Video Game Journal – January 18 2023

Happy new year! I hope you had a great break too! Even though I played mostly board games this year, I managed to squeeze in some good video game sessions. Especially when a new present arrived early January, and I am now the proud owner of a Steam Deck!

20230118 - Video Game Journal - Hello Steam Deck
Hello Steam Deck

I am still keeping my Win 3 for retro emulation, but with the Intel internal graphics, it couldn’t quite play everything I wanted on Windows. But now, with both, I can play almost all the games I want!

I am excited to finally play some games that have been sitting in my backlog for ages like Mansions of Madness: Mother’s Embrace and Evil Within. Being able to play them on Steam Deck will hopefully allow for more play sessions and make a dent in my backlog.

There were some more games not listed, like a couple of hours of Elden Ring on the Steam Deck (for testing purposes!). I needed to try out the Steam Deck – most of these games were games I enjoyed and wanted to test the feel on the console. A couple of games I may actually pick up again – playing handheld felt that good!

I might talk more about that a bit later. For now, lets talk about what I got my teeth into over the break!

God of War Ragnarok

I have to admit, naming Sifu as my game of the year for 2022 was a tough decision. I can’t help but think that if I had finished God of War Ragnarok before making that decision, it might have been different.

The gameplay in God of War Ragnarok is everything you would expect from the series – it’s fantastic. But the story… wow. It’s hard to talk about it without giving anything away, but let’s just say there are plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing. Even when I thought I knew where the story was headed, it still managed to surprise me.

20230118 - God of War Ragnarok - The combat and story tie together nicely in Ragnarok
The combat and story tie together nicely in Ragnarok

One particular story beat really caught me off guard and hit me harder than I expected. I finished the main story close to my normal bedtime, but I just had to keep going and follow the storyline in the post-game. I ended up staying up an extra hour, it was that engaging.

Now that I’ve finished the main story, I’ve been exploring the realms and wondering if I want to go for the Platinum trophy. I’m hovering around 80% completion on each realm, and most of the trophies seem to be tied to completing all the tasks. I’ve also encountered one of the post-endgame bosses, Gna, and I have to admit, I’m not quite ready to take her on yet. I’ve come close to defeating her, but I haven’t quite been able to finish the job.

20230118 - God of War Ragnarok - Enemies are all different which keeps combat feeling fresh
The bosses are just differnet enough each time to feel like a fresh challenge

I do have some time before the Dead Space remake comes out, and I’m thinking about whether or not I want to try for the Platinum trophy. The combat tests have been fun so far, and I know they’ll only get harder. Gna’s fight was punishing, but I’ve earned Platinum trophies in games like Bloodborne and Elden Ring, so I know it’s possible. I’ll have to see next week if I decide to go for it or not.


Peglin has been a great chill game to play at the end of the day and it still will be, but I may have found a contender to replace it! Either way, over the break I played a lot of Peglin and made quite a bit of progress.

What do I mean by progress? Well, I started the break happy I unlocked Cruciball Level 9. But over the course of the break, I have spent the last couple of weeks stuck on Level 13! Peglin has spikes in difficulty, and each Cruciball level stacks harder limitations on you. Right now, I am starting with no money, weak balls, and a terriball (literally what it’s called), and that’s just the start!

20230118 - Peglin - The Terriball is completely Terrible
The Terriball is low damage, tiny, and can’t be upgraded – what a terrible starter!

Monsters and bosses have more power, explosives are weak, I only have one refresh and one critical power up, it keeps going! And I am having a ball trying to make my way through Peglin. I haven’t made it to the third level yet, but I have come so close quite a few times.

So Peglin is still very much on my gameplay list, but not as often as it used to be. I have been dedicating more time to explore new games, but I’ll definitely come back to play Peglin again in the future.

20230118 - Peglin - Level 13 is close to my cap
This may be my limit level wise, especially with another quiet game in the mix…

Vampire Survivors

So, I’ve been hearing a lot about this game called Vampire Survivors lately. At first, I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. I’m not usually a fan of idle games and the idea of “just moving around with the left stick” didn’t sound like it would be very fun. But, boy was I wrong!

I picked up the game on Steam during a sale, and at just $8, I thought it was worth a try. My first game was a bit confusing – I was surrounded by bats and wasn’t really sure what was happening.

20230118 - Vampire Survivors - This is pretty much how you start
This is pretty much how you start, except for the direction arrows

But as I started to understand the mechanics and level up, I found myself really enjoying it. It’s a bit like the soulsborne games where dying is part of the learning process and hidden lore. It’s also like the old bullet hell or shmup games from my younger days. The firing is automatic, but there’s still a lot of depth to the gameplay.

One of the things I love about Vampire Survivors is how it keeps surprising me. There are some really cool, Lovecraftian elements to the game that I wasn’t expecting. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else, but let’s just say that things can get pretty weird!

20230118 - Vampire Survivors - You can become borderline indestructible
Stick with it, and at the end of your first hour you can deal damage like this

Overall, I’ve been having a great time playing Vampire Survivors. It’s become my go-to game when I’m tired but still want to play something. Playing it on the Win 3 or Steam Deck is a great experience and it’s perfect for relaxing on the couch with YouTube.

Sometimes, turning on the laptop isn’t an option. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be playing Vampire Survivors more than Peglin thanks to this!

20230118 - Vampire Survivors - I have made some progress
According to Steam, this is what it looks like after 20 hours of playing – and Antonio isn’t my main character!

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,