Posted in Gaming

February 2021 Gaming Goals in Review

Wow, February has already come and gone. Hopefully that means there’s warmer weather in store for folks out there.

It was also Febhyurary, where I took part in posting a picture a day of my Hyur (like the one above). You can find that collection at my Spot of Mummery RP blog or my Instagram if you want to take a peek!

Now on to the goals for this month! I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.

FFXIV Goals

  • Work on crafting relics 
  • Clean up Rak’tika quests
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tai 

I did work pretty diligently on my crafting relics for my main – I still have two left to go from last patch, but that was gated by need of yellow scrips. However, in seeing what I have to do for the final step of relics, I don’t think I can get any further, which is rather disheartening seeing the amount of time I put into them this far.

I don’t think I have the melds, for one. And for another, they’ve locked it behind this new Expert crafting rotational stuff that I don’t understand one bit. Sadly, this means that I probably won’t finish these relics until I outgear them next expansion. I’ll still finish up the step I’m on now, but man, it’ll be a pain to have to stash all of them until level 90.

I struck out the clean-up quest goal this month because after the FFXIV announcements, I realized I’d have two more jobs to level from 70-80 that could use the experience when the new expansion hits. So I’m holding off cleaning up quests to earn something from them on new jobs.

The announcements also fueled my motivation to push Tai through to patch 5.4 this month. Seeing that we might get a reaper/scythe-wielding type job in the expansion, which is perfect for Tai, I want him to be in a good spot when Endwalker comes out.

MISC Goals

  • Switch: Progress on Link’s Awakening 
  • Play at least 1 new Steam game a week 
  • Play at least 1 Xbox Game Pass game 

I also did really well on these goals! While I didn’t complete Link’s Awakening like I hoped, I did make progress. I’m now working on finding the bird key to open the shrine. I think I have a couple shrines left to go.

I’d like to get this finished up because there’s lots of Switch games on the verge of release that I’m interested in this year. I can’t justify picking new stuff up until I finish some of what I’m in the middle of playing right now.

Even with Valheim rocking into my weekends, I still managed to play 1 new Steam game each week from the “Clear” list. This is a list of games that I picked up as part of bundles, were left unfinished in development, or just somehow ended up in my backlog that I feel like I won’t invest a lot of time into. I’m “clearing” them to mark them as played, which means I sit down with it and play it for a bit of time just to see if it’s something I actually enjoy. If not, I’ve “cleared” it from my list and move on.

So far, I’ve been pretty correct about the games I wouldn’t generally care to play. The one exception to this list is Beat Hazard 2 – I’m curious about it, so I’ll put more time into that one before I clear it off. But what makes me happy about having met this goal is that it’s actually moving me forward towards my overall backlog progress goal of 60% played by the end of this year.

I started out at 54% played in January, and as of now, I’m currently at 57% played! What a big jump!

Of course, eventually, I’ll run out of games on my “Cleared” list – which is actually a goal anyhow. All I’ll be left with are games I actually want to spend time with and try out. So backlog progress will slow down significantly at that point.

I’ve also been pretty good at putting time into Xbox Game Pass games. For example, I spent quite a few hours trying to muddle through Crusader Kings III this month, which I wrote about here. Sadly, I’m still having no luck with it… and seeing I have more games than I know what to do with, I can’t justify throwing yet more time at a game that keeps defeating me. I also realize I already own CKII which I played a bit of long ago… so I’m going to shelf CKIII for now.

However, the fact that I was able to play CKIII through Game Pass saved me about $40, if I’d bought it at full price on Steam. So, I’d say that Game Pass is working out for me as I just got billed for it the first time this month – I had a three month free trial up until now.

I’ll be picking up another game next month for sure. I really want to play Spiritfarer, but the launcher seems to be broken on Game Pass, which is a shame. Waiting to see if they fix that. For now, I’ve downloaded a game that was at the top of my wishlist on Steam to try – Yes, Your Grace.

Got a good month coming up! See you in March!

Posted in Gaming

January 2021 Gaming Goals in Review

It’s a little hard to believe that January is done for this year. But at the same time, it felt like a long month, too.

