But is it worth the full price?

From time to time, I’ve caught myself thinking that a game is worth the full price or not worth the full price… sometimes, I’d wishlist a game to buy it on a sale while I’d immediately buy other titles even when they’re not even on a discount and that lead to me think… how do I set those standards and why am I allowed to judge whether or not a game is worth the full price tag? Hence, a small post on that topic.

Sometimes you play a game solely for the experience. You can’t play it again after your first time really… or rather, you can play it again but the experience won’t be the same and it’s maybe even ruined for you, like in Outer Wilds. Similarly, other games add a lot of replayability to them or have a ton of content in them, like Hades or Risk of Rain 2, while other games have collectables and great stories or enjoyable combat, etc. like Bioshock 2. Hence, it’s very hard to put a price tag on your time and answer whether or not your time has been well-spent on a game that cost ten bucks, twenty bucks or sixty bucks. It’s hard to give a good answer… but sometimes you see a game that costs twenty bucks and it doesn’t even give you twenty hours of content out of it, while a lot of other games have so much replayability in them or offer so much extra content that you could spend days in them, past completion, to discover all the little extras and bits that were hidden.

Stardew Valley costs 14€ on Steam. I remember buying it from one of my first paychecks back in 2016. I worked three hours as a waiter and had to deal with very annoying guests on that one Sunday there while my boss was taking a nap and while everyone else was not in the house. I had to prepare drinks and coffees and even food from the small menu and it was absolutely not worth it as I didn’t even get tipped by those annoying and very demanding guests. 14€ isn’t the steepest price tag but I got 112 hours out of this game so far and I have yet to get through the game and get to the newest content and the modded content and all of that. The game is super underpriced in my opinion but I probably wouldn’t have bought it for 60€. 30€? Maybe. 25€? 100%. 14€? Way too cheap! If I donate half a litre of blood, I get 20€ meaning that I can buy Among Us and Stardew Valley for half a litre of blood on Steam. I can get my blood’s worth out of those games easily and it would still be enough. But for what it is, I wouldn’t be able to pay more than 10€ for Among Us, especially since it has a free version on mobile… yup.

So time = money doesn’t work in games, since games don’t work like that. Monster Hunter World and Stardew Valley cost different amounts of money but I love both of these games in different ways. While I may have clocked in less time into Outer Wilds, I paid mostly for the experience, the soundtrack, the art style, the story, the gameplay in Outer Wilds… and it was 100% worth it. Monster Hunter World has this beautiful and stunning world, these epic monsters, no spiders, not too grindy grinds, fun co-op, lots of quests and event quests, a lot of stuff to do, cosmetics and an end-game that is worth it. It has a high skill-ceiling as well, which is amazing to have in games, in my opinion, which is why I clocked so many hours into that game…

Meanwhile, the 2020 remake of Destroy All Humans! costs 30 bucks, adds no new content compared to the old game, and the graphics have been barely touched “to keep it nostalgic”. The game still has annoying controls, there are little to no things to do in the world, there isn’t any extra content past the story, really, and there are still a lot of bugs in the game that made the game rather frustrating… including a very annoying escort mission. Regardless, it was fun at first… but eventually, I regretted the purchase, especially after that refund-window was over.

I feel like that it’s a common theme for developers these days to re-release games on different platforms and sell the nostalgia feel while front-loading the early game… and then everything else feels “eh” but you can’t refund it anymore… or people stop playing after a few hours.

And that’s a problem because you can’t really evaluate games based on their price tags or playtimes. You can’t evaluate it based on the contents and essentially, it’s all a rather personal thing and statements like “not worth the full price tag” don’t really say anything really… if anything it feels wrong to say stuff like that and I’ll have to be careful not to fall into that habit myself. 

Rather, I feel like we need to move away from trying to play through games or to play “at least” a certain number of hours in it. I feel like mentalities like that can take out a lot from games and make them less enjoyable, which is a bummer. Instead, I feel like the only value you can get out of games is your personal enjoyment. Based on you and your preferences, an hour of a game can be worth nothing or priceless already. 

