Interim Report: Fall – Part 1

After the glory that has been Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Star Wars: Fallen Order I thought that finally a momentum started building up. After enjoying and completing both games, I would now(!) be ready and on fire – a Streak-of-Completion with my next selected games, and my Pile of Shame would finally start melting like snow on a first spring day.

Spoiler: Nope. Did not happen. Actually, it even got worse.

My meandering between games this summer / autumn was terrible. The worst ever. I started games and lost all interest in the middle of them. I swore I would complete this game, but I did not even made it on three hours in, or more than 15 minutes. One reason I did not post more these last months, was out of shame on my limited process. Shame, as in Pile of Shame, that is.

So, the moment of truth is now: Here is what I have played and stalled for – Part 1.

  • World of Warcraft Pandaria – stalled
  • X-Morph Defense – paused
  • I am Setsuna – stalled
  • Anthem – paused
  • Bastion – stalled
  • Ys: Origins – completed 1st play-through, paused

World of Warcraft – Mists of Pandaria (stalled)

They never convinced me… these Pandas. Never did.

Yes, you read that right. I stopped WoW after Blizzcon 2011, when the expansion was announced. After a mediocre, but still ok’ish Catalclysm expansion, I simply could not take this dramatic turn to Pandas, their comic-like presentation, all on beer, food and laid backness, embedded in a overflowing and intense Cliché-Chinese setting (on towards a new market). Too close to Kung-Fu Panda; and I really like the movie!

It did not sit well with the overall, at this time, brooding and dark atmosphere of WoW-Catalcysm. Also the reduction of skill-trees and the continuing trend to a more casual game was very disappointing. So my brother and I quit our subscriptions on that very night.

When a colleague from work was all hyped for the new Shadowlands expansion, he turned me around and I – in my already deep struggle of not knowing what I should play – agreed on subscribing again, transferring my character to his server, and even change alliance. I thought, I go all in here; that Euros would equal out towards more motivation to play. First I wanted to start with my trusty Druid, but rerolled on a Demon Hunter. Druid was so boring to play, and Demon Hunter provided at least some mobility and fun. So much for money spent and motivation to play.

To make things even more a ‘challenge’ I insisted on starting where I left – in Pandaria, and play on the Main Story Questline through all Expansions. I have trouble connecting with a game, when I have story-holes or simply jump ahead. And boy, that was probably a mistake. Questing and story was bland and horrible experience: C’mon Boy! – Fetch this! Fetch that! Shake the tree over there for fruits, cuz I’m a lazy fat Panda! Catch ‘dem squirrels!

Arriving from Final Fantasy XIV, as an all recognized Warrior of Light & Darkness, I simply could not bear (*heh*) this useless and shameful quest grind anymore.

Yes, I stalled. And nope, no return to WoW for me. I left for good this time.

Time played: approx. 18-20h.

X-Morph Defense (paused)

Our mother core landing in a caste in Britain.

This game was requested by my kids, when we looked for something new to play. It’s about being the commander of an alien invasion on Earth, where you try to defend your alien core from these pesky Earthling attacks.

Attacks happen on predefined paths, so X-Morph follows a Tower-Defense style of gameplay, where you build turrets along the way, to neutralize enemies approaching your core ship. You are flying around with your drone and upgrade towers and help shooting everything down.

Rather a fun game for in-betweens, but not really motivating in terms for completing it. Stages become simply more and more challenging and you will move across continents, so the surrounding changes once in a while.

Time played: 2h | Achievements: 7%.

I am Setsuna (stalled)

Let’s face it – gating is not cool, right?

The first game by Tokyo RPG Factory and quite a success in reviews and overall reception. Especially the soundtrack was mentioned often with praise, being mainly delivered on a piano; and I can only agree to that.

The game itself is true to classic 16bit JRPGs, but with a more modern engine, and really gets those nostalgic vibes going (so to speak). As with all JRPGS mechanics are constantly introduced, but it remains often unclear on how the meta in the end works out (or how it should work out). The game tries to explain a lot with Tutorials, although most of the time I felt the mechanics were under-explained or obscured by the game.

The story itself evolves around Setsuna, who is presenting herself as an offer to calm the late uprising in monster attacks throughout the continent. You, as the main protagonist were actually tasked to kill her, but then change your mind to protect her along her pilgrimage, which feels very close to Final Fantasy X’s Yuna storyline.

The game became very grindy later on, which would not be a big deal, but it forces you to re-do one cave over and over and over again to level-up your characters. Why you have to do that? Because there is a mid-boss gating you unless you reach a certain level to half-way get a chance on dispatching him. I did not hurry or stress-run through the game at all, did side-quests and also often looked for combat while roaming around, but I was still dramatically under-leveled when I reached this boss. After running the cave around 20 times, I still lacked some levels and was then quitting and postponing the game for good. As a side-effect I now have so much money and items, that I break the economy of the game and can buy everything I like. Which is of course nice, but somehow also a bit stupid.

I think I will finish the game at a later stage, because I really want to know how Setsuna’s pilgrimage will end.

Time played: 12.7h | Achievements: 30%.

Anthem (paused)

Flying with my Colossus really is an amazing feeling.

Yes, I bought Anthem on a sale for a one digit amount of Euros. The games’ lore, art style and mechanics have interested me from the first time I heard about them. When Anthem crash-landed and shattered at the ground of reality, I found the story around its’ development and BioWares’ incapability of delivering a good game in their latest releases intriguing.

So when I started playing, my hopes were not too high, but the game has convinced me otherwise. The story really is well delivered and the voice-actors do a fantastic job on bringing their characters alive (at least the main cast). The history and background story is atmospheric and well done, but the mystical bullshit-bingo sometimes way too much. Facial expressions are also fine and the overall feeling for the world feels really immersive.

When you move outside your hub, the flaws in design and engine show pretty fast. A rather stale world with mediocre shooter mechanics, and an awkward loot and equipment progression system. And as mentioned so often already: Flying is really something.

When I saw progress on Anthem 2.0 is under way, I paused and will wait for the update being deployed maybe next year. Really looking forward on how they will revamp the game; and BioWare always gets a second chance from me.

Time played: 5h | Achievements: 4%.

Bastion (stalled)

I made it this far … literally face down.

With all the hype about their latest game Hades, Supergiant Games seems like a pillar for creative and innovative game design. Bastion delivers a narrator-focused isometric adventure experience, which received a lot of praise and very good ratings on Steam.

But there is something that does not connect between the game and myself, from the moment I started. And this disconnection is so strong, that I did not even hold a single hour of playing the game; even though I am very interested in the overall-premise of the game!

Maybe I wait until the time is right. Whenever that will be.

Time played: 15min (yeah, yeah … I know).

Ys Origin (completed, paused)

The story is well delivered, and surprisingly interesting.

A game I started playing in 2015, as it was always reviewed as fast, fun and challenging. I stalled due to life-related reasons, but this one always nagged about somewhere in my back, so I finally gave in and restarted the whole journey.

And yes, I did not regret this decision. The game is really fun, controls are intuitive and snappy, bosses and challenges are exactly that and the story is also quite interesting.
AND you can replay the game with another character, which is always something I really enjoy, especially since Nier Automata. You also experience the story from a different point of view in Ys Origins and learn more about what is going on and why characters did what they did. In my second run I am now at tower level 14 when I stopped.

I really like to continue and go back to Ys Origins again. When even grinding is fun and feels really good, a lot has been done well.

Time played: 20.2h | Achievements: 15%.

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