Anyhow, in terms of reaching goals that I set out to do, I’m pretty pleased with everything I managed to do. Especially getting that one big goal out of the way!

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Paladin to 80 via Beast Tribes & Quests (and do job quest)
  • Finish leveling Gunbreaker via Trusts (and do job quest) 
  • Finish leveling all Trust characters 
  • Earn Amaro Mount! 
  • Clean up quests in the First 
  • Work on crafting relics 
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tai
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tad 

I finished leveling the last two jobs on my main to 80 in FFXIV, so now I’ve earned my Amaro mount and I can take a break from daily beast tribe quests. It’s been a long road getting there, but I got there. Just in time for the next expansion announcement, right? Or so we hope!

During that process, I managed to clean up the quests across several zones. However, I hit level 80 before finishing two of the zones… so… I kinda took a break there. I still want to finish cleaning that up, though. I might make some of that a goal for next month.

I did start working on my crafting relics and finished one. Yeah. Just one. However, I learned that the gear I have allows me to macro and burn through a lot of this crafting faster than I expected. So if I buckle down to get it done, it shouldn’t be too bad…

…Just in time for the next phase of crafting relics to pop up next week. I’m so behind. 😦

I did finish working through all of 5.4 on Tad, but didn’t get around to pushing through on Tai. He’s a couple patches behind, which means I’m putting off running Elidibus yet again. That’s the one fight that’s making me procrastinate – I can do it, but I just don’t enjoy it. The rest I can do with Trusts, thankfully. Will try again next month.

MISC Goals

  • Play at least 1 new Switch game 
  • Play at least 1 new Steam game a week 
  • Play at least 1 Xbox Game Pass game 

Not only did I finish a major goal for FFXIV, but I did a good job of reaching my other gaming goals.

On the Switch, I actually finished Coffee Talk – the first game I’ve finished in a while. I restarted Link’s Awakening, and I’m now further into that game than I was my first play through. I think next month’s goal will be to continue to make progress on it.

I did “play” several new Steam games this month, too. Most of these are on what I call my “clear” list. These are games that I have an idea I probably won’t play for very long or get too involved in. So I download and launch them and try to play a bit, mostly just to get them off my “unplayed” backlog statistic.

This was actually successful because now I’ve moved from 54% played games to 55% played games! That’s a happy thing! I will keep trying to do this next month.

I also played games on my XBox Game Pass this month – three, in fact. One of which I finished – woot, that’s two finished games in one month! Two of the games were titles that were leaving soon, and I wrote about one of them. The other I’ll blog about next week.

I’m not fully sure what next month is going to look like for me. I have some goals I want to reach in FFXIV, but now that most of the leveling goals are done, I’m not pushing for anything in particular.

I also picked up BDO again, and have been enjoying that. I do not want to set any goals for that game, but I do want to try to level as much as I can while I still have the returner bonus. We’ll see where I go with all of this next month!

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Tabletop Simulator Fun

Over my Christmas vacation, I suddenly was struck with the urge to play a board game. But seeing all my friends and family are so far away, the only way this was going to happen was through some kind of online game.

The Steam sale was about to kick off that very afternoon, so I started browsing the board game section to see what I could see. There’s plenty of games out there like Life and Monopoly, but not all of them are multiplayer, and some don’t have the greatest of ratings – especially if you want to host a game for other people to connect to online.

At the top of the board game section in Steam is Tabletop Simulator. For whatever reason, I’d put the game on ignore and was completely overlooking it every time I did a search. After a while of picking out possibilities, I finally came back to the top ten. That’s when I mentioned to Syn that Tabletop Simulator was the number one game for this section.

She knew of it and told me it was apparently pretty cool. So I began to look into it and was blown away when I did.

There are literally hundreds of tabletop game mods in the Workshop for Tabletop Simulator!! I could not believe my eyes!

Someone is stacking up those kids! XD

When I realized exactly HOW MUCH this one game could do, and then when it went on sale for $10 during the winter sale, we quickly bought a 4 pack and gifted it to the entire Posse.

