Again no painting nor boardgaming.
I planned to buy Games Workshop's Lion El'Jonson primarch miniature, but their greed made it impossible, by only offering a limited edition (with some extra minis) that went away as soon as it went online. So I'll wait until the normal edition comes out, whenever that happens (GW an amazing company but at times totally careless about their customers).
Let's go on with the video gaming updates:
Hand of Fate
To be honest, I finished this title a while ago, but decided to play it a bit more before starting with the second part (whith I put on hold, for various reasons).
It is a small gem: A roguelite that is partly a "choose your adventure" game, partly a card game, with a big amount of luck/randomness, and bits of arcade when you fight enemies and bosses. The premise is that you are a warrior that will play a very dangerous game with a "dungeon master", having all sorts of adventures, choices to make, and dying (a lot), all meanwhile you unlock better cards to potentially use in your next attempt.
It can get a bit repetitive at the end, when you've unlocked most cards and basically depend on luck and some bits of strategy to reach the last levels not only alive but well equipped, but the storytelling, the voice acting, and the atmosphere is awesome.
Meanwhile I waited for Diablo IV, I picked up some similar action RPGs with isometric view, and Chaosbane was the first one I went with. While not terrible, you will soon notice the medium-budget aura. Mechanics are not too varied (a few feel half-done/unfinished), maps are very repetitive, and in general there's not much incentive to play it once you finish the campaign once, because you will face almost the same content, with no randomness.
Still, if picked in some sale is fun for a few hours.
Another action-RPG, this one with more budget than Chaosbane (but still not a Triple-A title). Wolcen is... a bit disappointing. It begins nicely, but has too many ups and downs: in the story, in the gameplay, in the graphics (why some characters are so taller that you feel puny?)... It is not bad per-se, and I mostly enjoyed going through the campaign. But instead of keeping and keeping playing, even with some curious end-game rogue-lite mechanics, I "shelved it" as soon as I finished, wanting to move on to another game.
Again, good if picked in a sale.
Diablo is back. When I write a bit below about the only title I have in progress, I can only say that I was happy that Zelda TOTK was released a few weeks earlier than Diablo 4; That way, I could enjoy both, as now Diablo is eating most of my free time.
While to me feels way better than Diablo 2, and in some mechanics also than Diablo 3, D3 is still a superior and more polished title. D4 feels... rushed out. The campaign is a bit too long, with some fragments a bit boring (while others are great), the game has been transitioned to a kind of lite-MMORPG, with tons of very similar side quests and an open-world map at times repetitive...
But my biggest issue is the voice acting: Diablo titles never had the best voice acting outside the main characters, but in D4, it feels like they spent most of the budget in Lorath, Lilith and a few other voices, and 90% of the remaining ones have quite noticeable accents, giving the game a feeling of being lower budget than it really is.
As usual also with all the series titles, except maybe the first one, male characters excepting the Barbarian are "too emo" or ugly, so after levelling a male sorcerer to 52, I decided to start again with a female necromancer (drow-like appearance, really cool).
By the time of this writing, I've already finished twice the campaign and I'm enjoying the "end game" content (where really most of the content resides, except videos!). We'll see how the seasons work, and how Blizzard updates with some free content, apart from confirmed paid expansions, but the loot formula is there and working wonders (most of my friends are also playing it).
Considering that I put hundreds of hours in Diablo 3, plus some unmeasured (but not small) amount in the first two titles, looks like a game I'll be playing for years.
Zelda: Tears of the kingdom
Although I haven't finished it yet, after more than 70 hours of gameplay, in my eyes the new Zelda is the game of the year for 2023.
"Bigger, faster, better" is the TL;DR. Same world, but with notable changes. Same 3D engine, but pushed this time to the limits of the Nintendo Switch. Similar familiarity if you have played Breath of the Wild, but new at the same time...
I won't spoil anything about the game, other than it begins just a bit after where BOTW ended, that the new magic abilities are between cool and amazing (the ultrahand/"glue" is simply mind-blowing), and that now the game has three maps: air, land and underworld.
If you want to know more go and check some review, or watch one of the official trailers, but if you have a Switch, this is an even more must-have title than Zelda: BOTW was.
See you back once I'm done with Hyrule (and more Sanctuary)!