Krikket actually put it into some really nice words by calling it “play to satisfaction”, which essentially enables her to drop a game if it doesn’t work at all or to grind the heck out of it if she absolutely loves it – and I feel like more people need to get to games with that mindset. I still sometimes regret purchases… but it’s less of a thing for me as of late and I’ve really been enjoying games no matter how long they are, especially due to the experience they gave me so far and have yet to give me and especially with the challenges I sometimes tend to impose onto myself. It’s great to change the mindset a bit and not ask “how much is this game worth?” but rather “how much is my time worth?” – The first question is more about the money/price tag. The latter question is more about prioritisation and whether or not you want to play one game right now and another later or which game you may enjoy more. It’s less about the actual money you worked for or that you paid… it’s more about what game you may enjoy more and testing out boundaries and new genres.

But that’s it mostly for today’s thoughts on a random topic that rushed through my head. I hope that I kind of made sense. Check out Krikket’s post! Krikket is cool! Uh, happy St. Patty’s Day! Happy Humpday! Hope you’re well! Let me know if you have any rules or ideas on how to evaluate games… or if you, too, think that it’s stupid to do that.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

A Stray Sheep on Blogging Daily

I’m currently on a 54-day streak on Indiecator according to WordPress. It just kind of happened over the last few days of 2020 and I ended up sticking with it after seeing that I accumulated a few days of daily blogging. Alas, I figured: Why not challenge myself in 2021 and see for how long I can keep this up? 

And well, today I ended up having no prompt and no idea what to write about. Thus, my prompt for today is just about that: Daily blogging and the pickle I’m in. Kind of a cheat in a way, right? When you can’t think of anything to write about, write about the issue you’re facing, eh? 

Over the past 54 days, I’ve posted twelve game reviews, including one that was just edited by me (aka Quietschisto’s guest post). Daily Blogging kind of helped me with just going for any game and tackling it head-on. Write about it since you wanted to write about it for so long but haven’t had the chance to do so. My review on Hades, for instance, is one that has been sitting in the drafts for ages and that got changed over and over and over again. I would just rewrite it so many times, resulting in me never posting it until everyone has written about it already, which gave me less of a reason to write about it. In a way, daily blogging pushed me to abandon that idea of “everything having been said already” on certain titles. I mean, I even made a post on Crywank, a band that I love and adore SO MUCH but that hardly anyone knows about – or at least it feels like that within my circles. I loved writing about it and some vague and interesting thought and prompt I had in mind and semi-analysing their song “Now I’m Sad”, effectively warping the idea of the song or the idea of one passage into something that I live by. And my Dr Pepper review? It was only semi-serious and kind of dumb but I’ve been meaning to make a post on that for ages now. Nowadays, it’s probably a lot less relevant since my blog’s and my stream’s theme doesn’t revolve around it as much anymore… but I still had a lot of fun writing about it.

I got to post about Bioshock 2Destiny 2, and even Valheim just recently, and I got to explore other ideas I had for drafts, effectively shrinking my drafts folder down considerably from the 100 something drafts I had to… 60… At least, that’s something! 

Publishing a post every day is a bit rough for me lately due to exams and other obligations. Potentially starting next week, I’ll have to go to my internship and hence I will have less time to stream and blog, which is going to be bothersome… but I’ll manage somehow. The biggest factor in all of this has been time-management. Balancing the time I study, the time I spent with Ms Magi, the time I need to take care of myself, food, laundry and other chores, as well as the time I invest in blogging and streaming… balancing all of that can be a bit tricky at times but learning about that now and setting priorities is a skill that I’ll have to learn eventually anyways. With my headspace being a mess lately and me procrastinating more often these days, all of these priorities are a jumbled mess and I’m having a hard time settling for appropriate times to publish posts or do things like laundry and whatever. Alas, that’s a bit of an issue, but I’ll manage somehow.

