If you’re familiar with my blog, it is probably quite obvious to you that I’m not always playing the latest games. To celebrate this, and because I wanted to write a post that’s (only just) shorter than an undergraduate essay, here is a brief look at the games I’m playing in October.
*Probably contains spoilers* *Definitely contains Mieu*
Tales of the Abyss (3DS) – Namco Tales Studio, 2011
The picture above is Mieu – a fire-breathing, rock-smashing Cheagle. Mieu is very cute (or very annoying, depending on who you ask). I mention Mieu, because for the last year and a half I’ve been hanging out with him and his friends in Tales of the Abyss. I’m just over 30 hours into this sprawling JRPG, which is similar in style to other Tales games (although the only other one I’ve played is Vesperia) – i.e. your bunch of eccentrics travel around a world which is in political chaos, you learn to cook, and you undertake a great deal of fighting using the so-called Linear Motion Battle System. Much like real life then.
I’m not sure how long this game is going to end up taking me, but I’m at that crucial point in any JRPG when you finally get an airship, thus allowing free movement and the ability to go back and explore places you’d previously skipped over. However, I’ve not yet reached the stage where I want to do that, as I feel constantly compelled to keep the story going, for fear that they might all fall into the Qliphoth. I’m enjoying the characters, particularly liking Jade, as he has that intriguing ‘I might be a villain’ thing about him. Leading character Luke is less compelling and more shouty (although less murderous) than Vesperia’s Yuri, but, well, Yuri is hard to top.
Difficulty wise, Abyss seems pretty lenient so far, easier than Vesperia I’d say. The majority of boss battles have been won at the second attempt, and the field enemies seem straightforward. I’m hoping the difficulty picks up a little to keep the battles interesting. Either way though, really looking forward to finding out what happens to Auldrant, and if I can stop it all falling into that god-damn Qliphoth.
Devil May Cry 3 (PS2) – Capcom, 2005
Ugh! I’m playing my third Devil May Cry game, and its sloooooooow progress! Having completed 1 and 4, I managed to pick up the third installment for (very) cheap from Shmup Games, and, having liked the other two so much I thought I’d give it a go.
Devil May Cry is an interesting one for me, as it is notoriously difficult. When I picked up the first one a few years ago, I really had no idea how hard it would be, but thankfully, each of the games goes easy on you after a bit and lets you drop the difficulty. DMC 3 has two difficulty changes you can make, firstly you can just lower the difficulty. If that isn’t enough you can also set it to Automatic, which uses combos automatically. I’m not personally using this as I don’t like the lack of control, but I do like that the option exists to widen accessibility.
Currently, I’m on Mission 6. In this mission you have to complete three trials, one testing your fighting skills, one testing your reactions and one is a riddle. I only have enough red orbs for one vital star and so far this hasn’t been enough to get me through, but practice makes perfect.
Thimbleweed Park (Switch) Terrible Toybox, 2017
What’s not to like about Thimbleweed Park? Originally released in March 2017, it came out on September 21st for the Switch and I picked it up right away. Its strange, as it looks and feels so like the Monkey Islands and Grim Fandangos of the past, and yet it manages to be more than a throwback. I think this is in part due to the fact that humour and pop-culture have evolved over the last 30 years, and this game’s script feels fresh, albeit with many nods to adventure games (and gamers) of old.
If you’re not familiar with the game (I’m about 10 hours in), it is a murder mystery in which two federal agents – Ray and Reyes – investigate the murder in a deadbeat American town.
The adventuring is perhaps easier than Monkey Island (which I replayed recently, but still had to look many things up) but you still get a genuine thrill from solving a puzzle. I’m currently at a slightly frustrating point though, as although most of the characters are now free to roam the town, I don’t really know what my next move is, even though I have a huge number of objects (including a lot of tubes!) at my disposal. These things seem important, but I can’t see how it all fits together. I enjoy being stuck and having to think outside the box (although my mind is mostly just wondering when I’m going to get a rubber chicken), but at the moment I feel I have too many questions and not enough answers.
All the same, Thimbleweed Park seems genuinely excellent, especially if you’re already a fan of the point and click genre. So if you haven’t already I’d recommend checking it out!
Looking ahead very briefly, this month I’m particularly excited about the release of Mario Odyssey. Also just got my hands on Rayman Legends for the Switch, so that will be a nice challenge. Outside of gaming there is Halloween to consider (!), as well as my favourite weekend of the year: Scotland Loves Anime. Should be a good one!
Do let me know what you’re playing, what you want to be playing and what I should be playing below. Thanks for reading, and remember to look out for my Halloween special, spookily drifting towards a device near you on October 31st.
Tales of the Abyss is out now on PS2 & 3DS
Devil May Cry 3 is out now on PS2, and a special edition is avilaible on PC, PS3 & Xbox 360.
Thimbleweed Park is out now on most things, except Android, for which it is coming out October 10th.