Backloggin’ the Year – Sam’s Sojourn, January to March 2023

2023 has already felt like the longest year, and it’s only the end of March. A lot has been happening, from my dog becoming sick (poor girl) to a car accident (I am fine!), jury duty (bleh), and the craziness that was March Break at the library. It also hasn’t helped that the winter months have felt so long, with the lack of sunshine certainly making things difficult. We endured huge dumpings of snow, had many game nights with friends, baked a lot of delicious treats, and tried to tolerate the winter as best we could. Here’s a photo of my sad bulldog after we were hit with a lot of snow. He was a very sad boy.

Why do bad things happen to Bru?

I am so excited that spring is here, and the next few months hold a lot of excitement, from local travel to musicals, and even some hiking trips planned. I also plan to go and visit my city more, and spend time with friends, so we will see how much gaming happens. Despite the cold months, I did manage to complete ten games between January and March, although my Fire Emblem fangirling took centre stage. For the purposes of this feature, I’m only going to focus on the games I haven’t written articles or reviews about. If you would like to read more of my in-depth thoughts, check out the following:

The RPGs I Played:

Come forth, Ring of the Beginning!

Shine on, Ring of the Beginning!

Fire Emblem: Three Hopes (Switch): Fire Emblem: Three Hopes was my addiction from the end of January into early February. It was wonderful to revisit the Three Houses world and see how much the cast has changed. When I originally played Three Houses, I sided with the Black Eagles. This time, I decided to see my way through the Blue Lions route, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the cast from the other houses the player gets on their team. I also loved how differently each class played, especially given I was unsure how the archery and mage classes would work in a Musuo title, and to my surprise, it works very well. I enjoyed how the game encourages experimentation in terms of the party setup, and I love that even though this is an action game, it’s also Fire Emblem through and through.

Yes, I am still a hard Dorothea stan; she wrote me a love letter at the end of the game, and I squealed like a fangirl. Best girlfriend ever!

Fire Emblem Engage (Switch): Clearly after finishing Fire Emblem: Three Hopes, I needed more Fire Emblem in my life, so I immediately jumped into Engage. I will say, I have some mixed feelings about this release. On one hand, I love the Emblems and how it’s a celebration of the series and its roots, on the other hand, there is so much extra noise in the form of the Somniel that I was losing patience for it. I love the support conversations, but there are so many extra and uninteresting elements in the Somniel that I found myself wanting to spend less time on it because it wasn’t me engaging (haha!) in battles. I love the tactical system in Engage. It feels very refined with all the gameplay elements you love to see in the series, and then it provides the Emblems, which offer unique skills that feel like game changers. The story is silly, and all the characters feel very dippy at times, I loved it. While it’s not my favourite game in the series, I can’t deny I didn’t have a good time with Engage.

All the Non-RPG Goodness

Curse that missing diamond earring!

The first non-RPG I checked out was a beautiful narrative game called If Found…. It focuses on a young Irish transwoman named Kasio, whose life is thrown into disarray when she comes out as trans to her family. The secondary narrative follows a space explorer named Cassiopeia who is attempting to stop a black hole from destroying the earth. Both stories converge in a unique and impactful way. This is very much an empathy game, as there are tons of difficult choices to be made throughout. It also rocks an excellent soundtrack and has stunning visuals that lure players through the story in wonderful and unique ways.

I also finally played “the kitty game”, aka Stray. It was an interesting and weird experience. I enjoyed being a cat and doing cat things like getting my head stuck in a bag or destroying people’s board games, but the stealth sections of this game were pretty bad honestly. Any time the game tried to incorporate action elements, it was not my vibe. Why do I need these action elements? I just want to be a kitty cat! Overall, I enjoyed the game, but I think what I actually might have needed was Kitty Cat Simulator instead.

The last two games I completed in this section were delightful. One was a replay of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, which I had the pleasure of completing with my Game Night crew at the library. The kids got really into this game and we spent weeks working through the levels together to ultimately beat it as a team. This game is still fantastic! The other game I completed was recommended by a friend of mine, and it’s one that had me completely hooked. Overboard! is a graphic adventure title where the goal is to survive for eight hours and get away with murder. The goal is to throw suspicion on the other crewmates, or even outright throw them overboard in order to escape detection. It’s a fabulous concept with tons of replayability, and a lot of different pathways to get different results each time. This is a must-play for graphic adventure fans and easily one of my favourites in this month’s pile of completed games.

Whatcha Playing Now, Sam?

Adventure, ho!

I feel like the slowest gamer ever, even though I’ve finished ten games in three months. Atelier Ryza 3 has been my priority since finishing Fire Emblem Engage and I am pleasantly surprised with how much of a noticeable difference this game is from Atelier Ryza 2 (which I shared my detailed thoughts on with my dear friend and colleague, Michael Baker). I am so happy to see the growth in the cast once more, but this game is still refusing to give me Ryza and Klaudia smoochies, which continues to be a constant frustration for me. I love how fluid movement is in this game and how all the areas feel seamless as you move between them. I’m so excited to see how Ryza’s story concludes, and I cannot wait to share those thoughts with you once I finish the game!

2023 Game Tally

View Sam’s Completed Games

Games Completed: 10

# of RPGs Completed: 5

# of Non-RPGs Completed: 5

# of Games Purchased: 2

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