Last Week’s Gaming – Fairy Tail Edition – August 10th, 2020

Fairy Tail - Loading Screen

So I only played one game this week. But I played it so much!

When you are reading this, I am enjoying being formally on holidays. That’s right – I don’t have any work issues to deal with this week. I am going to be switching between resting up, playing games, finalising some house stuff I have been putting off, and playing games.

Wait, I said playing games twice. Well, it is what I am looking forward to possibly the most!

I have spent today at Alpal’s doing some painting, playing some board games and helping her with some tech stuff. But that’s a story for next week – this is all about last weeks gaming!

Fairy Tail – PS4

Technically, I believe I finished Fairy Tail this week. Sunday, I saw a ‘recording disabled because of blocked scene’ pop up, and the credits rolled. Why the credits were blocked is a bit beyond me, but there you go.

Why isn’t in my goals as finished? Because I have one more episode to play as a part of the game. So I don’t think I am really ‘finished’ the game yet?

But this is getting ahead of myself. Because I only played the one game, this is going to be closer to a review than my normal ‘What I thought about it” type Last Week’s Gaming, and I have put in about 20 hours in Fairy Tail this week so I have a fair bit to talk about.

Fairy Tail - Credits
Technically, this is a snippet from a spoilery part of the story. Without context though, it's no different from any other fight from the anime/manga

As I mentioned last week, Fairy Tail is a great light RPG that has managed to nail the ‘just 5 more minutes’ formula. The story of the game has gone way past where I stopped watching the anime, and I am comfortable enough with the story and characters to just keep playing.

Talking to Rabbit, it clicked in my head that the best comparison I can give about how Fairy Tail plays is Pokemon. A lot of RPG players complain that Pokemon isn’t a ‘real’ RPG, but I would argue it’s a light RPG.

That’s enough for casual gamers or people that know what they are expecting. And Fairy Tail nails it.

Fairy Tail - Character Selection
Building your team of favourites isn't that different from building your favourite Pokemon team

I have given up playing Fairy Tail on Switch not because it’s not any good to play on, but because I want to see more of the game so I stuck to PS4. I will do a dedicated Fairy Tail day on Switch before a formal review, but today I would definitely recommend any version over the Switch unless you are looking at playing on the go.

The playstyle of Fairy Tail really lends itself to the Switch, and it’s a great fit. The 20ish frames per second speed when you are in the open world though makes me feel a bit queasy. Apart from longer load times, this is the only real issue I have with Fairy Tail on Switch.

Fairy Tail - Loading Mini Game
Hitting away the 'Now Loading' letters with a fish is a bit of fun, and you will see this on Switch for quite extended periods.

The combat is more involved than Pokemon, but not by that much. Enemies appear on a 3×3 grid, and your attacks have different patterns that can fit in this grid. They also have different elements attached just like Pokemon, and different areas have monsters with different weaknesses to exploit.

Travel works well. No area is so huge that it takes ages to traverse, and within cities, Fast Travel is pretty much instant. This makes travel easy and simplifies a lot of the ‘run here, then here, then here’ repetitiveness.

Fairy Tail - Combat
You can see where your attack will land, who is weak/resistant, and who each enemy is targeting very easily

It’s not all gravy though. Some long battle animations (think 30 seconds plus) can be skipped, but most can’t. This can break the flow of the game.

Until last Friday, the only other thing I had a bit of a laugh at was the level of Fan Service in the game. Fairy Tail already has a large amount of Fan Service, but I will say it is nowhere bad as it could be. That doesn’t forgive its presence, but it is a factor.

I am using alternate costumes unlockable by upgrading character levels in-game, but you also unlock swimsuits and the like that it’s up to you to equip. The day one patch did shadow the upskirt shots, so the overtly forced service is mainly weird body proportions and low cut tops.

Fairy Tail - Long Spell Intros
Watching Lucy summon Gemini was awesome the first time. OK the second. Now, I can't skip the 30ish second intro, so time for a drink

My biggest issue with Fairy Tail has come out in the first round DLC. One swimsuit collection bundled for a ‘saving’ at AUD$60, one set alternate costumes for another AUD$60, and a Season Pass for AUD$90 giving you access to a few more characters at a later date and some unique request missions.

