Game Reviews, Games

Review: Paradise Killer

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One of the most commonly seen criticisms of detective games is that they want to point the player towards one specific answer with a specific piece of evidence to corroborate. Not only is this frustrating, but also forces you to think the exact way the game wants you to think, leaving no other interpretation. Paradise Killer takes this criticism and throws it out. Created in 2020, the first person open-world detective game lets you gather as much—or as little—evidence as you like, and come to your own conclusions about them. The only person you have to convince is the Judge.

Read my full review at Nintenpedia.

Paradise Killer trial

Game Reviews, Games

Review: To The Moon

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Originally released on PC back in 2011, To The Moon was created by Kan Gao using the RPG Maker XP toolkit based on his own experiences with his grandfather’s life-threatening condition, and influenced by his own questions about end-of-life thoughts and whether a person can live with their regrets. Fast forward 9 years and one rebuild on Unity, and To The Moon was released on Switch in early 2020, ready to be enjoyed by a new generation.

Read my full review at Nintenpedia.

To The Moon

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: June Recap

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Can you believe we’re halfway through the year? My challenges progress certainly can’t. So, how am I doing you ask? Terribly, I answer!

Watch 45 anime

June end total: 9

Anime progress is super slow, but I’m hoping now I’ve decided not to watch (or attempt to watch) so many seasonal shows, I can pick up the pace on this. I’m also looking ahead to Anime August, which is next month – crazy how time flies, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a time loop.

Read 50 complete manga

June end total: 2

Man, if I thought my progress on other challenges was slow, at least I’m actually getting somewhere with those unlike my manga reading goals. I just never seem to have time to sit down and read manga, but I know I’ve got to make time! I don’t think I’ll manage to hit this target by the end of the year but I still want to give it a good go.

Watch 30 films

June end total: 9

Watching both films of The Quiet Place means I’m up to 9 films now, which is probably 3 times the amount I watched through the entirety of 2020, so I’ll take this as a win. I need to get more into the habit of watching a film at the weekend, and then I’ll definitely hit this target!

Watch 30 anime films

June end total: 4

I didn’t watch any anime films in June, boo! I need to really get a move on with these!

Get 35 platinum trophies

June end total: 14

I have slowed up on the platinum trophies in the last few months, but I still added Angels of Death to my pile in June. I loved the anime so much so when I saw the game had come to PlayStation, I had to play it. I loved it all over again, and the anime was such a good adaptation. I’m still confident I’ll hit the 35 total for platinum trophies.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

June end total: 1

Look… I just… don’t have the time. At least I’ve started a game from my backlog – Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age, so at least I’m trying!

Play 12 Switch games

June end total: 1

It’s a miracle, I played a Switch game! I finished To The Moon for a review for Nintenpedia, a site I’m about to start reviewing for. I’m super excited for the opportunity to write more reviews, and get lots more out of my Switch so I’m hoping this number will go up dramatically by the end of the year!

Read 12 books

June end total: 6

I’ve finally got back on track with my reading! I finished the third book in the Percy Jackson series to bring my total this year up to 6 so far. I’ve moved onto the fourth book, and then there’s another to go! I’m really enjoying the series, and as I’ve said before, I really wish I had read it when I was younger as I would have totally loved it. As much as I am enjoying it, I am looking forward to moving onto reading something a bit less aimed at children.

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: May Recap

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I am once again delayed in writing my end of month wrap up because I have no concept of time passing. I think generally I’m doing really badly at my challenges, especially since I’ve starting learning to draw which seems to be the only thing I do with my time these days as I’ve got really into it. It’s a lot of fun but it’s not getting any challenges done.

Watch 45 anime

May end total: 7

Progress is so slow on my anime watching, I only watched one show, Love & Lies, through the whole of May. I’m going to do Anime August again this year, and I had a brief thought that August was ages away, but in actual fact it’s really not.

Read 50 complete manga

May end total: 2

I actually haven’t completed any more manga for a really long time. I desperately need to rectify this but I find reading manga such a huge time sink and as I said in the intro I’ve been putting a lot of time into drawing and I just don’t have that much time (or inclination if I’m honest), to do much else.

Watch 30 films

May end total: 7

I did manage to watch a couple of films in May, it’s something I’ve been consciously trying to do more of. I watched Moxie and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire, both of which I enjoyed (Eurovision more if I’m honest).

Watch 30 anime films

May end total: 4

Like with ‘normal’ movies I’ve been making an effort to try and up the numbers on this one. I managed to watch a couple more – Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (in a cinema and everything!) and Anthem of the Heart. 

Get 35 platinum trophies

May end total: 13

I had a pretty slow month for platinum trophies also, because drawing, so I only added one to my total – Call of The Sea, which I also reviewed if you check out my previous post.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

May end total: 1

*sigh*

Play 12 Switch games

May end total: 0

Oh dear, oh no. I just, don’t have time to do everything. I need to clone myself or something, I swear.

