Last Week’s Gaming – January 27th, 2020

20200127 Final Fantasy XV

Well this was a video game heavy week

The last entry for January 2020! I can’t believe how quickly January has come and gone. Between work, sick and Final Fantasy XV, I haven’t gotten as many board games in as I was hoping. Still, thanks to a long weekend I will be fixing that with Alpal while you are reading this, all going as planned!

The Game – Android

I enjoy Onirim for a quick mental challenge. But I was thinking this week that I hadn’t played The Game for ages, so I decided to fix that 🙂

For those that haven’t played The Game, you have four piles of cards. Two are for ascending cards, and the others descending. You place randomly drawn cards from your hands onto the piles, and you win by playing all of your cards.

On mobile, I usually play The Game – Lift Up. Lift Up includes the base game and the On Fire expansion, with points. The points help give you another goal to aim for solo but aren’t what I call essential for playing.

Says the guy that finally beat this mode! It wasn’t my best score ever, but I have never ‘beaten’ this mode, so that made me happy 🙂

20200127 The Game
It's strange how the score has stopped me from finishing this before. Not now!

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

Last week, I wrote about how I had finished Final Fantasy XV. Well, I finished the main story. Playing it more is something I have been wrestling with, but this week not feeling well, I decided to stick with it.

Final Fantasy games are generally easy to play, and while I wanted to relax and take my mind off things, it was great for this week. It also didn’t hurt that I was only four trophies off earning the Platinum.

And I earned it! For the first time, I have a Platinum trophy for a Final Fantasy game. And it marks my first Platinum for 2020! Why is that important? Check out my 2020 Gaming Goals tomorrow to find out more 🙂

20200127 Final Fantasy XV
This was not an easy fight. The adamantoise is HUGE!

Last week, I talked about Brain Training on the Switch. You may notice it’s not here. I haven’t fired up the Switch all week. It was one of those kinds of week. Hopefully I will start it again soon!

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

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – January 20th, 2020

Silver Amulet

I can’t wait for my board game nights to start again!

Not that I am short of things to play. Even with a bit of a week last week, I have had a ball with the games I have played.

I even starting learning a couple of games that I can hopefully get a group together for in the next couple of weeks!

But I talked enough about the future last week. Let’s have a look at what I did get to play!

Werewolf is one of my favourite social deduction games. You need a larger group to play it, but that’s one of the great things about it. Want to play a game with 12 people? Werewolf should be on the list!

Playing with lower numbers can be done with the One Night series, but it’s not the same game. One Night isn’t bad – it just isn’t Werewolf.

Silver falls into this category as well. It isn’t Werewolf, even with shared characters. But that doesn’t make it a bad game, and I can’t wait to play it again.

It’s basically set collection with a trick-taking edge. Once the vote is called, you want to have the lowest score. It really is that simple, and it’s fast to teach and play! I can’t wait to play this once my game nights recommence 🙂

Silver Amulet
A card game that only needs the cards - rare these days!

Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch – Switch

OK, so if this is a game or not is debatable. I had heard people enjoying Brain Training on the DS ages ago, but it’s not a title I ever picked up.

But now that it’s on Switch, I thought why not? First thing – I am actually regretting buying the physical copy. It does come with a stylus, but I didn’t consider one important factor. You only play a mini-game for a couple of minutes each day, and swapping carts can be a pain.

On my first day, I got a Brain Age of 65. Learning how to write and have the Switch interpret it correctly meant a lot of mistakes and lots of penalties.

One week later, I can write 4 and 5 correctly about 95% of the time, and I scored a brain age of 27! The tests were much easier for me this time, but I wouldn’t claim it was because of training. I just randomly got activities that I usually enjoy as diversions.

Each day you play, you earn a stamp that unlocks other activities. I have enjoyed a couple of games, like Rock-Paper-Scissors with random “Try to Win/Try to Lose” conditions. Doing basic arithmetic is also strangely calming, much more than the Germs mini-game. There is nothing wrong with Germs, but using the stylus to control Dr Mario isn’t great.