If you weren’t already a fan, I would have said grab Fairy Tail on sale. Just over a week after release, they are asking you to spend another $210? Yes, the costumes are optional – I am not arguing that. But the cost of the Season Pass doesn’t seem to be justified from the content.

Fairy Tail - Season Pass
It costs as much as the base game for 4 new characters, some individual quests and a new dungeon. Not what I would call enticing value.

I like the idea of playing with some of my Fairy Tail favourites not in the core game, and the publisher seems to be taking advantage of this. I am not against paying AUD$5 for an extra character, but the message here is “We know there are fans of these teams. We are going to charge you through the nose for them”.

So if you are looking at taking the plunge into Fairy Tail, I would say look at buying the base game and playing the base experience.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – August 3rd, 2020

Fairy Tail - Loading Screen

Looking forward to some holidays! My gaming backlog list is huge!

I am taking next week off work. I am really looking forward to it. There have been some initial experiments in updating the site, but not enough that I have decided what I am going to be doing in that regard.

And very little (if any) is going to be done next week. House pottering and general relaxing is my only real plan. This will undoubtedly include getting to some games I have been trying to get to for ages. Looking at you, 7th Continent!

But that’s all that is coming up. This is Last Week’s Gaming after all. So what have I been getting up to?

I did a review on Tsuro over a year ago, but I haven’t gotten the original game to the table in a very long time.

That got changed last weekend. My brain was fried, and the simple gameplay of Tsuro let me enjoy an old favourite. With only three players, the initial game was simply enjoying flying around making patterns.

It was when we got about half of the board through, the strategy portion clicked for Annabelle. It was her first game, and the theme of ‘just fly around and enjoy yourself’ wasn’t quite clicking. Then, she saw Alpal fly off the board, and it clicked.

For a more ‘gamer’ game, Tsuro of the Seas is still my first recommendation. That said, I haven’t played the newest version – it’s sitting on my shelf of shame.

That needs to be fixed at some point soon.

Tsuro - Out of Mothballs
It's been so long since I played the original. I have never recorded a game before last week!

Keeping in the low energy theme of our gaming day, Alpal bought out Wavelength for the three of us to play.

So we didn’t play it for points or anything, we just took turns giving clues and letting the other two players see how well they went.

Wavelength is a very simple concept. The clue giver chooses a card that shows and spins a wheel behind a cover to randomly pick a position on a scale. You then give a clue, and the other players try to pick where on the scale it sits.

Wavelength - Protein Shake
Our first spot on guess for the day. Annabelle and I have the same take on Protein Shakes!

For example, Annabelle picked a scale of Sustenance and Haute Cuisine. The clue was “Protein Shakes”. And yes, I am very proud of getting the first ‘bang on’ answer with Alpal on this one.

Teams normally get points based on how close they are, and from memory (it’s been a while) first team to 12 wins? Don’t quote me on that.

One of the best parts of this style of games is you can play it as you want. We just kept playing until we were done, and it was a great way to end the afternoon.

Fairy Tail – PS4 / Switch

That’s not a typo – I have Fairy Tail on both PS4 and Switch! Why? A turn-based RPG is a perfect complement to the Switch, but performance can also be a thing. Plus, I had planned on a comparison at some point.

I have mainly played on PS4, playing about 20-25 minutes on the Switch so far. During combat, everything runs great on Switch. Walking around in the world, there is noticeable choppiness when moving the camera around.

But, that’s the technical side. What’s it play like?

Fairy Tail - Over the top combat
Turn based combat with some Quick Time Events. But it's just as ridiculously over the top as the source material.

I am still very much in early game mode. Lots of fetch quests, and building up my team. The reason for starting from scratch has been introduced in such a way you don’t need to be a fan of the anime/manga to know what’s going on.

You are part of a guild of magic users that has been trapped in a stasis-like state for 7 years. In that time, your guild has fallen on hard times, and you need to rebuild the guild to its former glory.

That’s it. If you don’t know about Natsu, Gray, Erza and Lucy that’s fine. The game introduces characters at a reasonable pace, and character quests give insights into your team mates.

