Mini Backlog Tales Collections Vol. 1

There are some games that I finish that I really don’t have a lot to say about. It is kinda unfair that they don’t get the same treatment like others, but with this I hope to rectify that a bit. These mini compilations will feature some of those games that don’t need a whole dedicated post to them. There will be some that I want to talk about more in length, so if you don’t see it mentioned in this post, then chances are I’m working on a larger post for it.


Pokémon Trading Card Game

Starting things off is the Pokémon Trading Card Game for the Gameboy Color. I played this via the 3DS Virtual Console release, and it’s one of those games that didn’t take long to finish. I did have to start the game over since I did something stupid that the game warned me about. Apparently there is an NPC who will trade you one card for all the other cards that you have in your trunk. Not knowing this, I accepted the trade and lost all my cards not in my possession. I was also bad and didn’t manually save since the virtual console version will suspend where you last left off. So I just thought it best to just start from the beginning again.

This is a solid representation of the early card game. If you are like me and never knew how to play the game (but like collecting the cards), then this was the game to have back then. The card game itself is pretty simple, but can be challenging towards the end. Since the game only covers the first edition of the TCG, there are a limited number of cards that you can use at your disposal. Even with the small amount of cards, there is enough possibility to create decks that focus on one element or help feed to whichever Pokémon is your ace.

In order to beat the game, you need to defeat the eight club leaders and then defeat the four masters at the Challenge Hall. If you have played a Pokémon game, this set up feels familiar. Instead of walking around a region in order to catch and train new Pokémon, you instead just select where you want to go on the map and it will take you there. I wish each locale had something different an unique to them, but all the entrances and side rooms look the same. I also wish there was a way to buy card packs instead of only getting them from defeating other players. It makes searching for specific cards hard since you have to find the right player who will reward you with the card pack you need, and then hope that you get it. In most cases, you will probably rely on your starter deck for the first three areas until you build up enough cards to create different decks.

All in all, Pokémon Trading Card Game for the GBC was a fun time. I wish we got the sequel that came out in Japan since they added new cards that were current at the time. I also wish we would get a new standalone game that wasn’t Pokémon TCG Online. I may give the online version a try one day, but if Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel taught me anything, it’s that I’m probably out of my prime when it comes to current trading card games.

Game Stats:

Game Started: 1/27/2016
Game Finished: 10/31/2021
Total Play Time: 21 Hours


Astro’s Playroom

This is a great tech demo. This game is preinstalled on all PS5s, and it does a great job of showing what the PS5 Duel Sense controller can do. I know the game is supposed to demonstrate how awesome the PS5 is, but if you’re someone like me who does not have an eye for fancy tech words and numbers, then this plays just like a fun game. 

The thing I enjoyed the most about this game are all the references to PlayStation’s history. The main collectables in the game are all past and present PlayStation hardware and accessories; going all the way back the original PlayStation to the current PlayStation 5. I didn’t grow up with a PlayStation, but I still found this interesting to see all the past accessories, handhelds, and iterations of all of Sony’s gaming products. Once collected, the items are displayed in a museum and can be interacted with as a little touch to see how these items worked. Again, if you have no attachment to the PlayStation brand, then you may not find it interesting. Other than that, there are Easter Eggs that represent classic PlayStation games in each stage. These were fun to find and try to figure out which game they were from.

I hardly play anything that doesn’t feel like it’s missing something or the length should be altered. Astro’s Playroom is one of those games where I felt like I was playing a perfect game. All the components of the game felt perfectly tuned to make the game feel complete. The length of the game felt comfortable, the levels had enough challenge to them without making them feel too easy or too challenging, and the reward for collecting everything felt rewarding. Not many games have been able to achieve that feeling nowadays, but this game was a perfect introduction to how the Duel Sense controller works and feels. Of course their may be others who found problems with the game, but during my entire playthrough, there was nothing that I could find to complain about.

Other than that, this was a fun, small game that came along with my PS5. I can’t claim that I got all the achievements on my own since Kat took the game from me and played half of the stages (even though she created her own account and did everything on her own). There’s not much to go back and replay once you’ve collected everything, so it becomes a fast uninstall once you’ve done everything (which you can do in half a day). This is the type of demo that I wish newer consoles would include just to give the player an idea of what the new console can do. It was definitely better than Nintendo asking you to buy a $50 game that could have easily been included with the system.

