Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Donkey Kong Is No Joke

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch) Review — DarkStation

I’ve just come back from having my throat and nose swabbed by a woman in a white hazmat suit with facial protection. The joys of suspecting you may have corona symptoms and then needing to be tested to see if this is indeed the case. I started feeling sick on Saturday, although initially I thought I was having some allergy symptoms. Runny nose, watery eyes. I didn’t immediatly make the connection that it could be anything else. Then on Sunday I started feeling like I had a bad cold. Runny nose, constant sneezing, throat ache and coughing. Normally I’d not make a fuzz about it but the climate being how it is these days I couldn’t rule out if I may have been infected with corona at some point last week. So I scheduled a test and went to get it done about an hour ago. I can’t really recommend it. There’s multiple q-tips involved that go way too far up your nose and down your throat. Now I just have to wait 48 hours to see if it is indeed corona or if I’ve just been struck down with a common cold. Time will tell.

Right now I’m in my second week of a two week holiday. I was supposed to go to Spain for a week of lounging at a pool with a cocktail and not a care in the world. Unfortunately due to multpile outbreaks of corona across Europe that vacation was cancelled and left me sitting at home for two weeks trying to decide what I wanted to be doing with my time instead. As it so happens my best friend was off for a week aswell last week. We had already agreed to meet up, you can here in the Netherlands, but I thought it would also be fun if we would start the same game to spend our vacation time on. We both own a Switch and a 3DS and he has some Switch games that I have on my WiiU so there was plenty to pick from.

He decided on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. A game that had been sitting in my library for a bit, and that I was supposed to tackle over the summer anyway, and one he borrowed from a co-worker with the intent of playing it and returning it as soon as possible. So after that decision was made we both set out to complete the game before the week was over. Initially things seemed to be going well for the both of us and I was already in world number 3 when he started complaining that the game was “too hard”. I had warned him beforehand that reviews of this game indicated that it was no joke and had a few levels that required some pretty tight platforming. Since he had the Switch version of the game though, instead of dropping it he opted to play “Funky Mode” and, not surprising, blew past me once he made the swap over to that. Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury to switch to an easier mode so I plodded along playing on the normal difficulty. In the end I didn’t have that many issues. Way less than I had with New Super Mario Bros U anyway. I think one of the only levels that really got to me was a level where you’re riding a rocket in the final world. Steering the rocket was a bit of a pain in the ass to begin with and then I had to maneuver my way through really tight corridors with only two chances to hit something and nowhere to replenish a heart once I lost one.
Other than that I really enjoyed the game. It took me back to being a kid and playing Donkey Kong on my Gameboy. I remember being hooked on those games and spent a lot of time trying to get all the stuff I could back then. I made it in the end though and managed to finish the “final” boss and get to the credits yesterday. It was a relatively short game, according to my WiiU log it took me around 9 hours to finish it. Then again I did skip out on most of the collectibles and finding hidden exits to levels and all that stuff. I just wanted to get to the credit roll and call it a day. I know that eventually another world unlocks if you do all the bonus stuff like get all the KONG letters, unlock all hidden levels and all that jazz but I’m not really feeling up to doing that right now. Maybe at some point in the future when I’ve played through some other games and I feel the need to go back and get games to 100% completion. But the tight platforming and sheer determination that is needed to do all that is not something I want to spend time and energy on as of right now.
That being said I really hope that Nintendo will drop a new Donkey Kong game somewhere in the near future. Tropical Freeze was initially brought to the WiiU in 2014 so it’s high time they come with a new entry in the franchise. I’m certain to be more hyped for that than for anything they would bring out with the Mario label.

For now though I’m happy that I’ve finished off another game from my backlog. I’ve been really inconsistent with playing single player games over the summer, even though I had really big plans. I guess life happens. For now though me and my best friend have picked a new game to play through, one of my choice this time. It’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on the Switch. A game that I started a long time ago but kind of gave up on when I was 8 hours in. We both started a new game and I’m running around again in the first little town you get to. It’s a vastly different game from Donkey Kong but I feel like I can do with a longer JRPG right now. So I guess we’ll see where that ship strands. I hope that having someone else play the game simultaneously will keep me motivated to play aswell so that we can share our thoughts on stories and fights. Maybe this is what I needed all along to finally tackle my backlog…

Things go faster than they seem

It’s funny how much stuff you can get done in limited time. If you plan well and stick to your planning you can get miles ahead on what you thought you’d be doing.

Yesterday I came home from work and felt exhausted. This is nothing new for me on Fridays. For some reason they hit me harder than any other day of the week and often I find myself sleeping my Friday night away. Normally I would be pissed at myself for falling asleep but by now I’ve recognized that I need that to preserve my energy so I just let it happen. This allows me to wake up relatively on time on Saturdays and start getting stuff done.
Did I mention that I got a new curtain fitted and that my room is dark again at night? Holy moly it has done wonders for my sleep. I can’t even describe the feeling of not waking up the moment the sun rises anymore. I’m lucky that it’s winter and that sunrise is relatively late but still. Not waking up early in the weekends is a blessing and I’ve noticed my sleep improving by leaps and bounds.

