These past few months have been busy! In May I wrapped up my thesis and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Master of Arts in English with a concentration in Technical Communication.
Once free from the constraints of school, I began to play a lot of games, binge watch TV, read, and continue my fan fiction (which I swear is almost done).
During this time, I played a myriad of games: Crypt of the Necrodancer, Ori and the Blind Forest, and more Delicious Emily mobile games. I also completed my Overwatch Season 5 placements, finished Mass Effect: Andromeda, and finally got my golden Paladin in Hearthstone.
But my favorite experience this month, was discovering Oxenfree, from Night School Studio.
All the Outs in Free
When I downloaded Oxenfree, I knew absolutely nothing about the game. All I knew is that it was free from Twitch Prime and I wanted to play something new while I re-downloaded Elder Scrolls Online.
After booting up Oxenfree, I didn’t even bother with Elder Scrolls. I am hooked and addicted to the story of Alex (whose name is obviously awesome), Jonas, and the other teens stuck on Edward’s Island. If you enjoy Telltale games, Oxenfree is for you.
You play as Alex and walk and talk your way through a beach party on an island gone wrong as you discover the dark secrets of Edward’s Island. The best part of the game is that it was truly designed for replayability.
I’m not talking about Mass Effect or Dragon Age “replayability” where you just spent 60+ hours in the game only to start over again. Oxenfree is 4-5 hours long from beginning to end. In fact, the first time I played, I finished the entire game in one sitting, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time; I absolutely HAD to know how it was going to end.
So far, I’ve replayed the game on PC 5 times and I’ve played through it on Android once. The mobile version is pretty good, but it drained my battery quickly despite being on battery saver mode, and is a little buggy.
Regardless, if you like story driven games, do yourself a favor and experience Oxenfree for yourself.
And then let me know: Is. Leave. Possible?
My Hammer Burns with Holy Fire!
Well, it took a long time, but I finally got my Golden Paladin! I was never able to play control Paladin because I don’t have Rag the Lightlord, so I resorted to playing Grimy Goons (unsuccessfully, unfortunately) and MidRange Paladin in Wild. Wild is actually pretty fun, and if you’re looking for a change of pace I definitely recommend checking out the format.
I’m Stuck in Overwatch ELO Hell (aka Bronze)
Thanks to my terrible placement from Season 3—where I only placed because I wanted the Season 3 sprays because I’ve had them for every season since the game launched—I don’t know if I will ever complete a placement where I am not in Bronze. Season 4 and 5 placed me in Bronze even though I consistently play at the Silver/Gold levels, since I always play with my husband.
I know the arguments about “elo hell” being a fake construct, but Bronze is full of people playing Comp who just do whatever they want. I know each level of play can speak to this, but when you comparing Bronze and Silver there’s a huge different in player skill and coordination. In Silver people actually talk to each other and try to strategize. Bronze is every person for themselves. (Side rant: On team chat, can you all stop saying “Let’s go boyz!” “Great job boyz!” Not all players are boys!)
Thanks to some help from the hubby, I’m back in Silver. Hopefully this season I can climb high enough so in my Season 6 placements I don’t end up having crawl my way out of Elo Hell again.
Final thoughts on Mass Effect: Andromeda
A lot of people have talked about Andromeda, so I’ll try to be concise.
tl;dr: It wasn’t the best game, but it wasn’t a terrible game.
As a huge ME franchise fan, I, like many, were very excited for the next installment. The game did disappoint in some ways, but it was also a lot of fun in others.
I enjoyed exploring the Nexus political relationships and the references back to the original trilogy. I mean, GARRUS’ FATHER HAS A NAME!!! As a huge GarrusxFShep fan, that’s huge! The arguments between Gil and Kallo were fun and I loved the interactions between the characters on the ship. The characters were probably the most enjoyable part of the game, alongside the main story.
My largest complaint about the game is that I felt they focused on quest quantity over quality. I completely ignored the random fetch/gathering quests–if there wasn’t a marker on the map I didn’t bother. But the problem is that there were so many intersting side quests that just fell flat at the end. Many times I was engaged and excited in a quest, but when it ended I found myself going, “Oh. that’s it? Um… okay…”
I think ME:A had some amazing potential, but they never quite nailed it. There is, of course, that Kotaku article talking about the development hell Bioware was in, but I don’t think EA cared enough anyway. Personally, I would have loved a more resource management type-scenario where you actually have to make hard choices about which resources to try and find, and what you have to sacrifice to get it. Everything felt already set up and in place so I never felt the pressure of survival.
My recommendation? Play ME:A if you enjoy open world games and LOVE LOVE LOVE Mass Effect. Otherwise, I think it’s okay to skip this one. I’m glad I played it, but unless they release a DLC, I don’t think I will be playing it again.