Andre's Gaming Odds & Ends Issue #3 (Brief Audio Included)
Issue #3 features News & Opinions, Andre's Top 3 Favorite Games of 2021, Mini-Reviews of Elden Ring & Lost Ark, Trailer Impressions, Andre's Game Hype Rankings (March 2022)
Andre’s Gaming Odds & Ends Issue #3
Back on Schedule
Welcome to the first Andre’s GameReviewPad newsletter issue of 2022. After a break partially due to catching Covid-19 at the end of December, plus a stacked month of Triple-A games I actually wanted to play in February, I’m back on my schedule. If you haven’t done so already, please listen to my brief audio overview below.
During these last several months a lot of video game news broke, including Activision Blizzard being purchased by Microsoft for a whopping $68.7 billion dollars. I won’t be including my thoughts about that in this issue, but I will in the next issue of Andre’s Gaming Odds & Ends in April. Also I’m only going to include a couple news items in this issue, but expect more in the next one. Let’s get back in the flow.
Reminder: Everything underlined is a clickable link!
News & Opinions
New Playstation Plus Launches in June
Sony recently announced new Playstation Plus subscription plans to be launched in June: (For the sake of space, I only included U.S. prices. Click the link for other countries.)
PlayStation Plus Essential
Provides the same benefits that PlayStation Plus members are getting today, such as:
Two monthly downloadable games
Cloud storage for saved games
Online multiplayer access
There are no changes for existing PlayStation Plus members in this tier.
United States: $9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $59.99 yearly
PlayStation Plus Extra
Provides all the benefits from the Essential tier
Adds a catalog of up to 400* of the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games – including blockbuster hits from our PlayStation Studios catalog and third-party partners. Games in the Extra tier are downloadable for play.
United States: $14.99 monthly / $39.99 quarterly / $99.99 yearly
PlayStation Plus Premium
Provides all the benefits from Essential and Extra tiers
Adds up to 340* additional games, including:
PS3 games available via cloud streaming
A catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations
Offers cloud streaming access for original PlayStation, PS2, PSP and PS4 games offered in the Extra and Premium tiers in markets** where PlayStation Now is currently available. Customers can stream games using PS4 and PS5 consoles, and PC.***
Time-limited game trials will also be offered in this tier, so customers can try select games before they buy.
United States: $17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly
These new Playstation Plus tiers are being promoted as a competitor to Xbox Game Pass, but I don’t see it. This is simply a consolidation of Playstation Plus and Playstation Now into one payment in the latter two tiers. What makes Xbox Game Pass such a great deal is new first-party games on release. Unfortunately, this new Playstation Plus package doesn’t provide new Sony first-party games on release day. The other major problem I have with this as being branded a competitor to Xbox Game Pass is the pricing. It’s very expensive for gamers to not include first-party titles on release. Furthermore, the structure of the plans are very confusing and not consumer friendly. Xbox Game Pass is extremely simple to understand with the prices being console ($9.99/mo), PC ($9.99/mo), and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (PC & console $14.99/mo) with other perks. The Xbox Game Pass plans don’t confuse consumers by including or not including certain kinds of games within a platform at sign up. I can easily see how someone could get confused with this new Playstation Plus structure and sign up for the wrong plan.
The new plans also don’t address how current subscribers can upgrade to higher tiers at a discount. This is another clunky rollout by Sony.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 Delayed Until Spring 2023
Nintendo officially announced in the above video that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 will be delayed until Spring 2023. The timing is certainly interesting, as Breath of the Wild was released as a launch title with the Nintendo Switch on March 3, 2017. There are many rumors of a new and more powerful Nintendo Switch in development and this new release date will only increase that speculation.
As someone who wants a Nintendo Switch and is waiting for a potentially new Switch due to rumors, I’ll now wait until Spring 2023 at minimum.
Top 3 Favorite Games of 2021
Wildermyth, developed by Worldwalker Games, entered my Steam library very late in the year because I overlooked it when it released mid-2021. This game is something special, as you create characters and embark on a player-choice driven story rich experience that creates the story as you play the game. Legacy characters that you created can re-appear in future stories continuing their same storyline. Admittedly, I haven’t played quite as many hours of the game as I would like, but I know a damn good game when I play one. This is a really unique and special game, both in gameplay and art style.
The storyline aspects are already good, but what makes the game more appealing to me are the battle tactics. I found myself really invested in my characters and wanting them to make certain decisions to either definitely keep them as safe as possible or put them in riskier situations. I love the tactics battles and all the different character classes in the game. Although the number of overall classes isn’t that deep, each class can be customized further with various skills and weapons to create the sub-class of your liking,
The deep storytelling and intertwining of all the stories of the characters is a monumental achievement, especially for an indie game. I’m definitely going to play more of this because I need to. You should too!
