Falling(Behind) Into Autumn

The summer months are now behind us. Daylight hours are getting steadily shorter and there’s a crispness in the air. Fall is finally here. My favorite season without a doubt was summer as a kid – I’m sure almost all of that had to do with the feeling of sweet freedom away from school over summer vacation. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve started to embrace the fall months as my favorite time of year – walks in the cool mornings to take in the sights and smells of the season or spending cozy evenings inside with a warm cup of coffee while playing video games or watching a movie(let’s be honest, this is how most of my year is spent).

It’s that time again…

It’s been a while since my last post…again, but I wanted to at least write up a short update post on what I’ve been keeping busy(?) with lately. I have typically defaulted to writing these type of posts with “Weekend Gaming Review” as a placeholder title until I could come up with something…better(that’s been two years, it’s a work in progress). If 2021 has been anything, it’s been inconsistent. The year started off strong enough, but since April or so it seems like it’s been a lot more difficult to stick to any sort of consistent schedule, which led to me taking a short break from blogging and streaming. Since then, I’ve felt like I’m typically at one of two extremes – too many ideas to work on at the same time or I have nothing at all(nothing at all). Over the summer, my output has been rather streaky as I’ll manage to get something written a few weeks in a row, only to then go…what’s it been…5 weeks without writing anything? The same has applied to streaming as well, with any semblance of a schedule falling by the wayside and simply going by whether or not I felt up to it that particular morning.

A change in plans…

The past two years I’ve attempted to do something special for October and participate in a set of Blogtober posts throughout the month. I had a list of spooky, Halloween-themed games prepared well in advance this year as I had wanted to avoid finishing a particular game and quickly writing up a blog post about it the same night, which seemed to happen far too often. After going back and forth on it for some time, I ultimately decided not to force myself into some sort of blog project when I didn’t feel I was up to the task. I have a couple of the games from the list completed and do intend to write up something, but it won’t be on any specific schedule. As for streaming, I plan on doing so a couple mornings throughout the week, but don’t have anything set for which games I intend to play and will basically go with whatever I feel like playing next, scary game or not. So, uh…anyway. Video games.

What I’ve been playing…

Pretty hyped for this…

I finally got ahold of a PS5 in August, so since then, the majority of the games I’ve been playing have been there. I played through Astro’s Playroom and Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart before I set my sights on Returnal…which proceeded to consume my life for the next few weeks. My most recent(I guess) post was attempting to explain what it was about Returnal that had me hooked and how it reminded me of what I love about the Metroid series. After that, I played through Spider-Man: Miles Morales, followed by a quick detour through Donut County – grabbing the platinum trophy for both games. I had concluded my time with Final Fantasy XV before getting the urge to play another in the series shortly after, so I re-started Final Fantasy IX on my Switch – which I finished last week(and loved).

I realized that I’ve probably spent more time playing RPGs this year than any other year. I was never really into them as a kid, with Pokémon Red being an exception to this, before moving playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Tales of Symphonia a few years later. This past year, I’ve finished up Dragon Quest XI, as well as played Fallout 4, Paper Mario, Final Fantasy IX & XV, and recently started catching up on some retro RPGs by playing Shining Force on stream the past couple weeks. Maybe it is just that I probably have more to catch up on with RPGs as a genre, or something about the way you can throw yourself into a story and world for hours at a time. The latter has definitely seemed true the past month and a half, where I’ve felt like doing nothing other than immersing myself into video games after getting done with work for the night and feeling capable of doing little else.

A couple months ago, I had signed up on the Halo Waypoint site to take part in the upcoming multiplayer beta(s) for Halo: Infinite. I got the email invite for the weekends of Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 1-3, so a sizable portion of my time those weekends was spent with Needlers and plasma grenades in hand. I didn’t have an Xbox One until this last year, so I feel like I missed out on Halo 5 for the most part. I finally played through the campaign earlier this summer and really enjoyed it, though I haven’t tried any of the multiplayer modes. It felt great to jump back into a Halo game and the recent multiplayer beta was a lot of fun and only made me more excited to see the full game when it releases on December 8. Halo has been a game series that’s provided a lot of memories and has meant a lot over the 20 years since it’s initial release.

