What Have I Been Playing (August 2021)

It is the end of August 2021, the summer is ending and I think it is time to do another round up of games I have been playing to put off going outside in the sunshine. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

Scarlet Nexus

Scarlet Nexus is the latest action RPG from Bandai Namco and, damn, it is a great game. It is set in a futuristic “brain punk” world after a psionic hormone is discovered in the human brain granting extra sensory powers and changed the world. You start the game by choosing between Kasane and Yuito, two elite fighters from the Other Suppression Force each with differing but connected stories to discover. I pretty much love everything about the game from the gorgeous cell shaded graphics, to the banging sound track. From the mad as a box of frogs story with more twists than a colonoscopy, to the engaging combat with enough going on to keep the most discerning player happy. I wonderful game that will most likely feature high on my year end list. I contributed some game footage to the Linux For Everyone Will It Linux video, so check that out to see some of the combat. A definite recommend from me.

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox

Another action RPG, this time from Nihon Falcom/NIS America. It is only in recent years that I became a Ys fan with the stupendously good Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana but I am totally a convert now. Ys is probably my 2nd favourite JRPG franchise behind The Legend of Heroes. Ys IX is very similar in structure to Ys VIII, but in a different setting, with our long time hero Adol trapped in the confines of the city of Balduq where he is imprisoned, escapes and is cursed as a monstrum to fight the dangers of the Grimwald Nox. I had a great time with Ys IX, thoroughly enjoying the story (which had a few twists I didn’t see coming) and getting to know the various characters you encounter on your journey. Another one for the upper end of my year end list.

Trials of Mana

A wonderfully charming little JRPG that flew under my radar for a long time. I’m glad I played it though. I chose to play with the three female characters (because why would I want to be male in real life AND in video games?). I really liked how the story of the three characters was woven together into the overall narrative of the game. The companions are not just there to make up your party, they both have their own personalities and stories, and we get to experience their personal journey as well as that of our chosen primary character. Another big recommend.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: The Wings of Ruin

I haven’t finished this one yet but I am already loving it. I am not a big fan of the Monster Hunter games (maybe I should give them more of a chance) but this is quite a bit different. It shares more in common with the turn based JRPGs I enjoy so much. It is also different in that rather than going out hunting the monsters in a never ending cycle, you go out to find eggs, hatch them and then the Monstie can be added to your party for battles. Each monstie also has different abilities to help you traverse the world like jumping, climbing, treasure detection, etc. A nice little game that I’ll enjoy playing for some time to come.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

I had a notion one weekend that I wanted to go back and play The Division (the first one) and so I installed it to the Xbox and started a new character, and levelled her up to max level. The Division 2 is a great game but I realised that I still prefer the setting and the story in the first game, flawed though it is.