#2 Wolfstride (PC)
Wolfstride, developed by OTA IMON Studios, is an indie game that I played at the end of the year that really blew me away. This is another game with great storytelling, but what makes this a top 3 game of 2021 for me are the characters and voice acting. This is a turn-based RPG featuring mechs with a story that is really deep and engaging. The black and white visuals add a charm to the game that doesn’t take away from the experience, but makes it richer. There’s nothing necessarily revolutionary about Wolfstride, it’s just a really well done game with occasional story pacing problems.
If you would like to know more, I recommend reading my full review:
My Wolfstride Review Here
#3 Forza Horizon 5
Never would I have predicted that a racing game would end up as one of my favorite games, but here we are. Forza Horizon 5, set in Mexico, is an amazingly beautiful game. I recently purchased a new PC and gaming monitor and this is probably the most beautiful game I’ve played on it. This was my first Forza Horizon experience and I was really blown away by the experience of driving a car in an open world. I always knew what Forza Horizon games were, but dismissed them because I didn’t see the appeal of just driving around. There are so many activities and goals you can do like racing and collecting cars that it became a somewhat addicting game to me. I always wanted to do the next challenge because the game does a very good job of putting that ‘carrot on a stick’ to keep you engaged. I had to force myself to stop playing this game to play other games.
This is a Xbox Game Pass success story because I never would have purchased this game separately. Instead, I tried it with Xbox Game Pass and now it’s one of my favorite games of 2021.
Forza Horizon 5 on Steam (Also on Xbox Game Pass)
Elden Ring (PC) (Review in Progress)
Elden Ring is one of the most hyped games of 2022 because the Souls games are extremely popular by developer FromSoftware. What separates Elden Ring is that for the first time in the Souls series it will be open world with the ability to ride around freely. The other aspect of Elden Ring is that George R.R. Martin contributed to the lore of the game.
Elden Ring is essentially my first experience to really try and complete a Souls game. I’m about 50 hours in with plenty of stuff I still have to do. I started off as a Hero with a axe/shield, but have since settled on using a sword with a shield because swords are a bit faster. Despite the challenge and me dying plenty of times, I’m really enjoying the game….when I can play the game.
Yes, unfortunately, the PC version of Elden Ring stinks. For the first day the game launched I could actually launch the game. The next day I couldn’t. I’ve had to really test my technical skills to get this thing running and figure out what I can do and can’t do with the settings to keep it running. I’m extremely disappointed that I have a good enough computer (2060 Super) and I have to bump settings down to keep it running and prevent stuttering. Patches were released, but it’s still very hit or miss. Nothing is more annoying than wanting to play a game, but can’t. Even more annoying, I found out that I have to shut down my computer and turn it back on to get the game working. Restarting doesn’t work!
So back to the game. Do I want to go out of my way to shut down my computer when I’m doing other things just to play this one game? NO! This will likely be a game I continuously go back to throughout the year because I just can’t dedicate every second to cater to this one game and waste even more time trying to get it working.
I’ve got plenty of indie games to play now, but I’ll definitely be updating you on my progress with Elden Ring in future issues!
Lost Ark (PC) (Review in Progress)
Lost Ark is a Korean MMO that I’ve been waiting to play for some time because it originally released many years ago and just recently in February it released a localized version in the west published by Amazon Games. There is so much I like about this game and so much I hate. This is an isometric Diablo looking MMO, but the gameplay actually feels more like a traditional MMO when you’re pressing your skills on the keyboard. Not all the classes were released initially from the Korean version, but I ended up choosing Paladin, good enough for me.
Lost Ark is a very story rich game and the storytelling is actually not that bad, but the story itself gets a bit weird. There are so many cutscenes in the game that it does keep the player engaged as you level up to the cap level of 50. I’ve gotten as far as 50, but I still have story left to do. Going through the story is a bit tedious, but it does give a lot of rewards. Where the game veers off into a rough territory is the monetization. Although the game itself is free-to-play, as anyone can download and play the game through Steam, you can buy power through crystals in the in-game store. There are a lot of things in the game affected by real money, including the actual in-game economy. I have mixed feelings (leaning negative), because nothing is technically cutoff from free-to-play players, but the grind to get where players who spend money are with their items levels is much more annoying and tedious. Content in Lost Ark is gated by character item level.
One of the cooler things about Lost Ark is when you reach the endgame you get a ship to ride seas and visit various islands, with each island being unique and having a different set of goals to get that island’s token reward. The game also has a special “Rapport” system with non-playable characters, as rapport with NPCs can give you rewards. The game also has rapport items that you can gift NPCs to increase rapport.
