It has been an up and down week for kickstarter games. Namely I am talking about just how bad Mighty No. 9 has been received. I own this on the PS4, and while the gameplay itself is not too horrible… the biggest problem that I have is that it feels like an odd throwback to the GameCube. Which I guess makes sense given that the game has released on a silly number of systems including the 3DS, which makes me think that quite simply all console versions… are the 3DS version. The saddest part about this is at various points during its development cycle the game looked really good, but the end result is this lifeless mess of flat color. Now earlier in the day I had commented that this whole debacle over the “Not-Megaman” game made me extremely concerned about “Not-Castlevania” which is my not so subtle jab at the fact that so many of these kick-started games are simply recreations of whatever game made the developer famous in the first place. Almost as summoned from the abyss… I got an email with a key to the E3 version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which I didn’t even remember being part of the funding level I backed the game at.
It was a little late and I only played the demo long enough to get up to the first boss… I failed miserably at even coming close to defeating it namely because I entered the fight after a lot of backtracking. There are certain things that work extremely well, then there are others that I was largely confused about. The primary point of confusion is that for whatever reason I could not seem to get the game to do jump attacks… which are of course a staple of the Castlevania gameplay. I was playing on my PS4 controller which I happened to have hooked up at the time to my PC, and notoriously it tends to map things oddly, so I might give it a shot with the defacto Xbox 360 controller. As far as every other aspect of gameplay… this is very much the spiritual successor to Symphony of the Night, but done with cell shaded 3D models instead of 2D pixel art. It works, and it works well.. and gives you the feeling of the Castlevania art style. The game has some really strange creatures that you end up fighting, which is cool and something vastly different from the standard zombies and werewolves and vampires oh my genre. I am assuming that the demo leaves off after the boss fight that is pictured above, but nonetheless I am really happy to see this game at least appears to be still on the rails.
Last night I got drug into Final Fantasy XIV by Ash and Grace… and admittedly they didn’t have to pull too terribly hard. Largely they wanted to run some Void Ark, which is the thing that I needed to do to get caught up in gear levels. I am not sure why this was such an impassible obstacle mentally for me, because I had some serious anxiety about solo queuing for it. Memu had made an offer to help me out, but we failed miserably at coordinating a time to run it together… mostly because I fell into a Rift shaped hope and wasn’t around all that often over the last week. In any case all of my concerns were essentially for naught, because Void Ark is extremely easy…. but unfortunately not the gear bonanza I had hoped it would be. Over the course of the night I ran the Ark three times, two times with Ash and Grace and one time by myself later after getting back from a walk. In all of those boss kills I managed to get two pieces of gear… only one of which actually replacing a slot I had something lower in. I did however get plenty of Esoterics which allowed me to keep upgrading jewelry until a combination of the that and the Mhachi Farthings pushed me over the item level 200 barrier.
Ultimately I am probably going to keep running this place until I run out of slots to upgrade, and even then…. it is still a decent source of gear to help pull my Dragoon up in item level. I guess I am officially off high center, and soon I can pick back up the quest chain and at least be expert viable once more. My hope is that tonight, I can get together with Grace and run the new dungeons who now also needs them since she too broke the 200 barrier last night. I feel better about the game in so many ways considering how frustrating it was to hit this gear wall in the questing. I guess in truth this is something that never happened to me during 2.0, or at least once we got back and started really moving forward. We were always just good enough to keep pushing into the next set of dungeons, but at the same time I was also spending a ton more time grinding out tomestones to make sure I was the best possible tank I could be at all times. That is the piece that has been missing, because I really have not been able to push myself to do that the way I once was. As our little rag tag Tuesday night group is contemplating doing more “Real” content I guess that will start to matter significantly more in the coming weeks and months. Time to get over the hump and gear up a bit, and for the moment Void Ark seems like an easy place to do just that.