I think the biggest takeaway from releasing a post every evening for the last couple of days has been this sense of accomplishment after hitting “publish” again. I really have been enjoying this sense of winding down after a lot of studies (or other things) by making tea, sitting down at my desk and writing about anything really. Hitting “publish” means that I created something and finished it immediately. It’s done. Just like the day. Then I get sleepy and go to bed. A new day begins and I get to do other things before winding down with a blog post later. That’s been quite a nice feeling for me as of late, and I appreciate the fact that I get to write for people about things that I’m passionate about. I’d love it if I could continue like this forever.

And I know, I know… technically, I haven’t written the post yesterday. Quietschisto did. I frankly edited his post, added my editorial note at the beginning and end, formated it, added screenshots and that info box, before posting it… now that I think about it, it sounds actually like more than I did, but you catch my drift, right? It was a joint effort. And I was and still am glad that Thomas (and two others so far) offered themselves up for writing about games and reviewing them essentially on my blog. I hope that it pays out for them as well in terms of views, clout, traffic or whatever you wanna call it. I really hope it does. In the same way, I hope I get to write something for others as well once I have a bit more time for that. But still, I kind of have this feeling that that post doesn’t count as “my post” and that the streak is falsified through that… but at the same time, I posted 56 posts in 54 days, so I could technically argue that I’ve redeemed myself already… not that someone’s trying to guilt-trip me about that other than myself. I’m just being weird.

At last, a bonus of blogging daily has been that I’ve been able to generate more traffic for the blog, effectively. That means that more people have been around, which is cool, and more people got to read about the cool games that I wrote about, resulting in potentially new people finding out about these Indie gems… and I’m happy about that. Yesterday’s post even got retweeted by the developers on Twitter, which I’m really glad about. They thanked Quietschisto and me for the review with THREE exclamation marks! That must mean that they really liked it! Right? Right?! Right! Yup! Probably! I’m glad about that! 😀 

Anyways, I managed to fulfil my quota by posting yet again about my experience with daily blogging. Again, I didn’t really have a prompt for today until I had this prompt. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post. 

Hope you enjoyed my rambling today! Take care of yourself!

Cheers!

This post was first published by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken on Indiecator.

Late to the Party #5 – Bioshock 2

During the Spooktober of last year, I played through the first Bioshock game on Twitch. I loved it. I loved the universe, the soundtrack, the combat and the way the whole world is fleshed out. You can read about all of that in my post on it from November 28th. Alas, I recently got into the second game on Stream as well and we managed to play through it just a little over a week ago. Alas, it’s time for another LttP post!

Note: There may be minor to small spoilers for the game. I didn’t talk about certain things to not spoil them or ruin the effect on you… but I guess you wouldn’t read this if you didn’t know already that there could be spoilers. In any case, you’ve been warned about potential spoilers. Enjoy the post!

First things first, I’d like to say that the Bioshock games are somewhat old already. Alas, I played the Remastered version of the second game as it’s just a bit more pleasing on the eyes. There are also fewer bugs in it and the sound doesn’t have as many hiccups as the original version, which is great. I guess you could argue that it’s not the same as playing the actual Bioshock 2 game but honestly, I don’t see the point in differentiating between the two games. The Remastered version did perform better on my newer PC, alas I just played that. 

While we were playing as some sort of agent that infiltrated Rapture in the first game, the second game lets us play as one of the most iconic denizens of Rapture, the Big Daddy. We explore through the decrepit and beautiful fallen city, chasing an unseen foe named Lamb, in search for answers. Our little sister was taken away from us as we were asked if we would kindly shoot ourselves. Somehow, though, we survived and got revived in a vita chamber in Rapture, which is where our story begins.

From the getgo, I was in awe. I love Rapture and the Bioshock universe but in this game… it’s just more rotten and devastated. The sunken city is incredibly pretty, especially when we get to explore the underwater world in our Big Daddy suit. I loved the new perspective on things as we hear the ground trembling as we stomp through the areas. While we’re somewhat slow, the game equipped us with a powerful drill as well as a bunch of different weapons and powers to add to our arsenal. 

