Crossing Zero Dawn of Burnout Legends Arceus

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The new system has been up for a week, and I have only one more weekend with work before it’s put to bed. Bring on the rest, then the board games!

But as usual, it’s not like I didn’t get to play anything. I didn’t play as much as I would have liked of Horizon Zero Dawn and Pokemon Legends: Arceus. I got to play infinitely more of an old favourite in a very unexpected way though!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I still come in daily for my Animal Crossings New Horizons dabble. Dig up fossils, earn some Nook Miles, try and talk to a few villagers.

Last week was the start of the Lunar Festival, which I should get excited about. It’s not quite coming yet. Last week was monitoring the project now that it’s out, and later in the week that let me take some split days for a break.

So Thursday I thought to myself I would spend an hour cleaning up my hybrid flowers. But on my island of Game Room the weather didn’t agree.

Yes, I skipped virtual gardening because of virtual rain!

20220207 - Animal Crossing New Horizons - Still need to clean my flowers
Look at that weather – would you be gardening?

But it’s not all gloomy news. I was able to pick up the Switch at the end of my day. It doesn’t sound like much, but I usually play about 6 am – most of my villagers aren’t awake to talk to!

Playing in the evening lets me try and talk to everyone. This should help with the villager turnover I have been letting run rampant the last few weeks.

Another goal I am getting closer to is the bugs Critterpedia. I managed to hit 75% of the creatures caught, and all are donated to the museum as well. Progress in set collection is happening!

20220207 - Animal Crossing New Horizons - Slowly catching them all
Slowly catching them all!

The one collection that feels like it takes forever is my art collection. Even though an update means that you can visit Redd every day at Harv’s Island, there is rarely genuine art on sale.

It has gotten to the point I am thinking of buying fake art to cycle the options quicker. I have done pretty well with some turnip trades, so it’s not like it would hurt.

I don’t know if this would help or not. I could likely look it up, but I wouldn’t mind trying it out for myself. That might be a goal next week.

20220207 - Animal Crossing New Horizons - Should i buy the fakes hoping for originlas
Getting tempted to buy the fakes to try for the real deals

Burnout Legends

Last week, a crowdfunded project arrived that I have been looking forward to. OK, to be fair, that’s almost all the crowdfunding projects I back, but this one was different.

What arrived was my Ayn Odin Pro. The Anbernic 351M I have is good and showed me that my Retro Handheld path is one I wanted to travel. Playing the Anbernic for an extended period hurts my hands though.

Enter the Odin. About the same size as a Switch Lite, more powerful than the Anbernic and designed for emulation. I thought it would be a winner.

20220207 - Odin Pro - Fresh out of box
Fresh out of box with a badly applied by me screen protector

I will talk more about the Odin in a future Shenanigans, but early in the week, I started setting up the Odin. Things went well, but I spent a bit of time sorting out PlayStation and PlayStation Portable.

And the game I was testing and fine-tuning the setup PSP wise was Burnout Legends. This was the second Burnout game I played, and the only portable Burnout I have.

For people that aren’t familiar with the games, Burnout is (was?) an arcade racing game that emphasises reckless driving and taking out opponents.

That might sound ‘standard’ these days, but back in the early 2000s, Burnout was new and different. And for a good couple of hours last week, I was happy to start re-exploring the world.

20220207 - Burnout Legends - Racing or Vehicular Combat
Arcade racing with vehicular combat, incredibly well executed

It wasn’t only the fun gameplay and amazing visuals. Criterion and EA coupled Burnout with an amazing soundtrack of licensed music. Almost every track fit the world of Burnout. Even someone like me that doesn’t listen to most of the bands enjoyed the soundtracks.

There are various race types. ‘Standard’ races, Burning Lap where you beat times, Road Rage where you wipe out opponents, and Head to Head challenges.

And again, if you want to go deeper, there are even more things to do. There are various challenges, such as using traffic to take down opponents.

Signature takedowns are my favourite, where you take down someone at specific places. Your reward is a silly postcard type record of your recklessness!

20220207 - Burnout Legends - Signature Takedowns
Timing for these takedowns is incredibly tight but satisfying to pull off

But racing isn’t all you can do in Burnout. There are also Crash events. Crash events are where you speed into an intersection and try to cause as much damage as possible.

On one hand, this sounds terrible. On the other, knowing it’s a game, causing mayhem is fun and cathartic on the couch at the end of the day! Just watching car after car piling into a crash, and then exploding to cause even more mayhem. Responsible driving at it’s finest!

20220207 - Burnout Legends - Crashbreaker Shenanigans
Crashbreaker is Burnout code for exploding your car and sending things everywhere

Will I get absorbed back into the world of Burnout Legends? Probably not. There are a lot of games I want to get back into, but I have been enjoying myself while learning how the Odin works.

If Burnout Legends tickles your interest, I recommend grabbing Burnout Paradise Remastered. You can go portable on the Switch, but I haven’t tried it so I am not sure how it plays. On PlayStation or Xbox though – amazing experience.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Forbidden West is only a couple of weeks away. I know a few people that are looking forward to Aloy’s new adventures, including myself.

