Game Life: What I've been playing

I'm a little late to owning a Nintendo Switch. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to get one, and while I loved video games, I felt I wasn't ready to commit to playing regularly. The last gaming console I had was a 3DS, and there were still a few games there that I didn't finish.

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But in late 2021 I gave in and purchased a Switch, and it was even the Animal Crossing version. It was on sale, a rather big chunk off from its introductory price a year before. Even with the game it was cheaper. How I got it was a funny story.

Not my actual unit, but it does look like this. It's so pretty.

I was out of the city for a trip, and I was chatting with. my best friend about his recent purchase of a Switch (yes, we were both late into the game). We were talking about the pros and the cons, and the games we found interesting until I said, "Ok, I'm gonna get one."

I was planning on waiting until I get back to the city, but he was already at the store and they were offering it at an even lower price with freebies (just accessories, no games boo). So I sent him the money and he got the Switch for me. He even had it shipped to where I was.

So here I am, a little over a year later, loving every minute of having a Switch. I managed to catch up on the games that I missed, and even scored a few games on release day (namely, Pokemon Arceus and Pokemon Violet. More on that later).

So, what have I been my favorites so far?

Animal Crossing New Horizons

I missed the great Animal Crossing: New Horizons exodus of 2020, when we were still at the start of the pandemic and everyone was in lockdown. I saw my friends sharing their islands and visiting each other. I didn't really have FOMO, and I was still enjoying New Leaf. And it took a while for me to warm up on New Horizons because there were a few things that were different from ACNL. But I eventually I grew to really like ACNH. I still haven’t reached the island rating of 5, and at the slow rate I’m going, I probably won’t any time soon. I love my island residents though.

I love the cafe but I feel a little sad that it's not its own building now and you can't work there.

This feature where everyone does exercise is cute. I rarely do it though, usually if there's an event so I can see the special character. Here it's Jack.

Pokémon Sword

When I got my Switch, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield were the latest Pokémon games afaik. I started playing it but felt progress was slow. It had been a while since my last Pokémon game (Sun on the 3DS) Eventually I got so into ACNH that Sword got left by the wayside. And it didn’t help that there was a new game coming…

Pokémon Legends Arceus

NGL I forgot about Sword as soon as Pokémon Legends: Arceus dropped. I dove deep into the game on release day and loved it. I liked how it looked very different from the previous games, and while the basic idea is still there, it was fun to start from scratch, so to speak. And the feeling of seeing wild Pokémon that actively chased you and were in there "actual" sizes was both exciting and terrifying. There are several mini tasks that I haven't done yet because the Pokémon scare me (that Alpha Rapidash, for one).

I'm actually stuck on The Lordless Island quest, because I can't find a foothold on how to defeat the frenzied Arcanine. I'm also considering getting a controller because I feel I might end up breaking my default controllers with the way I'm mashing the buttons.

I'll come back to you, Arceus.

Pokémon Violet

Another game I got on release (at this point I feel majority of my games will be Pokémon). Took me a bit to adjust to the controls since it was kind of different with Sword, but when I did it was good to go. I chose Pokémon Violet because I liked how Miraidon looked over Koraidon, but I also liked the somewhat old world style of Pokémon Scarlet.

I'll be honest. Violet is probably only the 3rd Pokémon game I've finished. I've been playing since the first game, but I don't think I had the patience to go through it. Sun was the last one I played and finished til the end, now this. Glitches aside, I enjoyed Violet. The found the story a little weird, plus instead of having just Victory Road you had two concurrent stories. It felt like there were so many battles, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 

After finishing this game, I managed to get back to Pokémon Sword. As of this post I still am not done with it, as I still have the final battle with Leon left to do and what happens after. 

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Now, I never really got into the Legend of Zelda games. I've played them, but never finished and never felt the same love for it as I did Final Fantasy. I think because I started with that and got used to the turn based battle system, Zelda games frustrated me with their hack-and-slash style. I did play a few games on the 3DS but never finished (are you seeing a pattern here?)

Said friend who influenced me in getting a Switch lent me his Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild cartridge and ok, I gave it a try. The first few days of playing was excruciating. I still hated the battle system, and it frustrated me that you aren't actually leveling up Link, even if you're gaining access to better weapons and armor. Grinding here is different than most RPGs I've played, and despite going nearly 3 months of playing, I'm still not used to it.

The fear I got in Arceus when a Pokémon comes running after you is pretty much 10x that with BotW. Especially when certain enemies level up as you progress, and there are certain enemies that are damn near indestructible. I've been very good at avoiding enemies. BotW is huge game of avoiding them, or charging at them with no plan whatsoever. I kid you not when I say my hands were shaking when I tried going up Central Tower. Every time I hear the Guardian theme, my anxiety rears up.

It was satisfying to see the map become more complete as I scale more towers. I got lucky with some that I managed to swoop in past enemies just by climbing higher ground. Some areas you don't really have no other way but to just charge in and pray for the best. I'm still a long way ahead to completing this game, and with Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom coming out in a few days, well, looks like I'll play that late too.

That's my games for first quarter 2023. I've got a few in the pipeline, like Harvestella and Hogwarts Legacy, but it looks like I won't be playing those any time soon. I'm excited to start on them though, so who knows that Q2 will be like?


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