Sparks of Hope in the Village, but Bloodborne linger
I think Rabbit and I came down with something last week. We were both way more tired than normal, and sleep isn’t coming easy. I am slowly starting to get back to normal though, so yeah I think it’s a bug.
The biggest downside is the next few months for video games are huge. Backlog games are borderline never going to happen until mid-next year at this rate. Oh no, what a terrible place to be!😋
Board game-wise things are also looking up. I got a package this week that put a big smile on both of our faces. Some are games I have been keeping an eye on for ages, some are things that Rabbit pointed out at PAX Aus. So board games incoming again in the next few weeks!
Bloodborne took a beating gameplay-wise this week. Why this happened will become obvious as you see the rest of this week’s entries. But I did play a bit of Bloodborne early in the week, and I have found my next boss – The Witch of Hemwick.
At first, I jumped in to replay an area and make sure that the old muscle memory was intact. But it’s been a couple of weeks since I feel like I made any progress (i.e. – boss trophy!), so I gave it a go.
I am not worried about spoiling Bloodborne as it’s been a few years, but everything is new to me. So the Witch of Hemwick is actually the WITCHES of Hemwick. And they summon annoying scythe-wielding helpers. I thought I was doing well, then basically phase 2 kicked in and I went down. Hard.
The next time I play will probably be Sunday afternoon. I have all these written on a Sunday morning (or try to), and I can’t wait for a proper Bloodborne session again soon. My main aim will be to defeat the Witches – I want a trophy!
Bloodborne’s biggest impact on my gaming coming up is that I am not letting it lie this time. Right now, that means I won’t be playing God of War Ragnarok this week. There is no way I can play both God of War and Bloodborne simultaneously, and I want to put Bloodborne to bed.
I am also thinking of modifying my backlog challenge to include Bloodborne. Yes, it’s a bit of a cheat, but I started playing it 6 years ago – I would say it qualifies!
So I will play God of War Ragnarok after Bloodborne? Probably not. I have November to try and finish Bloodborne, then I will fire up Callisto Protocol in December. If I can take a break between Christmas and New Years, that would be a good time to sink my teeth into Ragnarok. But so many games are coming out between now and the end of March 2023 – it’s a games overload!
Being tired this week meant more time for Mario + Rabbids than I anticipated. The turn-based combat and relatively safe exploration modes make Sparks of Hope great for portable play. And portable play in this case means picking it up and putting it down as I rest on the couch!
Last week I thought I was about to take on the final level. I was out by an entire planet, so happy little accident there. Another level while relaxing in the evening was great timing. It’s a little hard to explain if you have never tried Mario + Rabbids. The more of the same formula is one of Sparks of Hope greatest strengths. Especially when you want to relax with minimal dexterity required. Sort of like grinding in Pokemon is restful?
It’s also hard to explain how Sparks of Hope is more of the same as Kingdom Battle, but different. The small changes to the gameplay meld almost perfectly. Unless you play the two games back to back you don’t notice many of them. For example, the grid-based combat system is gone, replaced with a free roam within a set range.
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is now on my finished list. Yep, I did finish the entire story. Remember how I have said a couple of times that the story of Mario + Rabbids is mainly there to push you through? When you unlock the final world, the new backstory is explained in one exposition dump.
I had already guessed the majority of the story points, and nothing you learn helps in the final battles. So I was a little disappointed at the pacing killer. But once I was through, the final boss battles in Sparks of Hope were great to play. One thing that caught me by surprise is you play with all 9 characters! It was here for the first time I truly appreciated the squad loadout option before starting a battle.
So now that I have finished the game, I did go back and start cleaning up for 100% Completion. It was Saturday night, Rabbit was resting and I was still super tired, so it seemed a good time. I also didn’t mind looking up a guide for a couple of things that I couldn’t see how to do.
