In which I occasionally ramble about some of the games I'm playing. Updates sporadically.

Entry 002 - Feb

Splatoon 3, Stardew Valley, Dark Souls: Remastered, & Elden Ring DLC

Earlier in February was the Chocolate Splatfest in Splatoon 3! I was on Team Milk Chocolate and we lost (boo!). Team White Chocolate absolutely swept lol. Didn't expect White Chocolate to be the most popular team but oh well, I still had fun! I finally managed to win my first 100x battle! Normally, I don't play enough to trigger a 100x battle but I guess I got lucky this time. It was super exciting! I was really nervous at first, but my team ended up bullying the poor Dark Chocolate team we were against. I almost felt bad but I fought against some really tough Dark Chocolate teams so I considered that payback. I also managed to rank up to S+ right before the season ended. Woohoo!

Also played a little bit more of Stardew Valley. I made it to Year 3 and soundly passed Grandpa's assessment. I found almost all of the Golden Walnuts on the island and unlocked Mr. Qi's challenges. I also completed the island museum collection. Currently, I'm still in Spring of Year 3. Stardew Valley is a really easy game to play when I want to unwind at the end of the day. It's a pretty mindless game for me, so it's nice to just shut down my brain while playing but I'm also getting a little bored. I don't really have much left to do, aside from getting married and 100%ing the game. So, as a change of pace, I decided to check out the remastered version of Dark Souls available on the Nintendo Switch.

To my surprise, the Switch version of Dark Souls: Remastered runs surprisingly well. Is it the most optimized experience for DS1? No, but being able to play whenever on the Switch is nice. It's been years since I've played the first Dark Souls game. I surprisingly don't remember a lot so getting to re-experience the game for a second time is really fun. I decided to be a Pyromancer this time. The first time I played, I went with a default Warrior. I still pretty much play as a warrior, focusing on hacking and slashing but occasionally I'll remember to throw a fireball. Here's me meeting best boy Solaire. This time around, I think I'm going to look up a guide to figure out how to save him. He's such a delightful character. I was so sad when I had to fight him the first time around. But not this time! This time will be different and I'll save him! He's too much of a cinnamon roll to die!

After ringing the first bell tower, I messed around a bit. I wandered around for a while and found myself in the Valley of Drakes. It took a while (and by a while I mean a very long time), but I managed to fight my way through the valley and made it to the very end. Several times, the drakes glitched out and flew through the floor and died. Another time, one swooped off of the cliff, which was pretty funny. I made my way into Blighttown and remembered why I hate that place so much. After getting messed up by those annoying blowdart snipers, I cleared the small area of Blighttown accessible from the Valley of Drakes before circling back around to the New Londo Ruins. There, I remembered why I also hated the ruins (fucking ghosts!). After having enough of that nonsense, I went back to the Darkroot Basin, headed into the Darkroot Garden, and then fought my way through until I reached Sif. Wasn't having a really good time fighting him so I decided to give up for the moment and headed back to the Firelink Shrine. I went down into the Catacombs and after brute forcing my way partway through, I met Patches in all of his bald glory. Shortly after that, I decided I had enough of the Catacombs as I also hate that location (are you sensing a pattern here), and decided to head back to the Undead Burg to do what I'm actually supposed to do. I made my way through the Lower Undead Burg until I reached the Depths. I don't really remember the sewers of the Depths all that well, so I spent a lot of time wandering around. I managed to beat the Gaping Dragon in one go to unlock the way into Blighttown proper (eurgh). That's about all I've played so far. I'm not super thrilled to make my way through Blighttown, but I will eventually. I know I complained a lot, but I promise I'm having fun! Going through the beginning of Dark Souls again is pretty nostalgic. At least, for the parts that I remember lol.

Recently, Fromsoft announced DLC for Elden Ring!!!! It was a really random announcement but I'm so excited!! I was practically frothing at the mouth when it was first announced lmao. More Elden Ring is always great but I'm especially excited because it looks like the DLC will have something do with Miquella! Normally, I don't care too much about the lore of Soulsborne games but for some reason, I got really obsessed with the lore in Elden Ring, particularly for the royal demigod family. I guess I just love family drama lol. Despite their small presence, Malenia and Miquella are my favorites. I was really bummed when I learned about all of the cut content that involved them, especially Miquella. I think it's super interesting you can feel his presence throughout the game, despite him not really appearing. I'm very curious to see if Fromsoft will reimplement some of his cut content, especially his ending. It might just be me reading too much into the announcement, but I feel like it hints at that since it says "Rise, Tarnished, and let us walk a new path together". Regardless, I'm looking forward to it! Although, I suspect it will be some time until the DLC is released. I've seen a lot of speculation that we might not see the DLC until fall this year or even later, but I don't mind waiting!