Here is where my experience takes a sour turn. At least several weeks ago I Iogged on and found out that almost all of my rapport items that I had in storage disappeared! Gone! These are not items easy to obtain, plus I had them in large quantities. They are still gone. I filed a report with Amazon Games weeks ago and nothing has happened, no follow up. Other players are experiencing bugs and missing items of various sorts as well, but they are not being resolved fast enough. I really want to enjoy this game and play until I feel I’m hitting a free-to-play wall, but not if items are just going to go missing when I’m already at a disadvantage. The game has daily login rewards and I do login to get those, but that’s it.
I’m pausing my Lost Ark experience until I get my missing items back.
Sonic Frontiers - Announce Trailer
Sonic Frontiers was shockingly revealed during the Game Awards in December 2021. There are very few details about the game, except that it will be open world. I’m very intrigued to see what a Sonic open world game would be. What contributes to my enthusiasm was my experience playing The Eternal Cylinder earlier in 2021. The Eternal Cylinder is open world and you could roll around at high speeds. I really enjoyed rolling in the open world, so if Sonic Frontiers can get even close to that experience it could be amazing in a Sonic world. I’m looking forward to more details about the game.
Release Date: Holiday 2022 (PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch)
Sonic Frontiers on Steam
Hogwarts Legacy - State of Play Official Gameplay Reveal | PS5, PS4
This gameplay reveal of Hogwarts Legacy might be the most surprising reveal in gaming this year so far. Not only does the game look good visually, the gameplay actually looks very fun! This is also a very well put together presentation that talks about all of the features and gameplay mechanics. This is not just going to appeal to Harry Potter fans, but gamers in general.
Release Date: Holiday 2022 (PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch)
Hogwarts Legacy on Steam
Andre’s Game Hype Rankings: March 2022
Alfred Hitchock - Vertigo, Lost Ark, and Elden Ring were removed from the previous list because they released.
Games REMOVED from My Rankings:
This is a good example of why I have Game Hype Rankings in the first place. The developers haven’t posted an official update since November, and one of them mentioned in the Steam forums that development has slowed down. Unfortunately, I have to bump this off my rankings because now I have no idea when or if this game will be a reality. It will remain on my radar until the next update that sounds promising, then back on the list it goes!
Games ADDED to My Rankings:
WrestleQuest debuts in my rankings in the #2 spot because it’s a wrestling game like no other. It’s an isometric RPG game that has a gameplay system different than any current wrestling game. The game also honors wrestling legends like Andre the Giant, Jake the Snake Roberts, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and others by giving them monuments to learn about them in different world locations. Everything about this looks impressive, even if it has a retro style.
Weird West coincidentally releases today, but I’m going to leave it on the list because this is very very high on the list for me to play, This features isometric ARPG gameplay with CRPG storytelling where player decisions matter in the story. Set in the wild wild west, I look forward to gunslinging with my mouse and keyboard in this very beautiful looking game.
Hogwarts Legacy?!?! Never did I ever predict that I would be hyped for a game set in a Harry Potter universe. Luckily, I don’t need to know about Harry Potter because Hogwarts Legacy is set a century earlier, but people familiar with Harry Potter will recognize certain characters and locations. The gameplay reveal really shocked me, as I did not expect it to be quite as good and visually stunning as it is. Yes, I’m hyped for the game and can’t believe it! It might even end up moving higher in my rankings as the year moves on and more information is revealed.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is the sequel to A Plague Tale: Innocence (2019), a game I reviewed and really enjoyed. The first game was loosely based in the middle ages during the plague, while also having to runaway from enemies and avoid getting bitten by plagued rats. The sequel was revealed in June 2021, but more gameplay footage has since been revealed and I’m more excited now! The combat seems improved. The first game ended on a bit of a cliffhanger tease, so that’s driving my interest for the sequel.
Games On My Hype Radar That May Be Added In the Future:
Alaloth: Champions of The Four Kingdoms (2021), Trek to Yomi (Spring 2022), Sonic Frontiers (Holiday 2022). Clash: Artifacts of Chaos (November 2022), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (2022), Immortality (2022), Gotham Knights (October 25, 2022), Starfield (November 11, 2022), Replaced (2022), God of War Ragnarok (2022)
The next issue of Andre’s Indie Game Chosen Ones will be published very soon!
It will feature:
Indie Game Discovery Roundup
GDC 2022 Virtual Preview Reports
Steam Early Access Report
Expect the next issue of Andre’s Gaming Odds & Ends to be published in several weeks.
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