I’ve been working from home full time and practicing “social distancing” as best as I can for exactly one week now. Sometimes it feels never ending, and so much of it just happened so fast. Luckily, I was decently prepared since I was somewhat heavily following the news in China and South Korea, but it’s still sort of insane. As of tomorrow, my state is in under a “stay-at-home” order so…
I figured I’d start making these posts because I’m assuming that my readers all like video games and I also like video games and they’re much less stressful to think about that all that other stuff going on.
Now as much as I would have loved to just stay home and binge games/manga/fanfiction/netflix, I’ve actually been really active and outside a lot this last week because I’ve been moving to a new apartment. I moved the bed here last Saturday and only finished clearing out my old apartment yesterday – so as of today, I’m finally free.
If you take a single piece of advice from this blog, it should be to never ever ever try to move during a global pandemic.
But I still have been able to do decent amount of binging with time saved from commuting, eating out, seeing friends in person, etc. And now I really don’t have anything to do so it’s time to blog! I’m going to just be writing short(-ish) blurbs for various things – mostly video games since that’s what this blog is about – and rating them from a meh/like/love scale. I’m not including dislike in this scale for now because I don’t really care about writing things I truly dislike.
These are some games I played that helped me de-stress in some way, because I definitely needed it.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
When the game was first announced, I wasn’t actually planning on getting it because I got bored after playing just a bit of New Leaf. After watching the Nintendo Direct and seeing the museum though, it became a much bigger priority and I was also interested in the ability to play couch co-op. On Friday, I picked it up and now I can’t stop playing.
I think a huge positive part of the experience this time around has actually been how I can’t scroll down my Twitter or Facebook timeline without seeing a dozen of Animal Crossing memes. It feels like there’s some camaraderie in Animal Crossing when everyone is stuck inside and collecting fish or being a clothes designer. Speaking of which, how is everyone so creative and artsy and making these beautiful things when the only thing I’ve successfully made is a hat? I need to stop browsing hashtags. I’ve scanned so many QR codes. I have a problem.
Verdict: Unfortunately the couch co op is extremely meh. There’s a thousand posts complaining about it and I don’t have anything useful to add to that conversation. However, I really love the rest of the game and I’m excited to play more.
Devil May Cry 5
This is an odd game to put on a list of “de-stressing games”. My boyfriend says that he finds Devil May Cry and other similar games like Bayonetta to be mentally taxing. To be honest…I can’t really say he’s wrong, but I had a blast playing through Devil May Cry 5.
The game is just fast paced action to the extreme. The combat is slick and also is based around how flashy things look (you get style points), so everything looks really cool and the game is super satisfying to play. It’s also sort of ridiculous at points – in a good way. So for me, at the end of a long day, being able to just beat up demons with a motorcycle or a giant sword is pretty great.
I will note that I was playing the game on normal mode. I haven’t tried hard mode yet (which I just unlocked) and I know there’s two even harder difficulties after that and they seem very rough. Definitely very stressful.
Another de-stresser? Devil May Cry 5 Deluxe has the addition of pre-viz live action cutscenes and they’re amazing.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
I’m finally on my third play through of Fire Emblem and I’m so excited to learn dive deep into the Blue Lions. I think there’s something very powerful in familiarity, so I find myself playing Fire Emblem when I don’t feel like thinking very much. I know the game inside and out and there’s no new mechanics to worry about or try to remember.
Bonus points for being low stress because I’m playing this on the lowest difficulty possible. I’ve already proven to myself that I can beat the game on hard mode. Now I just want to help Dimitri and learn about his sad emotional backstory.
Verdict: Unfortunately however, I do feel burnt out after two playthroughs and the DLC, so I find myself liking it more than loving it right now.
My Little Terrarium
Until this last week I rarely much never played mobile games. So why did I suddenly pick up two random phone games? I really have no idea. This one is really cute and aesthetic and I enjoy looking at my plants and listening to the music but there’s not much to it outside of that. Progress is very slow, which seems to be normal for these kinds of games that you just check every once in a while. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if I should actually include this in the post but I can’t deny that it is a very peaceful game.
Verdict: A strong meh.
Persona 3 Portable
Similarly to Fire Emblem, there’s a lot of emotional power in playing a game as familiar as this. I played a lot of Persona 3 FES in high school and have a lot of nostalgia and attachment to the characters. The Persona 3 Portable remake however, adds a new game mode that drastically overhauls the social links in the game – and so far I find it significantly better than FES. But…that’s a ramble for another time. I’m not sure when I’m going to finish and publish that post yet. For now, I’m just slowly going through the game and enjoying my time back in Gekkoukan High with some familiar faces and old happy memories.
The gamplay is definitely…a little frustrating after the quality of life improvements of Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5, but it’s alright enough now that I’m used to it.
Verdict: I think I may love Persona 3 Portable more than Persona 3 FES. I legitimately think it’s better – fight me. I swear I’ll come back to this topic soon.
This is the other mobile game on this list. It’s another one of those exponential growth games in which you make things that produce gold or hearts and use them to upgrade said things that produce gold or hearts until you can buy various structures such as the hot tub shown above. It’s very cute, and I quite enjoy checking in and just watching my penguins (and other animals) walking around the ice. It’s simple, but charming, so of the two mobile games on the list, I definitely found more zen in this one.