So I’m in something of a funk right now. Currently I am in Asia, relaxing with my girlfriend. It’s been beautiful, I have no commitments and all the time in the world to play some god-damn video games….
But I cant decide what to play. It’s aggravating me beyond all reason, I’ll fire something up, and stare at the title screen for a couple of minutes. And that’s as far as it gets. I feel like the short-sighted guy in that old Twilight Zone episode.
I have with me the following gaming-enabled devices:
- 1x PlayStation Vita (Black, 1000 Series.) My faithful steed. Tried and true, packed full of games that have seen me through countless hours. Never leave home without it
- 1x Nintendo Switch (Grey, because why would you not.) A new friend, stylish and slick. While there currently arent a lot of interesting games for the system, its fast on its way to winning my heart.
- 1x Asus Republic of Gamers GL502VM gaming laptop, a beefy little machine that is used almost exclusively to play strategy games from the Total War series.
I suppose I’m hoping that by writing this post, inspiration will strike me and I can make some headway on my backlog. Keep in my mind, if I was home, with my PS4, this would not be a problem. Persona 5 would be destroying my life, it would be my everything. I’d also like to see what Mass Effect: Andromeda is really like, even with the recent facial animation hullabaloo and surrounding controversy. And last but certainly not least, Dark Souls 3 has quietly been putting out quality DLC, and I think I’m ready to revisit Lothric. But I’m on holiday for another month yet, so that will have to wait. In the meantime, our options are:
Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai
Ok, so I’m a HUGE history dork, and the Total War series has always scratched that itch/fulfilled my fantasies of commanding thousands of soldiers locked in glorious combat from the comfort of my own home. And while I own every title in the series, Shogun 2 as a whole has always been something very special. I have a frankly embarrassing amount of hours logged in this game, and even joined the modding community for a brief stint, in one of the nerdiest periods of my life. Its the era, and Creative Assembly’s flawless vision for this game that keeps me coming back. Sure, the AI can make some careless mistakes, and it can be somewhat anachronistic, but this might be the perfect game for me.
But specifically, its the standalone Fall of the Samurai DLC that is calling to me lately. Ever since seeing Tom Cruise’s magnum opus, The Last Samurai, in my youth, this period of history has fascinated me (The Boshin War, leading up to the Meiji Restoration). The samurai tradition of Bushido, with all its millennia old legacy of honour and uniquely Japanese style, smashes headlong into the West’s industrial revolution, and its modern ways of war. There is just something so iconic, and tragic, about samurai with katana drawn, bravely charging into massed rifle and cannon fire. It’s the old against the new, East meets West. Its inevitable, bloody, and glorious. And its a fantastic video game.
And with all those hours I’ve sunk into this title, I’ve never completed a FotS campaign. I’ve been thinking about firing up a Satsuma campaign, and going for the Republic victory condition, where instead of fighting for the Shogun or the Emperor, you attempt to create your own government. Of course, this means all the other factions on the map turn against you, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. Still, that challenge might be just what I need.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Sweet, sweet Zelda, you have been so good to me. These past few weeks I’ve dumped nearly 70 hours into this incredible game. Like many folks out there, it was the reason I bought a Nintendo Switch. Really, what more needs to be said about this game? I had originally intended to review this game myself, but in the end I’m glad I didn’t. This was a pure, perfect gameplay experience that I don’t think I will ever forget. While I’m sure BotW will be remembered as a modern classic, it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I was just finishing up at my last job, I had been there for a couple of years, and was finding it hard to put in a lot of effort. You know how it is, when you know you will be quitting shortly, you kind of start to phone it in. But coming home, putting on my headphones, and just getting lost in Hyrule, really got me through it.
But, after all that time, after defeating Ganon, freeing four Divine Beasts, 60 or so shrines and God knows how many Korok seeds, I still have the urge to go back. Maybe just for the shrines, or maybe just to roam around the fields on one of my many mounts (named after notable figures from the 1800’s), and enjoy that beautiful world. Part of me knows that I shouldn’t, though, as there is DLC coming, and a hard mode that is very intriguing to me. That will mean an inevitable second playthrough, so I really should just wait. And its not like Napoleon is going anywhere, right?
Persona 4: Golden
And finally we come to my dirty secret. I have played through Persona 4 before (and at around 100 hours logged, I feel like I know it back to front), but I got the bad ending, and that has never sat well with me. Add that to the fact that I only need a couple more trophies for the platinum (even if one of them is Hardcore Risette Fan, fml) and the knowledge that once I get home its going to be P5 all day, every day, it feels like it’s now or never. Plus, its always hard to go back to older games like this after playing the newest iterations. I mean, I love P3, but P4 is just SO much more playable…
But its a commitment, you know? I love the grind, but this is a LONG game. Still, its been a couple of years, and I have nothing but time. Its probably worth it for the soundtrack alone, and of course, Dojima. I fucking love Dojima. Its not often that I feel like I really owe it to a game to see it thorough, like, to completion, 100%. Persona 4 is one of those games. If you have never played through it you really should, its something special.
Well that’s where I’m at, a virtual crossroads of sorts. The beauty is, I can fire up all of these games at once, create a filthy den of gaming on the couch. Grind out Social Links in Persona in between Total War turns, while listening to Princess Zelda’s terrible voice acting like some kind of animal.
How about you guys, ever feel that gaming malaise? Or, do you have any suggestions for me? I’m open to ideas. Let me know below, and thanks for reading 🙂