Games I’ve Been Playing – May 2020

May actually felt like a long month. So long that I am almost afraid that I forgot to mention some games I played during this month. Not that it is a big deal but I like the idea of having a record of some sort of what I was playing during the year.

One thing that didn’t happen this month was that I wanted to get back into Final Fantasy XIV and try to at least finish the Shadowbringers storyline and a few other things before canceling my subscription due to the economic crisis here. Unfortunately that didn’t happen as I kept postponing on it as I kept feeling overwhelmed with the thought of everything necessary to do before I could do any of those stuff. Some times taking breaks from a MMO can really suck. :p

In brighter news, I got quite a few things organized both in games and in real life. More in games than in real life but considering how long I’ve been meaning to do this, I will just consider it a win. :p

Anyway, enough rambling, this is what I’ve been to in this month, game-wise.

Spirit Hunter: Death Mark

It may not look like it from this screenshot but this game has some really creepy imagery

A friend of mine posted some screenshots of this game in her Discord server as she was playing it and it caught my attention. The art style of it is just gorgeous, so much that I decided to check it on Steam too, just to see if it was a game I’d like to play too. Well, turns out I already had put it on my Wishlist a long time ago but completely forgot about it! Since I was also in the mood for a short game and an horror one at that I bought the game and its sequel immediately.

It turned out to be a good idea as I had a lot of fun with the game. Like I said the art was gorgeous, the characters we interact with, while being a bit trope-ish, were interesting and stayed only as long as they needed to. I also liked to play detective, trying to figure out what was the truth behind the urban legend of each spirit as I found clues.

What kind of surprise me was that there were “boss fights” at the end of each investigation as you had to use the clues you found to select the right items to defeat each spirit. It was a pretty interesting, if unexpected, bit of gameplay. It also did a good job of making each spirit feel threatening even if I could take all the time in the world deciding on which items to use during the fight.

All in all, an excellent horror game, specially for fans of japanese horror and urban legends.

I haven’t started on the sequel yet as I thought I should play something else just to serve as a “palette cleanser”. But maybe I will do it this month. I could do with another short game.

Mass Effect 2

I’d love to collect coins! But they don’t shoot at my enemies nor do they have interesting backstory, personality or banter.

As soon as I finished the first Mass Effect game I jumped straight into Mass Effect 2. In terms of gameplay and graphics it was such a better experience. Except for the planet scanning. That part still sucks.

Granted, Mass Effect 1 didn’t have a horrible gameplay. It was just bland, specially with the classes as I always felt the only real difference was between the biotic classes and the non-biotic ones. The side quests also suffered from this, in terms of lore, world-building and story they were good but in terms of gameplay they were really repetitive. And don’t even get me started on the inventory! Mass Effect 2 pretty much fixed all those problems.

On the other hand, story-wise I still don’t like it as much as Mass Effect 1. At least not the main story or its premise. This is where, for me, the series started to go downhill in terms of story. I will admit though that the side quests and companion quests are definitely 10 times better than the first game.

I got to one quest just before the Suicide Mission and decide to do all the side-quests, companion quests and DLC I could before continuing on the main story. One of those DLCs kinda annoyed me though, so I am pondering if I should continue or not. My main purpose with replaying these games was to get a refresh about the lore (which I did with Mass Effect 1) and get a feel for the class I am thinking of playing in my group’s upcoming tabletop campaign of Mass Effect (which I kinda achieved already with Mass Effect 2).

There is also the usual angst about replaying a game I already played when I have a ton of games I never touched and would probably be happier playing.

I will have to think about this a bit more. But I might just drop it as my goals with these replays have been pretty much completed.

M.A.S.S. Builder

Paint me like one of your french giant robots

M.A.S.S. Builder seems to be basically an anime Sci-Fi game about giant robots fighting giant monsters. It is currently in Early Access but there is a free demo too, which is what I played.

Being a fan of giant robots of course I had to check it out! And as far as customization goes, I loved what I saw. Even in the demo alone there is some pretty good customization in terms of parts, colors and even decals. It is not only fluffy customization though, as it seems there are three different classes of robots and you can increase their capabilities through research. Although I didn’t get to really test that last two parts.

