Status Update: September 2023


Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

By far, my game of the year. Such an incredible game, with so many mechanics, at first a bit too similar to Tears of the Kingdom, but soon you notice all the new and improved mechanics, and details, and new maps, and the myriad of weapon combinations, and vehicle building... It's huge, really huge.

Also, is a game you enjoy more without spoilers, simply arriving from having played Zelda BOTW [1] and continuing the story. You'll naturally learn all the new things along the way. After all, this is Nintendo, and they are the masters of guiding players and smoothing the learning curves (while keeping a high peak!).

I picked the official game guide just to have a big checklist of all the things I want to do. Because the numbers are staggering: 3 maps, dozens of main quests, combined hundreds of side-quests + side-adventures + shrine-quests + similar, 152 shrines, 1000 koroks (collectible the golden poo-like objects)... I finished the game at around 90 gameplay hours, with ~90 shrines done. At the time of writing this post, I'm at 112 shrines and +110 hours, and lots of things to do and secondary quests to finish. It is immense.

Diablo IV

Sadly, my disappointment of the year. I was expecting more Diablo III, maybe with a fair amount of repetition, but also quasi-endless replayability. Instead, what we got was a game that sits in between an MMORPG and Diablo III, kind of picking the worst of both. The lack of random dungeons or enemies (each map zone and dungeon has fixed enemy types), combined with a significant amount of required grinding and a semi-broken difficulty level system [2], makes the game boring once you pass the story and reach around level 60 or so.

I said that I could probably play this title for years. Well, after just two months, I instead got too tired, and felt that the Seasonal system is really badly implemented (lots of grinding with almost no new mechanics, and really bad "free" rewards). And I've noticed that either you endlessly play nightmare dungeons (remember, no randomness, so always the same bosses and enemies and maps) or you just stop playing. So I chose to do the later until an expansion or significant patch comes out.



I had high hopes for this one, but I was reluctant to pre-order it without having seen the final result. I'm happy for not having picked any fancy edition, but I am playing it, and I feel... kind of sad.

It feels like a good game, but nowhere what the hype sold us about an amazing space adventure. Starfield feels more like "Fallout 4 in space". Same mechanics, some additions (like space-combat), different setting... but still clearly an improved version of the same engine, and at times too familiar to Fallout or Elder Scrolls players. Also, some of the new systems or changes to existing ones feel quite patchy:

  • Ammo does not weight, but most other things do, and containers have "limited weight space", so you'll just drop stuff around your ship/house
  • Quite a few skills look exactly like a sci-fi Fallout 4/Skyrim, and some are mostly just locks behind crafting different stuff. Plus topics like lock-picing is even more tiring this time (puzzles to solve each time? really?)
  • NPCs are cool at first, but the eyes are too bright, sometimes the face gestures look weird, and crowd-NPCs are way simpler than the ones you're expected to interact with. Plus some dialogs trigger incorrectly, or repeatedly, breaking the moment
  • You'll miss lots of tutorials on how to do things: It took me 10 minutes to find the "storage" in my ship (hint: near the driver seat, and there are actually two of them, one in front of the other); I can equip boost packs, but can't boost until I unlock the boost perk... and is just double jumping; Advanced lock-picking perks are confusing (and one feels useless); I had to search online to learn that I cannot be alone, and will always have a companion, which at the beginning means no sneaking/stealth because you go questing with a big noisy and chatty robot at your side
  • The graphics look great at times, and just a beefed up Fallout 4 other times. I feel we were shown videos and demos very carefully selected to showcase the cool parts, while hiding that the game feels so similar to previous Bethesda titles. Plus requires a beefy graphics card
  • Too many loading screens, and all the exploration and space flight part feels like a poor copy of No Man's Sky. I expected smoothly going from the planet surface to space, then flying to my desired planet. Instead, you get to hold a key, watch a cinematic, open terribly-designed menus to pick a destination, hold another key and watch another cinematic. Did somebody really thought this is a cool and immersive experience, that you are supposed to hundreds of times? To me, it feels more like the game engine couldn't do better, so they just pushed in the new space sub-system, glued together with loading screens, and decided to force you to use menus and fast travel
  • I'm already using more than half a dozen mods just to fix or improve things: color exposure, flashlight radius, NPC eyes, a better UI for the inventory (terrible by default on PC)... To me, this is a sign that things were not fully refined and playtested, just hurried away to focus on other more pressing topics

In any case, I might try to at least finish the main quest storyline, but this is a game that needs months of patching and community mods to aspire of becoming "great".

Dragon Age: Origins

At first while waiting for Starfield, and now mostly because of it, I decided to begin with the Dragon Age trilogy. I had played a few hours before, but long ago, so I restarted. At times I remember too well what's going to happen, but I hope to reach the point where I left it (which I don't even remember exactly!).

Anyway, it's a nice Bioware-syle game, my beloved Star Wars: KOTOR system with a fantasy setting. Graphically begins to feel very outdated, but the writing/dialog is soo good; It is so fun to listen the conversations between the party members (often they don't think alike, and just tag along because of you), entertaining to solve some quests in different ways (this is a game where persuasion/intimidation opens new choices), and the story so far is a bit typical and kind of predictable, but good enough to make you push forward, and a good excuse to allow you to solve situations in different ways (including malevolent and violent ones).

[1] Although I recommend not playing both just one after the other. Take your time, because TOTK requires a lot time.

[2] At least with some classes, you'll transition from being under-powered to over-powered in the current tier quickly, but then need to rely on Nightmare Dungeons to level up decently and improve gear, until you can properly play in the next tier. I soloed the Tier 4 unlock dungeon at level 66, but Tier 4 enemies are level 75+, so until I reached level 70 couldn't even fight normal enemies.

Status Update: September 2023 published @ by

Categories: Videogames

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