Checkpoint: December 17, 2021

Instead of trying to pick out one game to review before Christmas, I thought I would do another Checkpoint blog to give you an idea of what I’ve been playing, and some insight into my life. I’m excited for the holiday, as I will have the opportunity to see all of the important family. One of my brothers who lives a couple hours away is bringing his new dog, Kazak, to visit and I’m looking forward to seeing him. I think his wife will like the gift I got her in our exchange a lot.

The approaching new year brings introspection. I am so much better off now than a year ago. I am in immensely healthier physical condition, emotionally I am balanced and mentally I am doing as good as ever. My therapist pointed something out that I thought we were a lot further away from, but being honest and forthcoming about my feelings as I felt them got me the progress I wanted. It made me feel great.

Now that I have gotten so much physically healthier by dieting and swimming three times a week, I am getting back into a rhythm of doing things. I think I may sign up for a class at the local community college from which I graduated, studying blogging and podcasting. I have a healthy start on my blog here, but podcasting would be fun to explore. I can think of various ways to tie in gaming to that sort of medium, and have fun with it. It is only a month class, and fairly cheap.

Still not even a nibble on the job front. I anxiously job search throughout the week, hoping something new will pop up. I so deeply hope I can find gainful employment soon. I hate my life feeling like it is on pause, which is why I’ve tried to take control how I can lately. I am starting to feel like I’m hoping for too much out of a job. I wish I had more guidance, but it is such an evolving market. And I have such a distinct voice that I want to be heard. I think I could not only be a valuable asset as a writer, but as an overall personality. My mental health insights into gaming are so needed in the space right now, and I just want to opportunity to be what I know I could be.

Now, let’s get down to games. The biggest game I have been playing is the game I most recently reviewed: Octopath Traveler. I highly recommend you go read this review if you have any interest in a masterfully crafted turn-based RPG. I was a bit over fifty hours in, with one out of eight campaigns complete, when I wrote my review. I have now played over ninety hours, and beaten all eight campaigns. They were each an absolute delight. Individually unique and relatable. The lore of the world and stories is so rich. I truly cannot say enough about my love for the experience I have had with this game, and there is still much I haven’t seen.

Credit: Octopath Traveler. Screenshots by me. Ending frames for each character in the order I beat them.

Another game I have been playing that is just stupid fun is Bulletstorm. Originally launched in 2011, there has since been a remaster, which I picked up for about $9 on the Nintendo Switch Black Friday Sale. One of several games I picked up with an early Christmas present in the form of a $50 Nintendo gift card. Also available on PlayStation, Xbox and Windows. Bulletstorm is a first-person shooter from People Can Fly and Epic Games. The brains behind this beauty are responsible for the hit series Gears of War, and that same attitude comes through here. You refill supplies at stations by spending points you get for respectively awesome kill methods. Kill with skill, they say. So bonus points for headshots, environmental kills, etc. Not a perfect game by any means, but fantastic fun factor. The over-the-top style works when it does, but as this game experiments heavily, it won’t always turn out well, unfortunately.

Credit: Bulletstorm. Game clip by me. This game is full of cinematic action sequences that often feel like an amusement park ride. Here I use only some of the powers with which I am equipped. There are an incredible amount of kill variations.

The other game I will mention that I have been playing is Subnautica. Available on Mac, Windows, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, and launched in 2018 by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. I also picked this one up on sale, after seeing it extensively on Twitch. It just looked like the perfect exploration and survival game. Just you, crashed and stranded alone, on an alien planet in the middle of a vast ocean. Build the things you’ll need to survive, from oxygen tanks, to salted fish, underwater bases, vehicles and more. Your goal: get off the planet. Subnautica has a brilliant way of unfolding that always has you upgrading. The feeling of being in an alien ocean produces so many emotions. Joy, terror, curiosity or even just generally being disoriented. There’s treasure everywhere you look, even if only for the eyes and ears.

Credit: Subnautica. Screenshots by me. A few images of a vast and diverse ocean.

I will be back with more content soon. Perhaps more reviews, including games you saw here. Or, maybe more posts similar to this one. If I take the aforementioned class, I may be doing even more interesting things. So, follow me everywhere you can find SchizophrenicDerek.

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