Fairy Tail - The Map Opens Up
I am very early in the game. There are plenty of areas of Fiore to explore still!

If you want frantic action-based combat or vast exploration possibilities, Fairy Tail won’t be a game for you based on what I have played. I have unlocked a couple of areas on the map, but each area is quite small with the same items/monsters spawning.

This could change later in the game, but I can see some people being bored with the slow start and repetitive nature in the first couple of hours of gameplay.

I will pick up Fairy Tail pretty regularly, as it is built for pick up and put down type play. If you are a fan of the series, I am very much enjoying what I have played so far.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 27th, 2020

Maneater The Frozen Banana Stand

Where did July go?

So here we are with the last Last week’s gaming of July 2020. This month has just flown!

I have another weird week coming up, with having to go into work and meet contractors for work in the office. My attempts at a schedule have been failing badly.

What has been working well is taking a break from most of the site articles. I am still overly tired by the end of the week, but I have actually made a dent in some gaming this week!

What did I play? Well, let’s get into it!

So Alpal had been shopping, and I got to play a game I have been interested in for ages!

Winner of the 2019 Kinderspiel des Jahres, I can see why everyone was so excited about this game. The goal is simple – have the most money at the end of the game.

Each round, the active player gets to roll a boulder into some coloured posts. Every colour represents a player, and that player gets to then plan out how those player tokens are moved on the main game board.

Once this is done, depending on where on the board the player marker is, players get coins or get to steal them from other players. You can also get coins stolen from you, so be careful!

The game ends when there are no more coins in the general supply. So games are lightning fast! The strategy is surprisingly satisfying, but the luck and dexterity factor make Valley of the Vikings fun for all.

Valley of the Vikings
It's not quite any genre you think it is. Area control, dexterity, strategy, luck - they all apply, but Valley of the Vikings isn't quite any of them.

A game that has been sadly on my shelf for far too long, Wacky Races finally made it to the gaming table this week. Alpal managed to snag each of us a copy of the deluxe version. The only real difference is that the pieces come pre-painted, so that’s one job off my list!

I expected a fun and straightforward racing game, and I was not disappointed. One of the reasons I haven’t played it for so long is I had trouble with the manual. It’s not a poorly written manual, my brain has not been doing well with reading manuals lately. It’s a symptom of being overly tired. But Alpal stepped up on manual duty, and we had a blast.

The thing that surprised me the most was for such a simple game, I was more stressed than playing Downforce. Don’t misunderstand – Downforce is a better ‘racing’ game. Still, Wacky Races random neutral (i.e. non-player) racers can overtake you quickly!

Dick Dastardly also zooms ahead and lays traps just like in the cartoons. He basically can’t win though, so he isn’t a selectable racer for players. I was initially disappointed by this, but ultimately I had so much fun this was quickly forgotten.

We had a lot of fun playing Wacky Races, but I think it would shine with 4 or more players. I can technically solo this game though, so now I have how to play down pat, it may come off the shelf more.

Wacky Races Gameplay
The race is on! This kind of tight grouping is very common for the game. And no, we didn't get to Escape the Dark Castle - this time 🙂

Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS4

So I decided to give Final Fantasy VII Remake a platinum run. This meant my second playthrough is in hard mode. I expected a challenge. What I got was soulsborne!

When playing on Hard (which you can’t do without finishing the game once), there are harder enemies. This was assumed, no surprises there. What has forced me to stop playing is that I can’t use items, and you can’t spam magic. When you rest at a bench, you get full HP restored, but no MP!

Taking on a Chapter 3 side quest, I can’t beat one of the side quests monsters. It just hands me my butt. Usually, I would rest up and come back fresh, but I don’t think I am quite ready mentally to take on hard mode.

I will come back to Final Fantasy VII Remake, but right now I decided to change games and just relax and enjoy myself. What game did I choose to switch to?

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Healing Bench
Find a seat, get back HP and MP. Not in Hard mode!

Maneater – PS4

I started Maneater when it first came out and decided that it would be a bit of fun to play in short bursts. I thought this would be the perfect way to continue to relax, and get a game off the ‘Just finish it’ list.

Well, finish it I did. Not only that, I Platinumed it!

