My pace of blog posts has certainly slowed toward the end of this year. I’ve been playing games, just nothing that inspires tips and tricks posts, or exciting experiences to talk about. As we end the year, I thought I’d at least wrap up with a few thoughts about what I’ve been playing.
My last post was about Starfield and I have to admit that I set the game aside before finishing it. I spent a bunch of time trying to trigger a specific quest in that game and finally decided to see if they release a patch that enables it before I finish the end game quests. I’ve also modded the game because it is a game that absolutely needs some QoL mods, so maybe that has messed things up. I’m in no hurry to pick it back up.
I’ve been playing and GMing some tabletop DnD sessions. One my hubby is GMing, one a friend back East is GMing, and one I’m GMing. It is all made possible by virtual tabletop sites, maps and modules. We actually went into a game shop last night that had opened in our area and left without any mini figs or cool dice. They had some really fun things, but we just don’t use the physical props anymore.
When we want a break from DnD, my Sunday game group has been playing a bit of Deep Rock Galactic or Mass Effect Andromeda Multiplayer. Both games have been out for a while, but sometimes you just need a little bit of mindless shooter fun.
Another game that I picked up to do some low-stress play has been Palia. I’m actually surprised at how well that game has held my attention. When I need a bit of Zen time, it is the game I load up and spend some time chilling in my little home plot’s garden.
In the vein of DnD-related games, I played through the original Solasta Crown of the Magister game. I actually enjoyed it quite a lot despite it having click-to-move mechanics.
We started playing a bit of Valheim again on a multiplayer server, mainly to try out some of the mods that make the game more playable. It amazes me how some QoL features for inventory management never make it into the default UI of games like this. One of the mods is supposed to make the Mistlands biome more playable, but while it lets you fight on sloped surfaces, it doesn’t address the stamina issues caused by slopes. Sorry Mistlands, you remain my most hated game biome. I do love the mod that pops cooked food off the cooking stations so it doesn’t burn.
I’ve also been playing quite a bit of New World and finally got a character up to max level in that game. It is another game where the hunt for better gear and the right gear takes over at end game. At least I still have main story quests and other side quests to do when the gear grind starts to bother me. I started writing this post waiting for yet another multi-GB update to that game to finish installing. Game updates and games are so BIG anymore. I have several games where the entire game directory is smaller than patches from most of the newer games.
I played all the way through Cyberpunk 2077 and really enjoyed that game. I haven’t picked up the DLC for it yet, but I will definitely pick it up sometime in the next few months. While I did enjoy the game, I still want a break from it. After a while all of the quests and combat start to feel same-y, and I expect that to be the same in the DLC. They added a few new game mechanics that could be fun, I’m just not quite ready to pick it back up again.
My hubby and I bought LOTR: Return to Moria and have played just a little bit of the game so far. I’m still not hooked, mainly because of inventory management. That is the Achilles heel of most of the games that don’t hold my interest. It also seems to be a game that is best played with a full 4 person group. We aren’t very far into the game yet and we still plan to play more of it, but it isn’t high up on the priority list.
I suppose Baldur’s Gate 3 should get a mention as well. I bought the game even knowing that it was a Larian made game, because it was so highly rated. If I could play the game in cinematic mode all the time, I’d love it. As I had feared, the same things that made me not like Divinity cropped up in BG3 to the point where I haven’t finished it, or any Larian made game. I got farther along in it than I did in the Divinity games, mainly on the strength of the characters and acting that went into creating them, but I truly dislike the combat and movement parts of the game. I still have the desire to see the story through to the end, to encounter Minsc and Boo, but the longer I go without playing it the harder it will be to pick up now that I’m not “first level.” I refuse to just start over from the beginning.
We got each other Meta Quest 2 headsets as an early Christmas present and I’ve been spending more and more time exploring the library of interactive videos that come with Meta. Yes, I’ve also been playing fun games like Beat Saber, Demeo and Iron Man, but there are some amazing video experiences tucked into the Horizon library. Over the holidays we shared with our family a spacewalk experience that was filmed outside the International Space Station. It was fun to watch their excitement as they could look all around at the curve of the earth and the outside of the ISS. When I first saw it I was enthralled. Having all of the electronics you need to run all of these experiences and connect to wireless tucked into a fairly compact headset makes VR a much better experience than our original tethered headset was. The fact that we could buy two headsets to play together for a lot less than our original single VR headset cost us is also nice.
As I look back at our fun game times over the past year, it really stands out in my mind how connected we can be through digital worlds. Most of our fun game time has been group play with friends and acquaintances, some of whom are hundreds of miles or even continents away, some in the same room, but all sharing digital spaces together. It is a nice reminder that there is wonder and fun to be found together as humans, even when surrounded by what feels like a chaotic real world of shouting and angry people.