This isn’t a spoiler because the game doesn’t tell you (that I have found), but the little glowing spirals? Rotate the left stick quickly while standing on them to unlock them. This could just be me missing something telling you or forgetting from Kingdom Battle. Apart from that, now I can jump in and out and explore at leisure.
I don’t know if I will try and Complete Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. Not because I am not enjoying the game, but I have a week before the next deluge of games starts. There is a chance I will chip away at Sparks of Hope for completion, but I have barely touched my backlog this year. That’s not a good sign for Completion.
If you haven’t jumped in yet, I can definitely recommend the series overall. And because Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a Ubisoft game, every now and then some good sale prices can be found!
Monday night, I was in the mood to play something that wasn’t Sparks of Hope. I wanted to play something I could sink my teeth into, but not Bloodborne as I had to wake up super early Tuesday. So I decided to revisit Resident Evil Village and The Mercenaries Mode.
I wanted to investigate what was required to unlock Lady Dimitrescu and Heisenberg. So worst case a bit of quick with Village, best case I grind towards an unlock. It’s not often that playing Resident Evil doesn’t feel like a win to me.
The first thing I noticed was Chris Redfield was available to play in Mercenaries mode. Apparently, I missed this update to Resident Evil Village. So I jumped in as Chris Redfield. Punching werewolves and plugging away with my handgun was a lot of fun!
I quickly made a lot of headway with Chris and enjoyed playing through the new levels. It took only a few runs to get back into the swing, and I was finishing levels with A rankings first try. Playing as Chris with his upgradable handgun and his Onslaught power isn’t ‘Easy’ mode as such. What is Onslaught? It’s Resident Evil Villages’ version of a Super, and explains how Chris can punch boulders! 😋
Playing as Chris Redfield does gel a lot more with traditional shooter gameplay though. Destiny players for example will be right at home with Chris. Those Mercenaries’ scores should soar if you were having trouble as Ethan!
What did hurt is on my last run of the night, I managed to unlock both Lady Dimistrescu and Heisenberg. Not how I wanted to end the night, but this is why I was playing Resident Evil instead of Bloodborne. The idea was I could finish a run on Village and shut down the PS5. It was with reluctance I shut down the PS5.
Thursday night though, different story. I jumped in and gave both characters a run. One thing they have in common is both are melee fighters. Lady Dimistrescu has her claws, and Heisenberg has his amazing hammer. More on that in a bit.
Carving up with the L1 and R1 buttons as Lady Dimistrescu was fun. My favourite weapon with her though? The Ornate Dresser. Remember in the original Resident Evil Village trailers when she was on the phone talking about Ethan? At the end of the call, the dresser she was sitting at was thrown across the room in anger. Well, in Mercenaries, the Dresser is a weapon with a cooldown!
I have started making great headway with Heisenberg though. You can use his magnetic powers to summon scrap metal or sawblades and fire them for distance projectiles. This works, but takes time – not ideal if you want to chain combos. His primary weapon is his hammer, and it can deal some great damage.
Here is a tip though – The first purchase from the Duke should be the power to swing the hammer faster. You will need it! But once you are in the game, hitting enemies builds an electrical charge within the hammer. Holding down R1 raises the hammer and brings it down with a crowd-clearing mega-hit.
Playing as Heisenberg does feel easier with that amazing hammer, there are catches. He doesn’t have healing items, so you need to be on your game, especially on the Hard levels. You will be bought down by the Village enemies quickly if you make mistakes, so don’t think you can cruise now.
Also, I have left another couple of surprises hidden in all this for you to discover on your own. If like me you wished Mercenaries in Village was more like other Resident Evil versions (4 FTW!), that is now here. The Winters’ Expansion adds the ‘full’ experience back to Village.
So the Winters’ Expansion satisfied me with the story DLC and made Mercenaries fun again. The only trophy I had left to Platinum Resident Evil Village was an S rank in ALL Mercenaries levels. With the new characters and styles now available, there is a good chance I will try for this trophy again!
What about you? I hope you got some great games in. Or are you looking forward to a new one? Let me know!