more actual agency on how to solve the task at hand.

There are still some ideas that feel underdeveloped though and this time I only noticed it when the players didn’t seem to get one of the problems in this particular conflict. But I think I know how to flesh it out a bit more.

But to be honest I am already itching to play something else. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this setting and I still intend to run this campaign for as long as my players want to keep going. I also don’t think the system is bad, combat balance issues and lack of GM advice aside.

It is juts a mix of my usual ADD kicking in and me yearning for an even lighter system that would make it easier for me to GM.

So after this campaign is over I will switch to a different system. The plan is still to eventually switch to FATE but we’ll have to give it a try first to see if we like it. Just no idea what the next campaign will be. I am craving something modern or sci-fi right now. But I’d make an exception for something like Blades in the Dark.

We’ll see how it goes.

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