December has been a bit of a strange month. I guess that may be true for a lot of people, what with the holidays and all. But I feel like I’ve just kind of flitted around and haven’t really gotten deeply involved with anything. Having the Steam Deck has been a pleasing distraction as I’ve messed around with it a bit, and the knock on effect is that I’m paying attention to PC gaming again. I haven’t really PLAYED many PC games but over the holiday break I started watching a bunch of YouTube videos about great deals in the Steam Sale, as well as watching lots of gaming-related tech videos.
Last Month’s Games
Pentiment completed, and got a blog post.
Genshin Impact is back in rotation but once again I’m ruining it for myself by being fixated on the “Battle Pass” and playing to advance that rather than playing to enjoy the game. Not sure how I can break myself of this habit. I still haven’t started Chapter 2 of the story, for example.
Dying Light 2 got an update that includes a ‘prevent motion sickness’ setting, which led me to reinstall it. The setting in fact helps, so after making a huge announcement about how I am DONE with that game…I’m back to popping into it now and then.
Gotham Knights is, I guess, dropped for now. Haven’t played it at all recently, but I DO want to get back to it. I was liking it well enough, I just get so easily distracted.
Spiritfarer I guess I have to admit, is dropped. This was an Indie darling in 2022, I think, and I kind of like it but the pace is just so slow.
New Games This Month
Steamworld Heist completed. I’ve been poking at this on the Switch for months. Maybe years. It’s kind of a space opera. You control a crew of Steambots on a series of missions. Movement is turn-based but shooting requires aiming a wavering gun at the enemy. It was a pretty good game that, for me, overstayed its welcome a bit. Might have been due to how I play games, since I kept trying to keep all the characters leveled up which meant replaying missions over and over. Once I started getting bored I just focused on 4 characters and moved through the game fairly quickly. I ended up finishing at something like 26 hours when Howlongtobeat says it should take 12.5. So yeah, just me being me.
The Witcher 3 got that Next Generation update so I decided to start it up again. I’m TRYING not to get distracted and do a ton of side quests because the last time I had a go at The Witcher 3 I got bored out of my mind because I became so over powered. That said, I noticed there is now an option to Scale Enemies and I don’t know if that is new or just something I never noticed before. As I write this I’m in Crookback Bog so still pretty early.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a game I bought at launch since it was made by the team who made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, a game I simply LOVE. But Fenyx is a lot more puzzle-based which I wasn’t expecting, and I bounced off it pretty hard. Now I’m giving it another go, starting fresh and knowing to expect the puzzles. I just got going with this one in the past week so we’ll see if it sticks or not.
Wasteland 3 is a game I’ve started a few times but never made a lot of progress in. Giving it yet another go. I mentioned I’ve been watching a lot of PC gaming videos on YouTube and they’ve created an itch to play something turn-based and tactical and Wasteland 3 seems to fit the bill. I’m playing it on the Xbox, but it is on Game Pass for both Xbox and PC and I’m a little conflicted. It definitely plays better with mouse and keyboard but I spend a lot more time gaming on the TV than I do on the PC so… we’ll see.
Final Fantasy, the pixel remaster, is my first Steam Deck game. I actually started it on the PC a while back and picked up where I left off but, boy howdy they don’t make this easy. There is no kind of quest log or anything and so I have NO idea what I’m supposed to be doing. I finally had to look at a walkthrough and I’m using that as my external quest log. You forget how hard these old games could be in unexpected ways!
The Peripheral (Amazon Prime) was really good. It’s run by the same folks who did West World on HBO and has kind of that same trippy vibe. But it’s also the kind of show I don’t want to say much about because you should discover it all for yourselves!
Mythic Quest S3 (Apple TV+) has been quite enjoyable. Love this series.
Star Trek Voyager continues plodding along as our lunchtime viewing. I find it all really uneven. Some episodes are decent, some are super cringy. But you probably know this already. Who hasn’t seen Voyager?
The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+). It’s (I’m guessing) late in the 19th century and the fishing village of Essex is in a panic over a mystical/mythical serpent which may or may not exist. Meanwhile in London, well-to-do Cora is freed from a horribly abusive marriage by way of her husband dying. An amateur naturalist, she gets it in her head to go to Essex to determine if the serpent is real or not. She finds a village still in the throes of dark age religion, with the exception of a handsome vicar who tries to re-assure the villagers that the serpent is not real. He is constantly undermined by another religious figure (I was never sure of his rank) who preached fire and brimstone and claimed the serpent was sent from god to punish the villagers for their sins.
This is a 6 episode limited series that quickly turns from an interesting mystery to a painful romance. The first 5 episodes are grim, but it doesn’t take long for the serpent to be forgotten in favor of watching Cora be horrible to the people around her, all of whom, for reasons that I never understood, seem to be in love with her. She encourages them all before friend-zoning all but the one married man in her circle of influence, breaking hearts left and right with apparently no awareness she is doing so. Then in episode 6 all the bad stuff goes away and suddenly it is rainbows and butterflies. Even the people who die seem to get a happy ending somehow. It’s all very bizarre. I loved the first couple of episodes that focused on Essex and the serpent but it quickly went downhill from there, with many mysteries just being dropped along the way and a very unsatisfying ending. I’d skip this one.
Bocchi The Rock (Crunchyroll) was a delight. Thanks to Rakuna for recommending it. It’s about a painfully shy girl who decides to learn to play guitar so she’ll be popular. She ends up joining a band. I found the show laugh-out-loud funny at times, but even though the main character’s social anxiety is the source of much of the humor, it isn’t mean, which is quite a feat. In the end it’s a funny, heartwarming show and I found every character very likable. I sure hope we get a season 2. This was my favorite show for this month.
See (Apple TV+) posits a post-apocalyptic future where (almost) everyone is blind. Sighted people are considered witches and are killed, because it was sight that caused the end of the world. We’re in the last season and for me I’m kind of hate-watching it, though PartPurple enjoys it more. It just seems really implausible. Every character seems to have some kind of sonar or something. It’s also super violent and has some really detestable characters. Jason Momoa stars and he gives it his all and kind of carries the whole show. I was happy to see Joe Flannigan and David Hewett are both in the cast; they were both Momoa’s co-stars on Star Gate Atlantis, which was, IMO, a much better show than this.
The English Game (Netflix) is a period piece about the beginnings of football in England. It was recommended by Bree TruLove or I’d never have found it. It was created by Julian Fellowes, who was also behind Downton Abby and The Gilded Age, so if you liked those you’ll probably like this. Good stuff.
Conversely The English (Amazon Prime) is a western starring Emily Blunt so I was pretty excited for it, but after I sat through 2 episodes I was done. It’s just one long trope. Skip it.
Aside from my annual re-reading of A Christmas Carol, no reading this month. 🙁
And so we charge headfirst into 2023. What new disaster awaits us this year? My Resolution this year is not to make any resolutions so I don’t have too much interesting to say about 2023…yet.