What’cha Been Playin’? December 2016


I’m not done mining 2016, but the start of a new months means a detour as I spend a little time chattering about the games that I played during December.

Dishonored 2 // PlayStation 4

My assassinations continue in my second favorite game of 2016. I unlocked the upgrade that allows me to launch enemies from the ground towards me, granting the opportunity to kill or render them unconscious from the safety of a higher platformer. That did reveal a flaw in the AI, however: they’re deaf. A flung enemy yells, but two of his allies sitting with their backs turned towards us didn’t notice anything. This may be intentional by the developers, though. Dropping from above onto an enemy sometimes ends with Emily bashing the guy’s head against the ground, but nobody hears that either.

Dragon Quest Builders // PlayStation 4

The only game here that I received as a Christmas present. I’m not far — I haven’t even reached the point where the demo ends — but my previous experience means that I’ve adjusted to aspects that bugged me. For instance, using the shoulder buttons to aim above/below isn’t as frustrating, and I now know it’s possible to zap to a first-person perspective (of sorts), although I still accidentally open the menu when I hoped to jump. Why is menu assigned to the X button? That’s the strangest design decision of them all.

Nier: Automata (Demo) // PS4

I… what? As expected from an action game created by Platinum Games, I have no idea what’s going on with the story. Blindfolded, white-haired androids arrive to destroy a robot that’s a massive factory? Probably doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t help that I suck at these games. How much do I suck? Enough that I’ll suggest just downloading the demo yourself to see if you dig it.

PaRappa the Rapper Remastered (Demo) // PS4

Well, this shouldn’t take long. The demo for remastered PaRappa is only the somewhat iconic dojo stage, which lasts about ten minutes, if that. I can’t fault the demo for not having more content — it’s a demo, after all — and plays as expected. Sony released the demo to coincide with PaRappa’s 20th anniversary, but with the actual game still months away, it’s a curious decision to drop the demo so far ahead.

Pixelmon (Minecraft) // PC

The Minecraft mod that replaces animals with Pokémon, adds turn-based battling, and tosses in Pokémon Centers and the occasional gym into settlements. Pixelmon sounds incredible, but I’m finding that Minecraft suffocates the Pokémon elements. Starting in the middle of nowhere is typical Minecraft, but when your starter Pokémon is defeated and there’s no Pokémon Center in sight, that sucks. Unable to heal your existing creatures, Pixelmon devolves into standard Minecraft. Oh, and unless you go vegan, you’re forced to gain food by murdering Pokémon.

Maybe I should accept that Pixelmon is less Pokémon than I hoped and attempt to find some enjoyment with basically just Minecraft. More importantly, I should build that farm so I’m not slaughtering Pidgey for meat.

Pokémon Moon // 3DS

With the newly-formed Elite Four defeated, I’ve effectively beaten Pokémon Moon. There’s still the post-game battle tree, but that doesn’t interest me. I already pushed through the trainers before the tree itself and managed to defeat Blue (after being defeated by Red. Jumping into such a difficult battle without warning or a chance to heal my tired Pokémon was cheap), but there isn’t enough incentive to tackle the battle tree. So consider Pokémon Moon completed.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero // Wii U

Games don’t come any more charming than Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. The colorful environments and cartoon-like sprites are beautiful, while Shantae herself is adorable. She’s perpetually upbeat and energetic, and her appearance evolved through the years into a cute, somewhat anime-ish design. I’m not far into Half-Genie Hero, but it doesn’t appear to play significantly different from previous Shantae releases. That’s okay, though.

Steins;Gate 0 // PlayStation Vita

The first Steins;Gate told an incredible time-travel story, but I found it difficult to play through the visual novel when I previously experienced that tale in the anime adaptation of the same name. I guess visual novels aren’t exciting enough to keep me interested when I already know where the story leads. So I began Steins;Gate 0 with as little information as possible, only knowing the basic set-up. The result is that I’ve spent almost every night playing Steins;Gate 0 before bed, and I’ve already experienced the worst ending. It’s not often that I turn on a game console genuinely excited to see where the story is heading.

Super Mario 3D World // Wii U

Sometimes you need to step away from the unrelenting violence that populates this medium and play something a bit lighter, and for that I tossed in Super Mario 3D World. I’ve owned the game for less than a year, but barely touched it despite loving Mario 3D Land. Maybe the constant dumping it gets from folks unhappy that it’s not Galaxy 3 dissuaded me, but I was encouraged by those who genuinely love the game. And 3D World is great, although there’s a certain lack of freshness that’s envelopes the game. I intend to push forward, so hopefully that feeling will subside.

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