Just a check-in (not even going to post this to Twitter). I’m not dead. Not yet, at any rate. Just haven’t felt like actually writing. Sure, I’ve had ideas for posts, and time to post them; but I”ve lacked the will to actually type them out. Not that anybody’s missing anything by me not writing them, but when has that ever not been the case? So, expect something in the nebulous future. Or not. It’s up to you.
Month December 2019
Looking Forward To the Next Year
It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s time to look forward to the next. And by that I mean video games, new ones.
Recently I was seriously thinking about getting a Switch and PS4. But of course, a game console needs games. So I was looking at what was out there, as far as exclusives goes. But it’s not just extant games that matter, but future ones as well. Since trying to predict which games won’t come to PC (especially for PS4) is pretty tricky, I decided I’d just make a list of games I’m actually looking forward to. The following list came from stuff I picked off whatever was the first hit from Google that looked reasonably complete, so I might be missing some; and of course there’s the caveat that any or all of these can be delayed or even cancelled, but at any rate, here is a list of games for next year, which I’m looking forward to coming out:
- Cyberpunk 2077 – I’ve been looking forward to this ever since the reveal. I’m very interested in cyberpunk stuff in general, and CD Projekt Red is a company I’ve come to expect good things from.
- Rune Factory 5 – RF4 is one of my favorite games, ever. I’ve been waiting for the continuation of the series ever since that game came out.
- Granblue Fantasy ReLink – OK, this probably won’t come out in 2020, but it might! I of course love the original game, and everything I’ve seen from the console version looks great.
- Granblue Fantasy VS – Another Granblue Fantasy spinoff, but this time a fighting game. Only kept out of the above list because I’m not to big into that genre. However, there is basically a single-player/coop RPG beat-em-up that’s also part of the game, which looks quite fun.
- Trials of Mana – I loooved Secret of Mana, and this looks like a proper sequel. Only kept from the above category because I’ve played some of the later Mana games, and they weren’t that good.
- Sakura Wars – A VN, but with gameplay? And it’s gameplay I might actually like? Sign me up!
- Final Fantasy VII remake – This looks like it could be a lot of fun. Not a fan of breaking up a single, older game into two-plus games, and I never really played FFVII in the first place, though.
- Destroy All Humans remake – Another game that I loved. But I want to see just what’s being remade, and how, before I fully jump on the hype train.
- Persona 5 Royal – Persona 4 is another of my favorite games, and I also quite liked Persona 3. Never got P5 proper because I never got a PS4. So I’m looking forward to playing the “definitive” version.
- Tales of Arise – back in the PS2/GC days, I really liked the Tales of series. But when gaming moved on past that, I lost contact with the series, for the most part. I played the Vita version of Tales of Hearts, which was fun enough, but nothing special. But Arise looks different, somehow. We’ll see.
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles remaster – This was a game I really wanted to get back when it came out, but I couldn’t. This is mostly just a fake nostalgia pick, to be honest.
- The Settlers – the city-building genre is one I’m a fan of. I’ve heard a lot of good about the original Settlers series, but they’re all so old and funky. Maybe this game will settle that itch, in a way that games like Patrican and Tropico haven’t quite gotten yet.
- Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines 2 – The original is another of my favorite games, so any sequel is going to get my interest. But what I’ve seen isn’t too promising. Nonetheless, there’s still a lot of time to fix things, and we’ll see how it goes when it comes out.
- System Shock – I liked SS2 well enough, but never could get into the original. This is my chance, but I’m not really a fan of those old-school shooters.
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore – I wanted to try this game, but I didn’t have the system, and the censorship issues didn’t drive me to rectify that situation. I still want to play it, though it looks like this version will still have the censorship, even in the Japanese. I’m going to keep an eye on this one, to see if anything comes of it.
Granblue Fantasy Episode 10 and Other Things
This episode is much improved: certainly the best episode since we left Albion and Vira. The pacing is much better than it’s been in a while as well. This was one of those episodes where look at the clock and think “how did so little time pass? so much has happened!”. Still, the arc isn’t over yet, and the episode isn’t without flaws.