When I finished playing, I was about 60% of the way through the story. Maneater gives you a nice progress meter to let you know how you are doing.

Saturday night, I gave up on Final Fantasy and picked up Maneater. I spent a few hours switching between progressing the story and just swimming around eating everyone.

Maneater Kaiju Gate
There are plenty of references hidden (and not so hidden) through the waters you explore

Sunday night, I picked it up and finished the last couple of missions to complete the story. Then I spent a couple of hours just swimming around and finding collectables to Complete it.

So usually I would be saying ‘review in the works’, but I don’t know when I will start doing reviews again. If you pick up Maneater, play it for an hour or so at a time. Do some story missions, unlock the next area, and call it quits for the night. This helps extend the time it will take you to finish it while helping avoid the repetitive nature of the missions set in.

This way of playing also beats another issue with Maneater – it crashes. A lot. There are lots of autosaves happening, so it’s more of an annoyance than anything else when you have to load back in. But I found once I hit the two-hour mark, I would just wait for either a straight crash, or the loading screen to get stuck and not switch back to the game.

This isn’t enough to stop me from recommending Maneater as a bit of fun and a different experience, but be aware this is an issue with the game.

Maneater Hello Pete
The story is predictable, but it was still satisfying staring down your nemesis

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nope. I know this is one you expected to see, I haven’t picked up my Switch all week. In fact, everything played this week was just on the weekend!

But being able to sit back and rest during the week has let me get in a lot more gaming. Maybe next week, I will be able to put in a couple of hours midweek for more gaming, but not just yet.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 20th, 2020

Camel Up - Much nicer components

Not as much gaming as I would have liked, but one big tick off my finished games list. Final Fantasy VII Remake is now in the ‘Do I complete it?’ pile.

Fast intro this week. I didn’t get much gaming in last week, mainly because I was pretty burnt out and I am making a formal recovery effort.

This doesn’t mean that I didn’t get in any gaming though. in fact, I actually got to put the finishing touches on a game I have been waiting on for decades!

But more of that below 🙂

I reviewed Downforce almost two years ago. Downforce is to this day right up there as my favourite Restoration Games effort to date. Only Stop Thief! fights for that top spot, and possibly only Return to Dark Tower can topple it.

Why can I say that? Well, on my first “I am playing games just for me” weekend, Downforce was one of my first choices to get back on the table. Are there better games out there? Of course. But Downforce is consistently fun to play, and Alpal and I had a blast playing through a couple of races.

Need to get that Wild Ride Expansion still though…

Downforce - An old favourite makes it back to the table
It was so good to just sit and enjoy this simple racing game

The other fun game that I haven’t played for ages is Camel Up. Switching one type of racing to another, Camel Up is a fun game that prioritises betting and strategy.

Alpal also has the glorious Second Edition. Why is it glorious? The components have been upgraded for a start. I can’t wait to paint her coins! Also, the Pyramid is now hard plastic and works a lot better. There are also new rules in the crazy camels!

The best addition? The main play board now has a pop-up Oasis. This may be another purchase I am trying to tell myself I don’t need. Want, without a doubt, just not need. I am telling myself that anyway 🙂

Camel Up - Much nicer components
Not too much has changed gameplay wise, but the appeal for seeing the game on the table has cranked to 11!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Switch

So this week, I basically didn’t play Animal Crossing. I jumped on for the first time since last Monday on Sunday night. I have a lot of clean up to do!

But while I didn’t play much, I did add a new bridge and move another villager home. The island makeover is happening slowly. Hopefully, I will be able to devote some time to that this week, but I have a feeling my daily adventures in Sleep Cove may be coming to an end.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still a lot of fun, but it may soon turn into a couple of days a week visits rather than a daily end of day ritual.

Animal Crossing - My Games Room
My games room in my Animal Crossing home is coming along nicely

Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS4

What I did get into with gusto last weekend was Final Fantasy VII Remake. Last week, I wrote how I was almost at the end of the game. I got to the story ‘You can’t go back once you proceed’ points, and I thought I had only a little bit left to go.

Nope. There was a good 7-8 hours to go, and I stayed up Friday night and played through until I saw the credits.

A formal review will come, in what form and when I am not sure yet. But I will say, as a die-hard Final Fantasy VII fan, I don’t know where the internet uproar is coming from.

