In Review – November 2019

For the most part, November was a month of dabbling in some lovely stuff, but rarely finding myself tremendously invested in any of it.


What I Played This Month

Aurora Hex: Pattern Puzzles – A fun little puzzler which is great for nibbling on between more meaty entries.

Sunset Overdrive – I downloaded it on a whim, and I got a good 20 or so hours out of it before I wandered off to do other things.

Happy Color – We upgraded our phones at the beginning of the month, which meant actually getting to download new apps for the first time in a long time – for reference, I couldn’t update the OS on my old phone because it had so little memory. Happy Color was a huge hit with both me and my husband – a very chill, almost meditative experience. There’s so many pictures to work on, I didn’t even hesitate to spend the $5 asking price to get rid of all those pesky ads.

Onirim – Solitaire Card Game: A surprisingly difficult solitaire game that’s (almost) completely free on Steam. Although there are a couple of paid expansions, I don’t see myself spending an extensive amount of time with it – and if I do, $1 per expac is cheap enough.

West of Loathing: I really just wanted to take a peek while I had access to this one XBox Game Pass for PC. Surprisingly, I played for about 8 hours before the repetitiveness got to me.

Guild Wars 2: It was barely a dabble – maybe an hour, but it was enough to make me want to go back and play some more. I have completely forgotten everything I once knew.

My Time at Portia: When this showed up as one of the December Humble Monthly early unlocks, I remembered I already had it, and wanted to check it out. I’d say I was loving it if it weren’t for a bunch of random crashes making me replay days. Still, it’s enjoyable enough that I’m dealing with it.


An impulsive decision to subscribe to Disney+ meant a lot of time I would have normally spent gaming or watching other things was taken up instead by some Disney animated movies from the vault. We did also finish watching the first season of The Boys, and watched some of American Horror Story: Hotel.

I also finished up the first volume of The Boys (graphic novel), but I didn’t make much progress on the rest of my reading interests this month.


Finally, I got all of my 10 games to tackle in 2020 installed and put into their own little category in my Steam library.


Finding time to actually blog this month was far more challenging than I expected, and I chalk that up in part to how little time I actually spent at my computer.

The Nope List – November 2019

The monthly Nope List will chronicle the games that I tried out during a given month, but for whatever reason, they just didn’t click for me.


This month’s Nope List is mostly just a selection of games that looked kind of interesting on Origin Access that I just wasn’t that into. Nothing particularly earth-shaking, especially in a month where I was either really into a game, or not really touching my computer much at all.


Unravel – I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. Really pretty, but just felt kind of blah to me. To be fair, I didn’t give it long to draw me in.

Vambrace: Cold Soul – I feel sort of like a broken record, but it just didn’t hold my attention. Unlike Unravel, this was exactly what I was expecting, I just apparently wasn’t in the mood for it.

Ghost of a Tale – The third Origin Access title that I meh-ed out of in less than 30 minutes. I do love the idea of stealth games, but I very rarely love the reality of stealth games, and the cuteness didn’t make up for frustrating game play for me.

Frostpunk – This one I very well may go back to when I can pick it up on sale because I think – with patience – I could get into it. It is brutal though, and even though the genre is in my wheelhouse, I am rarely in the mood for something quite this challenging.


And then – the only game NOT from Origin that didn’t hold my attention.

The Outer Worlds – It actually hurts to put this on the Nope List, because I know if I hit this on the right day, I will probably love it. I just haven’t hit it on the right day yet. It’s weird, because while I’m playing, it’s been enjoyable, but I can’t muster the interest to boot it back up.

Sometimes, Procrastination Pays Off

I have had the itch to go back to World of Warcraft for a bit now, but I’ve been procrastinating on actually re-activating my sub. Sure, I could let you all in on some of my MMO neuroses by listing off a bunch of reasons, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there was one that was stronger than the rest.

See, when I re-upgraded to Windows 10 a couple of months ago, one of the things I forgot to back up was my World of Warcraft addons folder. I have always run a ridiculous amount of addons, and I had some deep dread about having to figure out my UI from scratch.


Well, a couple of weeks before the big upgrade, I thought that my harddrive was starting to go, so I had bought a replacement and cloned it. However, once I fiddled around with all the cords in there, all of the hard disk ridiculousness seemed to resolve itself, so I’m thinking it was a loose cord or something, and I promptly put the whole thing out of my mind.

Well, some oddball glitch caused my computer to boot from the wrong drive last night, and after a few very panicky moments trying to figure out what exactly had happened, I realized that this was a blessing in disguise. My addons folder was on the cloned drive, and I could simply copy it to the drive I am actually using!


