Backloggin’ the Year – Sam’s Sojourn, January to March 2024

One of the promises I made to myself after I broke my arm last year was that I wanted to live my life to the fullest and make up for that lost time. I am happy to report that I have been succeeding in this area, going to musicals, plays, and drag shows, and I even have some concerts lined up. Being able to support the arts and performances in my city is very important to me, and being able to share these experiences with people I love makes it worthwhile.

I had the opportunity to see The Book of Mormon, as well as Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, featuring Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan, who are best known for playing Pippin and Merry in the Lord of the Rings films. It was easily one of the best stage performances I had the pleasure of being in the audience for, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is one of the greatest stage plays ever written; if you have the chance to see it live, do so! I’ve also been going to more local drag shows in my city, and had the pleasure of participating in a drag bingo night at one of my local breweries, as well as seeing an amazing Asian drag troupe perform during a drag brunch. One of my goals is to support more local drag, and thankfully the city I live in is plentiful for it.

In terms of gaming, 2024 is proving to be the year I am hard at work playing things from my backlog. What I seem to be doing is finishing up games that I started at some point and then put down for one reason or another. I don’t know if the video game industry is in a current slump, or if there just haven’t been any eye-catching releases, but the excitement of 2024 titles is just not there for me at the moment. I was lucky enough to review Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, I am in the process of playing through Persona 3 Reload, and I do have Final Fantasy VII Rebirth on the docket, but beyond those titles, it just feels like the gaming calendar is a bit empty. I realize it’s also the beginning of the year still, but given how stacked 2023 was, it just feels like 2024 won’t likely compare.

For 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:

Sea of Stars (PS5): The first game I completed in 2024 was Sea of Stars, and it was a carryover from the end of the previous year. I really enjoyed my experience with the game, though I will say I disliked the lack of chemistry between Valerie and Zale. Truly the best boy of the game was Garl, and he never left my party except on occasions where the game told me I couldn’t use him. I adored the pixel art, the soundtrack was super catchy, and the world was very interesting and colourful to explore. While much of the plot was super predictable, I like how a lot of it was handled, and I won’t deny the amount of feelings I had during one particular moment. I’m very excited to see what these developers produce next!

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland (PS4): Atelier Lulua was the first half-started game I finished. My save file showed I was only about five hours in, so I picked up from there and I admit, I don’t know why I stopped playing this one. I have two guesses: 1) I was burned out on the Atelier series from reviewing so many of them for the site, or 2) I was hit with “oh shiny!” syndrome, and something grasped my attention over it. Lulua is such a great Atelier game. The story is fun, the characters are engaging, and I wish Rorona and Sterk did more smooches, but overall I had a great time, minus the final boss which pushed my buttons.

Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream (PS4): I was still in the mood for more Atelier games, so I picked up my save file for Atelier Sophie 2 as well, after finishing Atelier Lulua. I was originally very mixed on the first Sophie game, I loathed Firis, and as a result, I never bothered to pick up Lydie and Suelle. I remember being super skeptical of Atelier Sophie 2, but it was Michael Baker’s review that encouraged me to give it some rope. Unfortunately, at the time of release, I had put roughly five hours in and bounced. I will say, coming back to it a few years later, I can definitely say that I 100% agree with the review. The world of Sophie 2 is such a wondrous and dreamlike experience, the new characters are engaging, and the battle system has a lot of oomph to it. I only have two more Atelier games in my collection to complete, though I think I need a break from them given I played Lulua and Sophie 2 back to back (and it was worth it).


All the Non-RPG Goodness

In terms of all the non-RPG goodness, I played some pretty interesting titles. I ended up playing and completing Paradise Killer (which Pascal Tekaia did a great Adventure Corner on), which was a strange experience if I am being honest. I loved the idea of it being an open-world murder mystery game where there is a lot of interaction, but I also disliked that the game did not adequately explain how to progress, especially if players have exhausted options with potential suspects. The map was horrendous and not very helpful, and I spent way too long trying to figure out how to progress in a variety of scenarios. It’s a game that could have benefited from more guided direction. I will say I did love the art direction, and the soundtrack was such a bop that I ended up grabbing it for myself!

What some of you may not know is that I like fighting games, even if I’m not particularly good at them. While many of the kids I grew up with have nostalgia for Street Fighter, I am a Tekken fan. I love that Tekken focuses more on grappling than special attacks, which is something I gravitate towards more. I ended up borrowing Tekken 8 from work (the last one I played was 3) and ended up playing the story mode, the Arcade Quest, and a few of the character stories. I love what Tekken has transformed into, and Paul Phoenix continues to be one of the fighting genre’s greatest himbos.

My favourite of the three games I tackled was Unpacking. I played the game in two sittings and found myself loving the zen-like gameplay experience of just placing items around rooms and seeing the very slow and subtle story unfold. There’s something beautiful about playing a game where every player’s bedroom or kitchen looks drastically different from each other. The game is so simple and yet it tells an emotional story of someone growing up and figuring themselves out. It’s something I think any player can relate to, and I won’t lie, I had a good cry when I finished it. That is how much I loved the experience.

Whatcha Playing Now, Sam?


Considering we are at the end of March, I doubt I will finish anything else this month. I’m sixteen hours into Persona 3 Reload, having just finished my July exams. Hilariously the first social link I ended up maxing was Suemitsu, the Moon. I never finished his social link in either of my previous Persona 3 playthroughs, and it was a weird one that went in a direction I was not expecting. I am hoping to max out a few more as I have a couple at ranks 8 and 9. Reload has been a wonderful remake so far and I am adoring a lot of the changes, including the new UI and graphics. It’s so pretty! But you know what is prettier? Mitsuru! I’m nowhere near the stage to get senpai to notice me, but hopefully by the next update she and I will be a couple! I just need to ace those exams and become the ultimate smarty pants!

2024 Game Tally

Games Completed: 13

# of RPGs Completed: 5

# of Non-RPGs Completed: 8

# of Games Purchased: 2

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