It’s not the same game with prettier graphics. Remake isn’t perfect, but I can’t see how people can claim it isn’t a Final Fantasy VII game. The story is familiar, but with new twists. I can’t really go into more without going into spoiler territory, and while it has been out for a couple of months, I am not ready to go there just yet.

One thing that did annoy me is you can’t capture anything with the PS4 in the final chapter. It’s all locked down. This was a real shame, as there were a couple of bosses I would have loved to turn into a desktop background.

And the final chapter is a boss gauntlet. Every fight is challenging in different ways, and you think “This must be the last fight” over and over again.

Final Fantasy VII Remake - Choices
Cloud is definitely not on the bench anymore! Alright, I like dad jokes. #sorrynotstorry
Final Fantasy VII Remake - Completion Run
Apart from a hard mode run, I need to do side quests like this to get the platinum

In the wait for the next episode/release/whatever Square wants to call it, there is only one decision left. Do I go for the Platinum run, or if I finally start turning my attention to The Witcher 3? What a terrible position to be in! :p

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Site reevaluations and big changes coming – just not soon.

JohnHQLD Site Background

It’s been one of those weeks that makes you stop and look at everything.

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that there have been lots of changes.

I started JohnHQLD.com as a way of sharing my love of gaming. That love hasn’t changed, but the demands of a full time+ career mean that my hobby site has taken the brunt of time cuts. My actual gaming time how somehow shrunk more each month. As I work on the site and my main job, giving me less to write about and putting more pressure on me.

I enjoy doing the site, and it is actually an excellent outlet for me. But the cold hard fact is I haven’t had a decent break in over three years. Yes, I have had holidays like the annual PAX trip, but there is little actual downtime in those periods.

For the last few weeks, my life has primarily been get, walk into the office, work 8-10 hours, then crash on the couch so that I can continue tomorrow. Weekends have been trying to rest enough to start the process again.

Final Fantasy 7 - Unlocking Gaming Time
It shouldn't feel like an epic achievement when you can make some gaming time

There is just no way I can continue like this.

But what about your plans for 2020?

The changes I want to make are still things I want to do. The board game collection app is about 90% finished. I want to stream and do videos. The intention and desire are there – the physical stamina is not.

Coupled with a lot of technical work I need to do on the site, there just aren’t enough hours in the day that I can give quality time to all my projects.

So, my new plan is to buckle down and really decide what I want to do.

What does that mean now?

Basically, anything that takes me a lot of time is being put on hold. Primarily, this means reviews. Even in only written form, these reviews take me a few hours to do.

So, basically posts on Monday for Last Week’s Gaming, and some little news bits that catch my eye are all I will posting for a while.

This will give me time to do a pretty major overhaul to the site from a technical and visual point of view. But it’s not ending there.

JohnHQLD.com will still be around, but I will probably be starting a new site. Or possibly, sites. I love gaming, but board gamers don’t always want to know about video games and vice versa.

Animal Crossing 20200629
Last Week's Gaming is a fun summary, and should have more games soon!

I really want to do a tech site as well, focusing on hardware (and maybe some software). This is the first option to be axed if I can’t make time, but it is something I want to do.

So you will be adding more work to the schedule? How does that help?

Because I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to be doing, I can’t guarantee it will be more work. It sounds like it sure, but that’s why I need to sit down and adequately map out what I want to do, and how it can be achieved.

I have a week off work coming up in August. I plan to rest a lot during this period, and that is when a lot of the planning will start. Until then, things are kind of in limbo.

Bottom line, I want to be able to know I can comfortably fit in everything. If I have to spend more than 6 hours a week on everything I want to do with JohnHQLD.com, things need to be pulled back. This is a hobby site, after all!

Retro games are something I have been collecting to share for two years for sharing with the community, but I haven’t had the time to just sit and play. Simple answer – streaming! Or at least, you think that’s all there would be to it. Being able to make time to sit and play for a couple of hours a week isn’t as easy as I would like to be.

And I need to be able to do the current things I want to do. This is what I need to sit down and plan out properly. Games days with Alpal, game nights with friends, downtime, my own personal gaming, I have been cutting these out far too much.