After a little more fiddling, and safe removal and storage of the backup drive so that I could avoid any more odd rebooting shenanigans, I have all of my addons back, and updated, and well, I guess I’ll be dabbling in some World of Warcraft this weekend.

What I’m Playing Wednesday – West of Loathing

It’s been many years since I had even thought about Kingdom of Loathing, never mind having actually played it, when I saw that West of Loathing was coming out. Intriguing, sure, but not something that would skyrocket to the top of my Must Play List.

I downloaded it on a whim from XBox Game Pass for PC, and since I’ve been kind of struggling to find the next thing to play, I decided to fire it up a couple of nights ago.

Having absolutely no clue what I was getting into, I decided to play through as a Beanslinger. Before I knew what was happening, a couple of hours had passed, I’d giggled at the absurdity more than a few times, and I discovered that hey, this is actually pretty fun.

I’m currently undecided if I’m going to push through to the end – I have probably about 6 hours into it so far, which means I’m more than halfway to the end. However, I’m already finding myself somewhat underpowered, and I don’t know how much of that is due to skipping things – not having a dedicated quest log or journal means I don’t really remember where I left off when I fire the game up.

That said, it’s reasonably priced, and if you have fond memories of Kingdom of Loathing or really really like puns and referential humor, it might be worth picking up. For me, it’s been a lovely little palate cleanser while I debate what to dive into next.

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

Since I’m not going to be buying much in the way of new games next year, I decided that I’d use at least some of that time to tackle some games that have been lingering in my library that just seem too damn long or overwhelming.

Now, I don’t actually expect to finish all of them, and it’s possible I won’t even start all of them, but what I am doing is getting myself prepped and making sure things are installed. I chose ten games with some pretty significant potential play times, because really, the only better time to play these monsters than during low-spend 2020 is if I had played them when I actually bought them.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

[How Long to Beat: 29 – 81 hours]

Received in the May 2019 Humble Monthly

I have a weird relationship with the Assassin’s Creed games. Weird, in that, I buy them but I don’t really play them. After my third or fourth attempt to get into the first game, I decided that playing them in order was overrated. Although there are some earlier entries in the series I want to spend some more time with, I decided to go for Origins.

Borderlands

[How Long to Beat : 22 – 63 hours]

Purchased Jan 3, 2013 for $4.99

I have played a little bit of Borderlands quite a few times, but never really stuck with it. Rumor has it that’s it’s better in co-op, but that’s not really my thing, but I feel like my recent interest in shooters filled with mayhem and destruction mean it’s time to give it another go.

Crusader Kings 2

[How Long to Beat: 65 – 291 hours]

Purchased September 2013 in a Humble Weekly Bundle (total bundle price: $6.00)

Crusader Kings 2 is another game that irks me – I should like it, I want to like it, I keep buying more and more DLC for it, but I don’t actually play it long enough to get up and over the learning curve.

Dying Light The Following Enhanced Edition

[How Long to Beat: 20 – 83 hours]

Purchased July 6, 2018 for $15.99

I really have no excuse for not diving into this sooner (except maybe that I keep going to back to the Dead Rising series whenever I feel the need to get my zombie killer on).

Fallout 4 GOTY

[How Long to Beat: 34 – 208 hours]

Purchased November 25, 2018 for $19.98

Here’s another series I had to finally give in and tell myself it was ok to play the later iterations without having completed the early games. I still probably SHOULD start with 3 or New Vegas, but I think I want to go into this one with very low expectations if I want to actually get my money’s worth.

Far Cry: Primal

[How Long to Beat: 14 – 36 hours]

Purchased August 22, 2019 for $5.50

I have no idea if I’ll even like this one – I’ve never played further than half an hour or so into any Far Cry title, but I love the concept, and I just kind of want to mess around and be all prehistoric and make my tools out of sticks and stones.

Grim Dawn

[How Long to Beat: 22 – 106 hours]

Received in the October 2016 Humble Monthly

This one I’ve dabbled in, but never really gotten into for no real reason I can fathom.

Slay the Spire

[How Long to Beat: 10 – 234 hours]

Purchased July 5, 2019 for $12.50

True confession: I’m worried this one is going to be too good, too addictive, and I haven’t had space for that kind of game in my life. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

Starbound

[How Long to Beat: 21 – 192 hours]

Received as a gift June 2017.

As one of the half a dozen people worldwide who couldn’t get into Terraria, I’m afraid I won’t like this. Or, more precisely, that I won’t get it.