There is even a Photo Shoot mode where you can pose your creation and equip it with different weapons to show it off to the rest of the world.

The demo also has the tutorial mission allowing us to see how the robots moves and feel in combat. Again, there is a lot of potential in there but until I can fight against some actual enemies it is hard to tell how good the gameplay will actually be.

This is a game I will keep an eye on and once it gets out of Early Access will check again to see if I want to buy it. From what I’ve seem so far this seems quite likely. 🙂

Civilization VI

This is a screen I don’t want to see again any time soon.

Besides participating in the Succession Game hosted by Naithin, I also decided to play a bit on my own to check the new Apocalypse Mode and the Mayan civilization that came with the New Frontier Pass. It was… interesting. And I don’t mean it in a bad way. I mean it in a kinda of challenging way, even at lower difficulties. Or maybe it was just me playing badly. Or most likely both!

The sacrificial mechanics were interesting but I didn’t get to use it much as it required sacrificing military units and I never built too many of those to just casually sacrifice. This might have bitten me in the back at the later stages of the game as meteors started to fall and change the landscape. I have no idea if it would have spared me if I had made some sacrifices but it would be good to test. I will say this though, having a meteor fall on one of your cities, completely obliterating it, is amusing for like 5 seconds.

I’d like to think my enemies also suffered the same fate even if I couldn’t see it because I was playing a a small civilization and didn’t see much beyond my borders. I know at least one of my neighboring City States got obliterated by a meteor. I also happened to be Suzerain of it at the time too…

But those same units that can sacrifice others can be also used to try to call natural disasters and I could see it being used strategically against your rival. Again, not something I tested much as I was worried about other things.

This mode also sets Disaster Intensity to 4, the maximum the game allows, and again that was pretty interesting. I’ve never seem the climate change bar get to the maximum in one game or how it can change the map. Now I have and I am trying to be more careful about those in other games, even my normal ones where I leave that setting at 2.

In the end I lost because while I was focused on a battle to attain Scientific Victory against other rivals, another civilization game and nabbed the Diplomatic Victory. Next time I might just disable that option as it is too easy to win with it. :p

I also realized I didn’t have a ton of achievements I thought I did, even for Civilizations I was sure I had them already. But maybe I just confused them with Civilization V. Getting those achievements was another thing I tried to do but then quickly reminded why I didn’t get them: a lot of those a are just a pain to get. :p

Fate Grand Order

Scenes with artwork like this are kinda rare in this game but when they appear they are always worth the journey towards it

This month saw the return of the GUDAGUDA Meiji Restoration event. It was interesting to see how much better I did at it compared to last year. My roster is significantly bigger and more powerful than back in those days and I am also a slightly better player, giving more thought to my team composition and how to try to finish fights in the least amount of turns.

The event was never that hard to begin with but with one year of difference it definitely felt like it went much smoother. I was even able to beat the Challenge Quest, something I wasn’t able to do during the original run of the event! Neither I had to use my Command Spells to finish the fight, another thing that is extremely unusual for me in Challenge Quests!

Immediately after that was the Murder at the Kogetsukan event. This was an almost purely story event where we got to play detective in a murder case. At the end there was a poll where players could vote for who was the culprit and if the majority got the answer right then everybody would get some Saint Quartz.

It was pretty fun playing detective and figuring what was going on. Unfortunately in the end I didn’t get the culprit quite right, nor was I really happy with the plot twist. But to be fair they gave plenty of hints about it. Also most people got the answer right as we got the quartz, although I don’t know if it was due to actual deduction or because they looked for the answer from the event run in the Japanese version of the game, a couple of years ago.

And right now FGO is running the Hunting Quests as part of the 10 Million Downloads Celebrations. This is another case where a year apart is making a lot of difference. The Hunt Quests are a great way to farm some annoying materials and get some XP cards for different classes. Last year I struggled with some of them but this year I am doing much better. Well, not 3 turns to finish better but close enough that farming is working well for me. 🙂

Honorable Mentions: Azur Lane, Animal Crossing New Horizons, Monster Hunter World

Progress: Final Fantasy VII Remake (currently at Chapter 8)

Games Finished: Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, Mass Effect

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