Megadrive and SNES
I have a heap of these types of consoles ready to try out *Image source: Gmereactor

The key I am looking for is being able to comfortably work everything in, without pushing myself as I have been for the last few years. And that is going to take time.

So, it’s not goodbye, but I hope you understand that things will be a lot sparser for the coming weeks. By the end of August, I will have a definite plan to share with everyone. But until then, I intend to stop and just try and relax and enjoy myself for a bit. We all need a break now and then.

So until next time, I hope you are all safe and well and looking after yourselves as well.

JohnHQLD

The LEGO NES system is cool – but pricey!

LEGO NES set

Take a pinch of NES nostalgia, and mix in a high price tag. NES assembly was never this complicated!

Superfast one today. You either love LEGO and know all about this already or have no real interest in today’s little piece.

The original NES console is 35 years old this year, and to celebrate LEGO has released a unique kit. Introducing the LEGO NES console and TV!

When I saw the leaks about this earlier in the week, I thought this was cool. I still do. I have seen similar things done with paper as home craft projects, but the LEGO design is undeniably cool.

The catch? AUD$350! You can get a cheap monitor and a mini NES for that, and probably have change!

That said, there is no denying that this is a fun idea. The attention to detail is impressive, even to the point of inserting your own NES cartridge. In terms of construction, I am more comfortable building my own NES though :p

What do you think? Is the NES LEGO set something you would be interested in? Maybe you already have some of the Super Mario LEGO sets? Let me know in the comments or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter – I would love to see some of your creations!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 13th, 2020

Final Fantasy VII Feature

Another week down, but not as much gaming this week 🙁 That said, what I did play, I played a lot! Huge strides made in Final Fantasy 7 Remake this week 🙂

Wow. Where did last week go? I sat down on Monday, and the next thing I knew, I was looking upon how much more work I had to do over the weekend.

So, in self-preservation, I kind of shut down this weekend. I slept so much on Friday night. Then on Saturday, I got absorbed in the fishing tourney on Sleep Cove. After that, I sat down for hours in Final Fantasy.

But why tell you here? That’s what the rest of the article is about!

Blood Rage Digital – Steam

Not a lot of detail in Blood Rage this week. I got in a couple of games, but both took me almost all day. That is the beautiful thing about turn-based games – if you have something else to do, you can just come back to it.

I haven’t been paying close attention to updates, so I am not sure how my widescreen fixes are coming. But it’s still a blast to fire up Blood Rage and have a game. Even losing, playing with different cards and the adaptive playstyles of the AI make each game a challenge.

Blood Rage - Amped Up
While I wasn't winning a lot of battles, I was making good headway in the stats race

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Switch

I did SO MUCH FISHING this week! This was my first time being able to participate in the Animal Crossing fishing tournament, and I managed to unlock all 3 trophies.

I even managed to miss that I caught a new type of fish – a goldfish. I didn’t see that until today when I finally opened it back up. Sunday, I didn’t play. I think that is my first completely Animal Crossing Free day in about 6 weeks?

I have also started designing my island. I have started to get the housing lined up correctly and decided on a floral border around the houses. A little tight living wise, but in-game it works. For me, at least 🙂

I will start getting back into Animal Crossing in dribs and drabs this week. I finally got back into something I have been holding off on for a long time…

Animal Crossing Gold Trophy
A day well spent - virtual fishing for a virtual trophy. Also, my house got a facelift 🙂

Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS4

This was my Saturday night. I didn’t crawl into bed until just before the sun came up. So worth it 🙂

Last time I stopped playing, I had fought Rude for the first time then shut it away. The difficult fights are satisfying but frustrating. Playing when I was already pretty stressed wasn’t great.

Now, from Rude, I have stopped getting into Midgar after the big Shinra plan reveal. You know what it is if you know the game, nothing spoiled if you haven’t played.

I am hoping to make time this week to finish the game. Completing it though? I want to, I think, but not yet. Maybe a game I come back to during my next big game. My backlog is too large, and I really want to finish The Witcher 3 before the Cyberpunk 2077 launch…

Final Fantasy VII Sewer Fight
The battles take a lot of getting used to. So much is going on at anytime, and multiple foes don't make it easier

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Pandemic Legacy Season 3 is actually Season 0!