The Witcher 3

[How Long to Beat: 52 – 191 hours]

Not yet purchased.

Will the hype machine kill this one for me? Will I finally discover that I no longer enjoy long & meaty RPGs? Will I finally understand what Gwent is all about? I suppose we’ll find out.


Honorable Mentions

  • Bioshock Trilogy
  • Call of Cthulu
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • Endless Legend
  • The Witness

These didn’t quite make the cut, but if I wanted to leave them here in case I nope out of any (or, god forbid, all) of my top 10.

Because I really struggle with giving myself permission to play even one massive, life-eating game – actually listing out a bunch I really want to spend some serious time with feels kind of overwhelming. However, since I’m also not restricting myself to these titles only, I’m hoping to open myself up to a good balance of intimidating titles, with some lovely little palette cleansers from my library in between.

Autumn and Winter Sale Shopping List

Look, I know I just talked about Low-Spend 2020, but there are TWO major Steam sales between now and then. Do I need any more games? Not even a little. Am I going to buy some more games? Absolutely.

However, I want to put some real thought into my purchases – including the price point at which I’m willing to take the plunge, hence the shopping list.


Almost Certainly Going to Buy

The Witcher 3 GOTY Edition

70% off ($14.99)

This one is kind of a no brainer. It’s been 70% off pretty much every recent sale, and I fully expect it’ll hit that price again. I’ve resisted buying because I probably don’t have time for a 200 hour RPG, but I feel like it’s time to take the plunge.

Sunset Overdrive

25% off ($14.99)

This feels a little ridiculous, but I haven’t enjoyed a game this much in a really really long time, and I need to own it. To be fair, I’ll probably buy it before the year’s end with no discount at all.


Probably Will Buy

Utomik 6 Month Subscription

25% off ($28.35)

This might be cheating a little, but there’s still enough stuff on Utomik I’d like to spend some time with that this seems like a great deal (and frees up 6 months worth of paid subscription slots).

Heartbound

0% off ($9.99)

Sure, I’d love for this one to see a discount, but I’m optimistic that it will be completed sometime in 2020, so if I want to support it at full (or at least close to full) price, this is the time to pick it up.


Unlikely to Be Discounted Enough

Disco Elysium

50% off ($19.99)

As much as I’d like to get my hands on this one, it’s probably too new to get the price drop I’d be looking for, and it feels too likely for eventual Humble Choice inclusion to spend full price on it, especially considering how long things tend to sit in my library.

Lobotomy Corporation

50% off ($12.49)

I’ve been eyeing this for awhile (and I can see it being a game I spend a LOT of time with), but it hasn’t had enough of a discount yet for me to pick it up.

Re:Legend

50% off ($9.99)

It’s probably too new to Early Access to hit 50% this year, but I’m super intrigued even though the early reviews are less than stellar. I’d absolutely scoop this one up for $10 or less.

What I’m Playing Wednesday – Sunset Overdrive

I thought I might have gotten wanton mayhem out of my system for a little while by playing Dead Rising 3 last month, but apparently not. I installed Sunset Overdrive from XBox Game Pass for PC on a whim. It was nothing that had been on my radar at all, but it looked bright and violent and weirdly fun, so why not? Even if I didn’t make it through the intro level, I had nothing to lose.

Welp.

I’m a good chunk of the way through the story content, and I’ve wandered off a few times to do side quests. What I haven’t done much of are the challenges – there’s one that’s required to progress the main stories, and I’ve steadfastly ignored all the others so far because if we’re being completely honest – I feel like I’m playing the game very badly.

While I’m sure the game would still be a lot of fun if you had, y’know, actually skills, it’s also really enjoyable to just flail around and hope for the best. Sure, I die a lot, but death doesn’t feel overly punishing. In fact, when I was stuck on a particular parkour sequence three-quarters of the way up a tall tower, I kept dying repeatedly. The respawn point was very close to the spot I was having trouble with, and the character even says something to the effect of “Thanks for not making me start at the bottom!”

I love it.

Sure, the self-aware meta-humor might not be for everyone, but I think it’s fantastic.

If I rush to the end, I could probably wrap the game up in another 3-4 hours. However, if I decided to go for all the challenges, collectibles, and side quests, I probably could play for another 10-20 without running out of things to do.

What I will likely do is something in the middle. I have quite a few things I would like to poke at this month, and since I can see myself replaying this one in the future, I’ve added it to my Steam wishlist and plan to pick it up next time it goes on sale (or maybe before, if I don’t find a discount before the end of the year).