It’s already October, holy cow. Well in case you hadn’t noticed I’ve been a little busy in September as I launched my first podcast Make Me A Gamer with my pal Harvey Z. As such I haven’t had as much time to write articles – I’ve also been kind of saving some of the more interesting topics that I would normally write about for discussions on the podcast. So please check it out – all four episodes so far are available here on this site as well as on Apple, Google, and Stitcher Podcast apps.
But since it’s October, it’s time for another update on what I’ve been playing! There’s not as much this month – a majority of my gaming time was taken up by Spider-Man which I already wrote a full review for here. But what else did I play? Well I dabbled a little into Destiny 2 since it was free for PS+ users this month in hopes people would then get addicted enough to buy the new expansion. I also jumped back into Fortnite for a bit thanks to the new season 6 launching. On PC I played a lot more of Into the Breach and Audiosurfed for a little bit. And on Switch I finally tried out Breath of the Wild – a year and a half after the hype died down.
So what did I think about all these games? Let’s find out!
The last time I played Fortnite was during season 4 – when Dusty Depot got turned into Dusty Divot and they added jump crystals. Since then they’ve added a bunch more new guns and items and removed others and a good chunk of the map has changed. I didn’t really get to play a lot – any skill I had built up over the few weeks I did play the game had atrophied over the course of two seasons in absentia. I think I managed exactly two kills over the course of about 10 or 11 solo game tries (although I did manage a 5th place in one of those games). But it was fun to dabble in the game again and try some of the new Battle Pass quests.
The big addition to season 6 was Pets – in Fortnite there are two different types of gear you can get for your character, skins and backpacks. The “pets” are a new type of backpack – as you’re playing the game you’ll have a friendly creature hanging out on your back. The first one you can get is an adorable puppy but you can also get a chameleon and dragon through leveling up the Battle Pass. It’s likely they’ll add more in the future (I can’t imagine a cat of some form is too far out). They’re cute and Bonesy (the puppy) will do things like bark his head off when you get a treasure chest or “Arooo” in victory when you score a kill. And if you’re worried about the adorable animals in a game where the objective is to kill everyone of your opponents don’t worry – there’s no actual realistic violence in the game and as far as I could tell the puppies and chameleons and dragons are all immune to any sort of in-game damage.
As for the game itself it still plays and feels the same as before, just with different additions to the map. I’ve mostly played in solo mode because I don’t have any friends to squad up with, but with the PS4 finally allowing cross-platform play I may be able to play with some friends who are on other systems. Or I may just forget about the game again until another new update catches my interest. It’s a fun game that I enjoy playing in little bursts but I don’t have the twitch reflexes of the kids half my age who happen to also be playing it, so I’m never going to get amazing at it. But I still enjoy jumping in every now and then.
Destiny 2 (PS4)
I wasn’t into the original Destiny – I played the beta and it didn’t really click for me so I never bought the first one. I’ve never really enjoyed MMORPGs and the formula for Destiny is in the most basic terms an FPS that’s an MMO. I’m not big on raid bosses that take forever to kill or maxing out levels by replaying the same content over and over again – and that’s pretty much what Destiny is about once you beat the campaign. Everything I heard about Destiny 2’s launch made it seem like more of the first game (but worse and with more problems) so I stayed away from it as well.
But for September it was a free PS+ game. I went ahead and downloaded it to try it out just because I had some time to kill before Spider-Man came out. I didn’t get very far – I basically finished the intro missions and got to the point where you could group up with other people and then stopped playing, so my opinion on the game is half-baked at best. It was fun as a shooter, though. Bungie still does a great job at mechanics and the feel for first-person shooting. I played as the Warlock class and it was really fun using special abilities as well. Mechanically the game is very sound, but nothing about the story campaign clicked for me. I can imagine it’s a fun game to play with friends – but again, I don’t really have any friends to play it with and there are other good solo FPS campaigns that I would rather gravitate towards. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s also definitely not my first choice of something to play. If I’m going to load up a multiplayer shooter it’ll probably be Overwatch (and I barely do that anymore, either).
Audiosurf is a great game that I loaded up and played a few times this month because I wanted something not very stressful or story-based after finishing Spider-Man. It works well as a palate cleanser. It’s a game that can be as soothing or as hectic as you want because it’s a rhythm-based racing game that uses your music to generate the track. You pilot a car (that looks similar to cars from F-Zero or Wipeout) and have to collect and match colored blocks that generate in time with the beat of the music. There are different modes and difficulties you can choose – I usually play the Mono mode as it’s the easiest and most relaxing to me – and when you finish a track your score is added to a leaderboard with anybody else who happens to have played that song as well.
If the song has a slow part, the blocks move slower and your car goes uphill – the color of the road turns cooler as well (blue or purple). But when the beat picks up and the drums are going crazy, you’re racing downhill and the track turns orange or red. Unique beats make for interesting roller coaster type moments as well so sometimes picking songs with interesting melodic twists give you neat visuals as you race.
I don’t play this game a lot but every now and then I go back to it because it’s a fun time-waster and music helps me clear my head. Doing something in time with the music helps me to relax and I’ve always been a fan of driving games (that have good music) as relaxation tools. This game allows me to clear my head in an enjoyable way while choosing just what exactly I’m going to listen to and I really can’t recommend it enough. There’s a sequel that came out in 2013 that I never got around to purchasing but I’m debating whether I want to upgrade to it or continue to use this as my calming factor.