Game Stats:

Game Started: 7/31/2021
Game Finished: 8/8/2021
Total Play Time: Between 10 to 15 Hours
Achievements Unlocked: 45/46 (have the Platinum, too lazy to do the speed run achievement)
Puzzle Pieces Obtained: 96/96
Artifacts Found: 46/46
Favorite PlayStation Console: PS2


Mario Party Superstars

Nostalgia is a dangerous weapon. If you use it incorrectly, you risk damaging a cherished memory by trying to cash in on that past magic (insert your own personal betrayal here. There are plenty to choose from). Mario Party Superstars was one of those games that I was cautiously optimistic for. It was like Nintendo was actually listening to the fans for once and were giving us a traditional Mario Party game without motion gimmicks, car gimmicks, or microphone gimmicks (I actually liked the microphone games). This was a return to form quite literally since it was a collection of boards and minigames from previous games in the series. This “new” game was set to highlight what made the series fun to begin with and try to gain faith in the series. 

Mario Party Superstars is by far one of the best Mario Party games that has come out in a while. While I did enjoy Super Mario Party, I felt like the boards were lacking, but the minigames were great. Superstars comes with five classic boards from the first three Mario Party games and refreshes them up with some updates from Super Mario Party. Each board feels unique and fun with their original concept still intact. The minigame collection contains games from all the numbered games with only a few of them being boring. The minigame collection is what Mario Party: The Top 100 should have had, but didn’t and caused it to be a flop in my opinion.

There are a few things that I wish this game included or had at this point. I feel that the roaster is small compared to other Mario Party games. I know Toad and Bowser can’t be playable characters, but there are other characters they could have added like Shy Guy, Koopa Troopa, or Bowsette. This may sound blasphemous, but this game would benefit greatly with DLC or free updates. While the board and minigame selections are great, this game would be so much better with one or two new boards. I am mostly a quality over quantity person, but this game has great quality and just needs some more things added to it.

In a great surprise to all, the online function actually works! A game like this is meant to be played with others on the same couch, but online play works just as well. Players can either que up with friends or join random people in a fifteen or twenty turn game. If someone leaves the group, they can either rejoin or a computer player will take their spot. For most of my games, we would start with four people and then around turn three we would be down to just two players. The only time I would experience any slow down in a game was when someone was leaving; other than that the gameplay is smooth. Another component that makes playing online or locally fun is the sticker mechanic. Nintendo is still afraid someone is going to learn the autonomy of their mom one day, so instead of a voice chat feature the game uses stickers to communicate with others. While screaming at someone is always the superior version of communicating with others, something about spamming these stickers just feels like a fun game mechanic. How else can I congratulate someone with a straight face when someone loses their stars to Bowser?

Mario Party Superstars was a surprise success for me. The game has other minigame modes that you can participate in, as well as an achievement system; but the party mode is still the best mode to play with others. It is fun to play with others or complete strangers locally or online. I don’t know what else to say about a good Mario Party game except to play it for a month and then move after you’ve cursed your friends and family out for landing on Chance Time and screwing you over on the last turn. Good family fun from your friends at Nintendo.

Game Stats:

Game Started: 10/29/2021
Game Finished: 11/15/2021
Total Play Time: 16 Hours
Achievements Unlocked: 24/50 (Offline) ; 0/10 (Online)

Backlog Report – February 2022

Please stay safe out there everyone.

There was not a whole lot of activity from me this month. Minus the post I did on Pokémon Legends: Arceus, I haven’t gotten around to finishing any of the other posts that I’ve been working on. Call it the Winter Blues or whatever, but for a better understanding of myself lately, I’m looking forward to warmer coming up soon. While my efforts to get some writing done has been meager, I have been able to concentrate on sticking to one game until I am finished with it. If you know me, I like variety and my mood constantly affects what I feel like playing most days. There have only been two games that I felt I spent the most time playing this month, and luckily for me I had the drive to see them through. Talk to me next month however and I might be back on my wishiwashi BS.

