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March Monthly Digest 2024

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BY SnowWulF ON April 17, 2024

Welcome back to the Monthly Digest series entry for March in 2024.

This is probably the shortest entry in the series yet. In my defense the month was full of reallife activities like hiking, eastern and birthdays, so my playtime on the weekends got really slim. Nonetheless, I finally beat a game which holds a special place in my heart (and head).

Also, I have a request at the end of the article. (For everyone who cares about ownership rights of games)

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Monthly Bounty

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One month of Adventure Games down, one more to go!

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Myst: Masterpiece Edition


PC/Windows - Steam
Finished
Time: 5h 56m
Rating: 7 out of 10

Have you ever experienced the feeling of being betrayed by your own memories? Like, you could swear that something happened, but there is hard evidence that it could never have been true. Well ... I got this feeling while playing Myst.

A little storytime: Little Snowi´s uncle liked video games and was a big fan of the Myst series. So, he somehow got his hands on Myst, Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation, which were for whatever reason was in english. (He only speaks german btw.) One day, while I was visiting, he had the game still open on his laptop. Of course I was interested and asked him about the game. He then gave me an bogus explanation that you need to escape an magical island (remember no english knowledge) and let me play. I remember solving a code puzzle with sheer luck and boarding a spaceship. After realizing what I had done he started to freak out because I beat the last puzzle of the game and beat it for him. (Little sidenote: He solved all the puzzles the ol´fashion way with writing everything down on paper and building his own knowledgebase.) Throwing around his big batch of papers, rambling about all his hard work he put into that puzzle.
Well, playing the game for the first time after like two decades I can assure you that this spacecraft is not the end of the game by a long shot. More like one more world to visit to get closer to the truth.

Myst is an old first person point and click puzzle game in which you find yourself on a mysterious island called Myst. Soon you find out that Myst is home to strange machinery and contraptions, in the library you find strange books which tell of strange adventures and authors. Soon you discover that some books hold more secrets than simple words.

The original Myst from 1993 is a milestone in the puzzle genre which hold a special place in many gamers hearts. The little movie clips and pre-rendered world you navigate in must have been such eye candy back in the day. I played Myst: Masterpiece Edition for the bounty which brings you little changes to some texts and makes it easier to play the game on modern systems, besides that everything is the same.

Myst. sports a couple of different worlds which are really interesting to be in and experience. Some set pieces feel really unique and add to the strangeness of the worlds, even though they feel a little empty for modern standards. Storywise the game introduces the Books which allow you to travel between worlds, two brothers are imprisoned into two of such books and beg you to find all the missing pages to release them. To get to the pages you need to solve puzzles and enter the other worlds. Most puzzles are tough but manageable except a few instances. At certain points I needed a quick look at a guide, not because I didn´t know how to solve the puzzle, but WHERE? Hidden doors, unorthodox design and sometimes lengthy sections have been huge roadblocks for me, I mean hidden doors without any obvious clue (visual as well as storywise) behind a throne? Thats old school yank right there, just imagining finding this without the power of the internet must have been hell back in the day. (Suddenly my uncle doesn´t seem so crazy anymore :D)

Story is pretty basic and not really that interesting. There are four endings depending on which of the brothers you release or if you find the special page for the last book. Last ending is basically a joke ending where you get stuck in a book because you entered without the connection book to jump back outside. Nothing really tells you if you are done with the game because the credits don´t roll on ending but upon quitting the game. So, no there is no more content after the one of the four things trust me I checked multiple youtube videos for that. xD

In the end, no, little me didn´t finish the game on accident by beating a code based puzzle. (The puzzle is a math based puzzle actually) No, you don´t try to escape the island, but more or less get absorbed into releasing people from books. Question is, did I have fun? Yes, but the game shows its age, nonetheless it was an interesting experience and window into the past. Its a classic and I recommend playing it to people who are into puzzle based games and want to see a piece of puzzle genre history.

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Challenges

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At the moment, I challenge myself to play all games ever released by Namco or Bandai or Namco Bandai or Bandai Namco for the Xbox platforms.
Here the Games List.

Sitting at 4 finished out of 132.

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Bless Unleashed


PC/Windows - Steam
Unfinished
Time at writing: 45h 54m
(temporarily) Rating: 8 out of 10

Progress! After 45 hours we beat the first campaign which turns out to be basically the prologue to whatever happens next. After hitting the milestone my girlfriend and I are taking a break from the game. She is getting back into Stardew Valley after the recent update and I am getting coached through Dark Souls: Remastered at the moment, so that will pop up in the future.