Into the Breach (PC)
So I know I talked about this for last month’s summary as well but I played it a lot more in September and just wanted to reiterate how great this game is. I’d only just started getting into the game in August, but now I’ve got four victories under my belt (with four different mech teams) and have unlocked all but one of the squads in the game through the achievement system. It’s one of those games that gets better and better the more you understand and memorize the systems – I’m now regularly clearing whole islands with a squad and without failing a single objective (which gets you a decent reward on top of the regular ones for completing an island).
At first I was really annoyed at the final mission of the game because there are two parts to it and the second part felt unfair to me. You see, in every mission of the game you get to choose where your mechs drop which allows you a bit of strategy as you know where the bugs are starting. It also gives you the freedom to screw yourself over because you placed your starting mechs in the wrong places to properly defend – and while sometimes it sucks because you can’t rewind your starting position, it’s squarely your fault for setting up wrong. So in the final mission the first part works the same way as all the rest – but the second part you don’t get a choice where your mechs start and considering it’s the last level, you’re off the bat put into a very unfavorable (and at times seemingly unwinnable) position.
This frustrated me to no end after failing on the second part of the final mission several times after succeeding amazingly well on every island previously (and it really hurt when I was that close to a 4-island victory only for the bugs to overwhelm me so close to the end). I thought it was a major design flaw in an otherwise amazing game. And then I had a run with the Hazard Mechs (on the precipice of a 4-island victory) where I dropped into the second part of the final mission with only 3 grid power left and with the way the bugs moved I was going to lose on the first turn if I didn’t do everything perfectly. So I sat at my computer and analyzed the map for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out the optimal plan of attack – and I found one. Despite the fact that it looked like I was completely done and had no chance, there was actually a set of moves that eliminated all but one of the bugs, I took minimal damage myself and none of the power grid took damage either.
And that’s when, for me, the game finally clicked for real. I’d been enjoying the game already but that’s when the game elevated itself to another level. I finally embraced the puzzle nature of the game and suddenly what I thought was its biggest flaw was actually not nearly as bad as I thought. Yes, Into the Breach is more on the puzzle side than the tactical strategy side, but it’s one of the most satisfying puzzle/strategy hybrid games I’ve ever played. I’m going to be playing this well into next year so this will be the last time you see it on the summary (as I don’t want to retread the same ground too much) but I wanted to gush about how everything came together for me as I was playing it this month. Play this game if you love puzzles and strategy – you won’t regret it.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
Breath of the Wild broke the gaming world in 2017. It won Game of the Year pretty much everywhere, it was all anybody could talk about, and a lot of fans of the game were simply over the moon and couldn’t stop gushing about it. I, however, was playing Horizon: Zero Dawn at the time, and by the time I finished Horizon the game I really wanted to play (Persona 5) had come out – and so my Wii U copy of BOTW went on my backburner. A year and a half later I traded in my never-opened Wii U copy and got a Switch version and, in the weeks after Spider-Man while waiting for AC: Odyssey and Mega Man 11, I finally decided to try out this massively hyped, amazing, supposedly revolutionary, best game ever for myself.
I don’t really like it.
I’ve played it for a few hours – I essentially finished the Great Plateau (the game’s starting area) and have made my way to just outside the first town. I know that’s still relatively early in the game, but that’s about as far as I got before my interest started to wane. I don’t know if it was because of new console hype or new Zelda hype or maybe I’m just missing something obvious, but this doesn’t seem like the mind-blowing radical game that people couldn’t stop talking about for the last year.
I don’t like that your weapons are constantly breaking – I don’t mind weapon degradation but I could barely get through two or three enemies before my weapons was about to die on me. The combat felt super awkward coming off of Spider-Man and some enemies would kill me in one hit despite being in the starting area. (And then there were even more that could do it once I left the starting area.) The cooking system is kind of neat but not very intuitive the first time you do it. And while I get the aspect of having an open-world Zelda game where you can go anywhere and fight the final boss immediately if you want, it just sucks the fun out of the game when you get all the special abilities at the beginning and you know that’s it. Part of Zelda for me is exploring new dungeons, getting increasing new (and sometimes weird) abilities, and so on and so forth.
The game looks beautiful and has charm for sure. I’ll probably return to it a few more times to get slightly further into the open world aspect and see if it grabs me (but not until after I exhaust myself on MM11 and AC: Odyssey, my two main October games) but for now this game’s just not really my thing. Who knows, maybe next month I’ll talk about this again like I did Into the Breach this month. We’ll see.
And that’s it for the round-up! I’m hoping to get into a better routine of balancing blog and podcast this month, so be on the lookout for a couple new posts in the future. I have a few ideas I want to write about that I think will work better in blog form than in a discussion. This month I’ve already gotten Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Mega Man 11, and I’ll be getting the rerelease of the Dark Souls Trilogy in a few weeks so there’s a chance I may re-visit one of those games as well. We’ll see if I end up with enough feelings for a full review or if all of them will show up in next month’s summary. Thanks for reading!