Game of the Month - February 2022

Well, in terms of time played, I guess I’d have to go with FF XIV as most other recent months. But I’ll actually give my Game of February award to three late releases: Elden Ring, Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons, and the even-better-than-I-thought-it-would-be Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream.

And if I had to pick only one of those, I’m as surprised as anyone, but it would be Atelier Sophie 2. I guess I just needed a really upbeat game right now.

Took Massive Chalice for a spin again, so good.

Closed out end of the month with one I missed when it released, probably because it said RTS somewhere on it, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. Having a blast and note to self: don’t pay much attention to how a game describes itself, find out for yourself.

First half of the month: Lord of the Rings Online. Trying to get my champion to level 80. At level 66 now.

Second half of the month: Skyrim SE. Tried a mage knight build. Mods did not play pretty with non Anniversary Edition version of game. They broke the saves. Playing with the official survival mode now using a sneaky archer. Although Dawnbreaker sword is becoming my weapon of choice.

No question that it’s Lost Ark. Been completely sucked in and loving it! Up to 230 hours so far.

Horizon: Zero Dawn, which I had set aside years ago due to a failing PS4. It’s a lot better on PS5!

Also I’ve only managed a half-dozen hours so far due to real-life intrusions, but Elden Ring is great so far and a lock for next month.

My main games were Wytchwood (which I posted about here) and Against the Storm (which has a thread here).

Against the Storm got a pretty big Early Access update, adding a new race of villagers, so that prompted me to ditch all my meta-progress and start the game from scratch. And it’s still really good, even if every session feels like it ends slightly anticlimactically.

It was also a Steam demo fest, and I checked out a number of city builders:

  • Pharaoh: A New Era - Mechanically faithful remake, though the updated UI needs work
  • The Wandering Village - Cool concept with a different take on a moving city than the great Airborne Kingdom
  • Celestial Empire - Chinese-themed city-builder with a lot of Anno influences. Still VERY early.

I played a shitton of LOTRO during February 2022

Serious play:

The Gunk: Decent little 3D puzzle platformer. The suction mechanic doesn’t sustain the game, but it’s not a particularly long game, either. Voice acting and story was a bit cheesy for me. Achievement hounds should note that getting all of the upgrades requires near-complete resource gathering for all levels.

Doom 3: Well, if it isn’t the game I bought back in 2004 with the flashlight and framerate issues fixed and available on Game Pass. Seriously clunky by modern standards, with weird-looking humans, pitch-black shadows, and chunky art, it still has a cohesive vision that was well-executed. But seriously, screw monster closets.

Prey: This has to have been the 7th or 8th playthrough, but I’m still finding new things. This thing was a masterpiece of design and detail. Now that all the achievements are done on the PC version I’m all out of excuses to play. Damn.

Far Cry 6: Finished the story, but might as well have kept playing around. The only FC game that really stuck the ending for me was 4, the rest are a mix of bafflement and meh. The real game is out there cleaning up the island.

Unpacking: If you find yourself needing an achievement to max out your MS rewards points for the day, games like this are really handy. That said, it wasn’t too bad for a “chill” game with little in the way of mechanics.

Burning Crusade Classic: Retail WoW is dead to me. I’d rather grind up my tailoring to finally get those 16-slot bags in BCC.

Breathedge: I may have mainly played this in January, but I wanted to mention it. The weirdness in tone and story, the slick art and movement mechanics, and the initial rush of discovering new crafting unlocks made the first few hours very enjoyable. I found it bogged down once you started advancing to new “bases,” the materials got scarcer and how to get to the next goal started feeling unnecessarily obscure. Fun while it lasted, though.

Toe-dipping:

The Falconeer: Air combat always sounds more interesting to me than the actual gameplay can deliver. Neat art, but the mechanics are a bit clunky, the upgrade systems were unclear (are these things I’m buying permanent? consumables? per-character?) and the pace is odd. When I realized I was supposed to do a campaign for each of several characters to complete the game, I noped out before finishing the first guy. Just not that compelling.

Nobody Saves the World: I like Drinkbox’s Guacamelee games, but this is a real change of genre for them. No platformer or metroidvania here, this is a top-down RPG with a quest structure ripped out of an iPhone game. Not awful, not so great I am drawn to keep playing. Not deleting it just yet.

I got a bunch of good hours out of Dying Light 2. Fantastic parkour traversal and satisfying combat.

Then Elden Ring came out and I kind of forgot all about it.