There is simply so much gaming potential here if you have friends who are into this sort of thing. I hosted several games for several people in different locations across the US, and no one had trouble connecting, playing or staying connected.

We’ve only tried two mods so far – Uno and The Game of Life. We haven’t tried anything fully scripted, though Uno had some scripts for dealing the cards that was a nice addition.

Much of the fun seems to come from the bumbling of people trying to play a board game in a virtual environment. There’s a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to interacting and controls, but that’s easily master with a little practice. Still, we had plenty of “spills” and car pile-ups during the Game of Life, which just led to a lot of hilarity.

And when an artistic-type finishes Life early on while everyone else is still playing the game, interesting things can happen to the gaming table – which allows you to draw and add text to it…

Drawing on the game board
I fibbed

So anyhow, A+ for Tabletop Simulator and all the amazing mods you can pick up for it. We had a grand time with this, and I hope we’ll be able to explore so more games going forward!

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Dynamic Music System

7D2D Alpha 19 dropped last week, and I’ve been meaning to write some posts about it as we’ve explored what the update has to offer. Just as with any alpha update, it feels like a whole new game. There’s a ton to write about, but the one thing that really stood out to me from the very start was the new dynamic music system.

7D2D has always used music pretty sparsely. You get a jingle in the morning and an ominous piano when it turns night. But aside from that, there was just some slightly atmospheric loops that felt more like sound effects than true music.

That’s changed with A19, and I’m really impressed by the concept and customization of this dynamic music system. Playing on a randomly generated map as we do, it makes sense to have dynamically generated music as well.

Here’s what the patch notes say about it:

TFP have again teamed up with Native Darkness Productions to make the Alpha 19 Dynamic music system more robust while adding a ton of new content and features.

The propriety Dynamic Music System algorithm measures and uses many player-centric conditions such as player location, biome, time of day, inside or outside a location, nearby aggressive enemies, threat level and more to tailor a custom movie like musical experience for the player.

From this Dynamic Music System algorithm the system can play from the following musical groups: Home day music, home night music, exploration, suspense, combat and custom trader music for each trader.

Exploration, suspense and combat are procedurally generated providing a complete musical arrangement from a set of interchangeable loops. As of Alpha 19 there, are 31,558 unique combinations of music.

7D2D patch notes

The lovely thing about this system (which is off by default) is how much you can customize it.

Once you enable the music, you have control over not just the volume, but how often you hear the tracks play. I’ve got mine up to 100% but the default is something like 30%. So if you just want to explore and rock zombies with a few tunes from time to time, you can do that.

It is very much a dynamic system. Somehow, the game recognizes when I’m just chilling and building the base as opposed to being out in the world exploring, or creeping through a house with zombies around every corner. Battle music is a tad odd at first, but actually quite helpful – you know when you’re being targeted even if the zombie is in another room somewhere. It’s also alerted us to times when zombies were beating on our base wall though we didn’t hear any other trace of them.

I really can’t think of another game that has implemented a system like this. Sure, the tracks can get a bit redundant at times, but it’s still a really cool concept. I heard that Trader Joel’s music is a lot of fun – I haven’t visited him yet, but other folks in the Posse have.

We’ve already made it through the first two blood moons in our playthrough. Our base is established and I’m working on a warfort. So I’ll be writing more about my impressions of this new alpha soon!

Posted in Gaming

March 2018 Gaming Goals in Review

I set out some pretty ambitious goals for March, and was surprised that I actually achieved quite a few of them this time around. I did get a little distracted by Starbound and Second Life towards the end of this month, so not everything was complete. Still, did pretty well overall!

FFXIV Goals

  • Level Black Mage (to 70?) ✓
  • Level Ninja to 50
  • Level Warrior to 40 ✓
  • Level Dark Knight to 40 ✓
  • Level Weaver to 70 ✓

I did, indeed, level Black Mage to 70 this month, and then started on leveling my Summoner/Scholar next… mostly because I’m trying to consolidate gear at level 70. I also got Weaver to 70, and have started on upgrading all of the gear to script stuff so that I can look at improving all of my other crafters’ gear.