I will keep playing this for a couple of weeks, then give a review and progress report after a few weeks.

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

One great thing about the holidays was the chance to get into one of my backlog games. As I said last week, I have finally gotten the opportunity to jump into Final Fantasy XV. And now I have not only been playing, but I finished it!

So while I have finished Final Fantasy XV, I am not sure if I am finished with it. I have only 4 tasks before earning the platinum, and only one of those tasks will require level grinding – the Adamantoise fight.

I also have the Season Pass content, but a reveal during the game means I really want to see Prompto’s story. If I play one of the episodes, I will probably want to play them all.

Will I play it or not? Next week I have an article talking about just such temptation 🙂

Final Fantasy XV
Not bad. I would have picked a different picture but I got impatient at night.

Onirim – Android

A game I always enjoy pulling out for a diversion is Onirim. I have talked about it in depth in my review.

Onirim is a game that even after hundreds of plays, I can lose easily. And yet a loss is not frustrating, and playing on the phone is a quick reset.

I have spoken about this before, but it’s amazing how I can completely miss playing on my phone as ‘gaming’. True, I tend to play solo games on the phone, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Onirim
It's a nice feeling when you can't lose! Wait, there is one more nightmare....

Onitama – Android

Another game that I have reviewed, Onitima is a game I pick up now and then. Not as much as Onirim, but it has the same sense of comfort playing it.

I am still playing with the base cards on the app, but the hard AI mode is still giving me a challenge. I can technically play online, but a quick round now and then is always my preference. Waiting for my opponent online isn’t always a smooth experience.

But while waiting at work for a few things like code to compile, jumping on my phone and playing a quick round is always a bit of fun.

Onitama
This did not end well for me. But it was still fun!

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 – January 13th, 2020

Pokemon Shield

MORE GAMES PLEASE 2020!

So it’s been a big 5-6 weeks here. Rabbit and I have moved, end of year work crunch, all the fun stuff has been happening.

That said, I did get some gaming in – including finishing a couple of video games! I even got a platinum. Yay!

So considering the huge welcome back article earlier today, let’s jump straight into what I played.

The Tokyo Series (and indeed most Jordan Draper games I back) are games I love, but always have trouble pitching to others why they excite me. The come in plain boxes, have small components, and usually can be multiple games in one box.

Michael Fox (no, not that one) and Jordan Draper have collaborated on expanding Tokyo Jutaku, a dexterity game in the Tokyo Series. The fruits of this collaboration is MegaCity: Oceania. It also doesn’t hurt that thematically it’s played just off the Gold Coast 😀

MegaCity: Oceania
Combining stategy with dexterity sounds strange, but this was so fun to play!

There is a dexterity component of building up your city on a tile according to a random plan. Then, you have to move your completed section into the central MegaCity, all while trying to maximise points.

It sounds like two genres that shouldn’t work together, but it did. MegaCity: Oceania was fun while having deep stratagies hidden away. Building your city is fun, and you can take your time to a degree. Moving your city without anything collapsing is tense, without being frustrating. Give it a look if you get the chance.

I think this will be a great way to get people to look at other Jordan Draper games I own

Deep Blue

Days of Wonder knows how to present games well. Best known for the Ticket to Ride series, Days of Wonder publishes a staggering amount of well-known games. For example, Memoir 44, one of the most popular tabletop war games, is also a Days of Wonder game.

Deep Blue is a push your luck game crossed with hand management/deck building. That can sound daunting, but like Ticket to Ride a wide range of gamers can jump straight in.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but on reflection I definitely got a ‘Quacks of Quedlinburg lite’ feeling about Deep Blue. I think the games are different enough, but a lot of those base ‘do I or don’t I?’ moments dominate both games.

What can I say? I am just going to have to pull more people in for some more games and really give Deep Blue a workout 🙂

Deep Blue
Deep Blue is a Days of Wonder game. The components are so fun to play with!

