I tried three different games today. Three that were new to me, and each utterly different from the others. Two of them I can’t even talk about terribly much yet, though I will tell you what each of the three were.

In the early wee hours of the morning (so for all practical intents and purposes yesterday, as it was before sleep) I at last gave Doki Doki Literature Club a spin. If you’ve played it before; you’ll know why I can’t say much about it. If you haven’t — you’ll just have to trust there isn’t much that can be said without giving it all away. Other than perhaps… It isn’t (entirely) what it looks to be on the surface.

But there is also the fact I simply haven’t finished it yet. Not finished-finished in any case. I would tentatively say I am into what I would imagine to be the second half, after the festival day.

I’ve been resistant to the idea of even trying DDLC, I think the ‘what it appears to be’ element was just too strong to work myself around at first, even though I had heard from other trusted sources in the past it was good. In a move that would probably make them throw up their arms and roll their eyes so hard they risk falling out, I came around after some discussion in the Blaugust Discord on it. And in fact — if you have played it before, and want to read some impressions, UltrViolet recently put up his thoughts here.

Barrier 1: Smashed. I’ll definitely be finishing; I thought I would tonight — but with Mother’s day tomorrow morning I need to sleep early enough to arise and prepare bacon and eggs in bed. ;)

Up next was Greedfall.

Another of those games where title screen drops after a couple hours of play

Greedfall possessed a barrier of a very different nature than DDLC. I picked it up quite some time ago with a high degree of interest in playing. Belghast was pretty positive about it too. His remarks came well after I’d already purchased but for whatever reason I still hadn’t hit ‘play’ on it yet.

And over time, it has sort of built up some sort of hard to explain mental block around actually jumping in to try. Every time I thought about it, I just… didn’t. Eventually this seemed to take on a bit of a life of it’s own.

It isn’t a unique experience for me either; it has happened with other titles too — such as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, which I bought day 1 of release incredibly excited for it. And then just… never opened it. Until this year I did for the #MaybeinMarch event.

However this happens — with Greedfall at least; tonight I decided to just bust it down and start playing.

And I’m glad I did!

As expected for a Spiders game, it isn’t without jank.

The number of times I went to cross this bridge and got solidly stuck behind someone walking leisurely across…!!!

But it is also, so far at least only a couple of hours in, also a very enjoyable experience. Already at this early point, I can tell that managing the various faction relationships is going to make for interesting times. The introductory quests around each one found in your home city of Selene before leaving for the imaginatively named, ‘New Selene’ suggest a level of interactivity and depth between them hard to find in most RPGs.

While it’s still very early days yet for my character — I’m going to be building toward a strong but also suave melee fighter, focusing in one handed weaponry and enhancing my charisma to talk my way through any issue before adopting a more… *ahem* …medieval solution, where necessary.

But already Greedfall is making it difficult to stick to my guns here, as talenting up to allow for solving other problems via crafting, or lockpicking looks very appealing also.

As for the third barrier overcome today? I bought someone on the Epic Game Store voluntarily (i.e., without social group arm twisting). I’m still by no means a fan of AAA-titles taking EGS’ exclusivity deals. Not by a long shot. But it is more difficult to look as harshly on independent studios from doing so.

The thing I picked up is ‘Old World’. It is an early access release from the past week or so, that looks to merge elements of Civilisation and Crusader Kings into a single game.

It’s turn-based in nature, with each turn representing a year. During which, everyone ages. Your ruler. Your spouse. Your children. Your council. Generals. Spymaster. You will need to rule by dynasty and keep a legitimate line of heirs running in order to stand the test of time.

Sounds like they had to record the audio in their own homes, which for all I know might actually be true with the whole lockdown situation going on.

I’ve only managed to play an hour or so, so far. So I’m not by any stretch to provide you with a set of detailed impressions yet. But… Having said that, initial impressions are very positive.

Soren Johnson was lead designer on Civ IV (to date, the Civ I’ve spent the most time with of all) and having him behind this immediately gave me a lot of hope.

There are less civilisation options to choose from in Old World (7) — but each is a deeper proposition than it is in a standard Civilisation game. For a start, each is a dynasty with events relating to them specifically. Not only that, but each has four major founding families as vassals who will manage your cities. Each with their own abilities, wants and needs.

There are many elements borrowed from either Civilisation or Crusader Kings like this. Plenty which makes the game seem familiar and comfortable to play.

That isn’t to say there are no differences though — one of the major ones that shapes how you play pretty early on is the concept of ‘Orders’. Dependent on your rulers perceived legitimacy (and other technologies, city projects, etc) you will have generate a number of orders per turn that you can then issue.

Each unit still has a movement value — but this value is no longer a hard limit on how far they can go within a single year/turn. You can order your scout to move several times, but then you may not have any orders left to command your warriors to move.

There are limits to this however — units will grow fatigued if asked to hard march too far within a single year. Individual units can vary in when this limit is hit, plus some rulers may also adjust this. Generally the limit is between 3-5 orders per year. After which time — you could still get them to go that little bit further… But it will cost you double the orders and some of your discipline to force the march.

Still — if you need that Archer unit to hard march that one more set of movement to get back home in time to defend; you can. Provided you have the orders left over for it. ;)

I’ll share something more coherent and detailed around Old World in the future. Plus even get some screenshots! I was busily tapping away at F12 while playing, before realising (again) that I wasn’t in a Steam game. D’oh.

This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.


Jeromai · May 10, 2020 at 5:47 pm

I had that DDLC barrier with Hatoful Boyfriend. Now, I’ve nothing against visual novels or even dating sims, as long as the subject matter is vaguely of interest (some horror, some mystery, sci or fantasy, just not the mundane life/school sim genre), but somehow pigeons -plus- school went a step too far. I eventually just bit the bullet and started it, but haven’t quite managed to get to where the ‘true’ game unlocks yet. Maybe someday.

For DDLC, I took the shortcut and watched multiple streamers play it, while playing other MMOs in the other screen. I found I got better mileage out of it from watching the streamers and their audience react to the story developments.

    Naithin · May 10, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    I could see DDLC perhaps being an interesting watch with the right streamer… Maybe. But being unvoiced and needing to be read, I imagine it would be difficult to find such a one. The reaction element would be neat though. But for me at least, perhaps not as a first time through?

    In any case, I think DDLC is likely to be the first and last of this type I try. But we’ll see how it goes. :)

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