Entry 001 - Late Dec/Jan/Feb

Rune Factory 4 Special & Stardew Valley

Recently borrowed Rune Factory 4 Special for the Switch from the library, after hearing a lot of praise for it. And I gotta say, I'm a little disappointed. I was hoping to like it more than Stardew Valley, which is currently my favorite farming sim/rpg style game. I do think the combat is better, but that's about it. RF4 has a lot more mechanics than Stardew, but I feel like the systems weren't well integrated into the gameplay. The game doesn't do a good job in explaining these systems either. You can cook, craft, and forge sooo many different items, which is neat. However, having to constantly consult the wiki to figure out what I can make and how to make it was annoying. It felt like the devs focused on quantity, not quality when it came to these systems. They existed as things you could do, but you could also completely ignore them (at least on Normal difficulty). The vast number of things you can do is probably a huge selling point for fans of the game, but I personally found it to be a little dissatisfying. I wish that the gameplay mechanics were more cohesive, so that there is a clear gameplay loop of farming → crafting → dungeon crawling etc. Instead, it was a little disjointed.

In terms of other things, I thought the characters were pretty boring. I mean, the characters in Stardew are also boring, but I guess I prefer the western style of boring characters, rather than the Japanese anime style. I can't name a single bachelor or bachelorette off the top of my head. The bachelorettes in particular were very uninteresting. They all kind of felt like that generic cutesy anime archetype. As a lesbian, I always dither on whether to play a man or a woman in games with gender-locked dating. In the end, I decided to play the female character, and I'm glad I did. I hate having to play as a man, and none of the bachelorettes interested me enough to switch. I guess my character will just be single, as the bachelors were also very dull lol. The main female character design would be fine, if it weren't for these weird nipple tassels she has on her armor. Like, what are those??? Why??

As for the story, I thought it was fine. I only played most of the first arc before I had to return my copy. I hope I don't come off as being too negative. I did overall like RF4, but I also found it disappointing. I thought the combat was more engaging than Stardew's, and liked that you could use magic. My favorite weapons were the daggers. I liked zipping around with them. I'd be interested in playing more RF4 one day, just to see where the story goes. However, playing RF4 only made me want to play Stardew, so that's what I did.

I own Stardew Valley for both PC and the Nintendo Switch. I decided to start a new save on my Switch. I have a really bad habit of restarting games after I haven't played for a while. Because of this, I rarely ever finish games lol. Anyway, I'm playing on the Forest Farm, which I almost always choose. It's the best one imo. I decided to play with the remixed bundles, just to change things up. They were surprisingly easy to finish. I think I got lucky with the ones I got. I normally pick the mushroom caves, but this time I went with fruit bats, which helped me complete the Artisan Bundle. I managed to rebuild the Community Center during Fall Year 1, which is a new record for me. Normally I don't complete it until the Winter or early Spring of Year 2. Aside from that, Year 1 passed with little to note other than me expanding my coop and barn. During the first half of Year 2, I focused on expanding my house and cleaning up the layout of my farm. Here I found a giant melon and ended the Summer of Year 2 by watching the moonlight jellies.

During the Fall, I really focused on getting Iridium to make sprinklers and expanded my farm area. Here, you can see me and my trust steed, Pony Sopran. I originally named him Pony Soprano, but on the Switch version, it doesn't tell you the character limit for names, so the 'o' got cut off. As far as I know, you can't rename your horse so Pony Sopran it is. After searching for an entire day, I finally found the strange capsule on my farm. I couldn't find it anywhere until I searched the upper corner, where it was hiding underneath the foliage near the shrine. I placed it next to my owl statue. I also finally unlocked Ginger Island. I haven't really played much since the Ginger Island update, so this was new content for me. I'm having a lot of fun exploring the island, but now I feel like I don't have enough time in the day. By the time I've finished chores around my farm and traveled to the island, it's already in the afternoon. Even when chugging espresso and eating speed boost foods, I still feel like I don't have enough time.

Fall ended quickly, and I'm currently in the Winter of Year 2. I've maxed my relationships with everyone except for Sandy and Leo. I've caught all the fish in the game and have cooked almost every recipe, except for the ones you get from Ginger Island, Sandy, and Leo. I still haven't dated anyone yet though. I'm thinking of maybe romancing Haley but like I mentioned before, I think the characters in Stardew Valley are kind of boring, so I'm pretty ambivalent towards everyone. The only other character I might romance is Alex, but that's solely because I adore his grandparents and would love to have them as my in-laws lol. But yeah, I will probably romance Haley... eventually. I was hoping to marry before Year 3 starts and the Grandpa evaluation, but I procrastinated on it so I probably won't make it before then. Even without marrying, I should easily pass his eval and get the Statue of Perfection.

Recently, I finished Birdie's quest. I like her design. Too bad she's a minor NPC so you can't really interact much with her. I finally got around to building the movie theatre. I forgot it existed so I ignored the old Joja store for a long time lol. This poor Jumino was finally able to go back home.

The last major thing I've accomplished is building the beach resort. I finally have access to all areas on the island. Right now, I'm searching for an ostrich egg to incubate while slowly clearing out the island farm. I really want to build an island obelisk to fast travel easily, but that will take time. I currently don't have any way of getting bananas to build it. I'm thinking of maybe building a third fish pond on my regular farm and filling it with Blue Discus fish to try to get bananas from them.

Like The Sims, Stardew Valley is one of those games where I get in the mood to play, play it obsessively for a few weeks, and then stop abruptly and not touch it again for like half of a year. I can feel myself losing the drive to play it. Not sure what I'll play next. I just hope that the next time I do another Stardew binge, I don't restart. Again. I always stop playing around Winter of Year 2 lol. It's a pattern I've noticed.