Finished This Month

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Easily one of the best Pokémon games I’ve played. There were a lot of things that I liked and hated about this game. The general focus on being a Pokémon researcher is something that I wish the mainline games did before instead of just trying to be the best trainer there is. What if I don’t want to be the champion? What if I just want to wonder around the wilderness until I discover something new or get killed by hostile Pokémon? Being in this position made searching and discovering things feel exciting since I was playing the role of that profession. If later games would let you have the choice of being a trainer or researcher, I think I would always chose the researcher route if the series were to introduce a new region that hardly no one knows about in the present. It will never happen, but that is my new pipe dream game (here’s looking at you Gen 9).

You can read more of my thoughts on the game from the post I wrote.

HuniePop 2: Double Date

Boobies. Cool. That is not what makes this game great. I have no idea how they made this game better than the first, but HuniePot found a way. If the increase difficulty from the first game didn’t stress you out, then switching between two dates while also focusing on a stamina gauge will make you sweat. It is such a simple new addition that makes the game so much better. Every combination of dates makes you shake up the way you approach the puzzle board since now everyone comes with baggage that can alter gameplay. All the new gameplay mechanics makes this one of my favorite puzzle games that I’ve played in a while. I did play this completely co-op with Kat since she is also a big fan of the game and I’m pretty sure was getting into it way more than I was.

New Additions

Elden Ring

I tried not to fall into the hype of calling this one of the best games I’ve played, but every minute of this game has had me hooked. It helps that I’ve been playing this game almost 90% co-op with a good friend of mine. We have been helping each other out by relaying discoveries and tackling bosses together. I’m glad I have experience with the series since I would have probably noped out of this when I first encountered the Tree Sentinel. I doubt I will finish this game this year, but I can see myself playing this in chunks and tackling every challenge I come across. Also my friend and I can’t stop making fingering jokes since we are in middle school.

I’m sure I will have much more to say about this game, but I want time to reflect my thoughts before talking about it. I will say I don’t think this game is a “perfect” game with all of the technical issues that I’ve been hearing.

Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth

Like many people who freaked out when they heard the Wii U and 3DS shops would be closing soon, I feel into the trap and went to the shop immediately to wishlist games that I wanted to get. After a few minutes, I came to the realization that if I didn’t purchase these games earlier, do I really need them now? My answer is yes and no. I don’t need to download everything that I see to preserve it for myself. I will take the approach I did with this game and shop around to find a good value on physical games while I can. With that being said, I though I bought the launch edition of this game for a good price, but it ended up being the standard version. It was still at a better price than what I’ve seen other places sell it for.

Etrian Odyssey is a dungeon crawling series where you create your expedition team and map. The game can be difficult if you are not careful with customizing your team to cover yourself for the journey. It also have an intriguing story that is followed through the games (minus the 3rd). This was the last game in the series that I was missing (if you don’t count the mystery dungeon spinoff).

*I technically also bought Horizon: Forbidden West, but that was for Kat. I don’t plan on playing it even though the internet says I should :p

Currently Playing

When I finished Pokemon Legends: Arceus, I thought it would be the perfect time to start tackling one of the fifteen games that I said I was going to finish this year. Instead I started playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I think the news of the third game got me interested in playing through the second (technically third) game in the series. I thought this would take me a while to finish, but I am currently chapter 7 after only playing for about 30 hours. The tone and character designs really turned me off at the start, but the story really picked up for me in chapter 6. I would be at the end of this game if Elden Ring didn’t come out last weekend. I will definitely have the time to finish this game soon since I will be on vacation and unfortunately my PlayStation is not a portable device.

But yeah. Elden Ring. I’m having fun. I won’t lie and say that the scary part is not knowing what I’m going to encounter at anytime, but that is also the fun of it. If I do finish it this year, then that will be a testament of how much I really enjoyed it.

I am also getting to the point where I am almost done with Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel. I still login daily, but I’m at a plateau in rank duels. I wish I could change things up with my deck and take the time to create something fun and new for me to use, but with thousands of cards and high rank players playing a certain way, it makes it hard to come up with a fun and functional deck.

Plans for Next Month

I don’t want to jinx myself. Their has been something new each month that has captivated my attention. I know I should have a stronger will and just ignore them, but I am a weak human being. The only games I’m interested in next month (that I know of) are Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Chocobo GP, Triangle Strategy and Tiny Tina’s Wonderland. I can wait on all those games except for Chocobo GP because it is the law. I won’t commit myself to what I will be playing this month since it will probably be Elden Ring and one other game that I will feel in the mood for.

