It was a slow news week, but luckily for you I watched and played enough new things to have enough opinions to make this post seem substantial.
What was Played
I’m continuing in my Steins;Gate adventure and it is finally picking up. I am at the point where true ending flags start appearing so I’m debating whether or not to use a guide or just brute force it. I am still enjoying the game and what I’ve seen of the anime is great but I’m holding back on giving a full recommendation until after I’ve finished it.
But as engrossing as time travel is, this week my time was dominated by Stardew Valley.
Stardew Valley is an indie Harvest Moon/Rune Factory type game. I’d played some Harvest Moon games and loved the Rune Factory series, but Stardew has taken hold of me in a way I could have never predicted. I can’t truly put my finger on how or why I’m sucked in, but the time management reminds me of how I played the Persona games; each day you only have so much time to do any activities available, which lets each day’s activities range from a hurried harvesting panic to hours of lazy fishing. You wake up at 6am each day and depending on the season you are growing different crops, or catching different fish, or spending your time in the mine, or filling out the stupid community center checklists. Throughout the years there are different community festivals you partake in, and as is the custom with these games, you can marry any of the eligible bachelors or bachelorettes in town. All these elements combine to make this a “just a half-hour more” game, where I’d frequently tell myself I was going to bed at midnight (in real life), only to realize it was 2am and I still wanted to play. Playing on a handheld for any significant length of time is not comfortable for me so the move to console is welcome, as is the passable 2D sprites instead of the sub-N64 quality 3D models in the Rune Factory games. I’m over 26 hours in and I anticipate many more hours will be spent not finishing my SAO complaint piece.
What was Watched
Spoilers for Sherlock season 4 episode 1 and Steven Universe follow
Sherlock used to be fun. I remember the first two seasons intriguing me with their grimer, slightly more melodramatic take on a police procedural. But with the third and first episode of the fourth season, Sherlock has transitioned from a crime series with a sprinkling of interesting human drama to a borderline soap opera that happens to stara private detective. Sherlock’s fourth season started with a lackluster episode that left behind the twisting mysteries that defined the show in favor of a Mary-centric, spy fiction, globe trotting episode that had less to do with a mystery and more to do with establishing a “John is angry at Sherlock (again)” plotline that was done fine in season 3. There were hints of interesting setups in this episode but it all was put in the background so that the over-the-top drama elements could take center stage.
In opposition to Sherlock shying away from its more interesting elements, Steven Universe finally got back on track after a recently mixed period in season 4. For me the interesting parts of SU are its lore and how the characters interact with the larger plot. SU has fantastic characters to its credit, but I’m more interested in seeing the Gems interact with each other and the antagonists than watch Steven bum around Beach City with characters that have no connection to the larger plot other than Steven knows them. SU is a show at its best when its two best traits, its characters and plot, are both in full force. The most recent “leaked” episodes gave me the characters I like and showed us more of the world they inhabit in a way that gives us more information about the goings on outside of Beach City. If Steven Universe can keep lore focused episodes like this coming, maybe I won’t drop the show after all.
Mass Effect Andromeda Gameplay from NVIDIA CES 2016 and Release Date
Just a couple of minutes of gameplay from MEA, most interesting thing is that this confirms my suspicion that this game will have much less emphasis on cover that the previous Mass Effect games. In a post on the official Mass Effect site Aaryn Flynn, the GM of Bioware, said the release date of MEA is March 21, 2017 for the U.S. and March 23rd worldwide. If nothing else, MEA will probably be the best playing Mass Effect game.
No Persona 5, Yakuza 0, or Mass Effect Andromeda on Switch
John Hardinrecently confirmed that there will be no Persona 5 or Yakuza 0 ports to the PC or the Nintendo Switch. I was hoping for a P5 port so I could take Persona 5 with me on the go, but I wasn’t convinced it was a 100% chance certainty.
Bioware also does not plan to port Mass Effect Andromeda to the Switch. Personally I don’t see this overtly affecting the Switch. Nintendo consoles have always been for Nintendo games, primarily, with third-party games being a rare gift. I am interested in how From Software is going to support the Switch, though.
SEGA Europe Registers Shenmu HD Website Domain
According to TSZZ news SEGA of Europe has registered the web domains of shenumehd.com, shenmueremastered.com, and shenmuegame.com. This is a huge hint that a Shenmue remake may be near, although it is unknown if a potential remaster would include both Shenmue 1 and 2. Shenmue is a game that, as revolutionary as it was at the time, has not aged well. If there is a remaster coming hopefully SEGA or whoever is in charge of developing the remaster can do more than upres the original game.
What’s on the Plate
I’ll be chipping away at Steins;Gate as usual and Stardew Valley will continue to vacuum up my free time. I’m going to be getting into building my Game of the Year 2016 lists of categories and nominees pretty soon. I’ll be getting back into The Last Guardian and any other notable titles of 2016 that I missed. I don’t think I’ll be playing any substantial amount of FF XV until the narrative patches are out, so don’t expect it to be on any of my lists. Since that is looming on the horizon, my Sword Art Online complaint piece will be up in a maximum of seven days, again, apologies for taking so long with it. As always, thanks for reading.