What I really wanted to talk about in this post is how fast the progression of the goals I’ve set for myself seems to be going. My Astrologian is just shy of level 69 in FFXIV. I’ve finished my book. My Miner and Botanist are both sitting above level 60. My Paladin is level 103 soon and steadily advancing all her quests aswell. I’m five hours into Xenoblade Chronicles and I’ve been watching some Punisher again. It’s really nice and smooth sailing.
As it stands now I predict my Astrologian to hit level 70 somewhere this week. I’m so close now that I really just want to get it done with. The real question is, what am I going to do afterwards. A part of me wants to keep pushing up new classes but I’m really wondering which ones. I’m obviously going to focus on both Miner and Botanist but if I keep going the way I do they should both be 70 well before the month ends. I want to get the Goddess of Magic title in FFXIV and as such I’m eyeing my Summoner/Scholar already. The class is level 58 and would be a logical choice to level up after I’m done with Astrologian. However I’m also feeling very partial towards Monk right now and I’m pretty sure I can use the diversion from playing healers/ranged to a melee again. Mostly so I can pick up my Ninja easier as well. Another thing that’s been eating at me is the scope that FFXIV has as an MMO. I’m already considering what I want to do when I get tired of leveling and gearing. There is so much to do in this game. I’ve barely touched Gathering and Crafting as it stands. There is the Chocobo racing, the card game and the Pokémon wannabe minion battles. A part of me wants to dabble in all of it and a part of me warns me that I don’t really have the time. It’s a struggle and one I want to put off untill next year. I mean, I’ve kept my December goals to a minimum for a reason.

In WoW I’ve been spending the time I have on my Paladin. I’m noticing that after an hour or so of playing I tend to get restless and shut down. I’m not forcing myself to do anything anymore and an hour of play is fine for me. Obviously it slows my whole level proces down but it’s surprising how much you can get done in an hour. I’ve picked up the quest to get the Protection Artifact weapon and I’m planning to go do it the moment I unlock Halls of Valor in Stormheim. Having to queue for dungeons as DPS is really shitty and I enjoy playing Prot Paladin so there’s that. I remember doing the quest on my Draenei and I remember it being a huge pain in the butt so I’m curious to see how well I fare on my Bloodelf. I should also do the quest for my Holy weapon but it’s not really on my radar yet… Even though it is a barrier that must be overcome if I want to advance in my Class Hall quests.

I’m also noticing that I’m much happier just doing my own thing and not being constantly asked to do stuff by guildies. I’m having a real “einzelgänger” phase now and I just want to be left to my own devices when I’m online. I guess in a way it’s lucky than that I’ve not pledged myself to any groups outside of my FFXIV raidgroup. Maybe this is also why I can finally enjoy some single player games again. No one bothers you when playing them and I can get really submerged, even if it’s only for an hour or so. This has made it much easier to sink some time into Xenoblade Chronicles. I know I’m still only 5 hours in but I’m really enjoying myself. The system is a bit complicated and the quests are hard, after dying 3 times I realized that I probably should makes some more way in the mainstory before I could complete a certain sidequest, but the entire game so far has been amazing. I love JRPG’s and I feel like I can finally sink my teeth into one and finish it.

Another reason for me to sink my teeth into games that I have is that I’m finally making preparations to move out of my Dad’s house. I got a call from a real estate agent about one of the projects I entered. Apparently someone fell through on financing their appartment and I was next on the list. I’m meeting with them next Thursday and then I can start getting my own finances in order. It’s a project that is due somewhere in 2019 so I’ll have an entire year to get the stuff I need for moving. This also means that I have to take a look at my current expenses and start cutting where I need to cut. On the gaming front it’s no more new games. I’m quitting my gym membership (seeing as I’m not going anyway) and no longer have to pay for University as I’ve finally graduated. This leaves me with my travel costs to work, phone bill, the monthly pay I make to my dad and my two MMO subs. All those costs come down to about €300 a month. I’ve reserved about €100 more for work lunches/other foods so that leaves me with about €1200 a month I can deposit into my savings account for my house. I have a big expense in January seeing as I am going to replace my PC (it’s just not working for games anymore) but other than that I should be fine saving up a storm. I’m really excited about this and feel in no way sad that I have to stop impulse buying things. I have everything I need and if I have to play all the games I own back to back I’m pretty sure that would satisfy me for a year anyway.

So yeah. There’s lots of things I’m working on and looking forward to. I really hope I can keep up my motivation to get both my real life and gaming goals done. Untill then I’ll update my blog regularly with news from my gaming adventures and probably also news about my first very own home.