For the blog, I have several things that have been in my draft folder for a while. I hope to get some of those done and out of the way so that I can start preparing for some new things. Since I only got one post out in February, my goal is to get at least two out there this month. My analytics took a nose dive and I want to say it is due to me not being as present as I once was. Hopefully I can get things turned around and start thinking of ways if I want to make myself a bit more public as I feel comfortable.


And that’s all I got really. Enjoy the change of the seasons. Get your allergy medication ready. Help support those in need if you can. Trails of Cold Steel IV will never get done.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus Works (Backlog Tale)

I can’t help but to enjoy Pokémon games. Pokémon Red and Blue helped me discover RPGs and the one genre that I could enjoy while platformers, action adventure, and shooters felt like too much pressure for me. While there have been some games in the series that rubbed me the wrong way (Gen 4 & 7), I have given each new game a try and test to see how the appeal of Pokémon grows to keep me interested. As I reach my thirties, I understand full well that Pokémon is not designed to target my age group, but the developers try to tap into that nostalgia while remaining focused on their young demographic.

Enter Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This is the type of game that we wished we had back on the GameCube (no offense to Colosseum and Gale of Darkness). An “open-world” Pokémon game where you explore the wild and catch Pokémon. It is a bit agonizing that Game Freak has never made a game like this before, but they must have been waiting for when gaming devices got more advance to realize their visions. Right? Right!?

Synopsis

The game opens up with something I wasn’t expecting. Your character is shown floating in between time and space. Since you play as a Gen Z child, your phone is there with you. Suddenly a shining figure appears and tells you to seek all Pokémon to meet it again. After that, you wash up on the shores of Prelude Beach in the Hisui region (later known as the Sinnoh region). A Pokémon researcher named Professor Laventon finds you and escorts you to Jubilife Village and takes you to the Galaxy Team Headquarters. To reassure the villagers that you are not a spaghetti monster in disguise, you agree to join the Survey Corp to help the Galaxy Team and gain the trust of the villagers. From there, you explore Hisui and learn about the native locals and the reason why the sky is falling.


As I played the game, I tried to understand what I liked about the gameplay the most. Some people were quick to describe it like Breath of the Wild or Monster Hunter. I think Arceus takes ideas from both games to create its own experience while leaning more into being a survival (slight horror) game at the beginning and transforming into one of the familiar formats. In Breath of the Wild, you are given every tool that you need at the beginning of the game and it is up to you to decide on how to use those tools to get through the game’s challenges. Monster Hunter is different where you have a main weapon, resources that you pack in preparation, and your wits and reflexes. Arceus gives you a starter Pokémon, a portable craft table, and a dodge button. The rest is up to you to manage. When I compare these three games, I honestly have to say that Arceus may be more difficult than the other two when starting out.

Let me explain. Arceus and Monster Hunter have the common ground of crafting resources to assist you on quests. If you run out of items like potions, antidotes, flash bombs, ect., you can still defend yourself with your weapon until you have time to either gather materials or fly back to camp. Arceus takes the same concept, but your main weapon has a weakness and can break in a hit or two. Arceus almost demands that you prepare well in advance before leaving camp to ensure that you have a strong team of Pokémon that can meet the unknown challenges that you may encounter. You also need to manage your resources since you can only carry a small amount of materials with you in case you need to craft more pokéballs or potions while you are out. This makes certain situations tense when you enter a new area and have no idea if something is going to annoy you or flat out kill you.


The name of the game is catching them all. Since you are creating one of the world’s first Pokédex, it makes sense that you will need to study them. Unlike other Pokémon games where you unlock the Pokedéx entry for catching a Pokémon for the first time, you need to catch them multiple times, battle, evolve, and do other tasks in order to complete your research. You only need to reach a research level of ten to finish each entry, but if you want the satisfaction of 100 percent completion, be prepared for a long grind. This incentive is something that the mainline games lacked to me. I had no desire to catch every Pokémon since there was nothing satisfying about it outside your participation trophy for doing it all. My goal in those games is to become the Pokémon Champion, and the Pokédex is just a tool to help me learn about different Pokémon. In this game, I got excited when finding a new Pokémon because as a researcher it was my main job. The simple roleplay mindset allowed me to enjoy the gameplay since not a lot of battles happen in this game, thus I don’t need to focus on that aspect until the time comes for it (which is a good and bad thing that I will explain later).

