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The Things I Played In Self-Isolation

by Donald Theriault - March 19, 2020, 10:59 am PDT
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Snappy thoughts on the games of a lost quarter of someone’s life.

Recent events have brought the concept of self-isolation to the forefront for many people. Various states of emergency make it impossible to do much of anything social in public, and based on Verizon network traffic, a lot of people are turning to video games to kill the time. However, because of an ongoing medical issue that hospitalized me for a week and a half in December and kept me out of work since, I’ve been self-isolating with very limited exceptions since a week before Christmas.

With the “off work” portion of the recovery about to come to an end, I figured it was time to take stock of the stuff that I played in the last three months. Maybe it’ll give someone inspiration for things that don’t involve Tom Nook this week.

Review games

Aside from the one expansion review which will be addressed later, I did review Puzzle and Dragons Gold and Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~. P&D Gold didn’t really last long, while I got a solid week+ out of Code: Realize and hope to pick up the fan disc when it comes out next month (and maybe Wintertide Blessings if it gets localized later this year?)

Pokémon Sword and Shield

I didn’t really start Pokémon until I got in the hospital because of general malaise in the weeks leading up to the release, but when I did I managed to accomplish my goal of a living Galardex with a few, uh, HOURS to spare before Pokémon Home launched. Happiness evolutions never cease to drive me crazy.

As part of the process and not really trusting the internet (especially Surprise Trade because this is when the game-crashing trades that were recently patched were at their worst), I had to also beat Shield including its postgame. Thankfully, the second run saw me use less than a full box since it was Galarian forms only, so it took about half the time to reach first credits. And the announcement of the Expansion Pass means I’ll get to hopefully do something with my staycation in June.

Yoshi’s Crafted World

I got a LOT of eShop credit for Christmas, so I went in a bit heavy on catching up on games that I had passed by due to lack of time. One of the things I picked up was Yoshi’s Crafted World, because as Zach will tell us, getting IVs and being on a drip is nothing but stress and I wanted something breezy. It was a good selection for that, as Mellow Mode let me try and find everything in the levels without worrying about pesky things like death.

I didn’t end up beating it, but I might have a stress relief game for when work starts up again.

The Jackbox Party Pack(s)

This covers Packs 2-5, as between my roommate/myself/a mutual friend, those were the ones we busted out for New Year’s Eve. I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t appreciate my PhD in Robotic Thuganomics in 5’s Mad Verse City, and Monster Seeking Monster from the 4th doesn’t work with someone suffering from depression who’s also aromantic. But Quiplash and Fibbage never get old. Bomb Corp (from 2) ended up being the biggest time sink of them all, and even prompted our mutual friend to come over later and see if we could try to get past Wednesday of the in-game work week. (We succeeded, but discovered that my roommate needs to upgrade their phone soonish.)

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

I didn’t end up reviewing this one—Daan handled that for us—but had I reviewed it I might have talked myself into the full monty. It’s the same game that was robbed from our Game of the Decade top 20 by a bad Super Nintendo game, but with more fun and WAY less loading. I even managed to complete the one major thing I missed in my Wii U run by getting Itsuki and Tsubasa’s Duo Art.

And because of the shorter load times (and moving full time onto Easy St) I managed to clear the game in 45 hours compared to the 70 it took me on the Wii U. And it’s the closest we’ll ever get to having Persona 5 on Switch because you can play as Joker in a turn-based RPG (Port Royal to Switch you cowards, or I’m not playing it until the PlayStation 5 Slim comes out. If then.)

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

When this isolation period started, my save clock for Three Houses was at 85 hours. I was in chapter 8 of a Blue Lions run (my second), and not really feeling the urge to continue. Admittedly, Pokémon was part of the problem here.

As of March 18, I am sitting with nearly 300 hours on the clock, having finished three runs (Cindered Shadows, Blue Lions, Golden Deer) and being 80% of the way through my second Black Eagles run so I can hook up with the character who only got added after I beat it the first time. My goal is now to get every single female Byleth support conversation into the ingame log, so I will have to do one more full run—but honestly, I look forward to it. I’ve learned that just because the class is a Master class doesn’t make it good, and that Ignatz makes a decent dancer if it comes down to it.

And as a side effect, I might be able to get all the DLC characters to finish their supports, and have figured out how to get enough Renown to choke a horse when starting new runs. (If you’re wondering, the solution is to grind cash with the DLC maps at every opportunity then use the money to buy the 1 and 2 star seeds and trade them at the Abyss altar. 49500g gets 4990 renown, roughly.)

So what’s to come? If my time off gets extended—I can’t really go to the office in my condition and am locked out so I can’t work from home yet—what are my plans besides finishing 3H once and for all?

Review games: I put myself down for four games coming out over the next couple of weeks. Without spoiling what they are aside from the one that’s out (RBI Baseball 20), the others are in the genres of RPG, adventure, and anime.

Doom 64: As mentioned in the downloads article this week, I’m glad I can play this for longer than ten minutes at a friend’s house in 1997.

Dragon Quest XI S: This one is chief among the stuff I bought in late 2019 but didn’t get around to. See also: Luigi’s Mansion 3, Daemon X Machina (my New Year’s gift to myself was a Split Pad Pro, to boot).

Final Fantasy X: I still want to beat Penance, but I just have so many HP Spheres to grind... maybe I don’t need 99,999 HP on the trio for that six creature tag?

Divinity Original Sin II: My roommate wants to try co-op with me, and it is a game we gave a 10 to, but I feel like I missed my opportunity to grab it.

A code for Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore was provided by Nintendo of America.

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