Mayday, Pile Going Down - Pile of Shame May 2023

Well, that didn't last...

Life got a little hectic and then I got sick for a couple of days. Toss is some business travel and welcome to 5/9 for the thread.

Mea culpa

Some housekeeping notes.

If you're interested, trueheart78, has the 12 month 2023 pile plan thread over here.

A quick reminder, in order to be considered "Pile of Shame" the game needs to be at least three months old. Otherwise, it's just a new game you haven't gotten to playing yet.

Also, if you are curious about some of the previous threads, Picks of the Pile, etc... Please go here and check out the spreadsheet I setup.

This month's Pick of the Pile is

Yoku's Island Express

"Welcome to Yoku’s Island Express! Say hello to Yoku the Dung Beetle, a new hero who has arrived on Mokumana Island to relieve the resident pterodactyl postmaster, or Posterodactyl, as he’s known, of his duties.

He’s ready for the easy life, soaking up the sun and delivering parcels on a tropical paradise! However, Yoku will quickly discover that an ancient Island deity is trapped in a restless sleep, and a host of colourful, quirky islanders are plagued by quakes and storms brought forth by its nightmares." (Official Site)

Arietta of Spirits - brokenclavicle
Cities: Skylines - kstress71, jdzappa
Elder Scrolls Online - jdzappa
Ender Lillies - iaintgotnopants
Final Fantasy VII - AUs_TBirD
Final Fantasy IX - LastSurprise, Stele, Malkroth
Final Vendetta - AUs_TBirD
Horizon Zero Dawn - iaintgotnopants, Hemi
Kenshi - Stele
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - JohnKillo
Marvel's Midnight Suns - LastSurprise
Metroid Prime - AUs_TBirD
Resident Evil 2 Remake - Forlorn Hope
Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon - brokenclavicle
Spiritfarer - Forlorn Hope
Stories Untold - brokenclavicle
Subsurface Circular - brokenclavicle
Tales of Arise - kstress71
Titanfall 2 - iaintgotnopants
Wild Arms - brokenclavicle
Yoku's Island Express - kstress71, AUs_TBirD

Endless Space 2 - LastSurprise
Expeditions Rome - Malkroth
Paperbark - AUs_TBirD
Total War Warhammer 3 - jdzappa

Sega Saturn
Shining Force III Scenario 1 - JohnKillo

No worries Hemi, and thanks as usual. Hope you're fully recovered.

Please add:

Final Fantasy VII - AUs_TBirD
Yoku's Island Express - AUs_TBirD

Paperbark - AUs_TBirD

I'm nearing the end of disc 2 in Final Fantasy VII, which feels roughly around where I abandoned the game 25ish years ago. Gonna push through to the end this time!
Yoku's and Paperbark are new to me. I've played a bit of Yoku's, and it seems neat. Paperbark sits untouched so far, but it's supposed to be less than an hour long.

Just cleaned out my multitap (friends list) of anyone who hasn't updated in 3 years or more. It was a sobering experience tossing out mostly goodjers (including you, Hemidal ), and culling the list from 94 down to 23. Some people I had on there hadn't updated in 13 years. How time flies.

Final Fantasy IX

For the clubs.

Carrying over. But if I don't finish them by Thursday I guess I'm probably not, since Zelda is coming.

For me, I should be able to wrap up Final Fantasy 9 (multi) this month for the JRPG club. I am hoping to also get through Expeditions Rome (PC) but I am still in Act 1 so I don't actually know how long the game is and Zelda is coming so I may get derailed after that.

Going to declare mostly shorties this month and one JRPG I've been replaying on the PS4, since I'm nearing the end there.

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon (multi)
Subsurface Circular (multi)
Stories Untold (multi)
Wild Arms (multi)

I finally have some free time again so I'm back to working on Horizon Zero Dawn which I think I originally started toward the end of December.

At this point, the bloat has gotten to me and I've given up on clearing the map. I'm just trying to finish as quickly as I can. Based on a quest list I looked up, I have five more story quests so I should be done by the end week.

Well, that was faster than I originally thought. Just put the finishing touches to Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon with the True Ending. Been playing it off and on for weeks, so it's been some practice before I was able to "git gud". Will probably keep playing now and then until I've unlocked a few of the characters and feats I may be missing. The ending was more touching that I expected it to be, meaning I didn't expect anything out of the ending and it was short but sweet and pretty relatable. Never thought I'd say that about a puzzle/rogue-like.

Just put Wild Arms down on the PS4. Got the Platinum and all. I loved this game when it came out, loved playing through it again a few years back, and now, inching close to its 30 year anniversary, I have completed it once more with new perspective. So much nostalgia attached to this, for me. I wonder if I'll ever make the time to play it again. If not, this time I made sure to squeeze every last drop of enjoyment and content from it.

Also, this is how you do JRPG endings. Still one of the most satisfying. And the tool mechanics are something I sorely miss.