Arceus likes to make one thing clear to you; Pokémon are not your friends and will not hesitate to kill you. Some Pokémon are docile and will just try to vibe with you. Others will act like law enforcement and attack you on site with no questions asked. Something that has been missing in Pokémon lately is the understanding that creatures capable of destroying civilizations and worlds are just freely roaming around and have no moral code to be pals with you. These are dangerous creatures! I have a whole new theory now that parents send their children out to be Pokémon Masters just for the off chance they don’t survive out there and thus help with population control (it would explain why there are a lot of single moms in your local Pokémon area). I have never been on edge while playing a Pokémon game, but the overpowered alpha Pokémon that you can encounter plus the almost mystic air of the region just made me cautious until I got the lay of the land. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I enjoyed having the constant air of danger looming over me until I had a tough squad who could protect my fragile ass. 


Okay, I’m going to say it now. The moment you have all been waiting for. The comment of the year that has had you on the edge of your set since you started reading this. Brace yourself. This is your moment to shine!

The game doesn’t look that great.

Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy on Pexels.com

Photo by Patrick Case on Pexels.com

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Yes. The visuals in this game are not the greatest. I however do not like the comments that this game looks like a PS2 game. That is an insult to the PS2 and you need to say sorry. If there was one thing that we all knew was going to happen it would be that the game would look subpar. However, it is not game breaking. Some areas look better than others, and I have to give credit to Game Freak for at least providing a stable framerate throughout the game. It just…misses that wow factor that they were trying to go for. You see games like Xenoblade and The Witcher 3 that look great on the Switch, and you wonder why they didn’t get Monolith or Bandai Namco to help them bloom things up. It is not bad to the point of unplayable, but it is something I would like to see them work on in the next Legends game.

While others were complaining about the graphics, no one points out the other bad mechanics that I noticed (too busy bitching about trees again). One mechanic that I find irritating at times is a Pokémon staple; battling. There are indeed times where you need to battle Pokémon and other people in the story. What’s bad about this is that no matter what level your Pokémon are at, they feel weak compared to your opponents. At times you may get lucky with a one-shot, but it feels completely unbalanced how your opponent can wipe your team without breaking a sweat. This is more prominent towards the end and post game where the toughest battles are held and suddenly you are scrambling to create a decent team that isn’t weak to ground (there are a lot of Pokémon who are weak to ground in this game for some reason). Some of these fights can get straight unfair when you are pit three against one in some battles and the game acts like you can handle it no problem. I understand from a lore perspective that the concept of training Pokémon does not exist in this world, and I like that detail. However, from a gameplay standpoint it does not work.

Another thing that pisses me off is when you accidently hit the boundaries of the map. If you unknowingly reach a part of the map where Game Freak is hiding the better graphics, Jimi Hendrix pops out of nowhere and surrounds you in purple haze. It is frustrating when you are just searching the area and you accidentally walk out of bounds and have to find your way out of it. A simple invisible wall would be so much better than this weird fog.

My favorite thing about this game is the level of detail (outside of visuals) that Game Freak fleshed out. It is a nice tough to watch the village grow with new buildings and villagers as you progress. I like that your prior knowledge of the Gen 4 games can come in handy when it comes to the lore. There are a ton of easter eggs that Poke Maniacs will notice and it provides a fun treat for exploring. While those details are good, there are also some bad details that could have been easily fixed. There would be times where my character would just hover above the ground. These sections look like the ground was altered, but the collision was never fixed. There is also this weird sheen that your character gets when it rains, or sometimes you can see the outline of your character clash with dark surfaces. Again, graphical hiccups that could have easily been smoothed out, but Game Freak hasn’t finished that online class yet.