It’s finally here…

Two days ago, after anxiously waiting for months, Metroid Dread was finally released. Metroid Dread and Halo: Infinite are the two releases I’m most excited about this year and it almost feels like 2004 all over again when Halo 2 and Metroid Prime 2 were released a mere six days apart in November. As I may have mentioned my love of Metroid games a…couple times, it should come to no one’s surprise that my Friday morning consisted of running out to pick up my copy of the game and having to wait until I was done with work that night to begin playing. The majority of my weekend has been spent playing Metroid Dread and as of writing this, have only the final section of the game left to finish. I’ve also begun making a few notes here and there of my experience with the game as I fully intend to do a follow-up post after I’m done with the game(yes, I know I’ve said that before). It’s definitely been worth the wait…

So…yeah, that’s pretty much it. What’s everyone else been up to lately? Any game releases you’re looking forward to in the next few months? 2022 is already looking completely stacked for big releases with Elden Ring, Pokémon Legend: Arceus, and Horizon: Forbidden West in just the first two months. It should be an interesting time…

Thanks for reading!

Weekend Gaming Review – August 2021

Greetings! We’ve reached August already! It doesn’t seem like I should be looking at the calendar and noticing the autumn season in just a month or so away, but here we are. It’s also been a little while since I sat down and wrote a short update about what I’ve been up to lately(spoiler: video games). Let’s start with the most recent and exciting stuff first…

Quest Complete: PlayStation 5 Acquired

I did it. It’s been 9 months since Sony and Microsoft released their next-gen consoles in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Anyone who’s paid the smallest bit of attention to general gaming news knows how difficult it has been to grab either one. I was fortunate enough to notice an email from GameStop announcing they were set to receive another stock of PlayStation 5s this past week; I was even more fortunate making it through the checkout process and receiving a message saying the order of a PS5 bundle was confirmed…to my astonishment. Adding to my surprise, the package arrived at my door a mere 3 days later.

I spent the majority of my Friday evening getting the PS5 set up next to the living room tv before logging in with PSN accounts and beginning the not-entirely-straightforward process of transferring games and save data – something that didn’t affect previous PlayStation generations as they weren’t backwards compatible(well, the PS3…kind of was).

The first game I tried out on the new gaming hardware was Astro’s Playroom – a pre-installed game that essentially serves as a tech demo for the PS5 and the new DualSense controller. I found myself loving Astro’s Playroom and quickly played through the game, grabbing all the trophies along the way. I’m not going to say much more about the game right now, as I plan to write up a post about some of my thoughts on the game in the next week or so. I did also get the chance to play the first 90 minutes or so of Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart and have been pretty impressed with what I’ve seen so far. The PS5 and DualSense controller have already shown some of the interesting things their capable of; here’s hoping to see even more as we progress further.

Other gaming things I’ve been keeping busy with…

Monster Hunter: Rise

Over the past month, I’d be pretty confident in saying that the majority of my gaming time has been spent playing Monster Hunter: Rise. I’ve typically had some issues breaking through the at-times overwhelming combination of game mechanics, tutorials, and inventory, but I finally feel like I have a better grasp on the series after playing the most recent release on the Switch. A fair amount of my time was also spent trophy hunting in Final Fantasy XV as I’m slowly, but surely(?) progressing towards another platinum trophy. When not busy with Monster Hunter or Final Fantasy in my spare time, I’ve also been playing the usual, completely random assortment of games on Twitch a few times a week – wrapping up Bugsnax last Friday and beginning Paper Mario just this morning.

Upcoming Plans

With the summer steadily coming to a close, I’ve begun writing down some ideas for future blog/stream projects later this fall. Each October for the past two years, I’ve come up with a list of specific games I intend to play and write about throughout the month. I ended up using the term “Blogtober” to cover all the different spooky/scary games I would write about(and stream) leading up to Halloween – playing scary games in October…no one’s thought of that. Brilliant idea, right? I’ve started a couple of the games I have planned, as this *should* make it a little easier to have posts lined up ahead of time and not working on something the night before I plan to post it, finally hitting the publish button when I feel it’s as good as it’s gonna get.

This November will also mark the 20th anniversary since the release of the Nintendo GameCube, as well as Microsoft’s entry into the home console market with the original Xbox in 2001. Both consoles hold a special place for me and were responsible for many fond memories growing up, so I have a few ideas in place for something to commemorate their respective releases. Stay tuned to see how those half-baked ideas turn out…

That’s all for now. I’ve been itching to get back to some more Ratchet & Clank on that new PS5, so….the rest of my night is planned out.

Thanks for reading!