Friday, November 8, 2019

Monthly Update: November, 2019

It's NoShaveNovember.  Or NoNutNovember; you know what, forget that one as there is a lot more shadiness to it than I previously thought, but I will leave the hyperlink up for informational purposes.  Or NaNoWriMo. Be it what you will, we are here and have been for just over a week.

The first week of November for me became an odd conglomeration of busy (in the best way possible) from playing two games I received from Xinthus for the special #Indieween event of #IndieSelect.  I picked up, played, and reviewed Sagebrush and Back in 1995, both on the Nintendo Switch.  Sagebrush was a great debut game from Redact Games about PTSD, religion, and the lengths people go to to feel like they are a part of a large group and cause, while Back in 1995 was a 2016 release by Throw the warped code out that aimed to capture the look and feel of survival-horror game although it kind of fell flat about a third of the way through.  I wanted to get those articles out before the Monthly Update since that is kind of the point, getting the word out about the games after playing the games and the days of the week just did not line up as well as I had planned.

I did start playing The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings last month and I have been having a blast.  I was a little worried about starting it up since I had a great time with the first game and I knew that CD Projekt Red had created the REDengine which was different from the Aurora Engine that was used for the first Witcher game and I had read beforehand that the fighting/combat system was completely overhauled.  I was a little demoralized when I found out that based on the Arena tutorial that the game felt that I should play on the easy difficulty setting.  But in all honesty, I am okay with that as in my opinion, there are almost too many options for combat this early in the game.  The first Witcher did a great job of pacing out combat, especially with regards to what each spell sign does and the most effective way to use them.  But the music is great, the story is becoming more-and-more developed, the voice acting is at the level that I now expect from CD Projekt Red, and I am still enjoying the moral ambiguity that some of the side stories take you/Geralt down.

And speaking of moral ambiguity, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is doing a number on me.  I started whatever the Chapter number is when Byleth regains consciousness mid-war earlier in the month and you are now fighting former students who are members of the opposing armies.  I thought I would be okay with it, until I run across characters like Leonie, who I had help out with the Black Eagles a number of times with missions early on.  Going up against Seteth and Flayn also was not a pleasant experience, even more so after having done some of the optional paralogue events.  That one was really rough.  I am also really not looking forward to running into Raphael because even though I only used him once during the school year, I frequently enjoyed talking to him and he always seemed to be in good cheer.  Run away Raphael, run!  Stay out of this horrible war!!  And then, even the members of the Black Eagles, their little sayings before/finishing attacks are getting to me.  Like with Dorothea who used to say "All roses have thorns," now says "Only thorns left on this rose," but the line is delivered in a way that just makes you sad, like she is beaten down even more with the continuing war.  Or at least it makes me sad every time I hear it.  Like I decided to take the path that lead these students into a war (granted war would have happened regardless of the path you choose, but I still feel guilty).  My next playthrough when I choose a different school is going to be difficult because I am going to want to recruit the entirety of the Black Eagle House, but I am sure that you are only able to recruit a limited number of students; I only recruited Ingrid by the end of the school year not really knowing how the story was going to go.  I guess I have a lot to say about Fire Emblem: Three Houses considering I have been playing for 85+ hours and have yet to write any kind of dedicated article.

We did manage to get in two games of Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition last month, playing two scenarios from the Horrific Journeys expansion: the zeppelin, and the train stories, with only the cruise ship story left to do.  Bloody hell I love this game!  And then remembering that there is another expansion out there too, plus the Streets of Arkham expansion that we don't have yet either (that has been out for two years now).  The only theoretical downside to Mansions is that some of the scenarios say they take up to two hours to complete, which usually means with our group will take three and-a-half up to four hours.  I would not be surprised if we got the group together again this month to play another scenario.

And speaking of physical games, our Ravenloft group is firmly at level 3 in The Curse of Strahd, although I would not be surprised if we reach level 4 by the end of the next session.  We had an encounter where a group of enemies who were too powerful and actually had our group retreating.  I felt a little bad leaving one of the NPCs alone to face the danger that had, up to that point, already killed four NPC guards.  I felt like having this type of an encounter is not too common because you want the PCs to feel somewhat powerful, or at least able to eek out a victory when they thought that they were close to failure.  I will say that had our group stayed up in that room, we most certainly would have died, but through no fault of our own.  The DM was just rolling like a crit-crazy mad man and we apparently did not notice the effect that radiant damage was having on the bad guys.  I just thought it was pretty exhilarating having to flee from an encounter.

And speaking of fleeing from encounters, let us leave this where it is.  We have 22 days left to figure everything else out before the end of the year in 53 days.

There'll Be Scary Ghost Stories 

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