2 down, 2 to go.

Finished Horizon Zero Dawn. I really liked the world and the story was decent. There was way too much bloat and the combat was terrible. The combat really felt like it was built around playing with a controller and having aim assist. Overall, I somehow ended up liking the game despite how much I hated the combat which I guess is a testament to how good the world is.

Not sure what I'm going to play next. I've added quite a few games since I last revised my pile list.

Stories Untold is done. Took me about 3 or 4 hours. It's comprised of four chapters, the third of which was the most challenging by a mile. Liked the presentation. Found the end reveal, well, not as cool as I would have hoped, but it was alright for a short little game.

3 down, 1 to go.

Rolling over two games from April and adding one:

City Skylines
Total War Warhammer 3
Elder Scrolls Online

I going to start on Titanfall 2 and Ender Lillies.

Those should take me through the end of the month. I'm going to play Ender Lillies on Steam Deck so it'll probably get drawn out into next month. Titanfall 2 is apparently pretty short and I wouldn't be surprised if I finished by this weekend. But, I probably won't start another game unless I can find something short and already installed. I don't want to be mid-game when Diablo comes out and I've already used over half of my data cap for the month.

Ender Lillies is fantastic. Have fun.

Titanfall 2 is done. Really fun. Would have preferred it be probably twice as long as it was but fun nonetheless. Apparently, they were planning a single-player Titanfall/Apex crossover game but have already cancelled it. That's disappointing would like more of this.

While I'm just 1 game away from clearing all my current pile picks, I've also been playing Arietta of Spirits (multi) and am about 2 thirds through the story, so I may as well add it to my picks. Both of my pending games will likely see the credits roll by Sunday, methinks.

Wrapped up Final Fantasy 9 last night. Overall I quite enjoyed the game, but the ability system they put in place left me with a lot of time in menus, either swapping gear or support abilities. I posted a more thorough post in the JRPG club last night.

With only one weekend left and being out of town for it, I probably will not finish Expeditions Rome this month.

Arietta of Spirits has seen its credits roll. Just one more game on my list for the month to go!

Just finished up Tales of Arise last night. I went a crazy-wide spectrum of attitudes on this game from the early hours to the final boss and ending. I'm going to drop some comments in the game-specific thread on it to get some feedback from others, but in short, I hated it at first but by the end found it to be one of the most engaging and thoughtful RPG stories I've experienced. I'm glad that the JRPG Club selection inspired me to push through my initial feelings.

Shinning Force 3 Part 1? And more Trails in the Sky SC.

Shinning Force 3 is a little hard to go back to. It’s very verbose more than a Trails game and combat a little barren. I hope to love it.

Subsurface Circular is done. That was an interesting little departure from most of the stuff I've played recently. And that makes it... 5 for 5 this month. Looking at my history with Pile picks, I seem to have my strongest months from February to June. I guess this means I'll likely be terrible at completion the rest of the year hehehe.

After 53 hours and with Cloud at level 78, I finally finished Final Fantasy VII after a quarter century. Just like in 1998 (on PC), I ran out of steam no later than the Golden Saucer. Back then, I managed to keep going until right before the submarine before abandoning it. In 2023, I just turned to a walkthrough and powered through. The walkthrough also increased my playtime though, by pointing me to various sidequests and activities I would have otherwise missed.
I remember being blown away by FF7 when it was new - mostly by everything in Midgar. In 2023, I had to keep reminding myself of the game's age and revolutionary nature. Much of it remains impressive, but most side activities just felt badly underbaked. I had zero interest in Chocobo breeding, couldn't be bothered to do the bare minimum in Gold Saucer, nope'd out after two optional fights in Ft. Condor, was incredibly thankful that I only had to snowboard once (holy cow those controls are bad!), and skipped lots of other little timewasters. I was also incredibly thankful for the ability to triple the game speed - traversal and grinding became much more enjoyable that way, as well as the long, long, LONG battle animations (limit breaks and summons).
The world of FF7 is still an interesting one, which I hope the remake has fleshed out quite a bit, and the story still has some high notes - as does most of the music.
I can't imagine going back to the game without modern amenities, but the Switch version was just about the perfect way to play this groundbreaking game.


Also "rolled" credits on Yoku's Island Express last night, which was a real charmer of a no-fail Metroidvania with some cool pinball mechanics. Finished at 72% completion, so I could see myself going back to try to at least plant the last shroom and light the final two torches if collecting the requisite thingamajigs doesn't prove too hard. Kinda want to see what happens if I do.

After less than an hour, I have finished Paperbark with a majority of the achievements, and I did not rush the experience at all. It's a nice little story about a day or two of a wombat's life in the Outback, and presented with a gorgeous art style and great nature sounds. A few pathfinding issues and some ho-hum narration hold it back, but it's a pleasant way to spend an evening.