I have talked about Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time before. You can see my review of it here. A puzzle in a board game, with a lot of replayability – sounds good to me!

While taking a break from starting to catalogue the library, Alpal and I sat down for a game. And for some reason, absolutely smashed it. I can’t see anything we did wrong, and we didn’t use an optimised team – we just did really well.

So now I suppose I am just going to have to track down the expansion. Professor Evil and the Architects of Magic adds new characters, powers and objectives. It even adds time portals, meaning the Professor himself can take multiple turns in a row if you aren’t careful!

Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time
It's been too long since I played this. And an expansion is coming!

I didn’t know what to expect when Alpal showed me Atlantis Rising. I had heard mostly good things about it in the past, but I didn’t realise it had a revised edition.

Playing three players, we dove into the cooperative worker placement game. The idea is simple – Atlantis is sinking, and the players must work together to build a cosmic gate (cough stargate) to escape.

During setup, I joked that we should pay on Forbidden Island to get used to it. Turns out, I was kinda right. The board sections get flipped when they sink, and player powers can bring them back.

Atlantis Rising
Atlantis Rising was a lot more stressful than I thought it would be!

The other similarity is that lovely ‘have your turn, now deal with bad things’ mechanic. If you don’t like games like Pandemic or Forbidden Island, Atlantis Rising won’t be for you.

If you are a fan of these sorts of games though, give Atlantis Rising a try. I will need to try it at different player counts, but I can feel a full review coming at a later stage.

Pyramid of Pengqueen

On paper, Pyramid of Pengqueen sounds like a lot of fun. One player takes the role of the Pengqueen/Mummy, and the other players have to steal the treasures.

This plays out on a two-sided magnetic board, with the Pengqueen on one side and everyone else on the other. The Pengqueen can’t see where the player pieces are, but the players can all see where the Pengqueen is.

It’s cute, and the theming with the Icecool isn’t terrible. Feels a little like a wannabe Ducktales comparison, but that might be my age talking.

Pyramid of Pengqueen
An entry level one vs all, but a little lacking in gameplay

While this is aimed at younger players, I would say to the older person watching the young ones play to be prepared for fights. The Pengqueen has most of the advantages, and there is going to be inadvertent cheating by everyone.

I am going to review Pyramid of Pengqueen very soon, watch out next week to get my full thoughts.

Pokemon Shield – Switch

I FINISHED POKEMON SHIELD! I AM CHAMPION!

And that’s about as far as I think I am going to take it. I am not really interested in the usual post-game cleanup to fill my Pokedex. The battle system sounds interesting, but I am not really invested in that either.

What I did have was a fun time playing through the story. There is a lot of love and hate for the new entry in the series. Like any opinion, both sides have fair points. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say one side is right.

Pokemon Shield
I beat the unbeatable Champion! OK, almost everyone will. But it is where I call the story ended.

Pokemon has excelled for me as a light RPG experience. Pokemon Shield lived up to this for me. Yes, I would have liked some story holes filled in, but I can say that for any of game in the series. Bottom line is I had fun, I enjoyed the experience, and you will see my full thoughts in a couple of weeks 🙂

And, since I wrote all this, it looks like I’m not done with Shield. Friday, Nintendo and Game Freak announced the first ever Pokemon DLC – there will be more story later this year!

Terminator: Resistance – PS4

My first Platinum trophy since Kingdom Hearts III in February 2019. Well, that’s not technically true. I finished Access Denied in March, but I don’t count that Platinum Trophy. Why not? You will have to wait a couple of weeks for that tidbit 😀

Enough teasing, I finished Terminator: Resistance. The two and a bit weeks of no gaming with the move didn’t diminish the experience a jot.

Now, Terminator: Resistance is not what I call a shooter – at least at easy or normal difficulties. You shoot at things sure, but this isn’t a twitch shooter like Call of Duty. Conversely, while there are stealth elements, this isn’t a Metal Gear Solid either. You have a lot of freedoms when it comes to the machines recognising you.