Pandemic Legacy Season 1

We have known that Season 3 has been in the works for Pandemic Legacy for quite some time. Now, it’s confirmed that the final Legacy chapter is actually a prequel.

I really enjoy Pandemic. That’s never been a secret. When I first started the site, I even got some of my friends to play Pandemic Legacy Season 1 for the first time on camera. You can see this on the YouTube channel here if you like!

Life and a few things have gotten in the way of my Pandemic Legacy Season 2 playthrough. Still, it was a fun twist that I enjoyed and will definitely be starting up again soon.

Last night on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel (a board gaming channel that you should definitely check out), this little nugget appeared.

Umm, ok. What was that?

It’s a teaser. There was hope that Pandemic Legacy Season 3 would be coming out (or at least revealed) late last year, but that never came to be.

The fact that the final in the Pandemic Legacy trilogy is being talked about officially at all is promising. And it’s a prequel – so the story ends where it begins? There is an awful lot that can be done with this sort of narrative play.

So, now we are back to waiting. But the groundwork is laid, and I am excited.

Well, you said officially talked about…

So Rob Daviau and Pandemic creator Matt Leacock have spoken before about a third Pandemic Legacy game since the reveal of Season 2. They said that the third game would be the last chapter of the series. No word about it being a prequel though.

All that said, over on Reddit user arankas posted the box art nabbed from the Z-Man game website. 

Pandemic Legacy 0 Leaked Cover Art
The cover feels right, but until official announcments treat it as speculation only

Given how easy it is to accidentally publish items ahead of time, this feels like the final cover art for Pandemic Legacy Season 0.

That’s just a feeling though. Until Z-Man officially launches the site and makes announcements, the box and anything you can infer from the art is pure speculation.

What is set in stone though is I am excited to see Pandemic Legacy Season 0 release, and I need to finish my Season 2 campaign!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 6th, 2020

So I didn’t get in Final Fantasy VII Remake last week, but I did get in some honest to goodness board gaming!

You know the feeling. You are looking so forward to finally stopping the hectic work schedule and playing some games. You are looking forward to it so much, you forget about the backlog you have been putting off for the end of the financial year.

You clear that, and then you realise you still have a sleep debt to pay. Your body calls due the promises you made for working extra hours. So, that big gaming session gets pushed back as you sleep. And sleep some more.

But on a brighter note, I got to catch up with Alpal and get in some honest to goodness in-person board gaming!

I kickstarted this a while ago under the impression Awful Fantasy Adventures was a streamlined Warhammer Quest/Arkham Horror TCG alternative. That is undoubtedly what the Kickstarter video promised.

What we got was a game so basic that even re-reading the rules three times, I messed up how to play it. Awful Fantasy Adventures isn’t terrible, but it’s not exactly what I backed either.

After trying heaps of times, Alpal and I couldn’t quite beat a basic game. On the plus side, games were fast and setup quick. On the other hand, draw one big bad early, and you have basically lost. That’s how everything came across.

I’m going to give this another go with more players – maybe two players isn’t the right number? We did have fun, but it wasn’t the game I was expecting to be playing.

Awful Fantasy Adventures - Mid Game
Fast, a bit of fun, but it didn't quite click. After Alpal helped read the rules, we lasted a lot longer 🙂

It’s mini Ticket to Ride! I have played this before with Alpal, and basically, it’s just replacing trains with cabs. You don’t get quite as many items to place, so games end very quickly.

That said, it’s not a dumbed-down version of Ticket to Ride. You still need to think about ticket strategies, but the longest route has been replaced with bonuses for specific landmarks.

I am going to have to do a proper Ticket to Ride review soon. When that is done, hopefully Alpal will lend me her copy of New York for a full comparison.

Ticket To Ride New York
Alpal pipped me by one point! When a full game is 15 minutes, it's quick fun

Iron Man VR – PS4/PSVR

I picked up my copy on Friday night, got it all installed and decided to play through it after a late work night.

Iron Man VR is stupidly fun. The feeling of actually being in the Iron Man Armour is fantastic, and the controls mostly work great. I still haven’t fine tweaked the PSVR set up in the new house, and I think that’s the cause of all my troubles.