Mainly solo Pandemic Legacy - Season 0 with a little bit of Warhammer 40K: Martyr and Old World

Lost Ark obviously

It seemed my whole month was just Against the Storm. But I’m done with it! Done with it, I tell you!

Vampire’s Fall: Origins
The Age of Decadence
Sacred

Not much to say about Vampire’s Fall. It was moderately fun, I won it (I think!), but it felt kinda half-assed. It had a Euro ‘don’t give a fuck’ energy; the writing broke character all the time. Not sure I’d recommend it given how many other good RPGs there are these days.

I bounced pretty hard off Age of Decadence. It just felt like one arbitrary skill check after another. Maybe I’ll give it another try but the character I rolled seems completely dead ended so I’ll have to start again.

Sacred is still pretty fun. The ARPG mechanics are weak compared to a Grim Dawn but I love the gigantic, surprisingly detailed world (you can walk inside every house. There’s not much to do in there, but you can walk inside anyway!), and the enemy death audio sounds are a hoot.

Not much has changed since January for me:

  • Still absolutely loving Wreckfest.
  • Still working my way through the excellent Psychonauts 2.
  • We beat Intense and now we’re trying Extreme in Aliens: Fireteam Elite.
  • New entry: Northern Journey which I made a thread about.

@Nightgaunt oh! Thanks for the link to your thoughts on Wytchwood, I wasn’t tracking that thread. I’ve been curious about the game ever since it popped up on my Steam recommendations. My girlfriend is really into Cosy Grove and Wytchwood seems like a perfect follow-up.

For me it was finally getting around to Raz’s adventures.

Psychonauts 2!

Yep, I bet there’s a very good chance she’ll like Wytchwood a lot!

Also: Why aren’t you following that thread?!?

I thought I was!

Since it launched on the 17th, Total War: Warhammer 3 has been my jam. I completely understand why a lot of folks are bouncing off it hard though. Its campaign mechanics still need some tweaking, though I don’t think it will ever be enjoyable for some people. It reminds of the time I played Victoria 2 and my ambitious Austria ended in a loop of constant rebellions (too much “bad boy,” nationalism and fascism).

Before that though, I had some great fun with a fairly popular (according to Steam) and casual game, Vampire Survivors. Not much to say as the gameplay is pretty simplistic but it is addictive.

I also really enjoyed Rogue Fable III (also on Steam, I guess there is a free web version too). I had never done a game actually like Rogue, though I have played many, many games labeled as roguelikes. It got me to try Tales of Maj’Eyal but Rogue Fable III is a much shorter game (maybe about 1 - 1 1/2 hours per run) and much simpler. I will return to give Tales of Maj’Eyal a real playthrough but Rogue Fable III is just so easy to pickup and play right now. Plus, my game brainpower is currently being spent on Warhammer 3.

I was all about making a dent in DA: Inquisition. Finally at a place where I found a good balance of advancing the story and doing sidequests and requisitions busywork and was having a blast and then Elden Ring came along and took over at the end of the month.

March’s Game of the Month prediction for myself and at least 20 other QT3ers : Elden Ring.

I spent a lot of time on Bravely Default this month. A cool little jrpg for the first 20 hours, but then it devolves for what seems to be the second half of the game: the carefully crafted balance bottoms into health spongey enemies, charming characters become stereotypical and boring tropes… until, TWIST! it turns out it’s not even half of it, and the rest of the game adds a nonsensical stupid plot on top of it all. What a waste, snif.

I got better and I got out of bed, thankfully, and I could play a lot of Thunder Dragon 2 - one of the best classical arcade shmups ever, in my opinion and Koudelka.
Koudelka was recommended by a fake friend who actually hadn’t played it but was curious about it. I remembered thinking it looked like a stupid Resident Evil clone back then. It totally took me by surprise then that it was actually an adventure game, with a tactical battle minigame just there to show how awesome priests really are. The graphics were very good, with beautiful stills, easy navigation, and quite impressive dynamic lightings that really create an atmosphere. But the best part is that it is probably one of the best voiced games I ever played. The actors are giving it all, the script is super good (in English! in the Japanese original game! What the!) and even the animations of the characters are highly evocative. Truly a wonderful experience for the short time it lasts (less than 10 hours all in all), and a game that was, as the saying goes, way ahead of its time. So ahead there are very few games that are that elegant to this day, in my opinion.
Same fake friend told me to go with Shadow Hearts, which is a game I had bought many years ago for whatever reason. So that will be my homework for next month, although I’m tempted by a couple of other things…

Game of the month, Koudelka, here it goes.