The story itself isn’t exactly groundbreaking either. But it did make me want to keep playing it and explore the world. Terminator: Resistance is fan service done well, in my opinion. Set characters, set events, but a unique story that enhances the whole.

For more, you will have to wait until Friday for my review.

Terminator Resistance
Exploring the post-Judgement Day world shows the love this game was developed with.

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

Oh, I have wanted to play this for years now. Open-world RPGs are games I love to play when I can really sit back and take my time with them. Hence, a massive backlog of 80+ hour games waiting to be played!

I started a while ago not too long after the initial release, then had a bad thing happen during my first play. It took almost four years for that annoyance to stop creeping in as I loaded the game! But now I am happily working my way through it.

I have probably spent almost 10 of the 30ish hours played just letting the Regalia drive me around. This doesn’t sound very good, but it is how I have been playing. When I could lie back on the couch, do a few hunts or explore an area, then kick back and relax and watch AP build up – why not? The point of a break is to have a break after all. Final Fantasy XV has let me do that.

Final Fantasy XV
It's not news anymore, but just watching how beautiful the world is bringing me much joy.

I am only up to Chapter 7 for people that have already played through it. Seriously, I am taking my time. So this will probably pop up as my video game for the next few weeks, especially on PlayStation. So sorry in advance for lots of pictures of bros in a car 😀

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – PS4

So one of my favourite YouTubers is Jirard Khalil, aka The Completionist. I had already heard mostly good things about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but his review convinced me to get it that night.

And I had fun with it. Playing on easy, I died multiple times in the start/tutorial section of the game. This didn’t put me off playing though, as I loved the world and the pace of the story setup.

I finished the beginning section, then played long enough to open up flying to another world of my choice. By now, most of the controls were in muscle memory. I had a feel for the rhythm of the gameplay. I wanted to sit and really get into it. Only one thing stopped me.

I am one of those gamers that hates significant actions being assigned to L3/R3. Clicking a stick does not come naturally to me, and R3 all but replaces X in Fallen Order.

I have a plan though. I have already preordered one of the newly announced Dualshock 4 Back Button attachments. Come mid-February, I will be able to play Fallen Order and use those buttons mapped to L3 and R3.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order
Umm, hello. Nothing to see here. Well, that's not true. This isn't a cut scene, so it gives you an idea of how beautiful the world is.

Victory is Mine! Well, hopefully it will be :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 in the comments below, on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is now available!

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition Feature

Pocket Edition?  Final Fantasy XV: Chibi edition more like it!

360 Mb of Final Fantasy is currently loading onto my phone.

Yep, that pretty much covers it for today!

I am a long time fan of the solo Final Fantasy offerings (the MMO type ones not so much).  While I can appreciate some of the original PS1 titles being released on smartphones, the controls and screen size make for a very different experience, so I tend to stay away from them as a general rule.

So I am excited to give a go to a dedicated phone version and see how it translates.  All controls are done via single taps, so that removes any fiddly menu issues with previous ports.  And to help with the screen and general size of the game, Square Enix just went and made Final Fantasy XV so damn cute!

This may be the spur I need to sit and play the ‘true’ console version finally, but probably not.  It’s a game I know I will finish, but when I get to it.  It’s nice to know I have a copy that I can play in my pocket though 🙂

Chapter 1 is free to try, then it comes out episodically and you can buy chapters individually or essentially a season pass.  Pricing on the website has the chapters between USD$1 and USD$4 per chapter, or USD$20 for the season pass.

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition Feature
Something looks adorably different...
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition Screen Grab 1
Anyone that has seen the start of the 'real' version of Final Fantasy XV knows how good this scene looks
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition Screen Grab 2
No! Only 2 weeks to retirment! Wait wrong meme...

Until next time,

JohnHQLD