I’m kicking 2021 off with a pretty good start to the gaming year, even if I do say so myself! This year, I plan to focus on some 2020 releases I didn’t get chance to play and some other larger titles from the backlog. After completing 66 games last year, I’m content with my record and now just want to take my time with games that will last me a good few weeks before moving on. Of course, it’s still a never ending process.
Since I’m not posting as regularly anymore, I’ve decided to pad out these monthly summaries to give a bit more detail on my thoughts of each game rather than just writing out a basic list. Each game of the month will receive a mini review and I’ll be talking a little bit more about the music I’ve listened to each month too.
So, let’s take a look at the events of January:
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
I managed to complete 3 games during January and I enjoyed all 3 of them for entirely different reasons. Spiritfarer was a relaxing experience that became quite addictive and it was a refreshing change to play something of this genre over a number of weeks. Unfortunately, the last part of the game was a little underwhelming, but thanks to local co-op via Steam Remote Play Together, I had a lot of fun anyway. I finally found the motivation to get back to Ori and the Will of the Wisps and what a game that was! It took a while to get into due to its challenging nature, but once I’d unlocked a few abilities and I could actually move around freely, I found myself returning to find all the collectables just for the fun of it – and instead of it being tedious, it actually was really fun! Finally, Café Enchanté wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I still enjoyed the game despite it not being my usual cup of tea. I found myself becoming fond of the group quite quickly, but none of the characters particularly stood out individually and each route was quite separate from the others, all with quite depressing themes involved. My main issue was with the text errors, which I actually found to be more irritating than Collar x Malice Unlimited, especially the part where character’s names are spelled differently… Vennia, Venir – they’re both the same, right?
Orcs Must Die 2
Our Life: Beginnings & Always
I played a few other games this month too that I haven’t finished yet. Starting off with co-op ‘tower’ defence game, Orcs Must Die 2 – I’ve played several levels with WesleyWhale so far and we’re having a blast! I do struggle to stay invested after a few stages as it is quite repetitive, but it’s a lot of fun to play in-between other games here and there. I also spent a lot of time in the world of Our Life: Beginnings & Always, actually reaching the end credits twice already. Before I can say I’m finished though, I’m waiting for the final DLC to be released sometime this year so I can get the most out of this slice of life visual novel. The base game is free, so I highly recommend you go check it out if you’re interested in shaping your own MC and getting close to your adorable neighbour, Cove Holden. Last but not least, I started watching WesleyWhale play Yakuza Kiwami over Discord streaming (since we can’t see each other right now). My opinions are mixed so far as the story seems to have lost focus and all the side quests are pretty much “you owe us money, pay up or fight”, which results in a basic fight – the end. Yakuza 0 was so much more interesting, wacky and varied than Kiwami, but I’m still curious to see where this goes.
Game of the Month:
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
I first started Ori and the Will of the Wisps in April last year, a few weeks after its release. At the time, I really wasn’t getting into the game and finding the whole thing quite frustrating which led to the abandonment of my playthrough. This time, I dived back in with a clear mind and a motivation to finish the game, and I loved it!
Ori and the Will of the Wisps was very much like Ori and the Blind Forest in terms of visual style and fluent animations, but I was surprised with how Will of the Wisps actually managed to include new features to make the game even better – something I didn’t believe would happen. Much of the game was kept very similar to it’s predecessor (if it works, then why fix it) such as the abilities, collection items and the map layout / progression. With the mix of both old and new characters, Ori and the Will of the Wisps had its own personality without it feeling like the same game we’d seen previously. The introduction of side quests was actually a really great addition, as was the inclusion of a Hub world which you could upgrade to create a safe haven for characters you stumbled upon throughout the world.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps had it challenging moments, but personally I thought it was easier compared to Ori and the Blind Forest despite playing them both on the ‘normal’ difficulty. I felt like there was much more to do overall and I wasn’t solely focused on main quests like I was previously. To conclude, Ori and the Will of the Wisps has come out on top as one of my all time favourite games and I highly recommend the experience.
Code:Realize – Wintertide Miracles
My backlog is big enough already so I’m trying to avoid buying any more games, with new releases being the obvious exception. Code:Realize – Wintertide Miracles is set to release in just over 3 weeks, so I preorded my copy from The Game Collection as per usual. I’m hoping this fandisk will be better than Future Blessings was, but I am slightly disappointed it wasn’t released this month as I expect it to have a Christmassy feel – which isn’t ideal for February.
Looking Forward To:
Little Nightmares II
The 2 main games I’m looking forward to the release of next month (aside from Code:Realize) are the Steam release of Nioh 2 and Little Nightmares II. I’ve been waiting to play both of the games for so long and I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking them both up on release – as long a Nioh 2 has a similar co-op feature to the first game.
January featured a single blog post where I talked about the top 11 games I played last year. This post took me much longer to write than I expected, but I’m pleased with how it came out and I feel like I’ve included quite a variety of games – and good games at that. It will probably be quite different to other posts of the sort since I barely played any 2020 releases and didn’t even glance at any the popular releases. Take a look if you’re interested!
I’m shaking the music section up a little this year. Since music is pretty much on par with gaming as far as my interests are concerned, I’d like to feature a bit more on what I’ve been listening to throughout the month as well as include info on new releases.
I’ve been listening to Eve’s Kaikai Kitan / Ao no Waltz EP (Dec 2020) a lot this month which I much prefer to his most recent album, Smile (Feb 2020). There’s also been plenty of utaite covers of his title song Kaikai Kitan (used as the OP for Jujutsu Kaisen), my current favourite probably being Sakata‘s. I think it really suits his voice.
I got sucked into Hiiragi Kirai’s (柊キライ) music last year with the release of Bocca De La Verita, but Mobius really caught my attention when I first heard it a few months ago. Last week, Gero uploaded an utaite cover of Mobius and I fell in love with it again, if not even more – I’m totally hooked…
YOASOBI released their first album, THE BOOK, a few weeks ago which features all of their previous singles including hit single, Yoru ni Kakeru, first distributed back in November 2019. I’d been following Ayase before the group’s formation, and I’m a huge fan of his music no matter what he does, but Ikura‘s vocals really stand out. Their new single, Comet (Beastars S2 ED), was also released separately to this album.
There really are so many more songs I could talk about, but I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m going to try and focus on 3 different topics per month and see how it plays out. Let me know your thoughts!
That’s all for January, thanks for reading!
What have you been up to this month?