Meanwhile, the first campaign was decent in my opinion. Cool environments (except the obligatory savanna/desert area), interesting story development (even though the main villain is pretty cookiecutter) and the combat system still rocks. Most cinematic scenes are borked some way or another like slightly out of sync or goofy, but one can manage. In my opinion still a solid experience. Also something slightly unrelated: For some reason the games development suddenly kickstarted again and after like one to two years of no updates, gets suddenly bugfixes and balancing updates regularly again, so maybe not dying anymore, but I don´t know.

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Girlfriend Games

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Time for a new section, the Girlfriend Games! Sometimes my Girlfriend plays some games and I happen to be there from start to finish. After multiple complains from her that I don´t cover the games which are not directly controlled by myself but I witnessed them from start to finish, I decided to include them into the Digest series

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The Excavation of Hob's Barrow


PC/Windows - Steam
Finished
Time: 11h 12m
Rating: 7 out of 10

My girlfriend is a huge point & click adventure games fan, so she dives into my steam library in searches of hidden treasures (and garbage). In a recent Humble Monthly Bundle, I received a key of The Excavation of Hob's Barrow which is quite up her allay.

In The Excavation of Hob's Barrow you play as a young female excavator which receives a mysterious letter about a promising barrow in a village named Bewlay. There you interrogate the locals and learn about Hob´s Barrows folklore. More and more the case gets more supernatural and mystical to the point where you start to question what is real and what is fabrication.

The game features a very unique artstyle using pixelated sprites that are rotoscopic in nature. This makes many closeups and assets look uncanny which strongly adds to the spooky atmosphere. All the voiceacting sounds great and the game soundtrack is slightly above average in my opinion. Most of the game is, genre classic, mostly flag based, find item -> use item where the devs intend you to and receive new instructions or other item. It starts of great but deteriorates the further you get into the story and gets more and more convoluted or straight up nonsensical. To me it feels like they started to run out of time and tried to get it wrapped up near the end, like, to our surprise, the game only has one ending. Considering all the setup they do with giving the main character hints and herself being a women of reason, it feels not only left out but straight up like cut content.

Still, we had a good time so I recommend this game for fans of the point & click genre who want to see cool spooky graphics.

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Misc Games

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Void Crew


PC/Windows - Steam
Unfinished
Time at writing: 3h 23m
(temporarily) Rating: 5 out of 10

A friend and I have a weekly play-session every Monday. Normally we play Cosmoteer and slowly conquer the galaxy. But we found that we needed some variety and tested Void Crew.

The concept is simple, you and up to three of your friends are the crew of a spaceship. Nearly every system on the ship needs a player to be operated, so it plays like Barotrauma in a sense. But it has lots of problems.

Ship navigation is super unorthodox, you are in space but gameplaywise stuck on a 2D plane. You can go left, right, forward, backwards, rotate left and right or levitate up and down. Why not give the player free 3D freedom like every other space game nowadays? Also, low player population makes it hard to find people to fill the open slots (we don´t have enough friends who are interested in the game to fill our lobby) and the lack of content is really strong. For some reason they have a lootbox mechanic to earn cosmetics when completing missions, which are plenty to unlock but to be honest: Nobody cares if you have hundreds of suit colors when you can pilot only two different ship models. Of course it is still early access, but I strongly suggest they should reevaluate their development priorities.

I can see the potential here and the idea is fun but the lack of content lets the game become stale pretty quick.

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Community Content

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Only two other entries? Well, I guess everyone is busy at the moment (Like me: totally on time with the digest, like always. :D).

AllTheTrophies
The GameCube Gauntlet #018 - The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
- Another license game down. :)

Arcinia
Arc's 2024 Q1 Retrospective
-I love digest-esque write ups. Keep up the good content. :)

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End Word

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Not, much to say for this month. But I do have a request to all of you:

If you own a copy of The Crew and/or care about game ownership rights please listen up. At the start of april Ubisoft decided to shutdown the servers for The Crew. Well, at this stage this is nothing new, stuff like that happens at an increasing pace. But this time is different, this game features an extensive story and could be completely played in offline mode ... if they bothered to activate it. Not only are they to lazy to make it playable offline, but they straight up delete the game from your library. This right here is theft in my opinion (and additionally in german law: Unterschlagung, Vetragsverletzung, und vorsetzliche Täuschung.) and needs to be corrected.

There is a global effort going on here: https://www.stopkillinggames.com/, where you can find easy to understand step-by-step guides on what your options are based on your location. If you want to help out or are a victim of this, visit the website and read up what you can do to help. Thank you for reading this far. :)

Until then, keep completionating. :)

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