I’m sure the answer to this is yes, but has anyone else found that quarantine has pretty dramatically changed how they consume games? I’ve basically reverted back to the way I played games as a teenager/unemployed person. I’ve been replaying a ton of older games, including some pretty questionable ones, and I’ve even dug out some of my older handheld consoles for the first time in years. I just can’t imagine myself doing that if I didn’t suddenly have so much free time on my hands. Most recently I’ve played:
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow - This was the only GBA Castlevania I missed out on as a young person, and one of only two IGA Castlevanias I hadn’t played before. It’s very good so far! Though I will say I’m moving through it at a much faster pace than I remember progressing in the old games - I only played for what felt like a handful of hours over the weekend, and I’m already at over 50% castle completion with a decent number of upgrades. I’m assuming that will slow down as the difficulty ramps up and it becomes harder to find new areas. Anyway, the pixel art hold ups great (though it is a brighter game than I expected) and I slipped back into the rhythm of the combat almost immediately. It’s been so long since I played a Castlevania game it’s hard for me to say where it falls in the grand scheme of things, though it’s clearly in the upper tier. Portrait of Ruin would be the obvious next step for me and would mean I’ve played every modern entry in the series, but tbh I’m more interested in replaying Symphony of the Night or Order of Ecclesia.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood - About once a decade I get it in my head that I’m going to try to finish an old-school Castlevania, and every time I get my ass absolutely handed to me. I made it as far as stage 6 before I threw in the towel this time. I beat my head against a wall with Death at the end of stage 5 for multiple days, and I honestly didn’t think I was going to get past that point; eventually I did, only to immediately be greeted by a boss rush. As much as I appreciate the art and music, I think I finally have to admit that old-school Castlevania just isn’t for me. The difficulty is too much and they just don’t click for me in the way the post-SOTN games do.
FEAR 2: Project Origin - Folks, I don’t even know where to start with this game. I remember liking it well enough on release, and for the first few minutes it does make a good impression; I thought it was going to be a better-looking version of the first game, with maybe slightly tweaked combat. Sadly, it is not that. It looks better, sure, but everything else about it is much dumber and more boring than the first game. When people describe FPS’s as shooting galleries, this is exactly what they’re talking about. There’s absolutely no tension to the encounters, the guns have no punch to them, and the enemies never do anything to even remotely surprise you. I don’t even understand what went wrong to make it so inferior to the original. It also starts treating the story a lot more seriously than the first game, which on the surface is a good idea, but in reality it was a lot more charming as goofy camp. This game is trash and I can’t find a single reason to recommend it. I won’t be continuing with the series.
Lonely Mountains: Downhill - I kept hearing good things about this, and it’s on Game Pass, so I finally gave it a shot. I’m glad I did! It has a really great vibe - even though the graphics are low-poly, there’s so much attention to detail, from the sound your wheels make skidding down a mountain to to the way the wildlife moves, that it does a great job capturing the feeling of being alone in the wilderness. That alone would be enough to sell me, but there’s also a very solid, physics-y biking game in there too. It’s alternately very chill and twitch-based; you can either have a nice, leisurely ride down a mountain, or you can fling yourself down anything even remotely resembling a slope in hopes of shaving a tenth of a second your time. I think I love it.