LOTR Vol. II
It took me time, but I finished J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. II - The Two Towers. The first one looked quite similar to the movies, while this second instalment departs at times quite noticeably from the movies and books (at least what I remember of them). I directly went to use a guide, and while I enjoyed the back and forth between the multiple storylines and you can feel that the game engine now was known and better used (more battles, bigger maps), it felt weaker than the first title.
Unpopular opinion: I abandoned the game. I feel the lore and plot is just a spaghetti of miscellaneous concepts with a thin thread keeping most of them together, and the game demands too much of my time only to enjoy. I love pouring hours in games I have fun with (nearing 200h in Zelda BOTW, hundreds at each Diablo game, etcetera), but I don't enjoy being punished and sometimes cheap-killed frequently. So after 30h of gameplay, just shelved it. Not for me.
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
After having finished it a few times in Playstation 2 and once in the Nintendo Switch, now I have it on PC and also have finished it once 😆
Castles & Castles II
I've loved medieval history since I was a child, so the early nineties franchise Castles offering me a chance to build and maintain castles "the way I liked" was so appealing. I went and played one campaign of each, and re-watched all the Castles II documentary videos, although the video compression is quite ugly nowadays.
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
I love how Ubi Soft try to respect history, while twisting details to simplify gameplay. In AC Valhalla you will notice it more frequently because the vikings were all but peaceful folks, so you can do viking raids but they are a decaffeinated version (mostly focused on combat and looting). Still they are a nice addition, and the boat travels, fights and all-things-related feel amazing.
What got me tired of the game is the usual Ubi Soft mechanics: You have so many primary quests, secondary quests, optional quests, side-quests, fetch quests, treasure quests and who-knows-what-else quests, that you burnout easily, because in the end gameplay mechanics are what they are: An assassin jumping, sneaking and killing people. So after around 40h, the game tells me I have finished barely around 30%, so I need to to take a break before I abandon it permanently.
It is really amazing visually, and fun to play, it simply gets tiring and should be smaller in missions scope.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
The third instalment came out on Nintendo Switch, so I'm slowly warming up to pour in the dozens of hours that each new title in the saga takes. The beginning is a bit slow, but it is too early and fans of the series praise the plot so let's see what awaits!
More Nordic mythology reading, plus stopping playing AC: Valhalla made me crave for some other "viking themed game". I visited a videogame museum that mentioned the early access title Valheim, and I already had my sights on it, so decided to purchase it and play. It is a survival crafting game (but with a purpose and I think a real ending if you pursue the plot), so I'm still struggling to survive in my small fenced house, while I improve my skills and learn how to craft better tools and equipment to face my first enemy boss, but the game is really fun: you need to build the houses following the old nordic ways, having a fire inside to keep you warm but at the same time letting the smoke go out (or you will choke), structures have weight and pressure, and the pixelated textures 3D engine is actually quite pleasing visually.
On the boardgames side, me and my partner began playing some not too complex boardgames from time to time, so I decided to purchase a very simple dungeon crawler, Karak. We've played a few games and, while it indeed has simple mechanics, is really easy to get into and fun for everyone.