We start out with the rest of the crew discovering what had happened at the end of the last episode. Rackam is of course shellshocked, but he is quickly roused back to fighting trim. Also, who else but Rosetta swoops in to help save the day! I actually like how the anime has portrayed her: she is a primal beast, after all, so it makes little sense that the crew would have been in so much trouble, so often, if she was there. (Also, she was with Gran’s dad’s crew, and thus knows all about Lyra and Vyrn; the fact that it all stays so mysterious in the game for so long is a major plot hole; here, she herself is much more mysterious, and much less involved, though always present if needed…much like Sierokarte…) So, Rackam and Rosetta team up to save Noa, while the rest go with Siero to save Gran and Lyria.
Meanwhile, Gran and Lyria get an audience with the PM herself, Freesia. She basically tells them everything is going according to her plan, which is to rewrite history so the Astrals never had any influence. I’m not sure if this is a change from the game, or if this is just a front she’s putting up. I mean, “I hate Astrals because they’re invaders” is a lot more impressive than “I hate Astrals because my girlfriend married one”. And I don’t really like the whole “just as planned” thing they have going on here. “Oh yes, I certainly assigned a new officer with a savior complex to watch over a cute girl (who had reached her limits in the lab), because I certainly expected said knight to abscond with said girl, and for them to go on wild adventures that lead to personal powerlevel growth, instead of just getting the hell out of Dodge, or going into hiding.” Yah, not really buying it.
Of course, the various rescues go off without a hitch. Though this scene really shows how incompetent, or weak, Gran is: he got beat right quick when the Imperials showed up earlier; but Io and Katalina just bash right though several mooks (it’s nice to see that Katalina is actually the combatant she was hyped up to be, even if it’s not portrayed very well (because anime can’t into effective armor); I don’t expect this to ever happen again). Noa is saved too (there’s a lot more exposition there), and apparently everyone gets away and the Grancypher is fixed, because that last scene seems to indicate that the crew is completely out of the Empire’s grasp at present…OR ARE THEY?
I don’t really know how they’re going to wrap this one up. I think next episode is the last “proper” episode of the season, with one more special episode (like the beach episode last season). But there might be one more afterwards. Sticking the Halloween not-rerun in there really threw things off. But as for this arc, I guess they have to do something with Mithra. I wonder if they’ll bring Orchis in for this like in the game, or just do it without her; either way works.
In other, BREAKING NEWS, the Mouse/Rat Zodiac character is NOT a Harvin. I feel robbed. Mouse would have been perfect for a Harvin (because they’re small, get it?), and there isn’t any real opportunity for a while. I mean, Erunes are easy for this, because they already have so many animal ears, and Draphs work for the zodiac animals with horns and tusks (so the next is Ox, obviously Draph for that). Then Tiger, another Erune, and Rabbit pretty much has to be another Erune. Not until 2024 is there an ambiguous one, with Dragon. Oh, and by pattern, it’s Harvin’s turn. Not only was I robbed a cute Harvin, but the Harvins themselves were robbed! This is a sad day, for sure.
And, it seems, Dragalia…Lost… Doomposters going to doompost, but things seem serious over this game. Even Reddit, the bootlickers of the century, not only let a series of doomposts through, but actually gave them upvotes. Of course, the big tell is that the new
Christmas Dragonyule Malora is unvoiced. In a game where a large draw for the unit (at least for Japanese audiences) is the fully-voiced units and character stories (at least for the high rarities), having an unvoiced unit is terribly alarming. Having two unvoiced units, one of which has SEIBAH (Ayako Kawasumi) voice, who is BIG NEWS for the voice actor lovers, is pretty much a death flag. I’m going to reserve judgement until we at least see the next main story chapter and banner, but this is severely troubling. I’ve already curtailed my (admittedly limited) spending, just to see if it’s worth spending any more in this game. It might seem like a little thing, but this, combined with the garbage Megaman event (collaborations are usually huge deals), and the constant stream of rerun events, even for holidays, are deeply concerning.
And I’m going to predict an announcement of STO 2, perhaps as soon as the anniversary (at the beginning of February). Probably not that soon, but the dev team has definitely been working hard on something, and it’s not the game in its current state, that’s for sure. I figure that STO 2 is going to be the next major Cryptic project, after Magic: Legends. (For which I’ve already signed up for the beta.) I just feel it in the air: player counts are down, spending is down, player retention is down, vets are getting upset (who knew that going All STD All the Time would hurt player counts for a game primarily made of fans of the older shows, to which STD bears very little resemblance besides in a couple of spaceships?). And yet it persists. I guess we’ll see.