Speaking of online, there are some online functions in this game. You are able to trade with people locally and somehow online. Sadly, local and online battles do not exist in this game (since Pokémon Trainers don’t exist). There is a social mechanic in the game where you can recover dropped items by other players. Whenever you black out for being bad at the game, you drop some items from your pouch that other players can retrieve for you. The reward for doing this is earning merit points that you can use to buy good items like evolution stones. This mechanic is unfair for anyone playing offline, since there is no way to recover lost items yourself. 


Let’s start to wrap up with my overall thoughts about this game. I think it’s also good to clarify that I played this game side-by-side with Kat. The extra benefit of playing this alongside someone else is a contributing factor to my enjoyment of the game. We would discover things together and help each other out and it made collecting all the Pokédex entries even more fun since we were kinda going against each other (until the final stretch when we started trading Pokémon that the other one hadn’t found yet). If you are able to play this with someone else, give it a try and see how it goes.

I found this game fun, addictive up to the end, and a true testament that Game Freak can make a good game. They just can’t make a pretty game on current hardware. I honestly feel that the only thing that holds this game back for most people is that the graphics are not “up-to-par” with current standards (whatever that is). For a person like me where graphics don’t make or break a game for me automatically, I’m glad that it didn’t put me off from playing this game. If you are the type who prioritizes graphics and visuals, then you will not have a good time with this game; and there is nothing wrong with that. Is not perfect by all means and could be so much better if it utilized a different engine. As modern gaming continues to evolve, I’m worried that the “fun” factor of a game won’t matter unless it has near perfect reviews and is near flawless in every aspect (almost like it is today). With that, enjoy playing the games you like to play and don’t let someone like me convince you otherwise. 

Backlog Report – January 2022

New year, same-ish format. This month has been busy and slow for me as I’m still trying to figure out what I am doing this year. I don’t currently have, in a depressing way of saying it, something that excites me each day. I go with the flow of the day. I have come to learn that I am the type of person who needs some type of exciting project to get my motivation going. It is a character flaw that has negative effects. Eventually I will find something, but things are really dull without that “thing.”

On the writing front, I have slowed down on releasing posts just so I can have extra time to polish them. As I try more and more to reflect my voice in my writings, I also want to make things clearer on what I am saying. If my speech impairment already makes my normal speaking voice hard to understand, then I want to make sure that my writing is as clear as it can be. The old goal used to be to have a post ready every week, but now my goal is to post something every other week and make it the best that it can be. There are some games that I have finished that I haven’t talked about yet, some thoughts on gaming that I want to talk about, and a series that I’ve wanted to include for the longest time that I haven’t written anything about. This is the year that I want to produce the most content that I have since starting, and I want to see how far I can take it.

Now moving onto the games:

Finished This Month

Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2

There was only one game that I finished this month. I choose Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 as the first game to finish on the first day of the year. It has been a tradition to finish a game on day one for a while now, and I chose this game since I didn’t have time to prepare the week before. Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 has some of the best locations in the series with actual destructible environments that the later games do not have. I will say that I am not a fan of this game for different reasons. I don’t like how you acquire skills in this game, and the amount of times your gundam feels like a ragdoll gave me multiple rage moments. The fact that giant gundam fights are still hard even on the easiest difficulty made the process much longer than it needed to be. Overall, I don’t see myself returning to complete all the achievements, but if I’m bored one day I may consider it.

New Additions

Yu Gi Oh! Forbidden Memories

I had the chance this month to attend an event where I could scout out some retro games. The first game I acquired was this; Yu Gi Oh! Forbidden Memories. I remember as a kid seeing this game in a promotional disk and wanting to play it. Alas, the game was only for PlayStation and I was a Nintendo kid. Getting this game now after it being off my radar for a while is like completing a task for younger me. I will give it a go in the near future and embrace all the jank it probably has.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

I saw this and decided that I should finally add this to my collection. I had some good times playing this game back in the day on band trips. We would play the multiplayer mode where we would pass the DS around for everyone to make their move. I don’t think we ever finished a match, but it was a good game to pass the time. I have never played the campaign mode in this game, so I’m looking forward to it.

