Merry Christmas. Recently, some of the Rice writers were allowed to take a small sliver of break time to celebrate the “man who comes down chimneys” and the ritualistic “burning of the calendars”. Here’s a big, blow-out Just Played with some of the stuff we ended up catching up on over that time!
Lots of Visual Novels — Oscar
So over some of my Christmas time off I planned on finishing both Persona 3 Portable (almost a visual novel) and Danganronpa V3 (definitely a visual novel). I ended up not finishing either, and only playing a little bit of both. I’m still very much enjoying Danganronpa, and I really love the lying mechanic where you can reverse a piece of evidence to find hidden routes through trials.
I actually ended up playing way more visual novels and otome, none of which I really thought too much about playing until I suddenly did. To start off I played through Butterfly Soup and Doki Doki Literature Club, both western developed (though definitely Japanese inspired) indie VNs that have been making some waves recently.
Butterfly Soup is a very gay VN about teen lesbians in a baseball club learning about who they are and growing up. It’s not very long, and it’s great because it manages to be both very funny and very earnest — it definitely charmed me.
Doki Doki Literature Club is well known for seeming like a normal Japanese-styled romancing VN where you’re the only guy in a literature club full of cute girls, but then pulling the rug out from you with a dark twist and some meta-narrative. I enjoyed it to a point, and it’s free — so check it out. But I also wasn’t super crazy about either element of the twist. I feel like I’ve seen things like this done before, though it did have some unique instances that were quite clever. But I suspect those more familiar with VNs and games like this might find it less impressive than those who aren’t. But if it gets more people interested in the genre, then that’s great!
And how would it be a relaxing break without some otome? I finally got around to playing Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds. As those of you who have read my Nobunaga’s Ambition reviews, I really like Japanese history, and the 1800s in particular are especially fascinating. I really enjoyed the story and learning about the various guys on offer (most of whom are members of the Shinsengumi), and how it mixed factual nuggets with some cool fantasy elements.
The trio of bad guys even reminded me a little bit of the Pillar Men from JoJo. I ended up romancing Saito, who is a lovely man, but I got the unrequited love end on the first try, and got the good end with a guide afterwards. Really the worst thing about Kyoto Winds is it’s the first half of a longer story, so a lot is left unresolved by the end.
Finally I’ve also been playing some Love Ice Rink, a Dearead otome on mobile. It’s actually quite good, all things considered, but I’m near the end so I’ll save my thoughts for something more on it later! If you like figure skating and romancing boys, though, you might want to at least check this one out for free.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X & NieR: Automata — Holly
I’m still grinding away at Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X, and not having a huge amount of luck when it comes to getting all those modules and items. I’ve got to say X is probably my least favourite Project Diva game, but that in no way stops me sinking hours and hours into it. Some of the new directions it took from F2nd are just not that good. A randomised element to collecting modules doesn’t sit well with me, and a lot of the videos are kind of lacklustre compared to ones from F and F2nd.
There are some great songs and the Event Quests are a cool new inclusion though, and it’s still incredibly good fun. I’ll be continuing to dip in here and there to try and get everything for a while longer yet. It also makes for a nice change of pace in breaks from NieR: Automata.
I may be late to the NieR: Automata, and I’m still not far into it, but it’s just as amazing as I was expecting, and as so many people have said. I could just wander around the world looking at everything and listening to the music for ages, but I’m very keen to see what the story will throw at me next!
Final Fantasy XIV et al — Mitch
It’s been a busy Christmas period this year, and I’ve spent a lot of it playing games! I’ve now completed The Evil Within 2, which was great, and I’d love a third and final game to wrap the series up. Who knows if we’ll get one considering it didn’t perform so hot, though…
That’s not the game I spent most of my time with though. That honour goes to Final Fantasy XIV and, yes, finally, I am almost on the Heavensward DLC! Yay for slow progress! I’ve been loving every minute of its lore-rich world and fantastical characters though, and playing with a complete light party is a blast.
I keep returning to this one, almost daily, and I still have so much to do. I picked up Stormblood in a sale too, so I’m able to start tackling Samurai and Red Mage if the mood strikes. I love my Dragoon though, so I’m not in a rush. I’m also playing Paladin, which was my initial class, so that me and my friends don’t have to wait so long to get into a dungeon.
Other than that, I’ve spent a fair bit of time on Style Boutique 3: Styling Star and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and new year (I’ve spent the first week of January being ill), and now it’s back to another year of brilliant gaming.