Skep's Place


Gaming Report Q1 2024

Hey, I'm doing this nonsense again. Except now I'm doing it quarterly because it's hard to remember everything I did in a year. Let's go.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

To age myself somewhat here, I played the first Ratchet & Clank when it came out. Now that I think about it, Ratchet & Clank might be the only games series I've played every mainline entry in, although my interest dropped off hard after Deadlocked, largely because I never owned a PS3. None of the newer entries ever really struck a chord with me, and they all seemed weirdly short.

Rift Apart was... good. Not great; it still lacks a lot of the charm of the first couple games (where you just kinda go from place to place to meet weird one-off characters with increasingly tenuous reasons for charging Ratchet for information), although the Morts were excellent side characters. I really enjoyed Rivet and Kit as main cast additions, and overall, it was a better experience than any of the other newer games. Still kinda short though, and the lore is somehow both way too thin and a convoluted mess.

Persona 5 Royal

This is my first time playing Royal after playing the base edition, which I loved. Good quality of life improvements. I didn't think I was going to like Take Over as the dominant music theme, but I totally do, it's such a bop. The third semester content that was added though... I don't know. It's not bad, I liked it well enough; but I didn't vibe with the villain at all, and honestly, I think Persona 5 was kind of a tighter story without it. Despite this, there's enough good changes to not make me want to go back to original flavor.

Bleed / Bleed 2

These were revisits for me (and learning that Bleed is now a decade old is very depressing). They're side-scrolling platformer shoot-em-ups with air dash and bullet time mechanics, and quite fun. One of my favorite aspects of these are the difficulty levels, which don't really adjust health/damage values. Instead, difficulty affects the number of enemies that spawn and their attack patterns, so it's actually a more challenging experience. Good stuff, especially considering the developer was just a single person. Also, they're cuter than the names imply. Highly recommend.


As I mentioned in my last report, I was considering picking up the A New Home DLC for this game to finish it out. I finally did, and forgot everything that had happened in the main story. I think I kind of mentally blocked this game out despite playing it for so long. Overall, I think CrossCode is well-done; I like the characters, the side-quests are surprisingly varied, it's an engaging game. I really had to tone down the battle difficulty though because I was just too burned out on so many boss encounters. I definitely started to burn out on puzzles, too; they are constant in dungeons, and the number of puzzle mechanics to contend with is just dizzying. Maybe my complaint boils down to "this game doesn't know how to pace itself". 90 hours for something I expected to get 20 out of.

Coral Island

I'm not super-big on "cozy" games, but I want to like them. Part of me wants to have something on my Steam Deck I just plug away at over and over without any sort of end goal (unlike something like CrossCode, where I feel like the game is dragging its heels getting me to where I want to go). I loved the visual style on Coral Island, and decided to give it a go.

I have to say, in no uncertain terms, it's blatantly copying Stardew Valley in just about every way. Take that as you will. What I like better about Coral Island though is the unique setting and far larger cast of NPCs. Overall, the island has more personality.

Unfortunately, I kept running into random game crashes whenever I would initiate conversation. Considering that the game only saves at the start of each day... that kind of makes the game near-unplayable. Again, could just be a Steam Deck thing, but I had to drop it. Maybe I'll try again sometime.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

Didn't expect to return so soon, but I got a crazy idea for a trebuchet-only run, to see if it was feasible. I first started up as Yuan Shu, since he had two strategists on-side who I needed to actually lead the trebuchet retinues. It turns out trebuchets are stupidly expensive, and having even one retinue crippled my early-game economy. The concept actually did work, though; I could do enough damage to units to get them to shatter before they got close.

The problem was, as soon as one enemy general had the "Unbreakable" trait, it was game over. As soon as they reached my line, I had no way to counter them, and a single general could route all of my troops.

Next I tried Kong Rong, playing with a very heavy trade/economy focus (and broke the economy way worse than I did last year). I didn't go full trebuchet armies right away; instead, most of my armies ended up being one-third trebuchets. This was still very effective in most cases, although for best results, you needed flaming shot and AI that was dumb enough to walk straight through the forest every time. Still, I could rout huge armies with no losses in many cases. This was fun for a while, but the battles basically played out the same over and over again, so I decided to call my experiment successful and move on.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

Many thanks to Capcom for remastering the Ace Attorney series so that I actually have a chance to play them. This one is my second—after the original Phoenix Wright trilogy—and it's actually a compilation of two related titles. So far, I only completed the first; that game was so goddamn long that I need to take a break before I get to the second. I don't know why we feel the need to drag out these court trials for so long; just when you think you've wrapped a neat little bow on everything, the game says, oh, but here's this other wrinkle that didn't exist until just right now, spend another two hours arguing yourself out of that one. I do appreciate that I had far fewer instances of "I don't know what the hell the game wants from me" than I did in Phoenix Wright.

Also, can we talk about Herlock Sholmes? He's one of the primary side characters, although when he's first introduced, it seems like he's just going to be a joke character for the case. Right, because he's named after the detective from literature, except with the first letters flipped, and he's touted as this brilliant detective but actually he gets his facts wrong all the time? But then he just... keeps showing up and becomes your friend, and sometimes he is actually incredibly competent, and other times he is decidedly not. I think the game handwaves this as "he is actually great, but sometimes he makes his assumptions based off of the wrong details"... I don't know. And also, this guy is clearly meant to be Sherlock Holmes—and the game even references some of his stories by title and recounts some of their events—but like, Sherlock Holmes is a public domain character, so why did they feel like they had to obfuscate his name? Everything about him is so bizarre; I feel like the developers didn't have a clear intention with the guy.

Don't even get me started on the idiotic mechanism where the jury members pound the table to throw fire into one of two sides of these giant scales above the judge's head that are supposed to represent the defendant's guilt or innocence. It's so, so corny.

Otherwise good game so far.

And that wraps up the first quarter of 2024. For my older friends, you might have seen I added a section to the main page to highlight the games that I'm currently working on. Just a little something to look forward to. 'Til next time!