The only goal I didn’t meet was getting Ninja to 50… though I did move that up to 42. So, I’m not too far away!

Nintendo Switch Goals

  • Make progress in Mario Odyssey ✓
  • Play Dragon Quest Builders ✓

I’ve only made a little bit more progress into Dragon Quest Builders… still in Chapter 1. But that’s okay.

The big thing was that I finally beat the story mode for Mario Odyssey this month! I want to say this is the first Switch game I’ve actually beat!

PC Goals

  • Play more of Sims Jungle Adventure ✓
  • Try one new Steam game each week ✓✓✓✓

I did play a bit more of the new Sims Jungle Adventure, and wrote about it as well. There’s still a lot I haven’t seen in this Game Pack yet. Will try to make some time to play some more.

Not only did I play a new Steam game every week this month, but I also hit my Steam Challenge goal for the year, to play at least 50% of all the games I own!

A pretty good month overall. Let’s end March with a nice filtered picture of a fountain I took during my Mario play through, but never got to use anywhere else.

mariofountain

Posted in Gaming, No Man's Sky

How to Build a Base in No Man’s Sky Foundation Update

Yesterday, I talked about the frustration and confusion I had in trying to build my first base in No Man’s Sky. I found a world I wanted to make my home planet, but I couldn’t find an outpost location to start building the base.

In No Man’s Sky, you can’t just build a base anywhere. There are limitations. You have to find an outpost site that allows for base building before you can begin. Sometimes you can find one when you scan a planet from space (target the planet and press “C” to scan). But more often than not, you’ll find nothing.

It took a bit of reading a few forum posts, but I’ve finally got it together. I wanted to write a quick guide for anyone who wants to build a base, but can’t find the outpost to start.

How to Build a Base in No Man’s Sky

  1. Find your dream planet and land on it.
  2. Press the Z key. This will bring up a new building menu that was introduced in the Foundation Update.
  3. Select the Signal Booster from the menu. I had to use the arrow keys on my keyboard to switch between the options. 20161205182935_1
  4. Press F to place the Signal Booster. Keep in mind that you must have the required materials to build it – you’ll find this information in a box in the lower right hand corner. From my understanding, these materials can change depending on which mode (Creative, Normal, Survival) you are playing.
  5. Press E to interact with the Signal Booster. It’ll give you a list of locations to scan for.
  6. Select Habitable Base and allow it to scan. It’ll show you the location of a nearby outpost that allows for building a base. 20161205182956_1
  7. Fly there and scope it out. If you like it, go inside and interact with the terminal to claim it as your base and home planet.

Keep in mind that there are usually more than one Habitable Base locations on a planet. So you don’t have to take the first one you find. If you don’t like the area surrounding the site, move along.

Just make sure that you first walk inside the outpost you don’t want to keep to discover it, then fly a distance away — this way, the signal booster will hopefully not pick up the same location a second time. Repeat the process: build a new signal booster and scan for another Habitable Base until you find one you love.

20161205183253_1

Once you’ve claimed the base, building is super easy. You use the same Z menu to rotate through the different building parts, then place them with the F key. The game gives a little mini-walkthrough on what to do with your first base.

When you have rooms and stations built, you’ll need to go to a space station to hire NPCs like builders and farmers. Also, make sure that you locate the teleporter in the space station and use it to establish a link to your base. This makes quick travel back to your base possible.

I found the teleporter located behind the door up the stairs on the left side of the landing pad in the space station, which is directly across from the door where you go to access vendors and NPCs.

Hopefully this quick guide will help you get started. The rest is up to you, so reach for the stars!

20161205204041_1

Posted in Gaming, No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky: My Outpost for a Base

Last week, No Man’s Sky released the long-awaited Foundation Update. It came out of the blue and took a number of people by surprise.

I know that in the back of my mind somewhere, I had filed away that bases and other improvements were coming to No Man’s Sky. But as the hype and ire faded away, other games took my interest and I stopped looking for the promised update. I did, however, leave the game installed on my PC just in case.

Looks like it was a good thing that I did, because I was able to install the update and jump into the new content straight up.

Well, more or less.

New Modes

One of the most talked about new features comes in the form of new modes. This update brought two new options – creative mode and survival mode. Any previous game you started remains as a normal mode.

20161128185542_1

This effectively gives you three save files and three different ways to play the game. I personally have no interest in a survival mode — the life support on my suit is annoying enough without more complexities. However, I’ve heard a lot of praise from people who were looking for this kind of difficulty in the game at launch. People are having fun with the challenge, and that’s a good thing.

Other Praise

There was praise for other parts of the update. Namely, more varied planet structure. We’re seeing more variety in formations, like true mountains and beaches now. I’ve stumbled upon a world with a true desert. These are nice changes, though I still wish for multi-biome planets one day.

Others praise the improved graphics of the game. I’m not quite sure what they’re talking about, because the game was always pretty looking to me. Though, I just may not see what they’re seeing due to a aging graphics card. Something has changed, because I get a warning now when I start up the game that says my card isn’t up to snuff. It still plays just fine, though.

Creative Mode

Because I was rusty with the game’s controls, I decided to start over in a creative mode game. I hoped this would refresh my memory in a gentler mode… and it did. In fact, it started me out right next to a potential uninhabited outpost, which means I could make a base there.

20161128194050_1

I guess it was  a good spot, and in retrospect, I probably should have taken it because you can always move base locations later. Or so I’ve heard.

But not having a chance to explore, and seeing it was a semi-desert “barren” world (though it had plenty of flora and fauna), I set off for greener pastures. It did have some pretty neat floating structures, though.

20161128203659_1

I soon discovered that creative mode was truly creative mode. Your life support doesn’t go down at all, except in the case you run across a toxic or such environment. Your suit, weapon and ship upgrades cost no money at all.

At first, this was pretty cool. But after a few effortless ship upgrades, I realized this mean that money was worth nothing, which took a lot of the challenge out of the game. As far as a creative mode, I guess it was doing its job well enough.

I visited a flourishing green planet that I really fell in love with, but I couldn’t  find an option to build a base on it. I know that you scan a planet to find a uninhabited outpost, and only those spots are able to support a base.  I don’t know if every planet has that option, or if it’s just one per system or what. If so, that would be pretty crazy.

One way or another, that outpost limitation was enough for me to put the creative game down. I had found a world where I wanted to build my base, but I couldn’t do it. That was frustrating.

I might do some research on outposts and bases eventually and go back once I know more… maybe. Instead, I decided to pick up my old save and see if I had any more luck. It was a bit of a bummer when you got everything for free.

Normal Mode

Going back to normal mode after creative mode was a bit of a jolt. I’d forgotten how annoying it was to have to stop and feed your life support suit and fuel your ship all the time. In fact, I spent more time doing that than I did actually making progress on what I wanted to do — find a nice planet to build a base.

On top of that, I had some terrible luck in the quality of the star systems I found. I left the system I was in only to find an equally inhospitable system right behind it. The problem was, I needed to get the materials to make fuel to warp again. But either the world didn’t have the materials, there were frenzied sentinels, or the world itself was so hostile I couldn’t remain there very long.

I did a planet scan and found an uninhabited outpost on a really craptastic planet. After that, my scans didn’t show me any more options. Again, I don’t know if this is by design, or if I’m missing the jist of it. But there’s no way I want to make my base on a green slime planet of doom.

No Man's Sky
At least I have a cool looking ship.

I left it off at this point, but I do plan on returning to it again this week sometime when I find the time. And time is what this game gobbles up by the score.

I really do want to find a base and learn about the building tools. They look well-done, though I know that there are limitations in place, especially on the console version.

I just have to find a world that I want to live on first!

Update! I did some research and found out how to build a base on any world. Here’s a guide for it! 

Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: Culling Time

steamculling

Let’s face it. Many of us have ended up with games in our Steam backlog that we’re just never going to play in any serious way. When we go to pick out a game to install, our eyes just brush past this title, not even considering it. We may not even remember where it came from – likely part of some random bundle somewhere.

I have several of these — I feel a little bad about it because I know someone put love and time and money into developing them. They’re probably not bad games, but they are just not for me.

I’ve found that, in particular, platforming and shooter games fall into this category. There was a time and place where Mario was my gaming life, back in the NES era. But as I’ve gotten older, my hand-eye coordination isn’t what it used to be. I’ve learned that casual platformers are okay, but anything beyond that becomes frustrating and just not worth my effort anymore. I’ve never been into FPSs… though I have some exceptions, such as with survival games like 7D2D (though I still mostly melee in that).

So, these games sit on my Steam list, forever unplayed, and heavily skew my Steam calculator results. This weekend, I decided that was enough of that, and decided to start culling the list of games I’m just probably never going to put real time towards. I did this by installing the game, playing enough of it to count towards a playtime, then uninstalling. In my defense, I played each game to the point where it either got frustrating or tedious to me in some way.

Here’s what I got. If you’re interested in any of them, click their image to go to their Steam page.

goduswars

Godus Wars

Earlier this year, the devs working on Godus decided that rather than add battle into their original game, they were going to split their game into two games and sell them separately. This seems to be a trend lately. All this did was add another separate title to my backlog, darnit!

I already talked about how I felt about Godus, and I haven’t actually tried playing the original just yet. So, chances are, playing the battle version was not going to be my cup of tea.

Outcome

This one was a little clunky. I’m not sure why the game had to open two windows to run one game, for example.

It wasn’t terrible. The aesthetics were nice, and the sculpting aspect (which I knew I’d like) was also nice. But I’d rather be spending my time on a more polished strategy game.


hellyeah

Hell Yeah!

I… don’t even know where this came from. Probably a bundle somewhere. You play as the snarky rabbit prince of Hell… and things just keep getting quirkier and more colorful from there. It’s about as strange as it gets with a bit of puzzling, a bit of platforming, and a lot of unorthodox, disrespectful humor.

Outcome

This game… is actually pretty fun. It takes nothing seriously, and it managed to get me to play all the way to the point where I beat the first boss to complete stage one. This is going to be weird, but I’m actually going to recommend you try it out if you find it on your Steam list and you have a taste for something different to play some weekend.


alanwakenightmare

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Alan Wake makes me cry. It’s such a neat story (about a writer), but the game’s mechanics are just too annoying and difficult for me. Long before I stared this blog, I actually beat the first Alan Wake, which I chronicled on my Tumblr. But I couldn’t have done it without cheats that gave me unlimited life and ammo, and that’s what makes me sad.

Outcome

The story fascinates me, and I love that it really does seem to refer back to the original game often. But about the third fight in, the game decimated me, reminding me why I played the previous game with mods. This game is just not going to happen, no matter how much I’d like to see the story. Maybe I’ll watch it on YouTube one day.


supermeatboy

Super Meat Boy

Yes, I knew what I was getting into before I fired up this game. Any game that describes itself as an “infamous, tough-as-nails platformer” is not for me. I played until I hit a stage where I died more than 10 times… then I gave it a rest. That took me all of 7 minutes. 🙂

Outcome

If you love tough platformers, this game is right on spot. With a controller, it played fluidly and responded well. I like the mechanics, I just don’t have the patience and time to hit my head against a wall because I can’t make pixel perfect jumps.


The One That Redeemed Iteslf

roguelegacybanner

I actually put some time into this game a few years back. But I must have been playing offline, because Steam didn’t pick it up. Like the other games I was attempting to cull yesterday, I loaded this up to play a few rounds just to get some time on it before I uninstalled.

Only… that didn’t happen.

This game has been vastly improved since my first attempt to play it (when it was likely in early access). I still died over and over and over, but this time, I was able to start unlocking new classes new gear and slowly make it further and further into the game. This turned into one of those “Just one more generation” things, and before I knew it, I put 2.4 hours on the game yesterday afternoon.

I have plans to revisit it. Too addicting!