That said, I couldn’t get too far into the game. Sore everything stopped me from playing too long. I will be pushing through to finish Iron Man over the next week, so a review will hopefully be soon.

If you have PSVR give the demo a go – you will either love it or not, and the demo is very representative of gameplay.

Iron Man VR
I would love a lounge room like this. I am working on better capture for VR as well.

Minesweeper Genius – Switch

So on Friday, I gave my review for Minesweeper Genius. During the week, I made a bit of progress in the game.

Really all of my thoughts on Minesweeper Genius were in the review, so check it out there. Going forward though, I do see myself firing it up and playing through a few levels for downtime.

I don’t know if I will keep including it in Last Week’s Gaming as it’s basically a declaration of “Hey, I played some more”. But I am going to slowly make my way through this little gem.

Minesweeper Genius - Messed that one up
I thought I had it planned out... Ooops.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Switch

So I still haven’t sat down and mapped out my landscaping of Sleep Cove, but I have been pottering away. A snowman here, a resident change there. And now I can go swimming!

Is swimming game-changing? I wouldn’t say that. But it is oddly relaxing to go swimming around your island and collecting new things. I have finished the fossil section of my museum, but it’s been a while since I had a new donation for the museum. Now, I have lots of things to look for.

There are a couple of other minor changes to the latest New Horizons update, but I will leave those as a surprise for another week or two. Just in case you are playing and haven’t found them yet.

Also, when I jumped on this morning to check some Turnip prices, Isabelle announced shooting stars tonight. I guess I will be doing some star gazing tonight 🙂

Animal Crossing - New Resident
Fang has joined us on Sleep Cove
Animal Crossing - Swimming
Swimming is fun. Some puns though...

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Lost in Straya Survival Card Game on Kickstarter

Lost in Straya Components

I used to tease Americans that we had kangaroos instead of buses. And yes, the internet was a thing.

Sometimes, you just want a game you can pull out and play with friends to pass some time. They exist, but new additions are always welcome.

Yesterday on Kickstarter, a new campaign caught my eye called ‘Lost in Straya’. Given that the designer Sam Milham is from Victoria, I will forgive the slang name.

The basic premise is simple. You and up to 5 other players are stuck in the Australian outback, and you need to collect 3 ‘reception’ cards to make a rescue call.

The gameplay is straightforward – take two cards from any of the three decks, and craft items to help you deal with the wildlife.

Yes, this is ordinary life in Australia. :p

Wait, that’s it? It doesn’t sound that exciting.

Yep, that’s it. Sort 3 decks of cards, shuffle in some reception cards, and you are basically ready to go.

While I can’t imagine entire game nights revolving around Lost in Straya, it looks to be a fun travel and filler game of during heavier gaming sessions.

Then there is the art. It’s simple, funny, and you can see at a glance what is happening. If PAX Aus was happening this year, it is the sort of game you could pull out while lining up in a queue and play with strangers.

Lost in Straya is a shorter game at 20 minutes, and the game looks simple to learn and teach.

Draw two cards, craft items, deal with creatures. All other catches are printed on the card. Perfect for jumping into a quick game at any time.

Did I mention the price?

Retail, Lost in Straya has a retail price of AUD$25. If you checked out the Kickstarter from my Facebook post yesterday, you could nab a copy for AUD$16. Even if you didn’t get a chance at the early bird, a pledge is AUD$19, and you can get them cheaper if you buy multiple copies.

Add on top of that AUD$7 shipping, and you have an inexpensive take anywhere game. Sounds like a deal to me!

Are you backing it?

I most certainly am. I don’t think Lost in Straya will be a must play inclusion every game night. But it will be a solid option right up there with the likes of Love Letter.

My biggest regret is probably the solo mode. It has you playing against a ‘virtual’ player, and I have never been a fan of these kinds of solo modes. But as I am looking at Lost in Straya as a quick ‘get to know you’ portable game, I didn’t think this is a huge disadvantage.

Lost in Straya Card Examples
The great thing about simple games is there isn't much to them. Hard to show it off though.

So check out the Kickstarter page for more information, including the rules.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD