Suns out for the start of the first weekend in July here in the UK, although it appears to not be set to continue, with storms approaching before the nice weather really gets settled in. Yes, I’m being a cliché Brit and complaining about the weather.
Instead, let me just share with you the highlights I’m looking forward to this weekend.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Switch
This JRPG is a real beaut. Developed by Level-5 in a collaboration with Studio Ghibli, the influences from the Japanese animation studio are front and centre. Ghibli specifically put together animated sequences, but the art style carries through the whole game and is a delight to look at. That same attention to detail is also shown in other areas of the game too, such as the gorgeous Wizard Companion book that the main character carries with him, available for the player to peruse at their leisure, as they collect pages to fill in the gaps. I’m not surprised to see that physical version of this book and it looks as magical as I would expect.
I’m still quite early to tell how good the actual game is, but the combat is feeling reasonably solid so far. Think of a turn-based real time game, ala some of the Final Fantasies, but where you are also able to move your character around the battlefield too. This allows you to back off when you want to heal and adds some extra decisions when prioritising targets (can you close the distance to deal with that ranged enemy first or just deal with the melee?) I’m liking the combat at the moment, but I do often find JRPGs get a little samey in that aspect. The quests seem to be your standard type of hunt creatures, find lost children, collect some flowers, etc. that you will be use to from other similar games. The world and the storytelling are what really stand out though and I’m looking forward to dive further into it.
Murder by Numbers
I didn’t manage to get to this last weekend, as the final episode of the first Phoenix Wright game took much longer than I was expecting. I did finally manage to give it a go other though and it seems like it will be a good time. It certainly appears to take inspiration from Phoenix Wright for the writing, with it being pitched at just the right balance of silliness. The characters are enjoyable so far and the first case is a reasonable murder mystery. The picross puzzles are pretty straightforward at the moment, but I have only played for barely an hour, so I wouldn’t expect them to throw you too much in the deep end yet. I was also not expecting to need to draw a tampon, but it was a good way to set the tone.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Thought I would return to this, now that I’m much more familiar with the franchise after having seen the films for the first time with 20th anniversary cinema showings (why I didn’t see them when they originally came out in my early teens, I have no idea). I only played a little of it originally, getting distracted by something else quite quickly, even though I liked the general feel of the combat and what little I saw of the very cool nemesis system that everyone raves about,
Playing it again now, I’m certainly enjoying it. The combat is a fun remix of what the Batman Arkham games perfected, whilst the world itself is a reasonable implementation of the sort of thing you would find in an Assassin’s Creed game. Navigating the world is a little tedious though, with so many orcs to either fight through or avoid. As is also the case with these games, traveling to a quest marker normally takes in various detours to the many, many other markers dotted around the map. It is also a very, very brown game, perhaps a sign of its age.
I think my first goal will be to try to unlock as many of the towers as I possibly can, as they also serve as fast travel points. I’ll also mostly be sticking with the main mission quests, as it looks like the side quests aren’t going to be that interesting.