Just like in the first game, you’re able to sling spells, so-called “Plasmids” at our foes and opponents, all in order to survive. If that’s not your style, you still have the option of using guns or melee attacks. What surprised me was that while I wasn’t unsatisfied with combat in the first game, I really enjoyed the changes to combat in the second game. For instance, we’re able to use plasmids and weapons at the same time, resulting in some cool interactions. Our drill is powerful but requires fuel, which adds a new type of ammunition to the game. If you’re out of it, you won’t be able to use your drill’s charge attack but you can still wack enemies rather well, smashing their faces and breaking their spirits. Apart from that, the camera that you use to find out about enemy weaknesses now doesn’t require ammunition anymore.

On top of that, you now have a hacking tool to remote-hack turrets, cameras and doors, which is lovely. Even the hacking tool, however, can be used as a weapon to place down miniature turrets that deal a good amount of damage.

Hacking in the first game was kind of janky in a way. Often, you’d rely on luck rather than skill as you were pressured by the time running out and as you needed to guide water through a circuit board, which didn’t typically make sense. The mini-game was fun but kind of unlogical in a way. Meanwhile, in this game, you’re able to hack enemies while in combat and you actually have to prove your skill as you hit certain areas in a smaller sized mini-game. It obviously isn’t the best solution but it is one that exists and that doesn’t utilize water, which is a good thing. 

Overall, the second game offers a lot of quality of life changes that improve combat and hacking. The soundtrack is still amazing. The game looks stunning.

But the issue with Bioshock 2 is that you don’t really have an enemy of sorts for most of the game. You hear about Lamb here and there but you never really know who that’s supposed to be. In the same manner, you’ve got Sinclair who just stops by and suddenly starts to help you but I couldn’t just get attached to him as a help, especially as our helper in the first game ended up betraying us. By the end of the game, I felt a bit let down as Sinclair didn’t betray us at all… that’s a shame? I guess? Or not? I don’t know.

The world-building is well-done and the game feels immersive. Characters have an actual backstory and their own motivations and ideals but in the end, the story overall feels somewhat lacking in a way especially as you go through the first few areas with little to no clue about who you are, who Lamb is and what your goal is. You need to free your little sister but that’s about it, I guess? Why do you go that far and what makes you special from other Big Daddies? 

Another nice addition is that, after defeating Big Daddies, you get to adopt (or harvest) their Little Sisters. You then get to harvest bodies for Adam while defending your Little Sister in order to attain more of that scarce resource that you need for your upgrades. Lovely! 

Just like in the first game, you have a good and a bad ending. Harvesting the little sisters ends up giving you the bad ending while adopting and rescuing them gives you a good ending. On top of that, you have these scenarios in the game where you can kill the leaders of the different areas or you spare them. Each of these decisions also influences your ending a little bit. In one of the early areas, I had the option of killing an unarmed black woman. She put us through hell but I decided to walk away. She then realised that I wasn’t some sort of baby-snatcher and monster but rather more than that: A human being.

Alas, she provided us with some support and she got to live. I would have liked it if we would have heard more of her later on… but in the end, that didn’t happen. No idea what happened to her. 

So, the story feels a bit weaker but in the final hours, it got rather emotional and nearly brought me to tears. The additions and improvements to the game felt great. The new spells and mechanics are interesting. The story, while at first somewhat weaker, made me feel… things. On top of that, we finally were able to see through the eyes of a Big Daddy (and more, wink wink). And all in all, I really enjoyed this game. I hope that I get to play Bioshock Infinite soon. I’d also like to play the Bioshock 2 DLC “Minerva’s Den” eventually… but that will have to wait until it goes on sale. 

For now, this just means that there is another game that I played through (in a time of nearly 10 hours with 27/53 achievements completed) and I really enjoyed it. The backlog ended up shrinking a little and hopefully, I get to have more fun with other titles in the future again.

Nice.

What about you? Did you play Bioshock 2 and if so, did you enjoy it? Let me know! Also, are there any other titles that you’d like to see featured here that I may not have played yet? I’d love to get into the Fallout Games eventually and maybe write something about Borderlands 3 (as I still haven’t played that game in the franchise) or about NieR Replicant which is coming out soon. But that will have to wait until I get to it and until I have a bit more time. 

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.