Well, March kind of flew by, at least for me. And I’m still here, blogging a bit. Overall things are better with me. Got through that dark patch when exhaustion was really impacting my mental health. I firmly believe ditching social media and in particular stepping away from certain individuals has really helped. I had several ranting paragraphs about my issues with social media, and Mastodon in particular, in the first draft of this recap. It made me angry all over again writing it, though, and probably would’ve made me angry re-reading it at some point in the future. So I nuked it. It isn’t worth rehashing beyond saying I’m much happier without it.
Last Month’s Games
Genshin Impact once again took up a huge chunk of time for the first 3 weeks of the month. I finally got caught up on the “Archon Quests” (main story quests, basically), I completed the Battle Pass with something like 2 weeks to spare, and I hit the 300 hour mark according to the PS5. That all felt like a reason to step back for a bit to free up time to play some other games.
Pillars of Eternity (which I deemed ‘dropped last month, I guess prematurely) and The Witcher 3 are both being kept warm. I jump into both games maybe once a week just so I don’t forget how to play/where I am in them. I’m not ready to give up on either game yet!
Persona 3 Portable, however, does seem to be dropped.
New This Month
Outriders isn’t really new; I played it a good bit when it came out. I never liked it very much, but I came back to it mostly because I was nearing an Achievement and I needed an Achievement for a Microsoft Rewards quest. I was close enough to the end of the campaign that I decided to keep going so I could finish, delete and get the 100 gb or so of drive space back. The actual gameplay of Outriders is OK, but the aesthetics and the story are not my cup of tea. Like everyone else I guessed the ‘mystery’ within about the first 10 minutes of playing. I didn’t like the script, I didn’t like the voice acting, I didn’t like the character models, I didn’t like the character animations, I didn’t like the look of the gear you earned. But the combat was OK if you’re not a ‘hang back and pick ’em off one by one’ kind of player. Just out of curiosity after finishing the campaign and a couple of side quests (wanted to get to level 30 for another Achievement), I looked at the Worldslayer DLC. It is $40!! Oh hell no. $40 seems pretty expensive at launch, but this long afterwards that it is still $40 made this one an easy “delete and move on”.
The Settlers — see blog post. I’m not sure I ever played again after writing that post. I went through a ton of tutorials and by the time I was done I was ready to move on! LOL It’s still just a bit too retro for my impatient old brain.
After dropping The Settlers I moved onto Age of Empires. First Age I Definitive Edition, but that, like The Settlers, felt a little too old school so I moved up to Age of Empires II Definitive Edition. It adds some QOL features like auto-scouting and patrol routes that make gameplay feel a little less fiddly. I skipped Age 3 since no one seems to like it as much as II, and then fired up Age of Empires IV, which is where I think I’ve settled, mostly because it’s the prettiest. 🙂 My only real gripe is that there’s a lot of live-service adjacent/e-sports type stuff when you first load it up. There is some kind of player level/score they pressure you to increase and I find that super off-putting, but so far I just ignore it and skip past to the solo stuff.
I tried one of the AoE games on the Xbox but nope, my brain just doesn’t like RTS with controller.
Fire Emblem Three Houses — I hardly ever use my Switch and I’m semi-thinking of getting rid of it, or at least sticking it in storage or something. Before I do, there’s a couple games I bought and never played much. FE3H is one of them, even though I’ve loved earlier Fire Emblem games. I think when I first started playing I didn’t like how much time you spent just talking to NPCs. I don’t mind that now. But what I do mind now is that the text is so small when playing in Handheld Mode. My plan was to swap the Switch for the Steam Deck for those “lying in bed” gaming sessions, but by that point in the day my eyes are too damned tired to deal with the tiny text of FE3H. I can of course play it on the TV but then it competes for time with Xbox and PS5 games. Talk about your #FirstWorldProblems, eh? But this is what knocked Persona 3 Portable out of the currently playing list.
I wasn’t planning on starting any other new games, but evil Microsoft made Marvel Midnight Suns one of their “Free Play Days” selections last weekend. I’d been interested in this game prior to launch, but once it came out it didn’t seem to make much of a splash so I kind of forgot about it. But for free? I’ll absolutely try it. And I really enjoyed it; enough so that I took advantage of a 50% off sale that was running to pick it up. Still enjoying this one quite a bit.
We finally finished Star Trek: Voyager. Whew! Definitely not one of my favorite ST series, but we both agreed having watched Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager sequentially was a good way to be sure we were pumped for….
Picard season 3. I get that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we love it. Keep in mind though, we love it more or less as a reunion show than as great stand-alone sci-fi. There are so many little factoids that I’m sure would’ve zipped right past us had we not watched the old shows fairly recently. Like Professor Moriarty (from Sherlock Holmes) showing up as a security system. That comes from a Next Generation episode based around a holodeck program where Moriarty becomes sentient and attempts to take control of the Enterprise. If you don’t remember that episode I’m sure you’d be “WTF”ing when the character showed up in Picard.
Finished The Last of Us and loved it. It could’ve been longer, in my opinion, but maybe less is more when there’s a story about constant fighting with other people post-apocalypse. I’m looking at YOU, The Walking Dead.
Alice in Borderland — This show was way more violent than what I’m usually comfortable with, but the mystery of what the heck is going on hooked me. It starts when 3 friends in Tokyo, trying to hide from the cops for an incident that caused a minor traffic accident, all duck into a stall in a rest room. Then the lights go out briefly. When they come out of the stall, the city is seemingly empty. But soon enough they are forced to play a series of deadly games. Where are they and how did they get there? Watch and find out. Think Hunger Games meets Lost, I guess. But a lot of graphic violence, so you’ve been warned on that front.
We’d watched Season 1 of Locke & Key back when it came out, but this month we re-watched S1 and watched all of Seasons 2 & 3. And that’s it; the series ended. I’m very happy it did because I found it to be a really dumb show, but it was her pick so I endured it. I mean, a lot of these teen-based paranormal shows have characters doing really dumb things, but this one just seemed over the top with that stuff. And if I took a shot every time a character held up a key and stared at it meaningfully (often in lieu of running away from the Big Bad), my liver would’ve given out mid-way through Season 2. There also seemed to be a lot of inconsistences within the show’s own lore, but maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention. Also in my opinion, Bode, the youngest of the Locke children, was the true villain of the show.
Finished Nemesis Games (The Expanse book….. 5?) and started Babylon’s Ashes (Book 6). The TV show version of Nemesis Games was one of my least favorite seasons of The Expanse, but I enjoyed the book a lot more. And so far, Babylon’s Ashes is a good read, too.
I’ve also gone back to Marvel comic books. I had been working my way through all the comics in order but it was just overwhelming. I started this in Sept 2021 and I was still in 1964 two years later. Initially these old comics were a hoot but the novelty was worn off. I still want to get all the origin stories but at some point before I die I want to get into an era where the art is better and the villains slightly less cheesy. (Plus I’m learning origin stories change over time anyway; like originally Thor was some dude who found a magic staff that transformed him into the God of Thunder while he held onto it.) Anyway, I’ve skipped over to the 616 Essentials Order. And it’s still a lot, to be honest.
And that’s the recap for March. Life goes on… Hope you and yours are doing well, dear reader. See you next month.