November Humble Choice

It’s the first Tuesday of the month as I write this (November 1st this month), so what’s in the box?

Hell Let Loose is a multiplayer FPS set in WW2 that focuses on simulating large-scale battles. Fifty-players to a side with things like tanks and logistics modeled with more accuracy, with the goal of making the frontline fighting feel more like the massive engagements of WW2 and less like the tight-focused team battles of Halo with a WW2 skin. There’s an emphasis on realism, but in service to an experience at the frontlines rather than on crippling over-simulation. The game’s pitch is rock solid, but it’s a multiplayer game, so it isn’t going on the backlog. I might try it out sometime, but there’s no way to really play it to completion.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is famously the video game that plays like an MMO that saw all the skulls piled up outside World of WarCraft’s cave and decided to be a singleplayer game instead. The devs have denied this, although there was an MMO planned for the same setting, so maybe that’s a technically true denial where the real story is “we were going to recycle a ton of this code into the MMO but never got that far.” Or maybe it’s a flat-out lie. It’s not like it’s a crime to lie about your intentions regarding a piece of media you produced or something, so there’s not a ton of incentive not to do so.

In any case, I like MMOs, but mainly because I find it fun to be alone in a crowd. It’s fun to go to a nightclub with a small handful of friends and ignore everyone else but each other, and it’s fun to play an MMORPG alone while huge crowds of players surge around me in the safe zones and there’s a few stray encounters in the wilderness or dungeons (dungeons are usually instanced and for good reason, but if they’re not, and I bump into just one or two players down there, that can be fun). I meet people, we help each other briefly or just wave, and then we leave.

Still, I’ve always wanted to see what the singleplayer MMO would play like, so I’m tossing it on the list even though I expect it’s going to end up in Regrets and not Complete. I’m pretty stubborn about these things sometimes, though, so it might end up being a long term project where I play a few hours a month for half a year and get it to the end? We’ll see.

Shadow Tactics: Aiko’s Choice is a tactics game about being a ninja that’s a standalone expansion to some other tactics game about being a ninja. Tactics games are good when they have a good strategic layer tying the tactical battles together and I don’t see one of those here. Looks like it’s more one of those games that throws one tactical battle after another at you, without anything carrying over from one battle to the next, although it only looks like that because I can’t find anything saying otherwise and that’s what I assume by default, under the grounds that if they had a strategic layer they’d probably tell me about it. Plus it’s a spin-off to a game I’ve never heard of. Pass.

Roboquest is a Roguelike FPS where the gun drops are randomized. I’m not a huge fan of Roguelikes, they’re a huge timesink and rarely have the gameplay to back it up. I’ll make exceptions for things like Hades because Supergiant Games don’t miss, but not for Roboquest.

Eldest Souls sounds like a joke. You might write the name off as people being unaware of other genres, but no, it’s a Soulslike, so it’s definitely named by smashing Elden Ring and Dark Souls together. You might then expect that it’s a parody, but no sign of that in the summary. It’s got 16-bit pixel art that’s quite well done, but I’m remembering how I never actually played Banner Saga 2 because I bought it for the art and realized that I could just look at screenshots on Google if I wanted that. If I want to play a game whose main and only selling point is its similarlity to Dark Souls, I can play Dark Souls.

Unmetal is a copyrights-filed-off remake of Metal Gear for the SNES, updated with all the lessons learned in the past 30 years of gaming history. I endorse these kinds of projects in general, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting classics and giving them a glow-up using the lessons learned from not only their own legacy, but also decades of general-purpose game design evolution. I don’t really care about the Metal Gear series, though, so I’m giving this a pass.

Raji is about a little girl with a bow who needs to kill an army of invading demons. The description on Humble Choice is very short, and mainly focuses on how pretty the game is. The game is pretty. So there’s Banner Saga 2 looming in the back of my head again, but on the other hand, this might be more like Journey, a game that is exclusively about traveling through wondrous landscapes with just enough gameplay sprinkled on to make it feel like a quest rather than a slideshow. I’m on the fence, but I’m going to keep it, just in case it ends up being something beautiful.

Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is a top-down RPG of some description, where you are a demon hunter and you have to fight seven particularly troublesome demons called the Seven Acolytes. It dedicates a surprising amount of its description to listing basic gameplay mechanics it has, like “looting.” Doesn’t really say anything about what they’re trying to accomplish with the looting. I have bad vibes about this one, but I’ll give it a try.

That’s three pickups – every single one of which is something I was on the fence about and might quickly toss into Regrets. Not a great month for the Humble Choice. Earlier in October, however, there was a Humble Bundle with Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. Pretty much the whole golden age of D&D CRPGs in one package, so that’s five new games on the backlog.

Even with a couple of games getting chucked into Regrets due to technical difficulties (the entire King Arthur: The Roleplaying Wargame series is plagued with technical difficulties that come from my hardware being too recent, which means it’s only going to be worse if I circle back around after an upgrade), I’m struggling to keep this list under 170. I probably will get the list back under 170, because it’s at 172 right now and two of the new additions have single-digit playtimes (and may get tossed into Regrets before then). Plus, in theory I could wrap up Hollow Knight with probably a single-digit number of hours, but all I have left to get 112% completion is the Godhome boss rushes, and that’s not usually the kind of thing I can sit down for four hours straight of on a weekend.

1 thought on “November Humble Choice”

  1. When you play Amalur, I want you to remember that western journos at the time were comparing combat system to Devil May Cry. Positively.

    And also that their claims about being written by R. Salvatore are all lies. Salvatore wrote the backstory to the setting they were going to use in an MMO before the MMO plans burned and they had to refurbish its code and lore into a single-player game.

    And that Salvatore didn’t get paid for it.

    And that the studio owner became a Breitbart journalist.

    It’s a mess is what I’m saying.

    Liked by 1 person

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