Yu Gi Oh! The Falsehood Kingdom

I have never heard of this Yu Gi Oh! game before. I stumbled upon it while browsing a vendor’s wares, and my curiosity kept drawing me back. It doesn’t play like other Yu Gi Oh! games and seems to play like a team building strategy game. I don’t know what to expect, and I kinda want to keep it that way.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen

I was allowed to splurge on one item. Out of everything that I saw, I decided to splurge on this game. The Dragon Quest games on the DS escaped me when I didn’t have an interest in the series. I would have been content playing the mobile version one day, but I decided to treat myself for once and buy the complete copy they had. The only one missing out of my collection now is the sixth game, and I believe that is the rarest one of all.

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny

I didn’t have any real plans on getting this soon, but when I was helping my brother buy a new game, I found this for a really good discount. I haven’t finished the last two Disgaea games, but I’m hoping this and the Makai Kingdom rerelease in a few months will get me back into the series.

Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel

I’m sensing a theme here. This free-to-play game came out to basically everything current gaming device out of the blue. It is a fun and frustrating game if you are a fan of the TCG and haven’t played in a while. I’m now just getting the hang of the new meta and finding a playstyle that works best for me and not just copying the best decks out there (you freaking unoriginal POS). I don’t know when I will consider myself “done” with this since content will keep coming out for it, but it does provide a nice secondary game when I need a break from what I’m currently working on.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

I have a lot to say about this game. While I was left disappointed by the Diamond & Pearl remake, this game has exceeded my expectations from a gameplay perspective. The visuals and graphics could definitely be better, but it doesn’t offend me. If I don’t finish Trials of Cold Steel IV it will be because of this game and the fact that I am having more fun playing this over that.

Currently Playing

I am getting closer to finishing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV. It is my own fault that I’m taking so long to finish it since I am trying to get as much done on my first playthrough as possible. This will help when I replay all four games to get all the achievements. Turbo speed and skipping cutscenes that I don’t need to see again will help make that process go by quicker. I have to get this done before Horizon: Forbidden West comes out and Kat kicks me off the PS5 so she can play it.


As I mentioned before, Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel will continue to be my secondary casual game when I need a break from the current list. I will probably play it less often once I reach the highest ranking and drop in and out as events and new seasons get started. Pokémon Legends: Arceus will definitely get done this month and that will prepare me for the next two games on my list.

I also forgot to mention at one point I was playing SaGa Frontier: Remastered. When my in-laws came to visit during the holiday season, I couldn’t hide myself in my gaming room. So I brought my Switch downstairs to play games with the family, and for some reason I started SaGa Frontier. My father-in-law was interested in watching me play it, so I did and finished one character’s story while they were visiting. Since each story doesn’t take long to beat (just some grinding to prepare for final boss), I am going to count this game “finished” when I go through all eight stories. Seeing as it took me a week to finish one character and you get to keep stats and weapons to the next story, I don’t see this taking a lot of time.

Plans for Next Month

My plan after finishing Trails of Cold Steel IV is to start Tales of Destiny. This is the first Tales of game that I want to play to finish off my Tales of games. I have a tendency to finish older JRPGs faster, so I’m hoping that it will take me less than a month to finish this.

While I’m banished from the PS5, I do have the next big release already planned out. Elden Ring comes out on the 25th of February, and I will be enjoying that on my PC. I’ve asked a friend of mine if we wanted to play it simultaneously that day and share our experience since we have not been keeping up with the details. We are really looking forward to it and I can’t wait to experience this new hellhole.

Now that the PC crowd has had a chance to play Monster Hunter Rise, I kinda want to get back into playing it. I finished the game real fast when it came out on Switch and haven’t had the drive to keep playing afterwards. With Sunbreaker coming out in the summer, this seems like the time to gear up and do some farming before G Rank/Master Rank/Whatever they are calling it this time comes out. Still don’t know if I’ll switch to the PC version if Capcom doesn’t want to add cross save.