I doubt I will be playing on day one though. I am making progress in Horizon Zero Dawn. Slow progress, but progress in any event.

Case in point – I got to play a little over an hour this week. During this hour, I spent about 40 minutes playing with Hunting Grounds Trials.

Zero story progress, but a lot of fun doing timed challenges!

20220207 - Horizon Zero Dawn - Hunting Ground Trials are a fun way to learn your weapons
Hunting ground trials are a fun way to learn your weapons

I was so close to getting the highest tier in the three available challenges. In knocking canisters from Grazers with a bow and arrow, I am only a few seconds off the highest reward.

Rather than stay and get frustrated trying to unlock the blazing sun reward, I moved on a little bit. I thought I would hunt for some resources after crafting a few upgrades, not a bad way to chill.

Instead, I stumbled into a new story progression piece. I found my first Tallneck – Horizon Zero Dawns answer to Sheikah Towers or Outposts.

20220207 - Horizon Zero Dawn - Riding my first tallneck
The view from the Tallnexk is awesome. Photo mode fore the win!

Climbing these huge creatures gives you a detailed map of the immediate area. So working out how to scale them is an important gameplay mechanic.

My first thought was to take in the view. Horizon Zero Dawn looks amazing, hands down. My second thought was to play with photo mode.

I need to get into the habit of catching images this way. Photo mode capture looks so much better than the internal recording!

So I still have a lot of Horizon to explore. I don’t see myself completing Zero Dawn in February, let alone before the 18th. I don’t mind this though, as it gives me time to explore at my own pace, and take my time with the Frozen Wilds expansion!

20220207 - Horizon Zero Dawn - So much to explore
Every time I start Zero Dawn I see in the top right that the DLC is waiting for me

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

It was late Saturday night when I finally finished work for the week. I had made up my mind to play something. It was too late for a board game, but some Animal Crossing perhaps? A put a bit more of a dent in Horizon Zero Dawn?

I realised I hadn’t picked up Pokemon Legends: Arceus again since last week. Grinding away at some research and pottering around sounded like a great idea!

Kick back for a half-hour or so, let the mind unwind, and call it a night. Great plan.

20220207 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - The Request Board
The new Requests Board. I couldn’t resist the Planning parallel though.

It was a smidge over two hours later that I realised Rabbit had nodded off. Netflix was asking if someone was still there for who knows how long.

I did a couple of small errands (side quests), including finding lost items. It turns out in Arceus if you get knocked out, some items can appear in other players games. Find and return these satchels, and you get a little bonus.

It’s a very non-invasive and optional way of ‘online play’ that I don’t mind at all. It’s not that I am against online play, I don’t want it in my face when I am trying to solo play though.

20220207 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - Lost and Found
Random little hunts that you can take or leave

All this exploring allowed me to get to a Two Star Rank – progress!

I also got to evolve a few more of my Pokemon. Owlsley has evolved into Dartrix, so looks like a trendy professor. I am looking forward to the final evolution into Decidueye, where Owlsley looks like a Lord of the Rings ranger!

Pokemon Legends: Arceus has a different take on evolutions than other Pokemon games. When evolution criteria has been met, you have the option of evolving your Pokemon.

The animations do look better than ‘flashing between two forms’ from previous games. They do look rather sinister though!

202202070 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - Evolution is terrifying
Starly evolving looks like the stuff of nightmares!

Speaking of the graphics, there has been a lot of talk about the quality of Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Digital Foundry’s John Linneman pointed out the art direction fit more in 1999 than 2022.

It’s hard to find fault with this argument. Games like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odysee make the newer Arceus look slightly wrong on the Switch.

The graphics are serviceable and generally don’t get in the way of gameplay. Spotting collectibles and draw distance are a factor though.

Five hours in, and I have found one mushroom and one piece of wood – items that should be plentiful. They blend into the surroundings too well.

20220207 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - The graphics work but are not what you expect from AAA games
Gameplay is amazing but graphically Arceus doesn’t feel like a modern game

Other resources stand out for miles though – it’s inconsistent. Pokemon also sometimes feel like they phase in and out if you turn around too quickly. And no, I don’t mean Drifloon that does actually phase in and out.

I’m not trying to come down on Pokemon Legends: Arceus. The gameplay is good enough that I got drawn in for two hours for a ‘quick’ grind session.

But ignoring that Game Freak still has things to learn in making a ‘modern’ game would be a disservice. Pokemon Legends: Arceus is great, but if they had some help maybe from the Breath of the Wild team it could be fantastic.

That said, the gameplay (at least this early in) is still more than enough to draw me into the game world. At the end of the day, this immersion is what makes games amazing. Game Freak has a little bit of clean up on the immersion-breaking aspects for next game.

20220207 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - Slow and Steady Progress
Slow and steady progress. Seems how all my gaming is going at the moment!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,

JohnHQLD