Granblue Fantasy Episode 9 Mini-Review
This episode is…not so boring! An improvement! After all the garbage and adventures this crew has had to go through, it’s time for the Grancypher to get some repairs. So they go to Golonzo, where all the best facilities are. This is a Grancypher episode, so it’s a Rackam episode.
We finally get some backstory on Rackam, and a tiny bit more for Eugen. Both were on Golonzo in the past; it seems Eugen was a regular, but Rackam was there when he was a little kid. So of course we get all that “I remember when you were a crybaby milkdrinker” stuff, all the time. I don’t know how everyone remembers that, since it had to be about twenty years ago, and this is a big island with lots of visitors, but whatever. (In the game, Golonzo is a tiny backwater, only notable for the shipyard, and even then only by those in the know, so it made a bit more sense that everyone would remember this one kid.)
We get to meet the mysterious fellow from Rackam’s dreams, Noa, who turns out to be the primal beast…of building skyships. That isn’t much of a combat power, unfortunately, so of course he’s been captured by the Empire for their nefarious experiments. And all he can do, even with a dark essence boost, is make a bit of wind and apply a photoshop filter to the Grancypher (right when she was about done with repairs, too! the nerve!). Oh, and Gran and Lyria get captured too. Turns out all you had to do was hit them on the head!
I really hope this only stays two episodes. If it’s three, like the last over-extended arc, then that will take us to the end of the show. And leave with a cliffhanger, since the end of this is where Lecia and Monica show up, to take us to the first actually good bits of the main story, where things at last finally start to get explained (though it will be another hundred or so chapters before that beginning is over and we finally know a bit about what’s going on!). I don’t want to wait another two years for the first potentially good season to start.
November In Review, December Plans
Another month down. November is probably my favorite month. It’s not quite the end of the year, but almost. Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It’s my birthday month. The weather’s getting cooler, but not actually winter yet (though it may snow). Perfect time to play some video games.
But, did I do what was planned? What I thought I’d do, at the beginning of last month, was:
- ESO on “daily” status
- Play Atelier Ryza (and possibly finish)
- Get Cities: Skylines going
- Get maybe a Switch or PS4 on Black Friday; RDR2 too
Not exactly ambitious. So they were easy to accomplish! Which I did. ESO is more or less on “daily” status. It might have fully been so, but I decided randomly to create an alt (OrcSorc tank – I like to live on the edge!), and play a different campaign (didn’t feel like doing the Daggerfall Compact on my main). But most nights, yah, it’s just doing my daily writs and training horsemanship.
Did finish Atelier Ryza. As mentioned before, relatively short. Decided against getting any of the DLC, since it seems to add maybe a half-hour of story, and a single end-game boss per character. Not worth it to me.
And I did indeed start up Cities: Skylines again. I’ve been watching Youtube videos of people fixing up traffic issues (pretty much most of the game), and I’ve been trying their ideas. Not quite there yet, but every time I get ideas. Also, the game keeps me up at night – “I’ll just add a few more streets,” or “I’ll just fix this one traffic issue”. Fun times, but less fun when you go to bed an hour late and you have to wake up two hours early for a meeting.
As for Black Friday…that was a bust. No deals on Switch, and only one deal for PS4 (Slim, not Pro), and that was sold out long before I got to it. Not too many deals on games, either, though I did get the Elsewyr expansion for ESO – if I finish it before June, when the next expansion comes out and Elsewyr becomes part of the sub, I think I’ll have gotten a good deal. I saw RDR2 on Steam today; thought about it, but I’ll be giving it a pass for now. I’m just not in the right place for it at this point.
December plans? Honestly, I have little idea. In the mobage realm, December means free rolls and Christmas events, so that’s always fun. I’ll keep on keeping on with ESO. One of these times I’ll “beat” C:S, finally figure out how to make a good, big city with nice traffic. Maybe the various Christmas sales will entice me to something, but I doubt much will come of it. And I might give something in my backlog a go (almost did this past weekend, but ESO caught my fancy for that time).