Read 12 books

May end total: 4

After a slow start to reading the Percy Jackson series, I managed to finish the first book in May (and actually the second in June, so I’ve now started the third). They’re a pretty easy read, and I’m enjoying them. I wish I’d read them when I was a teenager as I would have loved them then.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Fire Emblem Three Houses – Cindered Shadows DLC

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The main reason I got my Nintendo Switch was to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Sure there are other games that interested me, but I just really wanted to play Three Houses. Of course, it had been out a good 5 months when I got my Switch, so far too late for a review, but needless to say I enjoyed it.

My logic is somewhat flawed here, as evidently from the title this is a review of the Cindered Shadows DLC, which came out on February 12th, which is well over 5 months ago, but hey! Folks on Twitter said they didn’t mind reading reviews of older releases as it helps them decide whether to buy or watch something, so I’m pushing past the apprehension of writing reviews for older things and just doing it!

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Cindered Shadows is the first set of DLC for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and brings with it a new route and four new characters in their own house; the Ashen Wolves. The premise is that the Ashen Wolves live in Abyss, an underground town below Garreg Mach.

The whole campaign takes around 8 hours to complete and spans 7 chapters. Each chapter completed in the DLC nets you a benefit when you play the main game again, from Abyss becoming explorable to one of the four new characters becoming recruitable, and bonus items. Each character also comes with its own class which will also be available during the main game.

To assist the Ashen Wolves with their quest, the main game house leaders are sent along with Byleth, and bring along with one member of each house for assistance. The choice of characters for Blue Lions and Black Eagles is a bit strange, I won’t divulge who, but I would have thought it would make more sense to have different characters, given their roles within those houses. I have only played Blue Lions to date, so playing with characters from Black Eagles and Golden Deer was cool, and a good taster for playthroughs I have ahead of me.

Gameplay is obviously the same process as in the main game, but it’s much harder. I found there were some severe difficulty spikes as well, with many of the requirements for battles feeling borderline impossible at times. In my Blue Lions playthrough I didn’t really have to redo many battles, but the same definitely cannot be said of Cindered Shadows. It’s a good kind of difficult as it makes you think much more strategically about how you’re playing and forces you to think about your choices a lot more each turn.

Cindered Shadows is well worth the money. It’s a completely fleshed out story of it’s own, and the four new characters are well developed and fit in well with existing characters. It was all I could do not to start up a new route in the main game immediately to recruit them over. For fans of Three Houses, Cindered Shadows is a must.

8 stars

 

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July Purchases

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True to my word in my last purchases post, I think I did pretty well in July! I see a lot of memes at the moment equating online shopping to the only bit of happiness available during lockdown, and whilst it is funny, it’s also true.

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My first category of purchases this month is games. I did go a little heavy on the games this month, I will say that. Catherine and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest I picked up preowned for a pretty decent price each, so I couldn’t really say no. Langrisser 1 & 2 was a really spontaneous purchase as I’ve never heard of the series before, or considered it in any way, but it was on sale and I thought, why not? I also bought AI The Somnium Files after it having been on my wishlist for many months. I’ve only heard good things about it!

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Next up, blu-rays. Or should I say, blu-ray? That’s right, this month I only bought one! That’s practically unheard of! I added to my Studio Ghibli collection and bought Tales from Earthsea.  

 

 

 

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And finally, what would a month be without buying some manga? I think this month I’ve actually only bought BL (no surprise there). I finished my collection of Ten Count (finally), and bought the new given volume, but I also bought Replay and Blue Flag, which I haven’t read yet but I’m excited to get stuck into!

 

 

That wraps up July! I think I’m going to try and have another pared back month in August, but we’ll see! I have to go on full lockdown, not even leaving the house for supermarket shopping, as my nan is having an operation, so little deliveries might be the only thing that gets me through!

Games

My time with Animal Crossing

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When Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched back on March 20th 2020, the world was in the throes of a crisis. I’m sure I don’t need to relay the facts to you, but for context, here in the UK we went into government sanctioned lockdown on March 23rd – due to health implications, my own lockdown began on March 17th.

I had no intentions of buying ACNH, but a combination of getting caught up in the hype and wanting something to fill my lockdown time really appealed, so I bought it. My current play time sits at around 160 hours, and with the game having been out for 75 days (at time of writing). Whilst it sounds a lot, that actually only equates to an average of just over 2 hours per day, nothing in comparison to some players I’m sure.

