We're back with another issue of Now Playing at SUPERJUMP! We're excited to have an entry this week from the one and only James Burns, Editor in Chief of SUPERJUMP! With all he has going on, it's a wonder he's able to play games at all, so we're excited to kick off this week's fully-packed celebration of all we're playing with his entry. Enjoy, and we'll see you back here soon with more recommendations, and odes to the games our team loves!
I'm re-playing Hollow Knight at the moment. This is my second playthrough and I'm about 6 hours in. When I first played the game (years ago), I got about 9 hours in but then bounced off. I think this is largely because I got lost/stuck (and no doubt it's also because some other shiny game came along that demanded my attention).
I was convinced to play again due to two of my siblings begging me to see it through to the end. They're both huge fans of the game - having finished it multiple times - and their passionate love for the experience (especially the lore and characters) convinced me to play again.
This time around, I'm using a guide to help me with the trickier bits (like the Soulsborne games, you can quite easily miss out on important characters and side quests if you don't know where to look). This time around I'm having a far better experience and I can genuinely see the magic and wonder in Hollow Knight. I'm amazed by the fact that such a small team built this remarkable game, and I'm also proud that it was developed in Australia. In my view, Hollow Knight is very much the kind of game I'd expect from a company like Nintendo; it's that brilliant on every level. If you're one of the few people on Earth who still hasn't played it, please make time for it. You're bound to fall in love.
I'm on the last leg of Spiritfarer at the moment. I knew the game's narrative would have some emotional heft, but I wasn't expecting the gameplay to be so addictive. I'm tempted to load up an old Stardew Valley save after playing this one. I have only minor grievances with the progression, but this game is a must-play for sure. It's one that will leave me pondering long after the game rolls credits. Once I finish that up, I'll be playing some Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. I got just over halfway through the game shortly after it was released, but dropped off for some reason or other. If I somehow clear both of these games, I'm hoping to jump into The Talos Principle later in the week.
I've been bitten by the immersive sim bug! I recently picked up Nightdive's remake of Warren Spector's brilliant 1994 game System Shock, and I've been thoroughly engrossed with it. I wager if I had played it last year, it might have made my 2023 GOTY list. This dip into System Shock inspired me to dig further into the genre, so I've been replaying Ion Storm's original Deus Ex and Origin's Ultima Underworld (both of which are Warren Spector games). It is incredible how much of an impact a handful of titles from this genre has had on the wider games industry. They might be visually showing their age, but mechanically they hold up quite well.
I just finished Hollow Knight after it had sat in my gaming backlog for years. I had avoided the game simply because Metroidvanias can feel overwhelming and daunting. I’m glad I stuck with it this time. I’d say the hardest part was figuring out where to go after the crossroads and acquiring a few main abilities- then the game played a lot smoother. I beat the final FINAL boss and played around in the Pantheon of the Gods for a while, beating two before calling it quits. It was a terrific experience with so many secrets that gave the game incredible depth. As much as Hollow Knight is revered, it’s not for everyone. It’s incredibly difficult and tested my patience with backtracking, grinding, and pattern recognition. There is a level of perfection I won’t achieve, but simply making it through the White Palace was an accomplishment enough for me.
I started Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor over the weekend and I've been thoroughly enjoying it throughout the week! It has some Ubisoft energy where it has collectibles and some side quests that get a bit repetitive, but it's actually a pretty fun game. The Nemesis system is awesome, where enemies that defeat you get promoted in Sauron's army and become stronger the next time you meet them, and will even taunt you upon meeting them again. I've gotten over-leveled from grinding out as much as possible so I haven't experienced it much, but it's awesome and I wish WB didn't patent the mechanic so other games could try implementing it. The enemy AI isn't great, but that makes the stealth fun for someone who doesn't usually like stealth. Executions, animations, and more are satisfying to use, so I'd definitely recommend it for any LOTR or Middle-Earth fans out there.
I started playing The Cub this week, and for such a short game it was full of in-depth story and beautiful artwork. With heavy influence from The Jungle Book, this platformer was nostalgic in a way that I wasn't expecting. This game plays like the Disney platformers out of the 90's, but with a post-apocalyptic touch. Almost everything in the environment is trying to kill you, but you're also running away from people wanting to capture you. Along with puzzle solving and listening to a Martian radio show through a helmet, you'll have to stay on your toes for parts of the game that require precise timing to avoid your demise. Short and sweet, The Cub has been full of surprises. I'll be writing more on this one soon.
These days, I've been busy with Sona-Nyl of the Violet Shadows. It's one of Liar-soft's visual novels in the Steampunk series and a fascinating study of memories and loss after big tragedies. With it finally concluded, I'm looking into other things to enjoy now. From this weekend onwards, I will be playing Persona 3 Reload. It'll be my first time returning to the game since my PS2 memory card got corrupted near the end of the game, and I look forward to playing through it slowly. Besides that, I'll be playing a visual novel called Omurice Next Time. It's a story of a gay couple who love eating and bonding over these comfortable moments together, and I'm interested to see how this is handled in the game.
I've been playing an unhealthy amount of Palworld with my partner. She's laid up from surgery (she's okay) so we have a lot of time on our hands, and despite it being Breath of the Wild and Ark: Survival Evolved combined with some of the most blatant Pokémon ripoffs I've ever seen, I can't stop playing it. It has a long way to go, but it feels like the Pokémon game I've wanted since I was a kid but never got. Gamefreak said "no, you can't ride the Pokémon." And Pocket Pair responded with "Ride them? You can eat them. Do whatever." And I love it to pieces.
On top of that I've finally started the endgame of Baldur's Gate 3 after a few month break, and every time I play it I'm reminded why that game swept the awards the way it did. It immediately sucked me back in and I am constantly thinking about when I can dive back into the world of Faerûn. Finally, I started S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadows of Chernobyl since the sequel has been confirmed, and I can already see why it has the following it does. It's surprisingly complex, with a lot to do and a great sense of foreboding atmosphere despite the fact that the graphics have aged quite a bit. I'm excited to dive in deeper and am even more excited for the sequel.
That's a wrap for this week's Now Playing at SUPERJUMP! Thank you for checking out the veritable treasure trove of games our team is playing right now, and be sure to check back next week when we're back with more.
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