This is not the end of my culling list by far. I’ve set up a Steam category and started moving the games I mean to cull into it. I hope to get a little time each night to knock one or two off my list so that I can get my backlog looking a little more manageable. I’m also refraining from picking up and activating any Steam bundles in the future. 🙂

Do you have any games you’d consider to be “culling” games on your Steam list? What do you do with those? 

Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: Long Live the Queen

longlivethequeen

Game: Long Live the Queen
Time Played: 1.8 Hours

I picked up Long Live the Queen during a Steam winter sale in 2014, and have only just now gotten around to trying it. I’m awful. But, hey, that was the final game that I bought that winter that I hadn’t played, so now I’ve caught up! 😀

What is it?

The Steam page describes it as this:

Rule the world or die trying!

Being a Princess is not an easy job. Being a Queen is even harder. Especially when you’re only fourteen years old, and the reason you’ve inherited the throne is that your royal mother has just met an untimely end.

While it’s very catchy, it doesn’t really do a great job of describing exactly what you’ll be doing in this game. So here goes nothing.

LLtQ is a very clever visual novel in that I don’t think I’ve played one similar to this before. The story is pretty complex, and a lot is obscured to you if your princess, Elodie, doesn’t have the right skills to understand what’s happening around her.

So you have this princess who is next in line to the throne. And you have all these outside plots and intrigue that want to see her dead. It’s difficult to determine who is friend and foe, and even moreso because, as I noted above, if Elodie doesn’t have knowledge or skill in something, parts of the story are completely obscured.

Each week, you send Elodie in to learn two new skills. You can double up on the same skill, or spread it across different skill types. The one major thing to keep in mind is that her current emotional state effects which skills she learns the best.

For example, if she’s angry, she’ll get a bonus to learning about weapons and military. But she’ll suck at learning something more peaceful, like medicine. In fact, she can suck so much that trying to train her in one of those skills will result in nothing learned at all, and is a huge waste of resources.

If you raise all skills in a set to a specific level, you unlock new outfits that help Elodie learn them even faster, which is kinda nice.

lltqskills

Learning the right skills to handle the right situations is the difference between life and death in this game. But the problem is, you won’t know what’s coming to kill you until you get there. And by then, it’s too late.

Fun and Frustration

This was my first death...
This was my first death…

The story is pretty interesting, which is a good thing because, as I noted above, you’re not going to live through it your first time. Thankfully, the game allows you to fast forward through story you’ve already seen. However, each choice you make, including knowing the right skills to handle story situations, changes the outcomes and choices you can make. The game is smart enough to stop fast forwarding through any part of the story that you haven’t seen yet – a very nice feature!

So this game is designed from the get-go knowing that people are going to play it repeatedly before they succeed. I’ve seen it touted as the Dark Souls of visual novels, and I agree.

It’s fun because you can try again with more knowledge the second time around. My first time, I was actually doing pretty well until I got shot through with an arrow and Elodie brilliantly thought that pushing it deeper was the best way to deal with it.

My second time through, I had a better idea of skills that would benefit me. I unlocked a lot of skill outfits and was progressing pretty far into the story. I probably should have saved the game (that’s the only way I can think I’d ever come close to beating it is to save and reload), because I ended up getting trashed because I didn’t have enough magic skill or something.

Oh, yeah. Speaking of which, there’s an unexpected magic girl sub-plot to the whole thing. Or, at least, there was in the story I’m playing. Sadly, the magic girl transformation didn’t save me.

lltqtransform

After dying on my second try, the third and fourth times I just got more and more miserable at it until I gave up. I probably needed a break, but it got to the point where I felt everything I chose was wrong in some way… and it probably was.

There’s just no way to be able to foresee and prepare for all the different skills that you need to respond to situations appropriately, and it’s hard to know which failures are huge and which ones are okay to let slide. So while this does encourage you to replay the game again and again, I could see this as a bit of frustration for perfectionists.

My advice is remember to save if things are going well. I’m still kicking myself for not saving that second game. I could have gone far!

Despite my grump, I can see myself playing it again when I have time. It’s certainly challenging, original and fun overall.

Recommended? 

yes