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Initially, I really enjoyed playing ACNH. I loved meeting new villagers, building up my library, extending my house, all the things that are exciting and fresh once you start playing. Online there have been some people saying that ACNH doesn’t have enough to sustain it. Back over Easter, there was a lot said about the eggs that could be found throughout the game being too frequent and getting in the way of normal play. All of this is a stark reminder that the lockdown changed things. This isn’t a game that was designed to be played for 8 hours a day, we were supposed to be a lot more casual in our playing. I think now, some 75 days on, this is where I’m at with ACNH. I’m finally putting in the 1-2 hours a day playtime that the game developers probably had in mind when they made it. 

Once I’d met the goal of having KK Slider perform on my island, terraforming brought with it it’s own anxieties. Where the game had been reasonably relaxing knowing I had no control over the environment other than decoration, being given carte blanche to tear down cliffs and stick water wherever I wanted was pretty overwhelming.

There’s been a lot of discourse on Twitter about not comparing yourself to other players, but in an age where everything is easily shared, it’s hard not to. I’ll admit I got myself trapped in a cycle of seeing things online and realising I would never come up with anything that creative for my own island, and found that any joy I’d got from ACNH had left, replaced by fear. What I was scared of I couldn’t exactly say, but I think part of it was having an image in my head that I couldn’t recreate. 

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Whilst my playtime on ACNH has reduced of late, I’m still playing a bit each day. I’ve found it helps with my daily routine. The daily ACNH tasks; collect fossils and have them assessed, check for recipes on the beach and in villager houses, all of these things keep some structure in my life which as been missing since coronavirus hit. 

I have a few areas on my island I’m looking to develop, and that I have some ideas for, but after they are done I do wonder what the game will hold for me. I feel like I’ve definitely got my money out of ACNH, 160+ hours into any game is more than reasonable, but I also feel like the end of my time with ACNH is probably in sight. 

When I started writing this piece, it was centred around how playing ACNH helped me cope with depression and anxiety during lockdown, and whilst it has, I can definitely tell that the end of the cycle is in sight. I’ll still play it, but it’ll be less of a coping mechanism for me now. 

 

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February purchases

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Considering in February I was doing my best to curb my spending for my upcoming Japan trip (more on that later…), I was surprised at how much stuff there was for this post!

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I was very kindly given the light novel of I Want To Eat Your Pancreas for Christmas, but after discussing with a few people, I’ve held off on reading it until I could watch the film. Happily, I haven’t had to wait too long as the film was released on DVD and blu-ray in February, though I’ve still not watched it. I have a feeling the cover is deceptive, as everyone I know who has seen it has told me I’m definitely going to cry, and to make sure I have tissues at the ready.

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Octopath Traveler was one of the reasons I wanted a Nintendo Switch in the first place. I was really drawn in by the art style of the game, and I heard so many great things about it so when I got my Switch for Christmas, I was frantically searching for a decently priced copy. What is up with Nintendo game prices never dropping?! I eventually saw that a mutual on Instagram was selling their copy for a reasonable price, so I snapped it right up! I’ve not got round to playing it yet – RIP backlog – but I’m really happy to own it!

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These Witches Don’t Burn has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so as a payday treat I bought it for myself. I can’t even remember what drew me to it but I’m very much a book cover person, and I liked the art style of the images on the cover, so it’s probably that. I’ve not started it yet, so I can’t tell you what it’s about!

 

 

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A month can’t go by without me buying BL, and so I bought volume 2 of Candy Color Paradox. It’s a really enjoyable story, about a journalist who has to work with a photographer he doesn’t like. It’s somewhat predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless!

 

 

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Yet more manga, this time Go For It, Nakamura! This manga is about a high school boy, Nakamura, who is in love with one of his male classmates. It’s really cute, and Nakamura is such a funny character who just can’t seem to get it together to talk to his crush. I really recommend it if you’re looking for something funny!

 

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I played and enjoyed the first Ni No Kuni game when it was out on PS3, but I got stuck at a particular bit and then never went back to it. After falling completely in love with Ni No Kuni 2, I decided to get the remastered PS4 version of the first game, so I can go back and finally finish it!

 

 

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I also bought the final volume of Our Dreams at Dusk, a really lovely LGBTQ+ manga. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I thoroughly recommed this manga, it’s really beautiful and well-done.

 

 

 

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Rounding off my March purchases with yet more manga, I bought the latest two volumes of Haikyu!! (though I’ve stupidly photographed them so you can barely see one, trust me, it’s there!). Haikyu! is my all-time favourite, so it’s nice to have an uptodate collection!

 

 

 

 

There’s not as much variety in items this month, and it seems like there’s a lot of books and games in comparison to January’s purchases, but I was holding off on buying anime merchandise because I was going to Japan. Unsurprisingly with the COVID-19 situation the way it is, we have very sadly had to cancel our trip. We’re both obviously devastated, but we will get to go another time. I had a little irrational spending spree to make myself feel better, which sort of worked, so March’s post will probably be quite lengthy!