Emer: Master of none

 

Games Played: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Sims 4, Castaway Paradise, Mass Effect, Minecraft, Final Fantasy Record Keeper

Games Beat: none

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I warmed to Final Fantasy Record Keeper. I didn’t think I would because, look, freemium games are very rarely any good whatsoever (Tiny Tower and its children are the only exceptions that leap to mind). And the truth is if it wasn’t for this challenge, I would have deleted it entirely, content in the knowledge that I hadn’t paid for it and so didn’t need to worry, like I was avoiding some sort of trap in pretty app form.
But I would have missed out. This is a good, solid game. The premise is you are a student in … some capital city wherein all the records of the Final Fantasy games are stored. Something (I tapped through the intro too quickly to really read, to my shame) is making the records disappear, and you have to restore them by battling through the stories again. Of course, this doesn’t involve playing each game fully, but merely battling waves of enemies and then a final boss in each bit of the story, learning what happened in the actual game. In the meantime, you’re collecting gear, material and money so you can create/hone/upgrade your skills. There are tons of special events to gain more of everything, which are helpful if you’re slightly under leveled for the next core dungeon.

The freemium part comes in the form of gear/relic draws and from the stamina system — each battle eats away at your core stamina, and eventually you have to wait till it refills enough to play another level. No big deal for me, generally I’ll manage a full dungeon line before needing to refill, and I’ll go play one of the other multitude of games I have on my list. This isn’t going to be a finish in a week type game, but for a free one, a time filler, it’s very satisfying. And yeah, I’m glad I’m forced to play it; I’ve gotten out of the habit of turn base rpgs and there is a certain amount of planning and strategy that goes into that sort of game. I’m glad to refresh my skills.

The Sims 4, on the other hand…the only way I’m going to finish this challenge is by constantly rebuilding and redecorating my house. Doing it Legacy Challenge style means a couple of interesting things, including not being able to choose the traits my sims have. This is helpful because left to my own devices I usually have good, neat, romantic, creative or genius Sims. Instead, in generation 2 I ended up with a materialistic, hot-headed outdoor lover, and in generation three, I have a mean, sloppy dance-machine and a creative, outdoor lover glutton. I also don’t get to choose who is the heir, so I ended up with the mean dance machine as the lead of the next generation. Having a mean sim in the house is very hard to deal with — they’re constantly putting everyone into bad moods and can’t be trusted to their own devices. For christ sake, this kid got into fights with his teddy bear.

One of the worst parts of the Sims 4 is the lack of story progression, meaning that you slowly have fewer and fewer sims to choose from when marrying/making friends/starting clubs. Townies don’t generate until previous ones die off, etc. So I’m importing Sims from the gallery, but — that feels a bit designer bride like, you know? Obviously I download the pretty sims…without knowing their traits, for extra madness…and that feels gross. There are mods that are supposed to make this better but I’ve had such bad luck getting them to work.

I played a bit of SW:TOR this week too. I played it back in the day with Merq and liked it then, and like it now. I’m not in any way in the market for a new MMO, and only plan to play till level cap. I’m basically treating it as a single player game. Graphics in early game ain’t anything to write home about, but there are things that they do so right. The companion system, the instanced areas, the alignments — it’s clever and fun and different for an MMO. Of course I’m playing Jedi — the first time I played this game, Merq was determined to be Sith which meant so was I, but I made all the positive choices, much to his disgust. Because you gain and lose rating and some the game changes because of your alignment, in groups it’s a coin toss for whose answer wins. I enjoyed screwing up his evil roleplaying…

And then there’s Mass Effect. The first time I played it I got stuck on a rock (no, really, actually stuck on a ROCK on eden prime, the very first lesson) and gave up in disgust. This time, I’m doing much better and really enjoying it. Again, Bioware. Games. Clever. It’s not going to replace DA:I in my heart, but it’s going to warm me up a little in this time of no absorbing games.
I feel a little piecemeal at the moment, not focusing in on anything in any great detail, but that’s where my brain is. I’m not super organized at the moment. I need to dip in and out as my attention wavers, and that’s alright. I’m making progress, chipping away.

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