So that was January. Tune in next month when something else has taken over my life that prevents me from finishing Trials of Cold Steel IV. Until then,

Opinions Are Just That – Game Freak’s Gamble

This game looks bad for 2021 standards. You would think that Game Freak and the Pokémon Company would spend more money and resources to make this one of their greatest games ever. This is a freaking open world Pokémon game! 90s kids have been dreaming of a game like this since the original Red, Green, and Blue came out. It took twenty-five years and five generations of gaming later, but we finally have an open world Pokémon game that we wanted for so long. And the reception? About what you would normally expect from the internet these days. Why does this game look like a late PS2/early PS3 game? Does no one at Game Freak know how to make a good game anymore? Why am I paying money to play a game that could look so much better that other smaller game developers could make? Hopefully all of those buzzwords caught your attention, because in my opinion, I believe that this game will be fun to play even though the visuals leave a different impression. What if I brought to the table the idea that this could be a changing point for the company and we are seeing their transparency unfold before us? I’m about to attempt to explain my point of view about this unreleased game (at the time of this writing) and the highs and lows of its current development.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be Game Freak’s fourth 3D console game. Out of their previous 3D games, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee!, Pokémon Sword & Shield, & Little Town Hero, I would argue that the Let’s Go games have the better visuals and polish over the others. While the Let’s Go games visuals were meant to be bright and nostalgic, Legends seems to be going for more of a darker, dimmer time. There is no doubt that this game is taking inspiration from other open world games, but there is a big difference from this game and other studios that have produced wonderful (if not glitchy) open world games.

Game Freak has never developed a 3D open world game before. As far as I can tell (I looked everywhere), this is the first game in a genre like this that the company is developing solely by themselves. To put that into some perspectives, Nintendo had Monolith Soft help them with their visual environments for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo wanted to make sure that Breath of the Wild‘s world was inviting to explore and asked a company who does it really well to help them out with it. Legends has no one but Game Freak working on it. The company who mostly stuck to handheld games up until the Switch’s release has to suddenly break out of their mold to develop new games in a different style that they haven’t been using in almost twenty years. I know someone is quick to point out games like Pokémon Stadium, Coliseum, Pokémon Snap & New Snap, and Poképark on the Wii. Those are 3D games that were not developed by Game Freak (HAL Labs (Stadium), Genius Sorority Inc. (Coliseum), Bandai Namco (New Snap)). Heck, most of their remakes aren’t even developed by Game Freak themselves like in the case with Brilliant Diamond and Shiny Pearl.

So the obvious question. Why doesn’t Game Freak partner with, or let a different studio develop this game? That is a legit question. It feels very idiotic for a company who has never developed a game like this before to create one on their own with no one to help them. Unless Game Freak has talented developers who are confident in their programming skills, this game will feel like a fraction of what it could truly be if they hired some experts or a larger team to help them with it. I wish they would offer secondary help with the environment design, but I can also understand why they may not want to get outside help and develop this solely on their own.

Change is unavoidable. In the past, Game Freak knew how to make fun, charming 2D games that took advantage of the hardware they were working on. None of the Pokémon games on the handheld systems looked bad and only improved as time went on. Even when they moved to 3D models for Pokémon X & Y, they got better improving their work when Sun & Moon came out. Game Freak knows that their game development has to evolve as well. The Switch can handle so much more than the handheld systems did, so now they are forced to change the way they develop to meet the quality standards that their fans want. If I were a game designer in their shoes, I would want to attempt to push my team to our limits and try to create something out of our comfort zone that I know fans would enjoy. Game Freak could have easily paid the money to get all of the outside resources they could want to make this one of the best looking Pokémon games to date. But, they choose to do this themselves to grow as a studio. The best evidence for this can be seen in the recent trailer for the game.

Video from The Official Pokémon YouTube Channel

The game looks so much better from the one that we saw back in February. I can’t jump on the bandwagon to say that Game Freak is being lazy with the graphics in this game. From this trailer alone, the game looks more polished than they did five months ago. Some would say of course that is how game design should be. If that is so, then what we see is what we may get; and I’m totally fine with giving the game a chance if they are committed to the risk they are taking. Do I personally think the game is going to look better than what was shown in the new trailer? Not really. I am a “keep expectations low” kinda guy, so if the finally game looks like this, then I will be totally satisfied. Do I think this game will be riddled with framerate issues at launch? Oh definitely so! It’s these types of low expectations that make me still interested in the game rather than nitpick about how I would solve all these issues on my own. Besides all of that, this makes me excited on how the next game may look and perform. People criticized Sword and Shield for the “tree of low quality,” but I can understand how things like this can take time when you are under contract to make a game that you may be unfamiliar with the technology. I am willing to give Game Freak a chance with a game like this, even though I believe the safer bet would have been to inquire help from another studio to help with their graphic designs.

But, opinions are just that.